Friday, October 10, 2014

Fourth Great Lesson: Story of Writing

Movie pitch:  "Bad Montessorian."  Brought to you by the producers of "Bad Santa" and "Bad Grandpa."  

Movie description:  Watch as a Mom breaks Montessori rules left and right starting with training online, adding insult to injury by doing it at home and topping it off by giving the Fourth Great Lesson first in the fall of 2014.  How will her children learn without a multi-aged classroom of 25 kids?  Will she ever implement a work journal?  

Note:  this movie may be too intense for some Montessori purists.

This is my third year giving the Great Lessons.  I've done a bang-job two years in a row on the First Lesson.  Last year our Second and Third lessons were epic.  The first year I don't think I managed to give the Fourth and Fifth lesson at all.  Last year I gave them but they were, well...."meh..."

When I realized we were coming right up on "The Story of Writing" on our The Story of the World cd's I decided to give the Great Lesson on the same day.  I thought shaking things up and doing that lesson before I ran out of steam might help make it as exciting as it should be.

It worked!  The boys have given me a long list of follow-up work they want to do.

The first follow-up activity they wanted to do was to write in cuneiform.  The "orange sticks" you use with the botany cabinet are perfect for this (those are those sticks you buy at the drugstore for pushing back cuticles).  We used Sculpey Polymer Clay because I had it on hand. It worked well in that you really had to work it first like you would river clay before it was malleable enough to roll out.  However, something like Crayola Model Magic  would be better because you let it air dry and that would be truer to the original process.  The Sculpey needs to be baked in the oven for 15 minutes.  I HAVE Model Magic in the house but recently our laundry tub on the first floor flooded the Montessori storage room in the basement from above.  I have everything pulled out while the room dries and it is hard to get to things right now.

The SOTW resource book has an alphabet chart you can use with the cuneiform symbols.  The boys wrote secret messages on their tablets.  Me Too's says "I love Mom."  

Kal-El's said, "May I have juice?"  He didn't let me decode it until after it was baked.  After I decoded it I gave him some juice.  The boys have fevers in these pictures, hence the odd glazed over expressions.

Above Me Too is working with a map from SOTW identifying:  Egypt, the Nile, the Nile Delta, Mespotamia, Sumer, and the Euphrates and Tigris rivers.


  1. Thanks you so much for your blog! It gives me such specific information about what presentations look like, curriculum suggestions ... An invaluable resource in our homeschooling journey! My oldest is only four, so I am actually trying to go through your archives to get more of a primary focus for now. Could you tell me around what time your posts began switching from primary to elementary? thanks so much for all the help you give!


    1. Hi Jessica. My oldest started elementary in Sept. 2012 so anything up to about June 2012 is fully primary. My youngest was not really an elementary student until THIS September, 2014 so there is a primary/elementary mix from June 2012 to June 2014.

      The boys ages and approximate birthdates are given in the profile in my rh sidebar, so you can always do the math if you are looking for a particular kid at a particular age.

      You can find my very first post ever (if you want to read from the beginning) here or at any time in my rh sidebar:

  2. Very cool. I love it when they pick it up and run. Will need to download my own cunieform de-coders...we have lots for hieroglyphics, but none for cunieform. I think we'll be back to it next week.

  3. Hi MBT I LOVE this presentation, and the History of numbers as well!!.... the little "story" and how we get when we are, (in writing and numbers) its just beautiful ... and the children are so thankful for how humans evolved and have left us this legacy.... I dont know,.... its exciting for me!!!LOL Thanks for share your experience!!!


  4. Hahaha! I love it! Fearlessly going where no Montessorian has gone before....