Saturday, January 24, 2015

Hope4ME - Helping Others Prepare for Montessori Education: Directed Materials Making

Feel overwhelmed and wondering if your future with Montessori is on the rocks? 
Hope4ME will help you get your Montessori Materials in place one piece at a time....

Well, I have been inspired by some of my favorite homeschool and Montessori Facebook groups and yesterday I clicked the little button on Facebook that said "Create Group." So now I am committed - or should I *be* committed for adding one more social media link to my life?

In spite of all the wonderful things happening on the Montessori Facebook groups I am still seeing a void in the Montessori world. My passion is for the materials of Montessori. It all started back in the early 2000's when I belonged to the Yahoo groups playschool6 where Mary helped us explore the methods of Montessori as homeschoolers and MontessoriMaterialMakers where Daisy guided us in weekly materials topics and we all brainstormed how to make materials for ourselves. The Neinhuis catalog was our Montessori "bible." There were no Montessori blogs back then, very few online stores, and rarely any other online support or resources. So I guess you might say we were Montessori homeschooling pioneers.

I had all 8 of my children by that time, the oldest was 18 years old and my youngest four were all under five years of age. We were led to Montessori Education out of a desire for more order in our daily lives and for a greater independence for our children. It all started the year I was homeschooling two in high school, one in 2nd grade and one in Kindergarten. A few months into the school year, all of a sudden, I had a 3-year-old who reading, a 4-year-old who was determined to keep up with his younger sister, and a 20 month old who insisted that he could do everything that everyone else could do (and he was usually right). After having started our homeschool year teaching four children - I instantly had to accommodate seven (and a nursing baby too)! 

Out of desperation I asked a former Montessori teacher to mentor me, and to help me get organized the Montessori way. We started by working to categorize and organize the toys and the learning materials, and then she offered to show me a few basic presentations like the Snake Game and the Bank Game. I was hooked, and then started reading everything I could find on Montessori education. I somehow along the way discovered playschool6 (founded by Mary in June 2001) and then Daisy broke off (April 2002) with MontessoriMaterialMakers and I branched off with Livable Learning with discussions based on the moral and spiritual preparation of the teacher (October 2003)  and then I moved on again with Catholic Learning Materials (January 2004) where we discussed the application of Montessori to the Faith - called Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.

My son Joseph was the first in our family to venture out into social media with Facebook and his own YouTube channel (he's a pretty awesome one-handed gamer). Eventually my son convinced me to join Facebook in June of 2010 but it took me about a year to figure it out. By December 2011 this Teaching from a Tackle Box blog was launched and then there was all the other social media to follow. Facebook groups are fairly new to me but I absolutely love the platform and it finally seems to be the perfect fit for what I have been wanting to do for several years.

Hope4ME is my acronym for Helping Others Prepare Environment for Montessori Education and up until this time Hope4ME was my website's page for Montessori printables. Through this new group I will offer Guided Montessori Materials Making featuring the plans for my Teaching from a Tackle Box collections. I will be offering plans, printables links to supplies and resources, and assignments for the basic materials needed to start preparing your home environment for Montessori education. One of the perks of joining this group is that I will provide all of my printables for the assigned projects free of charge to the members of the new Hope4ME Facebook group.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Montessori Cursive Handwriting Lives On!

National Handwriting Day is celebrated on January 23rd, 
the birth date of John Hancock!

Of all the signers of the Declaration of Independence John Hancock's signature was the most prominent because of its size and beautiful script. Back when I was in elementary school we started learning cursive in first grade. By the time we reached fourth grade we were no longer allowed to write in print but everything had to be in cursive and written in the ink of a pen. I had the benefit of a Catholic education, and the sisters were some of the greatest teachers of the old Palmer script and its memorable drills. When I first started homeschooling my kids, when they were in 8th and 9th grades, I was surprised when they admitted that they had rarely used cursive in their Catholic school. And now with Common Core - cursive has officially been removed from the curriculum. How is it that these things are lost in our culture?

A Brief History of Penmanship by the History Channel
Bemoaned by many (but not all) educators, the loss of penmanship as a requisite skill inspired the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association (WIMA) to create National Handwriting Day in 1977. According to the group's website, the holiday offers "a chance for all of us to re-explore the purity and power of handwriting.
Is Cursive Handwriting Slowly Dying Out in America? by PBS Newshour
Many elementary schools across the United States have dropped cursive instruction altogether as increased testing, the implementation of Common Core State Standards and computers in the classroom take more time and resources....
"...there is an appalling number of high school students transitioning to college and they come in to open a bank account and they don't have a signature..."
Forty-five states and the District of Columbis use the Common Core's English Language Arts standards. But a few states (CA, ID, KS, MA, NC, SC, TN among them) have recently moved to make cursive mandatory. NC passed a "Back to Basics" law last year which mandated cursive (and multiplication tables) be taught. 
5 Reasons Kids Should Still Learn Cursive Writing from Time
  1. Signatures are still required to important documents.
  2. It's good for our minds
  3. Without cursive students will not be able to read the documents of our Founding Fathers.
  4. Cursive can be a learning aid for students with learning disabilities.
  5. Beautiful handwriting makes an impression.


Cursive Handwriting - How Important is it! by Montessori Services

Preparation for Handwriting by Info Montessori

Why Cursive First? by Montessori Learning Center - UT

Why We Teach Cursive vs. Print by White Bear Montessori School - MN
During Maria Montessori's extensive observations of the child, she discovered the importance of learning through movement and the senses. Research corroborates the vital hand/brain connection, proving that new pathways in the brain develop as the children use their hands to explore and interact with the world.
Handwriting, Why Cursive? by Ruffing Montessori School - OH
The (practical life) lessons and materials develop strength and ability to stay within a certain space. The set-up and execution of these materials reinforces the movement of left to right that is necessary in reading writing the English language. Examples of the Practical Life exercises include folding, spooning, pouring, dusting, table washing, polishing and cutting.

Introduction to the Montessori Handwriting Sequence
Sandpaper Letters, Insets, and Movable Alphabet by LePort Schools
PreWriting - Patterning (aka Form Drawing)
Metal Insets by Info Montessori
Metal Insets - Not Just Coloring by Oak Grove Montessori
Metal Insets from Montessori Album
Tracing Numerals with Markers by Eric Johnson
Metal Insets from Living Montessori Now
A Montessori mom introduces Cursive Handwriting

Cursive Sandpaper Letters and Movable Alphabets
Metal Insets Printables - colored
Metal Insets Printables - outlines


Thursday, January 22, 2015

One Lovely Blog Award!

What a great way to start the Year 2015!

Teaching from a Tackle Box was nominated for the Liebster Blog Award on January 5th, 2015
and now my blog has been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award
I am honored once again to accept! Thank you to Melissa from 30 Something Super Mom.


The rules for accepting this award are as easy as 1, 2, 3...
  • Thank and link back to the person who nominated you.
  • Share 7 things about yourself and add the blog award logo to your post.
  • Nominate 15 other bloggers and comment on their blogs to let them know.

So here are 7 things about me 
(that you did not already know by reading my Liebster Award post).

  1. My house burned down on my 18th birthday, Christmas Eve, while my family was at church. The only thing I miss are the family pictures.
  2. I earned free trips to Hawaii in 1987, to the Caribbean on the Holland America ms Noordam cruise ship in 1988, and to Rio de Janerio, Brazil in 1989. At the time I was doing home parties for Christmas Around the World, which was then a division of House of Lloyd. 
  3. My favorite all time movie is Les Miserables, and it has one of my favorite quotes as well, "To love another person, is to see the face of God."
  4. I don't drink coffee because it makes me shake, but I do love tea with milk (the English way)!
  5. When a friend of mine died there was a loaf of bread on her casket in memory of her hospitality. I asked my kids what they were going to place on my casket when I died - they said a Big Mac, because we had some of our best mother/son/daughter talks while we are eating out.
  6. When I was 10yo (4th grade) I officially took the MN state exam for a Realtor's license with my parents. I actually answered about 1/2 of the questions correctly. My father claims I could have passed the exam if I had studied (although I do remember studying with my mom and dad).
  7. I finished college in 3-1/2 years, taking about 21 credits per semester at SSU (now called SMSU - Southwest Minnesota State University). However, since my husband's job transferred us to North Dakota with a 3-day old baby in February and another baby arrived 15 months later, I did not actually graduate from college until 4 years later when I finally was able to put together my senior art show. That same month my parents attended my college graduation (MN) plus two brothers graduated from high school (SD), one brother graduated from college (NE) and another brother received his Master's Degree (MD) =  that was 4 graduations in four states for 5 kids! And my mom and dad attended every one of them.
...Only because after agonizing my memory to find the first 7 facts - I suddenly remembered a couple more:

