Thursday, May 31, 2012

Our work last week

Sorry for the really late update, but here we all are still recovering from a round of sickness!  I thought I should post about our work last week as we did really have a very productive week, in spite of spending a lot of time outside.

We worked on the hundred board, stamp game and short bead chains...

In language we worked on Sorting common and proper nouns...

We also worked on quite a bit of copy work and compound words.

D picked "Alaska's Animal Babies" to read one day from our library and that led to a lot of exploration in our North America Box.

The Musk Ox Fur was extremely soft!

We looked at an adult Bald Eagle to see the differences between that and its chick.

We also learnt about Sea and River Otters and read "Otter on his own" book.
We took the day off on Friday, because I was so exhausted from being sick.  But still we worked on Counting Coins and read a ton of books!  The girls also busied themselves by cleaning our patio doors (we have 2 sets), both inside and outside in preparation for the long weekend!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Montessori Items Sale

I just came across a 50% off liquidation sale @  A few items are out of stock, but I think this is a steal compared to many online stores.  I've ordered from this supplier before and the quality is not bad.  So far the only item I've had to return was the Trinomial Cube as the product arrived with chipped paint.  The other thing is that they've doubled their shipping rates now that they are offering 50% off, so be wary of that.  I just placed a bulk order of items like geography maps and the geometric cabinet!  I also did a price comparison for the items I bought with some other online retailers and in spite of paying a lot of shipping, it still worked out to be almost 40% cheaper.  Till date I've always received items exactly 7 days since I placed orders on their website.  Their customer service is not always prompt, but once you get a hold of them they work with you.  Also, with this deal there are NO Returns or Exchanges!  Good luck and happy shopping!

*** Just so you know, I am in no way affiliated with Caliber Montessori nor do I receive any reward or compensation for spreading the word about their sale! I just wanted to pass on this deal information to my readers!  ***

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My 2 year old in the Class Room

Though all my recent posts have been about D(5), M(2)'s Montessori style learning has not been neglected! What has been is taking pictures and posting about those!  Since I have to be fully present while she is at work, it is very difficult for me to photograph while she works! Another thing is that my camera distracts her and she wants to be the one behind the lens!  So here are some rare pictures that I managed to take while she was in action.  

The bottom shelves are for M

Here she is matching the Jungle Animals to the pictures in her favorite book

Here she is spooning pom-poms

Here are the close-up pictures of her trays.

knobbed puzzle

Jungle Animals

matching farm animals

Color Box1


Ikea toolbox

Vegetable Cutting

Spooning Pom-Poms & One-one correspondence

Snap Button Frame

Pouring tiny wooden spools

Monday, May 21, 2012

Problem with the Short Bead Chain arrangement

As many of you know purchasing the Bead Chains is one of the most expensive affairs in your Montessori homeschool.  So I bought only the Short bead chains and squares (awesome price at Caliber Montessori), no box, no cabinet or wall stand.  I did not get the long bead chains for two reasons.  One being that I was not sure whether D would have the patience to work through those and the other being the price.  I am still not sure whether I should buy the long chains, but that is another story for later.  Coming back to the problem of the Short bead chains, I should have either bought the box or the wall stand.  Here is why.  I had originally set it up in a tray like this.

The chains in the bowl and squares stacked next to it and the small home made "notch paper" that can be used for counting.

The bead chain arrows in their individual containers.
Everything looked great till I observed D using this setup for a couple of days.

Yes! That is my little one sitting on a Pink Cube!
As you can see, since it was all in one tray, D assumed that she had to work on all the chains and do all the arrows in one sitting.  This was exhausting for her and she is done with math for the day as soon as she is done with this work.  Another problem is that there is no way to untangle and get only one bead chain, the chain she decides to work on that particular day from the bowl, without spilling the contents.

D is skip counting aloud after she completed the whole layout for every chain.
I don't think she would be able to memorize skip counting using different numbers if she works this way, she should be working on one chain for a few days till she masters it.  So, I finally decided to get the wall stand ($10 on most online stores).  Hopefully this should alleviate the problems I mentioned above.

Coming back to the issue of whether to get the long bead chains, for now, since my monthly budget will not allow it, I am going to see if I can have D work with the skip counting cards that we got as part of the RightStart Mathematics Level B.  Once I have the wall stand set up for the short bead chains, D can pick one number and get the corresponding chain, arrows and Skip Counting envelope and work with it.  The only issue is that she might not understand the cubes and how those relate to the long chains.

Each set has its own envelope.
How does this work in your homeschool?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

More Odd/Even and Skip Coutning

We had a rain free week last week, so we spent a lot of time playing outside and enjoying it! We had only a couple of days of school last week.  One of those days I found D trying to use the bead bars to list the Odd and Even Numbers until 20.  It is amazing how versatile and open ended all of the Montessori Materials are.  Isn't spontaneous learning wonderful, especially when the adult plays no part in the initiation of the experience!

This led to a discussion of skip counting by 2's and D wanted to do all of her chains.  We only have the short bead chains.

