Thursday, December 12, 2013

School Days: Third Great Lesson; Verb: Correct Expression; and More

Our week began with my adaptation of the Third Great Lesson.  I told the story and presented the timeline on Monday.  Today Kal-El chose to work with the mute chart.

In the photos both the control and the mute chart are unrolled.  In reality Kal-El filled in as much of the mute timeline as he had the energy for with the control hidden.  He wanted to see how much he could remember "without cheating."  I explained several times that it wasn't cheating but rather part of the learning process but he wanted a challenge.  He was able to place a lot of the elements, even the ones without dates printed, without the control.  You can see where he left off.  He thought it was pretty silly when he realized that there were dates on the cards for the mute chart.  He thinks that's ridiculously easy.  Too easy.  However, he has never used a timeline in this way before, hasn't heard about the majority of the events on the timeline before, and the amount of fun he is having doing the work is a pretty good indication that the level of difficulty is just right.  He said, "Mom!  This is a really GREAT work!  Excellent!  What a great activity!"  I do suppose I might want to make events for the timeline with the dates taken off for some time in the future.

He did surprisingly well putting the names of Adam's descendants on the chart.  He did a lot of it through a process kind of like playing "Clue."  He knew Adam was first and Noah was last.  He knew Methuselah lived the longest of everyone.  He remembered that Enoch was lived the shortest amount of time.  I've been singing snippets of a "Begat" song I learned in a parochial school musical when I was a kid which he remembered and that helped him with a big chunk.  It went something like, "Mahalalel called Cainan pop, and his boy Jared had a son Enoch."  I have the record on order and can't wait to share it with them.

The timeline spawned some research for Kal-El.  He wanted to know who Alexander the Great was.  He looked him up in the encyclopedias and read the whole entry.  Then he asked me to read it to him and help him with what he didn't understand.  He wants to go to the library tomorrow and find some children's books about him.

We covered "The Verb: Correct Expression" this week.  One of the activities involved two sets of cards.  One set has noun families the other has verbs.  In the photo above I started to set it up the way the R&D manual suggested and then realized it wasn't very "game-like."  I back-pedaled, swept the noun phrases into a pile and dealt the verb cards to the boys.

They took turns turning over noun families from the pile.  Whoever had the verb that matched logically paired the cards together on the rug.  The first child out of verb cards won.  As I would have expected for their levels of development Kal-El enjoyed this game twice and Me Too played me ten extra times.

Kal-El is still working with the division bead board.

Me Too is building times tables with the decanomial bead box contents.

Me Too also enjoyed exploring the bead bars.

He finished his table of fraction equivalencies.

He worked with the stamp game quite a bit this week.

Today he spontaneously arrived at abstraction.  You can see he completed several dynamic addition equations on the right with proper carrying and showed his work. 

His puppy dog was very present in school this week helping Me Too with his work.  Me Too did every reading lesson twice:  once read by doggie the other time read himself.

What follows is an excellent illustration of why controls should never be printed on the BACK of the MATERIALS!

Kal-El has been sitting next to me drooling and panting like a puppy while I make pin maps for the past week.  Today he decided he wanted to make sure the "primary" (partial) flag map we have was truly mastered before he got the BIG MATERIAL.

I don't let the kids play games on my iPad.  My husband does very occasionally.  Sometimes, not even once a week, I let the boys play what we CALL games on my iPad.  I particularly like the Montessori geography apps (puzzle maps and such).  We call it screen time and count it as screen time.  Here Kal-El is looking at a geography app while I make sandwiches for lunch.  


  1. That would be my son - using every angle to look on the back ;)

    Love the jammies!

  2. Great looking timeline! I know that must have been a ton of work.

    And like the puppy. I haven't shown S but I know she'd say she needed one just like it.

    And, what a coincidence, the racks and tubes I ordered three months ago finally arrived today. I think t if he hadn't been so tired would have fired right up and gotten to it with the ninja division so fresh.

