New material: some Sandpaper Letters, matching Smelling Bottles, blue shade matching, blindfold.
Things perked up today! The first half was so-so, but we broke the ice and had some fun starting about mid-way through.
Nugget certainly started out enthusiastically. I was still making my breakfast and hadn't even mentioned doing Montessori today when she took off into the Montessori room. When she got into the room, she spotted the Sandpaper Letters that I'd put out next to the animal beginning/ending sound activity. All hope of a relaxed breakfast was lost at that point -- she HAD to work with them immediately. My lovely husband finished making my breakfast and brought it into the room for me so that Nugget could get right into the language material.
We didn't do anything extraordinary with the Sandpaper Letters -- I just showed Nugget how to run her finger over each and then had her find the animals that had each beginning sound. (I'd just put out the letters we'd need -- about 8 of them.) She matched the sounds perfectly, but the tracing was hard. She uses way too much pressure with her fingers. I need to figure out a way to work more on a soft touch with her.
After that, she was poking around, asking what else was new. (As people have mentioned, putting something new out each day makes her expect it. I'm still not sure which method we're going to use long-term.) I mentioned that the Smelling Bottles were a bit different (they're in a covered box, so she couldn't see the change). Last night, I selected 3 of the most distinct smells (almond, clove, cumin) and filled 3 blue-topped bottles with those smells, as well. I wanted to introduce the idea of matching the smells with a smaller set than the full 6. Sure enough, this was difficult for Nugget. She still doesn't quite get the idea of these more abstract matching games. I think she just needs to get a bit older. Until then, the Smelling Bottles with fun smells will be enough.
Her next choice was the new blue color shade matching. Once again, she was quite good with this, making one or two mistakes but recognizing and correcting them independently. The red shades she did without error.
She moved on to sink and float and then helped me with 2 Cylinder Blocks (I disassembled, she reassembled). Once again, she did this without a problem. I'm kind of reluctant to bring out #3 because I'd hoped to spread this material out over a greater period of time, but it seems really easy for her and I think that's why she doesn't choose it. I'm wondering if introducing a third (and possibly a fourth) would make it more interesting, or if she just isn't in the mind space for this right now.
Nugget chose to cut and glue for a while, then started to fade. Another mom on the Montessori homeschooling thread in the Mothering forums had suggested blindfolded rough and smooth as a change of pace, so I pulled out the blindfold for the first time. This is when the giggles started.
So we did blindfolded rough and smooth (is this rough or smooth? is this more rough or less rough?), blindfolded jingle/no-jingle bells, and I did a Cylinder Block blindfolded (she didn't want to give it a shot). I thought it was pretty fun!
Next, I started the Pink Tower bunny ears extension, which Nugget helped with a bit. But she decided she wanted to do the caterpillar extension, so she moved onto that pretty quickly. These extensions are also no problem for her.
We went to put the Pink Tower away, but Nugget wanted to build it up high again. So we built it back on the shelf, with me lifting her up to put the blocks on top while she giggled away.
Next, she handed me the Brown Stair (in correct order) while I laid it out in a somewhat-caterpillar-like shape. And then she spent just a few minutes on containers before breaking off and wanted to be read to.
I hadn't really expected us to spend much time on Montessori work, so I didn't precisely note when we started. But I think it was about an hour. Nugget bounced around a lot, but I think that's because I'm not finding a sweet spot in difficulty level.
I'm kind of torn. I'd wanted to enforce moving through the materials slowly. But I'm concerned that I'm moving too slowly. There are some things she's clearly just not ready for -- Smelling Bottle matching, for instance. But other things I feel like I'm holding back on just to hold back -- like the rest of the Cylinder Blocks. I want these materials to last us; I have a probably unrealistic fear of running out of activities! I suppose the answer is that if we "run out of activities", then she's likely ready to move on to more complex things.
But now that I've written that out, I realize how ridiculous it is. The idea of Montessori is to let her move through these materials at her own pace. If she might be ready, I should expose her to them and let her needs drive what she chooses -- not my stinginess.
How do you ration the materials for your kid?
Edited to add:
I've thought about this for a bit, talked it out with my husband, and glanced over the 18 page list that I printed out of materials and extensions. My concerns really come down to running out of Sensorial materials -- she's not ready for math yet, science and geography aren't very material-intensive and have endless variety, and language... well, if she runs out of language, then she can read, and that's not exactly a bad thing! So this is just an unrealistic hang-up of mine that I need to get past.