I Just Need to Stop

August 23, 2013

Image

 

My new favorite.  Originally published in 1912 yet it is still SO relevant today.  This is education how it should be.  I firmly believe children would be more successful in the classroom (and life) if they were taught this way.  This style of teaching allows the student to learn and do for themselves while the teacher guides and directs. 

Don’t we all learn better by doing?  I have yet to meet a person who would disagree with this statement.  Sure maybe we’ll get it eventually, but don’t things “click” faster when you physically have to do it for yourself?  That’s the beauty of Montessori.  It’s ALL hands on.

It’s funny people’s reactions when they hear the word “Montessori”.  We immediately get asked if Liam just does his own thing at school all day.  It’s really quite the opposite.  There’s a great misconception with the Montessori method where people think the kids do whatever they want at school.  To some degree the students are allowed to choose the subject to work on, but the teacher gives the child the lesson on how to use the materials and there are levels to be mastered and approved by teacher before moving on.  Mastery is key.  And that is completely opposite of the way things are run in a traditional classroom.  The subjects and lessons are taught according to calendar and the teacher moves on whether or not the student has fully mastered the concept.  Which is why so many kids are falling miserably behind.  Traditional schools as a whole are not set up for each child to learn at his/her own pace.  Students are required to learn at the teacher’s pace, which many cannot do. 

One concept in the book that hit me hard was the fact that we as mothers DO too much for our children.  It’s much easier to do things ourselves for them instead of watch them struggle or possibly fail at a task.  In reality we are hurting them when we do this.  “The child who does not do, does not know how to do.”  Yikes.  It’s true and I’m oh so guilty of just doing something for one of my kids because  I can do it faster or I don’t want to mess with a mess.   Especially raising boys I want to make sure they grow into men who can and will help around the house.  I want them to know how to do laundry, cook, iron, clean (as well as all the “guy stuff” that their dad will teach them). 

With Gavin having delays, it’s always been easier to just do things for him because he couldn’t, and now he’s gotten use to it, and that’s a dangerous place to be. He just assumes I will tie his shoes, help him with his buttons, etc.  There is a severe lack in trying to do things for himself and I am to blame.  It takes a total mental shift to stop doing and make him do.  Make them ALL do. Even if it’s really hard.  Even if they balk and complain.  Even if messes will be made.  They need to know HOW to do.  There’s great joy and accomplishment in doing things for themselves.  Who am I to stand in their way?

 

Methods

August 20, 2013

School is upon us.  While summer flew by, I had in the back of my mind that I still needed curriculum for Gavin for this fall (we are home schooling again).  And of course I was completely overwhelmed and unsure, so I put it off.  That’s a terrible thing to do and I do it often when overwhelmed.  And then I become more overwhelmed and panicky because I am not prepared.  It’s a vicious cycle…..one that wakes me up in the middle of the night.

And then it hit me(or I should say, God hit me, for I had been praying about curriculum for a while).  Why not Montessori?  Liam has been in the Montessori classroom for the past two years and it has been fantastic.  The hands-on, student paced learning style is exactly what Gavin needs.  He is definitely a visual, “do-it” learner and obviously the sitting at a desk having someone talk at you for 7 hours a day didn’t work.

Me being the Type-A perfectionist immediately started worrying about Montessori teaching.  The concepts are COMPLETELY different and ones that I have not been taught.  Thank goodness for the internet.  There are blogs upon blogs with wonderful resources and tips.  I even stumbled across a Montessori teacher who has put her curriculum online!

And check out what came in the mail last week:

Image

Look at all those manipulatives!  And this is just for math!

Through these Montessori web sites, I’ve found links to great materials and those have slowly been coming in the mail.  Gav says it feels like Christmas because he gets a new package almost every day.

We are both SO excited for this year.  What a change from last year where we had no idea what we were doing!  Granted, I still feel really overwhelmed teaching the Montessori method but I have so many great resources and aids at my finger tips.

All I know is that Gav learns best by doing and that’s just what we’re going to do this year.

Outdoorsy

August 13, 2013

I like to think I’m outdoorsy, as in I don’t mind being outside….but I don’t really think I’m the camping type.   But what does a family of six, four of those being of the male persuasion, like to do?  They like to be outside.  And hike.  And fish.  And swim in lake water.  And camp.  So we did just that this past weekend. 

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

It’s important to drink lots of coffee on a camping trip because you won’t sleep hardly AT ALL due to all the other people, raccoons, and a certain tiny person sprawled on top of you.

Image

Image

This certain tiny person didn’t drink enough coffee because she fell asleep while hiking.  That made for some really sore arms for me the next day!

Image

Stair-step cousins (It was  SO nice having them along!  They kept the kids happy and entertained the entire weekend).

Image

Image

It was nice to take time to stop and smell the roses….er flowers,

Image

to wander about aimlessly,

Image

to rest,

Image

and eat.

Image

This boy will tell you that the best part about camping is the S’mores.  And I totally agree.

Image

So does Sloane.

We also added a new member to our family…..Thunderbolt the three-legged frog.  He’s on Day 4 of living in captivity.  Fingers crossed we can keep him alive!

Here’s to another great camping adventure under our belts.  Sloane had an easier time then when we did this in June.  She’s getting the hang of it now.  Kudos to Josh who planned, packed, purchased, cooked, and wrangled kids the entire trip so my camping experience could be that much better.  And I have to admit…..it was pretty fun!