Elementary

School Days

I realized that I havent updated much on what we have been doing in our school work lately! I think that we really havent been up to much. We basically are just moving forward in the work we have been doing! Bunny has worked really hard with fractions more then anything. She is also reading everyday and working on her project. We were able to sketch out a pattern plan for her skirt and it allowed some real life math practice. Pup has been really interested in coloring and writing letters in “words”. She is still not able to isolate the sounds in words to write them out, but we are starting to put the sounds she knows into words and she thinks this is exciting! Another new thing for her this week is the moveable alphabet! She knows almost all the alphabet sounds and I thought it was time to pull it out. She LOVED it! So we will start working with that! Pup is also coloring and creating things endlessly with all the craft supplies. But enough talk. Here is what we did this week!

 

 

 

Pup and learned about living and non living and the needs of living things!

All in all it was a good week! I love that they are interested and have been mostly good at working right along! I hope that you all had a great week! Happy Schooling Everyone!

 
 
 
 


School Week Wrap Up!

The week has been an interesting one. The time change really seemed to mess with all of our heads, so our work time in the beginning of the week was pretty rough. Everything was boring and both girls were rather less then interested in working! But we did get some good stuff done! Bunny (who decided that she hated math) started adding and subtracting fractions and she also was doing more work with the bead frame. She has been making some math problems on the chalk board all on her own and solving them. We also did a review on some of the grammar symbols we learned since we took a break from grammar. She also been working on All About Spelling and writing some letters to me! On a really exciting note, she has chosen a new project that I think will be a longer lasting one. She is going to design her own clothes! We’ll see how it goes! 🙂 Pup did her number rods all by herself, and she is working on her sandpaper letters! She also did a bit more work on her Cheetah project. She made a cheetah out of a pop bottle, painted some cheetahs on the board she made last week, and she traced an African map out of a book (she was really interested in where the water was). Here are the pictures of our learning!

 

 

 
 
 
 

 

 
So that was our week! It was really rough at points, but it ended well! Our Montessori work has been good. Pup’s interest in rivers has me thinking of some geography presentations, and maybe some zoology work tool. Her cheetah project seems to be winding down, so it would be a good time to add something new and fun! Bunny is still working away and I think that we are going to keep going with some fraction work and we are going to get back into grammar. Both are things she loves! I hope your week went really well too! Happy Schooling!


Montessori Work Plans for Kids!



Today was the perfect day of Bunny’s work plan working really well! She knew what she needed to do, and she did it with minimual help from me! We even got in a new presentatio! She had fun, I was relaxed and work was done well! In fact Bunny did mre math problems on her own the she would ever do with me assaging a set amount! Every Montessori homeschooler (well…any homeschooler) knows the value of a good work plan. Every homeschooler does it a bit differently, but we all have one, and we all need one! However, it is something that I think really becomes a sticking point for so many Montessori Homeschoolers. How do you require certain work while still offering the freedom to choose their own work? It is hard, but it is not only possible, but necessary. Without a work plan we dont know what was covered and if it was covered consistently. Just doing something one day and not doing it again for months doesnt always guarantee a solid understanding of the work. So we need a work plan. There are many different ways to do this and it really depends on your child and how they like to plan it out. These are the three that I have heard work really well.

1) Have a Daily standard plan: This is what we use. Everyday Bunny knows that she has to do a reading work, a writing work, a math work, and a spelling work. After those things are accomplished, she is free to choose whatever she wants to do. Usually this is where she is chooses some creative work. I will usually toss a presentation in here or there when she seems in between something that she needs to do. What I like about this plan is that it never changes. Bunny knows everyday what she has to do. The negative side to this is that sometimes Bunny will finish her “list”and be done. The thing we do is to have a set work time. We usually work after breakfast until lunch. This way everyone has time to choose more then just those few things. A positive is that on days when there is alot going on, Bunny knows the minimum that she needs to do, so we always seem to get something done!

2) Build a Weekly Plan: Over at What DID We Do All Day, they have a pocket chart for the week. The boys have a certain amount of work that they need to do over the week and they choose which cards go in which pockets. This allows them to place their work in the order they want it to happen while still have all the freedom! One positive to this is that they are learning to plan their time and week well! Another positive is that you can add specific things to the basket that you think need to be covered in a week. A negative to this (in my opinion) is that you need to make sure that you remember to get the plan done each week ( I tend to be a little lazy about that stuff).

