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School Plan – Page 3

School Plan

Summer….To School or Not to School…That is the Question!

Well we are in full summer weather here and we are all so ready for all the fun that comes with the sun and heat! However, I am torn between keeping up with some school work or between letting it all go. Part of me wants to keep the girls learning. They are doing so well and they are wanting to know so much. I also want Bunny to keep practicing her reading and some math facts. However, they just want to play in the sun and frankly, I’m tired and so are they. We need a break I think. I can feel burnout starting to happen (this maybe due to the emotional meltdown I had yesterday) and I don’t want to loose my cool. So what to do? That is the million dollar question. There is a lot of debate about why the world doesn’t school through the year. Some people think that we should have kids in school all year with long breaks in between, and others think that Sumner is a time to be free and have fun! But I think what is really the issue here is that kids and teachers need a break to relax, recharge, and to get pumped up for the new year. We all love the feel of the first day of school! New crayons and pencils, clean desk, heart full of hope and a teacher with a smile! Yet by May we are all ready for a change. We are ready for summer fun, water slides and Popsicles, late nights and long days! So I guess my thoughts lead me to ask, is there a way to keep the year fresh and learning exciting all year long? I must admit to having a bit of ADD when it comes to our routine. I love to have routine, and I love to not have too much change at one time! However, I LOVE little changes in the normal day to day fun! I love the themes and how they allow me to to be creative with school work. I love to make little changes that make life better and more enjoyable. Right now we are in need of a bit of that change. I LOVE the waseca biome study, but I think we are done with it for now. 🙁 We are going to study animals this week and I would like to do the overview of the different types of biomes, but after that we are going back to the basics. Does that mean that we have wasted time, NO! I can see us pulling from this information as we go through the summer. I am sure that we are going to be learning about every animal under the sun this summer and we will be able to pull from this really firm base of nature study as we learn! I know without a doubt that we will be doing a lot of animal study this summer (purely child led. Bunny told me today that she wants to learn about seahorses). I really think that reading is a must and some math. So I guess I as I type out my scattered thoughts, I have a plan for the summer! 🙂 Some Math work, Reading practice, and lots of child led projects! I want to strip out the school room of everything except the basics. That way there is plenty to work with if they choose, but I dont need to worry about them on a regular basis. I guess I have a plan. So What are your plans for summer and school? How do you avoid burnout and find a way to pull excitement for learning into the day to day? I would love to hear what you do! Happy Schooling!

Pacing and Waiting

I must say that I have been reading a ton of Montessori theory in my new set of albums and I am so excited to begin with all the amazing things I have been reading! I am ready to jump into everything tomorrow! I am ready to reorganized the classroom and make sure its all in place. I am ready to start the great lessons, the grammar, the writing and research. I am ready to start it all and I haven’t even browsed the Montessori stores online yet! But this is where I need to pull myself back. It is a sure way to homeschool mommy and kiddo burn out! We are not ready. I need to pace myself and wait. These are two things that I am not so good at. I am not good at waiting, but I must learn to. Waiting and pacing your presentation until the kids are ready is a corner stone part of Montessori. As I read more about the second plane of development, I realize Bunny is changing. But even though this change is happening its not ready to change everything. We are not quite ready for a full on switch to elementary. I need to wait. Pup is changing too. She is ready for more and more real work with the Montessori materials. She is blowing through learning her numbers, but she is not ready for letters at all. She is just not ready, and I wait. Ugh! So much waiting, but in the end it will be better for them, better for me. If I jump into everything right away, they will get frustrated and upset, and I will get frustrated and upset too. So we wait. We will keep learning as we are and get ready. In the fall we will be ready to jump in with both feet! We will be ready for numbers, for the great lessons, for all the amazing things that are out there to learn. In the fall it will be the right time. Right now, I am excited, but the girls are feeling the call of summer and outside! They are ready to learn and explore, but not inside! They want to run and play and be in the outdoors. We keep learning but at their pace, not mine. We will learn outside, we will learn inside, we will have time for fun, and we will wait! 🙂

And during all this waiting I will read! I will find out all I can about what is happening to the thoughts of my dearest little ones. They are changing, but do I understand what is happening so I can help them become their best? No, so I need to learn! Summer become down time for the kids, and full time learning for mom! I want to understand. What I have read already has changed how I am treating Bunny and it making a huge difference. She is not a little kid anymore, and I need to adjust my thinking accordingly. She is learning how to be a person of herself, not so connect to me. But this also gives her moments of clinginess as she feels insecure. She trying to understand right from wrong and is constantly trying to figure out which is which. Then there is the fact that she is moving toward abstraction and needs me to be ready for that! Pup is no longer a baby and I need to really start to treat her like the preschooler she is. She needs to learn to pick up, to ask politely, to care for herself and environment. She is ready for that and I need to raise my expectation! So we all move forward together and we wait for the right time for everything!

So I know that these thoughts are a bit muddled, but I have great hopes that we are moving in the right direction and I cant wait for all the exciting paths we have in the future! How do you get ready for the changes that you can see on the horizon?

School Days

Today we took some time to do some work today just the three of us! It went really well for most of it! Bunny was given her first presentation in static division and she LOVED it! She told me it was her favorite! We did a problem together and then she did two on her own! I should have done it a while ago I guess! 🙂 Pup really was at loose ends for a bit. Then I pulled out the Continent puzzle and globe! She loves pulling out the pieces and matching them to the globe. So we said the continent names as she did it. She was really enjoying it. After that, I put the puzzle back by the continent boxes and I sort of directed her attention to the pictures on the boxes! She saw they were the same as the puzzle! 🙂 So she started exploring the North America box. Inside she found a dolphin and wanted to know about it. So we talked about how it swims in the warm ocean, it eats fish, and it lives in North America. She retained quite a bit of the information! I was really surprised and I think that we will be doing more of this soon! While we were doing that, Bunny was actually upstairs overcoming her frustration over some words. She wanted to read a book after her math. I suggested that we work on a few words before she read the book. I made words that had the sounds we have been working on. Some were short, some longer, but all of them contained sounds she knew or was working on this week. For some reason she had a meltdown about the first word and it took a long time to get her to relax. After she finally did, we managed to read all of the words! This reading is something we have done at other times in the past week and it has worked well. So I guess that she was just having a hard day!

Playing “eye spy” with objects!
This is something that I have started doing more with her, and I think that she is ready! She likes to play it, so I think that this is something that we will do alot!

Here we are working with the blue knobless cylinders to make an ocean for the dolphins! 😉

Here are the words for Bunny. I think that as I look at the picture, I should have done only a few at a time. Huhhhh……I will get it eventually! 😉

After that we ate some lunch and headed out to the park for a walk! It was a really wonderful day! The sun was out and the temperatures were warmer, and everything screamed “get outside”! So off we went! We walked (and ran) some trails, and climbed over a break wall to get down to the beach! It was really awesome! No one is down at this part of the beach much, so there was a lot to see and it had a much more natural look. Here are a few pictures that I took there!

I have also been searching though ideas for the next month of work. I think that the girls are just about done with the Body unit and I need a plan for a new theme. However, with all the other issues that we have going on, I think that we may need to change things up. So I was thinking a bout studying Biomes. This isn’t something we have done before and I think that the girls would like it. So I did a web search and came across this program written by a Montessori teacher. It look amazing and its free! I have to read a bit more, but I think that this is something that I want to do, either this summer or even next fall. If you want to check it out, here is a link to the website! So that is what we did today! I hope you all had a wonderful day! 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 First Day of Advent!

Well today is the first day of Advent and I have a plan for how we will prepare for Christmas this year!!!!! It took a while, but I think that I have it ready to go! We are going to be choosing a prophecy each week to read, reflect on, and copy. These are the ones that are done in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Atrium. They have been chosen because they really meet the child’s interest at this age. So we will be doing that tomorrow. I also have a really great book that has a story for each day of advent. It has a combination of bible stories, saint stories, traditions, and legends! It is so great! I found it on Amazon here. So we will be reading these daily (they start on Dec.1). There are alot of activities that we can do that fit with story of the day, so I will have little things going on all month! We also have the traditional chocolate advent calender (the girls favorite), and advent wreath, and our nativity set all ready out and ready to go! That was today’s task! Bunny LOVES to decorate, so she could hardly wait! I think we will slowly add decorations as we go though advent! So my hope is that this advent will be simple, fun, and full of blessing! Here are some pictures of us getting ready!

Here are the girls putting the pieces into our stable. Bunny really didn’t want to share.
This was the first year Pup was interested in helping out!

Here are the girls putting the candles in the advent wreath.

Then we had a special blessing for our wreath to start the new season.

So here we are, week 1!
We LOVE the advent and Christmas season! There are so many great ways to live out this time of year to fullest! What ways do you and your family prepare for Christmas (or any other holiday you celebrate)? I love to hear what other people do, so be sure to leave and comment and share your traditions!
 Don’t forget to enter my giveaway here!

Taking Time Tuesdays!!!!

Today is the beginning of what I hope will be a special day each week for my kids! We are calling them Taking Time Tuesdays! Tuesdays this year are sort of off days here. We  don’t have commitments or babysitting to do, so they are perfect for my plan! Today {and every Tuesday} will be the day that we take little trips, do those amazing crafts that I keep finding on pintrest, and spend time having fun! I have been feeling like we don’t have time to do the fun stuff that is relaxing and that make memories! So I need to make some time to have those moments with my kids! We did alot of this kind of stuff during the summer and I miss it so much! I really think that kids learn more when they are having fun, so we are going to have fun! I mean it doesn’t have to be summer to play! 🙂
To kick off these fun adventures, we met up with some friends today to tie-dye t-shirts!!!! Our friends had a kit with all the dye and so all the kids needed to do was figure out which design they wanted to twist their t-shirts into! First we dampened the t-shirts, then we got to work with the rubber bands! Bunny and her friend did theirs in a twist pattern. I made Pup’s in a bullseye pattern, and HL wanted to do a graduated color! The next obvious step was using the dye! Now, when I did tie-dye, we used a spoon and a large vat of dye! These days, we have these very nice squirt bottles that keep it fairly clean! 🙂 The colors that we had were red, blue and yellow! Bunny of course realized these were the primary colors and she thought this was cool! Yay for retained learning! The moms did most of the squirting, and the girls helped squeeze the color though the cotton with their hands {in gloves of course}! Here are some pictures of our groovy little ones! 😉

Design Ideas!

Prepping the shirts!

Here is Bunny’s ready for dye! It took like 5 tried to get it to look right! 🙂

Here is Pup’s!

Ready to dye
{yes we did this outside!}

Here they are trying to put those thin plastic gloves on from the kit!


It didn’t take long to do the girls shirts!

Here is HL doing his gradual color design!

I didn’t get pics of the girls working since I was full of dye, so I had them come back and pose! 🙂


Arent they cute?
Now, I know that you are wondering what they turned out like, but you will have to wait just like us!!!! They need to sit for 8 hours and then they need to be washed in hot water! I will have to have a reveal post later this week! We had a blast and I came home feeling like we had a lot of relaxing fun! It was exactly what I want our Taking Time Tuesdays to be! I already have plans for the next one! 🙂
What ways do you take time to have fun?

Our New Rhythm Plan

Well everyone, I have thought and thought and thought about what we need to do in our home to make things run more smoothly. Things last week were rather rough! I kind outlined this idea on my other blog Peace, Love, and Blessing and this weekend I worked really hard to figure out a positive way to help ease out transition into our new fall schedule (or rhythm since that’s more fun to say!). What I think we are going to do is to really be intentional. I know that I said that before, but I didn’t think about it in the way of chores and house cleaning. We are going to work together. So when it is time to clear the table, then we will all clear the table. That way they are helping and I am getting things done! I also wrote out our new rhythm out (complete with pictures) so that the kids will be see the transitions in the day. I am hoping that this will help us know what we need to do and not have fits when this happens! This is my plan for know. I know that things will change as we go, that’s life! But its a good start! I will be presenting this to them tomorrow and we will see how it goes! Here is a picture of my rhythm that is posted on door in the hallway.

I also want to take a moment to remember all of those who died in the attacks on 9/11. 10 years ago I was on a campaign trip with my family in Michigan. Being without a tv, my grandpa, came and told us all about it. I will never forget the look of horror on my parents faces. We spent the rest of the day watching the reruns of the coverage on the news. It was awful. I didn’t truly realize the extent of what happened. As it sunk in, I had random nightmares about terrorist for quite a while.  I also I really felt so much awe and gratitude for all the brave people who did go to help and make a difference. I know that we will never forget, and I know that we will tell our kids about it so they can honor the hero’s! May God Always bless the country and the people that live here!

