Montessori Work Day

Convergence Insufficiency

I took Bunny to the eye doctor the other day because I was really concerned about the way she was trying to see things while trying read. She was squinting alot, holding the book very close to her face, and she was just mixing things up that I know she knows. This led us both to be very frustrated. I had a few people bring up a vision problems as something that maybe wrong and I thought I should check it out.

Last week, Bunny realized that her addition math board had patterns and this excited her! She spent a lot of time doing all of the addition problems and finding all the patterns!



The Doctor told us she has a vision problem called Convergence Insufficiency. This is something affects alot of kids. Some numbers put it at about 13%! It is often misdiagnosed at dyslexia or ADHD because it appears that the child lacks focus and cant seem to figure out how to read. The problem it seems is not they they dont know how to, they just cant see well. The eyes will naturally move together a bit in order to read or do things up close. This allows you to bring things into focus. However, with kids who have CI like Bunny, the eyes dont move together correctly. This will cause them to see double, to have bad headaches, the words can fracture or appear broken, they get tired, squint or rub their eyes lot, and other similar things. It makes it really hard for them to read and when the print is small, they often cant distinguish between smaller words. Bunny told me that when she tries to read a paragraph the words get swirly! So this is what we are learning to deal with here and the only option for recovery is therapy. In-office therapy with home therapy is the best method.



However, the options here so far as I can find a few and very expensive. So my night have been filled with research of different exercises we can do at home to help her start to correct this issue. So we are reading in small spurts, our school days are going need plenty of breaks so her eyes dont become fatigued making her head hurt or frustrate her. I can see where having more practical life work for her to do in between more reading and writing work will be very helpful. I knew know where those random screaming fits came from and why reading is something she has such a hard time with. It makes alot of sense, but it is also going to be a hard challenge for her and for me as we move forward. If anyone has any information that would be helpful with this, I would love the tips! And if you dont have any ideas, I would love to have some prayers or positive thoughts as we walk this path together! So if you wondered where I have been and why I have not been at this space alot lately, this is why! 🙂 Research takes a lot of time! The pictures in this post are random work from today and from later last week! I will end this post with a book Bunny wrote all by herself today! Knowing now how hard this can be, I am even more proud then ever! I hope you are all having a wonderful week! Happy Schooling!



Montessori Monday~ Great Lesson 5~ Story of Numbers

Today we did our last of the Great Lessons! I was already for the this one, I had the timeline, I made the charts, and everything was set! What I didn’t prepare for was the math that the kids were going to want to do with all the old numerals! 🙂 I was kept on my toes writing problems out for them to write in roman numerals, Babylonian symbols, and Chinese numbers! They loved it! It was alot of fun! And to think I thought that this would be one of the more boring lessons! 😉 Here is some picture from out work!

Here is Bunny’s Babylonian numbers

And this is the copy of the Roman Numerals Chart she made!

C Work with the Babylonian numbers too and she also did a bunch of addition with Roman Numerals! She thought it was awesome that her numbers were bigger then the example I had on the chart! 🙂

J. wrote out a whole list of numbers in Chinese and then translated it back into Arabic numbers on the other side of the paper!

 
The day of course ended with a little bit of show! The girls wanted to show off what they learned! This really is a great story and really the timeline is not super necessary right away! The charts are really what draws the children! I made them, so here they are for you to print off yourself! They are NOT in order of presentation during the story so be sure that you keep that in mind! If there is a mistake, let me know! I think I got it right, but you never know! I am linking up to Montessori Monday so stop by there for more Montessori Fun! Happy Schooling!


Discovery Days!

The past few days have been full and busy. But we still have had time for school, and fun new discoveries! Bunny has been working with fractions and her math boards to memorize addition! What has been fun to see is, is that she is having fun with it! She keeps finding new connections and patterns and this is making her super excited! In fact at one point she was working while I sat next to her, and she was so excited about a pattern she discovered, she jumped up and almost ran to find me! 🙂

We started our fractions work off with some simple equivalencies, but it soon turned into some interested math as she thought about what could equal a third. Her thought process quickly found the sixths, but then she realized that 3+3=6. She then told me that 6+6=12 so maybe twelfths would be a good one to try. We of course didnt have the twelfths, so we had to visualize it, but decided that it was really equivalent. She was so excited and told me that fractions were actually math! I helped her write the work down so we would remember what we learned!
 

