Montessori Work Day

Montessori Work Plans for Kids!



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

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

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

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

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

Work for Everyone!

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

 

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

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


Cheetahs Everywhere!

Work this week has been really hard to get good work time in due to appointments and stuff like that. Have you ever had a week like that? Well we did get a few things done though. I think that the most notable work that has been done is on Pup’s Cheetah work has been going strong. Pup’s Cheetah work has just captured her heart. She has made so many things this week and really wanted read and play with cheetahs. She painted the sculpture she made last week. She painted a board like the grasslands of Africa for her toy cheetah to play on. We read and re-read book after book, and we finally got the movie she wanted to watch about Cheetahs. But we have also done some other things too! We played go fetch with cards and counters and she also built the binomial cube without the box!   To support her study, I made some new tray for her that are sort of cheetah like! Here is what we have going on! 🙂

Pouring Water
(Ok, not really cheetah like, but fun!)

Wood Piece Transfer

Cheetah Playdough

Sewing a Button
(I think Bunny will like this too)

Scrubbing a Cheetah
(and Zebra and Elephant….you get the idea! I made a few African animal dirty so it was more fun!)

 
 
 

She loved the scrubbing!
 
She worked really hard to make a cheetah out of felt. She did it all herself and was really proud of it! She has it hanging on her bulletin board!

 
 

She did great with this! She is really understanding her numbers! Bunny thinks its no fair that she has all the fun math! I think it maybe the pretty pink hearts!

She has made quite a few playdough cheetahs too. I love that they have eyes and mouths! She is holding here by the tail since it wouldnt stand.
 

 
 
So there you have a project in full swing! My plan for tomorrow is to read some more cheetah books and to get Bunny interested in some new work! I hope your work week is going well! Happy Schooling!
 
 


School Days {And a plea for answers}!

Well today we did some school work since yesterday was a “holiday”. (One of the benefits of homeschooling is that we can have different days off then the school kids)! So we were back to work and did some interesting things. Bunny wrote a book and did some very detailed drawings. I tend to be rather resistant to Bunny working on drawing during school time since she will draw the WHOLE time. Today started to turn into that, but it seemed different somehow. She was really focused and the fact that she was drawing small and with great detail seemed to tell me that she was working on alot of pencil control (her pencil control is really lacking and we do need to work on it). She finished 4 pages and told me she was done. There was no words though, so I asked her to write her story and she did. She always asks me how to spell things and I usually just tell her right off since she is working so hard to get the words on paper, that spelling is not the goal here! The results were really good and I was surprised and proud of Bunny’s hard work.

 
 
Another thing that we finally did was The Fundamental Needs of Humans presentation. I have really been struggling with which direction to go with presentation and how to start working on where mail came from. I just dont know how to get that research going and where to start. So I thought that discussing the fundamental needs of all people could start us thinking about how people need to communicate and share their ideas with others. She seemed interested, so maybe this will work as a jumping off point! 🙂

 
Bunny and I also working on the subtraction snake game alot this week. I am not going to lie, of all the Montessori math materials, the snake game confuses me! It took me about 10 minutes of working with it all on my own to just figure out where the beads were supposed to go! Then Bunny and I must have repeated one problem 5 time before it worked out. Argh! This is leading her to be less interested. I thought it would be fun to figure out the multiplication snake game and help her start to work with some memorization. But I am rather at a loss of where to start! So here is my question to all of you Montessori Mamas out there, where would you continue on the math sequence with Bunny? She knows her operations well, but she still seems unsure on some division sometimes. She has memorized some addition facts, but that’s about it! I feel like there are SO many things that she can be doing, but I am not sure what will be the best thing to start first! I would love to hear your ideas about that!
 
Pup has been working along too! She and I have been working on alphabet sounds and rhyming games. She loves both! 🙂 She is also still doing a ton of puzzles and playdough.  I showed her how to roll a snake with her playdough and she is doing that alot. I think that the highlight of her week though was trying to read with me. I put some of the sandpaper letters together and she was able to say the sounds and read the words! 🙂 I loved seeing her so excited about it!
 

 

 
I think that Pup and I are going to start working on some continents. She is interested and i think that maybe doing some study would be good for her. She is really uninterested in any of the Practical Life work, and I have been having a hard time getting into any of the sensorial extensions either. So maybe some geography, and some more math will be good for her. I am thinking that she will love some number go fetch games!
 
Anyway, there is our week all laid out! It was full of observations and some questions. I felt like I was floundering, but it looks like we did a pretty good job! Do you have weeks like that? I really hope that if you have thoughts on my questions I would really love to hear them! Happy Schooling Everyone!
 
 


Montessori Monday~ Research

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

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

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

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

 


Montessori Monday~ Valentine’s Trays

Well I managed to put together some fun Valentine’s theme trays for the girls this weekend! I wanted so badly to make some pretty transferring trays and a pink pouring work, but Pup is SO over all of that. She will not choose any of those things, so I guess making them is a waste. 🙁 Too bad because I love them! However, I think I was able to make some pretty trays while still keeping it interesting for them! Do you want to see what we are doing this month? Here is what we have out on the shelves!

Heart Matching

Valentine Playdough
The gems are here so she can decorate the hearts!

She has definitely been moving forward in the maths and here are her heart counters. My guess is that we can soon add the cards add counters to her work time. Pup has been doing a really great job with this and did this without any mistakes!

Braiding

Tracing Hearts of different sizes.

Punching Hearts
 
The girls got right to work today with all the new fun! Pup tried everything and Bunny wanted to learn to braid right away. So I sat there and helped her. It took her a LONG time to finally get it and boy was she proud that she got it!
 

 
Pup wanted to do the number work. She did it three times and loved it! It is so good to see her so excited about  learning!

