Friday, October 26, 2012


I had a table at a craft bazaar this past weekend, promoting my book: Montessori—Living the Good Life. A person stopping by and, looking at the book, asked, “. . . what does ‘living a good life’ have to do with Maria Montessori?” The remark reminded me that my publisher questioned me on the title, as well. It seemed obvious to me, when I chose the title, that families understanding Maria Montessori’s way would know how to ‘live the good life.’ This is the passion I try to express in my book—that peace could reign if civilization came to appreciate the secret of childhood.

As adults, we spend much of our time focusing on our fears and discomforts, on our wrongs and evils in the world. As parents, we work hard to instill our values in our children. As teachers, we impart our knowledge to our students along with our standards. Surely goodness will happen if all the ‘ours’ come true, and we will live a good life ‘our’ way.

Maria Montessori brought a new understanding to this equation when she discovered, through observation and scientific experience, the secret of childhood.  By collaborating with the child’s developing intelligence, a new ‘OUR’ is created.  When all these ‘ours’ work together, ‘Living the Good Life’ is possible.

Please read The Secret of Childhood, The Discovery of the Child  by Maria Montessori, and  my book, Montessori—Living the Good Life.

Friday, October 19, 2012


Time for ghosts and goblins . . . makes me wonder how these terms were initiated. As children, my brother and sister and I toured our neighborhood in Miami trying to scare and waiting to be scared. We’d knock on neighbor’s doors for trick or treating, screaming, “BOO”. Sometimes a neighbor would be dressed as a ghost or skeleton and they would scream at us. It was a fun and safe time.

Today, scary news was revealed on Anchorage Daily News front page—stories of goblins and ghosts being created by Boy Scout leaders. Victims of their not-normal behavior will find monsters under beds and in closets for years if not a life-time. These monsters, now called ghosts, buried in the subconscious minds of young boys and girls may never have an opportunity to come out as a “boo”. These young, innocent lives may never have a chance to be normal. Some may grow-up as a victim who has learned to wear a predator’s costume.

 I’ve been involved in two generations of Scouts. My sister, brother, and I were all Scouts. Our five sons kept their father and me busy as Scout leaders. Being in the Scout community was a normal, healthy activity for our sons growing up. It’s pretty scary now. God bless our teachers for their patience, time, and talent to help our scared kids be normal.

If you have a copy of my book, Montessori—Living the Good Life, turn to the chapter, Rocks of Darkness, on page 121. See what can be done to get rid of our ghosts. We all have them.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


In Alaska, when the colors change, the snows come, the green landscape turns white, the human body shivers. We look for the first signs on the nearby mountains—termination dust, we call it. Many leave for warmer climate—snowbirds--not returning until the cold and darkness finish their spell. Those who stay may experience a depression with their spirits turning grey and cold.

It is a difficult time for the young child unless parents and teachers plan ahead for an environment of joyful activities appreciating the changing of seasons, learning to enjoy the life of nature, coming and going.

Marnie and Deb always have relevant and fun activities going on at their websites: and  Maren Schmidt’s newsletter,, is also an important website for teachers and parents to understand the theory behind many of her activities.  AND . . . for you wonderful homeschooler parents, there is a new E-book: Magellan-Montessori-Homeschooling-Early-Elementary, an Amazon Kindle edition.

Below freezing weather and our long winters in Alaska make it especially difficult to experience the joys of nature outside. I end with a quote of Maria Montessori’s: “Of all things, love is the most potent.”

Note: I'm having to close my other blog site due to too much spam. This is a spam free site. Some of the blogs on the other site will be re-blogged safely here. There is a contact address on my website: if you want to comment.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


 . . ., a technical term Maria Montessori uses frequently in her book, “The Absorbent Mind,” and in other writings—behavior the teacher observes.

Parents are usually concerned that their newborn is normal, that their preschooler, their first grader, their teenager is normal. For many different reasons, parents will love and accept their child as normal and might feel threatened for a Montessori teacher to speak of the process of normalization for their child. I remember, as a parent, I did.

Once I began to observe children in a Montessori classroom, I understood and looked forward to the natural or “normal” changes in the behavior of the new students in September and of their returning in January. Maria Montessori speaks of the characteristics of normalization including: love of work, concentration, self-discipline, and sociability. This process of each child, in a prepared Montessori classroom environment, takes time.

As a parent of five, in an environment of some Montessori homeschooling, but primarily public school, as well as two parents who did not model all the characteristics of normalization, it didn’t happen.  Our family was not totally normal. Bits and pieces of normality bounced around here and there.

Parents who can model normalization is the best environment, the best teacher.

“I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” Einstein
Please read my book, Montessori-Living the Good Life.