Wednesday, May 1, 2013

We're alive and well!

We are alive and well!  With the weather getting better we've been out a lot and doing less structured schooling.  We will be back eventually with school day posts.  Till then, you all have a wonderful spring!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Our Morning Routine

We've been trying a new routine every morning for a few weeks now.  Until this we did not have routine, the kids and I walked into the School room and well, just started on with work.  I thought it would be nice to have a morning routine to change things up and plus get in some daily practice and inspiration for the rest of the day.

Sorry for the bad shot, this board is against a window!
I have this big non-magnetic white board in the school room that we never used.   After changing the date on our calendar every morning, D writes the date in two formats on the board.  Under that, I write a saying or a proverb and we talk about it.  Under that is a sentence for D to proof read.  You can read more about these ideas here at Montessori for Everyone.

After D's corrections!
Another thing I wanted to do was to start reading the enormous collection of books that we have.  We have a ton of books and many favorites get read again and again, but a few good ones are ignored.  So I wanted to make it a habit to start reading intentionally these ignored books.  We started of by reading a book of heroes.

This is a very nice book with short stories on various historical figures as well as common heroes.  We read one story a week and discuss it.  The kids love the stories and we re-read some many times!

We also own quite a few poetry books.  We've been reading from this one now.  We often end up reading more than a couple every morning!

One good thing about this intentional reading is that it has opened up a lot of interesting discussions.  I've also introduced the dictionary since we've encountered some new words while reading poems.  We own a couple, but this one is D's favorite.  I could not find an amazon link for this one.  Most of our books, dictionaries or encyclopedias were bought in our local library's used book sale.

D reading a poem
She looked up the meaning of "stile" by herself!

D has added a "Spelling Test" to our morning routine!  Completely her idea.  She read in one of her books about it and wanted to do it.  It always starts with 5 words but ends up filling the whole white board!  She dictates her own word and spells it.  I only check it for her!

There you have it.  We are loving our new routine.  To this currently we are also adding reading about some of the books related to the Third Great Lesson which inspires a lot of work.  Presently we have a crush on Simple Machines and mommy is trying to put together a learning unit now!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Weekly Wrap up

Below was the plan for the week.  The tasks for Tuesdays and Thursdays are shorter because we are out on both days for music and dance lessons.  This week on Tuesday, it was their spring concert too!

Some pictures of Math work from the week.

We started off with Static Addition, but D caught on quickly and stopped using the bead frame for this.  Then we moved on to dynamic addition on the frame towards the end of the week.  Though I had some problems printed out from when we worked on the golden beads, D likes to create her own problems.

D did Addition Dot Board only because it was on the task list.  She quickly realized that she liked the bead frame better and moved onto to doing problems on that.
We are working on the Multiplication board to fill in the tables.  We are done with the first 6 for now.

Sorry for the blurry picture, in Geometry we again worked on identifying the kind on angles, this time using the quadrilateral drawer.  While working with the protractor to determine that, D started getting interested in measuring the angles.  So we worked on that and I showed her how to write it down and she marked it on her figures.
D loves to think that she is giving me really difficult problems.  So these were for me.  Once I write the answers down, D has to verify my answers.  So we got some additional practice done this way!
I finally gave in and bought the Life of Fred books.  D loved them and worked on 9 chapters straight!  I had to stop her since we had to leave for dance class!

Here are some shots of the Language work from the week.  We completed the Level 2 book from First Language lessons this week.  I am not planning on purchasing the Level 3 book for now.

Diagramming a sentence from the last chapter in FLL Level 2. 
We added the "Direct Object" piece to Sentence analysis this week.

As usual D loves to make up her own sentences.
One purpose of the work plan is to include some works that are often ignored.  Maps were one in our house.  This week I put it on the plan and D worked with the South America map.  She knows a few capitals too!  We read some South America books too.

 This week we moved on with our Great Lessons.  I do it a bit differently than what is suggested in many albums.  For example we don't do the timelines till D has developed an interest in the subject.  So we start by reading books on the topic, I tell her a lot of stories and then we do the sequence in the albums.  Our Second Great Lesson studies have kind of come to halt after our Fungi and Bacteria studies.  I also presented the Six Kingdom Chart and we went over the time line again to see how things evolved.  So this week we have started to read books on the coming of humans.  We started with the Jennifer Morgan book and have now proceeded to read a few others in this topic.

