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Paths of Exploration Columbus Lesson 1 Part 1

Columbus Study

 

Disclosure

Launch Day!  We started Paths of Exploration by Trail Guide to Learning today!  As most of you know, we homeschool with a very hands-on (Montessori-ish) approach to education, so we are using lots of  supplemental resources to augment this course.  We are doing the entire Paths of Exploration as an intensive study over the summer, so there will be lots of territory covered in my posts!   As I post these articles, I will also be giving reviews of their product in a real-world, running review of this curriculum. This article is about Paths of Exploration Columbus Lesson 1 Part 1.

 

Steps for thinking

 

We decided to do the upper elementary section for all of Columbus first and then circle back and do the Middle School supplement curriculum after we finish Columbus Upper Elementary curriculum.  That way, all of the boys have the foundation that the Upper Elementary curriculum lays first before we jump into a more extensive Columbus Middle School study.  Besides, we are just figuring out the style of this curriculum and I’m already seeing areas that need to be refined and cleaned up! But we are going to do Columbus Unit pretty much as it is presented in both the Upper Elementary and the Middle School texts with a few minor modifications. After we have completed both texts, we may decide to modify our approach.   

Section A is Copywork/Dictation with “Language Skills” being the area mentioned as the target for this section.  I really thought I would skip this section before we started, but I decided to teach ColumbusHandwriting without Tears pretty much as it is presented and I am glad I did (at least for this section).  It is good for them to hear poetry and to try to transcribe it from my dictation. Any missed words become part of their vocabulary words for that week. It was fun and it is a great way for me to keep their handwriting skills up. All of the boys are excellent at writing (Thank you Handwriting without Tears!)… and yes, they learned how to write cursive!!  The dictation was from an original poem by Debbie Strayer (one of the authors).  

Section B is Reader with “Language Skills, Thinking Skills, and History” listed as the areas targeted by this work area. This is where everything was terribly mixed up!  There are two required reading books about Christopher Columbus. One is Meet Christopher Columbus Meet Christopher Columbusand the other is Christopher Columbus.  Since the names are so close, it would have been helpful if they explained which one to read from (maybe giving the author each time).  

Section C is Read-Aloud and Discussion and the targeted areas for this section are “Language Skills, Thinking Skills and Writing”.  I have no idea why there are two sections both with a focus on reading aloud.  This is why it was confusing.  In Section B it says “read one or two pages aloud” but in Section C it states “listen as your teacher reads pages 1-6 aloud”.  The boys JUST read pages 1-2 aloud and now I’m reading these same pages again? I thought maybe I had the boys read the wrong book aloud, but no, it’s the same book Christopher Columbus.  So, this was confusing.  We have two hard copies of both these books for us to use but I also purchased a Kindle version of Meet Christopher Columbus and the boys all downloaded it onto their Kindles for Christopher Columbustheir read aloud sections.  I had all three boys take turns reading paragraphs.  The Bennie Rhodes book was not available as a Kindle download.  Anyway, they really enjoyed being able to read it from their own Kindles (and even figured out how to have their kindles read to them… LOL)!  The discussion question was terribly basic for this age group (What do you think Christopher Columbus’ dream was when he was a young boy?”.  Both books we read aloud provided the answer.  If you were paying half a second of attention, you would have this question answered.  Maybe that was the point for the first Lesson, but the boys could have handled a much more thought-provoking question!  

Section D is Word Study. The areas focused on with this section are “Spelling, Phonics and Vocabulary”. For this one the authors discuss “long I” words from the original poem that were part of the copy/dictation work from Section A.  This was very basic also for upper elementary students.  We did it but we will augment the next lesson to add more challenging words!  There was also a discussion here about the prefix “un” and how it was used in the reading from Sections B and C.  They provide an area for the students to list 6 words that start with “un” and define them.  This was pretty fun for them, but still very basic. 

un equals not

globe

Also as part of Section D we located cities in Italy on the globe. We loved this part and the boys did great… just one thing, the next section (section E) is Geography.  Why did they put this under Section D, Word Study?  I have to assume it was a mistake.  They also had to identify port cities in the US after defining what a “port” is.  With the help of the globe, they listed out several from both coasts.  That was a fun activity as well.  

Like I just mentioned, Section E is Geography with the area targeted being listed as “Science”.  Here we are learning about a compass.  We did the worksheets for the CompassRose-MPScompass but we also printed out this great compass work from Montessori Print Shop. Since we love hands-on learning, we decided to create our own compass. Here is that post.    

