Homeschooling

Math Discovery

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If you have been following along here for a while, you know that math has been a very interesting journey. I did Montessori math up until the beginning of the year. We then switched to Modern Curriculum Press. We have been using this for a while, but it is rather limiting for Bunny. I feel like we worked so hard with the Montessori materials to introduce concepts that were really big, but the Modern Curriculum Press book just really focuses on the basics. It doesn’t present any really big concepts for exploration. So, at the recommendation of my mom (a 20 year homeschooler) we ordered Miquon Math. Now I will say that you do need the annotation book that has the teaching guild in it. It helps to understand what they mean by some of those complicated looking pages. But once you really start looking at it, it is really simple and easy to get into. Miquon Math is a simple program that uses Cuisenaire Rod Manipulatives to help teach simple, complex, and big concepts in math to elementary kids! I love that we are now doing all the basic functions, along with fractions, algebra, and geometry. The goal of the program is to allow kids to build their math knowledge in a simple, gradual way while offering flexibility and lots of variety. Bunny is able to pick up the work book and work on her own with very little effort on my part! It is exactly what I wanted. She can use the rods when things are hard (they are metric so they work well with the Montessori materials too) and she is really having fun with it. In fact she is doing 10 or more pages a day! And my prep work?….0! I can see the easy transition to workbook from the traditional Montessori sequence. I was really concerned about leaving all the materials behind just now. This book has manipulative work built right in, so Bunny is still working on “seeing” those big concepts and little one too, while still retaining the ability to choose to do it in her head! It is a truly great program! I am really happy with it and with how simple it is for me! You know that the switch to elementary work has been hard for me, and this math program makes me feel so much better about what we are doing. The best part of all is that Bunny loves it! She thinks it is games and the best part of school! We are back to loving math! In fact is the most “Montessori” math that I have found in a program. Plus, as far a math program goes, it is really affordable! How about you? Have you tried this program?

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What we have been doing!

Today was the start for a great week! The girls worked really hard at all their work and we got a lot done. However, there are not a ton of pictures. Why you may ask, well because their work is getting pretty boring to photograph. No offence to the girls, but work books, and reading just starts to look the same no matter what day I take the picture. So that leads me to wonder about what I can share here on the blog. Do I talk about the day to day work that is really rather boring unless there is new discoveries and adventures. So I think that is what this is going to be about. New discoveries and adventures, with just a smattering of boring same old same old! After all, Montessori work and homeschooling Is ever evolving so there is bound to be lots of all of those things! So what are some new discoveries that have been happening here? Well Pup have been beading her own jewelry, Bunny has been learning to drive the tractor, and I have been learning all sorts of things about how to take better pictures! Here are some pictures:

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These are the little things that are making life our own special adventure. The girls are learning things as they find joy in their own projects. Pup is practicing her coordination with her beading along with sorting and patterns. Bunny is learning about how things run and how to drive (with Daddy’s guidance of course). These are real skills and real learning. This is Montessori learning at its best. Child based, interest led, and exciting! Sometimes I find it really hard to see what we are doing or if we are really doing ANYTHING. Its that feeling that says we haven’t done anything pintrest worthy here in a long time. After all  we haven’t don’t a craft project, or cooked an amazing meal together, or gone on a hike together. We are just here, doing normal everyday things, and it is enough. It is learning, it is special, and it is discovery moments here in our house! How does discovery happen in your home? Does it look Pintrest worthy or is it just plain everyday stuff?

School Days

Well my week has been rather interesting! We had a few unplanned events,  but we are still getting in some work time! Some interesting things have been happening in the past week or so, Pup is flying ahead with learning the golden bead work, plus she is reading small word pretty well! On top of that she has even played with some sensorial materials and is still writing and drawing up a storm!

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 Bunny has been doing a great job with grammar, and with her geography this week (geography will have a post all its own). On an unexpected note, today it seemed like she totally forgot all of the place value work we have done over the past few years. Sigh…..we are heading back to pick it back up and I have a new math program on order to try! This one deals with really big concepts and does it in a fun way. We will see how that works!

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 So that is some of the work the girls have done this week so far! I think it has been pretty good! I am hoping to get a little bit more done tomorrow in addition to cleaning the house and a doctor’s appointment! Wish me luck! I hope that you have all had an amazing school week! Happy Schooling!