Here is how our work plan looked at the end of the week.

As you can see D got done with most of her tasks from the plan and then some more.  I like how the plan is structuring our School Days.  I think this plan is helping me keep up as much as helping D!  We were doing this kind of work even before, but it is nice to have it up there and see how and where we need a little tweaking!

Next week our plan should be a little different, since we would not have FLL on there.  I am planning on having a few grammar presentations and continuing the Third Great Lesson.  Our focus would be to practice Addition with Exchange and Multiplication mainly, with may be some Subtraction thrown in, depending on D's interest.

Here are some shots of Little M from the school room.

We are working Cards and Counters here.
She loves to make triangles, squares and rectangles on her geo board.

 We also love working on the first two drawers of the Geo Cabinet.

I am linking this up to...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Science Journal entries

I thought I should share our recent Science Journal entries, in case some one is interested.  We try to do something in the journal for all the science we do.  D decides between drawing or writing or sometimes both and I do the rest for her.  She is only 6 and there is no requirement that she do the work all by herself.  In a Montessori classroom she might have chosen to do these with a group and might not have done all the writing and drawing by herself.  I always keep this in mind and share the journaling with her.  You might have seen in our Mushroom studies that she did the drawing and I did the writing.  Here are the journal entries from our recent experiments.

She choose to use a green check mark for seeds that germinated and a red X for no change.

We love journaling Science and many times I've caught D going through all the previous entries and recall interesting things from our experiments!  As you can see we use a regular lined notebook.  When I was in school, back in India, we had what we called "Observation" notebooks for science that had a blank page to the left and ruled page to the right, where we recorded all the Science entries.  Is there something like that I could find here?  I would love that format as almost all our entries have some drawing and some writing.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Geometry bundle giveaway

Be sure to enter this awesome giveaway hosted by MyBoysTeacher! Here is the Link.

Art - The dot

Since we were sick for a few days last week, we did more of what we usually do on weekends, which is to read.  We read the following book.  It is an amazing book and a must read for kids!

Here is some artwork inspired by the book.  The first two are by D, next is mine and the last one is M.

If you look closely you will see tiny little dots made by M!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Weekly wrap-up

We had an "illness" week here.  Now, when I look at the pictures I took this week, seems like we still had a good school week!

 Here are two pictures of my nearly 3 year old in action!

I introduced Sentence Analysis for D this week.  After my introduction she worked on it on her own creating her own two word sentences, cutting and placing it under the right label.

The chart I made looks really bad, doesn't it?!
D prefers making her own sentences to diagram.  Here is one she dictated to me and then diagrammed! Can you see that we are big Magic School Bus fans here!

She got to the next box in Grammar.  This was Singular and Plural: adding "s".  She did this in one go and told me it was too easy for her.  I think this is because we did cover this topic during our primary language sequence.

Metal Insets are a favorite here.  I am glad I purchased this plastic set from eBay for $20.  Worth the money!

She worked on subtraction story problems this week.  I also introduced the small bead frame (done on the Large Bead Frame at our place!).

Here D is labeling each angle in the triangles of the geometric cabinet to be either right, acute or obtuse.  This was a followup of the angles presentation we did last week.

We are also trying out this brilliant idea of work plans.  Anytime D did something other than what was there on the plan, she wanted me to add it.  So I have a bunch of blank cards on there for her to use as she pleases.  This is still a work in progress and we are finding out what works and what does not.  Will post more as we discover more.

Of course, M needs to have her own too.  I had only one more pocket chart in green, so we used this pencil holder as her second one!

To finish off, here is a piece of art from D.  One day this week, I found this crumpled piece of paper on the floor and found D stomping it over and over.  When questioned she told me that she wanted to create texture just like how it is in the cave walls and that was her technique!!!

Oil Pastels. Crumpled and stomped on for the texture!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Day 5 Pictures of our Bacteria

D's Hand - Left without and Right with Antibiotic cream

D's Mouth - Left without and Right with Toothpaste

Bacteria with Yogurt

D's Fingers - Left before and Right after washing with soap.  There is mold growth on this one, probably  because of using wet fingers?!

Toes - Left mine and Right D's - Yuck!  Mold growth on this too!

Thursday, February 28, 2013


I wanted to share (read: brag!) what D wrote today!  She even illustrated her poem!  Now, I might be partial but I think it turned out pretty amazing for a six year old!  Completely self-initiated and self-motivated, too.