When I was in High School I wrote an essay on Free Enterprise and I received 3rd Place in a State competition, and my essay was read on the floor, and published in the Congressional Record.

I also testified before the State Legislature in 1999 on against a bill that would have abused the rights concerning persons with disabilities - at first I was the only person to testify against the nearly 100 page bill that had passed the State Senate with only one person voting against it. More people came on board against the bill after I testified, and it ended up failing when it went to the floor of the House with only one person voting for the bill.

It just goes to show that one person can make a difference.

I am nominating the following blogs for the One Lovely Blog Award.
These are the people that I see making a difference with their lovely blogs!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Diagramming? Sentence Analysis? What's That??

One of my favorite Facebook groups is Home Educators United.
Last week the following request was posted:
"Talk to me about diagramming sentences. I've never diagrammed sentences in my life! I have a master's degree in education and taught for 8 years and this has never come up, ever, until I started homeschooling."
After I posted a couple of responses on the group, I realized I was going to have to take it to the blog


One of the best online resources I found was 500 Sentence Diagrams by Eugene R. Moutoux

What an amazing site for diagramming!!! ... featuring hundreds of sentence diagrams including the Basics of Sentence Diagramming, plus diagrams from literature, contemporary journalists, presidential inaugural addresses, the US Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg address. Here you will even find German and Latin sentence diagrams, and Daily Diagrams for 250 days. WOW!!! 

Eugene R. Moutoux recommends Sr. Bernadette's Barking Dog, by Kitty Burns Florey, if you want some delightful early history of the art of diagramming sentences:
"Florey writes with a verve about the nuns who taught her to render the English language as a mess of slanted lines, explains how diagrams work, and traces the bizarre history of the men who invented this odd pedagogical tool . . .  Florey is refreshingly content to recount her tale without any suggestion that the diagramming of sentences somehow illuminates the American character."
Note to readers, I am going downtown tomorrow to renew my library card and check this book out!


Florey summarizes diagramming as a Picture of Language
Before diagramming, grammar was taught by means of its drabber older sibling, parsing . . . 
Put simply, parsing requires the student to break down a sentence into its component words, classifying each in terms of its part of speech, as well as its tense, number and function in a sentence.
Let's say a teacher assigns a student the sentence "Virtue secures happiness." - a likely specimen in 1847. The youth stands up, spouts something like, "Virtue is a singular noun and the subject of the sentence; secures is a regular verb, indicative mode, active voice, present tense, third person singular; happiness is a singular noun, object of the sentence," and sits back down with a sigh of relief....
Parsing was almost insufferably tedious. 

The first maps of sentences were something like "parse trees" and were drawn in the 1800's as a series of balloons, by Steven Watkins Clark, an English professor and author of A Practical Grammar.

"Our national resources are developed by an earnest culture of the arts of peace." 
In 1877 two teachers, Alonzo Reed and Brainerd Kellogg, transformed Clark's "bulky blobs" into the pattern of lines and angles that we know today, and published the new system in their book, Higher Lessons in English.


1). Nancy Paula Hasseler offers a great case for "Why Do I Have to Learn Grammar?"
Hasseler says: "If you are educated you know grammar." Diagramming gives you a vocabulary and a set of rules for communicating through writing. "When you diagram, you develop an eye for breaking down a sentence, so you can fix it more easily." So mapping out a sentence is helpful not only for your own writing but can be an aid to understanding and analyzing the compositions of other writers.

2). Students who demonstrate, through diagramming, their knowledge of the parts of speech and their functions the learning, are better equipped to learn a foreign language.

