This week, Dora actually decided all on her own to work with the knobbed cylinders! She really seems to have an aversion to a lot of the sensorial materials, so I was quite excited by this. I am trying to follow her lead, but am feeling unsure about whether or not she will ever be interested in them. Maybe some kids never take to Montessori materials? I would like to believe that this isn’t the case and that I just need to be more patient. Anyway, Dora did really well with the knobbed cylinders when we removed them and set them down on the table in order. So I suggested that we mix them up and that did not go over so well (can we say understatement here?). At first she was just putting the cylinders in the holes without even realizing that they weren’t in the correct holes.
Then she put a short one where a long one should be and it just fell in and she was completely flabbergasted. Control of error at work! Remembering that she hadn’t used these materials and months, I gently said, “Hmmm, something doesn’t look quite right, does it?” She concurred and spent quite a bit of time trying to get the cylinders in the correct order. Finally, she reached her frustration threshold and fell apart (it didn’t help that she was starting to come down with a cold at that point).
We also did some water transferring using eye dropper bottles and colored water. The colors were made with Stockmar’s primary colored watercolor paint, so when she transferred the colored water into the glasses that I had set out, she could make true secondary colors.
Dora then became completely obsessed with making secondary, but just couldn’t seem to remember which colors made which. I didn’t realize she was coming down with a cold at this point, so was getting pretty frustrated with having to repeat myself a bazillion times. So I tried making a couple of resources to help her remember how to make secondary colors. First I made a chart with addition and equal signs (for a child who has no idea what “plus” and “equals” means – not my smartest move).
Then I tried showing her how to make a color wheel and though we managed to successfully make one, it just seemed to confuse her more. I think that the ten year age-gap between children, has made me forget what is reasonable to expect of a child of a certain age. For me, I think this compounded by the fact that I have four children between the ages of 14-21. Mixing primary colors seems so simplistic when my other children are doing things like learning to drive, trying to get jobs, move out of state, and so forth. I need to remember that they didn’t know how to make secondary colors at this age either. In fact, some kids that are Dora’s age don’t even know the names of all the colors yet. By the way, she accidentally added red to her green, which is why it doesn’t look like a true green, Stockmar paints are wonderful for making true colors (and no, I am not affiliated with them in any way).
Anyway, I guess I can say that this wasn’t one of my more stellar homeschooling weeks and I am keenly feeling my lack of formal Montessori training (I’ve taken one class online that was wonderful, but it doesn’t even begin to compare to all the training a certified Montessori teacher goes through). In fact, I’ll be honest and say that this was such an un-stellar week, I even began to consider sending Dora to school. “What is with such blasphemy?!?!” you ask. Well, I am finding it very difficult to meet her needs since she has no siblings. I know that sounds backwards, but when I four little ones, I hadn’t realized how big a role siblings filled in our homeschool and how much time they played together. Dora has no kids in her age group to model skills for her (a big part of Montessori). Also, Dora only has me to play with, unless we arrange a playdate or go somewhere and I can only stand to play so much “My Little Pony” before I start developing eye twitches. In the long run, I am still
100% 95% 90% 85% 82% committed to homeschooling Dora and using the Montessori method, but this was a week that really put my belief system to the test.
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