Archive | April, 2013
27 Apr

2009-08-11 at 12-46-13

 

 

I’m contemplating not blogging anymore.

I realize that maybe five people will read this so this isn’t earth-shattering, mind-blowing news or anything, but I guess if I am going to close this, I should give it an ending (or at least a fair warning).

I originally decided to do it so that I would be encouraged to keep writing and also to document what I’m doing with my girls in terms of Montessori at home.

It’s kept me writing, certainly, but I still am not doing the kind of writing that I want to do. Sometimes I just post gems like this just to post something. I don’t like that (and I’m sure no one else did either!).

I did find that it kept me motivated to research, plan, prepare, and teach Montessori lessons and activities to Freestyle, so that’s good. But I can still do that without this blog.

I just don’t seem to be able to find the time. I’m still adjusting to working again (albeit part-time) at home with both Free and RB now. I really try to work when they are being watched by my friend who babysits or my mom or while they are sleeping. When they are awake, I want to spend time with them and give them fun, interesting, and educational experiences. That’s why we decided that one of us should be at home after all.

I find that I can’t get all the work done in time for my deadlines unless I do some of it while they’re awake. During those days I sort of hate myself because I want to be able to 100% focus on the girls but then I am half-ignoring them while I stare at the screen.

At the same time, I love the work that I’m doing now. It’s interesting and challenging and allows me to explore the other side of teaching (writing/editing curriculum). I’m also so grateful that I found a job that I could do at home, that’s part-time, working with an amazing team. So I don’t want to screw it up. Last month was a real eye-opener. I made a few slip-ups and I was mor-ti-fied. They weren’t huge mistakes and easily corrected, but they were mistakes all the same.

So…I guess what I’m getting at is that I am realizing that I need to focus on what is most important and most necessary right now. So that would include my family, friends, work, volunteering and community involvement, teaching/living Montessori at home, writing (starting what will be a super fun side project with a good friend), and the other random projects which I always have on the go!

 

2009-07-04 at 01-47-33

 

 

I’ll call it an extended leave of absence for now. Thanks for reading and for your support. Thank you to E for all your encouragement about writing and giving me the idea to actually start this (looking forward to our project!). Thanks to those who I don’t know in real life who have subscribed or stumbled onto this via Pinterest or someone else’s blog and didn’t click away immediately! ūüôā

 

2009-06-07 at 22-54-12

Is a graceful exit in the cards for me, much like my friend the peacock?

 

Bye for now! ūüôā

 

Education News & Links

23 Apr

Sistema¬†Winnipeg, an after school music education pilot program running in two Winnipeg elementary schools. It’s amazing! There is no cost to the families. They provide the instruments along with instruction by professional musicians and practice time for the children. It’s still a new program but so far the parents are reporting that their children have more positive outlook towards school and life in general and both parents and teachers see that it having a positive impact on their school work as well. Video and article here.

 

And after that lovely reminder of how important music is to children’s education, the Toronto School Board is considering cuts to the music program. Listen to Ontario Today’s interview and callers here.

 

Grandma got STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). This blog is subverts the idea of grandmas being completely out-of-touch with these complex subjects. Features inspiring, pioneering women who work in these fields. Great read for kids, especially girls!

 

Discipline in Montessori with Miss Donna 

[EDIT: I re-watched the videos again with Biker and missed the part when she did a slow drop of the baby because he hit her. Personally, I wouldn’t do that! Freestyle has hit me and Biker a couple of times (a light swat) but what we did was catch her hand gently but firmly and told her, “No. We do not hit.” Then, we asked her why she chose to hit us and tried to address whatever frustration she was feeling and give her acceptable options of expressing said frustration, such as telling us in words what is bothering her. She has only done this a couple of times and hasn’t since, so we’ll see!]

A lot of my discipline philosophy aligns with Miss Donna’s, which shouldn’t be surprising as she’s a Montessori educator (albeit much more experienced and eloquent than me!).¬†I like Dr. Montessori’s “teach by teaching not by correcting” philosophy.¬†

I liked that she acknowledges that there is no right or wrong answer in parenting and that it’s mostly about the tone about 80% of the time. Makes sense!

In the videos, she talks about predetermined boundaries, agreeing on the basic issues with your partner, saying no first,¬†commands vs questions,¬†“choice-ing them to death.”¬†I laughed when she talked when she told her story about her reaction when her son told her “I hate you, you’re the worst mom!” I dread the day Freestyle or Real Baby says that to me (but I know it’s coming!), but I will keep in mind what she said about that!¬†

Each video is about 15 minutes long but worth watching.

 

(When she said “issues,” Freestyle lit up and said, “Shoes! She said shoes!”)

 

 

Montessori Research

1 Apr

[EDIT: See? It’s been so crazy that I ended up posting this “March madness” post in April! Also, I am learning to let go and not be too precious about my writing on this blog. If it was for work or school, I’d be going over and over it obsessively, but these posts are just shot off bit by bit in between naps and when Freestyle is at the babysitter’s and I’m done my work (trying to keep to my resolutions!). I guess the most important thing is that I’m writing, which was one of the points of doing this blog in the first place!]

 

March madness indeed.

It’s been a busy month, but then, who does not claim to be always busy, busy, busy? Our month has been filled with generally good things, so I am not complaining. I’ve felt pretty featherbrained lately (though Biker would argue that it’s actually a chronic condition), with a lot of routine and event changes and rescheduling…it’s been a little ¬†hectic and confusing, but I think things will settle in the next week or so.

 

IMG_2912

“I find the term ‘featherbrained’ offensive and derogatory.”

 

I have been reading and researching Casa lessons recently. I found a Montessori wiki called Montessori Album that looks fantastic! It compiles all the Montessori lessons with photos and step-by-step instructions. It even includes extensions and other resources. I haven’t had a chance to browse through it, but so far I’m diggin’ it!

 

I’m also re-reading The Advanced Montessori Method I, a collection of Dr. Montessori’s writings about her educational philosophy and methods for children ages 3-6 years (translated from the original Italian to English in 1918!). I read it at the beginning of my Elementary training during our Casa crash course, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t remember a lot of it!

As this book is in the public domain you can read it free at Project Gutenberg or download the free Kindle version.

 

My other side interest is public Montessori education. When I first got into this, a concern of mine was that access to Montessori education was limited to those who could afford to pay private school tuition (my trainer once said that Montessori should be considered an alternative school rather than a private school). Although there are many wonderful Montessori blogs and other online resources for families to either homeschool or do some Montessori activities at home, that can also be limiting because there are families that may not have the time and resources to research, create materials, and present lessons to their children.

I only just started looking into this but so far I found that two public schools in Toronto have optional Montessori Casa and Grade 1 programs! I’m going to give them a call to get more details. A friend of mine remembers hearing of a French Montessori program in a public school but I haven’t looked into it. I don’t know what I’ll do with this information yet, but I’m just interested in how the Ministry of Education is incorporating Montessori into the public school system and if more Montessori programs in schools is even possible. How great would that be?!

Montessori Madmen, a Montessori advocacy group started by Montessori dads, is a great resource. Here’s their list of resources. Here’s one of their fun and informative ¬†videos, Superwoman Was Already Here: