Enviroment

Back To It Week!

Hello! Anyone there? Boy I hope so! It has been a million years since I wrote anything and SO much has happened! I was thinking about giving up blogging but I found that I miss it. Part of me has been confused about what to write since we are not doing a lot of Montessori work anymore. But then I figured that you will care about us….not just our schooling method! So here we are! Back to blogging, back to school (today is the first day), and back to sharing ideas! I hope you feel free to join us on our life adventure! As always I wanted to share what we are learning about this school year, what our space looks like (it is  ever evolving), and how we are changing! So, I will start with the grand tour of our basement! It will look pretty similar to last years, but there are some changes! So jump right in and let me know what you think of it all! We put all of our chairs together to make a couch (every homeschool family needs a couch) we also made the small work shelf a book shelf. Finally we have the new green crates to hold the girls books. We are going to need these since I am working for e our business two days a week and we are going to be there (more pictures of that space later)! So far it is working out for us. You do see a few bits of Montessori since it is dear to my heart (plus Pup is still going to use a few math materials). I hope you enjoyed the tour. Stop back for more about our plan for the year later this week! Happy Schooling Everyone!

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Look For the Learning

Well I spoke too soon about my summer science plan! Today the girls were off working on their own project and when I got to see their results, I was amazed. They were detailed, well thought through, and full of deep learning experiences. What I was able to see, was not just a great project, but real learning. They were problems solving, doing geometry, creating simple machines, and taking an abstract pictures and turning them into something real. Bunny read a Lego book and decided that she wanted to build Olivia’s House. She spent the whole morning figuring out how to make her creation look like the picture, including a second story! Pup worked really hard today making a road with a ramp for her cars. She was so proud that it all lined up and worked!

 This is when I realized that my summer science plan was a little too much. I had plans yesterday to make all these wonderful learning boxes, but honestly they don’t need them or even want them. In fact it is a reminder to me that I need to relax! They are still learning with or without my amazing lessons! 🙂 I think that maybe their own free exploration with the aid of a few books and a random little definition would be more then enough.

When I began homeschooling I wanted my kids to love learning, to find joy in discovery, and to try new things. That is exactly what they are doing right now. It may not be in our school room, during school time, but it is happening here in our day to day life. It is a part of their life. That is what I should have seen when we were at the library and they choose a million books about a million things. They love to find out new things and that was my homeschooling goal. But as I looked at their creations, I realized that although my goal has always been to have real learning, knowing about the Montessori prepared environment has really allowed that to be possible in a daily way. The girls know where everything they need is, and they can try something and find everything that they need! It make a huge mess sometimes, but is it is a good learning mess! 🙂 What I need to do it make sure that I am finding the learning that is happening. It is a different way to see what the kids are doing. If I take a moment to see what they are learning and not just what they are doing, I think that I will be able to make sure that they have the bits that they may need and give a small lesson if the moment is right. Plus it is a way to make me stop and really look at them. Their play, and crafting is an expression of their true selves. The are showing me who they are in their work. They don’t need  me to create a million projects, they just need me to pay attention to the projects and learning that they are already doing! Happy Schooling and Learning!

 

Montessori Inspired Garden Ideas



Happy Official First Day of Spring! I am so excited that the spring is here…at least that is what the calender is saying! The weather is telling me something different, but there is always hope! And hope is what we did here today!We started the seeds for our garden in the house today and the girls are all excited to watch them grow! Bunny already has a good idea of how it all happens, but Pup and I have been learning about living things and she is really excited to see it! This has had me thinking alot about how to make gardening fun with kids. There have been alot of years when I pick out everything and do most of the work expecting the kids to somehow just absorb it. But it doesnt work that way. They need to get in the dirt, feel the seeds, watch them grow, dig them back up, and taste the food they grew right outside in the yard! In fact I think that Bunny learned more last year about seeds while she planted helicopter seeds in the garden, then she did any other way! So that leads me to a few tips on making gardening a learning experience in a Montessori way.

1) Start with the Basics: Before you get out in the dirt, it is important to talk about living things! Show then the difference between living and non living. Talk about the things that all living things need (food, air, water, and reproduce). And even talk about the needs and parts of plants. This will allow the work in the garden to make an impression and to allow them to draw the knowledge out of the experience. There are alot of simple books you can find about these things, and you can also use cards from Montessori Print Shop to help show present these ideas! These are simple, and easy presentations that take only a few minutes, but really give the child the vocabulary and information to learn more!