 
Another thing that I got for Pup today is a rhyming box. She loves it! Word games are something she is loving right now! We play them every night before bed!
 

 
Bunny and I have also started All About Spelling today and I am excited about it! If you want to find more Montessori fun, stop over at Montessori Monday! Stop back tomorrow for the next Cooking With Books Series! Its going to be Pink! 😉 Happy Schooling!
 


Work Days!

Work this week has been a little less then what I wanted it to be and that makes us all stressed. However, we still have managed to have a good week with lots of good learning! Who knew! It is such a blessing to blog and take a bunch of pictures so I can look back and see that we did do stuff this week! Somethings though that I have learned this week are that 1. things are good and we are learning, 2. I need to be more playful with our work, to be inspiring, and 3. I need to get my self prepared better, when I am ready things are better, 4. cooking lunch is a great way to get time in the kitchen together! So I am going to get a plan, get playful, and have some fun! Bunny is expressing a lot of interest in writing. So I plan to redo the lesson of writing and starting exploring that. She is really excited about fining out who wrote the first letter and where stamps come from. I am also trying really hard to get in contact with the post office so we can go get a tour! I think that this will go well with some Valentines fun as we talk about where the tradition of sending letter to loved ones!
We re also going to keep working on our numbers, writing books, and fractions! Here is a little bit of the work I didnt show this week!

Pink Pancake Lunch!

Bunny has been writing ALOT! She is doing really well and with me helping her with some spellings, she is happy to try knowing I can help fix it if its wrong! This is a book she was working on for two weeks! I love it!

Division Stamp game! She is doing well with this. She even did one in her head and she was so proud and excited! 🙂

Pup has been working with puzzles non stop here. I pulled out all four cylinder blocks and she had a good time with that! Maybe she will do it again!

She has also loved playing with the chalk board and learning to write her letters. Today I wrote them and she traced them with her finger to erase it!

Bunny made pizza bread today. She said it was a fail since it wasnt too good tasting. I told her that it really isnt a fail since it turned out. She just doenst like that recipe! Next time it will be better!

 
Bunny has been reading a little more. We have moved up to some Dr. Seuss. A couple of pages a day! Pup thinks that any story is for her! I love this picture of them reading together!

Bunny worked with the bells and it reminded me that I need to get a few more presentations out for them!

It also got warm this week for a couple pf days, so Bunny got to try out her new bike! Pup used hers too. I realized that my baby is ready for a big bike!

Pup has defiantly mastered the binomial cube! She loves it! I think that I may need to show her how to build outside the box net week!

See? Puzzles, Puzzles, Puzzles!
 
So that was our week! I hope that your week went well too! I am going to head off to make some tray tomorrow for Monday! I also am going to a plan written up! It will be a busy weekend! Happy Schooling Everyone!
 


Number Rods and Fractions!

Well despite my wandering mind and need to mix things up a bit, we have done some good work this week! One thing that has amazed me is that Pup has almost mastered the number rods! It all happened so quickly! She finally mastered her numbers last week and this week she started laying the rods out, counting them, and matching them to the number tiles! It was all on her own and she was so happy with her work!She even made sure that she organized them in numerical order! I was so proud of her and of what she has learned!

 
While Pup was working away, Bunny also has been working with her math! She is loving her fractions. I know that they have really made an impression since she is frequently using fraction words in her day to day conversations! She loves them! We have been working on equivalencies. I have held back a bit in moving forward to adding the fractions since I want her to know the equivalencies. But she is dying to learn more. Now I will admit that I have been a little lazy in getting my Fractions Charts done. I just havent gotten it done. Well yesterday, I told Bunny about them and she wanted to make them herself! So I said why not? I explained them to her and showed her a way to set it up. She was super excited! I tried to show her the ones that My Boys Teacher made at What Did We Do All Day, and she told me not to show her because that would be like cheating! 🙂 She did the 1/2 equivalencies and today she did the 1/3!
 

 
So there you have what my little mathematicians work so far this week! I love that they are liking math! As a former math hater, this makes me happy! How is your week? Is there an amazing things happening at your house?
 


Changing How We Work!



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

Working Along

Well in spite of all the little issue we have had in our school room, there have been some truly great moments for the girls in their work this week. Bunny wrote a little bit about the bread she made and she did her very best handwriting! She also complete some multiplication families. Pup FINALLY got her numbers and she was so proud! She knew all of them as I laid them out on the rug out of order and then she put them back into the box in numerical order! She also built a ton of puzzles! So even though we have had some rough days this week,  it is good for me to remember the moments that were totally perfect!

 
Pup is also working on the Binomial Cube! She is so proud that she can build it!
 

This is a new balancing game. Pup LOVED it! She must have done it 20 times! It is a great work!
 
Here is Bunny Writing. She has been doing really well with her writing!

Fractions

Bunny had a lot of fun mixing the binomial and trinomial and then building them both!
 
Bunny has really been working on reading! She has been reading some Dr. Seuss. I has been really hard, but she is working really hard!

 Bunny has been sitting and doing her math facts. I suggested that she write it down, but she told me she didnt need to since she was memorizing them! 🙂
 
We also managed to talk about the polar regions of the earth and how the sun doesnt rise at least one day of the year and doesnt set at least one day of the year. We also read some books together about the seasons of the year! It was a good week, if a little different! It was a good reminder to me that learning is more then just school work! It is really about living! I hope you all had a wonderful school week as well!
 
We are now into deep birthday preparations here! Bunny turns 7 on Sunday and she is having family over to celebrate that day! Saturday she is having a few friends over to play! So we are going to be busy! This year, Bunny has had a hand in making some decorations too! Here is how things are looking!
 

 Can you guess the theme?
 Be sure to stop by this weekend and see how things go! Happy Schooling!
 

stafford.nlx@mailxu.com keely-misha