School Plan 2011- 2012 ~part 2

As promised I have a plan for the other part of my school year! I will be doing the badges with Bunny, but Pup is not interested in them, and I dont think Bug will be either. So I came across this really sweet idea from Elizabeth Foss over at In the Heart of My Home.She has created a school plan called Along the Alphabet Path. She has written a little story for each alphabet letter that goes with the flower fairy alphabet book (by Cicely Mary Barker)! Now this idea is not really Montessori, but it will offer at lot of fun in addition to the Montessori work that we are going to be doing all year. I am hoping that this Letter a week plan will give Pup an intro to sounds (I can play alot of eye spy with the letters we do learn), it will help Bug start to learn her sounds, and I hope that it will allow Bunny to really have a chance to cement the sounds in her mind. Not to mention it will be fun! Each week will will read the story one day, Present the sound and the sound basket another, and I also want to use a few other alphabet books to read during circle time each week too. So this should give us a alot of fun ideas for each circle time. In addition to our alphabet books, Elizabeth has a whole list of books that go with a theme that she made for each letter (A is for Apple). So I will also have a science theme for each week if we would like to use them. This will really be helpful for those weeks when I cant think of something! 🙂 Backup is awesome! I know that this sounds like a ton of stuff, but some of it will happen, some wont! But that is the best part about homeschooling, there is room to flex.
Now to make our Montessori work together with this plan, I will have a shelf set up with our weekly letter and the letter basket. I also will have the trays that are in the Karen Tyler albums that correspond to the theme that we pick for each letter. For example, if we do a is for apple, we would have apple life cycle cards, making apple sauce Practical life, apple prints with paint, etc. I think that this will be fun and pretty easy to work with. Like I said, this looks like a lot, but we arent going to do it all every week. Alot of this will change as we go I am sure! 🙂 Besides that we may spend more time on a subject if it is something that we feel needs more exploration. This will allow Bunny to work on a badge each week, but still allow her to learn longer if she wants, or do something different if the interest strikes! I hope this will allow me to have a structure for our days while still having the freedom to be what they want to be! Let me know if you visit Along the Alphabet Path let me know what you think!

What is your plan this year?

School Plan 2011-2012

Like I said a few days ago that our cupcake study was my trial run for this year’s school plan and I think it will work out really well! I have made a list of badges that she can earn during the year as she chooses. I found the basis of this idea on The Crafting Chicks. There are some in all different subject areas, math, language, science, art, geography, history, and other random subjects that we might feel we need to hit! 😉 I have a ton of badges that can be earned, some will take a few days like the cupcake one, and some may take alot longer. Bunny is really excited, I am really excited, and this this will give us the freedom to study what we have a fancy to while still being able to show a little of everything for records! I know that this idea is not completely Montessori since she didn’t believe that children needed or wanted rewards, but this is where following the child become more important. Bunny is very goal oriented. She love a finish line and to earn things. This just a part of her personality. So I am going to tap into this talent she has to stay focused on her goal. Once she finishes I have a bulletin board in the main hallway of our house for her to display the ones she has earned (the calender was there, but that has moved down to the school room).
Here is our “Learning Badges” board!

Here is the” cupcake badge” and her “swimming with swimmies badge”!
So far my plan for badges are this:
Golden Bead Addition
Golden Bead Subtraction
Golden Bead Multiplication
Golden Bead Division
Stamp Game
Bead Stair Addition
Bead Stair Subtraction
Teen Board
Tens Board
Telling Time
And any other math works she gets to
Letter Sounds (more of a review. She knows them, but I want to be sure)
Double Letter Sounds
Reading short words
Reading a book
And any other
Maps/ Directions
North America
South America
United States
Simple Machines
Universe and Stars
Solar System
Layers of the Earth
Plants Habitats
Plants or flowers
Care of the Earth
Food Chains
Other Badges:
Story Writing
Time Periods (she can choose something we are reading about)
Any other ideas she comes up with!
So this is my plan. I really hope that she will choose a few from each category. I know that we wont even get to half of this and I am sure that Bunny will come up with a million ideas of her own! 🙂 This I hope will really make a good year for us! Next year we will for sure be hitting the Great Lessons and I cant wait! But this will be a ton of fun too!
For Pup I am keeping it really simple. I will make trays for and Bunny as usual, but I don’t know that they will have a definite theme! She will do those and work with more sensorial material. I also will be starting more beginning reading work (eye spy, letters, etc) and I will do a sound a week. I want to make her a sound basket for each week. This is my plan. She may LOVE it or she may not be interested at all! 🙂 We’ll see!
 So this is my great plan for our 2011-2012 year. I don’t think I will be starting for a few weeks still. I really wanted to get to the zoo again and some other things before the summer is over. But I think that we will be starting sooner rather then later!
What is your school plan for this year?