2) Get Messy: Gardening involves dirt and it will be messy~ Let it! Let them really dig in the dirt and use the opportunity to talk about the dirt that the plants need to live and grow in. Let it be a sensory experience. You will allow them to form a sensory impression that will stick with them forever! Plus you will go down in history as the coolest mom ever! 😉

3) Give up Control: This is probably the most important tip~ let go! Give them seeds, give them soil to work with (weather in a pot or in a part of the garden), and them go. Let them plan it, water it, grow it, pull it up and look at it, whatever they want. This is where the learning it and it will happen. Dont plan on getting a bunch of great veggies or flowers from this area, but plan on your kids understanding more about plants then you can ever teach!

4) Have two gardens: You hear me, two gardens! One for the kids to experiment and play in, and one to really grow things. That means when your kiddo wants to see the roots of the plant he planted and he pulls it up, it doesnt ruin your tomato crop for the year! Lets face it, if you are going to put work, time, and money into the garden, you want to have a product! So make sure that they have their plants and you have yours. This will also allow the children to see the plants grow and produce, even if they forget about (or inadvertently kill) the plant they planted. Plus the children will see you model how to work in the garden and your plants can also provide control of error for your child’s plants as well!

5) Grow Creative: Try to get new veggies and new plants that you dont usually get along with your regulars! This year we found multi colored carrots and pepper that the girls were really excited to grow, even though they dont like either veggie normally! If you have limited space or are growing in containers, look for dwarf plants to grow. There are little carrots, peas, and berries for growing small, so look around and grab something new and different! It may just widen your eating!

6) Make the Space Usable: Have small gardening tool, small gloves, small pots, small watering cans…small everything! Make sure that it is all available all the time for the kids, so that when they have a chance or the desire to get out and work in the garden, they can! Gardening is only really fun when you can get out there and do it! Its not a chore, its an adventure!

7) Control Charts for Everyone: Another idea is to make control charts of what the plants look like as they grow, what weeds look like that should be pulled, and even a step by step on how to water the plants are things that should be printed and laminated and available in the garden area! Your goal is to make sure that the child have everything that they need to garden successfully! When there is many things growing, having reminders of what is growing, what it looks like, and how to care for it makes it easier!

8) Start them Sooner: Another fun thing that we did this year was to start our seeds early inside! I love that we are getting to jump into this learning and really have time to watch it closely and study before we are in the warm outside where the kids tend to get distracted! 🙂 We will watch it all happen and then we get to watch it outside too! This works really well for us who live in an area where that last frost seems to be really late in the year! Kids tend to get impatient, so waiting to eat those tomatoes until the end of summer may cause them to loose interest!



 I am sure that there are a million more tips for gardening and I would love to hear what you do! I for one love to just keep it simply a chance for the kids to really dig, plant and learn! Any veggies we get are really a great bonus! I hope that this helps you get outside (when it warms up) and have fun in the dirt! I for one and planning on having a great time gardening in a laid back way with the girls this year! I hope you do too! If you want even more ideas, be sure to pop over to Pintrest and check out my Nature and Outside Ideas Board. Happy Gardening!

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~ A New Plan of Action!

Well after all of my questions last week and all of your amazing advice, I think I have a plan of action that is going to give our school room the focus it so desperately need! We started today and Bunny really did a great job with more structure! She even was able to choose a research thing to look into! Pup didnt fare so well, but I think that she needs to start understanding her boundaries when its school time (its time to work and she needs to stay in the school room). Anyway, I made a skeleton plan for the next 6 weeks. My hope is that this allows me to know what is coming up next and what we need to do from which album, while offering enough wiggle room to explore other things. It takes alot of pressure off of trying to make sure that we are getting it all in within the research work. I think that I may have underestimated our ability to get things done, so this list may need to be explained in the last couple of weeks of my plan.The plan ends us right at the beginning of December, so that will let us have a break for all the fun of holiday planning! 🙂 Here is what we are going to be up to!