Section F is Writing with “Thinking Skills” being listed as the area being targeted. The boys were to list the details of Columbus’ birthday as described in the text.  Then list the details from a typical birthday for them.  In the student notebook is a Venn diagram where they would list the individual traits for each and the common traits.  Great exercise!  

Finally, Section G is Independent Reading.  At the beginning of the provided student notebook is a reading list. The independent reading section is meant to be just thirty minutes of fun reading. However, this is exactly what they do every night already, so we have modified this a little bit so they can read anything about Christopher Columbus for thirty minutes on Wednesdays and Sundays. We have quite a few Columbus books in our library from coloring books and picture books to exhaustive studies … so they should not run out of material to read for a while. I wrote a post to share our library resources, you can find it here.  One other modification I have made is I added in an art component.  All of my boys took Drawing this past year as an elective, so on Tuesdays and Thursdays, they are going to spend thirty minutes each day drawing something that is applicable to the subject we are studying.  They do not have to complete their drawings the same day or even the same week. I can’t wait to see what they come up with!  

We are year-round homeschoolers, however most of the curriculum the boys were working on during the year they have completed.  So this curriculum is a great way to keep many of the skills the boys have acquired over the year fresh and to dive into a new subject.  In addition to this curriculum, the boys are keeping their math going all year.  So their workload is dramatically reduced during the summer.  I know some may be wondering why we do this.  Well, we quickly realized after that first summer off from homeschooling that it was quite hard to get back into the routine.  We decided (with the boys) that we would have a dramatically reduced schedule, but would keep going during the summer months.  For me, this curriculum is an experiment.  I have been toying with the idea of using an all-inclusive curriculum for a couple of years;  one where all the subjects (with the exception of Science and Math) are covered and are integrated.  This curriculum may or may not be the right one for an all-inclusive, but this was a great one to test the concept with.  I’ll give you more feedback on that as we work through this curriculum.  I hope these posts will be a blessing to you and your family!  If so, leave me a note!  

Until next time…. 

We are connecting this week with the Ultimate Homeschool Link-up.  Be sure to visit them and the other bloggers linked there, they all have GREAT posts!  I especially love the Firefly one!

 The Homeschool Village

Philosophy Adventure Giveaway and Launch Party

philosophy adventure 4

 

I am excited to tell you about a new Homeschool Curriculum called Philosophy Adventure by Stacy Farrell at Homeschool Adventure Co. I was asked to be a part of their launch team and I am thrilled to have found this curriculum. So, welcome to our Philosophy Adventure Giveaway and Launch Party! I was given a digital copy of this curriculum, in exchange for my honest opinion and assistance in finding those pesky little typos that sneak through the editing process (as all of us bloggers know oh too well).  I do not and will not receive any compensation for my review other than the curriculum mentioned above!  Be sure to read to the bottom of the post where you can register to win a free digital copy of the complete curriculum!  

So, Let me introduce you to Philosophy Adventure. It was written by Stacy Farrell and is designed for students in the 6th – 12th grades.  We will be using this curriculum next year with our 8th, 7th and 4th graders.  It will be a little stretch for my youngest, but we will be able to modify it to fit his skill set.  Philosophy Adventure™ helps our children cultivate and defend a biblical worldview by teaching them how to write skillfully, think critically, and speak articulately as they explore the history of philosophy and the impact of ideas.

I know “Philosophy Adventure” sounds like it is all about philosophy, which is overwhelmingly not Biblical at all, but I can assure you it’s much more than just a curriculum about philosophers!  The study examines the pre-Socratic philosophers, what they taught, thought, what and who influenced their thinking and who they interacted with.  But most importantly, it introduces their teachings from the perspective of how does it fit with a biblical worldview.  So, it asks the question and our students answer…  how does each of these philosophers’ view match or conflict with a Biblical worldview.  Although this material can be used for our children to work independently, I think it is far more valuable as a tool to provoke thoughtful and deep discussion for the entire family!  

Philosophy Adventure 2

As most of your know, we have a Montessori slant to our homeschool environment.  One of the foundational principles of a Montessori education is that of being life long learners.  Ironically, Stacy mentions in the introduction:

We consider ourselves students rather than scholars.  Life-long learners.