She enjoyed this work so much and she wanted to complete all the 9 chains.  She even joined us late for dinner, since she wanted to complete this work!  The bead material is so expensive, but should I bite the bullet and get the long bead chains? Decisions... decisions...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Re-cap of our work week - May 7-14

How do you come up with really interesting titles for your posts ? I am running out of ideas!

Anyway, here are some glimpses of our Math work last week.  One new thing we started last week is for D to record what she works with, where applicable, in her Math notebook.  I got this notebook from India, this is kind of the standard Math notebook that elementary kids back home use.  It is nice, since you can write one digit in each square.  You can also use graph sheets with appropriate sized squares for this purpose.

As you can see we've been working on skip counting by 2s or figuring out the even numbers up to 30.  We used the RightStart Abacus initially to do this, since the bead chains only go up to 4 and 8.  Then we used this hundred chart to count and stamp by 2's, 5's and 10's using our dot markers.

After D was done counting by 2's, 5's and 10's she wanted to cross out all the odd numbers!

Other than this we also reviewed the types of Quadrilaterals and Triangles.  We also reviewed the value for different coins and played with coins to find out how to use different denominations to arrive at the same sum.

In Language, we've been working our way through Grammar and D sorted the different types of nouns.

I just wrote these out using silver marker on black construction paper

D drew and labelled "things" she found in our kitchen as part of finding out how things are named using nouns.

One day we did this while playing, basically D marking using the Montessori symbols the articles, adjectives and nouns.  Now I can't seem to find this one paper!

Since D hates handwriting worksheets, we are practicing good writing and punctuation by doing copy work.  D would never like or be interested in copying random stuff, so most of our writing relates to the work we've been doing that week.  D does 3-4 pages per week and I can already see a tremendous improvement in her handwriting!  Here is a sample.

D has been reading about butterflies, frogs and bean plants from various books that I borrowed from our local library.

We just started back on All About Spelling.  With the weather being so nice we haven't had much time to continue the lessons.  My goal is to do at least 2 lessons per week.  We are going to start from the beginning of Level 2 since we took a break earlier this year.

We tried some wet chalk drawing on black construction paper and D enjoyed it.

We focussed on Mexico last week. I basically pulled out all our Mexico stuff from the North America Box and let D explore and ask questions.

D is slowly by surely entering into the second plane of development!  Part of this is exciting, but part of this is also that she will not choose works that challenge her.  She would be happily peeling off and dressing up the different paper dolls she has in her continent boxes all through school time, without ever touching any other single work.  Now with a 2 year old distracting me, it is very easy for D to slip off into only doing whatever she wants and not any work that provides the next level of development.  So we tried something new this week.  I created a task list/work contract that D is responsible for finishing.  Nothing fancy, I just wrote whatever were the next logical step to whatever she was already doing.  Of course there are things on there that I need to help present or give directions, but the onus is on her to get her list checked off.

So far this has been working ok.  D likes the idea of checking off, so she knows exactly what she needs to do instead of just going into the school room and trying to choose what she wants.  Right now, she still needs to be reminded that there is a task list that she is responsible for, but we working towards it!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

New Story by D

Here is the latest by D:

In case you cannot follow her writing, here is the Story:

The Earth - by D

Once upon a time a bad witch was making poison! and her cat was very bad to other people.  One day she killed Bheemun and she ate him.  Then she threw up.

- The End.

Here is conversation we had after I read her story:

Me: I like your story, good job! So, I see you have drawn the Earth, what is that round thing next to it and why didn't you color that?
D: That is the Moon so it is white Mom.
Me: Why did you draw the Earth and Moon with your story?
D: That is because the witch is on the Earth and this happened at night.
Me: Oh ok!

So after sometime she gets me this picture to add on to the story!

The Witch!

Story writing was not prompted by me, D did it by herself after we were done with school!  I had to help her with spelling a few words, but I love how she has a beginning, middle and end to her story!  This is definitely a result of giving the child the needed tools and surrounding her with a rich environment and setting her free to create what she wants!  

Monday, May 7, 2012

Our last couple of weeks

We've been enjoying the great weather and meeting friends these last few weeks.  We've been doing school only when the weather has been rainy.  Here are a few pictures from what we've been doing, I did not take pictures of a lot of stuff, so there aren't many photos.

Plenty of Art with Oil Pastels - Our new favourite medium!

We attended a local spring festival, watched shearing sheep and visited the pets.  Isn't this a cool photo?!

We've been revisiting a lot of our old Math Trays, trying to revise old concepts.  D is working on the Teens in the above picture.

I've always wanted to do some graphing and data analysis with D.  This activity was sparked by one of the recent "Sid the Science Kid" episodes.  We sorted a bunch of buttons by color, shape or no. of button holes and tried to analyze that.  We estimated minimum and maximums before graphing and it was fun to see if our predictions were right!

Sorted by Shape
Placed it the sorted groups on a graph.  Since this was an impromptu activity I improvised by drawing X-Y axis on a piece of Cardstock!

By Color
Sorted by no. of Button Holes and ready to be graphed.  We only had two and four holed buttons so this turned out not such a great idea!
We have been working on a bunch of grammar and been doing a lot of reading. We've also been exploring our continent boxes and doing some sensorial work.