My child, Montessori Slacker - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 03-24-2006, 05:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I went to a parent-teacher conference today, and the teacher said that my daughter (6) is a wonderful child to have in the (primary) classroom but is extremely social, all day long, all the time. She consistently avoids work that is challenging in the least - for her, that's the map work and any sort of rote work (much of the math and grammar works). If it doesn't come easily, she won't do it. She's been like this for all three years of her schooling ...

I always thought a better teacher would be able to inspire more of an interested attitude, but no. Ah well. She tried, and she is a great teacher...she's provided many guided social opportunities (i.e. working with other children seems to at least interest her in completing some work, mostly math). She has plenty of fun games and tricks up her sleeve, yet my daughter is resistant, and tricky in her resistance ("oh you were about to give me a lesson on the bead frame...I forgot, I was just about to do some bean sorting...").

So I guess she learns how to wash tables REALLY well, and she is excellent at nutmeg grating. She enjoys school a lot, but sometimes says she's "bored" there...whatever!

Any ideas on this? She basically has no innate drive to do "Great Work" of any sort at school. We joked at the open house with her teacher, "So...we don't see the 'walking around and visiting' work here, which she said was her favorite work to do..."
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#2 of 22 Old 03-24-2006, 10:34 AM
 
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I really wish I had some advice for you but my daughter is the same way. With Kay (not sure if this might be your daughters problem) she is scared. She is scared of failing. She is terrifed of new things. That includes school work. She has panic attacks at school at least once a week normally over her Leadership class she takes. Its her only mainstream class (she is in learning support, and this is at a regular PS) and she freaks out about it. I know she is totally capable but she doesnt think she is. We put her in LS to help her but sometimes I think hinders her. Next year we want her in all regular classes but Math and Reading. We know she needs that gudiance but we also know she needs a challange. Hard balance to find. Maybe your daughter doesnt feel she can do the work, so she avoids it? When Kay was her age that is what she did. Fear of failure or embarrasment. You can ask her how she feels about school and the work she has to do.

The reason I answered this thread is because my 2 year old is in the Beignnings program at our Montessori school and he is behind. After 7 months he still will not get his snack, or put his work away, or take turns properly, or follow simple direction. I know he is only 2 but after doing this over and over again you would have thought he would have picked it up by now. So I have a Montessori Slacker as well lol.
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#3 of 22 Old 03-24-2006, 10:35 AM
 
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I really wish I had some advice for you but my daughter is the same way. With Kay (not sure if this might be your daughters problem) she is scared. She is scared of failing. She is terrifed of new things. That includes school work. She has panic attacks at school at least once a week normally over her Leadership class she takes. Its her only mainstream class (she is in learning support, and this is at a regular PS) and she freaks out about it. I know she is totally capable but she doesnt think she is. We put her in LS to help her but sometimes I think hinders her. Next year we want her in all regular classes but Math and Reading. We know she needs that gudiance but we also know she needs a challange. Hard balance to find. Maybe your daughter doesnt feel she can do the work, so she avoids it? When Kay was her age that is what she did. Fear of failure or embarrasment. You can ask her how she feels about school and the work she has to do.

The reason I answered this thread is because my 2 year old is in the Beignnings program at our Montessori school and he is behind. After 7 months he still will not get his snack, or put his work away, or take turns properly, or follow simple direction. I know he is only 2 but after doing this over and over again you would have thought he would have picked it up by now. So I have a Montessori Slacker as well lol.
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#4 of 22 Old 03-24-2006, 10:35 AM
 
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I really wish I had some advice for you but my daughter is the same way. With Kay (not sure if this might be your daughters problem) she is scared. She is scared of failing. She is terrifed of new things. That includes school work. She has panic attacks at school at least once a week normally over her Leadership class she takes. Its her only mainstream class (she is in learning support, and this is at a regular PS) and she freaks out about it. I know she is totally capable but she doesnt think she is. We put her in LS to help her but sometimes I think hinders her. Next year we want her in all regular classes but Math and Reading. We know she needs that gudiance but we also know she needs a challange. Hard balance to find. Maybe your daughter doesnt feel she can do the work, so she avoids it? When Kay was her age that is what she did. Fear of failure or embarrasment. You can ask her how she feels about school and the work she has to do.