Technology and Montessori

Where do you stand on technology? Some moms are against all of it. Some are all for it. And some, like me, and somewhere in the middle. But it is something that I think all of us are forced to address in this high tech world we live in. How much is too much? How much is helpful? How do we incorporate it into our school rooms in a responsible way? These are the questions we face, and I doubt that there are any really clear answers. I have found us using more technology bits as time goes on here and I know that that is not going to go away. So what do we use and where do I draw the line? We don’t have ipads or smartphones, but we do have computers! So here is what we do:

1) Research: I use the internet to help the girls look up things that they want to know right now. It is often my first resource go to and the girls are now asking me to look certain things up as they have a question. However, it is not our only source for research. After find the initial information, if there are more questions or more interest, we will head to the library to learn more. I want to make sure that my kids know how to find information for anything that they want to know. In my opinion, education is nothing if you don’t know how to find the information for things you want to know. I think that this hybrid of research materials will help them learn this skill.

2) Inspiration: Sometimes you just need a good dose of inspiration! We have used pintrest for a long time and I know that the girls love to scroll through the pictures and they also love the projects and recipes we find there to do together. I use it to find all kinds of learning ideas for when I am in a rut and generally want something fun! 🙂 However, anther interesting use I have found is to inspire the girls to do new work! Today for example, I showed Pup some different extensions for the knobless cylinders and she was excited to try them! Hmmm….funny how showing her these things a few weeks ago didn’t interest her. but looking at pictures of them online made her get to work! Bunny has been know to try some different work after seeing someone else on a blog working on it! One of the great motivators in a Montessori classroom is peer work. Watching someone else do something always makes it more fun! Since we don’t have that, the next best thing is to use the extended classroom of the internet!

3) Communication: My girls don’t type their own emails yet or have a facebook account or anything like that, but we still manage to stay in touch with friends and family that we don’t see much. They scroll through facebook and see pictures of their cousins, hear about “bloggy” friend’s work, and share pictures with family of what they are doing! I want my girls to slowly realize that the internet is a means of communication, not just a place for entertainment!

4) Entertainment: Well everyone knows that the internet is entirely entertaining! 😉 There are games, movies, and places to shop! However, in all honestly I don’t let the girls play much on it. With the exception of a few apps on my sisters Ipad, the girls really don’t get much play time on electronics. But I am sure that as they get older it will become a part of our school routine. We do however watch a lot of TV, especially using Netflix. However, they have pretty strict set of shows that they are allowed to watch. They are not allowed to watch shows that I think are crappy tv. Why? Well…honestly when the girls watch those shows their attitudes start to change and they get snippy and mean. Seriously! So they watch mostly PBS shows and a few other things! But that is about it.

So those are the main ways we are using technology here in our school room. What about you? How do you utilize or not allow technology in your home? Do you have rules?

 

She can READ!!!!!!!

Well Pup completely surprised me today by showing me she can read a little bit! We were reading a story the other night and she looked at the sign on one of the pictures and read “jail”! I was shocked. She said she knew it from a show. But today I pulled out the sandpaper letters and we were making words together. She was sounding them out pretty easily! So I pulled out some Pink Series word cards. She read the words and then found the picture that went with it. I was shocked! She is really starting to read I think that she is still working on some of the letter sounds, but she wants to figure them out! I can see this moving along fast, so I guess its time to read up and get ready! I am really proud of her! Here are some pictures of her working and READING!

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Bunny read some stories to Pup this morning before school!

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Playing Go Fetch with the letters

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She felt that the word mit, should be mitten! She helped me figure out the sounds!

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She wrote down all the words we made!

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These are the words she wrote!
(These Pink Series Cards were a freebie from Imagine Our Life!)

So that is what is new and exciting here! I am proud of her! She seems pretty proud of herself, but at the same time she seems like it is something that she has always been able to do! I hope that you are having a good week! Happy Schooling Everyone!

Cutting Montessori Corners

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Ok, do any of you look at the sheer amount of work that some of the traditional Montessori presentations require and balk a little bit? I know that I do! Especially when it comes to language materials. There are about a million three part cards, grammar farm labels, grammar boxes, object boxes, sound bins, and the list goes on! Not only do I not have time for all of that cutting, laminating, and printing, I also don’t have that much space. On top of that, sometimes we never even use the materials! So I have learned over the past few years of Montessori homeschooling how to cut corners. Bunny hated most of the work to be done with three part cards, and I really could not keep up with making a million boxes for just about everything! Soooo….enter simplicity! I have gotten rid of grammar boxes and Bunny and I do the work together on the chalk board and practice it with the grammar boards. Simpler! I don’t make eye spy boxes for practicing sounds, we do it where ever we are! Beginning sounds, ending sounds, middle sounds, rhyming….it turns out that this a perfect car game! See simple! Another thing that I have done, is use those pink series cards for more then just learning to write. I used them for rhyming games, beginning sounds, and lots of other little things for Pup. Why keep making a hundred boxes for one kids, when the lessons can be done with some simple stuff. I know that it really isn’t traditional, but I think that it works for us. Sometimes I think that we over complicate the Montessori Method with stuff. When I really think about what Montessori was able to do with poor kids in poor parts of the world, I wondered how we ended up with a method that requires so much stuff for each and every step. After all the goal is to teach using small steps and hands on materials an lots of free time to practice, So, I am going to cut a few corners to keep things easier here. After all, simpler means easier for me, and easier for me means that I am not so stressed, and when I am less stressed I can be a better mommy and wife! So what’s not to love about that? So do you cut corners? Be honest! What do you change?

