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Party like its 1970!

If you have been wondering why I am not posting about amazing back to school fun, its because I was working really hard to pull together a surprise party for my neighbor! It was a beach party no less (summer is not over, summer is not over) with a 70s flair and tons of great family fun! Want to see what we got to do? Well here it goes!

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As you can see the party was just too much fun for everyone! It was a perfect surprise and a perfect summer beach party!  However with the party over, its time to throw myself into some serious school planning and reorganization of the school room! I have been making a chalk board, clearing shelves and creating a good way to have everything in its place! Don’t worry there will be a reveal soon! I hope you had a good weekend!

Friday Five~ Practical Life Edition!

This week’s Friday Five is all about Practical Life work! So what are my five favorite practical life work? Hmmm…..what a tough question! I love so many of them. But I must narrow them down, so here are  my five picks of the week!

1) Scrubbing: I love scrubbing work, kids love scribbling work, and what’s not to love? There is water, there is soap, and there is something to make look better then when you started! I think that if I could pick one work that every kids loves, its this one. Plus there is so many really practical applications in real life. Learning to scrub all the dirt off something small is great prep for washing dishes, cleaning walls, and even brushing teeth!

2) Pouring: This work is a great work that works well for older kids as well as really little ones! It is a great way to learn how to be independent and to play at the same time! Plus there are a million ways to do this, rice, beans, water, funnels, cups….anything!

3) Baking: This is an all in one lesson that really makes kids feel grown up! There is pouring, mixing, cleaning, measuring, and a ton of other skills that a kid can practice while spending time with you that makes their day special! Plus they are learning how to make a real contribution to the family, not just playing!

4) Hand Washing: This was one that I was torn on at first. Why get a bowl out and a bar of soap when I have a sink and a hand soap in the bathroom? Well, we set up the work in our atrium and it was amazing! There was just so much more focus and attention to detail when using the bar of soap and the bowl. It was amazing to see how after a good washing, the kids would go back to work with a focus! Its worth a try. Even if we don’t have it out all the time, they do love it! Plus, it teaches great hygiene!

5) Hand washing: We have done this one a lot with small hankies outside and it is always a hit! Scrub in soap, rinse in water, and hang on the line! It is a perfect warm weather fun and great work too!

So those are my picks!  Even if they are day late! Aren’t some of those old pictures fun! My girls were just so little! Do you have five favs too? Then be sure to stop over to Montessori Moments to link up! I am linking there and it is really fun to get some great ideas for each of these areas! I hope you play with us or at least click around to find some new fun ideas! 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! 😉

Montessori at Home

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?

 

Planning for a Getaway!

***********First of all don’t forget to enter my giveaway for one of THREE Montessori at Home Bundles! This giveaway ends on July 20th, so hurry hurry!*************

We are all in the middle of preparing to head out on our very first road trip and things are rather messy, busy, and full of lists! 🙂 So if you are wondering at my absence, that is why! I have been working out surprises for the girls to make the long trip enjoyable. My plan is to give them something new (and little) every couple of hours and I think that they are going to love it. So I just wanted to send you a wee little update! So now I am off to bed with my head full of packing lists, shopping lists, and well….just lists! 🙂 Do you have any great tips to prepare for a great road trip! I would love to hear your ideas!

A Bit of Montessori for You!

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I have exciting news here today! John Bowman, the amazing author of Montessori at Home! has offered to giveaway his bundle of awesome resources to THREE of you wonderful readers! I for one love this book! It is the perfect starting point for anyone who wants to do some Montessori work at home! Whether you are a wanting to add a little bit or if you want to start homeschooling full time, this is the best book to start with! Here is what John has written about his book:

The 2013 Third Edition of Montessori At Home!, gives you everything you need to be successful doing early learning activities with your 3-6 year old, including:

  • Clear, organized, thorough chapters on Maria Montessori, Early Childhood Education, Using Montessori Principles in Parenting, The Neuroscience of early childhood development, and a Parent’s Guide to Using Learning Materials at Home. With this information, you will be confident in your ability to provide your child with quality early learning experiences.
  • A Quick Start Guide, Ages & Activities Chart, and Suggested First Activities to get your activities off to a great start.
  • Links to sites, blogs, and videos expanding on the information in the book are found on almost every page – hundreds in total. The result is a virtual college course on understanding how your preschooler is developing and how to help her reach more of her true potential.
  • Over 300 activities in the areas of Practical Life, Sensorial, Art & Music, Science, Digital Life, Mathematics, Reading, and Writing. The activities are sequence from the easiest to the more difficult, to make finding appropriate activities for your child easier.
  • Recommendations throughout the book for over 225 educational apps for preschoolers, and a Digital Life chapter with many ideas on safely introducing preschoolers to digital media.
  • 56 Pages of free printables to accompany many of the activities.
  • A free copy of the eBook: Mom Bloggers Talk Montessori – Favorite Activities & Ideas. This wonderful collection of the shared experiences of many Moms doing Montessori at home will help you get started and guide you along your way.

You could spend months and untold hours searching hundreds of blogs and reading books by Montessori and other educators to try to put together a coherent early learning program for your child. Or, you can buy Montessori At Home! for only $10.95 and get started in a few days. With Montessori At Home! on your computer or iPad, you are ready to start doing activities, and seeing results, right away.

Montessori At Home! is literally the only reference resource you need to create an effective home early learning program. The first two editions of Montessori At Home! have been downloaded by over 4000 parents, and many teachers, all over the world. The Third Edition is greatly expanded based on feedback from many parents. It has everything you need to do a complete Montessori early learning program right at home.

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So now you want to know what you want to do to win one, right? Well here is what you need to do! Just look below here for the Rafflecopter Widget and follow the directions! Simple! Now this is a fast one, so be sure to enter NOW! Plus share it with your friends….or at least tell them how cool this book is! Now, if you are like me, you are feeling a little like you don’t want to wait for 5 days! You want the book TODAY! So…..I have good news: Instead of the regular $10.95, you can get it for just $8.95 for a limited time! That is SO inexpensive for what it is (really its less then a pizza)! So Click here to order it today! So show some love, enter to win, and Good Luck to you all!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

Updates on Life

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Well I had plans to write a beautiful, fun post all about our making ice cream the other day, but I really am feeling pretty down and I thought I’d share a bit about why I have been less then chatty lately. You see, May hit me with a pretty lovely case of burnout. I had been warned all year that it would hit if I kept going on with all the commitments I had and I didn’t listen. Everything needed me so much! And I did finish up all the commitments I had to the best of my abilities, but that took a huge toll. That toll was that I was DONE! I needed a break. There was nothing left to give. We finished up school work, I got their test scores back, I closed up the Atrium for the summer, and I crawled into my house with intention to hole ourselves up for a summer of nothing. And that is what I did here. In the my own words to the director of the church I just wanted to “pack it all up and burn it all down”. Now that isn’t a healthy attitude is it? So we stayed home and I did the only that I felt was calling to me….scrapbooked. I had a whole year and half of photos that were not in albums and that really bothered me. Now I hear some of you saying that you have years, maybe even decades out there to do, but I was really avid scrapbooker a few years ago. I had a whole album scrapped and ready for Bunny before she was even born. I just needed photos. So for me to have 18 months of photos just irritated me to no end. So I sat down and while the girls played to their hearts content, I sat on my computer and put together page after page of pictures. It was refreshing and yet the guilt clawed at me. I was literally spending hours on the computer. Not exactly the mom of the year. However, the more I thought about it, the more I saw that if I didn’t do something that was not just for me I was never going to get out of this horrible burned out, drained feeling. While I was battling this, I also realized that I have about all of the symptoms of a thyroid disorder. Sigh….I have always battled with keeping my hormones balanced and I take a replacement pill as it is, but this was taken to a whole new level. I was SO exhausted and incapable of getting my body to move. Right now I feel like I have run a marathon and all I did today was clean the house. It is a total body weariness that permeates down to every muscle I have. (Much like being pregnant, but without the sweet baby). It slow my mind and my ability to think and react. I am forgetting words, dropping things, and my typing is horrible! The effort of maintaining normal things like laundry and dinner seem like big accomplishments and it bothers me that I am like this. However, since I cannot afford all the tests and specialists to fix this, I am just learning to work with it. Some days are really good, others not so much. Today, not so much. My sister has been helping me research some natural helps. Exercises is a good one and there are some food that make it better/worse. So I am working on it. But all of this combined has led me to a very low key type summer! We have played a lot with friends, done a lot of art (12 straight days of rain requires some creative indoor fun), and had lots of watery fun! But there has been nothing too exciting, and “blog worthy”, plus by the time I start to blog at night, I am too tired to think it all through. So that is why I have been really quite here this summer! I am however starting to come out of some of the burnout and learning to work with the hormonal lows! Thank the Lord God! I was able to start my school planning, and start planning ideas for the Atrium next year (It will be far less days a week for sure)!  I am staring to get excited and I am so happy to feel like there are some normal bits coming back! So if you are the praying type, send up a prayer for me! I am striving to get back on track and be normal. I know that this is a kind of a downer post, but I wanted to share what is happening here! Its days like this I wish I really was super mom! I will be back to tomorrow with Ice Creaming making (which is always yummy)! I hope to see you back then! I will be back to my happy self (more or less)! Happy Summer to you all!

PS the pictures are some that were from the fourth of July! My dear blog deleted the post three times, so I gave up! (Yes I rewrote it three times). The pictures however are of the bike parade they had!

School Plan for Next Year (as of now)!

 

Well I have been pretty MIA! But I will tell you why. Today I think I finally have a working plan for our school year, at least for now! I am sure that things will change as we go and as I break it down into a plan, but honestly you have to start somewhere. So I thought that I would share some of our plan (so that if you have a better idea, I have time to work it out)!
We have a ton of changes coming to our homeschool and I think that the biggest one is that Bunny is going to be moving away a bit from a Montessori. Now pick jaw up off the floor! We are still doing some, but we are going to be using some text books this year. Why you ask….well after trying to do the elementary work for the Montessori method last year with Bunny, I realized that it just didn’t work well for her. She likes to have structure and having such a big field of study was just too much for her. I felt like the beginning of the year was very scattered, but once I started picking a topic and working through it, Bunny was happier and leanred more. The other things that I noticed was that Bunny was done with a lot of the materials. I was trying to get her to work through the math serquence with materials, but once I let go of them and just let her do some worksheets, she excelled. So as a true Montessorian, I realized that following the needs of the child was more important then following what I thought I had to do. Another major factor for me in this change is the fact that I cant keep trying to make all of the materials. I feel like each subject has so many parts that I need to make and keep track of, there is no time for me to do some other things with the girls. We didn’t get to do a lot of art or music or other studies that are fun. I felt like all of my energy was being funneled into making work for simple subjects. Math and Language are pretty well researched and there is a lot out there. I feel like I am wasting so much time making things that others have perfected. Why reinvent the wheel? So this has led us to look into other ideas of learning this year. So what exactly is Bunny going to do this year? Let me show you!

MATH: BUNNY: No doubt about it, the Montessori math work is the best! However, Bunny loves her worksheets for practice. So this year I am going to buy Modern Curriculum Press for math. I have looked through a lot of books and I think that this is really just worksheets in a book all organized by the different parts of math. Since Bunny is really good at this and a little further ahead of the average greade, I am getting her the Third Grade book. My goal is to use this book with the Montessori math materials. When we are learning a new concept of she is stuck, there is still shelves of math work to use! 🙂
PUP: Is going to start really working on the traditional Montessori math sequence. We will be starting golden bead and bead boards with her. I think that she is going to have fun!

GRAMMAR AND WORK STUDY: BUNNY: I looked long and hard for a great grammar program, but came up without anything really good for us. First Language Lessons is a good program (best I looked at), but it was just not going to be a good fit here. So I am going to be using my Montessori albums in a modified way. I hesitation with using the Montessori method for this is the grammar boxes. Bunny doesn’t like to use work cards for anything and the thought of maing all those materials was really daughting. She does however LOVE LOVE LOVE the grammar symbols and building things.  So I will be writing words on the board as we talk about each part being the building blocks of a great sentnence! Writing it out on the board will work much the same as word cards, but more directed and less independent. However, I think that this will meet the need here. Plus I will use some of this as Bunny’s copy work to help with handwriting. Plus she will be reading something everyday!
PUP: is going to be starting some moveable alphabet work and some object boxes. She wants to read SO badly. I am also hoping that she can sit in on some of Bunny’s lessons and pick up on the grammar things as we go!

SPELLING: We were working on All About Spelling Level 1 and we will be continuing on with that! Plus it does start to cover some word study, so that will be helpful there too!
PUP: well she isn’t working on spelling exactly. But we will be working on sounds and making words!

WRITING: Will be covered it all the other things we do. Writing about geography or history or just writing a story! She can pick that each day!
PUP: is still trying to write words. I am going to really be working with her on the moveable alphabet, but she loves to write the letters so it may just be done on paper instead of with the letters! 🙂 All that tracing have paid off for her!

