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School Plan – Page 2

School Plan

Work Days!

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

Pink Pancake Lunch!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Changing How We Work!

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

Montessori Monday~ A New Plan of Action!

Well after all of my questions last week and all of your amazing advice, I think I have a plan of action that is going to give our school room the focus it so desperately need! We started today and Bunny really did a great job with more structure! She even was able to choose a research thing to look into! Pup didnt fare so well, but I think that she needs to start understanding her boundaries when its school time (its time to work and she needs to stay in the school room). Anyway, I made a skeleton plan for the next 6 weeks. My hope is that this allows me to know what is coming up next and what we need to do from which album, while offering enough wiggle room to explore other things. It takes alot of pressure off of trying to make sure that we are getting it all in within the research work. I think that I may have underestimated our ability to get things done, so this list may need to be explained in the last couple of weeks of my plan.The plan ends us right at the beginning of December, so that will let us have a break for all the fun of holiday planning! 🙂 Here is what we are going to be up to!

Finger charts (daily, we need to do remedial work badly)
Snake Games (if interested)
Equivalency of Fractions
Addition of Fractions

Sandpaper Numbers
Number rod work

Grammar (Adjective and Verb)
Grammar Farm
Word Study (compound words, prefixes and suffixes)
Mechanics (capital letters, period and sentence)
Daily Reading Practice
Writing work (I think I may have her start a journal)
Metal Insets to practice pencil control

Sound games
Sandpaper letters
Sand tray
Metal insets

Finish Polygon work
Angles Study

Intro to shapes (using the metal insets since I dont have a geometry cabinet)
Geometric solids

Composition of the Earth
Formation of Mountains
Sun and Earth (space, if we get to it)

Same as Bunny, but using the Primary Albums

Great Lessons
Finish lesson 4 and 5
Redo God With No Hands

Start the Physical Science album from Karen Tyler. Bunny never did it, so I will do it with them both and Bunny and I can explore it deeper.

Sensorial Bell Work
Notation (If we get to it)

So there you have it! Like I said this is our plan for now. Bunny and I are going to sit down together each morning and write out a work plan. This worked really well today, so I have a great hope that is will appeal to her very organized personality. Today her work was:
 adjective/ noun family,
grammar farm,
finger charts,
state of matter presentation,
Grain Study (she asked to add this because this is what she wanted to learn about)

And we did it all! She had a good time, there was no major crying fits from her, and she was happy! Hooray! After she finished the traditional work, she wanted to see what kinds of grains would turn into flour when it is ground. We looked at some of the books we had about early humans and saw how they first ground grains a long time ago. So she asked if she could explore it with the mortal and pestle we have. I told her sure. She tried dried beans, corn, and oats. The oats were easiest and she spent an hour grinding them up into flour and sifting out the hard bits. She wants to do more tomorrow to make bread. Today she ended up with about a half a cup of flour!

Pup and I had a harder time today. I think that she needs more science work. She really loved the matter tray and I think she would love to start learning more about things like that. She really seems done with any practical life trays I put together. I’ not sure what I can find for her. I am thinking maybe a whisking work for a new interest. She is also really interested in sounds. I think that we need to start working on sandpaper letters. But today she was having none of it! I think that I failed to explain her the expectation of the classroom. So maybe tomorrow I will do that and see if it is better. However, she really is doing well! She did alot of work! One thing we do need to work on is the pencil grip! She really doesnt like me helping her try it differently and she really is holding badly. Anyone have a good thought on that? Here is what she has done!
I made a sensitizing finger tips tray for her to do. She liked it!

So there you have it! It was a great day and I think the plan is really offering us a much needed structure! We are going to try it again tomorrow! I know that it is going help me keep things going forward and take some of the floundering feeling out of it! If you want to see more Montessori work in actions, then be sure to stop by the Montessori Monday link up! There is always great stuff and great bloggers there! Happy Schooling everyone! And thanks so much for your support and help!