Math:
Bunny:
Finger charts (daily, we need to do remedial work badly)
Snake Games (if interested)
Equivalency of Fractions
Addition of Fractions

Pup:
Sandpaper Numbers
Number rod work

Language:
Grammar (Adjective and Verb)
Grammar Farm
Word Study (compound words, prefixes and suffixes)
Mechanics (capital letters, period and sentence)
Daily Reading Practice
Writing work (I think I may have her start a journal)
Metal Insets to practice pencil control

Pup:
Sound games
Sandpaper letters
Sand tray
Metal insets

Geometry
Finish Polygon work
Angles Study

Pup:
Intro to shapes (using the metal insets since I dont have a geometry cabinet)
Geometric solids

Geography
Composition of the Earth
Formation of Mountains
Sun and Earth (space, if we get to it)

Pup:
Same as Bunny, but using the Primary Albums

Great Lessons
Finish lesson 4 and 5
Redo God With No Hands

Science:
Start the Physical Science album from Karen Tyler. Bunny never did it, so I will do it with them both and Bunny and I can explore it deeper.

Music
Sensorial Bell Work
Notation (If we get to it)

So there you have it! Like I said this is our plan for now. Bunny and I are going to sit down together each morning and write out a work plan. This worked really well today, so I have a great hope that is will appeal to her very organized personality. Today her work was:
 adjective/ noun family,
grammar farm,
reading,
writing,
finger charts,
state of matter presentation,
Grain Study (she asked to add this because this is what she wanted to learn about)

And we did it all! She had a good time, there was no major crying fits from her, and she was happy! Hooray! After she finished the traditional work, she wanted to see what kinds of grains would turn into flour when it is ground. We looked at some of the books we had about early humans and saw how they first ground grains a long time ago. So she asked if she could explore it with the mortal and pestle we have. I told her sure. She tried dried beans, corn, and oats. The oats were easiest and she spent an hour grinding them up into flour and sifting out the hard bits. She wants to do more tomorrow to make bread. Today she ended up with about a half a cup of flour!

 
Pup and I had a harder time today. I think that she needs more science work. She really loved the matter tray and I think she would love to start learning more about things like that. She really seems done with any practical life trays I put together. I’ not sure what I can find for her. I am thinking maybe a whisking work for a new interest. She is also really interested in sounds. I think that we need to start working on sandpaper letters. But today she was having none of it! I think that I failed to explain her the expectation of the classroom. So maybe tomorrow I will do that and see if it is better. However, she really is doing well! She did alot of work! One thing we do need to work on is the pencil grip! She really doesnt like me helping her try it differently and she really is holding badly. Anyone have a good thought on that? Here is what she has done!
 
I made a sensitizing finger tips tray for her to do. She liked it!

 
So there you have it! It was a great day and I think the plan is really offering us a much needed structure! We are going to try it again tomorrow! I know that it is going help me keep things going forward and take some of the floundering feeling out of it! If you want to see more Montessori work in actions, then be sure to stop by the Montessori Monday link up! There is always great stuff and great bloggers there! Happy Schooling everyone! And thanks so much for your support and help!
 


Montessori Monday~ Great Lesson 2~ The Coming of Life

Today we had our second Great Lesson and it was really great! This lesson uses the Time Line of Life to help show the kids how much life has changed since it started as a small drop of jelly. The Time Line serves as a point of research as they start to have questions that they want know about. It is a very large and it was fun to see them so impressed with all the animals and plants that were on the timeline. I made ours and it was a TON of work. I really do think that I may buys the set next year if I have money. But in the mean time this one worked well! I also wanted to find a way to send it home with the kids that joined us so that they can keep researching. So…with a couple of nights of hand drawing, I was able to make a small printable version of the tradition Time Line of Life! I am of course going to share this with you today! You can download it HERE!   We had the same group as last week and I was super impressed with all the great work that they did together! I love that they are able to work together to find out new information! Here are the pictures of all the work that they did today!

Here are a couple of Drawing of Fossils. C. was interested in them, so we found a book about how they form to read a bit of.

C. also drew a picture of how she thought a snake started with legs and slowly lost them. I’m not sure how accurate it is, but she thought it all through!

J. had a question about what time period a crab started in. I, of course had NO idea! So we were off to the computer for an answer! After that he was off researching things about all sorts of animals, eagles, arctic wolves, lions, etc. (In case you were wondering about the crab, the first ones were found in the Jurassic Period).

Bunny got really interested in his work and they started working together! Since the other girls were working on a show, Bunny and J. decided to do a little presentation on Pteranodons. The both wrote the information and Bunny drew a picture!

Here are the facts that they found:
They have hallow bones (to fly better)
Their wing span was 6 meters, or 20 feet.
They eat fish
They were found in the United States and they were out of Europe!
 
