Homeschooling

Happy First Day of Summer

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Today is the first day of summer and we spent it in a very summery way! We had some friends over and spent the day playing outside! I carried our Ocean fun outside again today by making some Oobleck for the kids. Bunny has been saying how she only wants to do science, so I made sure that I explained the science behind how the molecules behaved and she felt like we really did science! (I didn’t know how it work, but this blog shared their knowledge). We also made some hypothesis about what we thought some ocean animals would do if they were placed in the oobleck. Bunny thought that they would float, they didn’t. It was interesting to see how the liquid really baffled them! Plus it was full of sensory fun! This is really an outside fun thing. The best part of it had to be that it just hosed right off! So how did I make it? Simple:

~ 2 Boxes of Corn Starch (or six cups)

~ 4 1/2 cups of water

~ Few drops of food coloring

Mix it all together in a big bowl. It should look watery on top, but be solid on the bottom. When you scoop it up, it should be hard and almost dry, but as it sits in your hand it will “melt”. Then its ready to play! There is a ton of interesting science involved with all of this, and a lot of opportunities to talked about states of matter and making hypothesis! Have you tried this before? What do you love best about this? Share your ideas! I hope your summer kicked off to a lot of fun too! Happy Summer!

 

Bubbly Goodness!

Today we had some end of the year fun with our homeschool group and we thought some bubble exploration would be fun! It was such a fun thing to see what blew the best bubble and how to make the most bubbles! The kids loved it and the adults….well sometime good fun is messy! 😉 Want to see?

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Exploring Bubble has a ton of ways of great learning fun! Try different bubble blowers to see what makes the biggest bubble. You can use different bubble solutions to see which is best! You can use household object to see what makes a bubble. And you can explore surface tension as you try to move bubble without popping them! In fact there are a million ideas! I have a whole Pintrest board with ideas on it! So stop over there for more ideas! It is a super summer fun! Do you play bubbles much? Share your favorite bubble play idea in the comments (please, I have about a gallon of bubble to still use here)! Happy Summer Playtime!

Summer Reading Program!

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Well today kicked off our little summer reading program that we are doing here! I was inspired by seeing the ADROABLE printables from How Does She! This whole set was free for their subscribers. It is just too cute! What we have is a banner with pieces that the girls can write about or draw a picture of their favorite books that we read. I also printed off the bingo cards, and everyday the girls can do one of the reading things to cross off. After they get five in a row, they get a prize ticket. These tickets are simple little surprises! One is go on a picnic together, another is get a pack of stickers, and another is getting ice cream from a new ice cream place! They are kind of like a bucket list! I think that we are going to be able to get about one prize a week! When the whole bingo card is filled up, they the grand prize of going to the book store to pick out a book! (Bunny is over the moon about it)! My hope it to get the girls, especially Bunny, to work on reading! Pup wants to learn, so we may use this to practice together a little bit this summer!

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Another thing that we are going to do with this program is have a bit of a weekly theme. Now it is summer, so when I say theme, I mean it in a loose sort of way. 🙂 I will get out some books to read together on the theme and maybe we will do a small project or take a related trip to round it off! Here are some of the themes I think we are going to do:

Cooking: Read some booking with recipes and cook together and make a restaurant.

Books: Read stories about authors and ways to write and write a book

Ocean: Read books about the beach and ocean, and go to the beach!

Art: Read about artists, paint and visit the museum.

Space: Read about space, make a rocket, and maybe watch the stars!

I am sure that we will find more ideas as things go on! I think that this will give the girls some activities and ideas to refresh their play and also make me spend some time doing something with them (this has been something they have complained about me not doing). This is a going to be a fun way to (hopefully) inspire some play, learning, and new skills!  So that is what we are going to be doing! I am linking this up to Montessori Monday!

Do you do summer reading plan? If so how do you do it?

 

Rolling Along

The other day, after we talked about simple machines, we hit the hardware store. While we were there, Bunny saw some wheels and wanted them so badly! So I got them for her! Today she pulled them out to make something. It took a few minutes for me to show her how to pre-drill the holes and how to screw in the screws, but she really got into it! She was able to attach the wheels all by herself and was really proud of her rolling board! (That is what she made) Even Pup wanted to try using the screw gun to screw some screws into a board!

I love learning new things with the girls! Do you have plans to do new things with your kids this summer? How about a Bucket List? Share your ideas below!

Puzzle Time!

Yesterday my girls were given some puzzles and today they spent the day building! It started first thing this morning and continued on and off into the afternoon! What amazes me is all the thinking and learning that happens when are building. Bunny could do them pretty easily, but Pup was pretty challenged! I spent time building with them too, so it was fun for everyone! I guess we need a few more puzzles!

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What is your favorite way to play and learn with your kids everyday?

What We Learned

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Now that we have all been off of school for over a week or two, I feel like I have time to really sit and look at what we have learned this year! I think that I learned the most about homeschooling with Montessori and about my girls themselves! This is one of the beauties of homeschooling, not only do you get to see what your kids learn, but you also get to look at what you have learned too! So what did we learn this year? Well, here it is!

Bunny started the year off with some basic math skills, but as we moved forward, she was able to abstract in a way that was really surprising to me! She rock her way through the basic equations and was able to do a lot of them in her head all by herself! She even started to love it again after deciding (when I pushed too hard) and that she hated it! She managed to get herself to a third grade math level! She also learned to READ!!!!! It took forever, but she learned it and has been reading books on her own! Bunny also learned a lot about building with her legos, and has created complex structures that required a lot of thought. She was able to build complex things without directions. I also learned that she likes to have planned lessons better then picking her own subjects. She was so happy as we learned when I had planned things out more.  I think that having the choice of picking her own studies puts too much stress on her. So I need to pick the school subjects, but allow enough space and time to follow her own interest too! This is something that is really going to help me think things through as we plan for the next year!

This year Pup gain so much confidence with her control that she stopped doing most practical life trays and wanted to do much more! She started by wanting to learn the sandpaper numbers. She had a hard time working them out, but she did it and was very proud of her work! She then desperately wanted to learn her letters and learn them she did! She still has a few she needs to work on, but she loves it! She even wrote her first word! She definatly showed me that this next year she is ready for a lot more learning! She wants to read really badly! So we will be working on some of that soon! Another thing that she did was a large project on Cheetahs! She surprised me again with how much she worked on it and how much she learned! It showed me that she was really able to work with deep concentration when she was interested in in something. This was confirmed when she took to tracing entire books at a time!  The tracing not only helped her hand control, it helped her be able to write her letters really well! So this year, I hope to do lots more work with her!

Finally, I learned so much about doing Elementary Montessori work. I learned, that while you can do a lot of it, you will never get the same feel. Bunny is only one child and she can only collaborate with me or herself! This means that the Great Lessons, while making a great impression, didn’t inspire the learning that I was hoping it would. We need to have planned learning here right now. When I came to grips with that we were able to learn a lot together and have a ton of fun doing it! I also learned that I need a core plan, a plan that we can do each day no matter what else is going on. A plan that Bunny could do without me right by her side. That made doing school work each day a little easier. She loves to have a goal and to check something off a list. This is something that will really be a part of next year for us I think. I also learned that I need to be willing to let go of materials! Bunny was doing worse math work trying to use all the materials that I asked her to. This doesn’t mean she will never do them again, but right now she is done. Same with Pup and her Practical Life work. She is done with all of the trays and things like that. She enjoys doing them once, but that is about it! So I am learning that letting go allows us to move forward! I also learned that we just don’t get in that three hour work period and that is ok. We just cant seem to get it all in, but I realized that we are always learning together so we don’t need to make sure we are in a room for three hours to do that! Letting go of something allows me to have a bit more peace!

So that is what we have learned this year! It has been a year of fun and of learning for all of us! This next year has us homeschooling again! I am looking forward to lots of fun, lots of learning, lots of new ideas (and maybe a few tears….hey I am realistic)! What about you? What did your homeschool year teach you? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Oh and please take a moments to vote for use over at circle of moms! They are voting for the Top 25 Homeschool Blogs!