3) Daily Plan Cards: This idea is from Jessica over at Montessori Trails. She used this idea with her son when he was younger, but it can be easily used with an older child too. Each day there was a basket with tasks that he would do, and baskets of other tasks for him to do in his free time! Each evening, she would make sure the tasks were replaced in the right baskets. Sticky notes on the back of the cards allows her to make sure that it was customized to the tasks! The positives of this is that it is incredibly customizable! If you dont do something, then it can be moved to another day with no problem. On the other hand it does require some work every evening to make sure it is all together. However, you can also sit down each morning with your child and work out the tasks that need to be done! It is a good way to go. If you think that cards take up too much space, you can use her paper clip idea too!

My hope is that this will help you to see how choice and freedom can still work even with a plan! We are not just making sure our kids have freedom to learn at their pace, we are also making sure that we are preparing them for life. Life requires a plan and time management and this is something important that kids need to learn! Learning this early is sure to help them manage their learning goals (and other goals) later in life too! There are many many ways to make a work plan for your family. In fact if you one that works really well for you, please share it in the comments! Sharing ideas makes it easier for everyone to find a plan for them! I hope you are having a great week! Happy Schooling Everyone!!!!!

Work for Everyone!

Well this week was a bit of a rough one with the places we needed to go and the things that we needed to do. Pup went to town on her Cheetah work, which I showed you the other day, and Bunny….well…we have had better weeks. I did spend some serious time looking into some new ways to do math in the hopes of helping Bunny remember how she really does love math. I dont know what to do with her about that. I re-presented bead frame and found some of the bead frame paper to help. We did a ton of problems and she admitted that it was kinda fun! 😉 I think that I am also going to present her with adding fractions next week. She loves them and has done quite a bit of work on the equivalencies. On the project side, we decided to boil her into to help it get darker, and it worked! She was so happy and excited that it worked! We were able to use a calligraphy pen to write words and she also dyed some paper with it to make it a nice light pink! She is now saving up some beet tops from some of our cooking to use to make some more ink! I guess I was wrong on her interest. She is really trying to find another way to do it. What I dont have is alot of ways to get information. There are no books on it in our library, and there are not too many good websites either. I need to do a little research for her I think. Not maybe the proper way, but it is just too difficult for her to sit and wade through all the website with me. So that will make it into our plan for next week’s worth! She has also been doing alot of creating with some of the creative materials on the art shelf! She found some wood scraps and made a stool. Here is some other work that she has done this week!

 

 
 
Pup’s work toward the end of the week was a bit more playful, but still good! She also has been creating a bunch of stuff with the art shelf! She used some wood scraps to make a computer. She was so proud of it and played with it all day! It now has a place of honor on her desk! We have also been reading more cheetah books and she played with her animals on the painted board of Africa she made!
 

 
So that is what we did during this week! I hope that we are going to have more fun this week, but with Pup’s birthday on Tuesday, we’ll see! 🙂 After all there is alot of other fun things to do with a birthday coming up! She and I decided on a zoo theme and she asked that I use her Cheetah model for decoration, so we will! 🙂 I hope you had a wonderful school week and are headed into a great weekend!
 


Montessori Monday~ School Room Makeover!

Well I have been working really hard at giving us more time to go deep into our interests. Bunny has been trying more things with ink (it is not going well) but we are going to try blackberries. Pup has been going non stop with cheetahs. And I have decided that I need to model learning by choosing my own project, so I will be learning about photography. That being said, I really felt we needed to re-evaluate our space and make it work better for an more open creative path. So my sister and I put our head together and came up with a new arrangement! One major thing that I felt we needed and that was an art area. In Project based homeschooling, a major element is having materials available to the children to create things as they learn. So we needed to make sure that thing we available. This meant adding a shelf, and that came with a whole set of new issues- mainly, where to put it? After a LOT of pondering (and a ton of furniture moving), we finally figured it out. Then it was all about putting materials on the shelves. I read about Montessori Moments school room tour and something she said really changed how I felt about organizing materials on the shelves. She said:

“Some people organize the materials by theme. For instance, one shelf will be all of the practical life materials. Another will be all of the language materials. I don’t do this. I place them on the shelves as they fit and are visually appealing. I like to think they will be more well-rounded with their choices this way or will pick something they are less likely to pick because it’s near something they love.”
What a brilliant idea to try. I was noticing that Pup has not been choosing any sensorial work and I am wondering if maybe having things in different areas all together might help make these things appealing. Not to mention, from a decorator stand point, the Montessori materials just beg to be a highlight of the decor! 😉 I do still have a few things I need to add to the walls to make it pretty, but it will happen eventually. But I’m sure you are screaming “Show me pictures already” so, here it is:
 
 

Here is Pup’s work table

Here is Bunny’s work table.