AND, not only is Stacy’s educational philosophy in-line with our Montessori leanings, but there are also Memory Cards that we fully intend to use to create a board game; a timeline that shows not only the philosophers, but also is color coded to show the Rulers, Prophets, Biblical Heroes, Scientists, Literary Works and Major Events of their time; Map and geography work; a Write, Think and Speak Journal; and more!  It meshes so well with the way we homeschool!  I know this is so much information to absorb!  Download a sample lesson and see what you think for yourself!  I will give a full review in the next couple of weeks, but I really wanted to introduce you to the curriculum and tell you I already love it!  Here is their promotional video that does a great job at giving you a quick preview of this wonderful curriculum!

 

Here is what is included in each lesson of Philosophy Adventure:

  • Meet the Philosopher where we learn the philosopher’s story
  • Sections for in-depth study where the students Write, Think, and Speak about what they are studying
  • Geography and Map studies
  • The School of Thought associated with the philosopher
  • And finally a Contrast section which provides primary source materials (or secondary if primary is unavailable) from the philosopher, and the “Biblical Worldview” where the text discusses if the philosopher’s ideas align with a biblical worldview.

Along with the primary text, a Student Workbook and Teacher Resources are included. The Write, Think and Speak journal is in the Student Workbook, along with Map work, writing and speaking checklists and Vocabulary.   In the teacher resources’ section are the memory cards, timelines to print, and the quizzes and answer keys.

Philosophy Adventure is available in several different formats:

  • Complete Set of Printed Text and Student Workbook with Resources CD – $89.95

  • Reader with Resources CD (includes digital rather than print edition of Student Workbook) – $69.95

  • Digital Edition of Reader & All Resources on CD $49.95

  • Digital Download Edition – $39.95

 PA Giveaway

 

 

Be sure to subscribe to their newsletter so you can be notified of updates and new volumes of the curriculum! 

Now for the fun part… we have been given a digital download, including reader, student workbook, and teacher resources to give away to one of our readers!  Good luck!!

 

Philosophy-disclaimer

Teenage Chicks’ Playpen

 

 

Teenage Leghorns and Red Sexlink

Good afternoon. As our surprise baby chicks grow from young balls of fluff to teenage chicks, they are getting more and more rambunctious.  One of the leghorns started wanting to roost so he/she would fly on top of the waterer.  They all love to try to fly, run, and play.  I decided they needed a perch, so my dad and I created them a small perch and they loved it!  

But that is not enough. They need to start getting ready for the outside world, the grass and hunting for bugs.  I saw a big one on Backyard Chickens, but we didn’t really want one that big.   So my Dad made them a small outdoor play pen.  It does not have a bottom so they can be in the grass and scratch around.  Their waterer and a bucket are in there (the bucket is for them to hide in if they want),  they are loving this too!  I scattered some of their chick starter on the ground in the play pen so they could start learning where to look for some of their food. I had to put them back in their brooder though because it started to rain. They all seemed shocked by the rain, this was their first rain they ever really experienced.  

Chicks' Playpen

 

 

In a month, I will move the teenage chicks out with the Rhode Island Red chickens.  We will keep them in a separate pen and the coop is separated too.  I believe they will be shocked by them too.  We think one of the surprise chicks is a rooster because… early one morning dad was checking on all the chicks when he thought he heard a strange rooster call emanating from the teenage chick’s side of the garage. I can not tell which is a rooster yet but i will be able to soon. They don’t need a heat lamp any more unless it is a cold night. If one of them finds something interesting he/she picks it up and the other two will chase it until they either lose it or if it is food, eat it. They love to cuddle with each other when they are tired

They are very tricky sometimes.  For instance… As I got their waterer out to clean and refill, one of the leghorns hopped up on a support beam in the top of the brooder.  This is not the first time this has happened.  The last time I handled it wrong and the two leghorns got out!  Thankfully me and mom caught them before they ran off. After learning my lesson last time, this time I just slowly put the top to the brooder back on and he/she just hopped back down in the brooder. 

I’ll give you an update on the baby chicks this week too.  See ya’ soon!

———————————————————————————————————————————————–

Farmschooling – Montessori Middle School Part 2

Maria Montessori Adolescent Middle School ErdkinderThis is part two of an ongoing exploration of Maria Montessori’s vision for middle school and high school. I’ve dubbed it Farmschooling – Montessori Middle School.  In part 1 we discussed what is going on in the teenage mind and how unsure of themselves they really are.  In part 2 we will explore some of the recommendations Montessori made for reaching our teens!  Again, I will be quoting from Montessori Today by Paula Polk Lillard. (Note we are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program.  Any money received via this relationship is used for our homeschool!  PS. I’ve made a grand total of $0.00 from affiliate marketing… but the FTC says I have to tell you that IF you buy it, I will make 4% of the sale as commission.)  And, same as before, in some areas I will paraphrase and in other areas I will quote verbatim.

