Thursday, February 9, 2012

School Days

I am so excited about how this transpired today! Leave a child alone in a prepared environment with the right information and materials at their disposal and marvelous things will happen.  Despite being a "primary" material I feel like our work with the wooden Montessori maps is just beginning.  I have gently presented the maps again and again over the past few years, but the boys just never caught the flame.  We've looked at them, talked about them, and transfered a few pieces to the control maps.  But, the boys were always very willing to put them away quite quickly.  

I have seen some sparks lately when I found Kal-el working with the South America map and the United States map.  I have never shown them that they could trace the pieces, pin punch the pieces or draw a map because it wasn't the right time.  Yesterday I was pretty hands on during our work time because the boys requested "new information" for hour after hour.  Today it seems they had a lot to digest so they didn't ask for me much.  I was doing a little laundry when Kal-El came into the laundry room to proudly show me the map he made.  All on his own he recreated a perfect map of Australia/Oceania by tracing the puzzle pieces from the map with a pencil and coloring it in.  I like to imagine that it was spontaneous work like this by Maria Montessori's own students that led to this work being in the albums in the first place :)  It's nice to let them discover things and not show them everything.

He memorized the names of all six Australian states today so perhaps tomorrow he can make some labels. 

He also drew a map by hand of the "Capricorn Geotourism Trail" that stretches from the Great Barrier Reef to Ayers rock (along the Tropic of Capricorn, hence the name).  He really wants to take a trip and walk this trail.  Who wouldn't?...snorkeling, caves, dinosaur footprints, sapphires, petrified wood from a volcanic eruption, and one of the "modern" seven wonders of the world?

His map says, "Start:  Great Barrier Reef."  Never mind the spelling, but we do apparently need to talk about the difference between a "reef" and a "wreath."

Me Too is a proud little boy today as well having worked with the golden beads for the first time!

He was super excited, but kept asking me when he could "exchange" the whole time.  Patience kiddo!

Kal-El worked with the beads yesterday also.   I have some particular problems I want us to work through before we do the stamp game (multiplication with the product as zero, division with a remainder, division with zeros in the dividend, etc.,).  In this photo Kal-El has done 1000-999 to find and is showing me the remainder of one.    

In this photo he is dividing 4269 by 3:

 He has been revisiting the 1000 chain a lot.  He doesn't want to count it, but likes to fold it into ten 100 squares.

While all this was going on, Me Too spent about 45 minutes practicing the alphabetic sequence with this puzzle:

He also worked with the binomial cube, taking it apart to see all the inside faces and check if the match the outside faces and building it outside the box.

Kal-El is also revisiting the 100 board.  He wants to leave it out and build a row a day.  I guess I won't be vacuuming in here for a while.

Another new development is that Kal-El is suddenly interested in the names of the shapes he can make with the constructive triangles.  In the past, telling him the name of the shape was the quickest way to get him to put them back in the box.

 All of this has made me think a lot about my post on the pacing of the math sequence.  I am no longer feeling depressed.  I am starting to feel like I did things pretty close to right.  If the boys aren't ready, so much information just rolls off of them like water on a duck's back.  When it's the right time they soak it up like a sponge (absorbent mind anyone?).  I think this is the difference between using the Montessori materials in a didactic way versus having the materials available and allowing the child to wonder and seek.

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  1. Wow!! Love this post!!! Amazing work guys!!

  2. Wonderful works! It always happen when in doubt, watch them work:) Thank you for sharing.

  3. Thanks for sharing this. It just shows how it pays off to follow our kids.

  4. Wow!!!!! What an amazing day! You guys are really inspiring my to get some seroius work time in! Thanks so much for sharing!!!!!

  5. Lots of hard work and discovery going on it!!

  6. Looks like a lot of great work!! I look forward to school days like this. I was wondering if you ever felt kind of bored when your kids were younger (like two) and they were doing mostly practical life and some very basic language work? I have that problem sometimes (even though I know it's worth it) and then I feel guilty....

  7. Kylie,

    NO! Enjoy it! I was JUST thinking earlier this week that I miss those days. I used to sit back in a comfy chair and watch them work, read a book, or do my own work.

    Lately, they are asking me to show them something new non-stop and I feel like I am a ping pong ball going from one to the other. I am happy that they want more, more, more.

    I am in a stage personally where I am doing a lot of reading and studying (Montessori) again and I will admit It IS exciting to think about the work that they will be doing in the future. Don't let the exciting days down the past trick you into wishing away your present. They grow up SO fast.

  8. Thank you for all the comments everyone! You made my day!