The reason I answered this thread is because my 2 year old is in the Beignnings program at our Montessori school and he is behind. After 7 months he still will not get his snack, or put his work away, or take turns properly, or follow simple direction. I know he is only 2 but after doing this over and over again you would have thought he would have picked it up by now. So I have a Montessori Slacker as well lol.
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#5 of 22 Old 03-24-2006, 10:50 AM
 
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fsm, take this with the understanding that it is totally influenced by my personal experiences and may be totally off base. and i'm not a teacher.

children (and adults) will typically avoid work that is hard for them. perhaps it is just the way her brain is wired.

mel levine has some great books. i would recommend "the myth of laziness" and "a mind at a time".

could she actually have some memory issues going on? i think when kids are smart, it can be difficult to identify learning disabilities. my son would frequently forget directions. turns out that his working memory is quite low. he really has no control over it.

tina, so sorry your child is suffering from anxiety. that is really hard.
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#6 of 22 Old 03-24-2006, 11:06 AM
 
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I wonder if it could be a developmental stage. Maybe she just needs lots of social stuff right now?

My son is in montessori and has enjoyed the last year or so but now, on the cusp of turning 5, has started to complain that "all they do is work" and he just wants to talk and play.

There's a lot I love about montessori but we'll be leaving this path at the end of the school year and I think it will be best for us.
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#7 of 22 Old 03-24-2006, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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wolfmama, how did you find that out about his "working memory?" And is there anything you do to help him?

I will take a look at those books.

Tina, I'm sorry for your daughter as well. I do know that my daughter is definitely not having a lot of anxiety. She might be worried about doing something hard though.
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#8 of 22 Old 03-24-2006, 01:26 PM
 
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My first thought is that she has figured out that the grown-ups are trying to trick her into doing this work, and she's resisting being tricked. Have you tried talking to her about why you want her to do the harder work?

FWIW, my 5.5 year old reports spending her days catching ladybugs in the classroom, when she's not doing the home ec type work. At home she's starting to read and doing 1-2 grade level math (I'm not working with her formally at home, either). I think the higher level work at school doesn't interest her.

ZM

ooops-- I jusst read that you were asking M teachers, and I'm not one-- sorry
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#9 of 22 Old 03-24-2006, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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ZM - no, that's great to get your input. Maybe I'll change the title of this thread.

Well, she does read extremely well, but I know there's no way she's done all the math in the classroom. For example, I know she hasn't done the long division or much multiplication. She will do math work if there's a social element involved - i.e. she can do it with a friend.

Maybe "trick" is the wrong word. The teacher is extremely creative in her lesson presentation and usually ties a child's interests into her work. But if it comes to maps or any math work she needs to do alone, she's resistant. And especially so if it's challenging.

I read "The Montessori Controversy" and the author pointed out that in their surveys, most social interaction occurs in the Practical Life (home ec) area - so that's where the social kids gravitate towards.
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#10 of 22 Old 03-24-2006, 04:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama
Well, she does read extremely well, but I know there's no way she's done all the math in the classroom. For example, I know she hasn't done the long division or much multiplication. She will do math work if there's a social element involved - i.e. she can do it with a friend.
I'm not intimately familiar with Montessori - have just been in a few classrooms to observe - so I'm not sure if this is helpful, but... Seems to me she's just following her interests, isn't she? That just seems natural, especially at that age. I have vivid memories of being that age, and I can very well relate to how she's wanting to spend her time... I loved imaginative play time at recess, art, singing, imaginative play time at recess, reading/looking/daydreaming through books that had to do with nature, and imaginative play time at recess . But I eventually learned everything I needed to know in later years. Even got into college... Although I was never a social butterfly - sounds like she's doing great at that! I kinda' admire her spunk, by the way.

And I can be a smart aleck now because my own child got through all the childhood episodes that concerned me from one extent to another and is now in college and thriving at ALL those things I once thought he'd never do. It would be nice if we could all see into the future past seeming difficulties. -Lillian
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#11 of 22 Old 03-26-2006, 01:30 AM
 
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This may sound odd, but I would reccommend calling an occupational therapist that specializes in children and sensory integration. Both my ds needed help in this area. They are not developmentally challanged, or have any handicap, in fact they are considered very bright. Some children learn differently, and there are easy things, fun, movement game playing things that can help any child feel more comfortable in the world around them.
I wouldn't ask the teachers about it, most are unfamiliar and don't understand about sensory integration.
My 4 year old ds went from not being able to play, share concetrate, sleep well to being able to write and ready in one year. And he was not in school, and I did not teach him anything. The stuff is amazing and the kids love it.
good luck - Sandy
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#12 of 22 Old 03-26-2006, 04:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama
I read "The Montessori Controversy" and the author pointed out that in their surveys, most social interaction occurs in the Practical Life (home ec) area - so that's where the social kids gravitate towards.
That's funny. My ds has one girl in his class that he just loves but he's always complaining that she won't come do math with him, she only wants to do practical life.