In part 1, we learned that the third plane child has a very difficult time concentrating and focusing.  However, Montessori still had faith in the teen’s abilities, even with their diminished concentration.  She believed in the benefits of academic knowledge and intellectual study,  and how important it is to grow and expand the field of knowledge.  Study, she believed, answers a need of the intelligence and therefore, does not cause mental fatigue, on the contrary, she believed that it regenerates and strengthens “the development of the mind.”  She further discussed that adolescents have a great need for creative expression.  This is not for the purpose of understanding art, but for their own means of self-expression and self-discovery.  

Maria Montessori discusses that the child’s natural drive for independence is further extended in the third plane into two new areas:

  •  a need to make a “direct contribution to society and have it recognized” and
  • a desire to become financially independent

We, as parents, need to encourage students in their efforts to achieve independence via helping them identify opportunities opportunities where they can experience stewardship and selflessness.  

One of the teen’s primary focuses is to understand and explore reality, in both the natural world and in human organizations and institutions.  Their mantra shifts from “help me to do it myself” to “help me to think for myself”.  In the natural world, they want to test themselves, to test what they can do, how far, how fast, etc. and to explore what they can become.  So opportunities that might present themselves to explore would be work with Habitat for Humanity, hiking, backpacking, and various wilderness adventures.  In this plane, they are learning to use tools, work the land and develop skills for maintenance and repair of minor machinery.  

In the human organizations and institutions category, it perfectly matches their desire for financial independence, they want to explore:

  • commerce
  • trade
  • production and
  • economic exchange

At this stage they are learning to question deeply and research answers… with a focus on solving problems.  And the adults in their world NEED to listen to their teen, their reasoning, their conclusions, their ideas, their imagination.  Give them a voice and an avenue to be heard… not only at home but also in the larger world.  Get them involved in activities outside the home, especially environments where they can collaborate and work with other homeschoolers, such as coops, virtual homeschool classes, etc.  They need this interaction with peers where they can develop self confidence and explore their capabilities.  

For homeschoolers, this can be a challenge.  However, we have recently stumbled upon a fantastic organization Virtual Homeschool Group.  My boys have been taking middle school science, photography and Spanish via VHSG all this year and we are more than impressed.  I am shocked at how much my boys love the interaction with the teachers and students, the classes and the quality of instruction they are receiving.  And did I mention it is FREE?  Yep, and I’m not kidding.  We have been enrolled for this entire school year and the only money they received was a donation we gave ’cause we are so impressed!  There are ways to bring your homeschool students into this kind of peer rich environment!  Seek them out for your children!  

Montessori, like in all the planes before, continues the focus on development of the child’s personality.  In the younger child, this development of their personality is called “normalization”, in the third plane Montessori calls it “valorization of the personality”.  Valor’s root in Latin means strong or worthy… she defines it as:  “discovering and developing one’s own worthiness and strength”.  It is THE goal of the third plane teen.  

Normalization / Valorization Marta Donahoe

In the Cincinnati Montessori Secondary Teacher Education Program, Marta Donahue shared a chart that was shared with her 16 before from John Long.  It shows the characteristics the child is ready to develop in the lower plane of development and the third plane of development.  If we can remember what characteristics we are trying to develop, a well thought out plan can invoke these qualities… and bring forth valorization!

The vogue “self-worth” concept is NOT what Montessori meant by self confidence.  She referred to is as a practical notion grounded in the individual’s profound sense of REAL accomplishment.  In understanding their real limits and capabilities.  Success in life depends on a self-confidence born of a true knowledge of one’s capabilities, combined with the many-sided powers of adaptation…. and Montessori believed this can only be accomplished through work and direct experience of the environment.  

The challenge for the educator of the third plane (12 – 18) child is to develop an education plan that combines intellectual pursuits and discovery with REAL situations… both in nature and in society.  Montessori emphasized that subjects should be interlinked instead of divided into categories.  So all-inclusive curriculum or unit studies are absolutely something we will be investigating! We have one already identified that we are planning to use this summer.  It is called Paths of Exploration and we are already starting to make this curriculum more hands-on.  You can see these works here.   And, just as in the lower planes, students are encouraged to follow their interests.  Again the teacher is to serve as a guide.  

We can summarize part 2 with these thoughts.  Teens have a strong need to:

  • .  work
  •    be challenged
  •    be empowered
  •    work the land
  •    build community
  •    develop a personal vision 

Maria Montessori mentions six areas as the foundation of the academic program for the adolescent.  We will explore those in part 3.  

Until next time

Farmschooling – Montessori Middle School Part 1

Maria Montessori AdolescentsI’m reading Montessori Today by Paula Polk Lillard again and this time I’m focusing on the adolescent / middle school aspects of Maria Montessori’s philosophy of education.  What I see in the homeschool world is many moms who are very excited about Montessori for their younger children.  However, finding middle school Montessori enthusiasts is rare.  In fact, I don’t know any other homeschoolers that are using Maria Montessori’s concepts for Middle School.  And that is a shame.  Montessori was brilliant and her pedagogy has withstood the test of time.  So, for those that are homeschooling and have children who are approaching middle school, I thought I would share what I’m learning and reading about Montessori middle schools … I’m calling this concept “farmschooling”.  This will be a long article with lots of detailed information, so I’m going to break it into several posts.  This is Part one and it will focus on the characteristics of this Third Plane of Development for adolescence.  It will certainly help you understand your teen better, at least it has helped me!  

Since not many folks are homeschooling with a Montessori slant, I thought I would explain some things we are doing and connect it with Montessori’s vision of an Erdkinder (middle school or adolescent envionment).  But I need to lay a bit of a foundation first before I jump straight into the teaching aspect.  In this post, I will be quoting from Montessori Today by Paula Polk Lillard.  (Note we are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program.  Any money received via this relationship is used for our homeschool!  PS. I’ve made a grand total of $0.00 from affiliate marketing… but the FTC says I have to tell you that IF you buy it, I will make 4% of the sale as commission.)In some areas I will paraphrase and in other areas I will quote verbatim.  Suffice it to say, I think if you don’t have this book, you need to get it, especially if you are teaching 0-12 aged children.  It’s an easy reading book that really sums up Maria Montessori’s philosophy well.  When I was still the chairman of the board of our local Montessori school, we had multiple copies of this book on our bookshelf and we would literally hand them out to new families attending the school.  

Maria Montessori developed a theoretical framework of education for children from birth to adult.  She regarded the adolescent stage as a period of great vulnerability… she went so far as to liken it to the 0-3 stage.  Here’s why:  The infant is in a totally vulnerable state and requires careful attention and devotion on the part of adults, it is a new being, a child.  In this second period (adolescence), great weakness is apparent, and again, very special consideration must be given, a new creation is taking place but this time it is an adult.  Just like in the early stage where a child is in self-construction mode, so are adolescents.  During this stage they are introverted and self-conscious…. yet at the same time, they have a huge drive to join society as an adult member.  Therefore they show a keen interest in the social organization of the world around them, where they are trying to make sense of people’s behavior, in both the present and past. 

Maria Montessori Four Planes of DevelopmentIn the first plane of development (0 – 3) children are sensorial explorers, in the second plane (6 – 12) they are reasoning explorers, now in the third plane (12 – 18) they become human explorers… focusing on figuring out society and where they fit in.  Montessori believed that adolescents needed calm and solitude if they are to make sense of their self and the world.  She continued stating they are filled with doubts, hesitations, emotions and discouragement … being very sensitive, embarrass easily and lack confidence.  They have a great need for strengthening of self-confidence.  In addition, they have difficulty concentrating and are easily distracted.  

At the same time, adolescents are impressive intellectually.  They want to discuss big abstract ideas and reason through to conclusions, based on evidence.  They are interested in discussing moral and spiritual issues, the purpose of life and the meaning of death.  They like to debate what the author of a book is really saying, or an artist truly intended through his painting, or a composer expressing through their music.  They want to explore what others are thinking and feeling and are perceptive about their strengths and weaknesses.   

Montessori had a deep faith in the benefits of academic knowledge and intellectual study in spite of the adolescent’s diminished capacity to concentrate and we will explore how she proposed teaching adolescents in the next post.  Here is Part 2

Until next time….

 

 

 

Paths of Exploration Supplemental Resources

POE Supplemental Resources

We will be starting Paths of Exploration by Trail Guide to Learning in April of 2013.   We homeschool with a very hands-on (Montessori) approach to education, so I am creating a Paths of Exploration Supplemental Resources pages for those that want to take this curriculum in a bit of a different, more hands-on direction with your children.  Most of these resources are free resources with a few exceptions.  I hope this resource will be a blessing to you and your family.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.  

