Saturday, March 03, 2007

A working week

We've had quite an academic week now I look back on it. For history, I read aloud a few pages from Kingfisher's History Encyclopedia. Josiah and I are fascinated. Tessa is a little bored because she knows a lot of it already from her own reading and previous work we've done. Nonetheless she wants to “start at the beginning” of human history this year rather than skip forward to a period she's unfamiliar with. I think as a compromise, I will not suggest any follow up / extension work until we get onto material new to Tessa: each session we just read a few pages, discuss as we like, and enter one event each onto our timeline. It's nice that so far both children have known, before I even ask, what they'd like to enter on the timeline, and that what stands out from the reading is always different for each of us. Josiah was interested in the first cities and Tessa was struck by the thought of New Stone Age avenues of standing stones in France.

Josiah wants to know which empires overlap and what order they came in. There's a long list of empires at Wikipedia. I've bought a couple of large (A2) sheets of graph paper. If I tape two together, I think I could quickly make a timeline of empires. Or maybe I should try to fit that information on our main timelines.

Both kids used the cuisenaire rods for maths. Tessa created times table problems then laid the appropriate rods end on end in a long line (e.g. for 6x7 she laid out six seven-rods in a line) then underneath laid out ten-rods and if necessary one other rod to “read” the answer from. So in the example I mentioned, four ten-rods and one two-rod fitted underneath the “problem” so Tessa could see the answer is 42. A variation on the Snake Game.

Josiah and I built the decanomial with the cuisenaire rods so that Josiah could transform it to the tower of cubes of each number. He loved it. Next week we will be looking at the algebraic decanomial. He's continuing to take time now and then to study the graph paper decanomial he filled in last week, looking for patterns.

For language the last few weeks, I've been going over each of the parts of speech in turn and giving the kids sheets of sentences with missing words. Where words are missing, the kids either write a word, in the appropriate Montessori parts-of-speech colour, or choose a word from a bunch of Montessori-coloured words I've written on stickers for the purpose. Now that we've gone over most of the parts of speech (just conjunctions and interjections to go) I've re-introduced the grammar boxes. The kids are both enthusiastic about all this work which contrasts greatly with their attitude to similar work in the past. I don't know what is different for them but I'm not complaining!

The science fair projects are halted because we need to purchase materials. Josiah and I are reading about the taxonomy of insects at Wikipedia. We are taking lots of notes because of all the new words we are learning (heterotroph, eukaryote, ventral, dorsal). Josiah dictates and I write.

The books I got from our library on critical thinking are not suitable to work through with the children (though ideal for me to learn from). So the kids are just having fun with books of logic puzzles and other puzzles for now.

We still haven't started the activities in Mona Brookes drawing book but I am finally ready – will start next week.

I am reading Holes by Louis Sachar aloud to the children. We are loving it; the kids beg me to keep reading. We will probably finish it tonight; I can't wait to find out what happens. A warning: there is some violence and suffering described in the book - I would recommend this book for age nine or ten and up, not for younger children.


mamagoose said...

Hi Lisia,

I ambled onto your website this morning and what a blessing it has been! I am a Christian and also a Montessori trained primary teacher planning to homeschool my 5 year old bio daughter and our soon to be adopted 8 year old girl and 3 year old boy (from Ethiopia). I so look forward to being able to talk about, enjoy, and learn about our faith while we learn about all else. I found you because I was doing some research on cuisenaire rods. We don't have them in our school but I would like to purchase a set for home. Have you found a preference for wood, plastic, the ones that fit together? Many thanks and I look forward to visiting your site again soon! Blessings, Judith

Lisia said...

Hi Judith and thanks for your kind words :)

I have plastic and wooden cuisenaire rods. I like the wooden ones best - just because they feel nice to handle. The rods I have seen that fit together are segmented, which is useful for Montessori activities where you have to count the units, but the knob on the end of each rod, which is for slotting into another rod, changes the rod's appearance. A five rod, for example, doesn't look like half a ten rod. For that reason, I would not purchase joining rods.