 

Simple Machanics

This past week the girls have been finding simple machines all over without even knowing it! They rigged up a pulling system on their play house, and made marble runs on the steps! So I decided that it was a good time to present them with the names of the simple machines that they were using all over the house! So this morning I read a book about simple machines that explained (in a bit too much detail) what each simple machine was and how it worked. Bunny was fascinated! She immediately started to see the simple machines around the house! She told me she thought that the hinge on the door was a lever, and that there was an inclined plane on the stairs. So I challenged her to get some stuff out of the garage to make a simple machine. She got right to work and so did Pup. What they made was a more complicated version of the marble run she had made on the stairs earlier in the week! I loved seeing how know this new information made her start to look at things she saw differently. I am interested to see what this new information produces in her work as she keeps exploring. Here is what they have done so far!

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As you can see, they have been learning through play and it has been amazing to watch! I would like to get some cards describing the different simple machines for a reference. Do you ever have moments where your kids are learning even though they think they are playing? I think its one of the best part of homeschooling!

 I also wanted to let you know that I am so happy that some of you have taken a moment to vote for me over at the Top 25 Homeschool Blogs! I just wanted to let you all know that it  means the world to have you voting for me! The voting is still open and you can vote once a day! Plus you can vote for more then one of your favorite bloggers!

I am linking up over at Montessori Monday and The Hip Homeschool Hop! So be sure to stop by there and see some of the awesome ideas!

Botany~ Flowers

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Well this is it! I am officially here to let you know that our school year is over! Ok…for right now! 😉 I have grand plans for an ocean study before we head there on vaction, but for all intensive purposes we are all done! This week we wrapped up our botany lessons by talking about flowers! Honestly it was a really fun lesson and great way to end the year! Bunny loved it and so did Pup! We even threw in a field trip to the Botanical Gardens! Bunny really seemed to absorb all the information that she needed to. We started off by talking about the parts of a flower. I was so excited to have received a beautiful boquet of flowers for Mothers Day. It had Lilys, Crsanthimums, roses, and carnations. It was the perfect way to explore all different kinds of flowers. We started with lily since it is the perfect flower to see the all the parts. After we diseceted the flower, Pup matched the parts of the flower to the nomenclature cards. Bunny and I labled them and added the parts of the the pistil and the stamen. Bunny really like this and we ended up dissecting about 6 flowers! While Bunny was working on the flowers we were able to talk about the different kinds of flowers, like the compound flower and the perfect flower, since we were working with so many different varieties.

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The next day, I pulled out some q-tips to tlk about pollination of flowers and what flowers are for! The idea came from here and the q-tip was colored yellow to represent the bee. We then moved the bee from flower to flower to show how the pollen needs to move from flower to flower. The girls loved this. We talked about how the pollen travels down the pistil to form a new seed. It was fun to “see” how this happened. I was able to go out to our garden and see the overy of the daffidols swollen up and the flower dead after it was pollonated. We also cut one open to see the seeds starting to form. Don’t you love it when the perfect learning materials are right where you need them?

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We ended the study with a trip to the botanical gardens! There wasn’t too much in bloom yet since the bulbs are mostly done and the preneinals are just getting planted, but there was tons of great stuff to look at! We had some friends join us which always makes it more fun! 🙂

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Here is our friend discovering a robin’s nest in the tree! There were eggs! We quickly left after that, but I did manage to grab a picture! 🙂

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As you can see we had a great time! With their interest in the flowers we managed to cover quite a lot our Botany album in a very short amount of time. It was a really fun way to learn and play at the same time! Happy Schooling (and almost summer)! I linking up over at the Weekly Kids Co-Op, Virtual Montessori Fair, and The Ultimate Homeschool Link Up!

PS: As you can see, I am still having some issues working out the pictures! I promise to get it worked out soon! 🙂

 

Tips for Planning Next School Year

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This is it! I don’t know about you, but we are quickly wrapping up our school year (I’m ready to take a break and so are the girls). We will be talking about flowers to round up our botany study and that will end our official year! Don’t worry though, we will learning, making discoveries, and finding new passions during the summer too! I have plans for an ocean study and a fun reading program! With thing ending I have been taking time to look back over the year and evaluate what we did. What I found was that there were some things we did really well (math, reading, natural sciences) and there were some things that I think that we could have worked a little harder on ( grammar, money, geography) and there were some things that we never even got to (music, history, and formal art). But I think that all in all we learned a lot! The girls grew and really exceeded what they needed to know and we don’t hate school! So mission accomplished! So now I am looking forward to next year! What are we going to do? How are we going to arrange our work time? Are we doing things that same way? I don’t know yet. These are the things I am working really hard on, and with all the amazing things that you can do I find that it is so overwhelming! There is a million subjects and a million fun was to do each one! Where do you start and how do we make a plan without loosing our minds? Here are few tips that I have found in my own experience and some tips I have picked up from seasoned homeschoolers too!

