Work time!

Today all the kids were here today and we had some great work time! All of the kids tried some new things and they had some fun too! There wasn’t too much that was out of the ordinary, so I will just show you the pictures that I took! 🙂

Bug got right to work with the water transfer and she worked really hard filling each cup to the top. Then she figured out all on her own that she needed to take the water out of the cups and put it back in the blue bowl! She was so very proud of herself! I love it when they master something that requires them to concentrate!

Pup stuck packing peanuts together.

Bunny worked with a bunch of the seasonal trays today. They are super easy for her, but it really helps her get ready for harder work!

Tadpole was everywhere today! He tried a bunch of things!

Bunny read another whole reader today! I am so proud of her! She also realized that she can read some of the Dr. Seuss books too! I am SO happy!

Matching snowflakes
(Bug yelled “I found the match!” each time she got it right!)

There was a lot of drawing that happened today too!

Pup built the Pink Tower stair today too! She did it twice!

I tried ti encourage her to try the red rods and she did! Bug had to help her out and they did a great job!

Tadpole tried a cylinder block today, and for the first time ever he put them all back in the right way, and he was SO proud of himself!!!!! He knew he did it!

This is his victory dance! 🙂

Bunny did her three math problem today, two dynamic subtraction, and one static multiplication!

That about wraps up what we did today! It was a simple day and we got some good work done! I hope you all got some good school work done too! Happy schooling!

More Arctic Fun!

Today we had some friends over for a play date and I thought it would be fun to share our theme with them! So I used my stand by play dough recipe and made some snow play dough! I used lots of white glitter and peppermint flavoring (peppermint just smells cold). Then I got out all of the animals from the Arctic Toob, some pinecones, some rocks,our arctic cookies cutters, and some books about the arctic. I set all of these out on the table and I gave a quick little talk about the arctic and Antarctica. Then I let the girls and boys create what ever winter arctic scene they wanted. I loved to hear Bunny and her friend talking about what the polar bears do, and talking about the cold! They were all so creative made some really great scenes! Here are some pictures of their work!

Here is Bunny’s first one. She has the polar bears getting ready to eat the seals!

Here is Bunny’s friend’s first one.

This one is HM’s (age 3)

Here is a slightly reworked one that Bunny did.

This is Bunny’s friend’s. She added an iceberg in the water and penguin foot prints!

Here is Pup hard at work!

RM is Pup’s age and doing a great job too!

I think that this is another one that Bunny made.

This one is RM. She ended up finding some Australian animals! It looks good though!
They all turned out so well! I love that this project allowed the kids to be creative, think about how the environment would be, and to think about how the animals and people would interact in that environment. It is such a great way to reinforce our lesson from the other day while having a ton of fun! This is one of those things that really does so much to inspire learning, and the kids think that they are just playing! 🙂 Another really sweet moment that happened during our play time, was that the girls set up a party. They had a table clothe, dishes properly set at each spot, guests that were invited, and they passed plates, talked kindly, and were just so polite! It made me see that they are learning all about proper behavior while they play and there just cant be a better way to help them with those grace and courtesy lessons! So that was our fun today! I love that they all had fun and learned at the same time! How do your kids learn while they play? Share your favorite moments and activities that help kids learn while having fun!

Homeschooling is Amazing!

Pup playing! She has engineered a great little house here and she is even making sure her babies are reading!

Learning sounds and writing words!
Today we learned “ar”, “ou”, “ie”, and “ch”

She wrote a word all by herself! She always surprises herself when she does that! 🙂

Well today we had alot to do, and places to go. I knew that we were not going have time to work. So I did something moms have been doing for ever, I schooled on the go! Now being a Montessori mama, I don’t have any workbooks or worksheets that I rely on. We play games instead! So today while we brushed our teeth and made our beds, we did multiplication, addition, and subtraction problems with our fingers! While we ate breakfast, we learned some new sounds! While I cleaned up the dished and started dinner Bunny wrote new words. While we were driving in the car we talked about manners and other grace and courtesy lessons. We were able to learn even though we weren’t in the school room! This is something that I have been seeing in real time this week! We are learning all the time, whether we are at home, or at the zoo, or even in the car! Kids are amazingly capable of absorbing vast amounts of information no matter where they are! Society views learning as something that we drop our kids off at school to be done by teachers, and while this is true, its not the only way kids can learn! All parents have had that moment when their kids says something that you never knew they knew! Kids are always learning and applying information to what they already know! It is so cool to see them start to make the connections and then to see their face when it all clicks and they know it! Nothing is better then that look of pride and joy in new knowledge and skills! As parents we are really blessed to see this in its purest form! We are able to see the sparks of interest that starts in our kids and we have the ability to fan that spark into a fire of learning! As homeschoolers we are blessed with being able to be a part of that in a deeper way. We can take the time that would be spend learning other things and apply that to what our kids want to know the most! Learning is a special thing that sometimes requires flexibility if it is to be effective. I know that if I focus on what is most interesting to my kids in a certain moment, then I am able to pass on massive amounts of information to them! Things like reading, writing, and math need to be done most of the time, but most everything else can be woven into what is important to my girls. For example, when Bunny wanted to learn about igloos and polar bears the other day we did! And we got to learn geography, biology, zoology, weather, and of course reading and writing! All in one day, and she learned it well! What else can you ask for! So I guess the point of my long ramble here is that our kids are always learning and always growing, and if you watch out for their moments of interest, they can learn anything! So to all of you our there who are doing their best to help their kids learn everything they can, I applaud you and wish you the best! We are blessed with opportunity and we cant forget that! Happy Schooling everyone!

Taking Time Tuseday~ Arctic Learning Fun!

Well today took a fun and very different turn then I thought it would! That is all the fun of following the child! The girls headed down to the school room mid morning and got to work. After a small bit of time, Bunny started working with packing peanut sculpture. She and I (I couldn’t resist it) both made a snowflake shape, but they weren’t the strongest shape. Then she decided to make an igloo. I thought that was a good idea and let her get to work (without me)! She did an amazing job building the whole thing. She made a roof and everything! Well I thought that she would love to get out the Arctic Toob Figures to put in her igloo and I was right! She loved it. This got us started talking about the difference between the Arctic and Antarctica. We started by talking about directions (North South, East, West) and about a compass. I told her how a compass is on a map to help us see where things are. I then showed her a bit about how  compass works. This is a work that we will have to revisit, but it helped with the discussion about how the Arctic Circle is in the Northern part of the world, and Antarctica is in the southern part. After that I took her up to the computer to check out some pictures and videos of the people in the Arctic. Well, this led us to also looking at Polar Bears in a video and she really took off on this theme. So I found a PBS Nature episode about Polar Bears and we watched it during lunch. I was surprised to find the girls sat through it all and Bunny really was absorbing the information.

Pup was hard at work today too!

Here is Bunny working really hard on her igloo!

Pup pulled out the continent boxes! Although she pulled things out of all the boxes at once (creating quite a little mess) she also laid the animals out on the continent puzzle! Too cute!

Here we are working on where the Arctic Circle is.

Here we are watching some Arctic videos on the Internet.
 This one is where some natives are building an igloo!

Here is lunch and Polar Bears. Lots of information and fun!

After Lunch I wanted Bunny to draw a picture and she thought that was a great idea! She made a polar bear, and narrated a report!

Under the Polar Bear is a seal in the water.

and on the back is an igloo!

Well, my next move was a spur of the moment and a bit crazy! I decided to take the girls to the zoo to spend some time with the Arctic animals there, especially the Polar Bear! So we bundled up (It is only about 22 degrees outside here) and off we went on our Arctic adventure! It was great! We had the zoo pretty much to ourselves and we really got to sit and study the polar bears and the seals in the warm Arctic building! We watched the bears wandering around and we sat and read some books we brought with us while we did! Then we had a chance to see one bear up close when he sat down against the window! The girls loved it, and it was great to see the bear so close, to see his paws, his ears, and his thick fur. It was such a great, peaceful learning exprirence. Especially since we were able to see seals in the same building. This allowed us to talk about food chains and we followed the food chain from sea plants to fish, from fish to bigger fish, from bigger fish to seal, from seals to polar bears, from polar bears to men (some Arctic natives eat polar bears).

Here is our polar bear.

See how close they were able to get? It was really cool!

Here is a seal. They are really hard to get a picture of since they are moving so fast and they are under water!

After our time with the polar bears and seals, we headed back outside to see the arctic wolves!

Arent they cute? Bunny was interested since she saw a few of them in the Nature video that we watched. They were hunting caribou.

We talked about so many different things today and it was really wonderful! I love spur of the moment learning that is all about following the child! I think that the girls learned alot about the Arctic today and I love it when they can really experience things for real that you are learning about! I love so much that Homeschooling allows us to do that. Learning is an amazing journey and I love being able to have so much fun doing it! Happy Schooling!

Montessori Monday~ Snow Time!

Well we are going to be getting back to a bit of schooling this year! I have my trays ready for the week and I think we are going to go back to trying out a month long theme. I know that I got away from this at the beginning of the year when I tried the ABC thing (It didn’t work out so well) ans we were changing things weekly. Well as much as I like making trays, I think that things are really moving just a little too fast! SO…we are going to slow down and do a monthly theme. I will put out a new tray each week (to add some interest) and we will learn about the theme in different aspects. So this January we are going to be talking about winter and snow! I want to talk about how a snowflake forms, what an avalanche is, the states of matter (liquid, solid, and gas), what animals do in the cold, ice and freezing, temperature, symmetry, etc. There are alot of things we can do with this theme. I think another thing I love about this theme is that we can get out and play in the snow and it still qualifies as school work! 😉 I am excited and so are the girls. Now if we could just get some snow here we could really get studying! But until then, here are the trays I made today! I also have a few pictures of the girls who got to work before I even finished putting things together!

Flipping Snowflakes
(There is a colored sticker on one side to see that you flipped it correctly)
Water Drop Transfer
(I just thought that the kids would have fun. We always need at least one water work. Bunny said that if we froze the tray with water in it, the holes would look like igloos! So I guess it fits the theme after all!)

Dressing Basket
(This idea is from last year, but it so great for kids to practice getting into winter gear!)
Inside our Basket:
~ Coat with Toggle Buttons
~ Mittens
~ Gloves
~ Hat
~ Boots (they tie)
Packing Peanut Sculptures
(These are those biodegradable corn starch packing peanuts that came in some of my Christmas gift packages this year. We have a TON of them. So I put them on a tray with a damp sponge. All they need to do is dampen the end of the peanut and it will stick to another one! Too much fun!)

Winter sorting!

More cookies cutter tracing!
(these are Arctic animal cookie cutters! They seemed like fun and the girls really liked tracing the Christmas ones)

Here is a new thing this month that we are going to try. This is a list of the work that Bunny needs to do this week. I want to be sure that we cover a bit of everything! We are going to pick out a picture in the continent boxes, then we will learn about that picture! I hope that this will help us utilize our continent boxes and learn about the world! We are also needed to really hit the sandpaper letters! So I am assigning a few letters a week! I also have made a booklet of math problems for Bunny to do. She has a number of them to do a week. I think that will work and help Bunny to have a goal. We’ll see how it goes!

Here is Bunny working on some math problems in her booklet. She did the three that I wanted her to do today! I told her that she could have a ticker when her work was completed and she loved the idea! Hey I can give stickers! 🙂
Pup really thought this was fun and couldn’t wait for Bunny to finish!

We played High Ho Cherrio today for our after lunch play time!

Bunny and Pup fell in love with Figure Skating on TV over the weekend. Here is Bunny putting on a show for Pup and I. I love that she made it look like an ice rink with the lighting! 😉

The girls also put on a puppet show for me the other day! I loved it! Bunny made the puppets herself with paper and tape! They did a great job!

So there we have it! We are kicking off this week with alot of fun and I cant wait to see what we do this year!I’m sure its gonna be fun! If you want to see more awesome Montessori fun, be sure to check out Living Montessori Now! Happy Schooling!

The {not so messy} Rice Sensory Play!

Today I needed to find something for Tadpole to do and rice is what I had on hand. Now, contrary to all Montessori Principles, I hate free sensory play when it has the potential to sped all over my house like a disease. I am good with play dough, I love to paint, I will bake all day, but give me a sensory bin that can be spilled a million ways….well let just say my kids have only done it a few times! The fact is I LOVE the idea of sensory bins! They are beautiful, and wonderful, and everything a kid loves! I really wish I was better about it, but I’m not. So today I really tried to think a way to let Tadpole have fun without me having rice ALL OVER MY KITCHEN!!!! So I tried to show him how to play in the bowl only. This work for a bit. He was very deliberate about his movement, but let’s face it, its just more fun to pour it really fast! 🙂 So, in a small stroke of genius, I put him and the bowl of rice on a table cloth in the middle of the kitchen! It was wonderful! The rice stayed mostly on the tablecloth, and Tadpole was able to really experiment with the rice! It turned out really well and when he was done I poured the rice back in the bowl, shook the cloth outside, and swept up the few remaining bits of rice! Perfect way to do rice!

How do you do let you kids have some sensory fun without having a huge mess too?

