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Page 73 – Discovering Moments of Happily Ever After

Manners~ part 1

Today we began talking about manners! This is a part of our theme this month~ Grace and Courtesy. Our main work today started with a book about table manners. After we read the book we took dishes to our school room and practiced setting the table two ways~ daily dinner, and formal dinner (salad fork, bread plate, etc.). Bunny loved this! Pup even set a place herself too. After the table was set, we sat down and practiced the right way to hold silverware and Bunny practiced how to use a knife.  After that I taped a yarn line on the floor for some walking the line practice. Walking the Line is a work that is done in Montessori schools to help the kids practice body control. They are encouraged to carry things while walking so that they learn to do things carefully. She carried a tray with dishes, and a tray with a bottle of water. This was good practice. After she did the line a few times, she decided to make a menu and set the table like a restaurant. Then we played restaurant for a while. Each time she brought me “food” she walked the line. She had a blast and learned so much! By the end of lesson she could carry a tray on  the line with confidence, serve plates carefully, and reset the table perfectly! I was proud of her work!

 Pup setting the table

Bunny Setting the table

Bunny pushing in her chair correctly

Pup walking the line

Bunny carrying water and dishes on the line

Practicing with the knife

Homeschool Montessori Program Giveaway!!!!

Yes, again, I have news about another AMAZING giveaway!!!!! I cant wait to learn all about this new program from the North American Montessori Center! They have developed a program designed especially for homeschooling families. It comes with albums (step by step teaching notes), 2 CDs of printable Montessori materials, all the basic Montessori materials that you need to start. This is amazing! I know I already said that, but I really think this is awesome! Please check it out!
The giveaway is hosted by Montessori for Everyone!

Valentine’s For All!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! This year we did a little more then usual! I love Valentine’s Day! I don’t know why, but it is one of my favorite holidays! I love all the hearts, and crafts, and decorations. In Bunny’s words, “You know why I love Valentine’s day? Because I can just LOVE you Mom.” She usually says this with a big hug for me! 🙂 Kids are so sweet!

We started the day with heart shaped pancakes (pink of course)! The girls loved them! I also made them a small little valentine’s day gift! 🙂 They turned out pretty cute.

Since today Bunny came down with the cold that we have all been battling for the last week, school didn’t really happen in the traditional way! We did do some fun valentines though, and both girls worked really hard on them. Bunny cut out hearts and decorated them.

Pup wanted to paint, so she painted on pink paper and I cut it into hearts later! They looked so sweet!

They also got out some play dough and they used cookie cutters to make some hearts!

It was a fun day! I hope all of you got to have some fun with your “loves” today! Happy Valentine’s Day!

My valentine’s to the girls! 🙂

Our Arctic Nature Walk!

Today we finally had some warmer weather! It got up to 40 degrees! So we decided that, since we have all had colds here, that a walk outside would be fun. So we headed out to the lake, and boy was it cold! The wind picked up over the water (it always does) and we froze! (Bunny wanted to know if the wind could lift cars and houses! We told her no, but she got blown around pretty well). We weren’t the only things frozen outside though, the lake was frozen and we were able to walk out on the water! It was fun to be out on the beach in the cold! Bunny freaked out (her words not mine) about the cracks in the ice. After I told her Daddy checked it out and it was fine, she was so excited about it! She wanted to skate, but the ice had a slushy layer so it didn’t work out! Pup was still feeling bad, but I think that the fresh air was good for her! We had fun (short fun, but fun)! After we got back in the car, I looked at the pictures and I thought that they looked like pictures of people in the Arctic! 🙂 But that’s Ohio! By Friday we are supposed to have weather hitting 55 degrees! 🙂 So I guess I will have snowless, almost spring pictures in a few days!

 The water receded off the shore and then froze! It made a hallow spot that Daddy stepped into!

 Our beach!

Polishing Mirrors and Color Matching

Pup has been working so hard too that I thought I would give her her own post! Yesterday I was watching Pup play and I realized that she was wetting a small cloth and “washing” things. So I thought that I should pull out some scrubbing and Polishing work. It is a very traditional Montessori work that helps kids focus on a task at hand and follow through. I first set up a tray for scrubbing a shell with soap and water, but she tried it for a few minutes and then proceeded to do hand washing instead. 🙂 So I remembered a post I saw on Counting Coconuts on polishing a mirror. So I got everything together for that and it was a hit!!!! She did it for a long time. I was so happy to have something that she could work on!  Bunny promptly took over Pup’s shell scrubbing! It was great to watch them working so hard and focus so well!

Shell scrubbing (I love the way even her fingers are focused!)
Bunny loved the shell scrubbing too!

