Montessori Work Day

Pup’s Winter Animal Learning

At the beginning of the month, I decided that I would make a theme for Pup to work with since she had not been doing too much work. Since it was so cold here, I thought that we could talk about what animals do during the winter! There are a ton of great printable packs out there and I printed a few things off for her and I had planned to have trays for her. But honestly I made two and she really didn’t do them. One was an animal sort by whether they hibernate, migrate, or adapt. We did that one time. Then we had a rolling dice game with charting! She did that a lot! I also made an art tray with natural materials for her to build some habitats. One day she used our glue gun (which she loved) to build a bunny forest and then we wrote a story all about it. She also has done some reading and writing with this. Another thing that we have done with this unit is make rod pictures with out Cuisenaire rods. She really likes doing this and I keep encouraging this! After all learning is play and she loves to be creative. We often dissect the picture and practice adding the rods together! This has led to a lot of adding work and she even starting to write stuff down! All in all it has been fun, but it has shown me that for Pup learning is going to happen with a few structured things, lots of books to look through, and creative elements to make her own things! Here are some pictures of our very “Pup like” unit study!

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Leftover Pumpkin Learning

So do any of you wonder what to do with those pumpkins that are leftover from Halloween? I don’t know about you, but we have one or two still decorating the yard that we didn’t carve in t Jack-o-lanterns. They will look just fine for a couple more weeks, but I thought that using them for some fun learning would be another way to get a wee bit more use out of them before we compost them. Some of these ideas are from a long time ago, so enjoy seeing my much younger “babies”!

 Bunny was interested in pounding nails and asked if she could pound them into the pumpkin. I said sure and away she went to get her stuff. What we learned is that pounding nails into a pumpkin is easy and fun! It is an awesome way to learn how to use a hammer and nail without the difficulty that comes with trying to get the nail started in wood. It was an activity that everyone wanted to get in on!!!!

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Another fun thing to do is pumpkin washing. Its an oldie, but a goodie! my girls have loved this activity a lot over the years. I would simple get a scrub brush, a bucket of water and a towel. If you want you can add soup too. The child dips the brush in the water, and scrubs the dirt off the pumpkin! Here are some pictures of Bug and Pup doing this a few years ago.

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Another one that we did a while ago, was cut a pumpkin apart sideways and explored the parts of a pumpkin. It was different then when we carve it because Bunny was able to play in it and really see all the parts! There is really something so exciting about being able to play in something that you don’t normally get to!

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So there you go! A few ideas of what to do with those pumpkins that are laying around still! I would love to add a few more ideas so share one below! How do you use those pumpkins?

Montessori on the move!

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With all the craziness of the past few weeks, I have been looking for creative ways to take Montessori learning on the road with Pup. Bunny is using more books, so it has been easy to pack up her backpack and head out. But with Pup we cant just pack up the whole classroom! 🙂 So we needed to think about it differently! After all we are homeschoolers! Sometimes we just have places to go and things to do! So what do we do? Well here are a few solutions that we have found useful!

First off, pinpoint those things that your child is really interested in. If she is loving her sandpaper letters, then make sure that you have something that works with that! Is she loving her sensory bins, then keep that on the list! Once you have pinpointed your kiddos interest, then figure out how to pack it up! Remember, you are going for simple, easy, and light. After, you are going to need to pack it! Plus, think about what you are going to have time for. If you are visiting grandma, and you want something that your child can do on their own, then don’t pack something new. If you are going to be somewhere a while and know that you will have time and space, pack something new! If you are on the road, then you need small that can be done in your lap! There are a lot of things to think about, but really it can work and be simple! So what can you take?

Sandapaper letters/ numbers~ Take some new one that you are still learning! They are easy to pack and a great way to learn. Want something even more portable, there is a sandpaper letter and number book from Montessori Services! Love it!

Math Beads~ So simple and fun! The bead stair can be used a million ways and is easy to take with you! Add some number cards and you got it made. They can count the bead bars and match it to the number card, learn bigger number, make patterns, do addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. You could even make pictures using the beads! There are a lot of fun activities if you just think outside the box. Plus these works can be done in a doctors office or anywhere else!

Tracing~ I love to take 4×6″ pieces of tracing paper with me and I usually have a small clip board too! Then, take some simple pictures with you to compliment whatever you are studying! This is an awesome way to include those three part cards or even the cards from the geometry cabinet! They can trace pretty much anywhere and if you have some colored pencils, they can color too!

Sensory Box~ What?!? Yes, you can make some mini sensory boxes to take with you when you are going to be out! All you need is a plastic pencil box that snaps shut! They just pick out some elements from your big box or make a small one as a surprise! Kids love it and it really isn’t too hard! If you child is older, take some legos, or blocks, or even some sewing! Whatever your child is into!

