The trouble is - I don't monitor everything he does. I wish I could! But he has his work plan, his work journal, times to meet with me, and he does a LOT of independent researching; a LOT of building with Legos; a LOT of reading high-quality literature (re-reading Fellowship of the Ring as I type this); and as much snuggle time as we can get in. Within there somewhere are the Montessori math materials, the language materials and some geometry yet. But mostly at this point he is working with materials that are not specifically Montessori in nature, but are used in a Montessori way.
That is the result of a Montessori education ;)
We start with the Montessori materials and presentations and totally branch off from there.
For example, this past year we delved into the Montessori botany album heavily again, re-discovering eco-systems, parts of seeds and plants, classifying leaves, etc. A friend offered some space in his not-so-great-but-better-than-nothing-at-all garden space and we planted beans, broccoli, squash and watermelon. We didn't get much (in fact we got a bit more off our balcony space and that wasn't much either!) but it did provide lots of all-too-real lessons on sunlight, wind, soil, gravity and nutrients. We also had a variety of plant leaves to explore; flowers to dissect; unripened and underdeveloped fruit/vegetables to explore the various stages of growth (did you know certain squash, if under-developed, can be treated as though it were zucchini - just chop it up and add in with mixed vegetables where you would have zucchini. ???)
This same friend gave us some mint to grow in our home. Noone can kill mint. HAHA! I did! Three times over in fact! And then, suddenly, it lived! And we have had our own fresh mint tea for several months now! This, along with references to natural poultices in his literature as well as his Young Man's Handybook, led to some interest in plant usage for more than food and fun tea.
|mint, dried, laying on the stove|
because our counters were full at the time.
|grinding mint leaves with mortar and pestle|
Somehow or another we discovered a children's herb book on Amazon. I finally purchased it and it arrived. My son was interested but not overly excited at the time of its arrival. Perhaps that is because the order also included the long-coveted Minotaurus Lego game ;)
But he did sit down to read it - and now he is devouring it! It is so nicely laid out for children, including silly songs, interesting information, decent size font, with non-cluttered pages.... recipes, remedies, history, and more; it even gets into the best materials to use for tea-making (earthenware and the like is best; stainless steel if metal must be used, but preferably not) and all the reasons why. It far exceeds my expectations! And he has started a list of herbs he wants to start growing this winter inside - just a few for the most important things.
He gets a kick out of this one:
|He said to me, laughing, |
"Just give me this when I start whining, Mama -
you'll never have a problem with me again!" ;)
|I could get used to this song ;)|
All this, from starting with the Biology album again!
So, in a nutshell what happens in elementary Montessori is that the albums are used heavily at first - but then you SHOULD BE MOVING AWAY from the albums. Mathematics is relatively continuous, but all the other albums keep moving away and coming back, moving away and coming back. The albums are touchstones to personal and practical research, daily learning and personal growth. We don't need an album presentation every single day, because we are taking advantage of a multitude of learning opportunities - branches off from the album presentations.