Montessori School Plan 2012- 2013

Well, school is starting soon as we all know and I have promised to share with you my plan for the girls school year! Here is that post! If you follow along here regualrly, you know that we are going to continue Montessori schooling for Bunny as she enter’s first grade! This has left me really having to research and learn a whole lot this summer to be ready! So far it has been really good and what I have learned has changed how I look at Bunny and her capablilties. The difference between the elementary classroom and the Primary Classroom is HUGE! This has left me with the need for alot of materials in the same of amount of space as before! That is a work in progress, I will let you know how it works! Now on to my plan! I will start with Bunny.

Bunny’s Plan:

We are going to be starting out year off with the Great Lessons for Bunny! These are 5 lessons that help give the child a great appreciation of the universe and helps inspire them to dig deeper and learn. The first one is about the creation of the universe, the second one is about the coming of life starting with the smallest of organisms and progressing through evolution history to the human. The third story is about the coming of man where we talk about how man was created differently, with a heart and soul to love. Next we talk about the things man has done. The fourth story is the story of letters where we talk about how writing and reading progressed and finally we end with numbers and how started using them! This is where so much of the Montessori elementary work begins! These stories are meant to inspire the child through their imagination! They are the core of everything! I am really excited about these and they do require alot of prep work since there are time lines, experiments, and charts that go with them! This is where the majority of my work has come! Thanks to a very dear friend, I have a better shot at getting it all done!

Another key element is “going out”. The elementary child really NEEDS to go out and experience the world. They need to start to be in society and find information in places that are not in the classroom. It is a huge part of their development at this age. So we will be doing alot more of this. I also hope to get together with out homeschool group alot for some group work! In the elementary Montessori room, group work is almost a constant, and at home we dont have that. So this will help her meet that need!

Math is going to start with some remedial work to help her quickly learn the math facts that we never got to last year! We have the Montessori Finger Charts that I bought from Montessori Print Shop. All she does is use some equation cards and the charts to practice her math fact until they are memorized. After that we will jump into the elementary albums and start working on those. The things that I think we will get to this year are: hierarchical numbers (million and higher), using the 4 operations to work with problems with long numbers. After that we are heading into the Large Bead frame, checker board for multiplication, and the racks and tubes for division! Whew! I also know that we are going to do a lot of fraction work, since Bunny is really interested in that, and I know that we are going to try to hit the degrees of the fractions as well! Oh and I also bought the Melissa and Doug money set so we can start to learn money value.
We are also going to start working on elementary geometry really soon too. Bunny loves the idea of all the insets to teach angles and congruency. She really is excited about that! I also bought the geometry sticks, so there will be a lot of fun with these too!

Language work is going to be learning to read! Bunny really wants to do that, and I know that if we follow the supportive plan laid out in my albums for remedial reading, I think she will get it soon! There is also a lot of writing that will happen with the reading too. As we work on that we will be really working on Grammar! When I got my Montessori order, I got the grammar symbols, so we are going to jump right in there! Then there is grammar boxes and lots of writing too!

Geography is going to be tied up with the Great Lessons and I think there will be alot of pin maps too! I also read in Maria Montessori’s book From Childhood to Adolescences, that map reading and compass work is such a great way for the child to start to gain some Independence. So maybe it will fun to learn that and take some walk in the park.

History is greatly tied in with the great lessons and those time lines. We are going to play it by interest at this point beyond that. There are alot of stories and resource at the library that we can use according to her interests.

Botany will be a little lighter this year since we hit it really hard last year. I really think that we will be working on it as the interest hits! I think that there is some cool stuff there too that she will want to do!

Art is going to be rather fun too! I want to try Drawing with Children for her since she is so art oriented. We are also going to do some of the art studies from Adventures of Bear. All of that is combined to make it a rather fun art year. I try not to bog down the year with too much of a plan since interest may change and so will we! 🙂

Pup’s Plan:

For Pup I will be starting at square one to make sure that the work that we did this past year is really covered now that she is older. I think we did ok, but review will be a good thing! We are going to really be sticking to the basics, hitting really hard on practical life work and the sensorial work! I want to make sure that we do the basic work well.

For math, I know that she will want to keep learning her numbers, but we are only going to start that after we make sure we have done the proper sensorial work!

Language will see us start some sandpaper letters. She is really starting to get into a sensitive period for letters and I want to make sure that we take advantage of that!

