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Malcolm Robertson
Canberra, Australia
These days I'm a freelance writer specialising in madcap old cars. Great believer in Montessori!
Interests: Life takes interesting twists and turns. I love old cars and use them when I can as the basis for launching my views on an unsuspecting audience on unsustainable growth in both population and economic activity. I'm still an active parent though, so involved in my daughter's dance club, etc...
Recent Activity
Leah dances - not necessarily while working, but once she has achieved what she set out to do, off she goes into another world of music and movement...
Toggle Commented Oct 2, 2014 on Finding internal satisfaction at how we montessori
Brilliant post Kylie! I should send you some photos of Leah's approach to work at the moment. Regular readers will know she graduated from our Montessori school two years ago and is now in Year 8 at a traditional high school. Her desk is always completely tidy with a place for everything she needs and everything usually in its place. She is currently doing a science assignment on the human body and this, as work in progress, is neatly spread out on her working rug on her bedroom floor, in the same way as Montessori students are able to do, with different parts of the assignment (not the body) sorted and waiting to be compiled into the final product. Just a more mature version of Otis and his paints! :-)
Toggle Commented Aug 31, 2014 on Respecting the process. at how we montessori
Ah, Cycle 2, Kylie. I remember it well. I think I mentioned before how Leah amazed her year 7 science teacher by knowing the answers to the question about the differences between solids, liquids and gasses. "We learned that with Lucy in Cycle 2" she told me! Along with a huge amount of other amazing information that keeps popping up when you least expect it. Caspar will have a great time... Thanks for sharing the Jennifer Morgan books. I'll seek them out, they look terrific.
My garden, when no-one else is home! Just the native birds, me and my empty brain! :-) Oh yes, and the dog - his brain is definitely empty...
Toggle Commented Sep 27, 2013 on Our quiet place at how we montessori
Lovely photos Kylie, as always. That Ferris Wheel looks bigger than in previous years, no wonder you were trying to stay calm! Leah used to love Floriade but as she grew older she found the crowds and the queues a bit daunting (as do I!). Looks like you chose a good day - mid-week, damp and early in the season...
Good work Kylie! Exciting news! Now that I have number two grandchild on the way, you can be sure of my custom for years to come!
Toggle Commented Sep 10, 2013 on Some links and my big news! at how we montessori
Leah has had a "glass of wine" with dinner for many years. Red is blackcurrent cordial and white is lime cordial. No glasses have ever been broken (well, not by her - can't say the same about teh parents!)...
There is something inherently appealing about wooden toys though they are not always as attractive to older children searching for more intricate challenges (such as found with Lego). But, out of all the toys my children have migrated through over the years, the only one that remains, is still in use (occasionally), and gets added to at Christmas time each year, is our Brio wooden railway. We bought our first piece when Jeremy started cycle one in 1981 - it now covers several square metres of floor and is a great attraction for young visitors. A second generation of railway controllers is now about to embrace it as Jeremy's son William is now 2 and almost ready to participate. He will have to visit his grandfather though...
One approach to more egalitarian education funding, which I think happens in some countries (maybe this is how Sweden does it), is for the State to determine a dollar value it is prepared to pay to educate each child and those funds go with the child to which ever school is chosen for the child. I seem to recall that this is known as the "voucher" system. It seems a more sensible approach but already I can hear the outcries from those who believe the State should provide free education (at the highest level it can afford) and if you choose not to join a State-run school, then you pay the full cost elsewhere for your alternative choice. At least in Australia non-State schools do get a slice of the State's education funding but not without a huge amount of red tape and aggressive bad press.
That will be something to do with statistics and starting from a low base, I expect. Mothers shouldn't take it to heart! :-)
As a dad I have always tried to be "involved" but I am not very good at the sitting with children and doing stuff sort of approach, so I am always in awe of your posts Kylie. When my older children were young I guess I saw my role as mainly entertainer rather than educator, so it was off to the park in the early mornings while the mother slept in, bike rides and that sort of thing. As they got older, primary school and then secondary, it was more about keeping touch with their school through voluntary positions on committees and boards, and being at special events such as sports carnivals and plays to see them perform. With Leah I have enjoyed being more involved thanks to our Montessori School's Parent-toddler program which I used to attend with Leah but now I'm back to the voluntary roles again. I do think children (even adolescent children) like to see their parents interested in what they are doing, whether it's their schooling or their extra-curricular activities and being more involved in a voluntary capacity is just that little bit more being a spectator on the edge of the footy ground.