3). Hasseler says diagramming is a mental discipline that equips you to perform other tasks, and according to Kitty Burns Florey Taming Sentences can help the brain:
Diagramming is basically a puzzle, and - as we all know in this age of Alzheimer's awareness - puzzles keep our brains working. An attempt to tame a really complex sentence can oil your brain, twist in into a pretzel and make it do back flips.
4). All that being said, I think Nancy Paula Hasseler says it best:
I want to equip my child for whatever God calls him to. Even if he wants to be a fireman, one day God might call him to a vocation that requires strong writing skills.

What does Maria Montessori say?
All of Maria Montessori's methods and materials were based on observations of the child and what worked best for the child. She found that the child had a sensitive period for the basics of language - whereby mechanical execution (writing) and intelligent interpretation (reading) - is best learned by the age of 5. With the Montessori materials the child learns the building of words, with the Movable Alphabet, through the analysis of sound (phonology) and the writing of words becomes the analysis of words in their meaning (morphology).
How absurd it would seem to suggest a study of phonology and morphology in a nursery with four-year-old children as investigators! Yet our children have accomplished this very thing! ~ Maria Montessori - The Montessori Elementary Material - MEM (p.7)
Montessori's studies also indicated that between the ages of 5 and 7 is the best time for a child to learn sentence analysis (more commonly known as diagramming - but a process reversed*).
. . . the analytical study of the parts of speech, the passionate lingering over words, is not for children of all ages. It is for children between the ages of five and seven who are word-lovers. ~ MEM (p.9)

Surprisingly, not unlike many members of the Home Educators United discussion group, Montessori shared a kind of revulsion against diagramming as we know it - but for entirely different reasons.

Montessori believed sentences should be analyzed through construction rather than by destruction.*   Florey in A Picture of Language described diagramming process way:  "You took a sentence, threw it against the wall, picked up the pieces, and put them together again, slotting each word into its pigeonhole."

Montessori was a bit more harsh in her evaluation:
How different grammar will seem to the young pupil if, instead of being the cruel assassin that tears the sentence to pieces so that nothing can be understood, it becomes the amiable and indispensable help to "the construction of connected discourse."! (Keep in mind as you read this that Maria is living in the time period when diagramming is being introduced). It used to be so easy to say: "The sentence is written! Please leave it alone!" Why put asunder what God has joined? Why take away from a sentence its meaning, the very thing which gave it life? Why make of it a mere mass of senseless words? Why spoil something already perfect just for the annoyance of plunging into an analysis which has no apparent purpose?  ~ MEM (p.8)
A bit passionate, wasn't she? Maria essentially approached sentence analysis like the building of a house, building stone by stone from the cellar to the roof. She explains that "the person who puts the house together knows it, in its minutest details, and has a more accurate idea of its construction than the man who tears it down." Maria believed that the child would find joy in grammar if the sentence is analyzed step by step, working finally up to a climax when the finished sentence is before the child with its meaning clear, at which point the child has created something beautiful.

So the Montessori child begins with the building of sentences with individual words using the  Montessori Grammar Farm with Grammar Symbols and then moves on to building sentences with the Grammar Boxes. Montessori shares a lesson plan which shows the Montessori lesson progression for the preposition.

Montessori sentence analysis is a constructive kind of diagramming which is accomplished with specific symbols and a series of arrows with questions to help analyze the sentence.

The George Family - Montessori At Home blog shares simple presentations on the Grammar Symbols, and Sentence Analysis Lesson 1 and Lesson 2 .

Micki Fitzpatrick draws it all together her interpretation of Montessori's Sentence Board (Part 1) as described in the book Advanced Montessori and offers free downloads for Color Coding and Diagramming Part 2, and Part 3  and Sentence Diagramming Cheat Sheets at her Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Grammar: Color Coding and Diagramming - Part 2

To diagram, or not? The artist in me says yes, yes, yes! Diagramming turns a sentence into a work of art. It has a lot to do with attitude doesn't it? Many reading this post, and their children as well, are probably long past the sensitive period for this work. That does not mean it's too late to learn. It just means it will take you more time and effort than it would have - if only you had learned sentence analysis by 7 years of age.

