Changing How We Work!
Well after my playtime thoughts earlier this week, I have kept thinking. I have been thinking about our homeschooling and I feel like something isnt working out quite the way I want to. So when I read a post of Elizabeth’s about homeschooling renewal I thought that it was something that I needed to think about. Was Montessori still a good fit here? Bunny is learning well, but she is lacking a spark of interest and enthusiasm. I show her presentations, she listens, understands, but doesnt care. She really doesnt even want me to read stories to her about some of the things we have been learning about. So I was wondering if what were still doing was really a good fit. So I thought, I prayed, and realized that problem is not with her, it was with me and with how Montessori is done at this level. I am going to need to get way more excited about things, not just give presentation, but help her feel the excitement of what we are talking about. I mean, the earth tilts! Wow! We are all spinning in space at a slant! This isnt a boring thing, its exciting! The other thing that I need to do is to help her think and wonder over these amazing things in life! Why does the earth tilt? Is earth the only planet that tilts? Why does it tilt? How do we keep going around without tilting the other way? Hmmm….so much to think about, learn about. So why are we not doing that? Why do I give presentation aft er presetation and still not seem to find something that is interesting to her? Well my theory is this: Montessori elementary work is by nature a very social thing. From what I understand, most of their projects and research is done in small groups. They talk together, work out questions together, and find answers together. Someone will have one question and someone else may think of another. This cooperation is super important, and helps keep things moving forward,. Since it is only Bunny and me, that means that I am the small group friend. I am going to need to take a bigger role in making things interesting. I need to start asking questions with her, not just teach her things. I want her to go deeper. Dont get me wrong. She is doing a great job. She is loving her fractions and her writing. She is learning everything just fine, but I want her to think, not just memorize. My goal for education, way before Bunny was in Kindergarten, way before Montessori, way before she even knew her letters, was to have her know how to think, to find information, and to go after what she wants to know about. Curriculum doesnt mean a thing if the child is not interested. Now that is my opinion, and I know that kids do need to learn thing even if they dont want to, but they will learn more when they are interested. When I think back to what I remember about school work, I clearly remember the things that grabbed my interest~ Biology, Writing, History. I want to make sure that the things she is learning are interesting enough to remember it. I want her to have some enthusiasm! So I am going back to school. We are going to keep going with some geography lessons, but I am going to change some of my ideas a bit. I am going to add some story telling elements to the lessons. I want them to sound a little bit like the great lessons. Then I will end it with some “I wonder” questions. I want her to think about the story and maybe we can think of some new things to find out about together! I also want to invite her to draw a picture, find more information out in some books, and things like that. Maybe this will make a difference in her thinking about learning! I also think that maybe starting the day out with this would be better. Again, I know that she is not always going to love everything, and I know that she is not always going to get interested. But when she is not getting interested in anything, then I think that I could do something better. So that is my goal. To do it a little bit better to make it more fun, and not so much like a chore! Those are my thought right now! If you have an idea or some thought on this, please share in the comments! Happy Schooling!
Mommy to the Princesses
January 31, 2013 @ 12:54 pm
In our case we rely on books to get my daughter excited in something. Need not be just children’s books, even adult ones with great pictures will do the trick. Missbarbara.net has some great suggestions of books that go with the great lessons. I love the Bill Nye videos too. We own the Jennifer Morgan series and story of life by Virginia lee burton, and my daughter cannot wait to get to the next book or next part in the series! We also own some magic school bus videos and kits that are ready to go I case interest strikes! Hope some of what we do will help you!
Mommy to the Princesses
January 31, 2013 @ 1:04 pm
I forgot to mention that you can do the same for other subjects like Grammar and Math too. We love the Scholastic Grammar Tales series and the Sir Cumference books for Geometry. You local library might have some videos on these topics too. For Math, my daughter loves to practice while playing games. I think I had already suggested the RightStart Math games to you, you can also check out http://deceptivelyeducational.blogspot.ca/. She has many awesome games on different subjects.
February 1, 2013 @ 3:33 am
Thanks for the ideas! I will have to look up some Bill Nye movies! We already love the Magic School Bus shows, but our library doesnt have many of the movies. I really thought about buying the whole series online! 🙂 I havent heard of some of those other things, so I will have to get goggling! 🙂 Thanks os much for sharing!
January 31, 2013 @ 3:20 pm
It sounds like you’re really doing what Montessori is supposed to be about 🙂 Getting things interesting, inviting follow-up, and observing what is happening in the environment and adapting as needed. All of your ideas are exactly what should be in a Montessori elementary environment 🙂
My son is an only child, so it’s even trickier (no siblings at all!), but we did set-up a very part-time co-op to share Montessori with other children and that really helped with the presentations that are best done in groups (geography demonstrations with chemicals, Great Lessons, that sort of thing).
The main thing is showing her what needs to be shown, and providing time (and ideas!) for exploration. Library, videos, museum visits, other outings. I have been known, once in a while, to say, “Choose a topic from this presentation to follow-up on – what question DO you have?” and sort of “force” a prompt. Not too often, but enough to reinforce that something should be done here. 9 times out of 10 – that fuels the interest!
I remember the astronomy stuff just not clicking at all with Legoboy – but ancient history did! Following that route, he got to reading about gods and goddesses – and their constellations in the sky, as well as the planets. He did a bit of a study on it; then he picked HA Rey’s astronomy book – and astronomy studies TOOK OFF. It was just finding the right path and the right timing. And trying SO hard not to worry about it in the meantime. Very hard for me 😉
February 1, 2013 @ 3:46 am
I think that you are right Jessica! Bunny really seems like she is getting interested in writing and how it started. I m thinking that this is avenue that we may need to starting getting things together for. Maybe we head to the museasum to see early writing and talk about St. Valentine and how he passed letters along to others. Thanks so much for your thoughts on this!Plus it is always good to know that I am on the right track! It is always to helpful! Thanks!