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.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

On the Farm - well, almost ;)

Children should be outdoors as MUCH as possible. Getting their hands in the dirt - the soil of the earth from which their bodies were made. Creating from the produce of their sweat, toil and God's graces. 

The emotional and spiritual benefits can't be measured, but are astronomical (literally); and the benefits to academics and psychology is almost as wonderful. 

These things begin in the child's youngest days of life, and will come to greater meaning in adolescence. We are almost there! Yikes! The end of the elementary years... and the beginnings of adolescence. Age 11 and 12 are kind of cross-over years as hormones start kicking in and the child's plane of development changes. 
More information on the planes of development - sensitive periods

So here is a tiny snippet of what we have been able to do of late - not near as much as what we are planning in the near future! 

Anyone know what this is? We have TONS of it. 

Told you so. 

We haven't exactly weeded the garden this year. Ever.

In May, the landlord came over and tilled the soil from last year's garden; we planted our few surviving seedlings immediately; most did not survive; and we ordered more seeds to literally SCATTER (and cover with some worm compost). June 7, we planted 28 "mystery tomatoes" from a friend who was selling them at a farmer's market - they had lots the tags on them, couldn't identify them, nobody would buy them, so we bought for a bit less than half-off, in exchange for some canned tomatoes down the road. Awesome stuff.

We have watered and watered and watered (clay soil; little to no rain most of the time). Then we had a few days of rain - and VOILA! LOOK WHAT HAPPENED!!!!

Turns out that worm compost had some undigested tomato seeds - so we have a few extra tomato plants mixed with the pumpkins and watermelons. Hm. Extra treasures!

No asparagus, rhubarb and a few other things we'd planted. :( This just wasn't the year to FOCUS on the garden - the goal this year is to prove that we can, get our hands dirty, have some fun and see what happens. Better planning for next year!
Weeding done. We literally *cut* the weeds down.
Left some there for ground-cover.
The landlord will mulch the rest when he comes through. 

Hey guys!!!! Missed you!!!!! 

Beautiful horse neighbors.
Considering learning to ride.... 

Garden from the other side.
Looks a bit sparse now. 

3 hours, 4 blisters between the two of us, a homemade scythe (loving having an 11 year old male child), and a bit of a sunburn later.... WHEW.

The next day - strawberry picking with this adorable princess:
That smile makes it all worth it! 

Just stop trying to escape! 

Making jam:

Made more -
gifted some
ate some ;) 

Taking a walk afterward.
Think Linus. Lack of bath and all ;) haha!

Not our neighborhood ;) 

What do I not have photos of?

Climbing trees, playing in puddles (yep, he still does it!), planting the lilac bushes, weeding the mulched areas, setting up our statues, just chilling in the backyard, and a bit more.

We are getting realizable plans together to move again - maybe not for another year, though - to larger property and start a Montessori farm school experience. Exciting!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Legoboy's Doings - June 2015

We don't have photos of it all - but this has been a BUSY month.

Legoboy started the month with a week with friends. He wanted a cell phone so he could text me throughout the week. With a $10 a month pre-paid plan that gave him 100 minutes or outgoing texts (incoming are free) and a phone that is only $10.... ok. This is not our first week-or-longer-separation and he has always done "well" but it is hard to maintain open communication through other people's devices. Now he is getting older, he feels like he "needs" me more, so cell phone it is.

In the end, we communicated much LESS than we normally would have "tried" for. No question as to "why" that is. He knew I was accessible to him at any time day or night - so he lived his life in confidence.

One morning we had this conversation:
L: Good morning.
M (surprised at how early he was texting me): You awake?
L: Yes, I am AWAKE and I woke up at 7:45.
M: Ouch! Did that hurt!?
L: No, it did not hurt. Why?
M: Because you don't wake up that early at home without a fight ;)

I asked for a happy nice smile to have on my phone while I was gone:

A few days before I left, he got a new bike. Because of his size and current growth rate (he will be big enough for the bigger wheels by the end of summer), the guy at the shop recommended the bigger wheels. Well, it just isn't comfortable for him to trust himself. So learning to ride isn't going so hot. He tried a 2-wheeler at age 4, but I put it together and it didn't work right - and he tried to ride it on carpet first... Not so hot then either.

Sigh. Poor kid. He just wants to RIDE. It won't be long, he'll try again later this summer. When he is a bit taller.

Because see - he's been doing a lot of this - these are all day-time shots:

He still likes to snuggle from time to time. 


He does a lot of cooking these days. Not just to feed himself,
but because he really enjoys it. 

