Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Dreaming and Planning

We are a little "toothy" here in Texas. T and S each lost another tooth in the last couple of days. T did a really sweet thing and snuck another quarter under S's pillow, "so that she could have a little extra and save up for something she really wants to buy." He said that he found it on the ground at the grocery store and decided to give it to S. This is SO very like T to do something like that. S was amazed that she got a coin AND a dollar bill!
And this is the little guy with all his travel cargo. Blankie and "chase-doggie" go everywhere with him in the car. He loves feeling that satin strip around the edge of his very-dirty-blankie. Frankly, I think it is rather hot in the car to be stuffed into your hot seat with such hot companions. But whatever.

I wanted to extend a "thank you" to all those who have lent their experience and advice about setting up a new classroom. I think I got the dimensions totally off in the last post and the space is in fact larger than I had originally thought.

I am debating whether to do tall shelves like Jenn and MBT, or if I should stick to lower shelves and try add more shelving to hold more elementary materials. (I think I'd leave the primary shelving more spaced out.)

I am planning to add desks to the bedrooms for T and S so that they will have more flat space to work if they need it. There will be tables in the classroom too, but I think we need more flat space. Last year it seemed that once one child got going at the table, their project liked to take-over. Also, more work done in a more secluded area could be useful for the easily distracted among us. 

I am also working through the albums and writing my shopping list for the year (this always scares my husband a little bit.) Last year I studied the NAMC album set before starting the school year. I found myself REALLY stuck by October and that is when I decided to dip into the Keys of the Universe. This albums set really helped me put it all together: the theory, the practice, the materials, the environment...everything. But since it was the middle of the year and I was playing catch up with the materials and EVERYTHING else, I didn't get to study the sequence front to back. So now I am attempting to do just that. 

I have yet to find a Primary sequence I really like. I already own many, CGMS, Montessori by Hand, Papandrea, and some other free resources, but they all don't have the rich theory that ties it all together like the Elementary KotU. If you have a Montessori Primary album set you like, would you leave me a comment and let me know which it is and why you love it?

So, we close on the new house next week! All the logistics about moving in are a little crazy. Child-care and a board meeting don't quite line-up with the appliance and moving deliveries. But I am sure one way or another we'll have at least a fridge and our stuff IN our home by the end of next weekend. Then it will be a flurry of unpacking, furniture ordering, garden planting (did you know that you can harvest through the winter here?) classroom organizing, and I am sure a little bit of anxiety about how to handle this "there-ain't-no-basement-in-this-town" conundrum. Where is your stuff supposed to go? 

I am planning to be back soon with a classroom post so stay tuned!


  1. I am glad things are settling in for you, and can't wait to see your classroom set-up! :)

  2. Keys of the World tends to build into Keys of the Universe ;) and has online support like KotU. ;)

  3. I have a friend's albums from AMS training, the same that my DH took and I like them but they of course aren't available to just buy :) Over time I have really developed my own primary albums. I have my own scope and sequence for each area based on the materials we actually own. Honestly, once you have an understanding of the rhythm and flow of primary (in terms of practical life and sensorial and when/where to flow into language and math from there) then I find an album more than is needed. I've noticed kids that have older siblings doing Montessori at home tend to go at a little different path than those who do not have older siblings doing E1. Instead of the *advanced* work being the work of a 6yo the *advanced* work that they are observing is far beyond their plane of development and they need a little extra guidance to stay on the works that they don't actually see their siblings do. Sometimes they seem ready to jump into things sooner than they are really ready and so it becomes a bit of a balancing act of things to watch for, in terms of signs of readiness not just interest, for more advanced work. There also becomes the how far ahead do you want to allow them to be. Going too quickly at the early ages eventually catches up in the form of a block where a good foundation wasn't built through fine motor development in practical life and sensorial or kid who finishes the elementary math sequence at 9 or 10 and then what?! I'm all for slowing down and simplifying primary at home intentionally.

    1. (For the record, I know that's an unpopular stance- especially when it comes to the idea of being *ahead* there are those who would claim that with Montessori a child is never ahead, only exactly where her or she is supposed to be, but as a large family montessori homeschooling mom I'm just noting that my observations is that the traditional flow can shift fairly significantly which can cause gaps and trouble later that can be prevented by being aware that interest does not equal readiness, especially when it comes to observing work that would not traditionally be in the child's classroom environment. Mom simplifying and slowing down is the best model for the child to not feel hurried, in my opinion. While learning to ride a two wheeler early chasing after older siblings may result in short term extra bumps and bruises and a new skill, *chasing* after older siblings (which most littles are known to do) in the school room sometimes causes too much too soon, less understanding, frustration, and even burn out. If mom doesn't account for the gaps in development, the kids don't necessarily do it on their own.)

    2. I have found that finishing the elementary albums early is a sign of 1 of 2 things:
      1) the child was not afforded enough opportunity for personally chosen projects/studies
      2) the child is headed into a period of lots of in-depth personal studies.

      The math album overlaps with adolescence though, so is generally either not finished at age 12 and/or the adolescent album starts a bit sooner - depending on the needs of the child. All other albums are "keys" and really should be just about finished around age 10-11, so that the last year is consolidation, review, personal projects, etc.


      Edited: I am thinking of AMI albums, which cover all of elementary, thus are arranged different than AMS. So my thoughts might not pertain to AMS albums. Ignore me if that is the case ;)

    3. Ha..."finishing albums early." LOL. We are so behind over here the very idea gives me the giggles. Giggle. Now picture me shaking my head in wonder as I reminisce about my third grader finishing up the division memorization boards this September. No Montessori foundation is going to be calling ME any day soon to offer us the position of "poster family" for proper pacing of the Elementary sequence. Nope. The phone is not ringing.

    4. MBT - your boys have SO MUCH opportunity to explore their personal interests and are JOYFUL in their work (at least the ones you post photos of) - your experience is PERFECT ;) Exactly what it should be - meeting their needs at the proper time, JOY. :)