Friday, May 31, 2013

Montessori Math Materials

Since Link finished up preschool I decided to slowly ease into homeschool this summer.  So every day we are going to do a little bit of reading, writing and math.  So far, the reading and writing from Logic of English are going well.  The math is going slow, mainly because its a little too remedial for Link at this point.  However, I'm also getting the feeling that it isn't going to be as hands on as I would like.

I've been doing more research into Montessori Math because I'd like to use it as well.  I've been going over MBT post about bead materials for use at home, trying to figure out what I'd have to buy for just this year.  What she suggests would be roughly $400 for just beads.  That won't include the Stamp Game, Ten and Teens board, and any other boards that may be necessary.  

Gettman has a nice list and since his book is geared for "under-fives" I'm thinking I should try to get just what I need for his presentations.  This is what I'm looking at if I follow his suggestions:

(from Gettman, pg 161)
Group 2: Decimal System
Limited Bead Material
Number Cards
Function of the Decimal System
Formation of Complex Numbers
Unlimited Bead Material

Group 3: Tens, Teens and Counting
Introduction to Teens
Introduction to Tens

Group 4: Arithmetic Tables
Addition Snake Game
Addition Charts
Subtraction Snake Game
Subtraction Strip Board
Subtraction Charts
Multiplication Charts
Unit Division Board
Division Charts

Group 5: Abstraction
Short Bead Frame
Long Bead Frame
Simple Division

His book doesn't go into detail for all of the presentations, so I've also been looking for a different Math Album that is more concise than the one I have.  I have the Karen Tyler math album, but I like the simplicity of the Monteaco Album to get a handle on the general idea of the topics we'll cover.  I also like Meg's albums from Montessori by Hand.  Since I have those in pdf format, I've added them to my iPad and will be using them as my primary math resource.  Her table of contents breaks things up into similar groups, but with finer detail.  (By the way, I highly recommend her albums, they are great!)

I've been looking around at prices, and the best I have found so far is at Adena.  I can get the Golden Bead Material, Addition and Subtraction Snake Games, and the Stamp game for $200. (They are out of stock of the Teen boards, but they are an additional ~$50)  That's with $30 shipping.  I could swing that, if it would get me through the year. 

I still have to read through all the presentations to see what is needed for each one.  But from what I have read so far, it seems like I can get all the way through Multiplication with the Bead Bars before I need anything else.  Then I would need the bead stairs, multiplication board, unit division board, small and large bead frames, and fraction material.  

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Charlotte Mason Tidbit

I have always focused very much on Montessori and why I like it so much.  But there are things I like about other ways of teaching as well.  I was browsing the Ambleside Online Year 0 page and I especially liked the quote that she used from Charlotte Mason's Volume 1 - 
"...Health, strength, and agility, bright eyes, and alert movements, come of a free life, out-of-doors, if it may be, and as for habits, there is no habit or power so useful to man or woman as that of personal initiative. The resourcefulness which will enable a family of children to invent their own games and occupations through the length of a summer's day is worth more in life than a good deal of knowledge about cubes and hexagons, and this comes, not of continual intervetnion on the mother's part, but of much masterly inactivity." page 192

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Classical Montessori Mason

In the time since I disappeared I have spent a lot of time reflecting on why we don't seem to get much school work done.  Link would have days where he was very interested in the work on the shelves, but he didn't repeat work often.  So I found that I was constantly needing new material, and since I couldn't keep up, we would often abandon the school room until I had time to come up with something new.

I really like the Montessori Method.  I see how it has worked so well for some kids.  But for some reason, I can't make it happen correctly in my house.   I feel like I am not educated enough in the process.  I'm not a teacher by training.  I have developed an increased respect for the profession.  

So, I have been looking for something to help me be more prepared and to keep me accountable.  I feel like I need something that says Lesson 1 "do this!"   At the end of 42 lessons, you are done! (hanging my head in shame)  I have bought math, reading and writing curricula, and signed up for Classical Conversations.  (there, I confessed!)

That being said, I still plan on keep true to the Montessori Method in many ways.  The curricula that I bought is very compatible in my opinion.  I plan to use it as a guide to make sure we are keeping on track and progressing, but the Montessori materials and the freedom of choice (within a work plan) will still be there.  We'll participate in the Classical Conversations lessons, but the way I'll follow up at home will be with lessons from my Montessori manual.  We'll do the lessons from the math curriculum, but (hopefully) supplement it with Montessori presentations.  Same with the reading and writing.  

In case anyone is wondering, I'll link to the curricula that I bought.
- Reading and Writing - Logic of English Foundations Level A
(I bought The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading first, but then decided that I liked LoE better, I'll probably end up using some of it)  Before I realized that the Foundations curriculum included writing, I also bought the Rhythm of Handwriting book from Logic of English.
- I also bought Handwriting without Tears, because Link really likes trying to make letters with all sorts of things (pretzels, toys, whatever) and I thought it would be a good supplement.
- Music - Pfeiffer House Music Kindergarten (just for fun) and maybe the Nienhuis bells manual.

In addition to all of this, I will also be implementing a bit of Charlotte Mason.  Right now, its mainly nature study that we'll add.  But later, I'd like to add the "living books" aspect.

I've put a lot of thought into WORK PLANS as well!  So far, I know there are certain things I want Link to do every day - reading, writing and math.  I don't want to stop him if he wants to do lots of one, but I don't want him to put off doing any of them either.  So far, my biggest inspirations have been from (surprise, surprise) MBT over at What Did We Do All Day, Jessica at Montessori Trails and Lisa at Our Country Road.

I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to work it out.  Below is a screen shot of how I've been working through combining all of this mess :)

I've also made these cards that I think I'll use in my work plan.

Right now I'm thinking that I'll have these on a board or in a basket.  Then Link can choose what he wants to work on and move the card to a "finished" location.  Or something like that.  I'm thinking along the lines of the Montessori Trails idea.  I was originally thinking of having lots of copies of these and using pocket charts like MBT, but I think for now, the simplicity of the Montessori Trails idea will work for us.  I feel about the same as Steph over at Discovery Days and Montessori Moments :)

So, thats where I am.  Maybe later I'll post some picture of what the kids have actually been up to!