Today she was doing some addition board problems (we use a printed off board and she writes the answer in from the problems slips. Its like having number tiles, but easier for me!). As she worked on some problems, she found a pattern in the 10s! Then she wanted to know if there were any other patterns and she discovered that there was a line of 11s, 13s, 9s, 15s, and 16s. She told me “I didn’t know that my math board could be fun!”
 
I love it when learning becomes a discovery and a joy! For Pup, we have had a hard time still trying to keep working. She seems to have mastered everything, so I guess we move forward in the albums even though she is only three! But she did do some fun things today and I think that her favorite was showing her baby doll Lucy how to do work! 🙂 It was my attempt to try and get her interested in working with some materials instead of dragging all our toys downstairs! It worked for a bit! She had Lucy to the brown stair and pink tower! After that, she thought to stack the brown stair on its end! Here is her working and sharing her work with Lucy! 😉
 

 
So that is what we have been up to here! Learning is fun and I just know that it is the perfect way to be! Now I just need to be prepared enough to help keep it that way! 🙂 I hope you have had a great school week too! Happy Schooling Everyone!


The Story of Writing and Communication~ Montessori Monday

Today we got back into some of our great lessons! I presented the fifth great lesson about communication and writing! Our friends came over and it was a great time as usual! The kids liked the story and they were really interested at looking at all of the different ways that letters have evolved over time! We talked about how different people found different ways to record the information Some made dyes and paper, some carved it into stone, and some pressed it into clay! This of course led them to think about how they could make some ink of their own. I stopped them since we didnt have the time to boil things down into ink, but I suggested that they could use clay to write the way other people did! They loved the idea and we studied some samples before we got to work! They did a great job working on trying to duplicate the marks! It led us to think about how hard it was for them to write things down and we talked about how they must have had to write very carefully and neatly!

 

Here is Bunny’s work!

 
While the girls were writing, J.was looking at the timeline! He was measuring out the scale on the timeline to figure out how much time was going past. He worked it out in year and this math got him thinking about how long time has been going and on and on! He was amazed at everything that humans learned in such a short amount of time and was amazed to think of what we could still learn! He told me that he was studying history and it really interested him to see how short that time really was in comparison to the age of the earth! Those timelines that are meant to give an impression of time and how things have progressed really spoke to him today and it wasnt long after we talked about the timelines before he ran to find his mom to share his thoughts! That’s what its all about right?
 

 
So there you have it! That was our day! If you want to see a bunch of amazing Montessori work, then be sure to stop by and visit the Montessori Monday Linky Party! There is always some great ideas there! happy Schooling!


Practical Life and Discoveries!

Today was a good school day again. Bunny had her list and I was working hard to get Pup interested in some new work. She really wasnt getting into anything, so I pulled out my practical life album and saw a work I had totally forgotten about….pin punching! Bunny hated when I had shown it to her a long time ago, but Pup LOVED it! She did the whole shape and she colored it! We had a rather large temper tantrum afterward when she messed up the kitty’s face. 🙁 Poor kiddo. She was so upset that it didnt work out the way she thought it should!



She eventually got over it and we did a bunch of grace and courtesy type things that she thought were fun! We moved chairs and tables, pushed a chair in, greeted someone, shook hands, and talked about how to cough or sneeze in their arm! Both girls had such a great time with it!

 
While Pup worked, Bunny did some geometric stick work! She was amazed that a polygon only has straight sides! I love it when a small presentation makes her super amazed! She then worked for a long time making shapes. She showed me how she used all the same sticks to make a square and then it was fun to listen to her think about how to make a rectangle! She was really excited about the shapes she made! Plus she wrote a sentence about it in her journal today so it must have been a fun discovery!
 

 

 
So today we were all learning! Pup learned some new practical life work, Bunny learned about shapes, and I learned that I need to pick my albums again for the 3-6 age range! It is amazing how many ideas there are for learning and when you find them things are fun! I think things are going to work out if I keep things working consistently! If I can keep my attitude positive and joyful, then I think everything will fall into place! Thanks again to all of you for all the help and support you share! For those of you who comment and email and those of you who know me and chat on the phone, your help is amazing! Thanks to all of you and 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!
 


Electrical Education!

