Tuesday, June 14, 2011

History Comes Alive

As a parent using the Montessori method, history is one of the largest challenges as my daughter ages. I was ecstatic this morning when my husband showed me a link to the oriental institue catalog. Our daughter has elected to learn World History in periods.  We are currently on Ancient History. I followed a link from the catalog to the teachers resources where I found a wealth of lesson plans and worksheets!  We are currently on break preparing for vacation (I'm also preparing for lessons when we get back), but I can't wait to use these with the kids!

I love that it allows me to take the kids to the primary source and teach them how to study such thing.  After all isn't this what the Montessori method is about. I will not be shoving boring text books down the kids throats.  I will be teaching them to explore history from its roots.  I know this is why I am fascinated with this section of history myself and can't wait to spread that love to them. Kudos to the Oriental Institute of Chicago!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Free Friday!!!: Leaves

So we all know in reality nothing is free.  But it is my goal to share something every Friday that you can either get for free or do/print at a minimal cost.  When possible these will be my own creations. Let's face it though,  I am not fast enough to create a kit a week so when I do not have something of my own I will find something of equal quality(in my opinion) to that which I would create and share a link to it!  To start off this I am going to come in with a bang  sharing my best work yet!!!!

It is an Upper Elementary Unit on Leaves in the Montessori system.  Including Wall Charts, Booklet, and 3-4-part cards. While I call this Upper Elementary many people would view the information in this set to be high school or even collegiate in nature.  It consist of 3 sections: Leaf Shapes, Leaf Margins, and Leaf Vein structure.  Students should have at least a basic understanding of the parts of the leaf before using this kit.


 Or you can down load it directly from here. 

Taking time to be greatful

In this world it is easy to see the things that are wrong. In this country it is easy to forget how much we have.  In our house we do not have the fancy T.V., brand name clothes, or many other things that people like to flash at each other.  We are not poor.  We do not miss these things. 

Online I frequently read people typing about how hard it is and how poor they are.  They are not poor!

Recently I have been bombarded with stories of what poor is.  Such as:

The Story of Whitney Elementary School
Where 85% of the children are homeless and one principal did what she could to keep her kids in school and learning by helping the families.

North Korean Starvation
Where it is reported by escapes that the people live like dogs.  Some reports even talk about people eating grass and tree bark because it is all there is.

Whether it is looking at our own country or another, the fact remains that in our house we are blessed.  We eat what we like and regularly.  We have clothing and shelter and internet.  Most importantly we have each other.  We are blessed.  And today seems like a day to just sit back and appreciate it.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Practical Life Lessons

In the future I plan to write about my classroom.  When I do you are likely to point out there is not practical life shelves.  It is not because I do not value this work.  I do, very much.  I just don't have shelves for it because we are at home!  Practical life happens everyday every second at home.  My children make their own lunches, while I observe and even guide when asked.  They bake with me, clean messes up when they are made, and many other things.  My son  knows how to use a screw driver to change the batteries in his toys.  And better yet knows that if you use a tool you must put it back and take care of it while using it.  Sometimes homeschooling is harder because you are at home.  This however is an area where homeschooling is easier!

This morning is a great example of this.  We had muffins for breakfast.  I prefer making them from scratch but when the kids are making them we use packaged mix so that J can do all the work himself.  The mix we buy only requires 1/2 cup of milk to be added.  The kitchen is my favorite place to teach fractions!  He measures it out and stirs it up, while I preheat the oven and spray the pan with bakers spray. 

Next he uses the cookie dough scoop to fill the muffin cups.  This is great for measuring practice, as well as discussing volumes.  The whole time he is learning to control his body and developing hand eye coordination!

After all the mix is in the pan I put the pan in the oven while, he washes the dishes!  His wife is going to love me some day. =D


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Teen and Tens Board From Materials Everyday Materials

 I recently made a ten and teens "board" for my son out of random items that I keep on stock in the classroom.  Normally I try to make things more like the traditional items found in a Montessori classroom, but that takes time and money and he wanted to do the work right then.  So I wanted a cheap, easy, project to act as a stopgap until I could work on something better.   I already had  free printable materials from  montessoriforeveryone.com so I started with that.  The white paper on white background didn't quite do it for me.  It needed more.  Of course I always have construction paper, which was perfect for adding color. After I had color,  I just needed something to connect it and give it strength, for this I grabbed a folder.  Now, add scissors and glue and I had every thing I needed.

Making the number tiles and ten/teen frames
  I stuck to the traditional Montessori color associations for the place values through the use of construction paper glued to the bottom of my white paper (the printable materials).  This also worked toward adding more strength to the material.  I used green for the ones place movable number cards and a blue background for the tens/teens.  I cut the blue construction paper a bit larger than the the white paper tiles on the top and bottom to form a  frame to slide the ones cards through.  The frame look was achieved by simply folding the construction paper tabs up.

 I then glued the blue framed ten/teen to the folder ("board") and this was the result:

 Now I recognize these are not as nice looking as the wooden boards, but they are lighter, easier to manipulate and just as functional.  Most importantly my son loves them!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Small Movable Alphabet

Every since my son started working with letters I have wanted the small movable alphabet set.  I bought and printed several things to replace it, but none were right.  I have magnetic letters from Melissa and Doug and they are great, hold up well, but cost to much to have several sets to make words with the same letters in them.  So, you can imagine my complete delight when during my bi-weekly trip down the craft isle while shopping for household goods I find a little $2 bag with 60 pieces of wooden letters.  Down side they only had capitals, but we can live with that for now.  I have large bottles of multi-craft latex paint at home at all times in primary colors. With a little work and this gym of a find we now have Movable Letters!!!!!  J was so excited to work with them I had a hard time getting him to let the paint dry and still need to go back for some touch ups on some. I think that will have to wait until he is asleep.   This just goes to show if you keep your eyes and mind open you too can have GREAT Montessori tools on a tight budget!