Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Adjective, Storing Work, Journals

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.


  1. Thanks for posting about how you store the boys work, we use three ring binders too. In some areas we also use notebooks. Guess I should post about it too!

  2. Oh - I love that article about the subjects!

    I read the NAMC post about the binders and the composition books and thought "yep - noise" (as I looked at the few binders we have in use at any one time ;) ) - and yes, I see those composition books a LOT. They are inexpensive and encourage to the children to be careful with their work.

    But we too use binders ;) Just in a limited manner - and since I don't have 30 students, the noise is fine. He has some notebooks he uses for notes and projects (he puts his table of contents in the back, so he can number the pages from the front - his idea, and it seems to work!). I could write a blog post about it... but I don't know if I can post that many pictures ;) hehe.

  3. What a great idea. Right now we have some folders in the back room of my basement. It is really just a huge mess! I like the idea of having the work in folders or binder right in the school room so that it can organized as we go! I do have some compostiltion and notebooks for work, but really I think that it makes it harder to keep track of what has actually been worked on. I have snake game problems, stamp game problems, and bead chains all written down on the next blank page! I would love to orgamize it better so that a progression of work can be seen. If its in a folder or binder, I can always organize it later at some point for records. Thanks for sharing your ideas! Happy Schooling!

  4. I really don't know why you say you're a "Flybaby"... in organization you are a QUEEN!! I really LOVE HOW ORGANIZE YOU'RE!!!. We use notebooks, I think the binders will not work for me!!;lol by the way I'm in the flybabies academy!!lol I need to learn with them and with you of course!!! THANK YOU!!

  5. Thank you Karen! My house may be organized, but it's not clean :)