Wednesday, May 23, 2012

School Day

School was "in session" this morning long before I got out of bed, but I joined the boys in the school room from about 7 to 11 a.m.  By 11:15 we were at the playground working on perfecting important "spy skills" like sliding down the fire pole, getting across the monkey bars, and pumping on a swing.  If these were Montessori "works" I would report that they repeated each work at least 50 times and are in a sensitive period for sliding, monkeying, and swinging.

Afterward we dined al fresco, put together hanging planters for the front porch, and Kal-El put on a hard hat and performed a full inspection of our soffits looking for wasps' nests.  He found two.

Here is a peak at some of what they did before 11 a.m.

Kal-El thought it would be fun to take out the puzzle piece for every country he knows the name of on the Asia map and place it on the control map.  When he was done it looked like this:



Learning the names of the countries in Asia is a big job and he has been losing steam.  Yesterday I told him that each time he learns a new one it would "unlock" a new item that is in my secret Mommy stash of things for the Asia box.  That relit the fire and he has joyfully mastered a few more countries.

One of his favorite things that he "unlocked" was this chain of elephants from India.  I could not get a picture that wasn't blurry because he is always ringing the bell at the bottom.  It has a nice card that goes with it that explains what state in India it was made in, that the fabrics used are typical of the region, that elephants signify "luck", the bell is believed to "ward off evil spirits."  Kal-El thought the last two were funny because "only God can do that."

Me Too has been doing a lot of pin punching lately.  This morning he drew a whale and pin punched it out.

Kal-El pulled a new bug out of his self-caught specimen collection.  We looked at it under the microscope and then he hit the field guide to try to identify it.

He's pretty sure it is a net-winged midge.  He might be right.

Here's a bad photo of what it looks like under the microscope.  I need a $40 attachment to get better photos than this.

Me Too is doing a lot of work on the collective exercises with the golden beads.  You might have noticed the evidence of this in the background of photos today.  He isn't a fan.  It is too slow moving for him.  He needs the practice and needs to do the work, but would really benefit from the group setting in a traditional Montessori classroom.  Often times children do this work as a group.  This makes each equation go faster because multiple children are gathering the addends for addition (for example).  Most days he'll agree to do one equation but then he's "done."  Kal-El has volunteered to be his teammate to speed things along and I pitch in putting beads away to keep things moving.  This is one kid that will be super happy to get to the stamp game.

He is really happy to be mimicking Kal-El's work.  When Kal-El is working on addition with the stamp game, Me Too wants to do addition with the beads.  When Kal-El works on subtraction, Me Too does subtraction.  When Kal-El works with the addition strips, Me Too pulls out the small number rods and copies his work.  I was super impressed that he made the connection between the two materials himself.

Kal-El has been leaving his strip board set up as he is working on the drawer of loose addition equations.  Me Too spent part of the morning circling it like a predator stalking prey.  He kept sneaking in to take a little "bite" out of it...reorganize the strip ladders, slip a strip onto the board, etc.,  I sat down with him and showed him how use it (Kal-El was working on dynamic subtraction with the stamp game at the time).  He spent about 30 minutes happily putting strips together and reporting the answer.  The problem is that he hasn't done the teen boards yet.  I was waiting to do the teen boards until he had at least visited all four operations with the golden beads.  I want him to be comfortable with the idea of "1 ten, three units," "three tens," "four tens," "1 ten, six units" before we changed the language to "13," "30," "40," and "16."  However, at the one equation a day rate he is working with the golden beads it is going to take forever.  I'm trying to formulate a plan for moving him into those works regardless of where he is on the golden beads.  I'm open to suggestions if anyone has any.

The boys practiced writing today by writing "spy messages" with "invisible ink" (vinegar).  The ink was supposed to turn brown when exposed to sunlight later.  It didn't work.  We need to go buy some good ole lemons.

I didn't photograph their other language works today.  Me Too read seven, short, phonetic poems.  Kal-El worked on identifying all of the different sounds "ou" can make:  long-oo (you, youth), short-oo (would, could), and ou (grouch, couch).  He completed a word sort according to sound category and read three short readers I made for the occasion.

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  1. Sounds like a balanced day. I love the way your boys are motivated learners, while also having great imaginations. Where you found your short, phonetic poems? What a great way to build fluency.

    1. I found these today,

  2. I would move onto the teen board with Me- Too. There isn't any hard and fast rule about the order in which to introduce the different sections of the maths materials. I was taught that different children need different lessons. If he is missing the company and speed of other children then move onto the board. You may find that the understanding that he gets from that allows him to move on with the golden beads. Although you don't want to miss any stages out, you also don't want to miss any sensitive periods and if the strip board is calling him, better to follow!!!

    1. I have struggled with this as it seems like different albums have different orders for presenting the material. Montessori R&D has all the short bead stair, snake game and teen board stuff before the base ten golden bead stuff. Its too confusing!

    2. Mel, You're not trying to do the book in order from page one to 254 are you? The R&D manual is in three sections: linear counting, decimal system, and memorization. You start in section one, when you get to about page 22 you begin section two while CONTINUING Section one. When to start section three is debated, but some people start section three a couple days after starting section two. I have post it notes in three different places in that book for each kid. For example, you might be on page 52 at the same time you are pages 103 and 184. I don't think they explain this anywhere in the manual. It would be explained in the training. I wouldn't try using the Montessori r&d manuals without also reading along in the Montessori by Hand manuals. The Montessori by Hand has an introduction before each section that explains where the child might be in the other sections when you start it. If you try to do that whole album linearly your kids will be 52 before they get to the memorization work that everyone says is best done in primary.

      With the exception of maybe the karen tyler albums, I don't think any of them are linear. All of the math and language albums are organized by "large topic" and you are to be working in three or more sections at a time.

    3. THANK YOU!! I don't actually have the R&D manuals, I was just comparing the TOC to the Montessori by Hand manuals to be sure that I was covering everything. When I read Meg's albums in group two she says "this group might take a year" so I didn't go on and read the introduction to group 4! (this is when I smack myself on the head) I just read it and now I see where she says that it stands alone and should be started in parallel with group two after the child has started the collective exercises. I assumed that since the Karen Tyler album was linear (and very similar to Montessori R&D) that they were all linear. Would you recommend the R&D albums over Meg's?

    4. No, I'd recommend Meg's over the R&D :)

  3. Fun! Fun! Fun!! You are totally teasing me with that microscope:) Thank you for sharing.

  4. My number #1 most secret reason for homeschooling:

    homeschooling in PAJAMAS ;)

    I agree with Annicles - even after I present the teens and tens to any child, there are certain presentations where I still use the terminology of separating tens from units and saying the number of tens rather than the name, so the visual impression is still there.

  5. Wow what a great day! I cant believe how early they get to work all on their own!!!! It sounds like you are all doing a great job! I'm glad to know that Bunny isnt the only one who thought the beads were not her favorite work! She would only do one problem and I could sometimes "help" with two! She still got it though. She on to the stamp game now and LOVES it! :) Thanks for sharing your day!

  6. Anon,

    I have some photocopies of part of something called "phonics poetry." Me Too really likes rhymes and poems so I knew they would be up his ally. I don't have the title page however.

    Anna, Jessica, Thank you. I always appreciate your advice and will show him the teens boards straight away.

    Stephanie...they get up sooooo early. know you need one!