Sunday, January 20, 2013

Montessori Considerations for the Traditionally Schooled Child

As a Montessori Teacher and Mom of one traditionally schooled child, these are the experiences we bring to her at home.  Educational choices are personal and individual, so what you see fit may be different.  This is what we do in our little home, and we are happy :)

Teach to the Spirit
Regulations to separate church and state means there's no discussion of religion, and not nearly enough discussions that build character.  Instead we see anti-bullying, which (in my opinion) is a band-aid for lack of character lessons and teaching the whole child.
If your family doesn't participate in a religion, it is a good idea to talk about the different types, so that they may become more accepting later on.
Building character.  It's everyone's job.  Let your child see you in volunteerism, involve your child in helping a cause (even in a very small way) he/she cares about.
Label your own feelings, and help your child see their own.
The book Nurturing The Spirit, really spoke to me as both a parent and a teacher.

Back up 'math facts' and memorization with some clear, concrete materials for each skill.  This doesn't need to be Montessori Materials, but something to show WHY these memorized answers are what they are.  This can be done with a twigs, blocks, rocks.  Bring something that can be seen to math.

Cosmic Education
Evolution is not studied in very many schools, not even as a theory.  There are 5 Great Lessons that are easy to set up to give an impression of time, change, and the way this planet began.  Show your child where they are on the planet, and how it came to be.

Open Ended Art

Some kids sit in art class for that short amount of time, listening about how to make a project, spending a fraction of that time actually using art skills.  Although there is merit in following directions to an end result, open ended art can release all types of creativity and be a window to the child's personality.  Try providing real art materials in an orderly way, and see what comes next!  Click here to read another post about this.  

Follow your child.  No, this isn't on a test.  This is following a passion.  What are they interested in right now?  Trains?  Visit the library, get everything about trains and make a project study.  Go see a train!  Our 1st grader LOVES the Red Pandas at our local zoo.  So, she is studying them here during her free time.  Next month, she'll take a class at that zoo about Red Pandas.  In this photo, she's on a scavenger hunt about insects.  Listen to them, and offer opportunities to support interests-- you never know where it will take them!!  

Recess and organized sports are a given, but what kids need is time (unstructured time!) in nature.  This one is easy, go outside together!!  For more ideas, see/print/share this flyer I love by Richard Louv.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Winter Break Fun

I washed our classroom mats over vacation, Sarah is helping me roll them all!
To see the Mat Rolling Lesson, click here.  Iris was just a baby in that post :)
This skill is so important to her.  "Look, Mom, it's a tight rolled mat"  
Our Santa letter.  I'm loving the invented spelling and the thanks.
Someone had Christmas on the mind...

The Gingerbread Village (kits from Michael's- I don't have THAT much time on my hands!)
Decorated by our extended family on Christmas Day.

This is how excited they were to go back to school after vacation!! 

Posted by Picasa