We are going slow. Taking it easy, and not getting too overheated. The heat index today is 112.
Review, review, and review. Last year everyone kept forgetting pretty much everything and it was a frustrating mess. This year, I am trying to start off soft and slow. S is reaching back to golden beads, but I hope to get her through most of the first year Montessori KotU math lessons this year. (She is technically in 3rd grade this year.)
D is using the Ordinary Parent's Guide to Reading. And in a very-un-Montessori fashion, he just reads from the book. He doesn't mind this method one bit, and is eager to do his "reading-practice" each day. At this point, we are about a third of the way through the book, just starting long vowel sounds. BUT, he is already reading many of the long vowel spellings, so this book feels a little like review to him. It gets more complex in another 50 lessons or so, but I am wondering if he keeps up his other reading, if he'll think that is also review by the time we arrive at lesson 130.
We are adding in new subjects and different texts gradually. I haven't cracked open our religion texts, nor our Latin lessons yet and we have yet to start our fall science sequence. It will all come in time.T is reviewing decimal fractions. Here he is using our decimal fraction material to convert common fractions into decimal fractions.
Here he is finding the decimal notation for 1/8.
We started with a green unit bead and the numerical notation for 1/8 on a piece of paper. I told him, 1/8th, also means "1 divided by 8." Can we divide this unit bead among these 8 unit skittles?
He grabbed the bead from me, put it to the side and "exchanged" it for ten light blue cubes that represent tenths, or 0.01. Ten tenths are equivalent to one whole unit. He distributed his ten tenths among the skittles, exchanged the two tenths he had left over, for twenty hundreths. Each light blue tenth cube is equivalent to ten light pink (or orange in our case) hundreth cubes. He distributed these hundreth cubes among the skittles, exchanged what was left for light green thousandth cubes and distributed these as well.
He figured out that 1/8 = 0.125, or one hundred twenty five thousandths. T was also able to write this down on paper. We did a few more of these conversions and he did fine. I am hoping that he'll stick with this lesson a bit longer and really let the process sink in. Or we could be moving on tomorrow.
Even our plushies are getting some math review. Those are S's reading glasses. She doesn't need them all the time, but they do help her see texts up close.
D is being cute here. I think he is doing some copy work from the first Writing With Ease book. I use their script book, and student pages with both D (who does level 1) and S (who does level 2.)
And one of the reasons our schooling is going slowly is because my creative attention is elsewhere, making Catechesis of the Good Shepherd materials. My garage is a mess with sawdust all over, and bits of discarded cut wood on the floor mixed in with extension cords, and drill bits. I told my husband that I'd get it cleaned up soon.
I finished the Level 1 classroom training this summer and BOY am I glad that is over. With everything that I know about "learning about the Montessori method" I decided to write my own version of each album page. In two weeks I finished 70 album pages. (I didn't write up the celebrations.) It was like cramming for a college course. Our course didn't require that you write up each album page, but I know from experience, if you don't get your hands on that material that you spent countless hours making, and if don't write down and ponder each point you'd like to lift up in each lesson, it is very difficult to present said lesson, or at the very least, feel anywhere near confident doing so. So I wrote down album pages for each lesson and am no making materials for our own at home use.
The diorama above is for the Pearl of Great Price, and the furniture is for the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, and the white figure is an outline of the Good Shepherd.
The diorama above needs some string around the sheep fold posts to keep sheep inside. Otherwise, we use this diorama for the Nativity of the Lord and the Adoration of the Shepherds.
I was surprised at the lack of time and attention spent on Montessori's classroom methods. Classroom management is something that all participants thought was a huge challenge for them in their atria. I would like to think that a bit more time discussing and understanding Montessori's methods could only help catechists be better guides.
At the end of the course we were introduced to a few of the Level 2 lessons, like the Fettucia. By this time, late in the week, my brain was fried and it all sounded so much like elementary Great Lessons I mentally kind of checked out. But, I was struck by the extreme similarities between the second level and the elementary Great Lessons and I am looking forward to an opportunity to learn about Level 2.