Homeschooling from Dumb Ox

I like what Dumb Ox Academy has to say about homeschooling. I really agree with the idea of focusing on your own education. When I homeschooled my children I took classes at the local university that they were interested in! It was so much fun to learn together. I still do interesting learning experiences and classes with my grown children. The fun and joy of learning has never stopped.


I love to barbecue tofu. In fact, tofu is a great first food for your child to help prep for cooking. You can handle it without the worry of germs and contamination that you get from raw meat. It’s easy to cut, season, and cook. I cut firm tofu into long 1/2 strips, season with lemon, garlic, soy sauce, and honey. Cook until golden. You can even cut it into nice little cubes for kabobs. Here is a great barbecue tofu with a great sauce.
Tofu is an easy way to begin Montessori cooking (practical life) skills.

What is in a name?

I’ve seen some of the newest baby and children’s clothing lately with very negative labels. I don’t think putting a shirt on your precious baby with the name ” jr. pimp squad” is harmless. Words have a power to change our beliefs and attitudes. A negative message can have a subconscious effect that parents are not aware of.

We are so overloaded with negative language that it is difficult to be sensitive to the power of language. Maria Montessori even knew there was power in labels we give our chidren when she said-
“Never speak ill of the child in his presence or absense”

Developmental Psyc & Montessori

I took a developmental child psychology class right after I received my Montessori certification. It covered mostly Piaget, Skinner and Rogers, of course, not one word about Maria Montessori. What was one of the most accurate things I learned was that Montessori’s 4 Planes of Development was a new way of looking at human development in the early 1970s. Infancy was a time of profound change and development, the preschool years were hands-on, concrete, grade school was more abstract, developing concepts of right and wrong, and the teen years were turmoil (I remember vividly an illustration of teens wearing leather jackets with labels, such as paranoid, schizophrenic, manic, etc!-not to worry though because “these symptoms usually disappeared after puberty”. The final stage was youth, it lasted through the 20s. The theory was that life was more complicated and the youth stage was needed to become an independent and stable person.

Computer Programing Olympiad

My son’s club hosts an anual computer programing olympiad at his university for middle school students. He tells me each year the sixth grade students are able to concentrate and do the programing with ease compared to the older teenagers. Everyone seems amazed at the sixth grade hot shots.
This really fits in with Montessori’s idea of advanced abstract learning during the elementary years. Basically, students in elementary school have a much easier time learning compared to teens going through the ups and downs of puberty.

Montessori cylinders

I admit I was taught to present the pink tower, broad stair, and red rods before introducting the knobbed cylinders. I found with my own children that the easiest cylinder blocks, the ones that vary in 3 dimensions, can be introduced to two year olds. My children did the 2 easiests cylinder blocks before the tower and stairs. The cylinder blocks have a great control of error, the cylinders need to fit together properly before the lesson can be completed. The socket helps a child figure out which cylinder fits by trial and error. Later, after doing the tower and stairs, my children completed all four cylinder blocks with the extensions.