Thursday, February 19, 2009

Reason #317 Why my kids' school rocks



The Meatball-Kindergarten

I love that my kids can just run with whatever they are excelling at at that moment. The Meatball is about to start the 4th grade language workbook even though he is only in kindergarten. Jellybean is about to start the 3rd grade language workbook. Do I think they are exceptionally smart? No. I think that the Montessori method is able to identify when a child is in their particular window to learn something and then give the child the means to go at their pace without the constrictions of following a classroom lesson plan.

It doesn't surprise me (and makes me proud) that the children are excelling, at this point, in language skills. We live in a house full of books and words. In my house words have power, both for good and evil. I am a strong believer that ugly, hateful words can stick to the walls and actually make the house ugly and hateful. When my children use hateful words they have to apologize to the person and then they have to apologize to the house. (We even make them kiss the walls! which always makes them giggle.) We read aloud to the children every night from books that excite and challenge them. Good stories that Chowder and I enjoy to read. Right now we are reading, Kenny and the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi. (the author of the Spiderwick Chronicles) The kids are loving it.

Next we will probably throw in some more Greek Myths. We haven't read those is a while and they are such great stories! We have been impressed with the Usborne collection.

And then we will start my all-time favorite children's book, Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell. I can't wait! Jellybean is going to love this one.

PLEASE don't underestimate what your children can comprehend. Listening to stories read aloud can take some practice. Before you get to a novel with no pictures, start with some short stories and read them only showing the pictures after you have finished the page. The Mercy Watson series is great for this. As the children become accustomed to listening, and they train their attention span, you can start reading longer and longer stories until you are reading short novels to them. I will put together a list of my kids favorite books to listen to and post it on here. And children are never too old to be read to. We read all of the Harry Potter books aloud with Skaterboy. The last one when he was 15. We loved reading them together and discussing and speculating after each chapter! I promise you will have a lot of fun with this.


Bridgett said...

I'm glad kg is working out for you--I know you had some reservations last year (or maybe that was another mom, my memory is kind of hazy). I know I'm thrilled with what's going on in the elementary classroom. Montessori is exactly what Sophia needs. Maeve, now...perhaps a jesuit boarding school in France?

Lewis family said...

This makes me so excited! Wow - what a great program at their school!

I will look forward to your list. Thanks, too, for the direction in how to move toward no-picture books. Had wondered a method...and this is perfect!

And, I am totally with you on the hurtful words. Loved the visual of kissing the house walls - brilliant!

= )

cat said...

You are so right about reading to and with your children.

Mel said...

So how do I teach my kids to read? My Fifi is almost 5 and can hardly write her name and Becks is turning 7 and can only write 3 or 4 words and is not reading yet.

Anonymous said...

Wow - that is really impressive. Luke is half way through K and isn't even close to reading yet.