Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Math and Science Resources We Will Be Using

 I really had the best of fun this summer planning our math resources with the kids. I can't tell you enough of how pleased I am with the resources we will be using. All of the subjects that they are learning, some new and some at a deeper level just came together. At first I was going to just type one longer post to include all of our subject resources, but I am positive that you probably would of taken a nap and then came back (maybe). LOL.

O.K so first we created our motto " We are Detectives, solving the unknown".  We all enjoyed the book " The Number Devil" and "The Lemonade War" and I just followed their way of mathematical thinking and the next thing I knew we were learning about Sherlock Holmes. We have falling in love with Sherlock Holmes!

I was reading  All Things Beautiful and Phyllis was sharing about her 2013-2014 math curriculum. The book titled Mathematics...a Way of Thinking, immediately grabbed my attention. I spent a lot of time going through and reading every sample, which is a lot! I called the kids around the computer and then they browsed through it too. They love the concepts of games and I am completely thrilled with how easy it is to implement. Once we all committed to doing the activities I purchased it  used on Amazon for just $3.99

Nice approach, rules sneakily taught and they are detectives, detecting the rules.

I also discovered Family Math, which will be such a confidence booster for all of us. I found this book used on Amazon for $6.00. We make our own math kits and do the activities together. Again this is easy to implement and still do math hands on. We needed something for math just like this, life is just so busy right now and at this moment we need our spending time together to be more than material making. OH! But we will eventually come back to that when the time is right!

We have also committed to learning Chess.
We are starting with No Stress Chess. The kids know way more about Chess so they are teaching me, and as a result they will be deepening their thoughts on the game too. I brought two sets so we can all play at the same time and rotating who is playing who. The other side has notations which none of us know about, although I heard them finding out some information about it on the Internet. This is going to be fun and rewarding. Bring it on!

We are including logic puzzles that will be posted on the board  until the puzzle has been solved. We haven't started yet, but what will be our first logic puzzle is what I wrote on the poster board in the picture above.

                                              Pencil to Paper

There is a requirement to documenting math problems. 

Ken will be starting to document her math with solving math riddles involving multiplication and division, I'll be making simple booklets of graph paper for her and DJ will be documenting his work with multiplication and division with booklets I make using these  various worksheets.

And no we haven't abandoned our Montessori math materials. We still need them and last year we barely scratched the surface of what these materials are capable of assisting them with. Oh and the Pink Tower isn't in the picture by mistake. I got a few casualties with the move, still looking for two parts missing from the Fraction Circles. We also plan to go in depth with Fractions and this fraction kit will be added in and they will  learn more geometry using this.

Math is also incorporated into our science. We are focusing on Forensic Science with a group of children led by me. We are using the The Mystery of Lyle and Louise. The first course that we are doing is Bad Impression:  Bite Mark Analysis. This course is intended for high school and up, but I have a feeling that they will be very successful in this class, especially since they helped with prep work. We will see! Science just happens around here anyway.

As the kids and I are getting more comfortable with our homeschooling life it  is getting easier, and much more fun! How are we going to fit this all  in?  "We will be Detectives, solving the unknown"  one day at a time.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Our Classroom

Many of you may have already seen the pictures of our learning area at the Studio. Since we are homeschoolers our learning always extends outside of this space, as it did when we had a designated classroom area at home (which we still use). I am trying to update what's been popping in our lives before I start sharing about our visions for the upcoming school year. We have changed our perspective on year round homeschooling to "Day by Day Homeschoolers", we are just taking advantage of the flexibility that comes with homeschooling and realizing that each day brings it's own challenges and blessings, and we will seek out the blessings and just do what we can while accepting the challenges.

As you enter ahead you will see the coat rack, and to the left of you is our area where I have dedicated to Cultural materials.
A closer view of some of the shelves that house the art materials.

                                                The Science area.

                                                     Our Nature Corner.

The Monarch and Lady Painted Caterpillars have been getting a lot of attention in this area.

