Saturday, September 28, 2013

It's Tea Time: Word Boxes and Blackout Poetry

We hosted out first ever Poetry Tea Time two Thursdays ago. To describe it as fun would be an underestimate!

                                         All three of the kids set the tables and arranged the flowers.                                                                     

They also prepared the food and made the smoothies. My heart was smiling when I witnessed all those small practical life tasks that they had been working on for the past two years in full effect. They were so natural in their steps and I did not have to intervene, not once. It was more than about Poetry to them, it was more like a culmination of what they have learned about grace and courtesy and all things practical life and they were ready to share their work with the world. 

Let me just be frank, you may not see any Montessori Materials in this post, but I hope that you are able to see how we embrace the Montessori Philosophy in everything we do. I really want you to feel the bridge between Lower Elementary and Upper Elementary. We will one day when the time reveals itself return back to our materials at just the right time. Right now they are abstractly understanding the concepts that have already been taught. This year is a review in deepening our knowledge and becoming our unique selves.  "I can do it! that phrase never goes away no matter how old you are. This needs not to be the time of information overload, but a digestion period so that they have enough room for more. They are progressing ever so fast and my friends it is so exciting to have school days and think of it as, What fun are we having today? We do our reading a loud, language lessons, and math work everyday. We haven't had the time to add in extra subjects such as science, and history on a daily basis. Still some how they are learning this stuff, and can I just say that Student CNN Rocks! Philosophy and Chess is how we wind down from the day.

   Back to poetry.

We learned more about Lewis Carroll, had fun listening to and finding all of the nonsense words in Jabberwocky and tried our hand at defining the meaning of the words.


We made word boxes so that they would have a place to hold their poems.


 The kids also selected a piece of poetry that I copied for them and then used paint to black out the words that they didn't want in the poem to create their very own poem.

 They all enjoyed reading their poems aloud too.

Just this past February this guy requested to be able to skip the whole Poetry Unit in Write Shop, now he looks forward to Thursday's Poetry Tea Time.                                                                      

I really think that these two hours dedicated to Poetry each week with peers is time well spent.

As Seen on Pinterest: X- Rays in Tot School



Sunday, September 22, 2013


I am really not the kid's teacher, just their facilitator. I came to this conclusion over the summer when the kids started making fast academic achievements over the summer ( when we were on "break"). I couldn't keep up with them, and to be honest the questions they were asking were out of my skill level. Which is O.K by me because that is the beauty of homeschooling you can learn right alongside them. I am happy that they find me to be a resource person. Where they are now in being able to follow their interest is being able to connect with experts, those who specialize in certain fields.
DJ for a long time has been into animals. Over the summer DJ was frustrated with himself for not being able to draw things in nature "properly". He sketched over and over and finally one day he asked me if I would help him draw something. Those who really know me, know that I am really great at drawing stick people, but that is it. To prevent frustration we gathered " How To" tutorials from the internet, and books from the library. While this kept him busy for some time I was also researching if there were drawing classes in the area. I was pleased to use my resource skills to find a certified art teacher to teach drawing classes at the Studio.


Since his first class he has been begging for a new sketch book and a trip to the nature center. How wonderful that he considers that these two things go together. I am so happy for him and the progress he is making with his own independent studies.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Research Mini Lesson: Chewing Gum

Today the kids and I did our first mini lesson on writing a report. Yes they have written a million reports, but it was time for me to show them how to polish those skills.

Our first topic is Chewing Gum

The first step was introducing the Topic which was easy peasy to for them to identify.

The next step was identifying subtopics, which I don't think either of them have ever been taught before. I asked them what did they want to know about chewing gum. Then we made a list and was able to come up with three subtopics.


We went on and read some information about Chewing Gum which helped them learn to take notes and identify sources for their research topic.


They really enjoyed telling me the information that belonged under each subtopic as I modeled how to take notes, and letting me know that this information is from Source A.


 Today's lesson ended with me assigning them some research work related to our topic and they are responsible for finding Source 2. We will come back to this lesson on Friday.

That Big Scary E-Word (Evolution)

For months I have been pondering how to teach Evolution as a theory to the kids. It seemed to be an impossible task for me. Whenever I sat to think out a plan it turned out to be bias, or religious. Then I came across Real Science Biology 2 and I thought o.k we will do it this way. The problem still remained that I have been pushing this topic aside for way too long as far as the kids are concerned. Real Science Biology 2 doesn't get into evolution until much later in the year.

This weekend prayers were answered when I remembered to check out Core Knowledge lesson plans. It is such a perfect plan that I am so pleased to have found for FREE. 
I used to use their plans on a regular basis before I found the Montessori Method. I don't know why I stopped using them, because they are a great source of inspiration. I do use the books What your_____ needs to Know as a guide and they always have been helpful in linking those learning gaps that happen even when I tried to avoid it. 


