Tips and Tricks

Montessori Math is Changeing

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Montessori Math is the really one of the most iconic parts of the whole method. We all know and love the golden bead work, the rods, and the bead bars. They have taught thousands and thousands of young children to understand and love math! Here it is no different. Bunny loves math and Pup is starting to as well. However, as Bunny got older, the work of keeping up with all of the threads of the Montessori math work was too hard for me. So in order to keep up with her learning, I needed to find a curriculum. We started using Miquon math and she has been so happy! Miquon uses manipulative in their book, but the beads don’t always work. So we got the rods that the book uses, and Bunny loves them more then the beads! The beads are just like the bead bars, but with different colors. Much like the number rods, they are in metric units and get bigger with each number. So the one unit is one square centimeter. The two is 1×2 cm. You get the idea! There is no way to count the rod, but there is a ruler with a track that will show you the number of each rod. We use it to show the numbers changing with the functions too. Since Bunny loves these so much and I know Pup will start the same math as Bunny in first grade, I thought that it would be easier to show Pup her numbers with the rods instead of beads. With a slight bit of modification, the same Montessori presentations work out perfectly! We are working on the teens board and then we are going to start the golden beads (I will switch out the 10 bar for an orange 10 rod. With the other wooden 100s, and 1000s it will work out perfectly). She is very excited about both and I for one am happy to see her interested in math! I think that her ability to use the rods, like her sister, is a big motivator! Here are some pictures from her work with the rods this week!

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So there you have our new favorite math material! I really think that they can be used as an alternative to the beads. One advantage is that they can be laid next to each other easily without rolling all over. Plus they stack into all sorts of fun ways (play is learning after all). And finally, they are SOOOOO much less expensive and teach the same things as the Montessori beads. A child quickly memorizes the colors of the Montessori beads and that is a part of learning the math. They do that with the rods as well. With the track they can easily see the number and count the sections below the number to “see” it. The rods we use are Cuisenaire Rods. You can see them here! Check it out and let me know what you think! Maybe it will make your Montessori math experience easier and less expensive! Happy Counting! 😉 I linked up to Montessori Monday! Stop by to see some amazing learning ideas!

 

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!

 

 

 

Technology and Montessori

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

10 Tips for Making the Prefect Learning Space

When I showed off my little school space  I got a ton of sweet comments on how much you loved it! It got me thinking about what a Montessori space needs and how to give you tips for making your very own space! Maria Montessori really believed that the environment was one of the teachers of children! What a totally interesting way to look at interior design. The room is a teacher. So what is your Montessori space teaching? That is the question. How do you ensure that the space your children are spending time in is teaching in its own way? Well here are a few tips that I think can help as you plan your space:

1) Simple is Better: You don’t need a ton of stuff on the walls, or piles of stuff on shelves. Kids can only focus and learn concentration when there is less distractions. Like a room that is too noisy, environmental noise often makes it hard for kids to tune out. So keep art work in a contained area (like a frame, buliitain board, or line with clips) and educational posters to a minumun. I also found that those posters are more interesting if they framed or matted, and compliment your deocr. Work on the shelf is better if there is breathing room between the items. Last year I piled all of the wooden boxes of work one on top of the other. However, the girls never chose them that way. Once I separated everything and gave it room, they were more interested in it. So clear those shelves of work no longer needed or toys that aren’t nessesary! Simple is better!

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2)Get Low: Seriously, sit down on your knees and see what your kids see. That beautiful arrangement family photos you put out for your baby to look at my be too high for her to see. That darling wooden train that you just know your two year old will love, maybe too high on a shelf. So climb down on the floor to see what your kids are going to need for space, height, and ease of use. However, that doesn’t mean you will always be able to fix things that are too tall. Shelves are pretty standard on height and the bathroom sink will always be high! So don’t forget to find a good step stool to help with those places where things are just where they are. Make it a part of the design of your room. That will make some of those things on the top of a shelve accessible if they need to be. It will allow you to be sure they can get what they need, while still utilizing all the space you have. This is the first step to learning independce and self ability!

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3) Make it Cozy: This is your home, not a preschool, so make it a cozy space. In a school setting they need to be careful about how many soft objects they have because of the germ factor. You however, don’t need to worry about that! So add some pillows, bring a soft chair, and center the room with a rug! Cozy can make you comfortable. And there is no rule saying that learning needs to be uncomfortable! Besides, stories are just better in a big chair. When learning is comfortable it become something special that you want to do again!