For the cultural work, I think that Pup will get alot of the same things that Bunny will be getting in the Great Lessons. I will have most everything ready and Karen Tyler’s Albums cover so much of the same things at her level. It will help stream line some of the prep work I will need to do! I think that we are really going to be trying to go by interest the most. She is young and will let me know what she needs to learn!

Finally both girls are going to be working with the Montessori Bell exercises for music! I found two sets of hand bells to paint just like My Boy’s Teacher over at What DID We Do All Day. So far they look good, and Bunny is really excited about them! We are going to use these to listen to the notes, match them, and also to learn to what the notes look like written. I am hoping that we can all learn together! I dont read music, so I really do hope we can ALL learn!

I think that this covers all of areas for out plan this year! It looks really intense written out, but I think that it will remain rather simple as we go! I still plan to make some fun trays for Pup, but I dont think that I will have the time or space in my school room for all the ones I used to do. I really love all this Montessori planning! How about you? What is your plan this year? Do you plan to do some Montessori or are you going to do something different this year? I would LOVE to hear your plans! You can share them in the comment area!

I am linking up to Montessori Modnay and 4th Annual “Not” Back to School Blog Hop. Be sure that you stop by for some awesome ideas and posts from the homeschool bloggers!!!! Happy Schooling! 

Montessori Monday~ Parenting Expirments

It is about time for some parenting posts! As I have been cleaning my house, I have also been not spending as much time with my little sweeties. And as any other little sweeties out there, they tend to become a little less sweet when I have less time for them. None of this is new news, but it is something that I need to do. So I found a parenting book by Amy McCready. She is the founder of Positive Parenting Solutions. Deb at Living Montessori Now offered one of her webinare a while back to her readers and it was really good! However, the program is a bit pricey and I didnt want to spend that kind of money. So when an email from her company showed up in my inbox talking about her book, I jumped at it! When I found out my library had it, I was over the moon! If you have been a long time reader you will know that I have used the standard time-out method for years! It was pretty successful and easy to keep up with. But as Bunny has gotten older, I have found that it is not working at all. So it was off to find a new solution. I tried all sorts of things and nothing worked or seemed to be a good fit. So when the webinare came up, I jumped at the chance to get a new idea. I loved everything that Amy had to say and it fit in SO well with all the Montessori methods. So I have been reading all about this positive parenting and I like it. However it is really hard! It is all about what you do. The basis of this is that each child need to have significance (to feel needed and that he can contribute to the family for real) and power (some control over their life). It is also based on the idea that the only person you can control is yourself. We cannot make our kids do anything that they dont want to ( we could I guess, but that seems rather mean to force food down a kids throat or something like that). So that leaves us to change ourselves and to interact with respect for the feeling of our kids in the moment. It all about preparing the home for them to be independent and to empower them to be their best. We do it with words, training, and love. The book has a million wonderful stories and awesome ideas. It seems easy, but then I get the kids involved!
All of this sounds like a beautiful ideal, but in real life it get rather tricky! When your three year old punches your six year old because the six year old yelled at her. Urgh!!!! What do you do? I would usually put both in time out~ one for yelling, one for punching. But I’m not sure how this is supposed to play out. What do I say? How do we resolve this without me screaming at both of them to stop (since they can hear my normal voice)? What about when your six year old runs to her room screaming “I HATE YOU, I HATE YOU, I HATE YOU!!!!!!” Sigh. I talked to them. I talked about the power of words and how we say them. I talked about how to hitting is not kind and we never do it. I gave consequences “If you scream at someone or use a mean tone of voice, I will not talk to you at all until you are talking kindly.” It worked, or at least it made an impression! Bunny really was not happy with the idea that I would not listen if she screamed. Maybe it will help her find a way to express herself better in the moment! But what do you do for hitting? Or other behavior where there is no good natural consequence? I will keep reading and hopefully find the answers!
This method of parenting is not just about rules and consequences. It is also about how to build a great relationship with your kids as you go. That is what is appealing to me. I want my girls to feel that I am there to listen to all their ideas, thoughts, and problems. The very first step of this program was to spend 10 minutes of time with each child personally. Time for them, doing what they want to, and making sure that it is just you and them. This gives them that sense of significance and also gives them the knowledge that they will have time with you everyday just for them! Right now, we are doing it at bedtime. They pick a story and we talk about their day. They love this time so much!!!! Bunny even started telling me the little secretes in her heart. I realized that this exactly what I need to do for them. When they are teenagers, having time that they know will be just for them with mom will be so important. It will help me make sure that I am a present person for them later too.
All of this is going to help my plan this year for schooling. My goal is to provide a very freedom based, low stress school experience for the girls this year. I got all the materials, I have my plans almost done, but now I need to make sure that my kids have the maturity and peace to do just that! I can plan till every moment in my day is mapped out, but if the kids are not listening, or I start yelling because things aren’t going the way I think that they should, it will all be a waste of time. My school year depends on our ability to work together in love and kindness! Without it, learning becomes a chore and we are all going to be rather miserable!
So those are my rather scattered thought about positive parenting. Do you use positive parenting in your home? What are your thoughts on it? Do you have tips or “trick of the trade” that work in your family? I love to hear your thoughts on this important subject! Be sure to comment with your thoughts! I am linking this up to Montessori Monday at Living Montessori Now so we can get a conversation going! Oh, and let me know what you think of the new blog layout! I would love to hear what my awesome readers think! Happy Parenting!!!!
If you are looking for what we have been up to with Montessori, you can check out these posts!
Our New Materials are Here!
Bunny’s Big Kid Montessori Bedroom

