Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summer Vacation?

As the local schools get out for summer vacation, we find ourselves continuing on our learning journey without regard to clock or calendar. With Maria Montessori, Alfie Kohn, and James Paul Gee as my guides, I continue to seek out authentic learning opportunities for my children.

I continue to be amazed by what my children learn without the traditional "skill and kill" methods. I told my 10yo how to add decimals one time, and he can now add decimals flawlessly. Amazingly, he did not have to fill out pages and pages of decimal addition problems to acquire this skill. My 7yo recently started talking to me about scythes, only he pronounced it with a hard "c" and a soft "th" because that is the way he read it. I was pleased with this little pronunciation error because it showed me that my little language challenged boy is trying to read increasingly difficult words. Amazingly, this was only able to happen when I backed off and stopped asking him to read things.

ZooCamp was a huge hit with all of the children. My 7yo hated the first day, but after he got over the initial shock of being thrown into a group of complete strangers with a familiar face nowhere to be seen, he enjoyed the rest of his week. He was quite excited about petting a penguin. My 10yo was able to go behind the scenes in the gorilla house, which made me quite envious. My three year old thought camp was the best thing that ever happened to her, and she can't understand why other establishments don't have camp for three year olds.

We have more learning opportunities on the horizon. Both boys have art camp in the next few weeks, and we will be going to Sea World soon. This, of course, is in addition to the myriad other learning opportunities that happen on a daily basis when the kids say, "Mom, how do you ...?" or "What is ...?" or "Can you help me....?" And there are always those things they figure out on their own without fanfare. I usually don't discover those until weeks later when I realize they are now doing something they couldn't do before.


coolmetric said...

I, also, am amazed at how quickly they are progressing. The 3yo seems to taking to this learning method like it was hand-crafted for her. (and perhaps it was) It is real encouraging to see my 7yo grandson attempting to read and pronounce hard words. He used to skip over them or ask someone else to read them for him. As for the 10yo and decimals.... come on...that's kind of a no-brainer isn't it? (Dad's and engineer and Mom was a math major) Maybe a genetic advantage at work here. LOL Just kiddin'; that really is impressive. But then, as a proud Granddad, I have said right from the start... that is one smart kid! I do wonder, however, (not to take anything away from him at all) but I am not sure he is the most intelligent of three very bright children. The middle one continues to amaze me with his progress despite the challenges he faces. As for the youngest... All I can say is "look out big brothers" that is one sharp little girl. She is way beyond her years! All in all I am proud to tell my oldest.... Great job Mom & Dad. Together, as a team, you are raising some great kids.

Anonymous said...

I was quite surprised when Tina told me that my son, Teryn, who spent a week with the Bosters in June, was making his own breakfast and lunch and even took out the garbage. I think he would like unschooling but I just like Montessori school way too much. I am not as brave as Tina to take on my two monkeys! I relinquish (not really) their educational experiences to those Montessori trained individuals I have come to trust and respect. Thanks for linking my "brain child" on your blog.