She worked like this for at least 20 minutes to a half hour! 🙂

Pup also matched up all of her colors! I was so proud of her! She picks things up so quickly! I had her match the rainbow peg people to our rainbow puzzle. She had no problem! Then she put the peg people into their matching cups! (look here for the post on how to make the matching game). She is just growing so fast! I love to watch her becoming a happy Montessori learner!

Perfect color matching!

Finishing her work. She even put it away!

Golden Bead Material and Moveable Alphabet

So I have been having all kinds of fun experimenting with Bunny and the famous Montessori Golden Bead Material. She has learned all her numbers up to 20 and I started presenting her with the names of the different units a few weeks ago. She loved to know all about them and wanted more presentations right away. Unfortunately, I didn’t know where to go next! Thankfully the amazing teachers at my local Montessori school showed me what to do (see yesterday’s post all about my observation). So I started right away, and Bunny has just taken off! 🙂

 Matching numeral cards with Bead material
She did it all perfectly!

Here is a picture of Bunny finding 8000

She loved this work! I was so surprised that she understood everything. She totally “got” the values of the material and I think that I am going to have to educate myself fast so that I can keep up! I think we may be entering a sensitive phase for math! However she still doesn’t want to add anything together! Go figure!

We also worked with the moveable alphabet. I really had a ton more luck with using only a few letters and and a list of five words. She still not super excited about it, but she is doing the work without getting upset. I was so excited today when she told me in the car is saw an n and o and they said “n” and “o”! I think that she is starting to get into it and I know that it is sinking! Here is some of the work we have done in the past few days!

We read “Hop on Pop” and then we made “at” words.
Bunny has also done some other “a” words (I didn’t have a camera on me then)

My Montessori Classroom Observation

So here is post number two for the day! I have so much that I wanted to share and this I really want to remember. Yesterday I went to our local Montessori school for an observation day (well half day). It was the most helpful thing ever! The teachers were so nice and showed me all kids of different presentations for material, and answered a bunch of questions for me! It was so wonderful to be able to sit and watch the inner workings of a true Montessori classroom. It was interesting to see that my insecurities were nothing to worry about. I really thought that having a quite atmosphere meant that the kids didn’t talk much and they room was fairly quite, but within a few minutes I realized that this wasn’t true. While the kids were hard at work, there also groups of kids that were conversation together. It was also interesting to see that, like Bunny, there were a few kids that talked while they worked. There were kids that wandered and seemed unsure of what they wanted to do, there were kids that only wanted to do one thing, there were kids that has some disagreements, and I got to see how all of these situations were handled in a kind, respectful, and fair environment!Since I know that we have so many of these kinds of things that happen here, it was wonderful to see that Bunny is normal, and that there are good ways of handling these situations! I really saw how the teachers stop and take time to make sure that they look into the child eye while they talk, and they expect the child to do the same. “Show me your eyes” was something that I heard a few times. I love this since Bunny has a hard time looking at people while they are talking. This seemed like a good way to help the child remember to look at you while you are speaking to them! This is the best way to teach that kind of grace and courtesy. Another grace and courtesy lesson that I liked and wanted to bring home was body control. Bunny does not like to sit nicely in one place. Apparently it seems like something that alot of 4 and 5year olds have some struggles with this as well. 🙂 So the teachers would offer a gentle reminder to “check your body” to any child that was laying on the floor, or spilling alot of their work, or even sitting facing the work the wrong way to their work. So that is something that we will be introducing into our home. I really think that “check your body” is a lot nicer then saying “Buuunnnyyyy!”