Great facts huh? In fact they all found some things out and then had a show for the moms! I love that they have a little show together! Bunny’s friend C. loves to preform and this is something that she encouraged everyone to do! In fact she really organized it well and made sure that everyone was welcomed and that each presenter had a chance to speak! They all did a great job, and since public speaking is really not something Bunny will do without a nudge and this is good for her too!
 
Bunny’s friend C. introduced everyone and welcomed them to the Dinosaurs show!

C. told about her fossil pictures and what she learned.

Bunny and J. shared their work about the Pteranodons
(They had H. draw them a picture of a Ptranodon)

C. Shared her work too. She drew a variety of animals that she saw on the timeline.

They all took a bow in the end! 🙂
 
There was alot of other work done today and I love that everyone was busy and happily working! It is so cool to see it all happen together! 
 

 
It was a successful lesson. The time line worked out well, and I was able to send a small on for the kids to print off to use at home! Bunny really loved the dinosaurs, and she also said she wanted to know more about mammals, baby mammals to be specific! So I will be digging into some zoology albums for some ideas to help her find material for research! If you have a good idea, please share it! I love to have ideas!
 
Again, if you want to download my Time Line of Life, you can find it Here. It is a really large file and google is telling me that it cant do a preview or scan it for viruses due to the size. Ugh. So I will try and fix that, but I promise it is safe! 🙂 Since you cant see it as a preview, here is what the pages look like!

So there you have it! I hope you enjoy the Time Line. I really wanted it to make something that you can use in your great lessons in case you dont have the time to make one, or the money to buy it!
It has been a great kick off to the week and I am making sure I link up with Montessori Monday! So be sure that you stop over there! I hope you kicked off your week well too! Happy Schooling!
 


Montessori Monday~ The God With No Hands!

Well today was the big day…we had our first great lesson! I was all ready for it and was super excited! Plus to make it even better, we had some of our friends over to join us for the lesson! It was really exciting! I didnt have a chance to get alot of pictures of the lesson (I only have so many hands) but I did make sure to take pictures of the demonstrations! I had everyone read the story before hand because I had heard that for alot of classes the story with the demonstrations were really long and that there were issues with the kids being able to absorb everything at once! So I thought that if we read the story first, then they would be able to think about the story and give be excited by the experiments without getting overwhelmed. To be honest, I’m not sure if it helped, but the kids sure remembered alot of it!  They were really interested in all of it and they loved having the charts and experiments to go with the story! We got started right away and it went so well! Here are the pictures that I have. I made the charts myself and I am also offering them to you, my readers for your own classroom! 🙂 All you need to do to download them is click the link below the picture!



Demonstration 1
(Solid, Liquid, and Gas)

Demonstration 2
(Attraction of Particles)

Demonstration 3
(Particles of Liquids)

Demonstration 4
(State of Matter Depends on the Temperature)
 

Demonstration 5
(Heavy Particles Settle First)
 
 

Demonstration 6
(The Volcano)
 

 
Like I said the lesson was really cool and the kids were fascinated and interested! In fact after I finished the story, they started working! I shouldnt feel so surprised, but I was! One of the kids wanted to repeate an experiment, the girls grouped together to draw the universe, and I even pulled out some of my solar system cards for another kid work with! WOW! They all were so involved in what they were doing and they all were doing cosmic work with very little help from me!
 
Exploring what will happen if you fill the test holding water all the way up with molasses. He wasnt sure if the water would flow out or the molasses! It turns out the water will over spill first!

Here are the girls coloring the earth, coloring and cutting stars, and labeling their work!

Here is Bunny’s stars. We talked a bit about a constellation and what that was!

Working with solar system cards and matching them to the ones that hang on the ceiling!

Redoing the attraction of particles experiment

Here I sat with J. talking about why the different pieces of paper sink and others stay floating. I asked him why he thought it happened. He thought that the paper absorbed the water. I asked why he thought the others still floated. He thought for a while and we found that some of the hearts were doubled up from the punching, so maybe that was part of it. It was really interesting to see him thinking and working it all out! His mom told me later that he said, “it was cool because every time I asked a question she just told me to try it out and see what happens. She never really answered my questions, I had to figure it out. It was so fun!”. Cosmic Education is happening all right!