Today I asked Bunny to choose some work and maybe something to research. She chose to research electricity. So while I ate breakfast, she looked through the books we had gotten out at the library. She brought me two she said looked like had the best information and she asked me to read them for her. She I did. I also read a few more books that answered the other questions she had! We read about how electricity is energy, and about how it is made, and how we use it. The one question she really wanted to know was how it was made. We read that power plants burned coal to create heat that was used to make electricity, but she wanted to know how that worked (this is where I start learning as much as she is). So we read more. We read about how the heat boils water that makes steam. This steam is what turns the generator, the turning is what creates the electrical current that is sent down the wires to us! She thought that was really cool! We also found information about a nuclear power plant since that is what create the electricity we use! I was trying to find a way to have a going out trip to visit the plant, but it appears that they dont do that! I guess it would be a rather large liability on their part. Anyway, here is what she had me write down about what she learned:

After writing her story, she told me she loves to make books and wanted to make a math book next. So I gave her some equations for the bead frame and she got to work! She was really doing a great job and worked independently enough to tell me to go away! 🙂 After that she pulled out the golden beads and asked if she was allowed to use them since she was now in first grade! I told her of course she could! Poor kid thought she wasnt allowed to use the beads anymore! I’m not sure why, but she was all excited! Maybe she will do some more another day too!
 

 
Pup had some fun today learning the part of a leaf, but after that she sort of lost interest in everything. I dont know exactly what to do with her. I think she may just have the remnants of a cold, but still, she would rather just draw all day. I usually let her, but I think we need to do something else too! I am running out of paper again! 😉  I think that maybe I need to find some better trays to pull her in and really start some more science presentations for her. I think that she may have gotten a little bit neglected with all the work I have put into the Great Lessons with Bunny. We’ll see how that works out!
 

 
So there you have our work day today! It was a good work period and I think that both girls had fun! Make sure you stop by tomorrow for our Halloween Craft Day! Its going to be awesome fun! Happy Schooling Everyone!


Schooling in the Dark

Well..it wasnt really in the dark, but the electricity went out first thing this morning. I wasnt sure if we were going to do any school work today since we do our work in the basement and without lights its just a black hole! So, we improvised! School work was relocated to our playroom! It worked out pretty well. For Bunny I grabbed the fraction circles, and the geometry sticks. For Pup I grabbed some practical life trays and cylinder blocks! We have been really busy this week and that combined with the cold I caught the other day, we really havent gotten to any school work. So this was our day! I presented the next geometry work and the next fraction work! Bunny loved them and worked for a really long time! She is really understanding the fraction work and I know I she is going to keep running with it! I think we will be doing alot with them in the near future! She also LOVES the geometry sticks! We worked on building different shapes from the geometry cabinet (I dont have the cabinet, but I have the cards so we used those to learn some of the names). She didnt love trying to learn the names, but she enjoyed the challenge of trying to build them! 🙂

 
After that, we played go fetch with the fractions. I wrote a fraction on our chalk board and she went a got it for me! She did a perfect job and was almost board with it! So I asked her to pick some pieces out and then write the fraction she got. She thought that was fun and did a lot of silly ones like 3/3.  So we reviewed the numerator and denominator and then moved on to the next presentation! Bunny and I talked about equivalency! We worked together to figure out which fraction families could replace each other. For example, 1/2, is the same as 2/4, 3/6, 4/8, and 5/10. She loved this so much! I think we will do it again and I want to encourage her make some fraction books, and the other extensions in my albums!
 

 
While Bunny was working, Pup and I did some fun games with the cylinder blocks. I know that she likes them, but since they were presented early on, she really loosed a little interest because she thinks there is nothing new to do! So I pulled out some extensions for her to play with! The first thing we did was add the nomenclature that goes with the block, thick, thin, tall, short, etc. She really loves the idea of the different words and loved pulling the cylinders out and using the words to describe them! After we did that for a bit, I put two blocks together for her to work with! She liked that too! She told me that she really wanted to sit and make some discoveries! So we sat looked. I started to pull out a couple of the cylinders and lined them up. Pup thought that was the coolest idea ever and finished what I started. She told me it was a great discovery! 😉
 

 
She did a lot of other little thing too! She asked that I take pictures for her, so I will make sure to post them all! She likes to sit and look at the blog sometimes! I think that it makes her happy to see pictures of what she has done and what we do as a family!
 

