Every once in a while I see a post on a blog or message board asking whether or not it is appropriate to let your child take their favorite stuffed animal to "school" when school is at home. The photos in today's "school day" post will make it pretty clear where I come down on that argument.
Me Too's "Doggy" and Kal-El's "Bobo" were both in attendance today. They are not disruptive to our school time in any way. They are simply just "there" like they are throughout the rest of our day. I see this as one of the benefits of home education. School time is a part of the boys' day like any other activity and I see no reason to arbitrarily exclude their "loveys." If the boys were going to school outside the home I would not let them bring their stuffed animals. We have a rule that the loveys don't leave the house except for overnight stays. If I were running a Montessori school I would not want loveys brought to school. At home they are a normal part of life. At a school away from home they would be unusual and a disruption.
Today Me Too began his day with some pre-sensorial works while Kal-El worked with the moveable alphabet. He spelled words that I suggested from a list and then spelled words based on a box I made of pink series pictures.
Once the moveable alphabet was put away, Kal-El asked to get Bobo so he could show him the "G" basket.
Bobo watched while Kal-El traced the sandpaper letter and drew the letter in the sand tray.
Kal-El showed Bobo all of the "G" objects in the object box and read the "G" sound book. The object box contained: garlic, glasses, gumdrop, gift, goose, goat, gorilla, globe, grapes, grasshopper, golf club, gourd, guitar, and a ghost. He also showed Bobo where Antarctica is on the miniature globe and explained that it is a globe of the Earth.
After he read the sound card in the bin to Bobo he realized that he had objects to match all of the pictures. So, he matched them up.
Next, he went through the envelope containing pictures of things that start with "G." There was some new vocabulary...garlic and gear. Afterwards, he showed all of the pictures to Bobo.
While Kal-El and Bobo were busy doing all of this, Me Too was occupied with a transfer activity.
As you can see, it was pretty exciting.
Me Too's "Doggy" is somewhere in the room at this time but, as you can see, not involved first-hand in the activities (yet). The "teaching" Kal-El felt motivated to do with Bobo doesn't happen very often. When it does, I feel it is beneficial.
Kal-El used Bobo's little paw to put the markers on the appropriate pictures in this activity.
Here you can see him using Bobo's paw to place the HWT wood pieces on the letter forms.
After Kal-El finished the "G" bin, he entered his period of "false fatigue." This generally means that Me Too had to experience "false fatigue" as well. For about five minutes both boys fooled around with the treadmill. Kal-El asked me to take a picture of Bobo "exercising."
After watching two boys hop on and off of a treadmill repeated announcing "I exercising" (Me Too) for several minutes, one might be tempted to call it quits for the day. However, this is normal for us about 1.5 hours into "school time." I usually don't take pictures and skip it when I blog, but thought I would throw it in there since I was just talking about it. I basically ignored them and they soon were tired of this.
Kal-El pulled out the Antarctica box and Me Too took the geometric solids and pictures off of the shelf. In the interest of "doing everything Kal-El does," Me Too got Doggy to help him do this activity.
I saw that Me Too was having his usual problem with his rug (He insists on sitting on it. Then there is no room for his materials. He then proceeds to surround himself with the materials wherever he can find space, loses awareness of where everything is, and sits on something). Rather than make a trip to the proctologist to have a triangular-based pyramid removed, I instituted a new rug policy for him. He does not like to use the larger rugs because he has trouble rolling and carrying them himself. So, as an alternative he is going to use two of the smaller rugs. This worked much better.
Me Too invited Kal-El to work on the geometric cabinet and cards with him. The two of them invented a new way to use the cards. Instead of matching the shape to the card they matched they inset to the card and slipped the card underneath so that only the blue showed through. The last step was putting the shapes back in their insets.
I'm sure this isn't new to anyone who teaches a classroom full of kids year after year, but it was new to us. It is also a good example of how we don't always need to "show" the kids extensions of every material. If you let them do their own work they will find many interesting (and appropriate) extensions on their own. It is important that they not become reliant on the teacher or parent to show them everything there is to know about a material, but rather be allowed to discover these relationships for themselves.
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