Next to Bunny’s desk is the continent boxes.

Next is is our open work table. I really want to use some wooden letters to write words like learn, create, and play above the table, and maybe add some colored frames with clothes pins to display art!

Here is our main shelves for work. As you can see, many of our more colorful works are our for display. I love this more colorful, playful way of making work available. The girls still have full access, its just a prettier way to do it.

Here we have Pink Tower, our easel, Brown Stair (top shelf of the cabinet), metal insets, and our money set.

Shelf two!

Number rods, Division board, golden bead, and stamp game.

The box in the middle shelf holds all of the kids homemade books. I also have the clock, sandpaper number, and botany puzzles.

Shelf three has our books to read, the snake game, rainbow puzzle, grammar symbols, and the zoology puzzles,
 
Inside this cabinet its really boring looking. I think that I need to make labels for all the boxes since Bunny has to look in all of them to find what she wants. In here is the rhyming box, cards and counters, puzzle control chart sets, thermic tablets, colored beads, fraction circles, and geometry sticks.

Shelf four has the multiplication board, globe, and spindle boxes.

Inside has all the practical life trays, and our bells. I finally found a way to have them in reach! 🙂

Here is the other side of the room.

I love this little sitting area alot! It seems to make the room, not just a school room, but also a place where others are welcome too! Plus I the display of materials here is nice. Above this shelf I really want to get some frames or some art to hang there. Plus a part of me is thinking about adding a little bunting! 🙂

I have the sandpaper letters in sight, the bead frame, knobbless cylinders, knobbed cylinders, sound cylinders, puzzles, and binomial and trinomial cubes.
And here is our new art center! Everything is our for them to use if they have a reason or something they want to create. I have taken pictures of each self so you can see better! Plus this is where the red rods found their home! 🙂

Here is paint brushes, Popsicle sticks, wooden pieces, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, bamboo rings, rhinestones, beads, buttons, pom poms, feathers, and a few other things I cant remember! 🙂

Here is our writing materials, markers, pencils, crayons, colored pencils, tape, scissors, glue, pencil sharpeners, etc.

Paper! I have small pieces, full sized pieces, and tracing paper.

The buckets have recyclables (paper towel tubes, wood scraps, boxes, lids, etc). The other bucket is material pieces like felt, cotton, etc.

Next to the art shelf is a bulletin board for display or work. Underneath is our work rugs.

This sweet sign my sister picked up for really inexpensive because the back was broken (can you tell? me neither). I love it! It is perfect for our new space!
 
So there you have it! This is our “new” space and I think that it will really work out well for us! I do plan on it getting messier then it did before, but so far its working out! Plus, I love that the girls can create to their hearts content, but it isnt all over my whole house! 🙂 Now I know you are dying for more Montessori fun, so I am linking up to Montessori Monday! Stop over there for tons more posts! Happy Schooling!


Montessori Monday~ Research

Today Bunny asked me to read a book about Legos and how they were invented. It was a long book, but we read it. She thought it was really cool and when we finished I asked her what she thought was the most important and most interesting thing. She told me that she thought it was interesting how the first Legos failed. They wrapped, became discolored, and didnt stay together. Then they found a new plastic type and added the circles on the underside of the brick. She loved that idea. I am wondering if maybe it makes her feel good that something so awesome started off as something less then perfect. So I asked her to write down her thought and she did. She did a beautiful job. I was inspired by Anna over the The Broad Stair when she talked about how research is done. She said that one child can read the work, one writes the work, and one edits. So I read and edited, and she wrote! It is a system that is working out and she is getting her thoughts out on paper! Now I just need to remember to have her read it back to me! Pup also listened to the book and drew a picture of legos! It was pretty cute!

 
We also got a bunch of other things done today too! Bunny played with the multiplication board and we worked on the subtraction snake game. Plus we worked on the some All About  Spelling and some handwriting. I read on Pintrest somewhere (sorry about not having a link) about how you can teach handwriting using a story. Each line is colored a different color, Yellow for the sun, blue for the sky, green for the grass, and brown for the dirt. Some letters sit in the grass and breath in the air. Some letters reach for the sun and keep their feet in the grass. And some letters like to sit in the grass and stick their toes in the mud! Bunny thought it was really cool and loved the idea. It was my hope that maybe she would start to understand lines!
 