I am linking up over at Montessori Monday, so be sure to stop over there for lots more Montessori fun!

School Days

This week has be SUPER busy, but really pretty good for getting things done! Bunny is staying on the weekly plan we made more or less, so I am happy! She is doing her math daily, her history twice a week, and grammar twice a week, and other things, like her robotics kit, sprinkled in between. Pup however, is not doing much and that means I am going to need a plan for her too! But they have been busy and learning happily! Here are some pictures from our week!

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As you can see we have been working really hard, but I have not been taking as many pictures as I could! I will have to work on that! 🙂 Our work time has defiantly started to take on a more traditional homeschool type flavor. Bunny does her work all over the house, depending on where I am. In fact the other morning, we did all of our work in PJs! I am however, hoping that this week is a little less busy and we can work slowly and in peace! That is our goal at least! So tell me, how is your school year going? Is it busy or slow? Organized or a bit chaotic? I would love to hear more about it! Happy Schooling Everyone!

School Days

This week we jumped right into school work! I took the weekend to regroup a bit a fix some of the things that were not working quite right. Since we are using Modern Curriculum Press math program, I realized that the way it was laid out needed some creative thinking to keep it interesting for Bunny long term. I needed to get Pup started with some more math work. She has mastered the first stage of the math work and now we are starting with Golden Bead! She is really excited! Another thing that Bunny started was her robotics program. Its been tricky and I know that she is going to have to work hard at it. However, I know that she can do it and I know she really wants to do it! Finally we started our geography with a quick review of the oceans! Here are some pictures of the work from this week so far!

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So there we have the start to our week! I think that it has gone well so far! Tomorrow we are going to keep our schedule going! Wish me luck! 😉 I hope your week is going well too! Happy Schooling!

Montessori Monday~ Grammar Boards

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I have been thinking a lot about the grammar lessons and I came up with a plan that I think that Bunny is going to love! As you know I didn’t make the traditional grammar boxes because they are a lot of work and bunny wouldn’t use them anyway. However, she does love to play with the grammar farm. My only problem with the farm is that it takes so much time to set up, that she is done with it before she gets to making many sentences. So I thought that she really needed something that was simpler, but something that still is fun! After all, you don’t have to have a farm. It can be anything so long as you get a chance to practice grammar! So I decided that I could combine her grammar, writing, and geography all in one. I started by pulling all of the animals out of the continent boxes and put them all in a basket. The I made 6 different boards depicting different biomes made of felt. Finally I typed out different word cards for the different parts of speech using animals, biome words, and places. My goal is for Bunny to use these like the grammar farm to build sentence and understand how the different parts work together! Here is what our new work looks like!

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So that is our plan for right now. I think she is going to love playing with her grammar! Plus this is going to help with our vocabulary and our copy work! What do you think? Do you think this is a good plan? What are your favorite grammar works?

 

A Farmers Market

A couple of weeks ago my sister and I thought it would be fun to make the girls a farmers market for them to play with in the yard! I thought it would be a fun way to play and learn outside. We used some simple pieces of wood and my hubbie helped put it all together! Add some baskets, and it is a perfect place to play!

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The more I have thought about our new addition to our backyard, the more ideas I have had to play and learn together! Here are a few ideas I had:

~ Money: use play money to buy and sell fruits and veggies! It is a fun, easy way to practice using money! Besides what kids don’t want to carry around purses of fake money?

~ Sorting fruits and veggies: It is really interesting to see sometime how many kids are unsure of what is a fruit and what is a veggie! This is something that becomes a point of interest when you are setting up shop!

~ Sharing and Taking Turns: This has been a big lesson here! 🙂 Both want to be the cashier and that means someone needs to take turns. Its no fun at all if you don’t play together and two cashiers with no shoppers is well…..less interesting!

~ Picking out a Meal: Think of how fun it would be to put real fruits and veggies out and letting them “shop” for a real meal! Buy, prepare, and cook with their purchases! We are so doing that.

~ Set Up a Town: With some rearranging, and some creativity, the market can easily turn into any part of a town! Add with our other backyard work center, and swing set, they can have a whole town!

So do you want to make a market of your own? Well….I wouldn’t use my plans! I made them up. But there are a ton of great play ideas out there for simple market sets! You can find some ideas on my Playtime Pintrest Board! What are your favorite Market play ideas?

deidricknlx@mailxu.com butrick-mona@mailxu.com