Tuesday, May 10, 2016

As I stated, Pookie joined the American Heritage Girls this year.  The boys have been involved in scouting since they were 6, but after looking at Girl Scouts we decide that it was not a good match for our family and our values.  AHG has similar goals to Girl Scouts, but still keeps the traditional values that our family holds. 

Pookie has loved her experience.  She has gotten to know a great group of girls and after each meeting she bubbles with enthusiasm.  Because all ages meet at the same time, she also gets to see the older girls in leadership positions and organizing activities and service projects. 

In her own words, this is what she loves most about American Heritage Girls:

At long last I am back.  A lot has changed around here.

Wonder Boy is almost 14 and entering high school in the fall.  He stopped studying tae kwan do last fall when his studio closed.  He is active in his Boy Scout troop.

Jophus is 12 and in the 6th grade.  About a year ago he retired from gymnastics after achieving his goal of going to Regionals.  He also love scouts.

Pookie is 8 and has had a wonderful third grade year.  She also joined a scouting organization: the American Heritage Girls.

Wonder Boy, Jophus, and Pookie are all still homeschooled.  They also started learning parkour.

Bear is also 8.  He has probably had the most changes.  In February of 2014 we decided to put him in our local public school.  This turned out to be a great experience.  It let me  be just his mom and not worry about being his teacher too.  It also let me focus more on the other kids education. Because he was taking so much time and energy, the other kids were falling behind a bit.  This coupled with the weekly therapy as yielded some great results.  He is the happiest he has ever been, and we have almost no major behavior incidents.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Water Cycle

This week the younger children are learning about the water cycle.

We chose to read from Rivers and Oceans by Barbara Taylor.

We also did an experiment demonstrating  evaporation, condensation, and precipitation.
      Draw the water cycle on a plastic bag.  Add some water and seal up the bag.  Tape the bag in a sunny window.  The sun will cause the water to evaporate and it will condense at the top of the bag.  We dyed the water blue so we could see it better.  I also used hot water because the I wanted to speed up the process. (I mean we live in Michigan.  There are no warm, sunny windows right now.)  Finally, I taped the bag to another bag of ice to help the condensation.  It looked something like this:

(8) Earth and space. The student knows that there are recognizable patterns in the natural world and among the Sun, Earth, and Moon system. The student is expected to: (A) differentiate between weather and climate; (B) explain how the Sun and the ocean interact in the water cycle;

More water cycle resources:
water cycle

Label the Water Cycle

A Mommy Talks has this very cute printable to help practice the vocabulary.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Introduction to the golden beads

The next step for Little Bear is to introduce the decimal system.  Montessori teachers would use the "golden beads."  We don't have any, but since the math curriculum we use is Math-U-See we already have a set of math manipulatives that will function in a similar way.

image from Math-U-See

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Montessori on the Cheap- Red and Blue Rods

No doubt about it, Montessori can be expensive.  There are specialized materials, and a lot of them.  since we are using Montessori ideas to supplement our schoolwork it makes sense to make and find what we can instead of buying all new materials.  Especially since Bear and Pookie may breeze through some of the exercises.

Number Rods 2.JPG
Image from Montessorialbum.com

Blue and red number rods:
I made a small set from a photocopy.  They are not very hardy.  I would definitely make something more sturdy if we were going to use them more often.
A set of printable number rods from Montessori Print Shop

Number Rod Control Chart and Numbers (Image from Montessori Print Shop)

Some people make full sized rods from 1x1s like at Montessori MOMents.  There are smaller sized rods like over at Walk Beside Me , but my favorite idea is at Totally Tots . She used the ever present blue and red dupolos.  I love it!

Duplo Number Rods by Julie from The Adventues of Bear at Totally Tots

Montessori Math

Bear has been struggling with the concepts of number and how to write them for the last year or so.  This is such an intuitive thing that I feel it is really hard to teach systematically.  Inspired by Montessori methods this is what we've been doing:

1. Introduce the numerals using sand paper number.
     The book Teaching Montessori in the Home: The Preschool Years has a pattern for number that I            traced and pasted to poster board.

2. Teaching the quantities 1-10 and their names using the red and blue rods.
Number Rods 2.JPG


Later the child can add the symbol.
Number Rods 9.JPG

3. The spindle box
     In the last exercise the quantity was fixed and the child assigned the numeral.  In this exercise the numerals are fixed and the child add the correct quantity.
Spindle Boxes 1.jpg


4. Cards and counters
     In this exercise neither the numerals or the quantity are given.  The child must put the numbers in order and assign the correct number of counters to that number.


Cards and Counters 6.JPG

I love Montessori Album for simple and clear exercises with lots of pictures.


Montessori Musings

My sweet Little Bear is really having problems learning using traditional methods.  (Well, not entirely traditional because we use a very Charlotte Mason style school)  Thus, I've been looking into Montessori method for teaching.

 I think I'm a little bit in love.  I'm so sad that I never found this for the other children when they were younger.  It is so exciting.

A few hallmarks of the Montessori method are :
* characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological, physical, and social developmenthttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montessori_education ) 
* mixed age classes
* child sized materials
" 'discovery' model, where students learn concepts from working with materials, rather than by direct instruction" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montessori_education
* beautiful well-made materials 

I love the sense of peace that I get watching all the children working on their activities.  I love that Bear can practice an activity over and over again until he has mastered it. I like that there is hands- on learning  rather than lots of teacher led instruction.  

There are several components to the Montessori Primary (ages 3-6) program.  Math, Language, Sensorial, and Practical Life.  Last night I ransacked  rearranged our playroom to have an even larger area for school.  This way I can give the kids more choices to work on.  the bulk of the older kids work is still the same, but I will also provide them with some Montessori activities, especially in the arts and sciences.  With Pookie and Little Bear I am focusing on math, practical life and sensorial.  the language activities we've been using are working for us, so that is pretty far down the list.