SCIENCE: BUNNY: This year science will be rather laid back. We have done ALOT of science in the past couple of years and I think that we need to work on history and geography a bit more. However, that being said, Bunny wants to do nothing but science! 🙂 And more then anything she wants to build a robot! So I found an awesome robotics science program that I think will really get her excited! It called OLLO and it is for younger kids. I am planning on getting the starter set that has a 12 week program to go with it. My hope is that it will help her better understand how things move and what it takes to get them to move!
PUP: Well she is probably going to be getting a random bit of science as she finds something that interest her. She is wanting to learn about her body and about animals. So we may start there!

HISTORY: I love the Great Lessons and while I think it is really important to study all of history and have NO idea where to start and how ti do it without a good base. Enter Story of the World! If you have not seen this history program, you should look at it! It is amazing! It starts in prehistoric history and slowly goes all the way to modern time over about 5 books. These books are told from a story perspective and offer just enough information to be interesting and get a kid interested in a time period, but not so much that there is no more to learn! I am going to do book one this year and I have ordered the guild so I have all the maps, charts with early writing, book lists, and coloring pages that go with each chapter! I know that Bunny is going to LOVE this and even if we just read it as a story she will learn at TON!
PUP: will be doing this with us I am sure! Whether or not she remembers it is just fine! I think she will love to listen to the story and color some coloring pages!

GEOGRAPHY: Our homeschool group had decided to take a trip around the world this year and each month we will pick a continent to study together for the day. I thought that this meant we could do a deep study each month! So we will have a monthly contient that we will be studying! This is one area where I think my Artful Homeschooling will really come into play! Each week we will be picking an activity to do for that contient. So one week we will make a map, another week we will cook a food, another week we will find some landmarks, and the last week they get to pick something that they think looks interesting! It is going to be an overview, but enough that if they find something deeper they want to study they can! 🙂
PUP: will be doing the same thing here! I was thinking that she could learn about an animal from each continent and make sort of a zoo! Maybe sculpt each animal and create the habitat for the animals!

ART: For art we are going to be working that into our other studies. However, I did buy Artful Parent, and ArtLab for preschoolers incase we lacked inspiration! 🙂 That will be for both girls!

Curriculum Week in the 2013 Not Back to School Blog Hop

So that is our plan for the new year! I have linked this post up with the Not Back to Homeschool Blog Hop! Now I just need to order the books, organize the school room, and write up plans by week. I am also hoping to get back into some regular blogging! I feel like things have been rather busy with little summer things that haven’t been recorded because I really just haven’t had my camera on me! We are relaxing and having ….well summer! But school is coming and I think that it will be a good year! What are your school plans for the year? Do you have a brilliant resource to share? Are you doing something new? What about extras in your school work?  I would love to hear your ideas! Plus if you are stopping by from the NOT Back to Homeschool Hop, WLECOME! So glad to have you! Happy Schooling!

 

June~ Cooking With Books

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Today we had our monthly Cooking with Books day! Once a month, my friend and I get the kids together and read a book. Then we cook the food that they make in the book! So far it has been a HUGE hit with the kids! Today it was my turn and I found a book called Pond Day by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace. In the this book, Buddy and his mom go for a walk around a pond. For lunch they bring some turtle sandwiches! So planned to go to a pond with the kids and make our sandwiches there. However, it was supposed to storm, so fortunately my friend’s mom has a pond behind her house. She was kind enough to let us play there so that if the storm did happen we could head inside! We were lucky though, aside from a few heavy sprinkles, we were able to play outside in the pond the whole day! We started off with our story and then we made lunch like Buddy! The kids had fun “cooking” up their sandwiches! In the story Buddy also had wheat crackers and cookies to eat! 🙂

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After all lunch, the kids all wanted to play in the pond! It was hot, there were suits for everyone, and well…it was pond day! 🙂 There was a lot jumping and smiling and splashing! They even played through the rain! It was a pretty sad (and sandy) moment when they realized that they had to start getting ready to go home! I think that signifies a pretty good time! 😉

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Making an Ocean

Today was the perfect summer day! A little breezy, sunny, and warm! With all the beautiful weather, I made sure we were outside. Since we had been talking about the ocean, I though they might want to make an ocean. Of course they did. So we talked about what we needed. Our list was animals, sand, rocks, and of course….water! We gathered it all up, filled up some buckets, and created some oceans! The girls had fun figuring out how which animals to put in, where to put shells, and maybe even a bit of seaweed! It was really a simple, sensory learning moment that took my only a few seconds to work up! What’s not to love?

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The girls had a lot of fun playing with their oceans! But I think that they had more fun playing IN their oceans! 🙂 Happy Summer Schooling!

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