Montessori Monday~ Advent Week 3~ DIY Ornaments

Its Monday again and that means its time for my Montessori Monday post! I have a few new trays that the girls are really excited about and they are of course Christmas themed! I love being able to help bring the Christmas joy into our school routine! So here are the new trays for the week:

Flipping Cookies
(This idea is from The Work Plan)

Tracing around cookie cutters
(This idea is from Montessori Moments. I didn’t put it on a tray since they can take it to the table where the pencils and paper are all ready to go!)

Christmas Ornament Tray
(This idea is one I found on Pintrest here. I modified it a bit so the girls could do it all on their own!)
5×5″ pieces of paper
pipe cleaners (cut in half)
star stickers
(I found some self adhesive wooden stars at Hobby Lobby)
Circle inset
Have the child trace and cut 2 or three circles
Then the child makes small cuts around the edges to add dimension
Next cut a slit to the middle of the circle
Fold the edges around to make a cone.
Staple it together
Do this for all the circles then cut a small hole in the top of the cone
Take the pipe cleaner and fold a knot in the end
Push it put the under first cone
Add a bead, then the next cone. (another bead and cone if you have 3)
The fold the rest of the pipe cleaner into a loop and add the sticker star!
Super easy and fun!
The girls were so excited to try out the new works and they also had fun working all the older works too! (I did shut them in the school room with me so that they could work better, Pup and Bug keep running around the house). I love watching them work and learn! Here are some of the works I was able to catch!
Pup wanted this work right away!

Bunny wanted to trace the cookie cutters. She worked on this for a long time and loved it!

Bug joined her and did one of each, and was she proud of her work! She is still working on holding a pencil and writing, so this was right up her alley! She loved it!

Bunny cut all of hers out!

After they finished the tracing they all wanted to know how to make the tree. So I gave the presentation and they got to work right away!

They all loved their trees and I think that we have a new tray that will be alot! I loved that Bunny was able to do all of it alone, and Bug just needed help with the stapler!

Tadpole was really working hard on this for a while.

While I helped Pup, Bunny was helping Bug with her letter sounds! 🙂

She did a great job with sounds. I gave her the sound “o” today. We’ll see if she remembers it later! 🙂

While I was working with the other kids, Pup did all of this on her own! 🙂

Here is Bunny working on the reading work I made the other day! I added some new sentences for her to try! It was really hard for her and I wasn’t able to give her a ton of help since Tadpole needed me too. She was able to read one whole one alone, but she really was frustrated and upset that I couldn’t help her. I hope that doesn’t make her hate the work.

The chalk board with water was a HUGE hit again!!!! They all loved it! Pup and Bug both practiced shapes and a few letters! It is such great writing practice!

Bug and Pup wrapped gifts and they did an amazing job!
 I was amazed at how well they did! All I did was rip the tape off for them! Christmas here they come!

Bunny built the trinomial cube outside the box today! She was so proud when she finished!

Pup was proud of her gift wrapping too!

After a while Bunny did more trees! We have a plan for all these ornaments that we have made. We will have a new ornament tray tomorrow!

And Tadpole really made a leap in development! He knocked down the pink tower, and then…..he built what he knocked down back up!!!!!! Yeah!!!!! I am so happy that he is getting it!
So that was our day today! Join me tomorrow for another ornament craft and some taking time fun! If you want to see more Montessori work, please be sure to visit Deb at Living Montessori Now and Nicole at One Hook Wonder for their Montessori Monday Link up! I liked up there! Happy Schooling everyone!

Reading and Math the Montessori Way!

Well I knew it would happen soon, but Bunny is starting to read! I am so proud of her! I have Ms. Rhonda’s Readers that are all phonetic. They were written by a Montessori teacher and I liked that they are a bit more advanced then Bob books, but not so hard as a typical early reader! You can see them here. Bunny has read three in the past two days! I have been waiting and waiting for her to start getting the idea of sounding words out! I really hope that this is the real beginning! I think that it may be since she has been writing alot lately (the other day when she finished eating dinner she said “Mommy I am D-U-N”). Her reading of course pretty slow, but she is getting the words right! Yeah!!!!!! Here are some pictures of my very proud girl!