Montessori Monday~ Getting Ready for Elementary!

Today I spent the day going through all of my Elementary albums and was making a material list! One that that I realized as I went through is the Bunny is WAY behind where the albums put her in the beginning! This make Bunny what the AMI albums call a remedial student. WoW! That sounds so bad doesnt it? Well its not as bad as I thought as I as read on. What we have is that Bunny didnt get through all of the primary albums. Why? Because I didnt know what I was doing, because she wasnt ready, because we started Montessori when she was 4 1/2 and it just isnt enough time! Well, regardless of what you do or dont do, a child is still moving into a new plane of development! She is ready to move on, but she needs more information! So what my albums do is break it down so you can cover the missed materials quickly and in a way that will make more sense in their new plane. What happened in May when we started our summer break was that Bunny hated using the materials. She was board and frustrated with having to move so many pieces each time we did math and things like that. She was done with all the sensory hands on. However, I felt like I needed to keep presenting her with the material that we didn’t get to. She never got through the strip boards or even memorizing any of the facts. Because she has had some reading challenges, we never got into any grammar work or word study. We missed alot! So I was feeling pretty bad as I dug into my new plan, but then I found a plan to make that better! The albums I have show you have to cover the work we missed without using all the materials and going through all the steps that the primary albums do. Whew! I was so excited to see this! Bunny will respond so much better to the simplified presentations and I will be able to make sure we cover the missed materials while still getting into some of the awesome new work too! There is so much wisdom in the remedial plan. Same info, at the child’s pace, but presented in a way that make more sense to them at their plane!
So Now that I have worked out what to do for the missed work, I need to really make sure that I have what I need for the new work! The amount of materials that I need is more then I thought. I need some science stuff like test tubes and microscope. We need math materials like more bead bars, multiplication board, and division materials. We also need some geometry materials! WOW! That is where I can rack up some serious cash! I am hoping that with some research I can find a way to teach the same thing, but with some either homemade materials or repurposed materials. Hmmmm…I will have to keep thinking on that! And finally, it is time for me to really do some music! This is the year that I start the bell work! I think it is something that both girls will be able to use. Pup for sensory work and Bunny for music. Having read all about What DID We Do All Day’s awesome Music Plan I thought that is was something that we could do! So I plan to try and make the bells like she did! Here’s hoping! We are also going to do rather alot of art since it something that is so near and dear to Bunny’s heart! So I plan on doing some artist studies from Adventures of Bear! I also think that we may do some of the Drawing with Children. I also found out that our museum offers free art projects weekly, so I hope we can stop out there too! As for the biology and zoology, I am sure that Bunny’s interest will cover that, so I am not worrying too much about it! So those are my thoughts and plans at the moment! Things always change though, so I will post more when I get it together! I thought I would link this up over with Deb at Living Montessori Now. Now I off to keep shopping! Wish me luck! Happy Schooling!

Montessori Elementary Albums Reveiw

Summer is in full swing and as I plan for the next school year, I realized that many of you are probably doing the same! This year, in addition to the primary work I have planned for Pup, I am trying my best to get myself educated about the Elementary program for Bunny! To this end I purchased some albums from Elizabeth Papandrea. She is an AMI certified Montessori elementary teacher who is sharing her albums for $80. It is an amazing deal! These albums come with Math, Language, Geography, Geometry, Biology, History, Music, and Theory! It is everything that I wanted it to have and the great lessons are super good! One thing that I do love about the great lessons is that they are Christian based, however, she has an amazingly good description of how to change the story to fit your own religious preference! Perfect for everyone. The experiments that go with the stories are well laid out and simple to understand. She has alot of great hand drawn illustrations. Her other albums are also easy to understand. My favorite album so far is the Theory album. This album is so GREAT! She lays everything out for you from age 0-18. She then goes deeper into the mindset of an elementary child. This was so super helpful to see and understand what is different from the primary class and what is going on in their little minds! This really made it so much easier for me to get a handle on what I needed to focus on this year. It showed me the importance of the great lessons and how that was the basis of the whole elementary class. I also love that everything seemed simpler after I read the album! That I think is an marker of an awesome album set. My feelings of being out of my element and overwhelmed were calmed down and made easier after I read all about Montessori Elementary theory! I also love that she has been willing to answer my questions!
If you are interested in looking at her albums, send her an email and she will send you a sample of some of her Great Lesson experiment pages! They are really great! Here is Elizabeth’s email Let her know I sent you! I hope this helps you with your school planning! If you are looking for a bit more help, Jessica at Keys of the Universe, offers an online Montessori Elementary class! Tomorrow I am having a garage sale, so things may be quite here. However, I will be working on my school plan and I will be sharing it with you all soon! I cant wait to get few new materials for the classroom! 😉 Happy Schooling and planning!

Montessori Monday~ Organization!

Well summer is the time for getting things ready for the next year and no matter what else I wanted to do, I must get my stuff in order! 🙂 So the last two days I have been digging deep into the bottom most corners of my home and clearing things out, throwing things out, and getting things in piles for the garage sale! Whew! I am going to show you pictures of the scariest part of my house that I dont show to…well…anyone! 🙂 It was really bad. I happen to toss things out on the desk that I have in the back and it tend to pile up fast! I do alot of projects and alot of my trays that I cleared out after we stopped schooling were just laying out. My basement has two sides. One is finished and this is the one you all know as my school room. Its pretty and blue and so organized. The other side is my laundry room, holiday storage, baby storage, craft room, Montessori storage, and our practical life are! Pretty much everything! I am hoping that my organization is going to make this year better. I got a lot of containers to sort my things into subjects. So all of my extra math materials are in a box, my sensorial work is in a box, etc. I also made sure that I got rid of some of the things that I was hanging onto without a reason! I think I will just show you! 🙂

Here is my desk/ work station. I told you that it was looking bad!

To the left of the desk is this shelf. In the green boxes are my random nomenclature cards, object box figures, math work, and stuff like that. It is just bobbing about in there. Yikes!

These shelves hold more craft supplies and all of my extra Montessori materials. You can see the grammar farm there and some sandpaper letters. This shelf is full!
As you can see there is a ton of stuff everywhere!

Here is the desk! WOW right? I got a hardware box to put all of my objects into for object boxes. This will eliminate alot of little things that get tossed on the desk when I change them out quickly! I also keep my paper cutter here for when I need to make some nomenclature work quickly (as you know, I tend to make cards as I need them and mot before!). I also have my paintbrushes in a jar and some pens and stuff out there! 

Object Box Storage

In one of the big drawers on the desk, I have all of my practical life stuff in there. Jars, tongs, bowls, etc. You know all that stuff talking about.

In the middle drawer I have the other practical life things that I need to replace more often. Soap,
q-tips, push pins, sponges, etc.

Another drawer holds my extra office supplies that we may need. Tape is a big one that we run out of alot! Glue sticks too! This is where the girls can find them if they need to!

This large shelf holds a ton of stuff! The first shelf has all of my craft supplies and small things for trays, pom poms, pipe cleaners, rhinestones, ribbon, etc. The next shelf is where I put my containers with extra materials all sorted out by subject. I sorted out all of my nomenclature cards too. I dont keep my cards out all of the time although I think I may keep more out this year. Since I make small folders for each set of cards, I found that I can store them in small crates that hold CDs! Perfect! You can see one of the crates in the box on the end on the right. The bottom shelf has natural materials, trays, baskets, and card stock.

These shelves are across from the desk.The one on the far right holds my canning stuff and extra cooking pans. The middle shelf holds my albums (these are the Karen Tyler Albums that I printed last year!). It also has all of my extra materials that were too big for the boxes.

This shelf hold more crafts stuff, art kits, paint, and the boxes that hold the work the girls complete!

On the left of the three shelves, I have a small area for our practical life stuff. This the next to the door that leads to the school room so its easy to get to!
So there you have it! You have now seen the deep dark scary part of my house! I hope that somehow this is helpful to you as you get ready for the school year! I will be back soon with a review of my Elementary Albums! They are great! Happy Schooling!

Ocean Research

Today we headed out to the zoo again! This time we were ready to really look at the underwater animals! Bunny, Pup and I have been reading all sorts of books about the ocean and so it was fun to go and see all the things that we had read about! Bunny was really interested in the turtles! We started our adventure with lunch sitting by the cheetahs. While we ate I asked Bunny to tell me what she thought she would like to know about turtles. We talked about it for a bit and came up with a small list of things we wanted to find out. Where turtles vertebrate or invertebrate? What is their classification (reptile, amphibian, bird, fish, mammal, or invertebrate)? What do they eat? Where do they live? What do they do? I was impressed with her list (I did help her a little). She is changing and having questions. It is one thing that I really want to work on this summer with her. To help her rediscover the joy of finding answers and having questions about things. It will take some coaching in the beginning, but I know that she will get it! After finding our research questions, we headed off to the aquarium! It was fun to watch all the fish and talk about the different areas of the ocean! We saw a sea turtle, crab, starfish, coral, sea horses, jellyfish, and a bunch of other amazing sea creatures! The girls loved it!

After all of our fun in the aquarium, we headed out to see the amphibians (we decided that turtles were not amphibians) and then we headed to the reptile house. In the reptile house we found turtles! Hooray! We decided that they must be reptiles (and obviously vertebrate). Just to be sure, we asked a zoo keeper and they confirmed out theory about turtles being vertebrates! So we found that out! While we were there we saw the crocodile, and some great snakes. There were some zoo keepers that had snakes, and cockroaches out for the kids to look at and pet (ewwww for me!). Both the girls looked, but they didn’t want to touch the snake, and they did touch the giant cockroach!

As we headed out of the reptile house, we saw the giant tortoises outside! They are really cool to see (and big enough for the kids to ride)! They were eating , so we stopped to watch them for a while. After that we wandered back to a part of the zoo that we don’t normally see! What we found was a barn with windows that you can see the zoo keepers working with some of the animals that are not on exhibit! It was really fun to watch them pull the animals out and look at them or feed them! Both girls were really fascinated by all this activity and we talked about how there are keepers in all parts of the zoo who do thing for the animals in the background! Pup was really the most interested and I think that with her deep love of animals she will be interested in this for a long time! Bunny liked watching it all too, and we are thinking of signing her up for classes at the zoo.They are only once and month and the kids get to see the animals up close and learn about them! Perfect! I think both kids thought it was great when the zoo keepers who were working stopped and held he animals up to the window so that they could see them! Bunny really loved the hedgehog! I didn’t get any pictures of them, since I didn’t know what they would think of it! So after that we headed even further back and discovered that there was a native turtle exhibit! How perfect is that? All of the turtle native to our area are there and we read about all of them and watched them! It was here that we discovered that some turtles are herbivores, some are carnivores, some are omnivores, and some start out as one and become the other as adults! We also decided that turtles can live almost everywhere in the world with water. And they eat, swim and, sit on logs. We were able to answer all of the questions we had! I did tell Bunny that there was one more question that I had. I wondered what the difference between a tortoise and a turtle was. Bunny said that a tortoise is bigger. I looked it up when I got home and discovered that a turtle lives in or near water, can swim, and lays eggs either under water or on the shore. They also each meat or plants depending. A tortoise however, lives almost entirely on the land. They cant swim and live in difficult terrain. So that is the difference that I found!