Women of Grace is doing a series this week on "Why not Homeschool?  I found it interesting when I was watching yesterday morning that Dr. Mary Kay Clark of Seton Homeschooling was talking about videos that Seton Homeschol is developing with help from the professors of Christendom College. The Clarks decided to produce their first homeschooling video tutorials on the topic that parents called in most for assistance, and would you believe it is diagramming? So if you are a homeschooling mom and you have never heard of diagramming, you are not alone, but it's never too late to learn.

Here are a few links to Sentence Analysis resources, 
and the Montessori Grammar materials that lead up to Sentence Analysis (aka hands-on diagramming)

How to Introduce the Grammar Farm
Introduction to Parts of Speech
Sentence Analysis - links to printables and sample lessons

Into to 3-D Nouns and Verbs
Intro Grammar Symbols - Verb
Intro Grammar Symbols - Noun
The Adjective Game with Symbols
Grammar Symbols
Grammar Symbol Sentence Patterns
Grammar Boxes
Grammar Boxes - Sentence Structure
Simple Sentence Analysis
Sentence Analysis - asking the questions

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Honored to be Beloved! I accept the LIEBSTER Award!!

I am honored to have been nominated by Blooming Brilliant for the Liebster Award.
Thank you Christine!

Well, my 16yo daughter is sure to be proud of me. 
She is taking German this year at the public high school. 
I just won an award and it's a German word, Liebster, which means "beloved!" 

I only recently learned of this delightful and prestigious award. What intrigues me most about the Liebster Award is that it is given out in the spirit of "Paying it Forward." The award is given to promote new blogs, and the basic rules are here:

So here goes...
11 QUESTIONS from Christina of Blooming Brilliant who nominated me:

1. If you could choose a different name for yourself what would it be? 
Well, when I was younger I did choose another name for myself and I think I would still choose the same today. When I was in Camp Fire Girls I chose the name Nena, which means mother. That's all I ever wanted to be when I grew up, a mother. I have been blessed to be "mom" to my large family, and I am running a 24/7 daycare with another dozen kids, who often call me "mom," and all my kids' friends call me "mom" too. Nena would still be perfect for me.
2. What book are you currently reading?
Did you say book, singular, as in one? All my life I have never read just one book at a time and besides, you simply cannot ask that question of a homeschooling mom!! 
So here are a few of the books I am currently reading: 
Men Women and the Mystery of Love by Edward Sri, St. John Paul the Great: His Five Loves by Jason Evert, Consoling the Heart of Jesus: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat - Inspired by the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius by Michael G. Gaitley, Loved, Lost, Found: 17 Divine Mercy Conversions by Felix Carroll,  Zola's Introduction to Hebrew - a Hebrew language text by John Parsons, and Go Threrefore and Make Disciples of All Nations - a Chinese language text by Debra Handte Wang, (I will be posting a review here soon on the Hebrew and Chinese texts), and I am re-reading the Advanced Montessori Method - The Elementary Material  by Maria Montessori, and Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work by E.M. Standing, as I am preparing to create and update some of my Montessori materials. Of the all books I have read in recent years, my favorite of all time is Eclipse of the Sun by Michael D. O'Brien.
3. How long do you spend on social media?
By social media, let's say, Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Pinterest - probably about 1-2 hours a day. But then there's all the research I do for my blogs, and following my favorite Facebook groups, and my keeping up with my website and my online I'm not gonna tell you how much time I spend online because I seriously don't keep track of how long and I really don't want to know. All I can say is that it is a good thing that I only need 5-6 hours of sleep. Let's see, I'm working on this Liebster Award blog post at 3:30 in the morning and I have no daycare kids this morning - so that means homeschool won't start until noon .... Yay! 
You can link to wherever I am online HERE.  
(I still have a Google phobia - but I am working hard to get over that this year).
4. What is your all time favorite television show?
Again, it's hard to pick one. I don't watch too much TV and don't remember what I have liked in the past, but my favorite all time TV show(s) right now are Women of Grace on EWTN (every morning M-F) and 19 Kids and Counting. Guess that tells you where my priorities are: Faith and Family.
5. What is your favorite blog post you have written?
It would have to be Extreme Paper Cutting! It was soooo fun!! And Doodling in Math and More would be a close 2nd favorite. Sorry, I just can't give you *one* answer can I??
NOTE - Attention Please: Ok, not fair, ...not 11 questions here, there are 13! Christina from Blooming Brilliant, do you know there are (2) #6 questions and (2) #7 questions?? Just sayin.....


