Friday, August 31, 2012

Things for the Mummy's Afterlife

As mentioned in this post, D wanted to make some items to put in the sarcophagus so that her little mummy would be comfortable in the afterlife.  The first thing she wanted to make was this boat that it could use to sail to afterlife.

She also made this "Scroll of the Dead" and "Sword".

Then she wanted to make some pottery.  We used Air-Dry Clay to make these.  I had to help her with shaping these as she wanted and she did the painting.  I filled in the details once she was done painting the base.

I highly recommend these two books before beginning this project.  These highly influenced her imagination and the whole process was led by D.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mummy making

For our Chapter on Egypt in the SOTW, we wanted to make mummies.  Making a chicken mummy is out of the question for us as I am a vegetarian!  So we settled for the next best thing by mummifying one of the little dolls that we seem to have a million of.  I let D decide which one she wanted to mummify and we started the process.

The doll she decided upon, undressed ready for action!

Here is the setup that waiting for the kids that afternoon.  The linen strips are from an old towel.  The small plate has some wet linen to clean the body.

They took turns preparing the body.

Then we started wrapping the body, by then M had lost interest and wandered off!

Here is the finished mummy.  I had to help tie a knot to secure the linen.
We followed this up by making some items that D thought were need to be placed in the sarcophagus with the mummy and of course the sarcophagus! But that is for another post!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fraction Nomenclature

When we were working with fractions way back in June I had hand-written our nomenclature cards.  The served their purpose but looked ugly!  As part of the re-organization that I am doing for our school room, I quickly put together these nomenclature cards.  It also has a simple definition for each part.  I store these in a simple envelope I made by folding construction paper.  I wanted to laminate both the cards and the cover, but we are out of the laminating sheets right now!

If you are interested you can download this pdf by clicking here or by visiting the download tab above.

These downloads are for your personal use only and not for distribution or sale.  If you choose to share anything you've seen in this blog, please link back to here.  Thank you for your understanding!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Pharaoh's Crown

As part of the chapter on Egypt, we made the Pharaoh's crown.  We own this Ancient Egypt book and it has lovely pictures and easy to read texts about Egypt.  As a bonus there are also little crafts you can do on various things from making crowns, to pyramids to all kind of things!  This book is D's favorite and you can often find her sitting in a quiet corner reading through this book.

Anyway here are our crowns.  we used red and white cardstock, eyeballed the sizes and used tape to hold everything together.  We used gold acrylic paints to make the snake heads.  I attached an elastic band to keep it secure while wearing it.

This has been used in various dress up and role play activities!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cave Painting

As mentioned in this post, we started Story of the World: Volume 1 this summer.  D enjoys the story form of learning history and the bonus is that we love to do fun activities with each chapter.  We are taking time with each chapter and doing a lot of activities to make things memorable.  I am planning to post all our activities and also have a separate tab available dedicated to only the SOTW activities.

For today here is the cave painting that we did.  I try to include my little one (2 1/2) also in our activities.  

D wanted to have a draft of what she was going to paint on a piece of paper!  Though her final painting looked nothing like her draft!

D's draft.  You can see daddy hunting an animal, D doing a cave painting, M sleeping in a tent and mommy next to the tent!

We taped a crumpled and cut out grocery bag to a table.

M is attempting her painting!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Summary: South America Unit

D had tremendous interest in learning about South America sometime during the month of June and we explored our continent box, worked on maps and read a ton of books on South America.  I had snapped these pictures then, but have managed to write a post only now!

Working with the puzzle pieces
Labeling the countries
One of our favorite books
We happened to find a sugarcane around this time in one of our local stores and integrated tasting it as part of this unit!

This is her replica of the Machu Pichu ruins using the Cubes

We tasted the goodies we received from Argentina as part of the cultural exchange
We summarized what we learnt.  D drew the pictures and I wrote what she dictated from memory.

We worked with out South America Toob and D's favorite is the poison dart frog!

This is her version of the Amazon river flowing through the rainforest

We received this set as part of the exchange, which include the tea and the special mate cup and the bombilla

We tried drinking the tea from the mate and it was horribly bitter!  I don't know whether it was supposed to be that way or may be I should have done something different.

So then we switched to our regular cup and used the bombilla to sip the tea and read some poetry!

Friday, August 10, 2012

D's Curriculum plan for 2012-13 year

D is 5.5 years old and will turn six this December.  If she were to attend public school she would have started Kindergarten and if she were attending a Montessori School she would be in her final year of Primary and doing some early elementary work.  As mentioned in my previous post, we are sticking to mostly Montessori with some Classical curriculum mixed in.

