Category Archives: Montessori

God With No Hands Projects – Revisited

Chart 1 showing the size relationship between the Earth and the Sun.

One of the ways children show me how they are processing the impressionistic lesson of the formation of the Universe is by how they are interpreting the posters in our room which are used during the presentation.

First, the most immature child processes this wonderful impressionistic story very literally.  I find this is often a young first year child.  This vision is not wrong for where the child is developmentally.  I know the child will see it from a different facet as he is older.

The second and third year child (and often the first year upper child) is wanting to show what he believes really happened at that moment on the Earth. His drawings are more “photo realistic.”

Volcanos spewing smoke. The sun hides herself behind a veil of ashy clouds.

For the older Upper Elementary child,  the interpretation is often back to the impression of the work.  He understands the work and many of the concepts literally and is now ready to put his individual stamp on Dr. Montessori’s work.

AV and JV had become interested in creating their own God With No Hands cards.

Well not cards in the case of AV.  AV wants to quilt the felt to make a soft poster.

JV has been focused on a minimalist approach. JV is using cut paper. Elegant.

I find the child’s vision is very helpful for discussions of other Montessori lessons.  It provides a window into the child’s thoughts, understandings, and tendencies.

I have observed some Montessori classes shading photo copies of the charts as line art sheets and making a book.  I would find this difficult for me as a directress, because the meeting of the child with the story is personal and provides such a window into her soul.  I wouldn’t want to miss those clues.

Our actual lesson and my charts are here.  The core text is here.



Filed under Art, AV, Geography and World Studies, God With No Hands, JV, Montessori


BW working out the laws of division. “Mhhhhh. I wonder if there is a way that you can know if this really giant number is divisible by four without having to divide it alllll the way out?”

Just a reminder to myself:  

The process defines who we are.  It isn’t the product that defines.  It is the journey that guides us and allows us to guide others.  It is the way we approach the difficult, the impossible, the unknown that determines who we are in the end and what we understand once we have reached the product.

How we approach the weak, the needy, the hopeless shows the depth of the understanding of ourselves and our own poverty of soul.  It is not the giving of charity as a product but rather the recognition of the deepest needs in ourselves and overcoming those needs to aid another person in their pilgrimage through this mortal plane. When it is in “pardoning that we are pardoned” then we are aware of the importance of the work.  This is process.

How we sit with the suffering in silence; how we laugh when laughing is easy; how we find hope in the time when laughter is impossible;  these are process.  This is what matters.

What my hand, mind, mouth, soul makes is not as important as the process by which it is envisioned, spoken, pursued, constructed, and loved.


Filed under BW, Educational Philosophy, Mathematics, Montessori, Moral Compas, Operations, Practical Life - Elementary, Students

JV – Math, Sewing, and Archaeology – Whew.

Custom Leather Backpack. AV tanned the hide. JV sewed and made the buttons.

JV has been really busy this path month.  He is working through pre-algebra.  Boy can it be tricky.

He was preoccupied for a week or so with making a client a “smallish” backpack out of buckskin.  When he couldn’t find the buttons he liked, we bought a coconut and he made them from scratch.

His next project involved the pot he helped find at the Kolb Site.  He spent the afternoon piecing together all the ones that fit together and then spent some time the next week gluing them together ever so carefully.  I tried not to be offended that lots of the gluing happened during lessons.

JV has been making these really cute pillow bears out of recycled shirts. He has been only interested in the fronts of these men’s oxfords, so we were accumulating a good number of sleeves and backs.  What to do?  Here is his solution:  aprons.  The aprons are obviously shirts – some even use the collar as part of the waist band.  We also have had a number of vintage 30’s and 40’s hankies.  These work great as the pockets.  The arms are modified and used as the apron ties.  Ever so cute.  If you love them, he has a shop on Etsy.  Go by and email him as I don’t think he has them up yet.  I’ve been informed they are $15.

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BW – timeline presentation

BW has been studding the progress of the hominoids.  Here is is final timeline with his fundamental needs presentation.

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Extended First Timeline of Man

Dr. Montessori (or Mario or Grazzini depending on who your trainer was) created beautiful timelines of the coming of humans.  Dr. Montessori’s first begins at 500,000 years ago and the second at 40,000.  As BW, DW, and MMcC study the hominids and since BW created his own time line beginning 3 million years ago Mrs. JW and I decided to utilize BW’s timeline and extend the first of Dr. Montessori’s timelines on out.

A side note on making work.  Lots of people get grand ideas that they have a better plan than Dr. Montessori for a myriad of reasons.  And really they might.  Dr. Montessori evaluated, changed and even scrapped work based on observations and comments of others.  However,  one must really understand what Dr. Montessori was trying to communicate with the work she made in that sequence, ask whether or not it truly benefits the child, and ponder exactly what you hope to communicate to the child.  Making work is tough.  Making great work is extremely difficult.  Ms. JW and I have been discussing this for about two weeks.  We’ve debated pros and cons.  We’ve read both AMI and AMS manuals.  We’ve looked at Dr. Montessori’s writings.  We’ve wrestled with the facts of geology and anthropology and the difficulties when looking at two separate fields of study and combining them.  There were parts that we almost scrapped entirely as we were making them because we weren’t sure that we were communicating effectively.  I am grateful that I was not trying to do this on my own.  It takes a sounding board to push beyond one’s ideas to create something that communicates a theme to children.

DW has been looking at the skeletal evidence for early hominids as well as how Australopithecus met his fundamental needs. (Her big question became: “At what point do we define ‘human’?”

BW has been looking at skull structure for hominids and how  they met their basic fundamental needs.

We were wondering if the timeline could incorporate these topics (since they are included in the original 500,000 year chart).  Our other wonder was, “can we make the eras, ages, and periods removable to aid in BW’s very kinesthetic learning style.

Off we began.  This is what we ended up with:

The children are laying out the ages of the earth that are relevant to our study.

After our initial lesson, the children were asked to decide what they were going to do to help them understand the lesson more fully. Both BW and DW decided to make charts – but vastly different charts.  This one has the skulls and the Montessori developments cards on it.

The chart with everything laid out. Barely visible are the glaciation periods – really that is the term. They are made from contact paper doubled over itself.

BW deep in concentration creating his version of the timeline.

Another view of BW’s timeline. Note the pop-up guys for each of the hominid groups.  The bright red flourish is fire.


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Community Oven

DV and I had a spontaneous Saturday date day. (Ohhh, how I love teenage children.)  We headed up the coast toward Awendaw. During the American Revolution, this extremely swampy, rugged area hid Francis Marrion from Banastre Tarleton.  This area is now home to Sewee.  Across the street is the Awendaw Green.  The owner decided it would be great if their patrons could bake their own pizzas in a community oven.  April Magill is a wonderful local archetect who has a passion for community sourced, local benefitting projects.  We arrived and began a relaxing day of work.  No really, even for adults work can be therapeutic.  Great fun – good learning.

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Sorry – The left brain is blocking the right brain

As most of you know we’ve been working for a year to provide MMcC a proper diagnosis of her specific learning strengths and weaknesses.  I’m worn from the process.  I have great photos of really cool work, but they’ll have to wait until I can rest mentally for a couple of days.  Thank.

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