DJ started out his "school" this week by having me help him put this world puzzle together that he got for his birthday. While he has mastered the 12 piece wooden Melissa & Doug jigsaw puzzles, a puzzle with this many pieces and such a complex picture is still beyond him. I simplified the task by stacking the pieces into 7 piles corresponding to each continent. We started with Antarctica and worked our way clockwise around the map.
When the puzzle was finished, we compared it to his Montessori World puzzle map. And of course DJ practiced the continent song again. Then I decided to check his knowledge by taking out one continent piece at a time and asking him which continent it was. He wasn't able to get any of them right except for Africa! I really need to do 3-period lessons with only 2-3 continents at a time to solidify the names for him. (For those who don't know, a 3-period lesson is a Montessori technique to teach new nomenclature - 1. Teacher says, "This is Europe." 2. Teacher asks student to point to Europe, or pick it up, etc and finally 3. Teacher asks the student (while pointing at the piece), "What is this?"
Next DJ selected our newest resident on the Language shelves, Discovery Toys Puzzle Pairs.
I bought this set second hand and it is similar to our Learning Journey Match It Opposites but the cards show items that go together instead of opposites, so it is a nice complement. I knew it would be rather easy for DJ but he enjoys this type of matching and the price was right. I was amused at one point when he had a picture of a knife and was looking for the match. I asked him what goes with a knife (the correct answer is a fork) and he said, "A cutting board. You need a cutting board with a knife." Haha. Yes. That is true.
Next he selected the 4-scene sequence cards also from the Language shelves. I have 3-scene cards that are easier and he has worked with those more, but he insisted on using the 4-scene cards. It's been awhile since he's done any sequencing and he struggled with putting them in order.
Next I suggested he work with the Touch Boards and Tablets. I've been trying to interest him in these because they are a prep for using the Sandpaper Letters. I know, it's not following the child so it isn't Montessori. It also hasn't been very successful so Montessori 1 pt Impatient Parent 0 pts! DJ sensitized his fingers with the water, ran his fingers quickly down each of the 5 strips of sandpaper you see in the photo and said, "Let's put this away."
So we moved to the kitchen and made salt dough ornaments. We haven't painted them yet though so I'll have to show them when they're finished.
The next day, I had to work ALL day, which is unusual but is a sign of the end-of-year rush that's coming. So DJ was left to his own devices to entertain himself. The end result was a number of toys thrown in the middle of the living room, the cats' food being used a quarry rocks for his dump truck and a pile of books at my side as he tried unsuccessfully to entice me away from my work to read to him. But in the midst of all that, two great things happened.
Although DJ has been tasked to maintain his house plant since we got it for him a few months ago, it usually only happens when I prompt and cajole him to. But in his boredom, he noticed his plant was looking kind of sad and realized it needed water. He found his water pot, filled it with water, poured water in the flowerpot and sprayed the leaves. While spraying, he noticed a couple of the older flowers had turned brown and wilted. "Oh, these are bad and have to be cut off!" He ran for his scissors and pruned the dead flowers from the tree. All of this without any input from me! Independent activity at its finest!! Yay.
Next he pulled out the Plant vs Animals cards and set them up. I didn't get a picture of it because I was working (this picture is from a few weeks ago). I was SO impressed when he correctly sorted about 6 of the plants and 3 of the animals. I started thinking, "Hm, maybe we're ready to move on to Invertebrates vs Vertebrates!" Well, about that time DJ got to the butterfly card, looked at it confused, put it down, walked away and said, "This is to hard." Wha?! I don't know. Maybe a butterfly looks like a flower but he knows it's not rooted in the ground so it confuses him?
We didn't do much the next day, at least not much that I got pictures of. DJ dusted some of his shelves. He's not focused enough to do more than a couple, but it's a start. He also washed some dishes, painted a picture, drew a cat (first time to draw anything specific!), and helped me bake chocolate chip cookies. (Oh, and in the spirit of "keeping it real," don't you love how not-perfect our Pink Tower is stacked in this photo?)
Later that afternoon, boredom set in again (boredom is actually a great motivator!) and I suggested he do something with his Brown Stair and Pink Tower. In the past, he has just recreated patterns we found on the Internet. But today I encouraged him to do his own thing. And this is what he did! I'm so impressed.