We also have been working on quite a bit of math today! I have been waiting for Bunny to get a pretty good idea of borrowing with subtraction and I think that she has a pretty good idea of it. She still need practice since I have to say “what do we need to do?” and they she will say exchange. So I think she has a good idea of it.Today I presented her with static multiplication. She loved it! She always wants to know new things and loves new presentations! I could give her something new everyday, but I try and pace us! 😉 She did a great job though an we did three problems. She still doesn’t want to do the work alone and I have just let that be as it is. She can do it, but I think it is more fun with someone else! In a Montessori classroom there are more then one doing the presentation, so I let myself be the other child. It makes it better and more fun! 😉 After we did this I pulled out the addition snake game. I have never played it or seen it played, so I pulled out a couple of different Montessori Albums and tried to figure it out. I will admit, it took me quite a while to figure it out properly! It just wasn’t making sense. While I worked on it Bunny was very interested in how it was played. So, once I finally figured it out, we played it a bunch of times! I think that it will be something we play quite a bit! Now I need to figure out the subtraction version! 😉

So that is what Bunny was up to today! We also made some really sweet snowflake ornaments, but that is another post! 🙂 Stop on back tomorrow! Happy Schooling everyone!

New Math Work {and awesome work day}!!!

Well today I stayed home this morning with the girls and got them into a really steady work period! It started off with Bunny wanting to write in cursive! Yikes! I was not prepared for that! So I quickly printed off a chart showing cursive letters and I showed her how to write her name in cursive! This led to me showing Bunny how to write on the lines with that think lined manuscript paper that the use in schools. It took a little bit, but she enjoyed trying to make the letters look like the sample page I wrote out! I was happy that she took an interest in this since her handwriting is something that we needed to work on! I guess keeping my mouth closed can lead to her taking an interest in exactly what she needs to learned! Montessori is awesome! 🙂

After she wrote a few words on her own she moved on to a new work that I made for her {does anyone else make materials while their kids are working hard at something else?}. This new math idea came from a blog Kingdom of the Pink Princess and I just had to try it! I wrote some simple addition problems on Popsicle sticks that didnt add up to more then 9. I then pulled out the spindle boxes, minus the spindles! The work for Bunny was to add them up and put the sticks in the slot that had the right sum on it. For example if the stick had 3+4, then Bunny would put the stick in the 7 spot. It is am amazing way to reuse the spindle box! Bunny loved it! She has been really excited about being able to add and subtract with her fingers and this let her practice that! As I watched her work, I realized that with all the adding on her fingers, she has memorized quite a few problems! She just knew so many more then I realized! Yeah for her!

While Bunny was working, Pup was hard at work too! Pup worked on the ring stacker and it was great to watch her self correct when she put them in the wrong order! After that she moved on to doing our napkin ring work from our thanksgiving trays. She really enjoyed this! After she got them all in the rings, she took them out and folded them all back up! Another work I was able to get her interested in was the red rods! I asked her to get the longest rod and lay it on the floor in another part of the room and we did this till the rods were built. Then she took them all back and put them in the proper order! I was shocked that she was able to do it well! She hasnt been able to do it before and I have been waiting for her just “get it”! She hasnt been able to line them up at an end though, but she did try! Maybe in the spring she’ll be ready for some sandpaper numbers! But sandpaper letters is what we moved on to after that! She loved tracing the sounds and then trying make them in the sand. She memory of the sounds isnt quite there, but I think it will happen as we go! 🙂 I have tried to play sound games with her, but she just doesnt have any interest in it. But I will keep trying!

When Pup was working, Bunny had really had taken off in math and wanted to learn more. So I pulled out some work that I thought Bunny would like, the squaring beads! I used the presentation that was in the Karen Tyler albums and she loved it! First we explored the beads by laying them all out in line with the squares at the end. Then i had her pick one of them and we saw how it folded up to become the same as the square. The we counted the beads one by one. Each time we got to the end of a bead bar, we put an arrow there with the number there! At the end I would say “9 is the square of 3” and we would do another one. We worked until we got too hungry and went to eat lunch!

 It was a really great work and I really motivated me to try harder to get more time in. They do so well when I make time to work with them! So I hope that you all have had a great week so far! We went together to see the Christmas Lights at our zoo tonight and the girls had an amazing time! Will be post pictures on that tomorrow!

Snow and Tea Time!

Today when the girls woke up, there was a dusting of snow!!!!! They were so excited! They wanted to go out in it so badly! So after breakfast, I let them go out and make a few snowballs (there was only enough snow for a few snowballs)! They loved it, they ate it (yuck), and they wanted more! So I guess they are ready for he season shift! I’m not sure that I’m quite ready, but it will be fun!

After that we headed off to a tea party that was based on the Jesse Tree with our homeschool group today! It was amazingly fun!:) If you want to read more I blogged about it at HOPE in the Home! Happy Schooling everyone!!!!!