Sunday, June 11, 2006

So NOT Montessori!!!

I've been struggling for a while to feel that what I'm really doing is Montessori. I feel like I'm drifting further and further away but am becoming more aware of what is going on and what I need to change. I'm going to have to do some inner and outer preparation this summer as I really want to 'get with the program'! I had been moving towards where I wanted to be for a bit, but I find that the 12yo became highly disruptive this year (or the opposite, would just loaf and do absolutely nothing which still required my attention), which encouraged the 10yo and dd to be more unfocused and less self-directed, as their attention was pulled towards him. As I write this now, I realize that a lot of his behaviour was probably motivated in having attention drawn towards him and I was fuelling that as I tried to keep him in line. If he were in a Montessori school, I think things would work fairly well for him as he'd have people to buddy up with for work and there would be an environment where there would be lots for him to do. I don't have that, unfortunately, and really moved far away from Montessori with him and think I pulled the others that way, too.

That said, however, the next 2.5 weeks (not even--last day will be June 27) of school, if not highly guided, will fall into the kids playing Lego all day while they listen to me read. This wouldn't be so bad, except that with one severely lagging in language and math skills (the 12yo) and another lagging a bit and absolutely HAVING to know certain things for school next year (the 10yo), I realize I've hit a crunch and there is just a lot that has to be done in the next two weeks. Also, the oldest has certain things that would be best done now instead of waiting until September.

While going over the school curriculum here, I see that there will be lots of holes if I don't at least show certain things. Fortunately, a lot of the work will benefit the others, so here's my plan for this week:

The first roughly 30-40 minutes of school time (after our silent reading) will be for French, going over all the stuff expected in grade 4. Some of it she knows, but some of it's very formal stuff that we haven't touched and almost none of it has been tied to written components. This is something they can all participate in as it will be review or even new learning for some of them. There can be lots of role playing for it and I'll make available the written component somehow (word cards, word lists, something, plus worksheets from Enchanted Learning).

After that will be math. I've put together a few things for a gr. 4 test covering local school curriculum so we can go over that and make sure she's covered everything. All of them need to work on their math facts and I'm going to have the 12yo simply work on computation (or math topic of choice) and the 15yo pick a few questions for review each day. Dd can pick what she wishes in her math workbook. With the crunch on, I'm not showing anything new for right now.

After that will be LA. I have NOT been doing Spalding as I had planned and it is first thing on my list for our LA time. The 15yo and dd can pretty much do as they wish during this time, but the other two are going to work on Spalding, then a bit of reading using what they've learned from Spalding, plus just to practise reading aloud, then the 12yo will work on writing something while I do Sequential Spelling with the 10yo and then she will write something. I may simply guide her through a book report this week as she's never done one and it will be a good writing activity for her.

(The order of the subjects may be changed to best suit students' needs that day.)

This should take us to about 10:30, at which point we can check our Tomatosphere plants, maybe do a little science activity or SOTW or read-aloud time. I also need to find time then or in the afternoon to go over music elements with the 10yo so she won't be behind in music class next year.

Whew! Not Montessori at all but with 'outside' requirements in place, it's got to be done.

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