Montessori Elementary Homeschool Blog - with documentation of our infant Montessori, toddler Montessori, and primary Montessori experiences; as well as preparation for the upcoming adolescent Montessori homeschool years.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

My love

28 days since I held you in my arms and told you help was on the way. 90 minutes you suffered pain I can't even imagine.

You are my heart. My soul. My strength. My everything.

As I type this, 28 days 10 minutes ago I ran outside, hoping I was wrong. That you were just at the gym. I saw the box at the mailbox and the car with the trailer in front of it - and I knew. I just knew.

Just two more seconds. That's all the difference it would have been.

I love you. I miss you so much. You ARE love. The truest love.


Funeral Homily: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nV5ZPEsQej8
(this link will be updated in the near future)

Be encouraged homily: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDZgQsCuCsA
13:40 is the key section
Pronouns are not Fr. Meyer's strength. ;)





Saturday, November 30, 2019

Jesse Tree ornaments by Joshua


My son, Joshua, helped design these ornaments. He hand-burned our first set. I have not been selling them the last few years, but recently pulled them out, touched them up and prepped a set for showcasing.

The day he left this earth, Joshua had pulled out our Christmas boxes to get out the green ornament hooks - and the day before he had pulled out our small tree on which to hang them.

I finally got them together and they are available for sale. They can be in your mailbox in 2-3 business days if it's the only thing you order. Or in your hands within 3 hours if you are local.

Our Christmas season, as well as Lent and Easter sets will be available soon. Then I will work on adding the variations.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Botany Cabinet: Focus on the Essentials

An excerpt from the elementary biology album that reminds us why we use generic shapes in the botany cabinet, as opposed to leaf names specific to a particular region:


Once the child gathers a large body of knowledge from sensorial exploration, she can then begin to order and classify it.
An example of how this happens is by giving the child the name of the new shape rather than just giving the name of the plant from which the leaf comes. For example, the child can see that this plant has obovate leaves and so does this plant. That plant over there has sagittate leaves. When you give the name of the leaf shape, you give the children a tool to classify leaves and plants alike. Just giving the names of the plants, does not provide a basis for ordering and classification. This base of information is also built up through the use of nomenclature material in the primary. The nomenclature material is used by children who are reading and also those children who are not yet reading. Through the use of the nomenclature material, children learn the names of plants, parts of plants, names of animals and names of parts of animals. Eventually, all of this information can be ordered and classified. Another source for building up the child’s store of information comes from the stories, the poems and the songs that the teacher introduces about plants and animals.
All of this work becomes a foundation from which the children will launch with her work in the elementary.


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Home-made Montessori Videos - Elementary and Primary

I make videos to support those who are using the Keys of the World and the Keys of the Universe Montessori homeschool guides.

They are full-on real-life quality. I LOVE that!



We homeschool. And we believe in reality. We don't have a studio in our home, but we do have the following:
  • a child who has been Montessori homeschooled since he was born
  • visiting children who receive presentations on a routine basis
  • a natural living environment in which we provide the presentations and experiences
  • a desire to share our experiences, real and messy, with you in as an authentic manner as possible

The videos were never meant to be stand-alone instruction. Some people wanted videos they could show to their children in lieu of giving the presentations themselves. There are a few reasons this won't work well: 
  • Montessori experiences are about interactions within relationships; the sharing of knowledge while exploring together. While I am not opposed to watching videos for learning as my son uses such resources as Cover Story, One Year Adventure Novel, various art and geography related videos, it is important for the adult to also explore these materials as well, in order to best guide the child in his own explorations. Culture an attitude of exploration and discovery. 
  • Montessori training itself uses a similar model we have here: trainees watch the instructor provide the lesson to a sample student (another trainee or a group of trainees), while everyone else watches. Then the presentation is discussed from start to end (by "discussed" I mean, walked through it step by step) while taking notes and writing one's own album pages. 
    • I have long suggested watching the videos while reading through the album pages, then running through the materials oneself while watching the videos and looking at the album pages, tweaking where appropriate for your natural voice. Then present to the children. 
    • As homeschooling parents, we're not Montessori trainees; but because Montessori is rather detailed regarding the academic presentations, I feel the best approach is to get as close to training as possible without belaboring the point. 
  • There is discussion for some of the presentations and that conversation will vary depending on the child and the adult and their understanding and previous knowledge. Also, you should certainly ad lib in areas where the child is requesting more information, or allow the child to ad lib! 
  • The videos are not accurate presentations in time and space. The yardstick on the screen is not a yard long, it is screen size. Where I ask my son to bring cards for the Elementary Bank Game, I don't video him moving to the other side of the room and bringing them back. I do video where I see a thought-process taking place to show what they looks like from the outside, but once a procedure is down pat, those portions aren't included. If your child were to watch the video and try to follow along, there would be many starts and pauses which would detract from the presentation and the work itself. 
  • It is impossible to video everything that is contained in the albums. Much of it would be me just reading out loud. And yes audio-options are coming after the videos are made! This option will be available for the theory album and all the subject introductions. 

The videos are a learning tool for the adult to see the work in progress, to follow along with the album pages and to aid their own practice with the materials. We adults have so much to learn from these experiences as well! 

Above all else, I love feeling like I am speaking to YOU: a homeschool parent or a teacher in a school - speaking to you personally. Because I am. And I invite further discussion on the discussion community (online support). Let's chat!