This week's question:
What’s the most useful book you’ve ever read? And, why?
I'm going to cheat a bit on this question, because the book I would point to as the most useful thus far in my life isn't a book that I read during the period of time that it was useful to me. Stay with me, the previous sentence will make sense eventually.
I grew up as the only child of a work-at-home single mother. I was usually content to play by myself when I was at home and my mom had to work, and I was also enrolled in a couple of fantastic pre-schools (one during the school year, another run by a church over the summer) that gave her several hours of uninterrupted time that she could use for work. But there were those inevitable moments when I was bored and my mom needed to work for awhile longer before she could play with me, and a very special book helped with these situations.
My aunt, herself a mother of two young children, sent my mom a copy of Teaching Montessori in the Home when I was small. She even took the time to write tips in the margins of the book, highlighting specific activities that my older cousins had particularly enjoyed. My mom made great use of this book and it offered me hours of stimulating activities that engaged my senses.
My favorite activity, which could occupy me for hours on end, involved sorting different varieties of beans. My mom bought a few bags of kidney, lima and pinto beans at the grocery store and I absolutely loved playing with those. Sorting them into piles, pouring them out on the floor and gathering them up again, letting them run through my hands and noticing the different textures, lining them up by color to make designs or patterns -- the possibilities were endless.
I didn't read the book until I discovered it stored away in a box as an adult, and I was delighted to find my much-loved "bean game" described within its pages. When I have children of my own, Teaching Montessori in the Home is definitely going to be very useful to me yet again.