Category Archives: montessori_geography

My son wants to go to England to find some Legos®

Legos® are in the news lately (and for much better reasons than the Shell Gas relationship).

Ask Magazine - January 2015

The story also appeared in my son’s recent Ask Magazine

According to this BBC article, in 1997, a container ship dropped its Lego® cargo during a rough storm near England. Seventeen years later, people are still finding legos® that wash up on the shore. We read through the web site and my eldest son has declared his desire to visit the shores of England (despite living in Florida with gorgeous beaches). He’s hoping to snag an octopus or two.

This was an interesting article about how accidents happen, as well as a sneaky way to get kids to think about ocean currents and tidal changes. As he gets older, I am trying to find more ways of encouraging him to think of himself as one part of a large world. But, I need to do it in a way that won’t scare him into thinking danger lurks around every corner (that’s my job as a mom). Hopefully, by sharing international stories as this one, he will become a better world citizen.

Learning the Seven Continents

These maps were on my wish list for a few years now, but space, time and money never made them a reality in my home until recently. And, quite frankly, the timing is perfect. Both of my boys can use this map and they both very much enjoy this aspect of Montessori education. In the past few weeks, my hesitant reader has been reading continent names, directions, and studying flags (on his own accord).

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Since he is an elementary student, he has picked this up rather fast, and so we do little activities to reinforce the words and map placement. I had him trace each continent in his notebook and write the name (two at a sitting). He also has practiced writing the direction words. Finally, I had him use the flag maps to ensure that he was reading the words and knew where each continent belonged.

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For the younger set, my three-year-old likes to work with the puzzle and matches the colors on the flags to the pin map. (He insisted on working with the pin map…in that way only a three-year-old can do, so we compromised).

But, he also enjoys matching the continent three-part-cards.

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He still needs help getting this started, but he typically finishes this work. And, he feels important since he is doing the “same” work as his older brother. Some homeschool concessions, indeed.

In the next month, I will introduce the five oceans and their names (including labels) and possibly discuss the hemispheres. I am not too familiar with that lesson, but it seems an appropriate time to introduce such a concept.

I find these maps to be well worth their money and household space. If anything, it helps my children to understand that they are a small piece of something much, much larger. And, if it inspires my reluctant reader to find out more…I am thrilled.

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(The book of North American animals…a new addition to the North America geography folder).

First Grade…and lots of shelf work

Although we are technically a year-round kind of homeschool family, we did take a bit of a break in July and early August for vacation and some Montessori-material making. But, we’re back at it this week – officially!

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We’re working on spelling – and revisiting the “wh” set of letters. My first grader is also ready to learn to “write correctly” as he says. He was never really interested, so I didn’t push much, but he wants to do it the “right” way, so I’m here to help. 🙂

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(an archepalego – pronounciation here)

I finally got around to introducing landforms this year. Brown modeling clay and a small pitcher of water is bliss for this kinesthetic learner. Plus, he’s reading the small book I made about them. (Sneaky mama – with the reading).

And, this year, Calum joins us with shelf work. Lots of sorting and pouring.

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what we’ve been learning :: montessori geography

It's kind of a silly title, really. All of us (especially those of us over 30) are always learning…the content sometimes differs according to age…sometimes not.

This summer marks our very first start to official homeschooling. Ronan is starting his kindergarten year. There's always learning going on here (as anyone with children knows…it doesn't stop when they get home from school). But, this is going to be my official way to capture some of what we've been learning. An easy way to do a portfolio, right?

Ronan is fascinated with space and the planets…and he's trying to understand the concept of geography. And maps. So, according to Montessori philosophy, we start with the concrete and move to the abstract. Which means, make a map "real" to the student. And what better way to go from 3-D to flat surface than a map of oneself?

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I had previously made labels to go along with his map (once we got around to doing this lesson). The labels are great practice for reading. So much of our language doesn't follow a set type of rules and the words need to be memorized. We've been learning the common sight words (the, was, or, etc.) to help get through the first and second set of Bob Books. But, this map provides some additional practice – and it's something that we can do over the next few weeks. It's also helped me to realize that while my very smart five-year-old can put together any lego structure, read a book and draw a detailed picture, he doesn't necessarily know his ankle from his elbow. So, a few times a week, we get out his map and sit together as we label it.

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Naturally, my child was not content to stop at a map of himself. Not when we had read Me on the Map (a great book for breaking down the concepts of maps in a simple way). He begged me to help him draw a map of his room, like the girl in the story had done. So, we carried the kids' table into his room and I told him to imagine as if he was looking down on his room from the ceiling. And, he made a map (with just a little bit of guidance from me).

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I see a lot more handmade maps in our future.