Monday, December 7, 2009

School Day

Today was all about geography. This is what our culture area currently looks like. We needed more shelf space, so I added the cheap wire unit to the right.

You can really see how oversized our sand and water globe is in this picture. Yes, that is an orange to the right of the globe of the continents. The continent boxes will be added one at a time as they are introduced.

What I will need eventually is probably about four shoe shelves stacked in twos and my map cabinet. However, we might be moving in the spring. If we do, I want my husband to build custom shelves for the new school room/library. I know I can put the shoe shelves in closets as organizers throughout the rest of the house, but we already own about ten of them. I also would have felt silly putting the map cabinet in the room when we are only using one map at this time. I had imagined that the map would fit on the shelf the other way but obviously didn't measure.

I drew the continents onto an orange with a blue permanent marker (Sharpie) and gave the classic presentation where you demonstrate how a flat map is made from the round surface of the globe. I did not go so far as to cut the orange into gores.

This turned into a bit of a mess because the orange oil in the peel is apparently capable of breaking down the ink in the Sharpie. My hands turned completely blue and the orange and peel were smeared. (This is why you are supposed to practice your presentations first.) We had to take a brief handwashing break before I could continue the presentation. Everyone might want to remember this orange oil tidbit for when our kids draw on something they shouldn't.

Kal-El also worked on island and lake landforms today while Me Too observed. He pours from some water from a large pitcher into a smaller one to make it easier to control the amount of water he pours into our very shallow landforms. The ability to pour to a line is a prerequisite for this activity. I use a rubber band for the line on the pitcher so that it is adjustable.

Parking was crowded on the island today.

More privacy was available at the lake.

The water was returned to the pitcher many times to the activity could be repeated.

On the occasion that too much water is poured into the landform, it proves a good time to review the story of Noah and the flood.

This looks like a pretty good school day, and I suppose it was. It started out very poorly. My husband happened to call part way through and I told him I wanted to quit.

What happened was that I moved a lot of books around on the library shelves over the weekend to make room for the last bin of labeled children's books. Several "decorative" items purchased for the shelves to fill them in back when we had too much left over space (before 20% of the shelves were filled with Montessori materials and another 20% were filled with children's books) finally had to go. These happened to be a collection of vintage-looking metal cars.

While the boys were eating breakfast I was sneaking around getting those out of the school room because I knew they would be disruptive if they were there while we worked. Unfortunately, sensing I was up to something, Kal-El got down from the table to see what I was doing. He was very interested in playing with them and tried to bring them to school for the day. I had to be rather stern to keep him from bringing them in.

The entire time I was trying to do the presentation with the new globe, map and the orange that I have been excited about for ages his head was drifting away to look longingly out of the school room door toward the cars. I stopped the presentation and told him we would do it another time. This was followed by his wandering around the room aimlessly then poking around in the seasonal boxes that are in there for reorganization. He knows they are off limits. After he ignored my more polite reminders about this for the third time I was much less polite and he stormed out declaring he was "done with school." I let him and tried to take advantage of the time to show Me Too some new sandpaper letters.

Kal-El was outside the room playing with cars. Me Too was inside the room declaring that he was going to show teacher-mommy how to do the sandpaper letters not the other way around. I told him he could do it after he watched Mommy do it. He sat down as if he were going to watch and then started laughing hysterically and tried to steal the other letters waiting in the box. When I told him no, he said he was "done with those letters" and brought out the hammer and pegs.

This is right about when the phone rang and I told my husband I wanted to quit! While I was on the phone, Kal-El rejoined Me Too in the school and they worked on botany and zoology puzzles together. When I returned they continued this work for about 30 more minutes then asked if I would please show them the new maps now. They worked together with the maps for 30 minutes and then with the landforms for another 30 minutes. Kal-El finished with an ending sound sort and Me Too made me a necklace.

All and all they accomplished some good work and it was an excellent reminder of how the system works if you let it.

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  1. Instead of an orange, you can also use clay or plasticene. That is what I do- without drawing the continents. I was shown always to wash hands after handling the plasticene because it can leave marks on the maps. Sounds like a very productive day!

  2. Where did you get the little cars and boats you use with your landforms?

  3. Hi - I linked with your site today because I got an enquiry about Montessori and where to find out more. This blog is the place to go - your list is amazing. No point in reinventing the wheel so I sent her here! Hope that's ok?

  4. I couldn't help but laugh when I read about the sharpie coming off on your hands - that *totally* sounds like something that would happen to me!

  5. Evenspor:

    Those little cars and boats pop up all over our homeschool. They are actually plastic beads from a big bag of transportation beads (boats, trains, airplanes, and cars). I bought ours at a Michael's and have seen them at Hobby Lobby and JoAnne's. We originally used them for sorting by color then by type of object. Most recently we have been using them for making necklaces. I have some pattern cards made for future necklace works...and here they are again with the landforms. I'd say I got my $2-$3 dollars worth :)

    The boats do not float, but our landforms are shallow and I explained to Kal-El when he mentioned it that when a boat is traveling through the water a little bit of the boat is submerged.

  6. Annicles,

    Of course you know that's totally fine :)

  7. Nicole,

    I laughed when I saw the pipe taped to the wall for ping pong balls. My husband screwed pvc pipe onto the boys' outdoor playset so they can do the same thing with golf balls.

    I love your blog, the same weird stuff that always seems to happen to me seems to happen to you too.