 
It was ever so great! I loved all the work that the kids did! They all worked so hard. After it was about lunch time, the girl said that they had a show to preform! They each came up and told all about what they colored! It was really great to see them sharing their work! They were so proud!
 

C. shared her brothers work for him since he was too shy! 🙂 What a good big sister! 
Bunny was in charge of making the signs that gilded people to the Star Show!
 
All in all it was a big success! They all did a great job and I am so excited that they were inspired! After everyone left, and the girls rested, asked Bunny if there was something in the story that she wanted to know more about. She said that she wanted to know all about the stars! I asked what she wanted to know, and this is he list of questions:
What are starts made of?
How do they get their light?
When did they start to appear?
And…well…everything!
Good questions huh? I asked her where she could find the information and she said we should go the library. So off we went! While we were there, Bunny also picked out some books about rocks and minerals! So I guess we will be learning about that too! 🙂 Hooray for Cosmic Education!
I will be linking up to Montessori Monday! Be sure to stop over there for more Montessori fun!


Montessori Monday~ The First Day of School!

Today we “officially” started school for the year! We are starting small and easy for the next week or two before we dive into the Great Lessons and all the new work. I think that all of us need time to readjust and get focused. Now as a homeschooler, we tend to forget things like school pictures! So when I found out about the Not back to school blog hop and their school picture week, I knew I was going to have to try some of the fun ideas I have seen on pintrest! Here are the results! My little students for the year!

Pup who is now officially a Pre-Schooler!

Bunny who is in first grade!

Now since my brothers and sisters are homeschooled as well, I thought that I should get them involved too! 🙂 Lots of fun pictures of all of them too!

I even got the big kids to play along! 🙂 That was a once in a life time thing!


The girls were pretty excited to start school today and both of them were ready to jump right in! The morning went really fast and both girls were rather tired after all their work! We started off the day with getting all of the new school supplies out and organizing the folders for finished work. After that I showed the girls where everything had moved and how to do the new trays. For my trays I have not done any themes, just stuck to the basics for now! You know me, I am sure that there will be some theme trays later!

Ok….I love new school supplies! Don’t you?

Color mixing with droppers
(This one was a Big hit)

Pouring water with a funnel

Water transfer with a sponge!

Scooping Beads

Transferring marbles to the suction cups
These trays are mostly for Pup, but Bunny wanted to do them too. So our deal is she can do one or two trays before she begins her work and she can do as many as she wanted when her work is done. Pup worked super hard all by herself today. She did all the puzzles in our school room and most of the trays. She also pulled out the Brown Stair and I helped her with some sandpaper letters and numbers. Bunny and I set the goals to work on some finger charts for math, and she also chose to learn money. After that we worked on some letter sound review and writing words. It was fun to watch them working again!

She built all the botany puzzles, all the zoology puzzles, and the Melissa and Doug puzzles!

She has been trying to write letters all over the place this summer. I think she is ready for the letters. We are taking it slow, but she loves them!

She was pretty excited that she did it. She did a great job and even self corrected the mistakes she made! This was only the second time she had ever built it! I guess we are ready for some extensions soon!

Bunny was so funny when she was doing the addition finger charts. She knew the answer before the chart and I told her could just write it down. It seems to something she is picking up quickly, or at least figuring out how to work the problem in her head!
So there we go! We are off to a great start! Like I said it will be rather slow and easy to start! I will be linking up to Montessori Monday! Make sure you stop back tomorrow for Taking Time Tuesday!


Our School Room 2012- 2013

I dont know about you, but I love to see pictures of people school rooms! Especially as the new school room is about to begin! That is why, when I found out about the 4th Annual “Not”Back-to-School Blog Hop, I knew I just had to join in the fun! Last week was all about curriculum and this week we are talking school rooms! Awesome right?
So as many of you know, my school room is in my basement. After moved in, my hubbie remodeled the basement to make it a really amazing space! Having a Contractor for a hubbie has its perks! 😉 We have some built ins at the far end for shelves and I also added one in the middle (you know how much space Montessori takes)! We have two small tables for the girls to use as well a big one. I find that the girls tend to pick the small table for tray work, but when there is a lot of writing or bigger work, they choose the large table! So everything is there! This year my issue was how to have both levels with enough space for each in one room. I found more space by putting away alot of my book and getting rid of some other ones. I also moved everything around so that there is more logical “area” for each subject. It doesnt look too different at first glance, but I hope it will make things better. Anyway, on the pics! That is what you are here for!

