One of our subjects is “skills.” It is pretty much the same idea as Montessori practical life. The content of this subject changes as needed. Right now, Sam is working on telling time (analog clocks) and tying bows.
Sam had a great interest in learning to tell time for a while, but then the interest faded, so I think we’ll just drop that for now. I didn’t really have a clear idea of how to teach that skill so we were using an iPad game, and I think it helped her get a sense of the clock, but then she mastered the game process and stopped learning, so she lost interest. I don’t think it’s all that important, but I should think about a better way, especially since she has enough of a sense of time now that she actually cares what the clock says.
For tying bows, we use a set of Montessori dressing frames. Sam’s fine motor skills have given us so much trouble that I never even attempted to teach her zippers, let alone bows, until now. It’s been embarrassing to zip my six-year-old’s coat, but I’ve learned that pushing Sam into something before she is ready is a disaster. She can do the zipper now, although she still needs help sometimes. But the good thing is that she wants to do it herself for the first time. She pulls out the bow-tying dressing frame almost every day, and she’s close to getting it.
So, “skills” will remain a subject in our curriculum for a while. At some point, I might separate any kind of life-skills learning from our formal curriculum, or I might keep them all together. I’m leaving that question open for now.