Jan 15, 2009

Montessori for the big kids

Since the babies' Montessori-inspired school was going so well, I shifted the big kids' focus in the mornings from, play quietly in your rooms or on the computer, to a Montessori-inspired school time as well. At first, it was just a way to keep them occupied while I spent time with the babies. (now isn't that a switch from what you usually hear from homeschooling moms?) But it quickly became a fun learning time. Now our morning school time is full and constructive for everyone. So I thought that, since I share what the babies are up to, I would also share regularly what the big kids are doing. I am not good with titles, so I won't name my big kid school with a clever, catchy title, but I will regularly post on a "game" that they enjoy.
What I do is set out on the dining table all the things that are available for that day. (I desperately wish we had "shelves" but I just don't see how to pull that off in our current circumstances.) They get a different "subject" every day. Monday is math; Tuesday is language (that encompasses reading, handwriting, spelling, grammar (for Kaytie) and creative writing); Wednesday is science; Thursday is geography; and Friday is "fine arts and fun" day, which is currently heavy on the fun and light on the fine arts.
I have a white board up that I use for their daily "work plans". First, I write it all out in a notebook, so I have a record I can keep. Then every day, I write it on the board so that they can see what they are supposed to do. First thing every day, I give them a quick run-down of what exactly I am expecting with very concrete rules, and then they get to choose in which order they do their work. After they have finished their 2 or 3 assignments, they are free to choose from their table anything they want to do. Once they have done a couple of things from their table, they are allowed to alternate choices and pick something from the babies' choices. This keeps them working on their own level without making the babies' work "forbidden fruit" so to speak. (and, they have come quite in handy playing our die-games with the babies and keeping me from going insane :) )
So anyway, having said all of that, here is the first game I am going to post about.

I printed this sheet from here. I gave him a stack of dollar bills and the game was easy. First, he counts out how many dollars he "has" then he counts how many dollars his item costs, and then he counts what he has left, and writes down his answer. He is working on subtraction and also the abstract idea that buying stuff costs money. At least, I hope that is what he is getting from it! We have played with coins before, but this was our first exposure to dollar bills.
This game was not real high excitement, but it held his attention enough that he did all six problems without whining for help, and chose it again another day.

1 comment:

alicia b said...

I am so enjoying your ideas and activities. I would love to have many shelves too but that is not feasible with a 16 month old right now. I was wondering if you would share just how you have your stuff organized or if you have posted on that, just direct me over there. I have gotten a lot of inspiration from you-thanks so much for sharing!

alicia b in mo


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