Monday, September 10, 2007

A quote to get me thinking

A turning toward the intellectual and moral sides of life occurs at the age of seven. —Maria Montessori, MD

I saw this at the Michael Olaf site today. It somewhat relieved me as I think I'd gotten so caught up in my son being in gr. 2, that I forgot to really think about him and where he is developmentally. He's not seven yet. It was not uncommon for 7yo's to still be in the Children's Houses back when Maria Montessori got them going (because the kids didn't go to what we call elementary school until they were at least 7). I've been struggling a bit with him and am realizing now that I've got to think more about where he's at and not where dd was at that age or what other kids in gr. 2 are doing, etc. Not that 7 is some magical age necessarily, but just having the reminder that he's still young was somehow helpful to me.

I'm feeling the need to read more Montessori right now. Our schooling is starting off kind of shaky this year, again. Things worked really well when I had the one other girl with us but somehow... I don't know if it's the fact she's not here or what that's different. But I think if I had more inspiration, I'd bring that inspiration to our schooling.

As I think about this, I know that problems go back yet again to the 13yo. This is a recurring theme, isn't it? Very recurring. He is either distracting people from 'good' activities or I'm after him trying to get him to work. I've got to find that happy balance with him between requirements and freedom. I had the thought of doing more work through games today. Yet, that means I'm spending more time one-on-one with him instead of having him work independently. ARGH. Maybe I need to focus on a balance among the kids--have a lesson for ds, have a lesson for dd, have a lesson for him. What's he going to do during the other lessons, though? Argh, argh, argh. I don't think I can maintain a highly structured approach with him while doing a more Montessori approach with the others. What is happening, too, is that my structure with him is filtering over to structuring ds and dd. And the more I do that, the more things seem to fall apart.

So... I've got to refresh myself Montessorially. (Sure, that's a word! ;) ) I need to come back to what I loved so much, what brought joy and no pressure to the kids and all that. Just call me the prodigal Montessorian. haha.

Where shall I start? Some ideas:

  • look at albums I have for lesson/material ideas (I realize now that much of what I had used so well in the past was from my Gettman book--everything for the lessons laid out so well--and I'm perhaps feeling lost without enough guidance)
  • look at perhaps purchasing more albums from R&D
  • clearing a set of shelves in the school area and adding one material at a time as it's presented
  • making a list of presentations I can do for the kids
  • read Montessori books

The 13yo may still balk at stuff and may not want to use the materials on his own, but much of the stuff that would be useful to him is stuff that dd would be using, too (multiplication checkerboard, for example; grammar work, etc.). Maybe there's a way to get his social interaction need met with more with dd. I need to pray more about this to have a clear idea of which way will benefit him most. He will NOT simply do a bunch of structured work that I assign him--and his reading confidence is so low that he wouldn't trust himself to read instructions on his own properly--and I can't have an approach that is so different from the others because not only can I apparently not maintain it, but he will not find it fair in the least.

Enough thinking for now. Have other stuff to do.


Correne said...

I think I'm being nosy here, but what do the 13yo's parents want? They must trust you completely to put you in charge of everything. Could they be called upon to enforce behaviour expectations, even a little? After all, if he were in a school, he wouldn't be permitted to distract the other students and draw them away from their work. Obviously, he's not in school, but it seems like this one person has too much influence over how everyone else's day goes.

I think you have the patience of a saint to keep trying and trying and trying with him. Don't forget to give yourself a pat on the back. It must be frustrating sometimes. I have a niece with different problems, but who also needs A LOT of attention.

Again, just delete this if it's too nosy or forward. It's past midnight and I'm shooting from the hip.

Daisy said...

I really don't want to go that route. I had tried it in the past and it seemed to cause further problems, especially in attitude and our relationship. He's got a strained relationship as it is with his parents; I really feel like *I'm* the one who's got to learn some consistency and enforce it. He's a great kid--would just rather avoid working and overcoming his difficulties than buckling down and doing them. It all comes from emotions he's gradually learning to confront and deal with. So, I have to say that he has DEFINITELY made progress. A high-five for him there. I am so aware right now that *I'm* the biggest obstacle in getting our school year really going--I say one thing then allow something different; I have no sense of focus myself, so why should they?