 

Supplemental Hands-On Resources

Supplemental Hands-On Resources

Please note, I will be adding resources to each Unit before and during our study, so be sure to subscribe to the site to continue to receive the updates.  We are really looking forward to this curriculum!  

Volume One  – Columbus Unit 1:

Required Reading Resources:

Optional Supplemental Reading Resources (We added these books in our homeschool library):

 

Lesson 1 Supplemental Resources can be found here:

Lesson 2

 

Lesson 3

Lesson 4

Lesson 5

Lesson 6

Jamestown Unit

Lesson 1

Lesson 2

Lesson 3

Lesson 4

Lesson 5

Lesson 6

Pilgrim Unit

Lesson 1

Lesson 2

Lesson 3

Lesson 4

Lesson 5

Lesson 6

Volume 1 

Required Resource List

  • Meet Christopher Columbus by James T. de Kay
  • Christopher Columbus by Bennie Rhodes
  • Stories of the Pilgrims by Margaret Pumphrey (2nd Edition, Christian Liberty Press)
  • Stories of the Pilgrims Answer Key
  • Squanto, Friend to the Pilgrims by Clyde Robert Bulla
  • A Lion to Guard Us by Clyde Robert Bulla
  • Surviving Jamestown: The Adventures of Young Sam Collier by Gail Karwoski
  • Profiles from History by Ashley Strayer Wiggers
  • Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock
  • North American Wildlife Guide published by Reader’s Digest
  • Eat Your Way Around the World by Jamie Aramini
  • Intermediate World Atlas published by Rand Mc Nally
  • RealEarth®GlobeMap™
  • Large-Scale U.S. and World Outline Maps
  • Student Notebook pages (printed from CD-ROM included or available separately)

Volume 2 Required Resource List

  • Daniel Boone, Frontiersman by Janet and Geoff Benge
  • Daniel Boone, Young Hunter & Tracker by Augusta Stevenson
  • Munford Meets Lewis and Clark by Jamie Aramini
  • Seaman: The Dog Who Explored the West with Lewis and Clark by Gail Karwoski
  • Trouble for Lucy by Carla Stevens
  • Johnny Appleseed by David Collins
  • 1911 Boy Scout Handbook
  • United States History Atlas
  • Lewis & Clark Hands On by Sharon Jeffus (©2009, Geography Matters)
  • Going West!: Journey on a Wagon Train to Settle a FrontierTown, a Kaleidoscope Kids book
  • Student Notebook pages (printed from CD-ROM included or available separately)

 

Note:  A  few items above are linked to my Amazon affiliate account.  The very small amount of money that I make on Amazon is used to augment our curriculum needs.  Photos are shared from  Amazon.

Introduction to a Montessori Middle School


Grand Rapids Montessori Logo

 

This is an introduction to a Montessori Middle School, or Erdkinder as Maria Montessori called it.  It is the essence of what we are trying to accomplish with our farm homeschool (we call it farmschooling).  You will see why we have the boys creating their own businesses, growing our own food, and managing the marketing of their businesses.  Each of our children will be blogging about their specific businesses.  I hope you will join us for these adventures!  Please remember all of our boys are 13 or younger, so grace and courtesy is appreciated.  Just as an FYI, I will be moderating all comments, emails, and communication.  

Montessori’s Vision of the Erdkinder (Farm School)

Maria Montessori first proposed her ideas for the reform of secondary education in a series of lectures given at the University of Amsterdam in January 1920. They were later published during the 1930s as part of her work From Childhood to Adolescence.  Dr. Montessori’s model of secondary education is based on her understanding of the developmental needs and learning tendencies of early adolescents. In addition to conceiving many of the reforms incorporated into today’s most innovative programs for early adolescents, Montessori added a unique idea: she recommended a residential school located in a country setting.  Montessori believed that by living independently of their families for a few years in a small rural community, young people could be trained in both the history of technology and civilization, while learning the practical habits, values, and skills needed to assume the role of an adult in today’s society. 

