I've had quite a few people ask me which Montessori materials I think are best and which are not worth the investment. Montessori materials can be pricey even when purchased at a discount supply store and I too asked fellow bloggers the very same question when I first started out in Montessori!
The truth is, I'm hesitant to recommend specific materials for a homeschool because a) each child responds to the materials differently and there's no way to determine if they'll love it or leave it, and b) since the materials are costly I'd feel badly about suggesting something only to have it be one of the things your child doesn't enjoy or get much use out of. Again, there's just no way to determine that in advance. In a regular classroom this would be a non-issue since out of 20 some children surely a handful would like whichever materials were in question.
All that said, I can share with you what materials James has enjoyed. Please know I am in no way responsible for whether or not your child(ren) will feel the same way about them. :)
James' Favorite Montessori Materials:
::The Knobbed and Knobless Cylinders
::The Moveable Alphabet
::The Continent Puzzle
::The Continent Globe
::The Binomal Cube
::The Hundreds Board
::The Sandpaper Numerals and Letters
::Almost all Practical Life work
There are certain materials that I felt were key to providing a Montessori experience for my son and even though James liked them, they didn't/haven't received as much attention as I would have liked. I'm still glad I purchased them and would do so again if I had to. They are:
::The Baric Tablets
::The Spindle Box
::The Number Rods
::The Geometric Solids
::The Pink Tower
I must point out here that I've had other children over to join us for school and they enjoyed many of the above mentioned materials. Every child is different.
And now for the moment of truth - materials I wish I wouldn't have purchased:
::The Dressing Frames
::The Color Tablets
::The Sound Boxes
The above materials are mentioned because I realized after I purchased them that I could have easily make them. Here's a list of some other Montessori-ish materials I've made:
::Dressing Basket, Button Snake, Button Turkey, and Button Tree (alternatives to the Dressing Frames)
Practical Life work - I have purchased a few kits and specific supplies from Montessori stores, but the majority of this kind of work (which you can find throughout my blog in my "On Our Shelves" and "Tot School" posts) are my own creations often inspired by other bloggers and my teaching manuals.
::Cards & Counters
::Activity Board (an alternative to the nuts and bolts boards)
::Bead Bars (page down to Math section)
As you can see you needn't buy everything, but if you're wondering where you can shop please visit this post to see a list of store options.
~Thank you for your comments!~