Well said Kylie - enjoy the moments. I still do and I'm thankful for our society that allows us such moments. As can be seen from events elsewhere, we are lucky to be born into our democratic countries where choice and personal freedoms are the norm...
Toggle Commented Jun 21, 2013 on Appreciative of the everyday at how we montessori
Malcolm Robertson is now following howwemontessori
Jun 17, 2013
Sewing skills as well, Kylie! You are multi-talented. If someone could lend you a daughter, we could use those skills making cali-dance costumes... :-)
Toggle Commented Jun 16, 2013 on DIY Sensory Bean Bags at how we montessori
Leah was the same. She found the readers a bit tiresome and preferred to be read to, preferably books of her own choosing - we meandered through the fairies, the Famous Five, Nancy Drew, Deltora Quest and now onto Agatha Christie (among many others). At twelve, she still likes to be read to as a going to sleep/end of the day routine, though for the last three years we have been doing a chapter (or a few pages) each and sometimes she just takes the book away and reads it to herself. At six there was some parental concern that she would never read to herself! Caspar sounds like he is doing fine and good on you for not pressuring him - more parents should learn to "back off"! :-)
Good on you for joining Kylie! It is abuse, it is a tsunami and it just keeps getting worse. How do you stop the "greed and growth" philosophy espoused by both government and business?
Toggle Commented May 13, 2013 on Moms Not Lovin It at how we montessori
As a grandparent, parent of a 12 year-old, and self confessed old car nut, I don't often buy baby magazines, but this one is a must. I'm off to my local newsagent now...
Just like Otis and his passionfruit, I guess everyone can concentrate when they want to or have to, but the Montessori system certainly helps to develop concentration skills. Leah (now 12) can block out everything, especially a parent's voice, to concentrate on the task at hand. And in an example of both her Montessori-developed concentration and organisational skills, she spent an hour late last night colour-coordinating her very complex Year 7 timetable (it takes two weeks to go through a complete cycle) before falling asleep on the job. I wish I had taken a photo...
Ask him to read my interview that Kylie did last year, Maria. And from there he can swing across to Trevor's site and have a look at his fantastic Youtube clips which tell it all in a marvellously succinct way.
Toggle Commented Apr 25, 2013 on Kylie interviews Leah at how we montessori
Torture - poor Otis! But satisfaction in the end :-)
Fantastic Kylie - what a great idea. I hadn't seen them before - a set will make a better birthday present than the other one we were talking about!
Toggle Commented Apr 21, 2013 on Sunprints at how we montessori
I have two large scrap books for each year of Leah's schooling from Parent-Toddler through to the end of Cycle 1. You have to be a bit selective in which maps, tracings, paintings, and other works you keep otherwise there would be four or more for each year! And make sure the works' creator is not present when selections are made, although I did ask if there were any "special" works that needed to be kept. I have also trimmed the edges of some of the larger works which I'm sure Picasso would have objected to me doing. When we look back on them now, though, both the parents and the Montessori child find them fun! I'm still trying to work out what to do with Cycle 2 and Cycle 3 work which is more "normal", ie lots of exercise books full of creative writing and strange creatures made from paper mache...
I've always felt the big work cycle at school is an important element in Montessori, that whole concentration thing. Three hours with no interruptions seems a long time for a child, but it works. As adults, it is so hard in life to be left alone to concentrate on what you are doing, yet when you are, or when you organise it so you are, it is amazing how much more productive you can be, and how satisfied you feel with your achievements. Jeremy, now 34, is still very good at finding time to himself to concentrate on the important elements in is life. Leah, at 12, hates to be interrupted and is very good at ignoring her parents unless food is on offer...
...and not a chocolate Easter egg in sight - well done Otis! At 12, we still have to have an Easter egg hunt, but the Bunny is instructed only to hide dark chocolate eggs these days.
Malcolm Robertson is now following The Typepad Team
Feb 9, 2013