6. What is your favorite blog by someone else?
I would have to say it is still What DID We Do All Day.   This blogging mama deserves the "Montessori Mama of the Century" Award. Her kids are so blessed!!
7. What are your top 5 favorite Apps?
 I'm going to have to skip this question on a technicality... I still have a DUMB phone.
6. What is your top new year's resolution?
To significantly grow my online presence by setting specific goals and to be more organized in my paperwork and bookkeeping - (and to get over my fear of Google+). I will be blogging about organization and my New Year's resolution soon....
7. Who or what inspired you to blog?
Wow, I'm not sure that I remember exactly how I got started. I know it was something that I felt called to do, something that God put on my heart. I felt like I was pretty slow to get on board with all the social media, especially blogging. But I love it now and I am so excited about the year to come. I have been blogging here since December of 2011 and I started another blog called Peaceful Dove Light of Truth in September of 2012 and I have ideas for a couple of other blogs I would like to start some time in the future. I've come a long way since I sent out my plea for help in August 2011.
8. Where (country) would you most like to visit?
This is easy, but once again I can't give you only one answer. I would like most to visit Italy (Rome), and Ireland.
9. What do you think you will be doing in 5 years?
Well, only one thing for sure - I will not be homeschooling my kids. My youngest is 13yo and in 8th grade. So in 5 years he should be graduated from high school. What I hope to be doing is traveling around to visit my grandchildren and (I can dream, right? Who knows?) I would like to be going on pilgrimages to visit religious sites in different countries. HaHa! - again Faith and Family :)
10. What is one random thing that makes you happy?
Arghhh! I can't answer just one thing! One random thing according to my kids, that above all others makes me happy, is my boots. I finally bought myself a pair of tall black dress boots that I will not, under any circumstance, let my daughters borrow. They are for my enjoyment alone. They make me feel young and beautiful, along with my growing collection of scarves. I am also randomly happy with children and doves. I will explain the doves soon at my other blog: Peaceful Dove, Light of Truth.
11.Who is your biggest inspiration in your life?
My biggest lifetime inspiration was a wonderful lady named Peg, under whose mothering and mentoring I am the person I am today. You can read about Peg and Her Pearls of Wisdom at my other blog.

11 Random Facts about me:

1.The only video game I can play is Tetris.
2. I always have to put my left sock and shoe on first, or the rest of my day is out of balance.
3. I can sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star in Latin.
4. I always say I have 8 kids, but really I had a dozen - all with the same man!! (4 died in miscarriage)
5. I am dating my husband! We have been separated for 10 years and divorced for 5. God is good!
6. I've had some interesting nicknames: 
Dizzy - in high school, my best friend gave me the nickname after a track meet because I ran so hard I got dizzy. Somehow she ended up with the more dignified nickname, Strides.
Scrubby - during my college days I worked as a waitress at Happy Chef in Minnesota and one of my co-workers named me Scrubby because I never stood still when business was slow. I was always cleaning something. My name tag even said Scrubby and although it confused some of the customers, I held the name as an endearing compliment from my co-workers.
Turbo - I worked as a Pizza Hit delivery driver while I was pregnant with my last two kids (now 13yo and 14yo). It all started when my boss supposedly saw my car jump the railroad tracks on a hill while I was on a pizza delivery with my old full-size station wagon. The story got better every time he told it. Once again I wore the nickname on my name tag, with pride. My boss wouldn't have it any other way. 
7. Aug-Sept 2014,  I had 5 teenagers for 47 days!! My youngest were 13,14,16,17, and 19yo.
8. I have been homeschooling for 18 years. Does that make me legal, or certifiably educated??
8. My oldest daughter is joining a religious order, so I am about to become the mother of a "sister."
9. I almost died on poppy seed. I choked when my son made me laugh while eating a poppy seed muffin.
10. I have lived in the same house for 30 years and love to do my own remodeling and landscaping.

