Because I am a
I prefer digital albums because I like having them all available in the palm of my hand on my iPad. You can read about my experience with digital albums at the post No More Printing Albums for Me!
I really like the free digital albums available at the blog Cultivating Dharma but I was only able to get Math, Geometry, Language, and History...not a complete set. However, if you plan to use Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding: A Science Curriculum for K-2, Vol. II, grades 3-5, and
Vol. III, Grades 6-8 the Cultivating Dharma albums might be all you need.
My main set of albums, or my "go to" set, are the albums from Keys of the Universe (KotU). Because they are a very good set of albums, digital, AMI (my preference most of the time), complete, and full of information that actually tells you how to keep the sequences aligned, they really are my main source for navigating the world of Montessori Elementary. Because the albums are offered as part of a course that comes with access to an active forum and a mentor (very important!) these albums are indispensable.
I also have a complete set of digital albums from Mid-America Montessori. You can find them through links at Living Montessori Now's post on Free Montessori Elementary Resources. Most of the Mid-America albums are difficult to use. There is a huge overlap with primary in the Math and Language albums. They are mostly a compilation of presentations, chart images, command card suggestions, and other resources. I could not own only these and be able to put together Montessori at Home. I would be lost. However, I do pull things from them all the time and like their Geometry album a lot.
I own several Montessori R&D albums. I started with just Grammar because I got the albums along with some already made grammar boxes and contents handed down from a friend. My collection of these is growing from year to year as I need things. I wound up with Elementary Math Vol. 1 to pick up presentations on equation formats, parenthesis, and story problems. I wound up with Fractions vol. 1 to get access to all of the fraction command cards (now available as a free download here on my blog). Recently I just purchased Biology volumes 1 and 2 to get presentations for all the Kingdoms charts I will be using in conjunction with the Second Great Lesson. The company told me digital albums were going to be available in Spring 2013. That hasn't happened. If I could buy a full set of DIGITAL albums at a much reduced cost from their paper albums I would jump on the opportunity. However, I don't have the money to buy nor the space to store 29 albums. I wouldn't want them to be my only set of Elementary albums. I don't know if it is available and I just haven't seen it, but I haven't seen any information in them that tells you how to coordinate all the albums. The KotU albums will TELL you, "Present the First Great Lesson the first week and afterward you can start X, Y, Z album."
I own one NAMC album, Physical Geography. It is beautiful, glossy, and expensive (mine is a hand-me-down). I never use it. In fact, I put it in the basement recently because it was taking up valuable space. I also own the full set of Blackline Masters on CD. I do think that the CD they sell of blackline masters for all subjects is good because you can print tons of nomenclature cards if you are willing to color. I also have used it to make a great book on "Research Skills." There are A LOT of worksheets on the CD.
Writing this has led me to realize that I have NOT reviewed all of the album brands that I have (beyond the little blurbs I just wrote). I will get moving on that goal. However, I have reviewed some albums and you can find links below.
Elementary Album Reviews:
Q2: What is covered in the Montessori Elementary Curriculum?
You can have free access to the complete Montessori Scope and Sequence (from infant to age 12). The sequence provided is aligned to the Common Core Standards and the result of a collaboration between Montessori Compass and The Montessori Foundation.
Q3: How do I get all the elementary math in?
I am stuck on math and don't feel like I'm moving forward, can you help?
I wrote a supremely geeky post, with charts, that might help you get organized and keep moving with the Montessori math sequence(s). Click here to read that post!
Q4: Do you use work journals?
Our use of work journals is untraditional. You can read about it in detail in this post.
Q5: How do you know what presentation to give next?
In my mind, Montessori teacher albums are full of "threads" that run in parallel to one another, stopping and starting as needed along the way. The albums tell me what presentation is next in each thread. I use a self-made chart to help me make sure I am always prepared for the next three presentations in each thread. You can read about that here.
THIS PAGE IS STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION. STAY TUNED FOR MORE MONTESSORI ELEMENTARY INFORMATION...SUCH AS ACTIVITIES, MATERIALS MADE, AND THE LIKE RIGHT HERE ON THE BLOG.