The Lego Room which also houses Montessori Sensorial and Math Materials. 
The Laptop and I Pads' are also available for use and I encourage the children to use them for researching, photography, video editing and music making.


                                                   The Music Room.

Around the corner is the language related activities as well as leading into our Practical Life shelves.

                               Story telling and Puppet Theater.

                                                   Cosmetology/ Face painting.

There are a lot more Language materials that I didn't take a picture of. As you leave the area you will enter the Sewing and Woodworking area.


We also have a snack area available that will also have more practical life activities available, like baking with the convection oven, and a place to keep the supplies clean after use.


Oh I can't forget to share our ever growing library! We are slowly adding books in so that we can keep this area as organized as possible.


I hope you enjoyed the tour!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Montessori and The Lemonade Stand

The kids worked their butts off today! Not for the love of money, but for the pure joy of working hard and owning a business. They think business, they talk business, and today they proclaimed a victory of being business owners again, this time a Stand of sorts. They asked me for advice and I gave it to them, nothing more. Just advice! A lot of talk about selling lemonade was inspired by the book DJ and I have been reading "The Lemonade War". The girls listened in on our readings and then they brainstormed ways to promote lemonade sales, and before I knew it their Stand was being organized and ready for business.                                                                 
They each thought about what they were good at and went for it. DJ loves lemonade and begin to test out how to develop the best lemonade and he went bananas over the straws when he saw them.
From past experience of running a lemonade stand Ken was sure about what she didn't want to sell. Ken doesn't like to go back and forth for things so she knew she didn't want to make snow cones like last year, selling popcorn was considered by there wouldn't be an electrical outlet outside. Ken has been doing a lot of baking following in her big sister's footsteps lately. She finally decided on cookies and baked until she found her favorite recipe. Her cookies are deliciously soft and I love them. See there are some perks for moms who have kids who set up lemonade/baking stands.
Seriously y'all you have never eaten a cupcake until you eaten one that Michelle has made. I was so happy when all three dozen cupcakes were sold. I don't know what I would of did if they made it back home, she did have three repeat customers today and a special request to be back next Saturday.


They also fund raised for families in Haiti pulling in $40.00. All the jewelry and wallets were handmade by a dad or mom who live in Haiti. Each item comes with a picture and name of the artist and their story. Their stories have helped us to become more compassionate and grateful. It made my day when I heard Ken explaining the fundraiser to a customer, she is very passionate about this fundraiser. To learn about this fundraising opportunity go here. There are a number of ways to participate in this program, but the kids refused to make any profit from these goods, in fact they are discussing how much they will donate from the things that they sold at the Stand.


 Altogether they earned $63.00 selling the lemonade, cookies, and cupcakes. Which makes a grand total of $103.00 when you include their sales from the fundraiser.

