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.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Planning my presentations

This post isn't about planning the children's *work* - it is about planning my presentations.

Mostly for the little ones: infant, toddler, and primary. While I am not showing the infant and toddler portion, it is the same principles.

The general overview of the intervals is at this Montessori Nuggets post on Organizing Primary Presentations. What I have in my notebook is the detailed version which tells me the specific names of exercises to be worked on in each interval. This is available at Garden of Francis or is included free with the Keys of the World Primary Montessori albums online support.

Just a simple three-prong folder. I drew in some lines to separate the areas for me visually. Each interval covers about 6 months if I start with a 2 1/2 year old. Older than that, I still let the children move at their own pace (slower or faster), but I consider the fact they may be in need of something appropriate to their age-interval, while still wanting to get in these preliminary foundation experiences.

At this first interval, as long as I am reading books with the child, providing lots of real life experiences and having lots of conversations, I am looking at 1-2 "new" presentations a week. This number fluctuates between 1-2 up to 5-6 for some intervals (essentially a daily new presentation).

This does NOT dictate the child's work choices. Simply my presentations of new material.

Each week, I look over the list, consider the needs of my children and select which are the most appropriate.

I might note the date I give the presentation, or check it off, or I might write it on a calendar of some sort. Since I have had foster children in my home, I have used a calendar to note what plans and outcomes rather than print out this document for each child.

I might make a list of materials for the interval I am focusing on - things I need to check on or purchase or locate. When making purchases, I might look 2-3 intervals ahead to try to save on shipping and time.
See this post for more information and pictures - Planning in the Montessori Homeschool


For those looking for elementary Montessori homeschool planning: 

Friday, June 30, 2017

Financial Learning

Legoboy is now 13 - he has started investing !!!! And I have been fielding many questions about what led to such an occurrence with a 13 year old.

Well, it certainly wasn't planned! It just happened.

Meaning - I laid a foundation, knowing the results should be good, but not knowing the details.

I wrote about some of our history here:
April 2014: Personal Finances and Montessori - Go read this one for our history! So I can just build on it here!

and here:
April 2014 - School Days - this really just notes that we continued playing the Act Your Wage game ;)

We are about to dive into the Middle School edition of Foundations in Personal Finance and with all the investing questions, I thought it is time for some updates!

Your Business Math
- and Day to Day Operations at Home
Legoboy finished up the Your Business Math, using the Pet Store option. LOVED it. Then he went through and did it all again, running different numbers and different mock orders. We honestly could probably do it again and I could add some cards to make it more complex, but we have the FPU course coming up, he is helping with more of our real business operations at home (Garden of Francis and Keys of the Universe) and taking on more involvement in the daily home finances, that I think we're probably good!

Day to Day Operations at Home
I recently pulled out the Dave Ramsey baby steps again. We had been working on them, got distracted by the fact that we were finally debt-free, I shifted into savings mode, then preparing for foster children, then adjusting to have various foster children. It came time to teach all the older children some financial skills, and slow down my own spending on them.

I pulled out the Dave Ramsey baby steps and talked through them with the older children.
Each older child (ages 11, 12, 14 at the time) received a prepaid Bluebird card through American Express. They were each given a base allowance of $150. Of this money, a certain amount could go into a savings account I set up for each of them, a certain amount was spending money on whatever, and a certain amount was intended to cover their own toiletries and clothing. Activities we would discuss on a case-by-case basis. This didn't mean I wasn't ever going to provide any clothing or treats or the like, but they were no longer to ask me for money. They had their own; if I so chose to offer a treat, it was on me. The "certain amount" was discussed individually with each child after budgeting for their "needs" and their "wants" and their future needs/wants.

We had a variety of experiences with this, from awesome savings after frivolous spending, to "let's go steal someone else's card and claim it was lost at the Reds game, thus someone else must have spent all that money at all the places I typically spend money at." Um. Yeah. Good learning experiences there too! All the children set some aside each month into savings.

Shortly thereafter, the children were removed from my home, due to lies and DCS covering their own past mistakes and putting them on me - but that is another story. Please pray for the children, their families, for DCS, the judge, the court system, the local prosecuting attorneys and all those who I met during the worst 5 days of my life in May.

Just before the children left, I received our tax return for the year and finally got started on retirement. The program we are using allowed me to set up separate accounts - not necessarily belonging to the children (they can't have investments accounts of their own), but labeled with their name and only using their money. This is what got Legoboy started. He was looking at it, looking at the differences between Aggressive, Conservative, Moderate - what are stocks, what are bonds - no guarantee of higher earnings, but wow the typical difference between that and his regular savings account!!! Yeah, he was interested! The 14-turned-15 year old chose to split her savings money between regular savings and investment savings, but following whatever plan Legoboy chose. The 11-turned-12 year old chose to keep her money in her regular savings.

Act Your Wage
We played this game with our older foster children. It was frustrating and beneficial all at once. Afterward, the oldest (who complained about it the loudest) wanted to play again. Sadly, that time hasn't yet come, but it did get her thinking about finances in a more healthy manner.

Foundations in Personal Finance
Dave Ramsey now has a middle school edition of his FPU resources and we are about to give a try!

We'll update more soon! 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Family Gardening in Our Home

Time to move these plants outside! 
My children and I need to get cracking on planning our gardens. It is March already and we should have seedlings going already! OOPS! Flu and public school issues will do that to a family, I suppose.

This year, with 5 children instead of 1, we are going for a modification of square foot gardening. Each child will have their own space to plan within.
(Technically we had 5 children last summer too - but we started the growing season with 1 child and 1 adult and added from there - and our garden FAILED last year. Utter Failure.)

  • Pumpkins
  • Tomatoes
  • Rhubarb
  • In the yard: add more lilac bushes, landscaping refreshed, plant some berry bushes for the future

Miss 14:
  • Watermelons
  • Strawberries
  • Purple Trailing Petunias

Mister 13:
  • Pumpkins (more)
  • Cucumbers
  • Watermelon
  • Cantalope

Miss 12:
  • Corn
  • Strawberries
  • Coleus

Miss 4:
  • Carrots
  • Sunflowers

Mister 3:
  • Flower mix
  • Sunflowers

Not as much variety as I would like to see, but we've had a late start in planning. We'll see what happens in the coming weeks!

The children will be responsible for their own area. With the particular needs we have in our mix of children, it is best for them not to share duties with the others, although Legoboy (Mr 13) and I will provide reminders and guidance for the others when needed. Miss 14 has never grown anything, ever. 12, 4 and 3 had a garden in their previous home but didn't get to see everything grow - they were provided some of their vegetable produced as it was harvested, but didn't get to pick it themselves.

This should be an interesting year to say the least ;)

Previous gardening related posts:
Lazy Gardening
Pollinator Week - Planning for our new home and garden
Nature in Montessori Education
Almost on the Farm
Vermi-Composting: WORMS! 
Gardening in an Apartment
KidzHerbs Garden Kit: Review Post
Musings on the Elementary Scientific Classification Material
Herb Love - Review Post of Herb Fairies

Other Posts in the Series: