## Tuesday, November 15, 2011

### School Days

The boys received a presentation together on the knobless cylinders. Afterward they had a lot of fun experimenting with some of the things they can do with these. Gettman has these listed in the sequence in period five, which is where Kal-El is at this point. I realize that other albums may introduce this material much earlier.

You will notice several "wardrobe" changes this week as I am posting pictures from last Thursday, yesterday, and today. We are reviewing nomenclature from the geometric cabinet and the boys have been working on pin punching the shapes.

You can see that Me Too has been doing puzzles beside him. He is in (another) sensitive period for doing puzzles and I put a few on the practical life shelf for him. He likes to work 2-3 48-piece puzzles next to one another and mix them together. He isn't interested in any 100-piece puzzles, but he'll mix three puzzles and wind up with 150...who can figure.

In the next photo Me Too has about 1/3 of the sandpaper letters and a basket of objects (one each for each sandpaper letter). He is matching the objects to the letters. He can do this faster than Kal-El.

Yesterday I asked Kal-El if he was ready for his reading presentation. He said, "No. I want to learn how to make paper boats instead." This was the first mention I have ever heard of paper boats in our household. I don't know where he came up with the idea. I was sitting at the computer at the time and immediately googled "paper boats." We found this instructional video. Ten minutes later we were floating paper boats in the bathtub and I felt like the poster mom for "follow the child."

Me Too worked with the "c" sound bin today. Here he is placing "clothespins" (He called them "clips." Whatever, it worked out.) on all of the letter "c's" on his letter find.

Children usually find the miniature objects used in the language area very compelling. However, after a lot of time working with miniatures sometimes some full-sized objects are the cat's meow. I don't hesitate to throw in things from around the house and have sized my baskets accordingly. Today the "camera" was a big hit.

Kal-El loved the paparazzi. He kept shouting out "I built something awesome with the cylinders! Both of you get your camera and take some pictures!" Here is Me Too "photographing" Kal-El's work (you can see the knobless cylinder tower across the room):

Not pictured is some geography work (the boys making maps of their rooms) and math (Me Too chose numbers and counters today. I guess he didn't feel like wrestling with the number rods. Kal-El didn't choose math today.).

In the days ahead I am looking over a selection of resources (albums) for Montessori Elementary. I will post about my thoughts after I have done so. Hopefully it will be smooth sailing this week.
I hadn't planned on beginning elementary albums until next fall when Kal-El would otherwise be entering "1st grade." He will be six in December. However, as I notice the overlap in the end of my primary albums with the beginning of my elementary ones I wonder which presentations I should be giving him. I see that while they may use the same materials, the presentations are sometimes geared toward a different plane of development. I predict even more research in my future. My real task may be to assess which plane of development Kal-El is in and how to recognize if it changes so I can change albums at the appropriate time regardless of the calendar.

To muddy the waters, the boys are working through the culture albums together. I want to keep it that way in order to minimize prep on my end. I picked up this (probably obvious) idea from the Well-Trained Mind in which Susan Wise-Bauer suggests that in some areas (like history or science) it doesn't matter if a child starts a little earlier or a little late if it means that siblings can study some of these things together.

1. i am so glad you posted on knobless cylinders . i got them late or i thought so . in my albums it says from 2.5 years old . i really felt my daughter missed her sensitive period to use them at 5.5 years old , still i presented them and she got them very fast and started working on some extensions , my just turned 3 boy got me so frustrated , he didn't want to build them but enjoyed rolling them under the bed . i ended the session but felt bad he got no interest in them . and now i read that they come in stage 5 , gush i go the book i need to reread it.
was so excited when you posted about your work with culural albums using karen ;s ones , wish you would post your presentations as you go , it will be great help for mums like me feeling a bit overwhelmed and not so confident .
thank you so much for sharing , i learn so much from your posts.
blessings
viv

2. I really enjoy your posts. It seems that most people with blogs who start out doing Montessori with toddlers and preschoolers end up dropping it altogether or minimizing it quite a bit in favor of more traditional methods once their kids are four or five and starting to read and do math. It's nice to see that it can be done in a home setting longer. My son is only two, so my husband and I are still discussing whether or not to homeschool, but it is likely that we will at least do preschool at home. When your boys were two or three, how often and for how long did you "do school?" I would love to know. Thanks!

3. Thanks Kylie :)

We started out with shorter sessions. We went in the room as often as I or Kal-El wanted for as long as he wanted to be there. That was about 45 minutes 3-4 times a week for just a couple weeks. Right away he loved it in there and was soon asking to be in there all the time. Some days it would accumulate to four hours. (You might enjoy going back to the beginning of the blog and reading about when the boys were little if yours is that young.) We started Montessori because we needed stuff to do, so it was no burden to do it. Now the boys have other things they like to do as well, so its unlikely they will choose to be in there for six hours :) Even now, we only have about three to four (usually three) three-hr work periods per week plus a lot of extra time spent 15 minutes here or there at other times as the boys wander in there throughout the day. In addition, they have a reading presentation and violin practice on the days we don't have a work period.

Now that Kal-El's friends have started kindergarten I have noticed an increase in pressure/stress that I feel. It takes a leap of faith that in about 9 hours a week with "unusual" methods to believe I am "doing it right." I think that pressure plus burnout on doing too many "culture" activities during 3-6 Montessori has a lot to do with why people transition. Homeschooling methods have as much to do with the Mom's personality as the kids and I wonder if a lot of moms find that it just doesn't match their personality once a child is truly school age and it "really matters" rather than a preschooler when they aren't supposed to be "in" school anyway. Just thinking out loud...

4. Viv,

My comments to Kylie somewhat relate to your comment. I think a lot of moms overdo the "culture" subject during 3-6 and it is overwhelming and burns them out. I am also not a huge fan of using classroom style Montessori albums in a Montessori homeschool because it is too labor intensive for Mom. You don't hear about Karen's albums a ton because I use Dwyer for language, Montessori by Hand for math and sensorial. For culture we do a lot of reading and exploring and I pick and choose just the hands on presentations from Karen's culture albums. We are often away from the school room when we do culture work so it doesn't get photographed either. I have posted before that I sometimes would spend a ton of time making five trays in a row from one of Karen's culture albums and the kids would use them once. Then I would find a great book on the same topic and the boys would just lap it up for so much less work.

If you look at the Gettman sequence, there is a lot less culture listed there than most people do. Letting go of some of that extra may be one way to not be so overwhelmed.

5. Hi there! I ran across your blog and love it! I wish to homeschool my children (when Im blessed to have any) and enjoy the posts on your daily duties as a "homeschooling" mother. Kudos to you!! Your little men are too handsome! :)

6. Thanks for your follow-up comments. I will go back and look at some of your older posts :)