Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Good Advice

School days haven't been that productive lately.  Last week I decided to reach out to the homeschooling yahoo group, playschool6, with this message:
"I've been doing activities at home with my son, who is almost four, for about two years on and off. In the past 6 months I've started adding more to his shelves and I've just recently set up a "school room" at home. I've also started bringing my almost two year old into the room in the past month to let him do some activities.
The problem I'm having is that my oldest son, I call him Link, will not work independently and vary rarely wants to finish a work. He went from spending a few hours wanting to do activities, to not wanting to do ANY. When we do something, like the number rods, he'll intentionally do them wrong and I don't know what to say.
Does anyone have any advice? I never make him do anything, I just offer to go to the school room for a few hours during the day. The weather has been nice lately, so I've been opening the doors and letting the boys go in and out as they please. But he has been completely uninterested lately."
I received some very insightful answers.  I think that everyone who responded was right in one way or another.  Below are some notes I took from their responses.

- The wondering child
- More children!  I would love to have more children in the school room.  I'm new around here and haven't met many home-schoolers yet, but I plan on finding the local co-op.  For now, there isn't a lot I can do about this, especially since there isn't a single Montessori school in the area!
"Many materials are optional but what is essential is .. people!
Try running a Montessori group and inviting other families with children of different ages.. Its very likely to re-engage your son when he sees other children using and enjoying the materials"
- Offer less, Offer the right work - not too hard or easy, in an area he is interested in right now.  Practical life and sensorial are lacking on his shelves, I'm definitely going to add some before we start back up.
"The best advice I can give on this is something my favorite professor mentioned at Montessori Training. If you have a child who will not choose work, or is uninterested in a wide variety of options-- then do the work yourself. Even if the child spends a year just watching you do this, he is absorbing the lesson. When he's ready, he'll take over. It may take less time than you imagine!
Another thing to consider is to take away all other distractions, and put out only a few things. That's what we do at school in September, just a few basics, then we add more slowly. Making a choice is easier if there's less to shop."
- More attention, do the work myself - increase security.  This is the number one thing that I think will help.  But, in order to give him that attention, Bumblebee can't be there as well.  He gets into way too much trouble and just isn't at a point where I can let him free in the room without a good bit of attention.  (Picture glue on the carpet and crayons on the wall)  So, we may have to have some time with both boys, then some individual time during baby nap time.
"If you think he might be going through a time where he is really clingy in general, and doesn't want to work because it means being alone (even if you are in the room), try to offer more attention than he's asking for and before he asks for it and he may start to feel more secure in general and willing to be independent again."
- Does our routine encourage learning?  Maybe opening the doors as soon as we get to the school room isn't the best idea.  Or maybe it is, but we need to have a separate time where they are closed so we can focus on our work.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Busy Busy

We haven't had much school time this week, but we've been busy.  I'm potty training Bumblebee.

My mom couldn't believe I let him outside with just undies.

We also made play dough one day.  This is Bumblebee's first time helping out in the kitchen really.  Honestly, with three kids, its too inefficient to have little helpers very often.  I'm trying to make a point of letting them help more though.  Since they aren't that interested in the school room right now, I might as well use that time in the kitchen, right?
Setting up

Big scoops

Stir, stir

Little scoops

Bumblebee is saying "in there, in there" to Link.

Stir, stir

Play, play.  The cookie cutters didn't work, the dough was too soft.

But drilling is always fun.

He had a little story to tell me about what he made :)

Today we made sweet potato muffins.  Both boys helped and both boys enjoyed eating them!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Following My Child

I am really not prepared to potty train Bumblebee, but he just keeps telling me that he needs to pee pee in the potty!  So, even though I probably don't have the attention for it right now, especially if I'm right in the middle of nursing a baby, I am going to do it.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Practical Life

A conversation with Link:

Me: Want to learn what some numbers look like?
Link: Do I have a new activity?
Me: Yes, if you'd like to learn what some numbers look like.
Link: Well, how about you teach me how to wipe my butt.  That way, next time I have to go poo poo I'll know how.
Me: Well, I'm not sure you can reach good enough for that.
Link: Yes, I can, I just reach like this (shows me how its done)
Me: Ok, how about we wait until next time you go poo poo
Link: No, how about we do it now.

Am I weird because I still want to take care of that particular "care of self" area?  I suppose I just want to make sure he's clean :)