Monthly Archives: June 2010

Interesting thoughts on development disorders

I have a few children that I have worked with that I would love to have seen this type of test.

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Filed under Educational Philosophy, Montessori

Science strikes again

As I was heading off to bed last night, I wandered into my husband’s office just in time for a groggy me to be mesmerized by this:

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Filed under Biology, Science

Six Time Zones

I’ve wondered how the way we view our futures affects how we strive to achieve in the present.  However, I’ve not considered the complexity of our views of time.  Professor Philip Zimbardo does.  And he has great graphics to help us stay on track with him.

As I’m slogging my way through preparing next years scope and sequence, I’ve recently been wondering how to express the psychological effect that the darkness that covers England for so much of the year has on its inhabitants.  How to express to children who live in a Daylight Savings Time/middle longitude region what it is like to wait for the days to lengthen again? Even though I’ve been pondering and pondering, I’d not connected how our view of time and our location on the globe might be connected and how it all ties into education.  Who Knew.

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Filed under Educational Philosophy

Our Next Major Field Trip

Several months ago we went to the Rivercane Rendezvous. We loved it.  The boys learned that they 1 weren’t as smart as they thought they were and 2 could learn from good teachers.  They played, learned, talked, and observed.  Their confidence in their abilities grew.

Their dad was intrigued by the skills learned.

We’ve decided to head to another regional event:  The Firefly Gathering.

Anyone interested in joining us in Asheville?

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Filed under "Coming of Man", Geography and World Studies, Going outs (Field Trips), Practical Life - Elementary

Don’t like math? Why?

I officially hated math when I was in school.  I didn’t get it. Subtraction was a mystery for me.  When you borrow and there is a zero, does the zero become a nine?

It didn’t help that I had an Algebra II teacher who wrote the book.

Then came my Montessori training.  I began to get math.  The stamp game helped me see the whole borrowing process in subtraction.  Division finally made sense. Squares were really squares and cubes were really cubes.  Fraction division is really cool.  Why do you cross multiply.  Ahhh.  I know why now.  My life isn’t just a system of plugging in the proper method to get the answer.

Understanding the why.  Thinking through the process.  These are important in Montessori education. This is what makes Montessori math different from many other methods of instruction.  The underlying framework of Montessori math is place value.  Truly understanding how numbers build on each other moving from the simple family to the tens, hundreds, thousands.  (Had I understood place value subtraction would not have been a mystery.)

Now that the boys are moving into the Erd Kinder age (third plane of development – junior high),  the focus becomes practical, conversation based “word” problems.  Arthur Benjamin is a high school math teacher.  His discussion on TED showed deeply developmental sensitivity to the needs of the child.  Secondarily it explains why Montessori kids don’t always do well with test word problems.

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Filed under Educational Philosophy, Mathematics, Montessori

Summer Reading for the Boys

Over the summer the boys are expected to shift their brain’s gears toward the topics being discussed in the fall.  This fall we are looking at morals, cultural expectations, and meta-themes as cultures rise, fall, and merge. To this end we are looking at myths, rise of language (spoken and written), geological forms, archeologists, and historical texts. There are culturally important themes that were discussed last school year.  They are expected to be able to discuss them and realize their implications in literature and pop culture.

Summer reading list


Plato’s  Apology Crito and Phaedo or I. F. Stone’s The Trial of Socrates

Ovid or Tactius or Cicero  (Selections)

The Books of Joshua, Judges, I and II Samuel, I and II Kings, I and II Chronicles (JV’s pick 1)


John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress or John Milton’s Paradise Lost

Mary Renault’s  The King Must Die (AV’s pick 1)

Jane Walden’s  Favorite Folktales from Around the World (AV’s pick 2)

The Bhagavad Gita


Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth (JV’s pick 2)

Thor Heyerdahl’s  Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific by Raft

Thomas Lewis’  Lives of a Cell: Notes from a Biology Watcher (JV’s pick 3)

John McPhee’s  Rising from the PlanesAssembling California, and Basin and Range (AV’s pick 3)

Jeannine Davis-Kimball’s  Warrior Women: An Archeologist’s search for History’s Hidden Herroines

David Anthony’s  Horse, Wheel, Language:  How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World

Andrew Robin’s The Story of Writing

You must also familiarize or review these works and mythologies and histories

Odyssey                                                           Homer
Romeo and Juliet                                          Shakespeare
Julius Caesar
Daedalus and Icarus                                   Bullfinch’s Greek Mythology
Eurydice and Orpheus
River Styx
Persephone and Demeter
The Journey of the Hero
Birth of Jesus                                                             Bible
Parable of the Prodigal Son
The temptation of Christ
Jesus in the desert
Sermon on the Mount
John the Baptist
Jordan River
Last Supper
Judas (the kiss)
The Creation
Adam and Eve
Cain and Abel
Noah’s Ark
David and Goliath
Ten Commandments
Exodus – the action
Abraham and Isaac
Jacob and Esau
The Tower of Babel
Samson and Delilah
Jonah and the Whale

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Filed under "Coming of Man", AV, Geography and World Studies, JV, Writing

The Pox and the Covenant – book synopsis by AV

This book, The Pox and the Covenant is a story of a little known episode in early American history. The main character and protagonist is a villain for his role in the Salem witch trials, Cotton Mather. All though one of the many antagonists, certainly the oddest was Benjamin Franklin.

The story begins on a ship, The Sea Horse. It was coming up from the Caribbean to Boston, on bored was a virus. This virus was small pox, unbeknownst a sailor, he had caught small pox. This unfortunate event happened about half way through the ship’s journey to Boston, so his out brake did not become evident until he was in Boston, and even then he had all ready, accidently spread it to every one he had met. So by the time the sailor symptoms were discovered, it was too late to save many.

But for some a new treatment would be the answer to this epidemic. This is where our hero, Cotton Mather comes in. He was a member of the Royal Society, so he had access to a wealth of information among this information was stories of inoculation. This inoculation was a process where an incision was made in a heathy person, and the same done in a sick. The blood from the sick person is put into the blood stream of the healthy. The health person would fall ill to small pox, but will recover faster, and be immune to the disease. So when Mather read this, he waited to try it in Boston.

When the plague began to spread throughout the city, he wrote all the doctors he knew. All declined except one, a Doctor Boylston. The only collage trained doctor in Boston at the time. Unknown to anyone at the time Mather and Boylston had entered in to a controversy that would change the face of politics in Boston forever.

Now, this portion of the story seems to be backwards. On the one side were the doctors and on the other the Puritan ministers. Since Boylston was giving people small pox, the argument from the doctors was that by Boylston trying to stop the spread of small pox was going against God’s will. So the doctors where saying that if you died it was God’s will. To which the Cotton Mather said, “why have doctors anyway?”  As this went on, people took sides. Most were on the doctors side, in this fray a newspaper was started. The New England Courant the first of it kind – an all local paper. Its founder was James Franklin. The far more famous Benjamin Franklin was interning under his brother. This paper was extremely anti-inoculation. It only fanned the flames by giving the doctors a new form with which to reach the public. In a climactic end, one man became so enraged at Mather that he made a bomb in an attempted to kill Mather, but luckily the bomb split in two when it hit the floor. After that every body said: “Whoa! That’s too far!” Things cooled down after that. But the clergy wasn’t respected as it had been in the past.

The thing I found most interesting was how little this story is know. Even though it has so many historical figures in it. All I had heard of this story before this was that Benjamin Franklin had interned under his brother.

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Filed under American History, AV, Geography and World Studies, Writing