Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pictures of Montgomery Academy - Upstairs Version

So here are some pictures of Montgomery Academy - well, our home. Welcome! The next post will be the Downstairs version.


Picture of the exterior from the original floor plans. We have lovely landscaping at our house. LOL. Maybe I'll post a real exterior picture some day.
Floorplan of the upstairs

View from the front door - you walk in and immediately see the half wall. The stairs are on the other side. The great room is to the left. Dimensions of the Great Room are 19' x 17. There is another bookcase to the left of the couch along the south wall there.

The new cubbies - they are along the east wall. There is a loveseat next to the cubbies.

The dining room adjacent to the Great Room. The dimensions of the dining room are 9' x 12'.

The hallway off the great room. The first doorknob is for the linen closet, then the bathroom, and the last door on the left is the master bedroom. The washer and dryer are behind the fabric curtain.

The upstairs bathroom. (The only bathroom upstairs.)

Super's bedroom. Across from the master bedroom. The pack and play is by the door (obviously) and his bed is on the opposite side.


This is a picture of the kitchen from the dining room. The fridge is on the right as you enter the kitchen.


Here is a picture of the rest of the kitchen from the back door. Dimensions on this room are 8' x 12', but it sure feels smaller than that with this configuration. Definitely not an entertainment kitchen, and you cannot see the Great Room from the kitchen. Which is annoying.

We have a detached garage, so this door is the door that the family usually enters. The preschool/daycare students enter through the front door.


So there's a view of half of the space. Check back soon to see the rest!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Almost time . . .

Montgomery Academy - Elementary is set to start next Monday on August 31st. Montgomery Academy - Preschool starts Tuesday, September 8th.

I have posts of pictures and plans and things coming up in the next few days. The summer went by so fast . . . .

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I Heart Craigslist. And Goodwill. And Garage Sales. Oh My!

A picture of my cubbies. The picture is from the Craigslist post.

At the beginning of the summer, I put together a list of things that I wanted to get for Montgomery Academy. I priced it out to buy these things new, and well, it was going to be VERY expensive.

So I started going to garage sales, thrift stores, asking friends, and checking Craigslist. Now that school is just a few weeks away, here is what I've managed to get.

Here's the list -

** A Little Tikes or Step2 climber - check. Purchased off Craigslist.

** Cozy Coupe - check. Purchased at Garage Sale.

** A plastic picnic table - check. Purchased at Garage Sale.

** A sandbox with a cover - check. Given to me by a friend.

** Wood bookcases from 2 shelf to 5 shelf - Bought two at garage sales, and my sister gave me another one. Could use one more.

** Wooden toys for children Zero to 5 - Got several at thrift stores. Could use a few more.

** child-sized indoor table - check. Purchased at Garage Sale.

** Wood trays, especially with handles - Got several at thrift stores. Can always use more.

** Writing table - check. Purchased at a Garage Sale.

** Art or music materials - Didn't manage to get any, but do have some existing materials.

More long shot items

** window well covers for larger window wells - decided I didn't need them

** 2-3 daycare cots - check. Purchased off E-bay.

** cubbies for coats/backpacks, etc. - Check! Purchased off Craigslist today!

** large corkboards - still need

** A laptop - can be older. But needs to work! and be able to be able to used with a wireless router. - still need, but have a chance to get one through Mr. F's work (they do a computer lottery every year or so.)

So far, total, I have spent just over $200, with the bulk of that going towards the climber and the cubbies. If I had bought either the climber or the cubbies new, just one of them would have cost well over $200. Here is a link to similar cubbies.

I really didn't think that I would manage to get most of the things off my list by buying them used, especially the cots and the cubbies. But with persistence, patience, and good old-fashioned luck, Montgomery Academy is going to have many new and exciting things this fall!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Getting the Preschool Shelves Ready . . .

I was starting to get really overwhelmed, and then I decided to look at my Montessori Periods schedule for September.

Phew. I actually need to put stuff away. I may have to modify the schedule for the 4 year olds because they are "older" 4s, and I don't know if they will need a whole month of review. But we can review for a couple weeks anyway, and that will give me time to observe them and see where to go from there. I have 2 Threes that are completely new. One is a Tues/Thurs child, and the other is a M/W/F child.

I do still have quite a few things to get out/ready for August/September Theme activities, but I'm not quite as behind as I feared. There's a first!

Friday, August 7, 2009

School At Home??

This term usually means that you are trying to duplicate school at home - using textbooks, sitting in desks, doing subjects at a certain time, etc. And in the homeschooling community, "School At Home" is kind of looked down on.

And I don't want to School At Home. Part of why I homeschool is so that I can have the freedom to do things when we want to, where we want to, to spend more time on things that the children are interested in instead of leaving it because "we've got to get it all in" or my personal favorite "we've got to start preparing for standardized testing." (I'll refrain going on my rant on standardized testing for now.) I want to be able to do field trips, or having the children be able to take sewing lessons, art lessons, spanish lessons now instead of waiting until they are in middle school and can take electives.

I was reading a post about toys (or her lack of them) on a blog that I read. My children don't have a lot of toys either. The girls have stuffed animals, dress up stuff (old dance costumes mostly), a dollhouse with Only Hearts Dolls, and some horses. Super has a small bin of cars, a small bin of trains, dress up stuff (fire fighter stuff mostly), and a fire truck, an ambulance, a rescue helicopter, and some small construction vehicles. They do store these toys in their bedrooms - which I sort of wish that I could change. My opinion is that bedrooms should be for sleeping and storing/changing of clothes.