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4) Make it Pretty: A pretty space is one that people want to spend time in, and you are going to want your learning space to a place that is happy to be in. So add some color to the walls that you love, hang some pictures, and make it look the way you want to. It dosnt have to be really expensive or a huge undertaking. Making a space your is as simple as adding things that are beautiful to you. In my school room there is a Trojen Horse on the shelves that was my grandma’s and I love it. It has nothing to do with our school room other then I like to look at it! 🙂 Often this is where people don’t know where to start making it theirs. So start a pintrest board and pin rooms that inspire you. You will never make it look just like it, but you may find something that will help you design your room into the perfect space for your family. Start doing it bit by bit. The more beauty you can add, the more inspired your kids will be. Remember, beauty is individual! So whether bearuty to you is giant lego monsters, ethereal fairies, or a mason jar of flowers it is going to make your space special to you! And that will make the time you spend there special too! Beauty is what inspires us to make things better and giving your child beauty will help them see the good all around them.

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5) Books and more Books: As an interior decorator, I know that there is really something about books that make a room real. Seriously, this is huge decorator tip, add books! If you look at any decorator magazine, in every room you will find some books somewhere! Books are real, they are personal, and they are ever changing, plus they are educational! Take time with your books. Don’t just shove them on a shelf, they are a huge part of learning and they are also a huge tool to making your learning space awesome! Place them in a basket, sort them by color, stack them on their sides, or arrange them by subject. Whatever you know will work for you! Just don’t shove them all into a closet hidden away (some maybe if you have as many as we do)! Make them an indepensible part of the room. Trust me it will make a difference in not just how the room looks, but how your kids view books in their life!

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6) Add Nature: Ready for another decorators tip? Add some natural elements. Nature brings in life. It bring the feeling of peace, renewal, and freashness. So add some nature. Maybe its a collection of tresures from a walk, maybe you have a pet fish, or maybe you have a little plant to care for. Fill a jar with pretty rocks, have a vase filled with sticks you collect, or have a basket of log blocks to work with! There are a million ways to add nature to you room, and so many of them are easy and free! Its a simple way to add to the beauty of the environment! Plus you are teaching your kids that nature is special. important, and a source of information!

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7) Display it with love: The room that you are creating is for your kids, so there needs to be a place to display those trasures that they will always find time to make. A picture draw well, an elephant sculpted from clay, or a robot made out of pop bottles! Whatever it is, kids are naturally creative and always ready to share their work with you and the world! So foster that love of expression by making a special place for their work to live. Stick the 3d picecs on a shelf, have childrens art frames for the wall, or a bullitain board for their art work. Find a way to display their work in an attractive way to let them know that you value the time they put into it! They worked hard and you want to praise that. Simply, placing that work somewhere special for all to see will speak volumes! Plus, you wont need to spend money on art for your room! You will have one of a kind original pieces ready for display whenever you need it.

8) Keeping it Clean: As with any space how you can keep looking good is the tricky part! So when you are placing the work on the shelves, or buying things for your room, think about how easy it will be for the kids to maintain what you have set up. Does everything have a place? Is it easy to put things on the shelf or do you have to put things a certain way to make it fit? If you have a lot of art supplies like me, are work surfaces easy to clean? Can the floor be swept or do you need a vacuum? Can the kids get to the stuff they need to help clean the space? It is a space for them after all, so they should help maintain it. That not only will give you a break, it will also help them make the room feel like theirs! So when you are planning think about the cleaning too! Keeping spaces organized is an essential skill for life, so why not start early!

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9) Eclectic variety: Variety is the spice of life right? It can also add some spice to your learning space. Make sure that you have things out for working with that cover a wide variety of subject areas. You never know when your little ballerina is suddenly going to want to become an geologist because she found a pretty rock! Or maybe your avid cowboy suddenly wants to know how his body works! Sometimes new interests are started all at once and totally randomly, so having a learning space that is full of variety to support that is important. Make sure there are science materials, worldwide culture activities, natural elements to play with, and historical things to explore! Remember, learning is about more then lessons, it is about the passion and drive to find out more about something!

