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.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

AMI Primary into Elementary

My Boys' Teacher over at What DID We Do All Day? had this to say in a recent post on sentence analysis:

That's one thing I've never liked much about AMI albums.  The primary albums are so relaxed and breezy and "some of this is advanced work and you might not get to it."  Then the elementary albums are all stern business and like "the child should have covered all that in primary."  

She is picking up on this far more than I did - but I also went straight from Primary training (academic year) into Elementary training (multi-summer - so I started elementary a few weeks after graduating from primary, moving across the country in the between-time) --- and the training centers are probably (?) the two geographically closest centers to one another (don't quote me on that!). I don't know if that had anything to do with it, but with the general Montessori culture of that entire area of the country being AMI-flavor because of the wide-spread communities of Montessori that build up around training centers, I think it raises the calibre more than a bit. Also, the city of my elementary training has a large community of AMI public Montessori schools - they have a whole public Montessori school system! So I am sure THAT raises the calibre quite a bit.

Even in primary training, doing my observations (10 locations required, more preferred) and student teaching (2 locations), I did get the sense that "most" children DO indeed finish the primary albums - or come really, really close. Again - culture of the area? Plethora of elementary Montessori options, so the schools are preparing the children more?

Within elementary training, I also picked up on the early elementary work in each area of "what to do if a child comes in without ample primary experience". So for me, the flow was there, regardless if the children had the primary experience or not. And I can easily pick up with the elementary album and modify as needed - but that might be me.

So I got the transition part for every area. And don't personally see the disconnect as much (I'm not saying it's not there - it's just not as clear to me).

In all areas except ONE.

Clock Time.

In primary we were told, "This is an elementary work, but we could do some language exploration with it." In elementary we were told, "This should have been mastered in primary with basic math functions with time to practice now."


I submitted self-designed album pages to the assistant of my primary training course because she said she was looking to put something together - in hopes of collaborating to get some great album pages going. She never did anything with it (she was busy, to give her credit) - and I figured I would get the work in the elementary albums. Then... I didn't.

I have to admit - I felt cheated. But that could be tied into the reality of the training center I was at.
(new post coming on!)


  1. I've been thinking about this for the past few days, and somehow can't get this out of my head. Maybe it is because I have a tiny one just starting the primary sequence, and one transitioning to elementary...I was wondering if your experience had anything to do with being in a classroom environment, or being a trained teacher who is also homeschooling. I know that the classroom environment, seeing what other children are doing, really helped both of my children reach for more and probably get further in the curriculum than if they had been going at it alone. I wonder how much environment plays a role.

  2. I do think environment plays a huge role. Because I have both primary and elementary training I have been in umpteen environments doing required observations and student teaching; in addition to working in a primary class the year I was in primary training and subbing in various classrooms (with continued subbing and visiting since then). So seeing the work possibilities, the issues, the blessings - all while having a "homeschool-mind/heart". I get many of the nuances/connections amongst the levels and the lessons - some of them I only "get" later, so I'm sure there are more connections to discover!

    For my son though - he's been in/out of Montessori environments (and non-Montessori environment) with our focus on "homeschool" (any other environments we saw as supplemental to the reality that the home is the central place for the growth in a child). When we started our co-op originally, he was just beginning an interest in geology, types of rocks, their formation, etc. He wanted to share that with the other children - but they weren't "there" - and the interest dissipated. I find (several years later) that I still feel sad about that. In his case, the "group environment" killed the interest --- and I wonder how much that happens in a classroom. Yes, there is pulling along into other interests, other studies - but perhaps there isn't as much individualism as one thinks there is in a Montessori environment.

    So my experience and my son's experience help me to intuitively see connections that aren't clear to others.

    My MISSION in this Keys of the Universe work - is to MAKE it clear. I could easily say "just trust, follow the albums" --- but I think it was also MBT who said that those people who say "certain things just happen" very likely have peripheral things going on that encourage that outcome to happen. So I am discerning what those things are in each situation and how to approach those areas in the albums for a homeschool parent :)

    Slowly. ;)