Eli has been interested in counting again lately. I knew that he was making progress with his counting, but didn't quite realize how high he could count. That is, until last night, when Eli was practicing. He was bored because adults were talking and he started counting to himself and being silly. I kinda tuned him out for a moment, but when I realized that I was hearing "41, 42, 43..." I paused. When Eli got to 49, he continued "21, 22, 23...". I kinda broke him out of his counting by explaining that FIFTY comes after 49, not twenty, and helped him continue for a few numbers. He laughed and said I was silly, then started over again at 1. I listened to him carefully (while pretending not to listen at all). He got stuck at 17. I tried to help him, but he growled playfully and said, "I can do it myself!". He started the sequence again at 1. After saying "12", he began saying "one-three, one-four, one-five, one-six, one-seven, one-eight, one-nine, twenty." He continued to 49 again. I was still in surprised silence from hearing him describe the teen numbers (in terms of how they are written) instead of using their names. I did explain the names for the numbers in the teens, and then started talking to Eli about skip counting by tens (so that he can learn the names for numbers in the 50s, 60s, etc). He really wasn't interested, so I decided to wait for another day. He then asked me if I could count to 100 : ). I told him that I could, and that one day I would teach him. He likes to put his number cards in order (usually smallest to biggest), and I've started working with him with Montessori bead materials (mine set is a mixture of decimal mods and homemade materials).
On the literary side of things, Eli has been very proud of himself for really getting good at writing his letters. He has a hard time with letters that have a lot of curves (like capital "B"), but letters that are formed with vertical and horizontal lines (like E, F, H, L) are easy for him. He is learning to manage letters with diagonal lines (like X and A). He is truly learning how to put together words, but mostly with letter tiles (he's not hand writing words other than his name). He is still learning that letter order matters (and that they should be placed left to right). This will come as his reading improves, though....and already has dramatically improved over the course of the last year. He likes to work on sounding out simple words. We often ask him what he thinks words start with or end with by their sound, and he's usually right : ). Spelling words (slowly) for him often improves his pronunciation since Eli really knows his letter sounds. Montessori materials really seem to appeal to him and allowing him to use them when he wants has dramatically increased the rate at which he's learning.
It's alarming how quickly he picks up information. If you cannot tell, we've been using a lot of Montessori materials and techniques lately. I'd actually started with this last summer, with sensory activities I found on Pinterest, but we've snowballed into using a lot of "academic" activities, too. I like that (educationally) everything is decided by Eli...what he wants to work on/learn when he's ready/interested in working on it. We have materials set up across the room from his toys, so he can always choose a learning activity or free play time with his toys. I've also been reading a lot about Montessori's methods, and they are very, very effective for Eli. We plan on continuing using these methods for as long as possible, and I will try to start posting some of the activities that we use often.