Einstein Never Used Flash Cards

One of the sections from Einstein Never Used Flashcards : How Our Children Really Learn–and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less by Drs. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Roberta Michnick Glinkoff brings to mind the Montessori prepared environment for preschool children. Like Montessori, they talk about making an enriching environment that is familiar to a preschool child. If you take a journey to the mini worlds in your own backyard, you don’t need the confusion of theme parks or exotic vacations. I know my children loved identifying birds to their birdsong and studying insects in the garden. My son watched ant hills with their constant activity for hours. One of the best things you can give your preschool child is quiet time to study and explore his or her world. There is no place like home for a young child.

Montessori Math

My son and I were discussing how the Montessori materials helped him understand concepts with his college Physical Electronics Class. One of his very bright classmates has a difficult time visualizing geometric shapes. My son asked me two basic questions his friend had difficulty understanding.
Question one-How many pieces of an orange would you have if you cut it in half once, took those pieces and cut them in half again, and lastly took those pieces and cut them in half. He thought it was pretty funny when I answered-8. (Montessori square roots using the bead stair extension.)
Next, he asked me if I remembered the extensions we did with the big pink cube and the square puzzle piece of the geometric cabinet? “Yes, I think so?” Okay, how may sides are there on a cube and how many sides are on the square? “Umm, 6 for the cube and 4 for the square.” Another laugh, and “that’s right mom.”
Montessori has a way of building math concepts that never fade.

Montessori Pueblo Magnet School

This is my silly quote of the year about Superintendent Dan Lere’s reason for resisting a Montessori charter school. According to the Pueblo Chieftan, he is rejecting the Montessori school because of the
“Montessori curriculum and the perception that the school would be connected with a new-age religious organization.”
You can read more at the Pueblo Chieftan.

I didn’t know that the public schools were concerned about religion! Pueblo has a large Catholic community. With this in mind, it is important to note that Maria Montessori was a devout Catholic. Her educational approach, method, and apparatus is used by many different religious groups and non-religious groups. Foremost, Montessori is a way to positively educate children.

I love environmental science

Okay, my friends probably would not believe this, but I love environmental science. The cycle of life and how events and people impact the earth interest me more than the “soaps”. I have gotten the biggest kick from worm composting. Talk about an alien world! LiveScience has some great articles about our blue planet. Baffled Scientists Say Less Sunlight Reaching Earth bascially claims we are getting less sunlight, but there has not been a cooling effect on the earth yet. Clouds are the x factor that have kept the earth warm inspite of the diminished sunlight.

Prepared Environment

The first thing you do before bringing home a new baby is to prepare the environment for that special one. This article has practical Montessori ideas for doing this. One of the first things my pediatrician told me to do was to get down on the floor and look for dangerous situations for my baby. It was a great idea, but Maren Schmidt’s idea is even better!
Here are some more ideas about making a Montessori prepared environment:
Preparation of the Montessori Environment
How to Prepare a Montessori Classroom
Montessori Home Classroom

The language of math

Both of my children are adults now. They were homeschooled with Montessori materials and lessons since they were babies. I have to say that my children had their own ideas of how to use the material after I introduced it to them! My former students were not as assertive as my own children! It was really a good experience for me, because they were blunt about how they felt about some of the lessons. It helped me to be more open minded.

Both my daughter and son loved the math materials. They gravitated towards math, even in college. My son is attending the local university as a computer science and math major. He tells me that the Montessori math made it very easy for him to understand programming languages. In fact, he said the snake game is just another type of computer language. Who would think that 100 years ago Montessori was preparing our children for the world of computers?

Montessori’s Life

Maria Montessori Her Life and Work by E. Mortimer Standing is one of the biographies about Dr. Montessori.
If you want to read a great analysis of this work, try Tim’s Mom easy to understand and insightful thoughts!
I am really enjoying her discussion of Charlotte Mason vs Maria Montessori.

Lost Boys

I watched “Raising Cain” last night with my son and husband. The concensus is that boys need support throughout childhood and young adulthood, especially from a father figure.
Here are some of the facts that still ring in my ears.
70 percent of all Ds and Fs are given to boys.
80 percent of inner city boys want to be NBA players, 80 percent of inner city girls want to be doctors or lawyers.
Boys fall into failure and the gang life when there is a absent father.
Boys mature slower than girls.
Most medication for hyperactivity is given to boys.
We medicate our boys more than any other country.

One of first things I noticed was the activity level of boys in a public grade school. Many “could not sit still.” I happened to look at the confining environment of books, paper and pencils. Where were the Montessori type manipulatives for math? I think if the activities were more hands on, the boys would be able to concentrate. I noticed some boys moved their bodies while learning, which I think is normal. Let them touch something and learn!

One of the magnet schools was for boys only. I noticed there was a small trampoline in the classroom! I was impressed. Movement seems to be so much more important for boys. Also, the students were in large, roomy classrooms with real learning activities. Since the school was totally a male environment with male teachers and principal, I noticed the students were very relaxed, supportive and happy. It was wonderful to see a bright spot in this documentary film.

The show hinted that public schools were mostly female run institutions. I’ve heard teachers complain they have a “bad” class because they had so many boys!
Dr Helen’s Blog says it profoundly,
“I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have a son struggling in school,”

The first homeschooling parents I met 25 years ago were parents of sons. Their sons were having trouble in school academically and socially. After taking them out of school, they told me that their sons became the wonderful people they used to be, they had found their sons again.