Monday, February 2, 2009

Montessori Monday

We spent about an hour in the school room this morning.  I must say there was a lot of fighting today.  Me Too wanted to do whatever Kal-El was doing.  Kal-El wanted to do what ever Me Too was doing.  Nobody wanted to do anything together, so it was not working out.  Finally I said, "Okay!  Rug procedure!  Me Too... put your work on your rug.  Kal-El, the work on Me Too's rug is for Me Too to do.  You do the work on your own rug!"  Miraculously, this did the trick.  Kal-El is old enough to understand what I said.  Me Too seems to know he's not supposed to touch what's on Kal-El's rug.  For a while, at least, there was peace.

Part of the problem is that Me Too is very envious of Kal-El's sensorial materials and Kal-El chose quite a few sensorial works today.  First he chose the pink tower.  He did not choose the new extensions today, but built it in the traditional manner.  Then we did some extensions that don't require the templates I made.  We tried building horizontally instead of vertically and also did the the traditional extension in which you line up one corner of each block to create two smooth sides and two stepped sides.  Then I showed him how each step was the same size as the 1 cm cube.  He thought that part was pretty neat.  After the first two steps he knew what was coming and would try to say "it fits!" faster than I could.After the pink tower he transferred water with a dropper, used the jack-in-the-box, cylinder block one, then cylinder block two.  

Today was the first time he realized that the cylinders of block one do not fit in block two. However, he did not want to try both blocks at the same time today.  Instead we spent a lot of time with the Lace and Trace cards (thank you Uncle!) and then switched to arranging flowers.  We ended the session rather organically by leaving the room to place the vases of flowers all around the house.  

Apparently Kal-El did some further rearranging later when I wasn't looking.  This is what I found on the counter in the kitchen.  

Yes, that is a live Amaryllis sprouting not-so-alive flowers.  He has been somewhat disturbed by the fact that there are no longer any flowers on the Amaryllis we received for Christmas.  He said, "look!  I put new flowers on your plant Mama because the other ones all fell off."  I think it looks pretty good.

Me Too started with the balls and ice cube tray.  He puts each ball into a spot in the ice cube tray by hand, not with the tongs.  He spent some time with his Pound and Roll and then his mystery basket.  He probably spent the most time today with the matryoshka dolls.  

To the best of my knowledge these are not a true Montessori piece of equipment, but I see them all the time in different Montessori catalogues. When I demanded that he take out a rug earlier, Me Too rebelled by taking out the yoga mat instead.  Kal-El said "Look Mommy!  Me Too is going to exercise!"

I don't think I've seen our particular set in a catalogue before though.  These were actually brought from Russia by my in-laws as a gift for my husband.  They have been in our school room since August and get a lot of use. 

NO, you are not having a flashback, they are Star Wars matryoshka dolls.  This is what happens to a lone female in a house full of boys.

Me too came up with his own work today.  He took all of the vases out of the flower arranging bucket and put them on the shelf one at a time.  Afterward, he brought them back to the at a time.  He repeated this work at least five times.  He was very particular about where each vase belonged on the shelf.  There is an excellent explanation of how this work fits the purpose of practical life exercises here.  

After a while, the empty vases on the shelf just begged to be filled.

Me Too spent quite a bit of time trying to work the jack-in-the-box.  He likes to say "Jaaaaack....[where] are you...?" Again, not a traditional Montessori item, but I think it is a good practical life skill to learn to turn the crank.  BOTH boys have a lot of trouble with that.  Me Too needs my help the whole time, he still hasn't learned to make a circular motion, he tends to just shift the lever from side to side.  This makes the music go backwards and forwards and sounds really creepy.  Between the music and the actual appearance of the clown inside, it is a little too much like the movie IT.  

Kal-El has learned to turn the crank, but has not learned (despite much explanation and trial and error), that Jack will not pop up if you hold the lid down the whole time you are turning the crank.  He doesn't seem to have the coordination yet to hold it on the side and still have a secure enough grip to turn the crank.  Our jack-in-the-box was a hand-me-down from the boys' Great Grandmother who is currently 95 years old.

The lace and trace cards were the one thing Kal-El was willing to do "together."  Mostly because I tricked him and said "which animal do you think Me Too should lace?  What color lace should he use?" 

Things got a little out of hand.  I am positive from the look on his face that at this moment Me Too is thinking "UHG2BK!"


  1. Ohhhhh! I love the wooden bookshelves and walls! Very nice!

  2. so glad to find you! Mr. Intensity had a sweater just like Me Too...very fun.

  3. Hello! I'm desperately needing new solid cylinder blocks. Did you buy yours from neinhuis or do you have less expensive option for me? :)

  4. NO WAY did I get those from Neinhuis. Yikes!

    I got every piece of equipment from Adena Montessori because after making a spreadsheet of every item, with shipping, and doing comparisons the were the cheapest...on every single item. Everyone always mentions Montessori Outlet on the message boards, but they were more expensive as well. I received my materials in less than a week after ordering.

    I have never actually touched a Neinhuis item, and I've heard that they are of excellent quality. However, no "quality" difference was going to overcome the $340 dollar price difference on the cylinder blocks. Ouch. I don't need that kind a quality for something that is only going to be used at home by my two boys. On some items, it might be different if one had a classroom to contend with. These seem very sturdy and easy to repair if for example, a knob came off. That's about the only thing I can see going wrong with them.