But there is no place else in our home to store their toys - because so many of our other rooms are being devoted to "learning areas." In our home, there are 4 bedrooms. There is the master bedroom, Super's bedroom, which also has a pack-n-play in it for napping toddlers, the Girls' room, which also has a spare twin in it for guests or napping preschoolers, and what was formerly the office, formerly the guest room, and now the Home School Room. It is mostly devoted to things for Elementary students. There are a couple of desks in there, some bookcases with books on them, a cabinet with math manipulatives and geography materials, a cabinet with art supplies in it, and an area for Workboxes. (As soon as I go through the kids' work on the table, I'll post pictures of the room.)

Upstairs, there is the Living Room - which is now basically the Toddler Room. The train table is in there, and a play kitchen, and baskets with puppets and silks, baskets with toddler toys, and a couple of bookcases. One bookcase has toddler tray activities, and the other one has books - scrapbooks and coffee table books up high, preschool books in the middle, toddler books, and then toddler toys on the bottom shelf. There is the dining room (there is a table with 6 chairs and a high chair. There is not room for much else, and there is no eat-in area in the kitchen.), the kitchen, a bathroom, the master bedroom, the laundry closet, and Super's Room.

Downstairs, there is the Preschool Area - which is actually in 2/3 of the Family Room. The preschool area has shelves around the perimeter and a couple of tables in the middle. On the other 1/3 of the room, there is a recliner, a couch, a loveseat, a couple of bookcases, an entertainment center, and the computer desk. Then there is a bathroom, the Girls' room, and the Home School room.

And that's it. Well, there are a few closets in the preschool area of the family room. One is a storage closet that goes under the stairs that I store out of season clothes, and seasonal decorations. One closet stores preschool materials when they aren't on the shelves, and one closet stores the sump pump, and paint. (I'll try and post pictures of the interior of the house so that it is a little clearer. But no promises, because my WHOLE house usually isn't clean all at the same time, especially long enough to take pictures.)

I sometimes feel like I've devoted a lot of my home to learning, which I don't think is a bad thing necessarily. But one of the downsides to the set-up is that the learning areas are in really separate areas - the Home School room is in downstairs, but down a hallway, and you can't see the preschool area from there or vice versa. You can see the preschool area if you are working on the computer, but then the Toddler area is upstairs. And there is no room to store any preschool or homeschool materials up there.

And then I find myself wanting to put more bookshelves in different areas, or bulletin boards upstairs for the parents to see, or on and on. I found myself wishing that I had a whole other home to set up for learning and then I could have my actual home for living in, and then it hit me - uh, wouldn't that really be like setting up a School At A Home? And not even my own home? (Oh, and what about the fact that I can't afford another mortgage LOL)

I don't know what the answer is though. I need to have things have "a home" and it wasn't working for me to have homeschool materials all over the house. It was too cluttered, and there really was just no real place to set them when they were done besides the ledge, and that drives me CRAZY. None of the bedrooms are really big enough to set up as a Montessori classroom for 5 students, and I really don't want to give up another bedroom anyway. And it is nice to be able to have a toddler proof room for them to play in.

I don't know. I'm rambling.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Accountability Post

OK, My Montessori Journey is back to posting, and she is putting her classroom back together. It is inspiring me to get going on all of the things that I need to do before school starts. Her school starts on August 24th, and I am not starting M.A. Home School and M.A. Tot School until August 31st and M.A. Preschool until September 8th, so I've got a little more time, but I've got A LOT of things to print/laminate/make, etc. before then.

I won't be working on school stuff every night of August, because I've got a big garden, so I need to be doing weeding/harvesting/canning this month too, but I will post at least twice a week pictures of the things that I have done, and, as I put things back out, the things on the shelves. Hopefully, this will help me get through all the things on my BIG list of things to get done before Montgomery Academy starts again.

That reminds me, I still need to buy a couple of bookcases too.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

It's August - Time to Start Getting Ready

Well, we don't start school until the day after Labor Day, but I've got SO much to do.

* Go through papers from last year for all three of my children. Keep only 1-2 things from each month.
* Print, print, and print. My first priority is to print out all the manuals that I've done in my Montessori Online Training Class. Then, I need to print Montessori Grammar materials, and then Geography. After that, I need to print some seasonal activities for preschool for September. Then Montessori Math materials.
* Go through Theme List for September for preschool and check books that I have here and see if there are any books that I want to check out from the library. Check to see if I have all the apples that I need for various works.
* Order any books that I need for homeschooling.
* Buy anything that I need for homeschooling from the local teacher's store.
* Make a list of books that I need to check out of library in September for homeschooling.
* If I end up with an extra $100 that I don't know what to do with, order the Botany Cabinet and Color Box 3 from Adena Montessori.
* Make Continent Felt Map.
* Make sensorial materials that I still want to make.
* Make math materials that I still want to make.
* Make language materials that I still want to make.
* Oh yea, I also want to print control sheets for the Botany Puzzles and Zoology Puzzles from Montessori N' Such freebies section. And create labels. And create felt versions of the Botany and Zoology Puzzles.
* Order Montessori Geography Control Maps from Montessori N' Such.
* Update Parent Handbook, and other forms.
* Create bulletin board for Fall.
* Buy new student folders, markers, crayons, etc. for preschool.
* Buy new notebooks for homeschool.
* Organize homeschool room.
* Organize preschool room.
* Organize playroom.
* Organize sleeping areas (for Montgomery Academy All Day students.)
* Buy and put up the new wooden playset outside