1. What's your blogging story? When and why did you start blogging?
2. What's the favorite/greatest gift you have been given by someone else?
3. What is your favorite board game?
4. What would you do without electricity for 48 hours? and what would you miss the most?
5. Do you name your vehicles and if yes share why you named your car(s) as you did?
6. How do you network/promote your blog?
7. What is your favorite /and your least favorite social media site and why?
8. What was your favorite craft or DIY project from 2014?
9. What's your blogging niche? What do you like most to write about?
10. What is your favorite blog post from 2014 - yours or someone else's?
11. What are your plans for blogging in 2015?

Thanks Again Christina from Blooming Brilliant

 ~ ~ Suzanne from Teaching from a Tackle Box / Livable Learning ~ ~

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Montessori Blindfold - what you don't see, will TEACH you!

The hand is the chief teacher of the child. ~ Maria Montessori
The Montessori Blindfold

With a blindfold on, the hand becomes the tool of the brain. Using their hands to ‘see' the features of the material, the children are able to build on an abstract picture of the material they have built in their mind during their previous experience and use it, in order to complete the activity. ~ Southside Montessori

"There is nothing in the intellect that is not in the senses."  ~ Aristotle 

The Montessori Sensorial materials help the child to order and classify the impressions of their senses by contrasting, comparing and grading materials. Each sense is isolated so the child can experience purely the senses of sight, taste, touch, smell, taste and Montessori's sixth sense "stereognostic" which is defined as touch with movement.

I have a page at my Livable Learning website on the purpose of Sensorial activites HERE

Montessori Info Guide has a great page on Sensorial work HERE 
Montessori Commons describes the Aims of Sensorial Activities HERE
Montessori Commons explains the Three Period Lesson with Sensorial materials HERE.

Montessori presentations from Montessori Commons with the blindfold

Stereognostic Materials
Thermic Tablets
Materials for Touch 
Baric Tablets
A blindfold is also a great way to reignite a child's interest in familiar activities and take these to the next level of extension and abstraction. If a child in your Montessori classroom is breezing through the Cylinder Blocks perhaps removing the visual clues could bring a whole new dimension to this experience! If your child seems tired of his or her old puzzles at home - or says they are too "easy" - perhaps adding a blindfold to the mix can increase the challenge and inspire renewed interest! ~ Montessori Child

Images of children using the Montessori blindfold:  

Blindfold with Pink Tower
Blindfold with the Red Rods (Long Stair)
Blindfold with Knobbed Cylinders
Blindfold with Tactile Tablets
Blindfold with Tactile Fabrics
Blindfold with Thermic Tablets
Blindfold with Baric Tablets
Blindfold with Mystery Bag
Blindfold with Stereognostic activities - see pic with leopard blindfold
Blindfold with Sensorial sorting activities
Blindfold with Identifying Types of Shells
Blindfold with Geometric Solids
Blindfold with Trinomial Cube

"If children learn more quickly and with less fatigue through their fingers than through their eyes, why not take advantage of this peculiarity - a peculiarity which extends even more vividly to child-memory, for it is established beyond question that a little child can remember the "feel" of a given object more accurately and quickly than the look of it."  ~ Montessori for Parents by Dorothy Canfield Fisher (p. 58 c. 1965)

While the Montessori materials themselves isolate the senses, the blindfold heightens the sense that is being explored... And sometimes the blindfold can serve as an aid to education in the most unexpected ways:

In the following two links the children used the blindfold to enhance their Math experiences:

Blindfold as an extension to Hierachical Materials
Blindfold as extension to Skip Counting Chains

Here's an interesting story from The Movable Alphabet about a girl and the blindfold which she saw as the 

"shield which keeps the thoughts in my head."

Teaching from a Tackle Box
~ Suzanne 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Montessori Homeschooling - Pros and Cons

Suzanne Wilhelmi
Check out my very first GUEST blog post 
at Learning To Walk by Alecia

Click on the Montessori badge below to view the post:

Thank you Alecia for your great topics!

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