I admit my post yesterday probably screamed to some of my readers that I had left all hopes of Montessori behind. There I days when I feel the same way about strictly scheduling subjects in this way. Don't worry, though...there is hope for my inner Montessorian yet!
Today we are going to take a look at a sample day working in math.
For math, we use a mix of a pencil/paper based curricula for the older two boys (6 & 8) and Montessori Materials for everyone. In the bottom of my school supply shelf are a complete set of golden bead materials, bead bars & chains, bead frame, strip boards, bead boards, and a stamp game. We use these for introducing new concepts and for reviewing familiar ones. I never force them to do assignments without materials and I find they initiate letting the materials go when they have mastered a concept. This is how we have been doing things in Math for about the last 6 months. Kylee and Logan still use strictly Montessori sensorial and early math activities.
In order to continue to provide a measure of choice/self direction during math, I set up an area of our supply cabinet with rotating materials in addition to what we use on a daily basis. This gives an extra choice for review and practice activities. Right now I have a variety of geometry related activities displayed.
Geometric Chart: Aidan & Caleb
Geometric Solids: Aidan, Caleb, & Kylee
Geometric Bases: Aidan, Caleb, & Kylee
Beginning Pattern Blocks: Kylee & Logan
Matching Geometric Boxes & Lids: Kylee & Logan
These are primarily alternate activities for Kylee and Logan to choose from, but also things that Aidan & Caleb are reviewing as well. There is also a drawer in the supply shelf with materials for practicing basic facts such as flashcards, learning wraps, learning palettes, shut the box game, and more.
On this day, Kylee and Logan started with independent work. Logan with the boxes and Kylee with the solids and bases.
Throughout the period, they both moved on to other activities. Some days I will also give Kylee a lesson with the beginning counting materials (hidden in the bottom of the supply cupboard) or set out a transfer work for Logan.
Caleb was having a tough day this morning, but he worked finishing his math from MCP and then we corrected it together. When he was finished he chose to work with the solids (after a brief foray hiding under the table...).
Aidan started with some review addition problems independently, but after I discovered some consistent errors in carrying, we reviewed with the stamp game. After a problem or two he found his mistake. He did not "finish" his assignment, but he will start with that the next day. The beauty of this time rolling system is that by the time we finished for the day, Aidan already knew what he had to start with the next day in both language and math. Early returns show him benefitting the most immediately from our new system.
Yes, this post does make me feel better about our new schedule and our ability to continue incorporating Montessori methods of instruction! Actually, we may be able to do it more successfully than the past 6 months...although that remains to be seen.