In our M school the kids almost always work in pairs. So even if they do math, there's often another child at the table with them. Maybe she'd do better with a buddy system like that?
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#13 of 22 Old 03-26-2006, 04:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by wolfmama
fsm, take this with the understanding that it is totally influenced by my personal experiences and may be totally off base. and i'm not a teacher.

children (and adults) will typically avoid work that is hard for them. perhaps it is just the way her brain is wired.

mel levine has some great books. i would recommend "the myth of laziness" and "a mind at a time".

could she actually have some memory issues going on? i think when kids are smart, it can be difficult to identify learning disabilities. my son would frequently forget directions. turns out that his working memory is quite low. he really has no control over it.

tina, so sorry your child is suffering from anxiety. that is really hard.


Thank you, She doesnt make a big deal out of it to us but she will come home and say omg mom I totally freaked out today before Leadership class. My heart was racing and I felt sick I had to see the nurse. I know its a panic attack, I am not sure she does. Being in LS has made her so uptight about regular classes, almost like she is totally incapable of challenging herself. It really bothers me. I am not sure how to give her that confidence.
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#14 of 22 Old 03-26-2006, 07:41 PM
 
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Hi FSM,
This is an interesting topic! Some of the issues you have raised highlight the individual directress' classroom management routines and other issues are raised about how to balance the child's need for freedom and his or her responsibility to the group.

"but is extremely social, all day long, all the time."
Is her socializing interfering with others' work? (Is she interupting/otherwise distracting other children?) It sounds like she is free to work with others...is she being encouraged to teach the younger children sandpaper letters, lead grace and courtesy, reading recipes or teaching songs/poems, etc?

"She consistently avoids work that is challenging in the least - for her, that's the map work and any sort of rote work (much of the math and grammar works)."
Do they have a 3 hour work cycle?
To me this is the single most important factor in seeing the more "challenging" materials come off the shelves for all the children in the Casa. There are many ways to excite interest in the materials: presentation, rotation, and "building" anticipation (has she been in this class for 3 years?).
Maybe this is the "lull" before an increase in activity. Learning often happens in a more cyclic fashion rather than in a linear fashion.

"If it doesn't come easily, she won't do it. She's been like this for all three years of her schooling ..."
It's supposed to "come easily" in the Montessori casa, the child is often unaware of the acquisition until after the manifestation of understanding because of the way the materials are set up, going from simple to complex and isolating each difficulty. However, we need to balance the child's need for "practising the basics" and compelling them to move onto more complex activities.
I guess I am still trying to get at the heart of this matter; it must be an "issue" in some way.
I am sure, as a librarian, that you and your daughter spend a considerable amount of time reading/researching together. How much are you working with your daughter on "language" and "math" at home? Maybe she is doing most of this type of learning at home with you??

"So I guess she learns how to wash tables REALLY well, and she is excellent at nutmeg grating. She enjoys school a lot, but sometimes says she's "bored" there...whatever!"
Sometimes, we let a child go through the "I'm bored" stage, and given the time they need, usually come out on the "other side" more comfortable with directing their own activities...

"Any ideas on this? She basically has no innate drive to do "Great Work" of any sort at school. We joked at the open house with her teacher, "So...we don't see the 'walking around and visiting' work here, which she said was her favorite work to do..." [/QUOTE] "
This is great work! She can help set tables for lunch, setup and maintain the snack table, serve guests who visit the Casa, serve milk or water at lunch. IMO, this should be encouraged as an as worthwile activity as the mathematic practise charts!

All in all, it sounds to me like she is getting a well rounded education and that she has a very dedicated directress. As her mother, how do you feel about her activities at school, do you feel that she should be working in these areas (math and language) more often? How do you feel about her level of abilities and her age? What would you say are her main interests at this time?