 
 
 
 
 
Pup built a ton of puzzles, and she and I worked on some sandpaper letters. It is amazing to see how easily she picks those sounds up! I didnt do any Montessori work with Bunny at that age, so this is a new experience for me!

Here are the sounds she knows! 🙂
 
So that is our kick off to the week. It was pretty good! If you want to see more amazing Montessori fun, be sure to stop by Living Montessori now for Montessori Monday! Happy Schooling!

 


Changing How We Work!



Well after my playtime thoughts earlier this week, I have kept thinking. I have been thinking about our homeschooling and I feel like something isnt working out quite the way I want to. So when I read a post of Elizabeth’s about homeschooling renewal I thought that it was something that I needed to think about. Was Montessori still a good fit here? Bunny is learning well, but she is lacking a spark of interest and enthusiasm. I show her presentations, she listens, understands, but doesnt care. She really doesnt even want me to read stories to her about some of the things we have been learning about. So I was wondering if what were still doing was really a good fit. So I thought, I prayed, and realized that problem is not with her, it was with me and with how Montessori is done at this level. I am going to need to get way more excited about things, not just give presentation, but help her feel the excitement of what we are talking about. I mean, the earth tilts! Wow! We are all spinning in space at a slant! This isnt a boring thing, its exciting! The other thing that I need to do is to help her think and wonder over these amazing things in life! Why does the earth tilt? Is earth the only planet that tilts? Why does it tilt? How do we keep going around without tilting the other way? Hmmm….so much to think about, learn about. So why are we not doing that? Why do I give presentation aft er presetation and still not seem to find something that is interesting to her? Well my theory is this: Montessori elementary work is by nature a very social thing. From what I understand, most of their projects and research is done in small groups. They talk together, work out questions together, and find answers together. Someone will have one question and someone else may think of another. This cooperation is super important, and helps keep things moving forward,. Since it is only Bunny and me, that means that I am the small group friend. I am going to need to take a bigger role in making things interesting. I need to start asking questions with her, not just teach her things. I want her to go deeper. Dont get me wrong. She is doing a great job. She is loving her fractions and her writing. She is learning everything just fine, but I want her to think, not just memorize. My goal for education, way before Bunny was in Kindergarten, way before Montessori, way before she even knew her letters, was to have her know how to think, to find information, and to go after what she wants to know about. Curriculum doesnt mean a thing if the child is not interested. Now that is my opinion, and I know that kids do need to learn thing even if they dont want to, but they will learn more when they are interested. When I think back to what I remember about school work, I clearly remember the things that grabbed my interest~ Biology, Writing, History. I want to make sure that the things she is learning are interesting enough to remember it. I want her to have some enthusiasm! So I am going back to school. We are going to keep going with some geography lessons, but I am going to change some of my ideas a bit. I am going to add some story telling elements to the lessons. I want them to sound a little bit like the great lessons. Then I will end it with some “I wonder” questions. I want her to think about the story and maybe we can think of some new things to find out about together! I also want to invite her to draw a picture, find more information out in some books, and things like that. Maybe this will make a difference in her thinking about learning! I also think that maybe starting the day out with this would be better. Again, I know that she is not always going to love everything, and I know that she is not always going to get interested. But when she is not getting interested in anything, then I think that I could do something better. So that is my goal. To do it a little bit better to make it more fun, and not so much like a chore! Those are my thought right now! If you have an idea or some thought on this, please share in the comments! Happy Schooling!

Working Away!

Goodness, I dont know where to begin with pictures of the week! The girls have done alot of work and I am really proud of them! Bunny has written alot of stories since she found some paper doll stencils I had! Pup has done alot of math. She did the spindle boxes and the binomial cube! Well….I will just show you! 🙂

Yes we worked on the verb! Bunny loves it and totally understand it!

Pup has been working on sandpaper numbers. She set these up herself. She almost has those last three numbers!

 
Pup gave Bunny a book she made! Their hug was too sweet!
 
Here is another book that Bunny made all on her own! She asks me how to spell things before she write it on the paper. I always ask her how she thinks it is spelled! She is doing a pretty good job, and I can t wait to get the All About Spelling Book I ordered!

We also got to our lesson on the seasons! Bunny really got it and Pup was interested in hearing the names of the seasons. I wanted to find a little song, but I couldn’t find a good one. Does anyone have a season song they use?

Bunny has also been loving the bead chains! This work was pulled out all on her own and she skip counted all the chains! I dont have the cubing chains, but she adds some of our other beads to get to the longer one!

Pup did the binomial cube all on her own! She was so proud and excited!