If you want to see what worked and what did not the past year please visit my previous post.


Reading - This next year I am planning to have a special read-aloud time everyday.  D will read from our FIAR selections and I would read one chapter from our chosen chapter book.  The idea is that this would improve her fluency and speed.

Grammar - We will be sticking to Montessori Grammar and Word Study.  I will be using Karen's albums as well as some of the free early elementary albums.  Just like last year we would be doing First Language Lessons to change things up when we feel like it.

Poetry - Most of our memorization of poetry would be from the First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind: Level 1 (Second Edition) (First Language Lessons).  Just like read-aloud time, I plan to have once a week Poetry time where we would take turns reading from some of the poetry books we own.

CopyWork and Dictation - I plan to introduce some texts slightly longer than a line from the FIAR books and also from the chapter books we will be reading.  At some point, I want to introduce dictation of texts from books, but it would be based on D's lead.  We are not following any special writing curriculum, D does a lot of free writing and any structured writing at this point will come from CopyWork and Dictation.

Handwriting - We should get enough practice from CopyWork, but D has a great interest right now to learn cursive and on her own has learnt to write a few lower case letters.  I had picked up HWT cursive (3rd grade) Teacher's Edition at the used book sale and am planning to use that if D's interest still continues through the school year.  We'll see!

Spelling - We are currently around half way through All About Spelling Level 2 and will continue with it through out the school year.


Our basic focus in Math this year would be to try and master the basic Arithmetic Operations.  For this we would continue with Montessori Math and add in Singapore Math TextBook or RS as we see fit.

I want to create special areas for Geometry and Fractions in the Math Shelf and follow the Montessori Sequence for this.  We might do some early elementary work in this area depending on D's interest.

Measurements, Time & Money from Singapore and RightStart.


We would be continuing The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: Volume 1: Ancient Times: From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor, Revised Edition through the year.  Our goal is NOT to finish the book, but to take time and savor each chapter and do a lot of activities.  So we would be taking our time with this.


As mentioned in my previous post, for Geography and Science my goal is to go through the sequence in the Karen Tyler albums. That should give her a good base for elementary.

Critical Thinking:

We tried Mind Benders Beginning Book 2 (Gr 1-2) and Lollipop Logic, Book 2 (Grades K-2) over the summer.  D enjoys these and we might do some of these as D's interest strikes!

Art & Music:

We are trying this new co-op once a week where we have enrolled for Art, Astronomy and Nature classes.  Most of our art should come from here and the rest based on lessons from the SOTW.  We might do some seasonal stuff too so that M can participate.

For Music we need to start back up on our Piano classes for the coming year.  D loves the piano and loves to practice!

This is our tentative plan for D.  She had a lot of input on what she wanted to learn this next year and what she did not like during our past year.  We are excited to start the new year!

I’m linking this post up at the iHomeschool Network’s Not Back to School Blog Hop.  Pop over there to take a peek at other homeschoolers plans!

Not Back to School Blog Hop

What worked and what did not during the 2011-12 School year

After our decision to continue homeschooling for the 2012-13 school year I started to analyze and experiment a little to see what would work for our situation and D's learning style. Here is a summary of what worked and what did not work for us during the 2011-12 year.  Please keep in mind that we took off 2 1/2 months earlier this year during our vacation abroad and have had a very relaxed summer schooling.


Reading: Montessori worked amazingly well for us! In the last year, D completed the Dwyer Reading Scheme and had started to independently read books.  We moved away from readers and into a lot of picture books and non-fiction.  This past year we did not have any assigned reading times, but D just read out of interest.  D always has her head inside a book in my house other than the times she is playing outside or doing some kind of school work!  Books are read in the dining table as well as in the bathroom!  I am so happy that I followed the child and this in turn did not kill the interest D had in reading, instead aided her with the right tools and encouraged her to follow her interest.

Spelling: We started All About Spelling last year and we still love it.  We did one lesson once or twice a week and finished Book 1 at amazing speed.  We started Book 2, but since we took a break we are are only done with 11 lessons in this book.  At this point, D already knows most of what is taught and catches on easily any time new concepts are taught and always loves Spelling time!  We are definitely keeping this one for the next year!

Handwriting: Another area where following the child has produced amazing results!  The sandpaper letters and metal insets laid a good foundation for D in terms of letter formation and pencil control not to mention the awesome practical life exercises that had provided enough fine motor strength.  So when D was ready to write she could not be bothered with endless handwriting worksheets!  I had to find a way for D to practice her skills without worksheets.  In comes CopyWork!  D loved copying meaningful words first, then sentences, to a couple of lines of poetry!  Now her handwriting has improved tremendously, plus she is getting first hand experience at how good literature and poetry are written.  CopyWork is another keeper for the next school year!

