“Lemme Give You a Lesson In That.”

Nothing went as planned this afternoon. Nobody would poop when they were “supposed to.” Nobody wanted to eat or sleep or rest like usual. I began to panic–what would this mean for my sleep situation at night?? (That’s where most of my panicked thoughts lead)

As Miles began to tantrum, I started taking away his toys in response. One “shut up, Mommy!” meant one car on the mantle. Soon, the mantle was full, I was out of places to store the toys I was taking and, arms filled with contraband cars, I saw the folly in my situation while Miles sobbed at my feet. We all needed something different.

So upstairs we went. Off came everyone’s pants. Out came the bin of puzzles. Ahhh! Calm energy.

When I sensed it was safe to do so, I slipped out to get water for Miles and me. As I came back upstairs, I heard Miles say, “Felix, lemme give you a lesson in that puzzle.” I peeked in the door to see Miles showing his brother the farm animals and how they fit into the knob puzzle.

Why would he say such a thing? Because that’s the way they do things at a Montessori school. When the children want to work on a new project, they have to have had a lesson in it first. If the teacher is unavailable at that moment to give them a lesson, the students ask one of the older children in the multi-age classroom to give a lesson.

Or sometimes the older children offer themselves up to give a lesson. Collaborative learning! I love collaborative learning.

I spent so much time in college learning about ways to encourage collaboration in the writing process and have devoted so much energy to writing and teaching as a collaborative exercise. My very favorite thing about this Montessori school is the way collaborative learning is built into the very fabric of the educational experience there.

I was taken aback to realize collaborative learning should be part of our family life, too. I just hadn’t taken a moment to realize that before. It seems so obvious in hindsight.

What I also love about Miles’ lesson-giving is that he must have selected that puzzle as appropriate for Felix. It was still in the box when I went downstairs. I imagine that Felix attempted to lick one of the puzzles Miles was using. So, instead of just yelling at him to keep away (as he is known to do!), Miles found a “work” for Felix to do.

I know it won’t always–or even often–pan out this way. But what a peaceful, productive afternoon that grew out of the conflict we were having downstairs.

My younger son eventually got hungry and tired and took his nap. I was not privy to a joint nap time from the boys as I’ve grown used to. But it was so fine! I asked Miles to give me lessons in all sorts of things and got to feel invigorated as he explained each activity from his perspective–everything from his back hoe to his pants drawer.

I saw it all anew from his perspective and learned what he thinks is important about, say, his sweatpants. “These are my comfy clothes. I wear these for sleeping and sitting on the sofa with Daddy.”

I didn’t get time to myself to recharge today. But I didn’t feel as desperate for the time, either! Instead, I hung out with Miles and rather than meet in the amygdala, we had a nice time.

This entry was posted on Monday, November 12th, 2012 at 9:00 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


3 Responses to ““Lemme Give You a Lesson In That.””

  1. allison-lee Says:

    What a great thing to have happen! Hopefully the trend continues.

  2. Amy Says:

    You keep making me wish I had at least checked out the Montessori school here, even if only goes for preschool.

  3. Meredith Says:

    Love this!

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