This week I finally gave a long overdue key lesson for the adjective. I think Kal-El's new style of work plan will help keep grammar on track from here on out. The boys were ready to move on directly into the symbols of the noun family and diagram a few phrases. Here is one of Kal-El's:
Occasionally I get a question about where the boys stash their paperwork. Each child has three binders on the bottom shelf of the language area. The double sandpaper letter box makes a great bookend by the way.
It was hard to get a good picture of these. They are in a dark spot but the label holders are always reflecting something, even without the flash. If you can't read the labels they are "math," "language," and the third simply has a bunch of stars on it to symbolize "everything else in the universe." I was inspired by the binder system advocated in The Well-Trained Mind but, due to the nature of Montessori cosmic education I don't want to break down learning into a bunch of different subjects (spelling, writing, reading, zoology, biology, history) and create a binder for each. If you don't subscribe to my facebook page, you might have missed my link to an interesting article from OUTSIDE the Montessori world by Penelope Trunk titled "Curriculum by Subject Makes Kids Unemployable."
I could have just made one binder for each kid, but that might have been unwieldy. Obviously there is overlap among the binders even with such a simple division. We don't fuss about where something should go. Wherever seems logical at the time is great. For example, Kal-El might fill a page with the number 9 during handwriting practice and then put it in the math binder even though handwriting usually goes in the language binder. That is just fine.
I keep a three-hole punch right on the shelf. I think a normal person would have put their kids' names on the binders. I couldn't do that due to the blog so they are color-coded. Kal-El's things have been red and Me Too's blue since they were babies and they readily know whose is whose.
The boys like to page through their binders from time to time and this often spurs a review of past work. They might get the urge to add nouns to a page of nouns they labelled with its Montessori grammar symbol or add to a story they've written.
The math binders have been pretty empty until this past week. The boys like it when I make little notebooks of specialty or squared papers for the various math works. If I instead just kept some multi-purpose squared paper on the shelf they would have instead been punching those and putting them in the math binders. Now that Kal-El is working with the small bead frame there is a pile of paper on the writing shelves and he has been punching and storing those in his math binder as he fills them up. The paper we use is from Livable Learning/JMJ Publishing. Above is his numeration page from the small bead frame. Below are some of his first equations.
The boys are not currently journaling their own work as they would in a traditional Montessori environment. Rather I am keeping the journals for them, at least for the time being. I think some of what makes work journals necessary in a traditional environment is absent in our home environment. That said, there are some valuable things the kids learn by journaling their own work. I will add it to our homeschool at some indeterminate point in the future. There is a nice post on Montessori Student Journals over at the NAMC Montessori Teacher Training blog. You might find it interesting to note that the author discourages binders as I have used for work storage but rather encourages the use of folders.