Grammar: I love Montessori Grammar and D loves it too.  We just followed the sequence laid out in Karen Tyler's language album to introduce the different parts of speech with any new interesting ideas thrown in from the internet.

A new thing that I tried during the end of the last year was a few lessons from First Language Lessons after seeing it at a few of my favorite blogs.  The grammar portion of it moves painfully slow for us, but we love the poetry, reading and picture comprehension that are tied in to the lessons.  We do not do this everyday, but when the mood strikes we complete 4-5 lessons.  Each lesson simple, short, scripted and easy to complete in 5-10 mins.  One good thing with following this book is that I don't have to hunt for poetry every month, it is right there in the book, a new one introduced every 4-5 lessons.


We've had a similar experience in the Math area too.  For a while last year I tried the RightStart Math program, thinking that it would help her in progressing steadily in Math and provide me the peace of mind that we are doing Math everyday.  Don't get me wrong, it is an awesome program for the right child and the right parent!  D and I don't do well with scripted lessons!  She needs the freedom to choose and do her work and I tend to hover when we work together.  This did not work well at all with us.  We were frustrated and D refused any Math time with the program.  I realized this quickly and took some fine concepts from the program, like recognizing numbers in groups of five, the abacus, playing games to re-inforce concepts, etc. and created Montessori trays.  Amazingly, it worked!  It rekindled D's love of Math and she started progressing on her own!  So, we worked with the static and dynamic operations using the golden beads, then progressed to the stamp game.  We also started some memorization work using the Addition Strip Board which we practiced using the card games from RS. We started working on our skip counting facts using the bead material too.

I stumbled upon the Singapore Math Textbooks 1A, 1B, 2A, 3A and 3B for a really low price in one of the used curriculum sales!  Since the memorization was going painfully slow for me(!) I introduced the 1A and 1B textbook to D during this summer.  Since she can read, she could go through the textbook by herself and work out the problems.  She easily flew through 1A and is now half way done with 1B.  All this in our relaxed summer schedule!  I like how different strategies are introduced to solved the same problems and this has helped D in computing facts that she has not yet memorized!  Since we own the next few in the series, my plan is to continue to supplement Montessori Math with strategies from Singapore.


We did start of the year with some amazing Physical Science work using Karen Tyler Albums, but I kind of slacked off creating new trays.  D loved what we did, so one of my goals this coming year is to follow the sequence laid out in her albums so D would have a strong foundation when we start Montessori Elementary the following year.  For Geography we worked on some of our continent boxes, but again, I slacked off and did not create anything interesting for D in this area.  To be honest, most of the knowledge D has gained in the Science and Geography areas are by reading books that have piqued her interest last year.  I know, bad mommy! I do plan to rectify this in the coming year!

One new thing we tried, since D is such a sucker for a good story is Story of the World.  We love it.  I supplement each chapter with a ton of books from the library and D devours those!  I also own the CDs and activity book and this is where we get our Art fix taken care of!  This is another keeper!


I loved the concept of this but creating a whole bunch of activities after every book is not my cup of tea.  With all that was going on last year, we just read the FIAR books and also a bunch of other books related to each theme.  I loved how it introduced us to different kind of books which we would never have come across if not for FIAR.  We might keep this next year, but limit ourselves to only reading and discussing the books.

So after this big analysis we have decided to stick with all things Montessori that work awesome for us.  I am not jumping into elementary yet.  D would be turning six in December and we might see how our situation turns out, but we sticking to final year primary and early elementary for the next year.  We might add in a few other curriculums like Singapore Math, Story of the World, etc. depending on where our interests take us.  So it is going to be mostly Montessori with little bit of Classical mixed in!

Stay tuned for my next post on our curriculum plan for the next school year!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Summer coming to an end

Hope everybody is enjoying what is left of summer, we are!  Sorry for the long absence, we've been real busy.  We've been schooling in a very relaxed fashion this summer.  We tried some workbooks and some different curricula that I picked up at the various garage and curriculum sales this summer, just for fun!  Everything has been a hit, but it has also given us an idea of what works for D's learning style and for our family lifestyle.  M is a little too young for curriculum but she has had ton of fun just being a toddler in the sun!

In the next few days, I want to post about our curriculum choices, learning expectations and rough schedules.  I am going to be planning as I write these posts, so it should be fun!

For those of you still attempting to read this blog, thank you!  I hope to chronicle our homeschooling journey more regularly this next year given that D (5 1/2) should have officially started kindergarten in public school this year and M (2 1/2) would ideally be starting Montessori preschool.