She also did the spindle boxes! She really enjoyed it and seemed to figure out the number just fine.

She wanted to show me to take a picture! 🙂

Snake game work! We worked on combinations of 10!

Bunny and I also talked about time…again. It seems like maybe this clock is not the best one for learning. Hmmm…I think I need to make the one on What DID We Do All Day.

 
So there you have it! Busy as aways! We have an AWESOME craft planned for tomorrow! So be sure to stop on back. The girls have no idea and they are going to LOVE this! 🙂 Happy Schooling!


A Week in Reveiw

Well I have taken a ton of pictures this week and we have gotten alot done with 5 days of school! So I have decided that I will post them in one good LONG post! 🙂 So kick back and have a cup of coffee (tea, water,soda…whatever)! Here is what we have been up to discovering this week!

Pup is working SUPER hard with her letters. She has mastered two new ones this week and I even started stringing some of the letters together and sounding them out. She is loving it! Plus we have been playing lots of work games too! She calls it her “Spy” game! 🙂

 

 

 
She has also been working really hard to master those numbers! It seems like we have been trying to remember 6,7,8,9 forever! But she is still loving working together with them, so we will just keep tracing them! She also pulled out the spindle boxes and did the 0-4 perfectly on her own. She tried the 5-9, but she needed some help which she asked for.
 
 
 

 
Pup also pulled the globe off the shelf and did some geography work on her own! She set up the globe and a battery powered candle to be the sun! She then got the continent puzzle and I helped her with the names.
 

Pup also did a bunch of playdough work and practical life trays.
 

 

 
Now, Bunny has been doing great work too! She has been doing lots of geometry and work with angles and you have all seen. We also have have been getting into more of the operations work! We sat down the other day and pulled out the golden beads. I needed to find out where she was at, what she remembered and what she had mastered. I was really surprised by what she knew! She did a multiplication problem with three exchanged and no problems! So I pulled out a divison card for her to do. She needed a little refresher on it, but she loved it and after one problem, we switched over to the stamp game. She did great and loved thinking about dividing things up between different people at at party! 🙂 She also worked with the division board and we played addition board bingo!
 

 

 
 
 
Bunny has also been doing her own research. She has decided that she wanted to know about penguins. She I have been reading what she wants to know and she is writing about what she is hearing. She has also expressed an issue with her inability to spell properly. So I am looking into getting All About Spelling. Anyone have thoughts about that? Right now I am correcting her spelling after she writes it out. Then she writes out the proper spelling on her finished picture. It actually is increasing her confidence knowing that I will give her the right spelling. We also got to do the verb presentation. I didnt get to any of this in the primary work, so we are more or less getting to an introduction of the grammar symbol, we will go much deeper next year! She has also been reading more! Hooray! She read Dr. Suess’s Foot Book several times!
 

 

 
Another thing that we were able to do this week was to talk about the tilt of the earth a little bit more. We discussed how the tilt creates the solstices and longer days or shorter days! Plus about how the sun’s heat isnt hitting the earth in a straight line. I didnt get any pictures of our one presentation because I was too busy talking and moving the globe around the “sun”! 🙂
 

 
Ok…so that I think is a majority of what we have done this week! I have been pleasantly with all the work they have done and to be honest, there have been alot of moments where I have been sitting and just…well sitting! They seem to have needed to get back to work and once I get them down there, they are super happy. They have been pretty tired in the afternoons, but I think that all that work is wearing them out!  I really hope this week will be just as good! Happy Schooling Everyone!
 


The Earth Goes Around the Sun….

…and it also spins around and around! That is what we are learning here! Bunny and I got to another lesson today about how the day and night are a part of how the earth turns around. This lesson led us to talk about how noon is when we have the sun right over us and how that translates into the hours of the day. I think that she thought it was pretty cool! We also did the other lesson about AM and PM and what that means. Of course we pulled out the clock and talk some more about it too! These lessons are simple and easy to do. I made the charts that we needed and once I get my scanner fixed, I will share them with you!

 
Pup listened to our lesson for  bit, but she was rather confused and so I sat down with her afterwards! We talked about how the earth goes around the sun. Then I showed her that the earth also goes around and around, once a day! We did this for a bit and she really got it! She even drew a picture!
 

 
So there you have it! We are going to do some more work tomorrow too! I cant wait to keep learning together! Be sure to stop back, I hope to show off some fun Christmas/ advent work that I have out in my atrium posted this weekend, plus some other fun ideas! Happy Schooling Everyone!



brassard.georgie@mailxu.com