Envisioning a school where children would grow their own food and live close to nature, she called her program the Erdkinder, which translates from the Dutch as “the children of the Earth” or “children of the land.” Dr. Maria Montessori proposed living and working on a residential farm school as the best possible educational setting for young adolescents (twelve- to fifteen-year-olds) as they transitioned physically, cognitively, socially, emotionally, and morally to adulthood.  Montessori believed the demands of puberty warranted a holiday from traditional lecture-based instruction. Instead of confining students to classrooms, she proposed a program that would help them accomplish two key developmental tasks: becoming psychologically and economically independent. Only then, she argued, would young adolescents escape from the pettiness of traditional schooling and engage seriously in the realities of life in society.

Montessori envisioned the Erdkinder as a small community of teenagers and adults located in a rural setting. Here teachers and students would live and work together throughout the year, growing much of their own food and manufacturing many of the things they would need for life in the country, thereby developing a deep sense of their connection to the land and the nature and value of work.  She envisioned students, under adult upervision, managing a hostel or hotel for visiting parents. The students would sell farm goods and other products in their own store. These farm management and store economics would form the basis of meaningful academic studies.  The Erdkinder curriculum would encourage self-expression through music, art, public speaking, and theater. Students would also study languages, mathematics, science, history of civilizations, cultures, and technological innovations. The Erdkinder would possess a “museum of machinery,” where students could assemble, use, and repair their own farm equipment.

For many years the idea of a residential farm school was explored, but considered impractical. Montessori Secondary schools are now found in urban and suburban settings in the United States, with enrollments ranging from fewer than ten students to public school programs with more than 250 students.  The cost of organizing a residential Erdkinder program has been considered far too high for any one school to attempt; instead, Montessori Middle School programs attempt to incorporate as many Erdkinder components as possible. The Montessori community looked on with considerable interest in 2001 when David Kahn, Director of the North American Montessori Teacher’s Association (NAMTA), opened the Montessori Farm School in Huntsburg, Ohio in conjunction with the Hershey Montessori School. Serving students from ages twelve to fifteen, the Montessori Farm School is a lovely facility and an exciting project that has attracted widespread attention, including a substantial article in the London Times.

Many leaders in Secondary Montessori education believe that the future will lie primarily with nonresidential programs. The opening of the Farm School, and others like it that may follow, provides an opportunity to test one of Dr. Montessori’s hypotheses. She proposed that the residential community, with its artificially created social laboratory, will prove to be of most value in the completion of the development of mature, well adjusted young adults.  A piece prepared by David Kahn describing the Montessori Farm School in greater depth follows… the entire article can be found here.  

This article is from the Montessori Foundation 

 

Pickin’ Chickens!!!

Today we decided to get our “chickens in a row” and pick the chickens we want to add to our flock of Rhode Island Reds. We fell in love with Rachel, the red frizzled cochin from Kathy, The Chicken Chick!  So we knew one of the breeds we were adding would be frizzled bantam cochin!  (Note this is a long article, so I have chosen to use the “read more” tab below in order to shorten the articles on the home page… so if you are interested, please be sure to click the “read more” button right below the share buttons for the various social media sites).  See what a lovely lady little Rachel is:  

 

Rachel

Our current coop / pen combinations severely restrict our options for adding chickens.  The way the coop and pens are laid out now, we can only prevent two breeds from mingling.  Therefore, we decided to go with all bantam / cochins.  We ordered them from a new hatchery we found Welp, Inc.  They have been in business since 1929, so they are certainly not a “new business” just new to us!  We will provide a review of this hatchery once we receive the chicks (they will not ship out until 4/9).  Below are pictures of the chickens we ended up pickin’ today:

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2012-2013 Homeschool Curriculum

 

We have homeschooled now for four years.  This is our 2012-2013 Homeschool Curriculum.  Prior to homeschooling, our boys attended a small local private Montessori school, where I was on the board for the school. Our boys have reached the point of thinking and working abstractly, so most of the Montessori materials are no longer used in our curriculum. So what do we now?  Come & see!!

I am very thankful that we stumbled blindly into a Montessori school! It has been a complete blessing to our family and continues to be … it is how we approach learning, education and life in general. So, although we have very traditional homeschool material now, our approach is still firmly grounded in the Montessori pedagogy.