My sweetie and I have a lovely little lady 07/02 and 3 cats
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#15 of 22 Old 03-26-2006, 08:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No, I'm just sad to hear from the school (and her) about how much she hates the grammar charting, or the addition strips, writing a story or report, or doing a map, or the bead frame... and is very resistant to new lessons on works like these. If it were up to her, she would do only practical life and art all day, every day. Which is fine with me, honestly, but seems to not be so fine at school. She does like working with others, and her teacher makes an extra effort to find works for her to do with other children. I like her teacher very much, but it is a balancing act for her (the head directress at the school is very into all the children having serious work going on)...

They do have a three hour work cycle in the morning, park time, lunch, and then afternoon. As an "afternoon kid" she gets her lessons in the afternoons.

At home, I do read to her, but I don't make her read out loud to me or anything like that. I did teach her how to read several years ago, but she's been fairly independent since then, other than asking what various words mean. She enjoys reading, but also likes playing the keyboard, singing, playing with her dolls, doing more art...today she found a ladybug in the house and made a bug habitat for it. Who knew that ladybugs eat moistened raisins...apparently they do.
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#16 of 22 Old 03-28-2006, 06:10 AM
 
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Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama
Well, she does read extremely well, but I know there's no way she's done all the math in the classroom. For example, I know she hasn't done the long division or much multiplication. She will do math work if there's a social element involved - i.e. she can do it with a friend.
FSM, I think you can't change a child's personality, just work with it. And a 6 year old who cannot do multiplication or long division yet is not such a rare thing so I would not get hung up about it. Imagine what she would be like in a public school classroom, tied to a desk?

If she were academically trailing behind children of this age, I would worry. But she is clearly a smart kid and ahead of her peers in any event, so I would not be concerned.

Are there any ways that the directress could maybe introduce more math skills but in a more social context, given that your daughter seems to be geared toward learning this way? You said another thread that she reads to her brother, which is maybe part of the reason she is a good reader. Could she "teach" other children in her class the math that she already knows, thereby reinforcing her skills? What about doing multiplication tables on the chalkboard with a friend, each one filling in the next blank on the table?

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#17 of 22 Old 03-28-2006, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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cmlp - no - it's fine with me that she doesn't do that work, it's just that she can't possibly have done everything in the classroom and is bored, which is what she says is the case.

For some reason, the school seems to resist her "teaching" younger children anything.

Edited to add: apparently she teaches them sandpaper letters and can read to them. Maybe they just don't trust her with the math work! :
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#18 of 22 Old 03-28-2006, 02:26 PM
 
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Flyingspaghettimama--We're having a lot of issues with this too. Ds will turn 6 this summer, so he's also in Primary, and he is so social and not that interested in doing his work. Once he gets interested in something though, he is hooked, but I get the feeling that this doesn't happen often. I asked him, and all last week except for one day, he told me that he played with blocks for his work. If it were up to him, he'd do blocks every day. Sounds like he has been! He's starting public school next year and I'm concerned that he's not ready. The teacher is supposed to be one of the best in our city, and we do like her, but we feel like we don't know anything that's going on these days.
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#19 of 22 Old 03-31-2006, 02:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So today she was caught playing while doing a chain, and now she's prohibited from doing work with other children.

Man, just take away her birthday while you're at it...

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#20 of 22 Old 03-31-2006, 12:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama
wolfmama, how did you find that out about his "working memory?" And is there anything you do to help him?
fsm, working memory is a subpart on IQ tests like the WISC IV. You know when you are going to do something and forget what it was? That is working memory. Mel Levine has some strategies in his book.

The school is not sounding like a great fit. Do you feel like they "get" her and accept her? When my son was in kindie, I never felt like they got him. Then we homeschooled while waiting to get into his current school. Like two weeks into the year they totally had a sense of my son's spirit. He's had some issues at school, but they would not punish him for something beyond his control.
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#21 of 22 Old 03-31-2006, 03:17 PM
 
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Is she in a 3 to 6 year old class or a 6 to 9 year old class. (I have heard "primary" used to mean both of these).

It sounds like she should be in a 6 to 9 year old class.

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#22 of 22 Old 04-02-2006, 08:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama
So today she was caught playing while doing a chain, and now she's prohibited from doing work with other children.
As I said earlier, I don't know much about Montessorri aside from observing a few classrooms, but that isn't something Maria Montessorri would go along with, is it????? I mean.....seems to me that play *is* children's work, whether it's in doing a chain or whatever... What's to get so serious about? Work can be play/play can be work - seems like a good idea to catch on to that early in life. - Lillian
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