    Wondering, is there a reason to do the memorization of facts before moving on in division? I see that there is potential to review and solidify these facts in factors work, other division work, and multiplication work too. T did the unit divison board single digit divisor work last year? But I know he hasn't memorized his facts. Your thoughts?

    1. Oooo..racks and tubes! Ours are in the basement and will hopefully be out soon. No, you don't have to wait until the factors are learned. In our case we are so close to being done and have more OTHER work than we can possibly get to right now that I decided that we were going to wait. In our case it is only a matter of weeks so I might as well wait. In your case you have good momentum going and I would push on. The albums say in a LOT of places "not to wait until the child knows their facts" to start one material or another.

  3. You didn't ask my thoughts, Abbie, but Tim (my DH- Montessori trained teacher) is constantly telling me NOT to worry about the memorization of facts before moving on with materials. He says every single material reinforces the patterns and facts of the tables and there is a natural progression of internalizing the facts which is the goal, not rote memorization. Knowing the facts will speed up work, particularly as you get closer to abstraction, but is not a pre requisite. That's what he always tells me at least!!

    MBT- Do you have a post on your math notebooks? Did you spiral bind those papers yourself or buy them like that?

    1. I started making the math notebooks back when Kal-El started the stamp game.

      The stamp game notebooks have different paper in them than the rest. The rest have half-inch graph paper cut to size. They are various widths and heights depending on what they are for. I spiral bind them myself.

    2. Thank you MBT and Heidi for your thoughts on this memorization of facts thing. I have out a lot of materials for just this purposes...I guess I my head working up to these standardized tests we need to take as homeschoolers...but T is the only one who will need to test and he already knows addition...they only test addition and subtraction in first grade.

      We had a soft start today, Monday 1/6/14!! So we'll probably be in the thick of it soon.

  4. Hi MBT!!! So sad I was MIA for a while!!!!LOL Its always a pleasure read your blog. Your boys doing IMPRESSIVE as always!!!! LOVE all the works you done!!!! LOts of Hugs!!!!

  5. MBT, I really admire all the work you put into making this lesson. Great Job!!!

  6. Question: Do you use the Activity Cards or Command Cards available for purchase with the different products (Stamp Game, Hundred Board, Table of Pythagoras)? Or do you make your own? Or are the kids supposed to make up their own? I am just starting KotU and she probably explains all that. I am working thru the Theory right now but I'm not the speed reader you are, so it may take me a bit. In the mean time, I am trying to get all supplies on hand. Thanks so much!

    1. No, I haven't purchased anything like that.

    2. I made my own equation cards for the stamp game or the equivalent of what Nienhuis likes to call "activity" cards. I made all cards all operations both dynamic and static.

      I know that Nienhuis makes something they call activity cards for the hundred board. My oldest used these when he was at private Montessori school. I haven't made these yet since the younger children aren't at this level and the oldest is past this. These cards are like extension lessons or activities as far as I know, and suggest pattern finding, and the like.

      I am unaware of activity cards for the Table of Pythagoras, though this certainly doesn't mean they don't exist. I just ordered this material and I think only my youngest will use it. The oldest has already constructed the cubed extension with beads, and my middle child will likely get to this stage very soon.

      And one last thing on this, is that I have found that making/gathering materials as I know there is a need is the best way for our family. I don't like not having everything on hand. It just makes me itchy, but I made and entire Pink and Blue Language series, booklets, word cards and all, from scratch, (and purchased the green series) before I decided on the Dwyer method. The PBG series was in my manuals, so I made them. It would have saved me a LOT of time and money to have done more research, decided on a real need and then make a few materials gradually as I know they will be used.

      Just my two cents.

  7. Hi MBT - It's been awhile since I've seen a post here so I wanted to write and say I hope all is well with you and your family. I get a lot out of reading your blog and wanted to let you know that you are missed.