Weekly Wrap-Up – Ladybugs and Middle School Montessori Methods

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I’ve decided that I’m going to try doing more of a general wrap-up on Fridays that includes both Dora and Gohan, rather than trying to do two separate posts like I have been doing for some time. As Dora is getting older and I am incorporating Montessori into out lives, their “schooling” isn’t as separate as it once was.

Ladybug and Butterfly Puzzles

Dora did focus on ladybugs this week. Our ladybugs arrived when our worms did, but were already hatched. They are still in the larva stage, but I expect them to go into the pupa stage sometime this week. We’ve had many more of the larvae survive this time. Last year, when we tried this, the larvae were very cannibalistic and ate each other, such that only two lived. I also brought out the insect puzzles that we have, which are only a butterfly and ladybug. I am hesitant to buy more, since Dora is so fearful of insects. In fact, we had planned to go to the Seattle Bug Safari, which is an insect zoo that I have never been to, but Dora was too scared to go. She now is comfortable with the three sets of insects that we are currently raising, so I’m very glad that we did this unit, which has allowed her to somewhat get over her complete terror of bugs.

In fact, we read Ladybug Girl this week and Dora is totally enthralled with Ladybug Girl. We went to the bookstore and bought two more books in the series, plus the last remaining Ladybug Girl doll. Jacky Davis and David Soman, the authors and illustrator, really have captured the spirit and personality of girls in this age group. Ladybug Girl is an excellent and realistic hero role model for young girls.

Ladybug Fingerprint Art

For our craft, we made finger print lady bugs on a “branch” background. Dora really enjoyed this activity, especially adding the details to the ladybugs.

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Meanwhile, I am still trying to transition to more of a Montessori method with Gohan. Missing all of the Montessori foundation, is providing and added challenge, but I am going to try to use as many of the Montessori principles as I can. I find it interesting that in many ways, Maria Montessori, a developer of school curriculum and philosophy, was also one of the first unschoolers. While she believed in presenting a prepared environment and in having teachers present concepts to children, she did not believe in forcing children to do anything. Montessori students were free to learn what they wanted, when they wanted. Obviously, she was not an unschooler as homeschooled unschoolers are, in that living and learning were still took place in two separate environments, but certainly she was more of an unschooler than I am. So I am currently struggling with how much control over his own education that I am willing to give Gohan. Were I to completely absolve him of any school responsibilities and trust him to learn as he saw fit, he assures me that he would spend the day on Skype, chatting and gaming with his friends. I am not comfortable with such a schedule, so I am still assigning him some work.

He is currently working through the ETC pre-algebra cards. The cards are very basic and only require about 10 minutes of work from him. Yet, I find that they almost always result in serving as conversation starters for Gohan and I. As a result, he is actually learning more and having greater understanding, than when he was working through the textbook.

I have come up with what I hope is a good solution for the language arts conundrum that I found myself facing. I honestly believe that the best way to learn composition, vocabulary, and grammar is to read good literature. Yet, though Gohan is now reading, he is still not up to reading super challenging books. I finally decided that I will continue to have him read one book of his choice, but I am also going to have him start listening to audio books of higher quality literature. I will allow him to select this literature also, but he will only be able to chose from a list of about 25 books. We will then come back to grammar, composition, and vocabulary studies when he is in 10th and/or 11th grade, in order to finish preparing for the SAT and college.

That is a brief glimpse of our week? What about your week? Anyone else going through an educational approach identity crises right now?

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Labels: Language Arts, Math, Montessori, Science, Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff