We took a little hiatus over here. Turns out Wednesday was Elephant Appreciation Day at Disney's Animal Kingdom, and what good is homeschooling if you can't scrap all previous plans and go to Elephant Day? :) Then Thursday, my husband had a class for work and couldn't be here to watch Sprout while Nugget and I worked in the room.
During our little break, though, I did a bit of re-evaluating. We're 3 weeks into our new routine, and I felt like we'd established a baseline from which I could look for improvement. Here's the problems I'm seeing:
#1 -- I'm totally overwhelmed by making topical materials for the current focus, keeping the foundation areas fresh (PL, Sensorial), keeping up with her level in Language and Math, and planning ahead to the next few topics (book selections, experiments, etc).
#2 -- She's not learning as much about the topical areas through the materials I make (matching, 3 part, etc) as she does through talking and experiencing.
#3 -- On days when our time in the Montessori room doesn't go well, it's stressful for both of us and I don't want that affecting the rest of our day.
#4 -- I see more concentration from her when she gets involved in other things through the day (puzzles, bean sensorial box, projects only a preschooler would understand) than in the Montessori room.
On the other side, some things are working well. She really enjoys the materials when they hit her at the right time. She's made definite strides in math in just the last week or two. And she loves the changing topics.
So we're going to try something a little different. My husband and I moved a number of shelves and materials from the Montessori area into the nook between our living room and kitchen -- this is where her thoughtful and creative materials are kept (puzzles, art supplies).
I'm hoping this will make the materials more visible and encourage her to work with them when she's having a sensitive moment.
There are possible problems, too. She might turn the materials into toys -- but I think she has enough experience with them at this point not to do that. When Sprout is mobile, we've got lots of problems.
As for the topical focuses, I'm going to incorporate that into our days with more experiential work -- the best thing for a preschooler seeing so many things for the first time. Oh, and books. LOTS of books. Some of her favorite things.
So I think we'll try this new way for a bit. I have no idea how it'll work.