Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Determined focus a little thwarted...

...yet good still came of it!

My determined focus yesterday went head-to-head with child tiredness (3 out of 3 students), crabbiness and more. Work was slow, but did manage to get through some stuff with Joe. Dd had a meltdown over math; but it was like it was needed to be able to move forward. We now have a higher level of Life of Fred ordered so that she can do something newer that doesn't leave her feeling like she's way behind. Ds had a meltdown, too, after I got testy with him (yes, admittedly, the crabbiness wasn't restricted to the kids!), but that ended up being good, too, because he has been more cooperative and interested in doing work activities.

Today was a bit of a right off. Too many tired children and kind of waiting around for Joe to go to his dentist appointment. He did finally decide that yes, he will do his diploma. I need to structure things and figure out what we'll do. I also think I need to make some deadlines for his math, ELA and science.

I have definitely decided to cover more than one unit at a time for him in math. I brought it up today and he nodded his head in assent. Not sure if I will try to get a CM-thing going--15-20 minutes of the algebra, then a different subject, then 15-20 minutes of the trig or maybe statistics, something like that. Cover 2, 3 or even 4 units per day. I just read an article on study habits which *ding ding ding* said that the students who retained the most changed things up more frequently. Which really has me thinking...

One of the things I have struggled with for CM and Montessori is how Montessori is all about letting the child have as much time as s/he wants and CM is about changing it up frequently. It's really sinking in about why there is this discrepancy: CM is about deciding what the student will do. If it's not self-chosen work, something that they're doing because they really connect with, then short blocks of time are probably better than longer blocks of time. With Montessori, the aim is "the flow"--which requires long blocks of time. CM doesn't ever get to "the flow", except maybe in the afternoon freedom.

This also has me exploring my own wants for my kids. I am leaning more and more towards a more CM morning with a Montessori afternoon. My kids are nearly 10 and nearly 13--we're not in the basic Montessori exploration anymore. And my son is woefully incapable of writing and "behind" in math because of my tendency to just let him be. (On the flip side, he can tell you about all kinds of dinosaurs and sharks!)

Having a basic routine first thing in the morning HELPS, I find. CM sought to vary it every day, which might be good for the schedule for the entire morning, but for the very first thing, at least for now, the knowledge that xyz will happen gets them going. At least for Joe and ds. Still have to tackle dd a bit. ;) She's on a huge piano kick. I can't remember the name of the song she's learning right now. I'm trying to stay hands off as much as possible--I learned what I learned on my own, by gradually paying more attention to what I was doing, etc. I know what I know now not because someone interfered with what I was doing, but because I adjusted and learned more as needed. When she asks for stuff, I'm there for her. I guess it goes back to a basic Montessori principle: don't correct. It doesn't matter that she's almost 13. Corrections make us feel wrong, incapable. A separate lesson at a different time is just a lesson. She can be 13 or 3, it's really not any different, is it?

So, for the rest of the week:

*Focused morning tomorrow. Hopefully I'll be bright and awake in the morning because I'm way too tired at the moment to plan out anything focused.
*Afternoon: I'm running a class from 1:30-3:30.
*Thursday: We have the whole day available to us, except I really ought to stop in at the school Joe is registered with to drop off forms and to pick up other ones. With him doing his diploma, I need to fill out some stuff about how we are going to meet the objectives. Oh, need to stop at the resource library while we're there, too.
*Friday: My niece and all nephews have a PD day (professional development day for the teachers at their school--teachers have to work, students have the day off); it'll be a day off for Joe and a fun day for my kids.

All right, must get to bed!

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