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10) Ages and Stages: Finally, don’t forget that your child will not be the same size forever! Make sure that the space can grow with them. If you make the room way too baby oriented, then you will need to redo your work later when they are older. So make it something that they can enjoy later too. Plus, keep in mind that you want the space to be a place where older kids and younger kids can work together! If one child is older and one is younger, then if you make sure the space is compatible for both of them. When they are working together, then amazing learning happens! Plus learning to share a space is such a good lesson that is easy to learn in you own home.

So those are some tips that should help you create an awesome learning place for your kiddos! Not matter what ages you have and or where your space is, there is always a way to make it a special part of your life! Don’t forget that you don’t need to do it all at once either! Change things as you or as you find the perfect element to add. Before you know it, your learning space will be a beautiful reflection of your family! What is your favorite tip to make your learning space perfect?

 

School Room 2013

Well as promised, here is the tour of our school room for the year! I have to say I have added quite a bit of homey elements to make it more like a room then a school. I wanted learning to be comfortable and feel like a part of life, not something that we do only in one place. Another difference is that I have places a great emphasis on art and creating. As I mentioned before, I love the book (and blog) the Artful Parent. This idea of making your family artful by allowing art to happen, made me think about making our homeschool an artful homeschool. I want to make learning something that really inspired them to create and make it theirs. So there is lots of art materials and space to work. I also added some more of those childrens art frames that open to pop in a new paper easily! I love that it give the girls work a sense of importance and it also makes things feel warm and cozy! Another thing I did was make a chalk board for our studies. I realized that we used our little chalk board a lot last year and I wanted a bigger one. I couldn’t find one, so I made it (my hubbie helped out a bit)! It turned out really well and I love how it looks! Finally, when I reorganized our school room in the spring I moved things all around so that there was no subject specific areas. Thing were placed where they fit best and where they looked prettiest. This was fine, but I realized that having things arranged by subject made more sense for me and for the girls. So back in order things went, but I still tried to use a few pieces as decorative to make it look pretty too! Well, you can be the judge! Let me know what you think! I like it. I am sure that we will change things as we go and you will it! Here is what it looks like now!

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This is our Art Shelf.

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Here is my chalk board! I think it is so pretty! I think we will really make a lot of use of this!

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This is our sensorial area (more or less). This is all out because I know that when we have friends over, these are all things that we can share easily!

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This is botany, weaving, practical life trays (I haven’t made them yet) and our bells.

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This is our language area. The basket of animals are going to be the base of our grammar work! I plan to use them instead of the farm. We can make sentences using aniamls and landscapes from different continents! Thus combining our geography and language!

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This is a little bit more random. we have some geography work on the top part. This is where we will have a changing continent shelf that the girls can decorate each month. On the bottom there are fraction circle, Bunny’s robotics kit, and the geometry sticks.

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Finally here is our math area! You can see all the regular math works! Bead fram, golden beads, sandpaper numbers, etc.

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Here is an overview of the shelves so you can see it all together!

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Here is our main work table. I have some new frames here and also our nature tray! I think it looks much better! I made a geography inspired art set for the area. I love this Mother Thresa quote. It seemed perfect!

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This is Pup’s work area and the stairs upstairs.

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This is Bunny’s desk. You can see she is already making her area hers! 🙂

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So there you have it! What do you think? I really like it! I think that it is a beautiful space and I hope that it will help make learning a bit more fun. Some how having the best space possible seems to make learning more inspiring and important. Don’t you think? How is your learning space? What does it look like? Leave a link! I love to see where others are learning! Happy Schooling!

Back to School Shopping Guild!

So one thing that everyone asks me a lot is where do I get my materials for school. Since it is that time of year, I thought I would put together my list of shopping places that I really like to use! These are my tried and true places to go for great learning materials. Some are Montessori specific, some are just really great at what they do! Bear in mind some of these places are affiliate accounts I hold, so if you stop by using my link and order, I get a wee bit of a kick back! But here we go!

1) Montessori Services: This is my first go to place for all those little bits of Montessori fun. They have the best prices on nice plastic trays (a must for water work and scrubbing) they have the best practical life material I have ever seen! Plus they have some elementary materials and LOTS of great science work!

2) Kid Advance: This where I buy ALL of my Montessori Materials. The quality is pretty good. It wouldn’t last through gernerations of kids, but it works just fine for the few kids that use it here! Plus, if you have an order over $200 you get 10% off! Another thing about them is they have been good with some of the little issues I have had with some of my orders. They always make it right!

3) Kiwi Crate: Love this company. If you are feeling like you need a little art mixed with learning this is just for you! Each month a box full of learning and art comes right to your door. It has everything you need for each of 3-4 projects, plus some little extras! One thing I love about these boxes is that you could easily use this as a Montessori art tray,  since all the directions are in words and in pictures for the non readers! These boxes are just way too much fun and really great way to add art with out too much work!

4) Rainbow Resources: This is the ULTIMATE homeschooling website! They have just about everything you need to make the perfect curriculum! I ordered a lot of stuff from them this year since we are starting to need some more books! I bought research resources and I bought actual curriculum. This place is awesome and HUGE! Plus orders over $50 ship free!

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5) Amazon.com: This is my go to to find reviews and sometimes less expensive prices on….well everything! What I love about amazon is that there are a lot of reviews and sometime hearing what other have to say can help make a decision! Plus, I have prime shipping so I can get things in 2 days when I am in a pinch! 😉

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6) Montessori at Home! This is the best place to start with preschool work in my opinon! It is simple, it is straight forward, and it has a ton of pictures (I need pictures)! Plus there is a whole printable bundle that you can buy to go with it!

So there you have it! These are some of my main picks for places to shop and look for great homeschooling products! The thing about homeschooling is that everyone is different and everyone is looking for different things. So what are your favorite places to shop before school time? What are looking to get for your classroom this year?

 

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!

Tips for Spring Cleaning with Kids!



Its that time of year again~ time to spring clean. That is our main task this week! Its the task that strikes fear into the hearts of most moms (ok…I may be projecting my feelings here). But do it we must and the only way to survive the mountainous task is to find a way to work with kids instead of trying to get away from them! So how do you do that without loosing your mind or loosing your kids in the clutter? Here are a few tips that I have found to be a big help here!

1) Make a Plan: Figure out what you want to do, and assign a task to each day. This will keep your mind clear and focused on what needs to be done each day. Another thing to do is  to take the task for each day and pull out a list of things your kids can do with you or for you to help out. This way, you know who can go where and do what. A plan can save the whole day!

2) Set your Expectations: A good way to go about getting things done is to set your expectations and show then to your little helpers. Think about each task like you would a traditional Montessori Practical Life presentation! What steps do want them to follow? How do you want each thing done? Then show them carefully, and let them try it out! Chances are there is at least one task that your kids can do on their own, and do it while having a bit of fun!

3) It Will Not be Perfect: With little ones helping out, it is always important to remember that it wont be perfect! For example, today, Pup cleaned out a whole cabinet. She was so proud to wipe it all down ( did need to redo a few spots she missed while she was outside) and was so very excited about how she arranged the cups biggest to smallest all in a row. The only problem with that is that she placed the cups right in front of my containers. But I left it because she was proud of her work. I can fix it another day, or even let her figure out that the placement needs to be tweaked. But for now, I am happy she is trying hard and working well! Not having a perfect closet is ok for me with the joy and pride that I saw her face!

4) Take a Break for Fun: Sometimes things are getting rather hard, or maybe you finally hit a good place to stop for a moment for lunch, it is the perfect time to take a break! Read a book, make a snack, have a surprise, or…do what we did and walk down to the ice cream store! 🙂 It give you a moment to breath and to regroup before moving on!

5) Its ok to work alone: At some point, the kids will be done. Its ok. Chances are that they will be more then happy to play while you keep up the pace of the cleaning. Since they know what you are doing, they will have more respect for the work you are trying to do. Which means, they can play and you can work and no one looses their mind!

So this is our plan this week! Clean and school and clean some more! Wish us luck here! By the end of Saturday I hope to have a beautifully cleaned house! Just in time for the warm weather fun that I know it will bring! I hope that my thoughts will be able to help you on get your to do list done! If you have a secret tip, please share it in the comments!

Avoiding Spring Burnout!