 

#1 (oldest son) 7th Grade:

Exercises in English G
Grammar / English: Loyola Press Exercises in English G
Writing:IEW / Beautiful Feet Geography Study
IEW Beutiful Feet Geography Literature
Literature: GA Henty Books (Cat of Bubastes) and Jim Hodges Study GuideCat of Bubastes
Spelling: All About Spelling 3-5All About Spelling 3
Vocabulary: Loyola Press Vocabulary in Action GVocabulary in Action G
 
Algebra: Video Text Algebra II (CLEP when complete!)VideoText Algebra
World History / Geography: Mystery of History IIMOH 2
American History / Geography: Paths of Exploration /Trail Guide to LearningPOE TGTL
Civics: God and Government Volume 1God and Government 1
Science: Apologia Physical ScienceApologia Physical Science
Logic: Fallacy DetectiveFallacy Detective
Foreign Language: Croghan Language Academy SpanishCroghan Language Academy
Economics: Starting a Micro Business for Teensmicrobus-workbk
Physical Education: Soccer, Karate
Scripture Studies: Torah, Writings, Prophets, NT
Electives: Art, PhotographyVirtual homeschool group name

 

 

 

(Middle Son) 6th Grade:

Grammar / English: Loyola Press Exercises in English FExercises in English F
Writing:IEW / Beautiful Feet Geography Study
IEW Beutiful Feet Geography Literature
Literature: GA Henty Books (Cat of Bubastes) and Jim Hodges Study Guide Cat of Bubastes
Spelling: All About Spelling 3-5All About Spelling 3
Vocabulary: Loyola Press Vocabulary in Action EVocabulary in Action E
Creative Writing: IEW / Beautiful Feet Geography Study
Algebra: Video Text Algebra I (CLEP when completes II!)VideoText Algebra
World History / Geography: Mystery of History IIMOH 2
American History / Geography: Paths of Exploration /Trail Guide to LearningPOE TGTL
Civics: God and Government Volume 1God and Government 1
Science: Apologia General ScienceGeneral Science
Logic: Fallacy DetectiveFallacy Detective
Foreign Language: Croghan Language Academy SpanishCroghan Language Academy
Economics: Starting a Micro Business for Teensmicrobus-workbk
Physical Education: Soccer, Karate
Scripture Studies: Torah, Writings, Prophets, NT
Electives: Art, PhotographyVirtual homeschool group name

 

 

#3 (Youngest Son) 3rd Grade

Grammar / English: Loyola Press Exercises in English DExercises in English D
Writing:IEW / Beautiful Feet Geography Study
IEW Beutiful Feet Geography Literature
Literature: GA Henty Books (Cat of Bubastes) and Jim Hodges Study GuideCat of Bubastes
Spelling: All About Spelling 3-5All About Spelling 3
Vocabulary: Loyola Press Vocabulary in Action DVocabulary in Action D
Creative Writing: IEW / Beautiful Feet Geography Study
Teaching Textbooks Pre-AlgebraTeaching Textbooks Pre Algebra Montessori Measurement (EDUTC)Edutc Measurement    Montessori Area and Volume from Houston Montessori Center
World History / Geography: Mystery of History IIMOH 2
American History / Geography: Paths of Exploration /Trail Guide to LearningPOE TGTL
Science: Apologia Exploring Creation Zoology 3Exploring Creation Zoology 3
Logic: Fallacy DetectiveFallacy Detective
Foreign Language: Croghan Language Academy SpanishCroghan Language Academy
Economics: Starting a Micro Business for Teensmicrobus-workbk
Physical Education: Soccer, Karate
Scripture Studies: Torah, Writings, Prophets, NT
Electives: Art, PhotographyVirtual homeschool group name

 

Note:  Items above are linked to my Amazon affiliate account.  The very small amount of money that we make from our affiliation with Amazon is used to augment our curriculum needs.  Photos are shared from Amazon.

We’re Growing Mushrooms

You read it right, we are about to be growing mushrooms! Shiitake mushrooms, that is! Since we love shiitake mushrooms and nobody I know of around here are growing them, it seems like a perfect niche for us to add to our Practical Life curriculum. For those unfamiliar with Montessori education, the “Practical Life” curriculum for middle school students involves setting up a business. It teaches them so many things about life, economics, values, priorities but it also can help the boys determine what they want to do (or not do) when they grow up!! I have learned that if you love what you do, it is not work! So, our job is to introduce our children to lots of opportunities to help them determine what they do and don’t like!  (Note this is a long article, so I have chosen to use the “read more” tab below in order to shorten the articles on the home page… so if you are interested, please be sure to click the “read more” button right below the share buttons for the various social media sites).  

We ordered the shiitake mushroom plugs today and hope to get our first stack of wood plugged, waxed and ready to go in about a month. I never really knew how mushrooms grew, but I never expected them to grow in logs!

Shiitake Sharon Dale Farm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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