Montessori Elementary Homeschool Blog - with documentation of our infant Montessori, toddler Montessori, and primary Montessori experiences; as well as preparation for the upcoming adolescent Montessori homeschool years.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Is smiling without a tongue really SO hard?

(taking some blog posts out of draft - and combining some)

Goofy - I just wanted a smile. I have deleted many where he is hiding, ones with the tongue obnoxiously out, etc. Here are the few that remain from this past year.

Happy New Year everyone! 

And may the coming year bring many smiles and fewer tongues!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Early Montessori Activities - Display - shelving - trays

Early work (appropriate for age 2 1/2 but could be started later as well, or SOME of it a wee bit earlier) ---

Storage suggestions noted.
Total of 6-7 trays.

Excellent good news for a homeschool on limited space ;)

for more information on Montessori Trays, click here
For a great 5-point list as to why a combination of SOME Exercises of Practical Life trays are great in a homeschool that still practices those skills at the life-appropriate times, click here.
Indeed I would add one more point: the child has time to repeat and practice and master during a time when the pressure is not on (so practice dry pouring, then wet pouring --- then pour drinks at the table dinner table)

Most of the early work does not even require materials, just guided experiences.

EPL: Control of Movement
Walking on the Line
(tray of extension items for OLDER children --- 
 not younger)
Spoken:Vocabulary Enrichment
Orientation Game

Spoken:Vocabulary Enrichment
Naming Objects in the Environment

Spoken:Vocabulary Enrichment
Collecting Classified Objects
tray to carry objects, but objects are in the environment.
Spoken:Vocabulary Enrichment
Classified Cards
(could be on a tray, but more likely in pouches or envelopes)
Spoken: Language Development

Spoken: Language Development
Reading and Books in the Library
books are on shelves, some are on display
some could be in baskets of interest
Spoken: Language Development

Spoken: Language Development

Spoken: Language Development

Spoken: Language Development
Question Game

Spoken: Language Development
Cultural Folders
in folders
Spoken: Language Development
Extension: fictional story telling

EPL: Preliminary Exercises
How to Carry a Working Mat

EPL: Preliminary Exercises
How to Place a Pitcher

EPL: Preliminary Exercises
How to Carry a Tray

EPL: Preliminary Exercises
How to Roll a Working Mat

EPL: Preliminary Exercises
How to Put Down a Chair

EPL: Preliminary Exercises
How to Sit On a Chair at a Table

EPL: Preliminary Exercises
How to Fold Napkins
square tray
EPL: Preliminary Exercises
How to Pour Grain
EPL: Preliminary Exercises
How to Pour Water
EPL: Preliminary Exercises
How to Fold a Dust-cloth to Put Away
tray or holder
EPL: Preliminary Exercises
How to Fold a Dust-cloth to Dust

EPL: Care of Self
Snap Frame
on a display
(at home could be a dish rack)
EPL: Care of Self
Hook and Eye Frame

EPL: Care of the Environment
How to Dust a Table
supplies kept together in a bucket
EPL: Care of the Environment
How to Use a Dustpan and Brush

EPL: Care of the Environment
How to Sweep

EPL: Care of the Environment
How to Wipe Up a Spill
cloths are kept in a basket
EPL: Care of the Environment
How to Dust Leaves
duster could be hanging OR on a tray
EPL: Care of the Environment
How to Make Lemon Water and similar
items are on a tray in the kitchen; rotated with other food prep appropriate to family needs
EPL: Grace and Courtesy
How to Walk Around A Mat

EPL: Grace and Courtesy
How to Introduce Yourself

EPL: Grace and Courtesy
How to Apologize

EPL: Grace and Courtesy
How to Observe

EPL: Grace and Courtesy
How to Draw Attention

EPL: Grace and Courtesy
How to Accept a Compliment

EPL: Grace and Courtesy
How to Blow Your Nose

EPL: Grace and Courtesy
Own Grace and Courtesy

Sound Games
objects from environment
Language Extension
How to Teach a Song

Monday, December 22, 2014

Homeschool Skedtrack - REVIEW POST

Legoboy has recently begun using Homeschool Skedtrack for his work plan and journaling. This is an online schedule tracking system that we have used at various times over the last several years; this is the first time Legoboy is using it himself. I foresee using this into adolescence for his planning and journaling.