Another thing that I really spent quite a bit of time observing is the Language area. One of the teachers was working on lessons with a bunch of different kids, so it was a great time to see what was going on. I really got to see a bunch of ways that the movable alphabet was being used. One child was using the alphabet with five pictures, and he was spelling words. Another group was working on words that had the letter sound “g”. This was done with alot of hands on with the teacher. She gave them about 5 or 6 letters to work with, then she said a word and helped them sound it out. They, then picked out the letters that they thought made the word. This was a new idea for me on how to use the movable alphabet! After they laid out their 5 words, the teacher wrote them out for the kids on a paper. I did this with Bunny when I got home, and I got a totally different result then I normally do. She did great with this method! Neither one us ended up frustrated. The other thing that I saw that I really liked was the object box. The teacher asked the child to pick out one object and then she would write out a “secret message” (the object word). The child then sounded it out and placed it under the object. The teacher then asked for two objects and then wrote another secret message. The child then sounded out the word and placed it under the correct object. After all the messages were written, the child then stapled it into a book! Finally the other activity that I really thought Bunny would like was a rhyming box. It is full of objects that rhyme. For example: Rake, steak, Sock, rock, Pan, fan, etc. The child then matches the rhymes.
The next thing that I observed was the math area. Seeing all the bead material made me realize why I loved Montessori’s math! Its so hands on and offers a really limitless learning! It is also something that I really didn’t know where to start with it. So the teacher offered to show me some things and it was SO helpful! She showed me how to have Bunny line up the numeral cards 1-9 and 10-90 and then to put the correct unit beads and tens bars beside the numbers. She also showed me how to play the exchange game. It was a different variation on what I had heard of before. The child rolls a dice that has the numbers 10-90 (they don’t use the unites for the game because it takes too long to get to 1000). The number on it is how many tens bars they get. When the the tens column of the board get up to 100 or more, the child get to exchange for a 100’s square! They play until they get to 1000. It was fun, and I think that Bunny will really like to play it! The other thing that I loved in the math section was the math cards they had. They started with simple numbers 1,8,6,10, 4. The child pulls out the correct numeral cards and bead for each number. The next card introduced double digits. 11,17,20,25,52. They did the same thing. The cards worked their way up to large numbers, then they start adding 3 digit numbers by isolating each place value as they go on. Finally they cards have 4 digit numbers that need to be added. This progressive method allows the child to work alone, but it also gives them some really big things to learn! I love it! The teacher also told me about a book that she used that wasn’t really expensive. It was called Math Works: Montessori Math and Developing the Brain. It looks like a great book to add to my shelves!
So these are just some of my observations and learning moments while I was at the Montessori school this week! It was a wonderful experience and I really appreciate the teachers that took the time to show me SO much! They also invited me back as much as I want to so that I can keep absorbing all the amazing things that they do there! If you are still trying to figure out the fine details in your Montessori homeschool, I really encourage you to ask at your local Montessori school (if you have one) to see if you can observe. Most of the time they are more the happy to show you around!

Fun Ideas for Toddlers!

So here is a post that I have been meaning to post for a while and it will be one of a couple I do today! 🙂 I wanted to post a few ideas that are very Montessori and perfect for the active toddlers that what to know everything! The first thing that I did was put together a Baby Treasure Basket for a friend of mine who is going to be having a baby soon! I think that it turned out really cool, and I think that has all sorts of things that any baby would love to explore! I used all natural materials and no plastic or polyester. The idea of a Baby Treasure Basket is that you offer an assortment of objects with different textures, sounds, and colors so that your baby can explore them at his leisure! Most babies will sit with a basket for a long time. If you want more information on Baby Treasure Baskets you can look here.

The Basket included:
~ Books
~ Handmade Wool Felt Booties
~ Wooden Spoons
~ Wooden Egg
~ Bird Teething Ring
~ Wet Felted Wool Ball
~ Sensory Rock Jar
~ Wooden Teething Ring with Silk Ribbon
~ Seashell
~ Wooden Peg Person
~  Pinecone
~ Jingle Pillow
The other thing that I made for Pup in the past few weeks is a rainbow peg person matching game! I got the idea from Chasing Cheerios. Pup was so excited that she couldn’t wait for me to finish them! 🙂 She has had a lot of fun with them and I think that it is a really great (and inexpensive) way to introduce kids to matching!

Matisse Study!

Well, I finally figured out that, even though my camera is broken, my computer has a port that will accept SD cards! So, yeah for technology! I can get my last few pics off of the card! So back to blogging for a bit! 🙂

We started our study on Matisse. Bunny was really interested in his different works. I showed her a few different ones that I got from Adventures of Bear. She had some great 3 part card freebies that I used! After I gave her a small dose of Matisse, I gave a bunch of colored paper and told her to “paint with her scissors”. Bunny was very confused by that, and was even disappointed that we weren’t really going to dip the scissors in paint! But she did get into trying to cut some interesting shapes. I was proud of her results.

 Bunny’s Matisse Art

Pup’s Matisse Inspired hair piece

Pup was very interested in trying to use the scissors, so we had a lesson in how to cut. She really loved it! 🙂 Today she got the hang of the open close and even cut a strip of paper into squares! I guess we have to watch her hair! 🙂

We also have been out on a nature walk in the FREEZING cold! Bunny found a pinecone that she put on our nature tray and Pup walked the whole mile alone! They both had fun, even though I felt like my legs were frozen off!

So that is what is new here! I’ll post some more tomorrow. Pup and I have been working on some new color matching games that I will share! And I will be observing at our local Montessori school tomorrow morning! I am very excited and I hope to come away with some new ideas. I’ll post on what I find out! Happy schooling.

Oh NO!

Well I had grand plans to post some of the fun stuff that we did today for our Matisse Study, and even the cute baby treasure basket that I made for my friend. But it turns out that you cant drop your camera and expect it to work. I have to try and figure out how to get ti fixed! 🙁 I’m so sad! But I will post as soon as I can! If the camera wont work, then I guess I will use my phone! 🙂 Have a happy weekend!