1) Make a Mission Plan: What are your goals for this year? Do you want to focus on history, geography, science, or all of it? Do you want all the subjects to work together or are you good with things being as it? What do you want you kids to know before the end of the next year? Make sure you have some goals clear in your mind a stick to them! This make trudging through all the amazing materials easier because you know what to look for to help you meet these goals!

2) Break it Down: Set your school plan out by 4-6 week chunks. My mom has been school for over twenty years and she said that this has been the most successful thing she has done. I have also found that this is a great space of time to study a subject in depth, but also be able to move on afterward. It also allows for flexibility. If you want to do more you can, or if something is not working well, you can change it up! Maybe you want to start the year out studying geography or space. Work out what you want to cover in those 4-6 weeks and you will better be able to pick out the right materials! This works great for planning your year with Montessori albums too.

3) If its not Broke, Don’t fix it: If you have something that is working really well, consider sticking with it! Maybe you found a math program that is just perfect for your kiddos. There is no need to even bother trying to look through the math section! Skip it!

4) Look to keep things simple: There are a ton of great programs, crafts, hands on learning ideas, and methods for teaching all the same things. Its easy to look and find all these great ideas, book, and projects, but you cant do it all and trying to will really drive you and your kids crazy (and you will not learn much well).

5) Trust Your Gut: You know your family and your goals. If you are looking at books, or blogs, or other ideas and you find your self doubting or becoming anxious, then move on! (Even if that means leaving here). You have a mission and letting other people’s ideas mess yours up is not going to allow you to have a good, fun, and educational year! I learned this the hard way. What my kids do, is not what your kids will do and me trying to make it look like someone else’s work will only frustrate everyone! You are you; and your kids are your kids, so your school plan is your school plan! Even using Montessori ideas in your home will looks way different then how I use Montessori ideas in mine!

I hope that this helps you as you plan your year! I know I need the reminder! I do see some changes happening here next year and this has me broadening my horizons looking at different homeschooling sites! Keeping things in perspective have really helped me as I wade through all the great things out there! Good Luck to all of you and PLEASE share any great tips you may have for working out your plans for next year! I would love to hear them in the comments below! Happy Schooling Everyone!

Montessori Monday~ Botany~ Stem Week

Hi there everyone! I am happy to report that the this new site is ready for some new posts! Hooray! I have missed sharing all our fun! However, I am begging you to hang in there with me, things are messy all over, but we are working on getting it all there!

Last week we spent a lot of time talking about the stems of a plant! We observed how the plant takes water up from the roots by letting some celery suck up some food colored water! The girls love seeing this! It is such a basic experiment that never fails to seem like magic to kids! My girls are no exception! It was really amazing to see how the food coloring really allows you to see the veins of the leaf too!

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While we waited for the celery to become magical, we talked about the two different types of stems~ Woody and herbaceous. After a quick talk about the differences we walked the neighbor hood figuring out which ones were which in the plants we saw.  The girls were quick to understand it. I have found that although it is fun to sort cards, most of the time my girls would prefer to get out there and see it for real!

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Another thing we did last week was talk about the parts of a woody steam and look at an old stump in the neighbors yard! (She didn’t mind). Bunny thought it was interesting that they get new rings every year.

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Finally, to make the week a little fun, we decided to paint plants with all their parts! Not only that, but I thought it would be fun to use mediums to see how different each picture looked. We used water color pencils, watercolors, and tempera paint. They loved it, plus they got to see and feel how different mediums worked. Plus they got to think about the parts of a plant

 

So there you have what we have been up to with our Botany fun! I am sorry for the sideways pictures! I have been trying and trying to fix this, but I am new to Word press and cant figure it out! I am going to link up over at Montessori Monday, so be sure to stop by there for more amazing Montessori fun! I will be back tomorrow with lots more fun! Happy Schooling!!!

 

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