Sunday, January 20, 2008

Wow! A week since I posted!

Yet people keep coming by and reading the blog. I guess I should put up something new. :)

We're just kind of plugging along with the 16yo's coursework (which is essentially done), her study time (which will continue all this week with possibly her first exam on Friday), trying to get the next two oldest into some sort of groove (hasn't yet been happening--I've got ideas for this coming week though), and taking care of things like my computer's power supply dying this week, going to their weekly ski/snowboard time and things like that.

I sat down and had a think session yesterday. I've gone off-course again with our homeschooling and it's showing. The 16yo is doing great--we found something that works for her and sharing little things like, "You don't have to want to study/work to actually study/work," seems to have helped her get herself really going. She's doing really well.

The groove has not come back for the next 2, however, and I'm not getting my time in with my son. One of my realizations is that I need to have him and my niece more a part of the group. I'm recommitting myself to Montessori, as much as I am able, admittedly with some modifications. I know with "Bob" it can't be a typical Montessori jr. high situation because he MUST get his reading and writing up to par first (well, not that I have a farm or some other suitable business for him to work in anyhow, although, if he wants, I could get him involved in the dayhome in some way.... hm...). So I thought back to things that worked well in the past and the first thing that came up was group time, especially in the morning. We had restarted it, then something threw the routine off and it just never came back because it hadn't yet become a habit. I want it to become a habit. Starting off our mornings together, getting focused, thinking about the things we want to learn... It's just a really good routine.

I also thought of our Writing Workshops which we haven't done in a couple of years. Now, the 16yo won't be able to participate in those right away due to her exams and whatnot, but she does have ELA that she will be starting within the next 2 weeks. It could work out to have something set up where we're all writing at the same time. Bob never totally got into the Writing Workshop, but he's since actually put some initative into writing, so this could work. And I'd love to get my ds started on even just drawing stories. I should refresh my memory again by taking out that book on Writing Workshops, or maybe purchase it. But this idea of the workshop got me thinking about how some Montessori schools have a kind of reading group--Great Books or other. There is such a thing as a Reading Workshop (or maybe it's Readers' Workshop) and while I might call our time that, it's not necessarily the same thing. But I think I will propose it this week. A time together to read and discuss some book, story, poem or other. But then that got me thinking: what about Math Workshop--I present lessons/materials or they come with things they want to learn? Science Workshop--pick a topic or book or experiment? There's something about that word "workshop" that sounds so... "cool". These would be scheduled times I'd be available to do group activities with them. The activities wouldn't take up so much time that they leave no room for other stuff, unless they really enjoy it that way. They really like working together more than they are right now. The tough part will be balancing the French and the English!

Then, for my niece, I've pulled out my Gettman and am going to start getting going on that. I can even enlist the help of my son, tell him that he can help "teach" his cousin things and I can show him how to show her. That made me realize that there's a lot of early work I haven't yet done with my son, so I'm going to start in those early math things with him. The language isn't being introduced as often as I'd like, but it's still there. The math... Well... Hm... Time he did some Decimal System work!

Guess that's enough of my written out thinking for now. One thing I want available this week in preparation for the "Math Workshop" (assuming, of course, that the idea goes through, but if not, what I want to prepare will still work) is to have grade-level outcome sheets. This was something Maria Montessori actually proposed, I think, and if not, someone not long after her. Basically, the kids have available to them what the standards for their state/province are and can choose what they would like to work on, even if it's from a different grade. Knowing that all the kids in the public schools are learning xyz kind of motivates them to learn xyz themselves. Just another one of those seeds that can be planted in a classroom. My point: I want to start working on that now. So, ciao. :)

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