What he did was plot out his work plan goals, divide up by activities, and record it all. He plotted everything out so that each area shows up each day, but he doesn't necessarily DO each subject every day (in fact, he does NOT). He likes it because 1) it is on the computer 2) he can see what he has up next in each area 3) he can edit what he actually DOES compared to what is actually written there.

He records the length of time spent along with any pertinent details. He still keeps a written record of some of his work as well as noting details of his goals and plans (still monthly), but Homeschool Skedtrack IS his Montessori work journal now.

We make the plans together, but more and more it is on him. I must emphasize that: he creates these plans and he modifies them as we go.

I am happy to re-organize some of the work and add in the pieces we've not typed in yet - to illustrate each of the threads in the elementary Montessori experiences; in a way these are already available via the elementary Montessori task cards (Montessori guide cards) available at Garden of Francis.

Legoboy's current "Courses":
Life of Fred and Cover Story are ready to go when some items above are to certain stages or are completed. Some of the items are more or less ongoing, but again not every day - some things might be once a week or even less with significant time spent when he does do them.

I originally set the activities either blank or with suggestions. As he works with this program more and more, he has started editing future activities.

What we love about it is that you can map out all the steps, or insert generic activities --- then edit as you complete (length of time spent, what actual activity done). If he does more than listed for the day, he can go into the activities tab and delete the future to-be-posted that he has already done. If he doesn't do something, it just shows up the next time that it is scheduled. He plans out his day, but we do have this set for every subject to show up every day (you can have certain things show up just on particular days - such as "Boy Scouts" or "choir practice" or "TKD" or "Grandma and Grandpa visiting".

We list everything as 10 minutes as a generic start; then he tracks the time spent. It has been an interesting exercise for him to see things in this manner - automatically calculated. AND to see the same thing that HE planned, staring him in the face day after day. Hm. Better planning there, son ;)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Geography River Model - Indoor Personal Follow-Up

I still need to get photos up of our "official river model" - Legoboy requested that I take and post photos of his personal follow-up work though, so here it is ;)  

Built with (surprised!?) Legos. 

Not entirely water-proof - and he learned some lessons on how high the banks should be to hold in the soil and keep the water flowing through the desired direction of the river, rather than out the sides. 

Thus, he learned some additional lessons on water-flow. 

We just set this one up on our dining room table with a bucket underneath to catch the water. As much as the official presentation is ideal (a full 3-d model and/or a low hill and a hose outside), I hope this post inspires you to create any of the Montessori key experiences out of whatever you have on hand! 

And yes we did all of this the day before Thanksgiving. We ate dinner at this table. ;) 

inserting rocks and stones

added some mulch and soil to see what would happen
as compared to JUST sand and soil

propped up the whole thing when the water wasn't running
the way he expected

pouring in the waterfall from "melting snow and rains"

the water is going underground -
underground rivulets ;)  

Sudden torrential rains caused some of it to wash away suddenly ;) 

He loved it :)

Here is a link to another idea too: 3D Geography - just before half-way down

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Week in the Life of Legoboy: Friday - Upper Elementary Montessori

wake up in a mood (don't tell me boys don't have PMS too)
straight to breakfast - took FOREVER (reading Life of Fred Geometry - AGAIN)

morning prayer, bit too quickly for my liking.

Primary Grade Challenge Math - chapter 9 on Percentages - again with the math facts not solidified, but he won't take up any of my ideas or come up with his own ideas for how to solidify them. He will learn them all great for a day. Then they are gone again. He has a great memory... so just not really really sure what is going on. 6% comes up a lot in this chapter - after a while he says, "UGK! I am SO tired of 6 perCENT! I need a NEW number!" So dramatic. I had to laugh at him. Probably not the best thing to do based on the grimace on his face afterward ;) 

Piano - for a LONG time - this helped him. A LOT.

Made lunch: scrambled eggs --- got to work on the clean-up part

I guess it did turn into a Math week though! ;)
(he even took the book "10 things mathematicians should know" (or something like that - by Ed Zaccaro - see review post here) along in the evening car-ride until it got dark enough to see the Christmas lights)

We spent 45 minutes this afternoon organizing a few shelves in the library - got more boxes emptied anyway. 
The goal was to gather the rest of the faith-related books onto the far two shelves - I had already set up the childbirth books (considering becoming a doula in the future), the adult faith books and the Montessori/Catechesis of the Good Shepherd resources on the upper shelves. 

But it is a 'give a mouse a cookie' deal - one thing leads to another - so we ended up also working on most of the math, some of the science and some geography, art and music. 

Not bad ;) We even ended up with several empty boxes. Haha. Ignore the stacks of books now on the floor that WERE in boxes. ;) Hey, now we can see what we have. That's a purposeful purpose for having stacks of books, right!? ;) 

he found a couple of books he wanted to read - one a book of Christmas stories and poems ("Christmas Tales for Reading Aloud"), and Advent devotional he forgot we had, and another faith-based books I can't recall off-hand. This is where I found him: 
This is the GUEST bed - yet he's been in it almost every day this week. 

Early evening, I finally read through this week's messages from Educents and came across a set of Minecraft math guides. Using my credit with them (from purchasing a mod class we've not been able to use yet) and the sale already on, we got three guides for $3.49. Legoboy is excited to try them out, even though his original reaction was "there is NO math in Minecraft!" Hm. We'll see ;)  Every once in a while Educents offers something really neat and useful. I consider it useful for browsing for interest units. 

Gathered up some wood from the backyard, but needed a LOT longer of outdoor time today that we did not get. 

The day ended with me posting this on Facebook: 

3 hours of Christmas light touring; ice cream eating; song singing; great conversation with my awesome son. Sitting in the car that long makes me sore. Worth it. 
We did some mystery shopping, enjoyed the Christmas lights in this darkest time of year, and talked a lot about the Amish specifically and the Anabaptists in general (we were driving through an area with a large Amish population; their night-time buggies are still required to have functional green, red and white lights). We discussed our similarities and differences and Legoboy developed a stronger understanding of where various pieces of the Christian puzzle fit together. He even deduced some of their beliefs based on particular things I shared with him - spot-on every time. We have a few things to look up that I was unable to answer for him.

Not sure I can see anything in this one. It was all lit up though. 

Then we got to talking about the other images on our Facebook page:

Thank you for spending the week with Legoboy! It was pretty exciting on this end, but with so much to write up on top of my regular work - I am not sure I made it sound as exciting as it really was. 

My goal: to provide a glimpse of what 5 days of a week looks like in the life of a Montessori homeschooled child. Especially at upper elementary, it is not so much about the materials anymore - but about the real life experiences, the planning, the follow-through.

He has plans going on in Minecraft and with his Lego creations that I do not get into - I monitor to keep things "moral" but otherwise, these are his world. His two other big projects right now are the Further Up, Further In Narnia study and Confirmation preparation. But other rabbit trails criss-cross continuously. We love it. :)

For more days from the past week: 
Friday of "Week in the Life of a Montessori Homeschooler"
Thursday of "Week in the Life of a Montessori Homeschooler"
Wednesday of "Week in the Life of a Montessori Homeschooler"
Tuesday of "Week in the Life of a Montessori Homeschooler"
Monday of "Week in the Life of a Montessori Homeschooler"

In the midst of this series, I also posted a "day in the life of a Montessori homeschooler" from about 2 weeks previous:
A Day in the Life of Legoboy

Any particular day or week may not be representative of what goes on in the grander scheme of things - that particular week would have made an interesting write-up - he ran in his first-ever 5K that Thursday (Thanksgiving) - VERY proud of him!

Saturday, right after this posted week, he has a 3 hour study at the local-ish museum on "Geometry in Nature". We will also watch their current IMAX film again (we have a year-pass to the IMAX theater there - we can watch as much as we want!) - and do more mystery shops on the way home. Not sure what he will do in the morning - could be school work, could be Legos, could be hanging from a tree... I'll be working. Lots to get caught up on now we are in a house. Legoboy is an awesome helper, taking out packages, locating good packaging options, weighing packages, printing labels and more. 

Sunday we have atrium and he serves at the Traditional Latin Mass - he is a bit nervous because it has been a while since he has been to Mass there, let alone served! He will do great!