Saturday, May 30, 2009

Well, the school year is done . . .

We were so, so busy . . . in life and at Montgomery Academy, and so I haven't posted in forever.

I am going to try and put up some past pictures - I don't think I ever got any pictures up for April, and some of our schedules, more for my documentation purposes than anything, and then pictures of our end of the year/graduation party.

Montgomery Academy does meet over the summer, but it is much less structured, and the Montessori materials are put away for the summer. We do yoga every day, theme activities, and lots and lots and lots of outside time.

So I'll try and get this blog updated over the next couple of weeks.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Rosetta Stone Latin Giveaway!

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Friday, May 1, 2009


I still don't have my camera, so I thought I'd answer a reader's question today instead. One of my readers commented

"Hi, I just came across your blog and I have really enjoyed it. I love that you have put in your schedule for some days and weeks. Do you follow a certain curriculum? I am having a hard time with planning out my year. I would love any tips or information you could give me!"

Well, the answer is yes and no.

I don't use a boxed curriculum. I don't use any manuals for Flower's (my 9 year old 3 grader)curriculum. I refer to several Montessori books/manuals/websites for the preschool, however, I follow my own schedule and I also include some non-Montessori preschool items.

For Flower, I started planning her school year last June. I wrote out the subjects that I wanted her to study, and then I did a bunch of research in different methods, looked at book lists, etc. and then purchased her materials from a variety of places. Most of the living books that we use are checked out from the library. We do have some Literature books in our own library. I purchased Math-U-See for our math curriculum, but we will not be using it again next year. I purchased her recorder and her recorder book, a cooking book, a woodworking book, Handbook for Nature Study, a botany book, her Alphabet books, and a few Poetry for Young People books. For science, geography, and history, I had a schedule of what I wanted to study during the year and when we would be studying it. If you look at my post earlier this week about how homeschooling went this year, you will see that I changed what we did in several areas at mid year. At this time, I purchased some workbooks from our local teacher supply store. I think that it is important when you are homeschooling to evaluate and if there is enough reason to change what you are doing, to be able to modify the curriculum for the child.

For Preschool, I have a list of monthly and weekly themes that I have created (Check in the new documents section for a copy of these themes as well as a general schedule of when I put out Montessori materials.) These themes dictate some of the type of activities that are on the shelves, especially the non-Montessori items or the types of Practical Life materials that I have out. Almost all of the books that I read are from my own collection, but I do occassionally check out books from the library. For the Montessori materials, I generally start the school year with very few items on the shelves. Then using the list of periods listed in David Gettman's Basic Montessori, I begin putting items out and present lessons to the entire group. As the year progresses, I put more and more materials out and give lessons only to the students that need the next level of that type of material. (See the documents section for this schedule, although the document appears as if I present it to all of that age group. This is a very general schedule and I follow the children's lead more than this list.) When I present lessons, I use information from the Practical Life Manual that I have from Montessori R & D, and from the manuals I have from the on-line Montessori Training course that I am taking.

For both the preschool and homeschool, I refer to books on other educational methods (Charlotte Mason, Waldorf, Classical, Reggio Emilia) that I have in my library and incorporate some of those ideas into our curriculum. I also check other blogs for inspiration. It never ceases to amaze me how creative other people are!

I try and do my planning for the month on the Wednesday night before the beginning of the next Month. And I try to do my planning and printing for the week on the Wednesday before. Things run much better when I do this.

Thursday: Charlotte Mason

Taken from Simply Charlotte Mason:

What methods did Charlotte Mason use?

Basic Principles for All Subjects
Short lessons; the habits of attention and perfect execution; varied order of subjects

Living books*; narration; Book of Centuries

Living books; narration; map drill

Manipulatives; a firm understanding of why

Nature study and notebook; living books; narration

Foreign Languages
Hear and speak, then read and write

Copywork for handwriting; oral and written narration for composition

Prepared dictation

Not formally studied until older than ten

Picture study for art appreciation; handicrafts; nature notebooks for drawing and painting

Music study for music appreciation; any instrumental instruction; singing

Living books; narration

Read aloud and enjoy frequently; memorize and recite occasionally (include Shakespeare)

* Living Books: Probably the most well known of Charlotte’s methods is her use of living books instead of dry, factual textbooks. Living books are usually written by one person who has a passion for the subject and writes in conversational or narrative style. The books pull you into the subject and involve your emotions, so it’s easy to remember the events and facts. Living books make the subject “come alive.”

I use more of the Charlotte Mason method with my homeschooler than I do with the preschoolers, however, there are still things that I incorporate in the preschool.

Short lessons - At the beginning of the year, I do more group lessons and towards the end, mostly individual lessons at whatever level each child is on, but I try to make my instruction time brief. Flower typically spends about 20 minutes per subject, with literature time being at least 30 minutes every day.

History - Flower uses many living books in her study of history. We don't talk much about history in preschool except in a yesterday/last week/a long time ago sort of way.

Geography - We use artifacts from the various continents, read books about different countries in a continent, do activities with the animals of each country, etc, and works with globes and map puzzles. Flower also labels maps and identifies landforms and bodies of waters on maps.

Math - Manipulatives. Most of our preschool math activities use manipulatives. Flower used more manipulatives at the beginning of the year, but is moving from concrete to abstract reasoning.

Science - We do a lot of Nature Study at Montgomery Academy. The preschool children study parts of animals and parts of plants. Flower also studies these parts, as well as learns definitions, and labeling. We do some outdoor/physical Nature Study (going on nature walks, observing birds at the feeder, etc.), but I would always like to include more.

Foreign Language - I did not incorporate foreign language at Montgomery Academy this year.

Writing - The preschool children may copy their name and other theme words for copywork. I had Flower do copywork for part of the school year, but she didn't enjoy it. I plan on trying again next year. Flower does do oral and written narration of her studies.

Spelling - The preschool children can use word lists and the moveable alphabet to spell words. Flower works on a spelling list every week.

Grammar - Flower is studying the basic sparts of speech.

Art - We do picture and artist study during the school year for preschool and homeschool. Both do free art and handicrafts.

Music - We do music and composer study during the school year for preschool and homeschool. The preschool does singing during circle time and Flower is in a homeschool choir. The preschool has free music and Flower is studying the recorder.

Literature - I read many living books to the preschoolers and Flower reads many living books.

Poetry - We both study poetry regularly. The preschool also studies nursery rhymes and Flower does poet study and studies and creates different types of poems. The preschool recites nursery rhymes and Flower recites occassionally, although I would like to have her recite more often.