 
So that this what we did while there was no power in the house today! On a side note, the girls had a great time watching the repair men climb the pole in the back yard to fix the problem. While they were working, Bunny wanted to know what electricity was, how much of it there was, how does it get in the wires, etc. I wasnt feeling well enough for a trip to the library to help her with the questions, so I guess I will try to get there tomorrow! It looks like maybe we will be learning about that!
 
What is always amazing to me is how kids will find something that is interesting to them and then will learn whatever they can about it, no matter what you do! The things Maria Montessori observed so long ago are still things that are observable today! Kids have an inner drive to learn and they want to do it! They are curious about life, how it work, and what happens! Just like the early humans, kids are using the unique gifts given to humans to learn, grow, and find new ways to do things!It is amazing to think that thousands, even millions of year have not changed the intelligence, the love, and the creativity of man! Kids are no different! They are born ready to learn, grow, and use their gifts.  All you need to do it prepare a place for them to find the information. The thing is that this place doesnt need to look like a Montessori classroom, it just needs to work for you and your kids. The beauty is that you work with them to find the best way! Then the learning that happens can go as deep as you let it!  So here is to learning! Happy Schooling Everyone!
 


Montessori Monday~ The Hand Chart

Today we did a follow up to the third great lesson, the hand chart. This is a long piece of black material (about 10 ft) that has a strip of red materials at the end and the picture of a hand in the middle. The point of the material and the discussion is to give the child the impression of how long humans were living, learning, working, and changing, before they even began to write things down! This led to some discussion about the tools and things that the early humans created and learned about. There were some pictures drawn and some reading done! After a little bit, Bunny had the idea of going outside and doing things a prehistoric man may have done. All the kids thought that was a fun idea. I offered to find something for them to try building a shelter with branches (I needed to trim the Butterfly bush anyway)! They thought about how to build a fire out of stick, but I drew the line at that! So off they went to build a shelter and make a camp! They had a hard time putting something together and it was interested way for them to understand just how hard it was for the early humans to live with whatever they could find!

Here is Bunny’s Picture of a prehistoric family and wooly mammoth.

 
Their early humans camp didnt work out like they wanted! So later on in the afternoon, Bunny and I went out and built another one with the sticks! It worked out with some clever arranging and with the old railroad spike as a tool. When it was done, Bunny said that the wind still came though and it was cold. I asked her what she thought the early humans would have done. She said they would have covered it will furs. Since I dont have furs laying around the house, we settled for some old sheets! It worked out. It helped block the wind and, as Bunny mentioned, it would help keep the rain out too! I also offered her some brown towels to use as furs to dress it! It was pretty cool! She had a lot of fun with it, and was so excited to show it to dad!
 

Using her tool to help make the shelter!

She is so excited that it worked!

Here are out added “furs”.

She even had a spot for her tools. That way they were easy to reach and they didnt hurt anyone.

My little cave girl!

Pup of course wanted to play too!
 
It was alot of fun exploring the way early humans may have lived! I planning on asking Bunny if she would like to make a story about them this week too! Next Monday I am planning on presenting the First Timeline (as long as the timeline I ordered comes in)! I am linking up over at Living Montessori Now, so be sure to stop over there for more Montessori fun! Happy Schooling!


Working Away

Yes, here again is another school day post! I hope that you all enjoy reading them! I know it is alot, but this is my way of recording what each girl has done and where they are at! Today was fun! Bunny wanted to do fraction work, so I gave her the next presentation! We talked about denominators and numerators. She really got it and loved the presentation.

 



 Pup wanted to work on sandpaper letters, so I introduced a couple more letters. After we did that, I pulled out the farm animals and played eye spy. I have tried this with her a few times before, but she really didnt get it. Today she did! She was able to pick out most of the beginning sounds between two objects. She loved it and we are going to keep playing this with her! Later on, she was playing with her zebra and she was sounding the sound out. She told me that the sound was “zzzz”! I was shocked! She was very excited about her discovery and I asked if she wanted to see the letter that made that sound. She told me yes, so I went and got the “z”. She traced it and said it over and over. Then she asked if she could have the letter in her room! 🙂 Awwww…what a Montessori child!

 
So that was our excitement today! We did a few other things too. Bunny made a book about baby mammals, we talked about where conifer trees grow in forests and about the northern and southern hemisphere, and she also read a book! I hope that you all had a great school week! Happy Schooling!

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