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In the Learning Center

Autism in teens

Question: autism in teens

You once told me to "start where they are" in using the Montessori approach with my children on the autism spectrum. Well, one of them turns 15 next week and I am STILL working in the 9-12 cycle. He is making progress, but rather slow.... From a brain standpoint - have I missed windows with him?? I feel so "rushed" sometimes and like I'm totally so far behind and I'm making the wrong choices for him. I've tried public school, private school, unschooled, ....all the things. It all mostly results in frustration and a long shutdown towards ANY learning and then having that slow return to a more structured learning period each day. Here is a good example: His writing is REALLY horrid. He fatigues easily and there seems to be a total disconnect from brain to hand....I have metal insets, sandpaper letters, a Montessoriam app for tracing on the iPad, etc....I have the bigger pencils for a better grip (although his hands and fingers are huge and long). I'm not trying to make him write everything out, but rather get him to the point of legible printing and being able to function in his adult life with writing confidence.

June 17, 2022 by Julia Volkman

Borders on cards?

Question:  montessori materials design borders on cards Q&A

Hello! I'm wondering if there is a reason why your card materials don't have colored borders to match Montessori color coding? I was making our own personal religion cards for Mass and I added a border, but I want to buy many of your cards and the perfectionist in me is wondering if I should just make my cards without a border to coordinate with yours. But, that got me wondering if there is a benefit to not having the border and why you went that route.

June 17, 2022 by Julia Volkman

Homeschooling after public school

Question: homeschool montessori q&a

Currently I’m amidst our third year of homeschooling our two boys (11 & 9), and still repairing holes left from the public school. After IEPs, tutors, different curriculums, I’ve discovered my boys (dyslexic and brilliant!), benefit from the ways I learned - old school, Montessori, tried and true.

I have gathered many of the resources and even have the primary albums for teaching. However, at the same time I’m trying to “catch them up” without hurrying their mastery. My oldest overthinks spelling and I have literally started from the beginning to break old habits and correct understanding. I find starting with “very easy” gives the momentum of accomplishment and fosters confidence.

Would you mind offering any feedback you have and even better, a sample daily routine that incorporates appropriate subjects? With language as their biggest struggle I tend to focus on that in particular but I want our homeschool experience to feel less like “English tutoring” and more well-rounded. This has been my biggest struggle as I need to focus on their language skills without taking the joy from holistic learning. I get stuck with how to teach all the LA parts together (ie. What to teach at the same time? Grammar before Writing mechanics?) how much time to allow for the subjects. I wish I could rewind and afford Montessori for both of them, but this is our journey and we’re embracing where we are. I truly appreciate your willingness to help.

June 17, 2022 by Julia Volkman

Computer: What age is right?

Question: computers and montessori

My father is determined to buy my 8-year-old son a computer for Christmas (would have internet access). Why would this be a good/bad idea in your opinion? What age is a good age for computer access? I have strong opinions myself, but I want to see if I am being too rigid.

June 17, 2022 by Julia Volkman

Flower arranging

Question:montessori flower arranging Q&A

Hello! Thank you for your blog. It’s really interesting. I’ve been reading your article on “Accommodations in Primary” and I am intrigued by your claim that there are 54 steps involved in flower arranging. I would like to learn more about these steps and indeed about the steps involved in other activities. Where would I be able to find some information on this? Or could you kindly write a blog piece about it?

June 17, 2022 by Julia Volkman

Cursive vs. Print

Question: cursive versus print

My question is back to the cursive vs print. I am teaching the children cursive SP letters, cursive moveable alphabet, and all writing (latter just getting started with many) are all in cursive. So, as I start showing the vocabulary card labels for the phonetic matching game and, soon after, the "three part cards", shouldn't these cards also be in cursive?

I am worried it is too soon to bring out print labels for the vocab, 3-part, and Parts of cards/books. All of my card labels and definitions are print. Is this ok or should I at least print out cursive words and tape over print (temporarily)?

June 17, 2022 by Julia Volkman

Learning styles assessment

Question:learning styles Q&A

The head of our school asked me to look into learning profile assessments for students. He mentioned the MMTIC and my mind went to the Herman Brain dominance. Do you have any resources you could recommend me check out? The goal is to help students learn about how they like to learn and incorporate this all into the work we are doing with MBE.

Any thoughts or sources you think of off the top of your head, would be much appreciated!

June 17, 2022 by Julia Volkman

Homeschooling, feeling overwhelmed

Question:montessori training Q&A

My daughter is going to be homeschooling her 1st grader. She homeschooled last year with the help of video chats and lesson plans written for her, however, that source does not do 1st grade. My daughter has a baby due in October and has purchased the Mainly Montessori program that's available, however, she is totally overwhelmed and doesn't feel confident in doing the weekly lesson plans. Would you happen to know anyone that we could get to write the yearly lesson plans for her 1st grader? Thank you so much.

June 17, 2022 by Julia Volkman

Dwyer, Grammar, and the Farm

Question:dwyer montessori q&a

I absolutely love your take on language in the classroom, neuroscience, dyslexia--thank you for providing this much-needed resource!

My question for you is: Do you know of any resources that cover integrating th Muriel Dwyer method with use of the Grammar Farm?

June 17, 2022 by Julia Volkman

Autism, Music & Letter Sounds

montessori & autism Q&AQuestion: I wanted to ask your thoughts on this because I am a total research mom nerd and found some interesting research. The good Lord did not gift me with the mental capacity for in depth neuroscience work but I do love reading about it!! :)

So, this research (I discovered in a TED talk by Joy Hirsch) basically shows that children with autism process spoken language differently than typically developing peers, but when music is played it seems they process it the same.

Do you think that this could mean, if my son isn’t understanding letter sounds when I’m teaching them (spoken language with Ispy) I could possibly make a song about the sounds and he may retain it better? I’m excited about this possibility because it feels like I may have found the key to connecting the dots for him. But we will see. 

This research is a bit dated so I’m interested to know if you’ve heard of anything more recent.

Here’s a link to a short summary of the research

And the Ted talk

Thank you! 

June 17, 2022 by Julia Volkman