More contemplation has brought me back to my roots. When I first started looking at how I wanted my kids educated, I realized that we are a Montessori family. Since the time our kids were little we gave them each an environment in which they could be successful in. Now, we have children who are able to make a healthy meal on their won, dress on their own, and do many things around the house on their own. You have heard this before in a previous post-so what does that have to do with now? Well, I am still figuring out how this teaching stuff works. We have been using curriculems that gives daily lessons and requires the children to learn from me giving them a lesson. So what I am doing to my independent learners? I am making them dependent on me and on lessons.
Last week, we were blessed to be invited to join another family at the beach. This family is one whom we have done quite a bit of schooling with this year. The kids get along well and their mom is a person who keeps reminding me how the kids used to learn when in Montessori. Well, the week at the beach was another major reminder. My plan for the beach was to do work daily. Of course, my idea of work did not happen except for one day. Did my kids learn? Absolutely. The second day we were there, the kids and Nick dissected a jelly fish. We did not know much about jelly fish when we dissected it, but now my kids know a ton. (In fact, they just finished telling a lady who was at the house all about cannonball jelly fish-yes, they even know the type of jellyfish they dissected now!) The next day they did an egg drop and learned about how to insulate an egg so that it will not break. We also visited Fort Sumter while we were there which tied in nicely to our reasearch into American History. On the last day, the kids went down to the beach at low tide. They found star fish, sand dollars, crabs, jelly fish and conk shells-all still alive. They made a touch tank. It was awesome to watch them. At different times, they each sat and observed an animal. They learned more from what they observed and experienced this week than what i could have every read to them in a book. Last week has carried over into this week tremendously. The kids are researching on things they observed or experienced last week. Sawyer is researching star fish and Sims is researching Fort Sumter. They both found sharks teeth during a kayak that they are classifying. They have also been looking at the USA map to look at where we visited.
Since I am still finding my way, we had another meeting this week to discuss the work cycle. We came up with a plan. We meet every morning to discuss the calendar, do mental math, read, and do poems. We also discuss what needs to get done before the end of the work cycle and what lessons need to be given. It has worked well so far. They were both excited to get some freedom over what to research and over their work. Instead of rushing through to finish their work plans (they have to work now for the whole work period where as before when they finished the work plan they were free for the day), they took their time on their works and they chose some neat projects to work on.
Our Latta Plantation class this week was a hike. On the hike, the kids found some terrific bugs and flowers. They learned about geocaching, map reading and using a compass. All things we needed to learn. They also found sticks to make their own walking sticks. The instructor gave them ideas on how to decorate the sticks and how to make the sticks useful during hikes. When they finish them, I will post pictures. Again, the children are learning from their experiences way more than what they are learning from my words. Maybe someday, I will actually not just read the quote above but I will be able to be an example of it too.