Staying up late every night to watch the stars MIGHT contribute to day-time sleeping, but really.... he's a growing boy! I canNOT keep him in pants that reach his ankles and he is not much interested in shorts. While I was away, he even texted one day to say that yes he was being fed, yes he was eating 3 breakfasts, 2 lunches and dinner never stopped, but he was still SO hungry. ;)

When I got back home, we both helped at a carnival to raise money for the family of a friend (the friend's family he stayed with actually) - our friend's brother had stage 4 pancreatic cancer. At the carnival, Legoboy spent most of his tickets "buying" things for other people - including getting me some Legos ;)

Two weeks later, we attended the funeral of the gentleman in question and Legoboy served at the funeral Mass. I did not get photos - I wanted one of him in his serving alb and surplice (he doesn't normally get to wear the full layers at our local parish since this is reserved for the Altar Boyz group, but at funerals everyone does). I was thrown off by a not-so-random turn of events. Sorry Legoboy!

In the between time, Legoboy spent 3 long days entertaining himself with Minecraft, reading, naps and eating while I did a Level 1 Catechesis of the Good Shepherd with two very awesome ladies (you know who you are!). He complained the whole time he was hungry of course. ;) The first day of the course, he spent with some local homeschool families at our local Canal Days celebration. He took a LOT of photos. Here is just ONE:

He has been pursuing some of his own studies in various areas - most of which I am oblivious to, I have to admit. He wants to write something about Khan Academy, so he's been doing some stuff there; he has been designing worlds in Minecraft; practicing piano (just reviewing all that he knows - not currently learning anything new); climbing trees;

working on the backyard:

Picking up hose reel, bricks and tiles for the garden. 
Picked up our 3 new lilac bushes
Ummm. I think it's time to start weeding. 

We have both an in-ground fire-pit and a portable one (for using on the porch on rainy but not windy days). Weekly s'mores! His mission this summer - starting next week, he wants to intentionally build a different style of fire each week, try them all out, see which ones are better for what, and know them all off the top of his head. Very cool!

Practicing Tae-Kwon-Do - preparing for the next belt test (school test in August; association test in September)

Doing his part to prepare for Vacation Bible School ;)

He missed one of the Homeschool Mondays at our local museum center (the week I was gone, everyone forgot!), but we made it to the next one.

Exploring the museum after the class (which was on cultural celebrations - he really liked it)

We always stop by to the visit the baby - he is 3 years old, his name is Umi. And I cry. Every. Single. Time.
He's in here. 

And this is a reconstruction of what is inside,
based on scans. 
Neat exhibit this time around of our local area's contributions to weaponry since the 1700s. Legoboy pointed out all the cursive letters and notes....

The month isn't over. ;)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Elementary Montessori Training - Reality Check

In a draft dated February 2, 2014, I had this:

Begin draft:

I had this to say in a previous post, then I deleted a portion of it to finish the post on the same topic with which it started:

I have to admit - I felt cheated. But that could be tied into the reality of the training center I was at and the treatment dished out there to anyone who is 1) Catholic 2) homeschool-friendly 3) uses Montessori principles in any form of faith formation 4) actually wanting to "get it" and not just regurgitate it - the list goes on, but that is a subject of another post.

This many years later, I am finally getting ready to truly write about that experience. 

End draft.

Now here it is June 20, 2015 - and I still haven't written about it. Yet the training center in question has chosen NOW to come forward to pronounce to the world I didn't finish my training there, thus I must be mis-representing myself.

Hm. Interesting. I have checked all SPAM filters - I have not yet received a private communication from them, or anyone for that matter, on this topic. All announcements have been public without any room for actual professionalism.

This is SAD. Truly SAD. Contact me first. I am happy to discuss the matter on a professional level. This training center has proven time and again a lack of capability of being professional. That does not mean there is NO HOPE! I hold out hope. Hope for peace; hope for the true work of Maria Montessori to blossom forth.

It can happen. It MUST happen.

Please note, I do not claim to have a certificate or a diploma from them - I did a majority of my training there and filled in with private AMI training elsewhere, without the benefit of a diploma or certificate. I did all my student teaching and observations; I am still awaiting receipt of my last few chunks of assignments (hand-made illustrations...).

Please also note, that I choose NOT to publicly bash the training center, ruin their reputation, or otherwise cause harm or pain to anyone. Perhaps by being silent I have allowed too many others (even one is too many) to continue to receive harm by this training center; I needed to look at the harm to my son if I took this to court. My family comes first.

And to explain all of this takes many words; words that cause confusion and dissension and a bad taste for this training cetner - then perhaps for others? I want to preserve what Montessori intended and share it with homeschoolers and with small schools who are working towards getting their teachers formally trained in a full training center. I currently work with several schools around the world who are sending one teacher at a time to full Montessori training while supplementing with the mentoring and support I provide in the meantime.

Want to create a strong adversary you'll regret? Attack me.
Want to control me and subdue me? Bring me in.

Keep your friends close; keep your enemies closer. Isn't that what the non-Montessori world proclaims? Perhaps it is indeed good practice.

Oddly enough, professionalism and civility might increase.

My prayers for peace!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Geometry Circles

In no particular order, some of the work Legoboy and I did together on geometry a while back.

This elementary Montessori work is done with a box of geometry sticks, the circumferences (half-circles), a pencil, some pushpins, and a geometry plane (corkboard with paper mounted on it).

the "plane"

drawing an arc - be sure to use a SHARP pencil!