Here is what they learned ....
  1. Exactly what Profit is? DJ got us into a lesson on this by asking me if they would have to pay me back for the materials used for the Stand. I answered yes so I would be asked the next question. How much was the materials? "Thanks for asking" I replied and handed them the receipt from the store. From there they calculated cost and determined how much they will sell their product for. This was actually a funny lesson that lasted a couple of days. We actually have talked about profit before, but it was mommy led so it didn't stick to the brain like I had hoped it would. You know at one point DJ was going to sell one cup of lemonade for the cost of making a pitcher, which led us to talk about....
  2. Supply and Demand- O.K this was quite tricky! DJ had a point about the cup of lemonade being $2.00 especially when he added in the cost of the straws, which added about 2 cents more to the drink. He looked up the weather report for the day of the sales and found out it was going to be 88 degrees outside. Yes! There will be a demand for a cold glass of lemonade and we knew for certain that we were the only ones on the block that would be supplying lemonade because we were in a business location.
  3. Integrity- They knew that they had to be trusted individuals to sell food. They knew it was important for health reasons to wash their hands, keep the work area clean, not eat and bake at the same time, maintain a great appearance, and display the items attractively to promote the idea to people that this food and drink is safe to eat. Every time they were baking or making lemonade they would remind each other of the golden rule and if I found out that they didn't follow healthy safety practices whatever food or drink they were making would not be for sale. A great control of error, because if they didn't follow the rules their chances of making a profit would go down.
  4. Taxes- Thanks to Ken they learned about taxes, how much, when do sales tax apply, and how to figure out how much something is that has a tax on it. Ken heard me talk about taxes often. There has been times when I sent her in the store with a dollar for a tea and she would bring me back 1 cent, or her and Michelle have brought toilet paper . It never dawned on me before that she hadn't been shown the concept of non sale tax versus sale tax items. I was able to tie these past experiences into applied learning when she ask how much tax is on a cookie. "Hmmm... There isn't a tax for cookies Ken because there isn't any taxes on food." We had a quick mini lesson and DJ and Ken were excited to realize that when we are talking about taxes on food, gum is included as well. The charge for tax they researched and found out that it is different from state to state and different places that you shop on the Internet may charge you tax, and only do if there is a store in your area like the one you are purchasing from. I was amazed at how quickly they were learning how to do the operation for figuring out the taxes, then I remembered the percentages work they both did with the golden beads, and working with the decimal board.
  5. Public Speaking- They had to get out there and get some customers. They soon realized that sitting at their Stand looking cute and all wasn't going to get them as many customers as they would like. Next thing I knew they were standing in front of the building spreading their excitement and sharing news about their Stand. They were comfortably engaging with their customers,informing them of their products quite nicely. Most of the time I was looking out of the window, but I can see that their passion for their Stand was overflowing to their customers, everyone was smiling and was happy on both ends.

What I loved most about them having this Stand was them learning how to be observant, or should I say how I learned more about being observant of them. They paid attention to the timer while cooking, they smelled when it was time to remove their baked goods from the oven even when the timer was set at a different time. You can't find this in any material, or curriculum but you definitely can get these results when living by the Montessori philosophy. I have learned to talk less. Stop making suggestions and use my instinct and my " following the child" determination more. There is no big secret to how this year's Stand was more successful than last year's Stand. They are more confident, and I am a little more trained in the being observant department. I share this in hopes to encourage those who think they are struggling with incorporating Montessori At Home. The pay offs are huge, and although it appears to be on the expensive side, I will offer my unsolicited advise "Follow the child" and not what you want the child to have. I know it is hard! I have spent quite a bit of money on materials and learned the hard way. In fact I did a little research and if I wanted to just print, cut and laminate the concepts that they learned it would of cost me about $60.00. The materials were only $20.00 that I can divide between three kids. If I did that I don't think that DJ would of wanted to learn two days worth of real concepts of Supply and Demand, and Ken would of avoided the tax work completely. Michelle may have thought it was baby work, even though there were quite a few concepts that she needed to go deeper in, which we did.

By the way I felt that they paid me back by how well they worked. I even got a cupcake brought to me just before they sold out. So this time they get a "no paying back mama" card and get to keep all of their money, and I got to save some money too by "following the child". Win,Win!

Montessori Monday

Monday, July 1, 2013

Birthday Party and Blog Lovin

We had the pleasure of hosting our first birthday party yesterday. Unfortunately I don't have any behind the scenes photos to share, which would tie into our homeschooling experiences and would make this post more relevant to those who read this blog to follow our homeschooling journey. Just believe me when I tell you that practical life activities pay off, especially all those grace and courtesy lessons. The kids worked hard, and I will tell you that kids co-hosting parties are special and adds on a unique quality to the whole party experience. I would like to take this opportunity to share some photos and more details of the the activities and how the party was set up, please visit our other blog Think.Create. Explore and perhaps leave a comment if you have the time. You all are such a source of encouragement for us so it would mean a lot to here from you.

We are finally on Blog Lovin! The little media thingie is located on the sidebar. I already started following you guys using it that have blogs. It was easy peasy, and trust me if I can say that you can do it! I am not tech savvy at all. I am the type that is waiting for technology to advance to "just speak and I do it". LOL.