Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Problem With Montessori...

...Is that we teach young children to use REAL TOOLS.

Do any of you remember this?

Well, now it looks more like this:

I thought Kal-El was building train tracks quietly in his room while Me Too and I explored Colorforms for the first time. When I checked later it turns out he had gotten a hold of a Philips-head screwdriver and "packed" his dress-up cabinet. Just barely pictured on the left is the cardboard box he dragged in to hold the dismantled parts. He had folded down all of the canvas bins and stored them in a laundry basket. He also had packed all the actual dress-up clothes into two other cardboard box. He was very proud and said with a beaming smile on his face "was that super helpful Mommy?"

I didn't have the heart to stop him, so I let him spend another two hours later that afternoon finishing the job. The end result of all of his "helping" was not so "helpful." What was a fully-packed cabinet ready to go on the truck "as is" is now two boxes of clothes, a basket of bins, and a box of parts that originally took the good part of an afternoon to assemble and will have to be reassembled.

This is an example of how it can be easier not to teach your children to do things for themselves. It is certainly easier for me to clean the windows myself than it is to let the boys run around with spray bottles of vinegar and leave smears and smudges everywhere. It is easier to make the cookies myself than to let them make them with me. But, my loss is also our their pride, time spent together, trust built, independence gained, work ethic instilled...

My Dad points out that this is also an example of how I do not seem to have eyes on the back of my head like my own Mother did and of how I should really check on the boy a little more frequently if he's being very quiet for 45 minutes. Good points Dad.

Kal-El has had three separate "talks" now (one with my Dad, one with myself, and finally with my husband) that this was very helpful but in the future to please let someone know before taking something apart with tools.

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  1. That's hysterical. We had a recent happening involving mixing food, from the refrigerator. Interesting recipe, those kids!

  2. Hi! I like to read your blog, so I left you Stylish Blogger Award on my blog. You can check it out here:

  3. Hahahah!!! That looks fun! Adults can join in too, very therapeutic! (:

  4. Lol. My father-in-law likes to tell a story about when my husband was four and got a hold of a screwdriver. He was very proud of all of those screws that he screwed into the tires on Daddy's car.

    I do wonder sometimes about all of this encouraging independence. Little Fish has so greatly enjoyed activities involving putting things through holes that he finds all kinds of things around the house to poke into holes. The combinations are not always helpful.

  5. Aww, wasn't he just so helpful? More than once I've fallen into the trap of, "Oh, aren't they playing so nice?"


  6. Where did you find the pirate comforter on the bed?!!! I have a pirate obsessed son who just moved to a big boy bed, he would love it!

  7. Anonymous,

    I have both a link to the manufacturer and a link to the cheaper place where I bought it in my original post about it here:

    Happy shopping!

  8. That is funny! From two-four years old, my middle child took EVERYTHING apart (knobs off cabinets, screws from exercise bike-all of them, doorknobs, etc). Now, at 6 1/2, she is actually starting to put things together. We had a broken lamp we were about to throw out and was sitting by the front door. She ran and got me and said she had something to show me--she switched on the lamp and it worked (of course I freaked out that she was working with electrical things and warned her not to do it anymore - but it was still amazing!)