So we had great day exploring our ideas and I think that both girls had fun and learn alot! As you can see, school may be out, but the learning is still going! 🙂 It is my goal to do things like this during the summer! To inspire learning and joy in it is an awesome thing! I hope that your summer is going well and that you are having great learning adventures! Happy Schooling!

More Summer Ideas!

Well I am sorry for all of you having to listen to all of my ramblings, but I am still thinking of how summer (and next school year) is going to go. I was all set to continue doing light school during the summer, but after our last day of school, I think we need a break! Bunny told my mom that she doesnt want to ever talk about Montessori ever again! 🙁 I am sad that I all the work I ave done to make things fun , she still doesnt want to do it. So We need to rethink how we are going to approach our work time! For the summer, we are not doing school work in a formal down in the school room. We will read, play, and explore out interests. We can relax or learn like crazy! When I think all about what Bunny and Pup learned this year, I realized that what they learned the most about where the things that they wanted to learn about. Pup learned her numbers because she loved them, Bunny learned SO much about plants because she planted maple seeds during playtime and watched them grow. They still needed a couple of presentation to help pull it all together, but they learned on their own. So this leads me to really think about how I do things. I think I got caught up in trying to cover all of the album material and to finish our Waseca study. While all of these are really awesome, it wasnt meeting my kiddos needs.Bunny covered more then most Kindergartners, and even some first graders this year! She is smart and is learning like crazy! As I have read through my theory album and through some of Maria Montessori’s work and I realize that I am over thinking and complicating things here! Maria Montessori was a scientist and thought it was really imperative to observe the child at all time! She was willing and able to try something and to throw it out if it didnt work. Sure the albums are important, but they are after all guidelines, not a bible. There is more to Montessori then albums and materials. It is a way to think and observe the child so you meet their needs and inner drive for knowledge. I think that I got away from that and started to focus on the materials and presentations instead. Both of these things are good, but if you only do the presentations and use the materials, it just becomes a glorified curriculum plan. Without deep sensitivity to the child and lots of observation the method doesnt work out super well. This is where I made my mistake this year I think. I set a plan, I made work for the girls, and I had things they needed to do. I put too much on their plates and pushed. We did alot of work, they learned alot, but it wasn’t really driven by them, so the work became a chore and in the end we are all done. So we need to regroup! Rethink how to make out classroom more them and less me. I read in my theory album, I read that in the elementary year, having a list of the things the child needs to know by the end of the year is there so that the child can help make sure they know what they need to know. After that the work is up to them! Whatever they want to learn about is what they do! How simple is that? So long as Bunny does what she needs to be done, she can learn whatever she heart desires! This takes some of the pressure off of me to find work and she can reignite the fire! So that is our goal for the summer. Easy, fun, and really following the child. I hope that together our relationship will really improve as Bunny and I have been rather upset with each other. Pup usually just rolls with what is going on! 😉
Today we kicked off this plan and it has gone beautifully! Bunny has a real interest in the ocean right now, so we headed out to the beach. Never mind that it was only 56 degrees (it was 98 two days ago! Welcome to Ohio!), we went out there and had a blast listening to the lake, playing in the waves, and building things with sand. I even grabbed a few books to read while we were there. They loved it! Both my girls talked about it all day and Bunny said it was the best day ever. What did they learn? I dont know, but I dont need to! My job is not to know everything, its just to sow seeds of information so that they can sprout when the time is right. But I can tell you one thing, I spent the whole day with happy, smiling, peaceful kids! What’s better then that!

We ended the day making pizza and both girls were so excited with the chance to make dinner! 🙂 It was a really fun summer day, and it its essence, very Montessori! 🙂

So that is what is going on here! Even though we arent doing any formal
 school work, keep stopping back this summer for all the learning fun! Right now we are learning about oceans and I foresee alot of great work with that! So I hope that you all are keeping the passion going in your homes! Happy Schooling!