Practical Life~ Well now this is harder, but still I think that you could do it! If you are planning on heading to Grandma’s for the holidays or to visit, take the pitcher they can pour from or their rolling pin for making cookies. Plus don’t forget that there are lots of learning opportunities right where you are going be! There is a new bathroom with a different way of washing hands, or plenty of chance to meet and greet people! It may take you a moment to think through where the teaching moments will be, but the new experiences will be an amazing way to learn something new!

Reading~ Books can make any place a happy place in my opinion! Plus, if you have a budding reader, waiting rooms and quite places are a great place to practice! I love taking pink series reading cards with us! Pup can sound out the cards, and then find the matching picture. And it really is easy to pack. And there is nothing like a good story in a moment when tempers run high and everyone needs a break! So we never go far without a few books!

These are just a few ideas we have used to keep some learning going on while we are away from home! Another way that a lot of people Montessori while out and about is using apps on their tablets! There are a million great ones out there and it can be a good way to keep learning. We don’t use them much, but when we do the girls love it! So these are my thoughts, but I want to know what are yours? How to you take Montessori out when you have places to go? Share your ideas in the comments below!

 

 

 

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!

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!

Meet Cindy

The other day while we were out at the store, I came across one of those buildable body models with squishy organs. I always thought that we should get one, and Pup was so interested. She was just looking at it and holding it and begged for it. So I bought it for her (Bunny thought it was gross). When we got home, she wanted to open it up so badly that she almost didn’t want to watch tv! The next morning she was ready to build it again at 6 in the morning! She informed me later that the body’s name was Cindy! And so Cindy has become a new member of our classroom! She is inspiring a whole new study in the human body! Pup is wanting to read books, make pictures, and all other sorts of work! She even knew exactly which Magic School Bus episode she wanted to see! With all of this enthusiasm, I see Pup starting a pretty deep study on the body. She seems to work really well when she is immersing herself in a certain topic (do you remember the cheetah project). So I now I need to make a few materials and to find a pile of books! Here are some pictures of Pup and Cindy, plus an art project that she really wanted to do with her body!

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I love it when the girls find something that they are really passionate about! When this inspires more learning, I get really excited. I mean seriously, this is what learning is all about. It is about finding out about the things that interest us and really finding joy in the discovery! So this is what I was waiting for from this year. Finding something amazing to learn about. Pup is excited and I am happy to help her learn whatever she wants to! What do you do when your kiddo finds something that they just have to know about? How do you inspire learning?

Princess Theme School

So…if you have popped by here lately, you may have noticed a million changed happening all day! 🙂 I am still trying to figure this web design thing out and once I do it will be great! However, we are not there yet! So please bear with me! I am trying to keep all the basics in place to make this easy. But if you have something that you would like me to include, please let me know! Since you are the visiting and navigating, you should have a say!

Now on to more fun things! my little sister is three and this year my mom is starting some theme work for her each month! So I of course thought that I could help out! You  who have been following along with me for a while knows that I love to make Montessori inspired themed trays of work! So I brought out a theme set we did a couple of years ago and I added some fun elements to it! So I thought I would share the tray with you in case you have a little girl who would love some of this fun too! I was able to use some printables and create some work that still holds true to the Montessori principles. The Printable kit is free from 1+1+1=1!  Here is what we have on the shelf!

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Princess Play dough
(Purple and sparkly with these cookies cutters I had)!

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Cards and Counters

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Reading and Matching

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Color by number

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Pouring in a Goblet

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Princess and Not Princess Sorting

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Princess Three part Cards
(These are more reading practice then educational. We used them for memory match too)

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Finish the Pattern

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Scrubbing Glass Slipper

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Spooning Fairy Dust

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Transferring Crowns
(These were vintage glass decorations that were my grandma’s. Aren’t they fun?)

So this is how I was able to combine some Montessori fun with the convenience of a printable. With printing things out and making them a tray work to be chosen when the child want, you are able to preserve the essence of the Montessori work. There are a lot of other ideas on my Princess Theme School Pintrest Board. So do any of you use printables in your homeschool? Do you use them with Montessori work? I would love to hear how you work with your preschoolers! Happy Schooling!

First Day of School 2013

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 What do you think of our school pics this year? I took them with my mom last week! The kids had a ton of fun! Today though, we have officially started school here. However, we are easing into it! No real long work or big new things! We are starting with basics. So today Pup and I reviewed some sandpaper letters, writing, and her numbers. Bunny started her math book (simple addition) and we also read the beginning of her history book. Plus we started her notebook for her First Communion preparation! Nothing earth shattering, but enough to get things moving! I think that it will be a good year. Here are the first day pics!

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As you can see it went pretty well! We even used the chalk board a couple of times! So my question for all of you is….when do you start school? Have you made the big leap yet, or are you going to wait until after Labor Day (which was my plan originally)? And I am linking up at Montessori Monday! Be sure to join me there!

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