 

Spring is here and the warm weather is just begging for days outside! But then you remember that there is school work to be done, and summer….well its a far way off still! *Sigh*.  The long dreary winter is heading out and frankly, you are ready for school to go with it and so are the kids. Work is starting to get old and boring to everyone. Text Books, which were like treasure chests in the fall are now like jail cells. All of the beautifully organized materials are used, old, and cluttered. The bright happy school room, is dark and confining and everyone is trying to escape given the right opportunity!  Ok…I may be getting a little overly dramatic here, but that feeling is real. That feeling is often the beginning signs of burnout. Burnout is a word that is feared among homeschooling mamas all over the world. Burnout means you lost your edge, that learning is no longer fun, and that you may need to give up or go under! To me, early spring is right when most mamas are feeling that burnout starting to happen and summer break cannot get her soon enough. My goal is today is to share a few ideas that can help stop (or at least slow down) the burnout feeling that threatens your whole amazing year! Here are a few thoughts that have helped me  and some that other moms have mentioned that were helpful too!

1. Find a new learning path:  These are sometimes referred to as Bunny Trails, side paths of learning that are not in the curriculum, but that have great discoveries along them. For example, we are jumping head long into Botany. I had not planned on doing that this year, but everything came together for it and the girls were excited about it! So we are going to embrace it right now! Maybe your new Bunny Trail will take your outside and into the fresh air where you want to be anyway! The nice things about Bunny Trails is that sometimes they are long, sometimes they are short, but they are always exciting. Plus they will still allow you to hit some of the important goals on the curriculum plan at the same time!

2. Change the Scene: Try taking your school work somewhere new! Drag a table outside to the back yard, head out to the park, go to the library, even school at the zoo! Sometimes you may get less done, but you may find out that it is more relaxing and a bit more fun! Who knows, maybe you find a place where everyone works the best!

3. Take the Pressure Off: Another tip that I think is super important is to take a real look at what you have done this year and what you needed to get done. What are really required by law to make sure your kiddo learns? Just because you only got through 2/3 of the lessons you wanted, chances are you have probably met or even exceeded what they have to know to pass. That doesnt mean you need to stop schooling, it just means that you can relax a little bit! By taking pressure off of yourself to get EVERYTHING done, you will unconsciously take pressure off your kids too! That will allow you a chance to have more fun while you learn because you wont be worrying about the to do list! 🙂

4. Have an Adventure: Take a field trip! There is a reason why all the schools start taking field trips in the spring! It can spark some fun, some real learning, and may even start you down a Bunny Trail! Plus scheduling some a few field trip into your month gives everyone something fun and exciting to look forward to! Work and school time doesnt seem quite so bad when there is a field trip to look forward to in the future!

5. Get Rid of Screen Time: Ok….now I am not talking about giving up all your screen time, but I am saying, take a close look at what your a reading. Pintrest, social media, blogs, etc are full of amazing ideas, but sometimes these amazing ideas can make you feel like you just dont have your stuff together! So a good way to look at it is, if you read a blog or search for things on pintrest and it leaves you feeling overwhelmed and stressed, then stop! If you leave feeling inspired and uplifted, then read on sister! Honestly, every blogger out there probably feels just like you most days, like things are out of control and overwhelming. The Internet is filled with a million and ten amazing ideas for learning and having fun, however there are probably a million and nine that are not right for you. So pick what works and what feels like it will work for your family, and throw out what doenst!

6. Talk it out: And sometimes talking with a really good mommy friend is the best way to help get your mojo back! There are days when I dont know what I would do with a good chat with my mom or my best friend! Sometimes just talking about the stressful things that are driving you to burnout and hearing that you are not failing, is all you need to kick it back into gear!

Those are my tips to help you keep going and loving what you do! Some of these ideas are ones I have used, some were shared by my mom (who has been homeschooling for more then 20 years) and some were ideas from other friends! That is what a good community is all about, sharing ideas and helping each other through the tough moments! So that being said, be sure to add your ideas for avoiding burnout in the comments! I would love to hear them, and I know the other who stop here too! I am linking up to Montessori Monday and Hip Homeschool Hop and The Super Linky Party so stop by there for more great learning ideas!

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Another thing that I wanted to take a moment to share with you is that Kiwi Crate is offering an amazing giveaway! I personally LOVE Kiwi Crate! They offer amazing art kits, sent right to the door for your kids! Their boxes come with perfect step by step directions that kids can easily follow on their own! And Kiwi Crate is giving away everything on their website along with a Pottery Barn Table! WOW! So Stop by and maybe you will win! Plus for everything you buy there, I get a little bit to help me out too! I really hope you can win because this is amazing! All you need to do, is click on he picture above! Good Luck and Happy Schooling Everyone!
badamo_ernestine@mailxu.com murriel_ernestina@mailxu.com