Preparation of the Adult
Montessori Field Notes: The One-Work Challenge
Q: My child chooses the same work over and over, and doesn't want to do more challenging activities. Please help!
We want to give the world to the child and it’s only natural to feel concerned when they hyper-focus on one work in the beautiful sea of choices we offer. We know time is precious and it can feel maddening to watch them let it slip away by “repeating,” especially as they get older.
Here are three Montessori-aligned steps you can take:
Who's the Second Plane child?
A transformation takes place around the age of six.
"What happened to my sweet, lovable, and dependable little five-year-old," parents often ask me.
The transition from the first plane of development (the stage between birth and age six) to the second plane (the stage between ages six and 12) can be a challenging one if we don't take the time to understand who our children are and what they need from us and the world.
Over the summer, I put together a short video to help adults begin to unde…
Experience Before Explanation
Have you ever tried to teach a concept to your child, only to have them moan: “Why do I have to learn this?” Did you ever ask yourself that same question when you were in school?
The sad truth is that we often struggle to give our children an accurate answer because we don't really know why they have to learn what they do! Those of us who were educated in conventional schools were trained to believe that you study to get good grades, so you can get into a quality college, and eventually have a …
Why You NEED to Take a Day Off (Hint: It's not about self-care)
I just spent the afternoon listening to the legendary author and feminist Gloria Steinem. Among the topics she addressed was the issue of democratic heterosexual households. She argued that society has convinced us there are "male" qualities and "female" qualities. However, when we realize that the "qualities necessary to raise children - patience, nurturing, attention to detail, empathy" - are HUMAN qualities, we'll have taken the first step towards a democratic household.
Why don't many me…
The Art of Introducing a Lesson
Often, the most challenging part of giving a lesson is getting the children excited and ready to learn. Here are seven strategies to ensure your presentation gets off to a good start.
1. Check your attitude: You need to believe in the value of what you're going to present. The children will smell your fear or hesitation a mile away. If a particular topic scares you, spend more time with it. Read, listen to podcasts, watch videos, use your hands to explore the concept, and find new ways of lo…
Unschooling: Soap Bubble Edition
Sometimes learning is what happens while you're busy decluttering the back patio...
My four-year-old found an old bubble wand and asked if we could make bubbles, so I googled this recipe and we set to work. She had a great time measuring, pouring and stirring, and she got to experience sugar disappearing in water to make a solution (yay, science and vocabulary!).
We were having so much fun blowing bubbles on our back patio that my seven-year-old decided to join the party. He wanted to see ho…
What Matters In The End
"If it's not my idea, I don't want to do it." This seems to be my seven-year-old son's motto these days, which is kind of annoying because we're spending the summer in a city with a wealth of world-class museums that I want him to experience. I know he'll enjoy them once we're there, but transitions have never been his strong suit. After some trial and error (and many arguments) trying to motivate him to leave the house, I've found a two-part formula that seems to work. It both gets him excite…
The Entitlement Myth
A few weeks into his first-grade year, my formerly sweet and relatively cooperative son began acting sassy, cocky, and entitled. Requests for help were met with groans and eye-rolls. Limits were countered with sighs and "whatever"s. We gave him the benefit of a doubt: Surely he was just imitating his older classmates' rude behaviors. Or maybe this was a misguided attempt at being more independent. All my friends' children were acting the same way, so it was probably a developmental phase.…
An American friend and colleague who lives in Asia recently shared with me that her in-laws had moved out of her house. They had been very involved in raising her children, so I asked if she missed having the help. She texted back, "No. I'm forced to be the mom and it's what my kids want and what family is supposed to be."
As I sat staring at her words on my screen, the last seven years of my life - my entire parenthood journey - flashed before my eyes. I remembered how both times I had had…
If you're a teacher or homeschooling parent who uses checklists to encourage a child's organization and accountability, then you already know just how quickly checklists can turn into a battle of wills between adult and child. You also probably sense that checklists hinder freedom of choice. And you've surely noticed that checklists shift the focus of the child's work away from self-development and flow, and towards task completion and industrial efficiency.
While checklists can work beautifu…
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