I got out a Dear Canada book (in French) out from the library and told dd that I would be wanting her to do some specific work out of it. She had a very negative reaction to it. My response was very un-Montessori.
Then I read a post by Peter Gray at Psychology Today that has me now doubting myself. Or rather, having me return to what I firmly believe inside but haven't been acting on.
I have been a part of Montessori for so long, been interested in Democratic Education (like Summerhill School and Sudbury Valley) that I feel like I've been smacked in the face and gotten a wake up call. What am I doing thinking of imposing specific things on my kids? I've been requiring some math and handwriting from ds, but that is largely because I did not know how else to encourage him to work. I am *not* comfortable with just letting him play--especially since there is simply not enough modelling going on around here with productive activities. Part of me feels this child would never learn to write because he really feels no need for it whatsoever. And I don't know when he'll feel the need for it. It's a concession I'm comfortable with, but my idea of switching him over to a morning of CM, I'm not going that route anymore.
That is not to say the idea of incorporating some CM into our current format isn't a bad idea--but I need to work *with* my kids to make do this incorporating. I need to, like Montessori and the above-linked article say, provide an environment in which learning can take place, demonstrate, etc.
I will not assign this book to dd. Instead, I think I will share this book with them--I will read a few pages at a time at lunch hour, perhaps. I started reading it and think it's fantastic. Dd is the type to balk at the unknown--for years, I've recommended Anne of Green Gables, both the books and the movie. Dd was not interested. She balked. I finally took the movie out from the library and we watched the first half last night--*she* didn't want to stop. lol. (Hm, might need to find the collection of Anne of Green Gables books for this summer ;) .)
I know my kids well. I doubt myself too much. I need to observe and trust more what I'm observing, to know that certain resistance can be met with a gentler approach.
I am providing myself with a challenge: Write down observations of my children over the next week. What are they working on and when? What is their reaction to x, y or z? I will try to share the observations here!