Just in case anyone is interested we are using the seventh grade plan That Big Scary E-Word (Evolution). I choose this particular plan because it stuck to teaching evolution as a theory. Score! I am in no way shape of form a very religious person, one thing that I always loved about my parents who are very religious is that they instilled my love for God, but never forced me to worship their way, and never prevented me from learning about other religions, or theories. This was very important to me in teaching the kids about evolution. Just because I don't believe in the theory of The Big Bang doesn't mean that it shouldn't be taught. It is a theory! And since I am raising scientist it must be taught!

And we will continue to roll out of our Timeline of Life.


Friday, September 13, 2013

As Seen on Pinterest

It's official my all time favorite science activities involve baking soda and vinegar.


The cups are filled with vinegar and food coloring, and then add the baking soda for color explosion.

Exploring the Five Senses in Tot School

Last Friday was our first class and we started with practical life activities, and the Pink Tower. Today we continued with our Practical life activities and also added in some themed activities. Since the parents also attend I am able to give some independent lessons as well, we meet for 2.5 hours and the class size is six children.

Today's theme was The Five Senses.


Demonstrative Pronouns

I cancelled our Poetry Tea Time because those who would be in attendance would be going to the "Not Back To School" Carnival. The carnival was originally scheduled on Tuesday, but the weather was in the upper nineties and nobody wants to be outside in that type of heat.

I highly recommend the First Language Lessons workbooks for those who have followed the Montessori Language Lessons. They are a perfect follow up for us and it has encouraged them to apply their knowledge using pencil and paper. We still have a ways to go before we complete the Montessori language sequence, but for now I love how it keeps them jumping out their chair(literally). I was going to start using this program last year but I was afraid of introducing lessons to them that they had not had yet through the use of a work book.

Ken was excited to do the lesson on Demonstrative Pronouns because it kept her physically active, looking for items in the classroom.

Ken is working out of Level 4 workbook and DJ is working out of Level 3. This year is the first time that they have been getting separate lessons from me. They still pay close attention to each other and join in. Like the time when DJ had to stand up and sit down while I read Common/Proper Nouns aloud. I don't think they will ever forget their new found rules,and much of their success is due to their Montessori language experiences. I can't wait until they see how well they can do sentence diagramming it's coming up in a couple more lessons.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Hands On Lending Library: Sound Bingo

My organization skills are just horrible! I have slowly been getting things organized from operating a preschool/daycare in our basement for over ten years. Along the way I have found lots of buried treasures. Every time I spend time organizing all the materials, I ask myself why didn't someone stop me from buying all of this stuff. Some days it is a bit overwhelming to even think about. Since I am still in a setting involving children I don't really want to part with it, because as soon as I sell it or give it away I''ll see something on Pinterest that will inspire some work from it. LOL. So I have been preparing a Hands On Lending Library which would allow families to borrow learning materials.

Sound Bingo was a hit today during Primary class, it was an item that I am sure I purchased 10 years ago. You know it is a classic when it still gets children excited ten years later. This is a learning material that I will be adding to our Hands On Lending Library, which keeps my basement almost clutter free and allows the child to enjoy it in the pleasures of their home, and also makes me feel less like a hoarder :)


I don't even know if they make these tape players anymore, but I did a happy dance when I found them together.

I do have the pleasure of working alongside a few children that I worked with at home. We just couldn't go our separate ways!

Maddux was pleased to be able to give a new child a lesson with the Sound Cylinders. He felt proud and he should of because he knocked it out of the ballpark ya'll! What I liked most is that he made a connection to the Sound Bingo game and the Sound Cylinders.

 Can you tell that she is clapping for him? This is why I love what I do! She happens to have very sharp ears, and she happens to be older than him. But she is such a sweet student to her Teacher Maddux.

As soon as the Sound Cylinders are no longer needed on our shelves it will be available in the Lending Library too. Montessori for All!!






Monday, September 9, 2013


All three of the kids enjoy this drawing book. The sketch below is one DJ did. They have learned some really cool things from this book.


Sewing Inspiration!

These two books have inspired so much sewing. Sewing School 2 has a lot of projects for the boys too.

Montessori Aprons

It has also been difficult for me to keep up with three blogs. LOL. So I decided to share some of the activities and resources I use at the Studio here. On Friday's I host a toddler/parent class which is amazingly fun!

My sister in love made some Montessori Style aprons for the toddlers and preschoolers. They were so easy for the toddlers to put on by themselves.

Which also made snack time a huge hit.

The Chess Player

I can't keep up with him!


And yes he knows the rules very well.