Saturday, December 13, 2014

Poetry leads the way

"I have no patience with those who say that love and death are not proper subjects for children. Children can often respond to these large subjects with minds less coarsened and imaginations less infected than their print-sodden elders.

"It is largely in childhood, and largely through books, that we learn of attitudes to admire, which can then try out in real life--the heroic, the quixotic, the stoical, the impossibly magnanimous. It is not that we necessarily identify ourselves with every person in the poems or stories we read: but that we learn from them a language of feeling and enlarge our own vocabularies. And the attitudes which we finally choose will, whether consciously or not, affect our behavior all our lives.

"Poems can help us in this choice by showing us something of the variety of possible attitudes and moods. A child who has learnt that death can be looked at in more ways than one is better able to cope with a loss of his own than one who has only learned the stereotyped responses of the newspaper or cinema. Stereotyped emotion--which approximates all battles to Heroism, all love to Romance, all death to Tragedy, which cannot respond to irony or wit at all--is always something coarser than any individual is capable of feeling."

Janet Adam Smith, Introduction to The Faber Book of Children's Verse, 1953.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

TrDL (Montessori writing work)

TrDL is my favorite example of developmental spelling from this list by J, but LAdEEBug is terrific too. 

Problem Solver: Dedicated Read-Aloud Tray

Thank goodness I had this tray in the garage. I have an ongoing problem where I completely lose our current big read-aloud. (If you see our copy of The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet, please let me know. ) 

We read all over the house and at all times of day, so the current book would often vanish into couch cushions or be mindlessly placed out of the way in some later unfindable place. 

But since I've cleared off the boys' bureau and added this dedicated tray, our read-aloud go smoothly, because the circulating "active" books have an inbox/outbox. As the old saying goes, "A place for everything and everything in its place."

What goes here: The "active reading" holds longer multipart novels and story collections that we are currently dipping into on a regular basis. 

What doesn't go here: To keep things simple and neat, this space is not for picture books, which come on and off shelves with regularity, but won't necessarily be consulted tomorrow. 

Materials: Tray or basket should ideally be out of reach of any "borrowers" in your house, namely disorganized children or other mammals (ferrets, dogs) with hoarding tendencies. 

What's in your family's reading basket right now?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Montessori Kid at Work

Montessori hundred board work
Last year, we got a Montessori hundred board for home--I think on the recommendation of HomeschoolDad--and we are still using it with great pleasure. This particular instance was totally instigated by J, and he did the entire thing himself, which takes quite a bit of concentration. Well, not the whole thing--we've lost tile 59 (aaagh!)--but 99 percent, and it's so fun to see him growing with it.

If you're looking for a math-y "toy" for your home, and you don't mind the inevitable 100 tiny tiles scattered all over your kitchen table, this is a terrific object to have on hand.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Living with Learning

Jackson, 4.5yo, sorting through our box of dollar-store plastic animals: "Mom, I took out all the ocean animals. Is a frog an ocean animal? Oh, and the stegosaurus is just pretending to be an ocean animal."

Jason, 1.5yo, browsing some number books before dinner. This is the Met's Museum Numbers book. 

The Learning Tower was 75 percent off (plus I had store credit) at our local children's resale shop. Jackson is already using it for many activities, including chopping Brussels sprouts for dinner. 

Bonus post from this morning:

First words I heard from kiddo this morning were an obviously dad-prompted apology: "Mom, I'm sorry I wrote on the couch in the garage." Me, groggy: "OK, thank you for taking responsibility but why would you do that?" J: "I wanted to practice my writing!" (I am totally secretly proud of this but will never tell him.)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Random House Easy-to-Read Science Library

The Random House Easy-to-Read Science Library

Physical Science and Mathematics

Your Wonderful World of Science by Mae and Ira Freeman
Simple Machines and How They Work by Elizabeth N. Sharp
The Story of the Atom by Mae and Ira Freeman
The Story of Electricity by Mae and Ira Freeman
The Story of Chemistry by Mae and Ira Freeman
The Story of Numbers by Patricia Lauber

Space and Astronomy

The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars by Mae and Ira Freeman
The Earth in Space by John and Cathleen Polgreen
Rockets into Space by Alexander L. Crosby and Nancy Larrick
Satellites in Outer Space by Isaac Asimov

Earth and Weather

Rocks All Around Us by Anne Terry White
In the Days of the Dinosaurs by Roy Chapman Andrews
Danger! Icebergs Ahead! by Lynn and Gray Poole
Hurricanes, Tornadoes, and Blizzards by Kathryn Hitte

Life Science

Your Body and How It Works by Patricia Lauber
Mammals and How They Live by Robert M. McClung
The Friendly Dolphins by Patricia Lauber

Illustrated throughout in two colors. $1.95 each
RANDOM HOUSE, INC., 457 Madison Avenue, New York 22, N.Y.

"A welcome series, packed with basic information, with a fine synthesis of illustrations and text. Outstanding quality." Child Study
"This series for young readers lives up to the fine standards that Random House has set for its science publications." Harry Milgrom, Supervisor of Science, New York City Elementary Schools