Here is is! I will start the tour on the right hand side of the room!

Small Table

These shelves used to hold my practical life trays that I changed out with my themes. With Bunny moving to up to elementary, I wont need quite so many, so I made the my sensorial material. I was so happy to find spots for all of it (except the pink tower) and I think that it will help Pup use it more since its in the line of vision!

Next we have the Continent boxes! I am hoping that we can use them so more!

Here are my built in shelves! I will start again at the right!

The first shelf is going to be my Elementary work shelf. Alot of the work is still in the other shelves since there is a cross over. However, the work that is just for Bunny’s elementary, will go here (or as much of it as I can fit)! You can see the shelves are rather empty, but it will change as soon as we start working! 🙂 I have the Money box set here and the multiplication board out right now.

Underneath there is the finger and control charts for math as well as the equation cards
The next shelf has the colored beads, and our clock work.
Finally there are fractions and the division bead board.

Next shelf hold our other math work for primary (I figure Bunny will still pick from here too), and also some practical life trays and the music bells (if you want to know how to make these, you can visit What DID We Do All Day). I also have brought our Good Shepherd statue downstairs so that the girls can have quite moment with the shepherd when needed.

Math work
Golden Bead work (I left it out, but I think we may be done with it for a bit.)
Then there is sandpaper numbers, and spindle boxes.
Finally we have the table top number rods and the binomial and trinomial cubes.

More practical life work
Above the practical life work, we have some of our resource books. I want to make sure that there is available research material for when the girls have questions. I cant run to the library everyday! 😉

Underneath is mostly botany and zoology. I have the puzzles and the control charts. There is also some Melissa and Doug puzzles that Pup loves!

Finally on the far left, we have our language material! We have the grammar farm which will be used alot I hope this year (Once Bunny starts to read better)! I have our easel set up for letter practical and next to that is a letter holder with inset paper, and handwriting paper. Next to that is our readers for Bunny to practice and her language notebook.

Underneath is the grammar symbols and inset tray.
Next is all of our metal insets.
Finally there is the sandpaper letters and the sand tray!

Pink Tower

I have two bulletin boards. One is low so that the girls can hang their work up, and the other one holds our resource charts and calender.

On the big table, there is all the art supplies and pencils, paper, and Bunny’s work plan booklet. In the caddie, there is markers, colored pencils, regular pencils, scissors, crayons, tape, and pencils sharpener.

Finally we have made it full circle! I have our last little table and you can see our work rugs in the corner of the stairs!
This is an area for where the apron, brooms, and other practical life things are on the other side of my basement. All of it is easy for them to reach and use!
So that is where our Montessori Magic happens! 😉 I love it! It really makes me feel calm down there. I love how it seems to work out for our needs and I am hoping this year is going to be amazing! I hope you will stop back to see more as we go! I will be documenting everything! 😉 Happy Schooling!

I am linking up to some Parties!

“Not” Back to School Blog Hop
Montessori Monday

Nature is an Important Playground!

Yesterday we headed out to a garden type park near our house! It was a really beautiful day! The sun was shining, the weather was pleasant in the trees, and there was so much for the kids to do. There were giant musical instruments, a natural inspired obstacle course, a bridge over a bubbling brook, a cave to crawl through, and a little play hut! All of this was surrounded by community gardens and a small wooded area! As my friend and I sat there I realized that the kids were SO happy and peaceful. This area seemed to calm them, excite them, and allow them to play without us having to get involved too much. In fact, with my girls, I could have sat there and read a book while they were happily involved in their own explorations. It really made me think alot about the natural playground movement. There is a group of people out there who have found that playground who use natural materials provide kids with a better chance to use their imagination, and move at the same time. I really do think that there is something to that. If you give a child a stick, it is amazing to see what they do with it. They make it a sword, a spoon, a walking stick…pretty much anything! Just as Maria Montessori discovered, children are draw to a respond to natural products! Nature speaks to their souls and feed their minds. It calms their bodies and inspires creativity. So much from something so simple. In fact I think that most kids need time outside. My girls need me to get them outside several days a week at least (even it there is rain or snow). What do they do? The play, they sit and think, then make things, they find peace. Have you found similar things with your kids? Does going outside seem to make them feel better?

Happy Natural Play Everyone!
I am linking up over at Imagination Tree for It’s Playtime linky party! Stop by and see all the cool things that people are playing!
powroznik@mailxu.com