Friday, November 12, 2010

OK, so my camera was broken . . .

or I thought it was. It seems to miraculously come back to life recently, and I really don't like to do posts over here without pictures. You just don't get whole "picture" when I just write about it.

And then it has been a whole new thing for me to teach 2 year olds. Not necessarily in a bad way, and while we have a rhythm, it isn't the same at all as having a schedule, and so I just have been trying to adjust to things around here.

But I think that I'm ready to be back here on a more regular basis. I'm going to try and post once a week. I may post more than that, but I may not. But it will be at least once a week. I'll try to hit both age groups too - the school age children and the toddlers. So thank you for being patient with me and I promise to be a better poster in the future.

And I promise - before the new year, I'll get that long promised Geography post up too!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I still owe you all a post about geography but

until then, I do have to share this site with you (all of you probably know all about it, and I'm just stumbling on it. Oh well, I'm still excited.)

Jelly Bean, my 3rd grader is studying the 2nd half of the 50 states of America this year. We use lots of resources to study each state. One of the things that we do is learn what the state flags look like, and sometimes, I would have Jelly Bean look at the state flag and then try and draw it free hand. I still do that sometimes too, but sometimes I have her color the flag from this free resource:

States Coloring Page

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

On the Shelves: October 4-8th

Practical Life Shelf (mostly)
Open/Close, fabric matching, instruments
dressing vests
bead thing, soft fabric cube (both used by infant)

Sensorial Shelf (mostly, with Alphabet Center above) -
Orange cards from the Color Sorting Cards from Montessori for Everyone, Block Tower, Color Tablet 1 and 2,
Knobbed Cylinder A
Brown Stair

Language Center (with Schedule, Weather, Sign Language and Letter Card for the week on blue pocket folder)
Cc Matching cards, Cc book from KidSoup
magnetic lowercase letters
LeapFrog Fridge Letters (with C in it)

My bench (inside the bench are the line mats. Above the bench is the calendar.)

The reading bookshelf
(on the top of the bookshefl) - the basket holds all the preschool read aloud books, a US flag, and the Flower Fairy book
Jelly Bean's books
Preschool Books
Infant pull toys and Cloth books

The Geometry Shelf (mostly) -
The Geometric Shapes Sorting Cards from Montessori for Everyone, the nature box (needs some sprucing up for Fall) and The Pumpkin Life Cycle from Montessori for Everyone
Language Cards, Magnadoodle, Separate/Whole cards,
Shape Puzzles
Sorting Shapes and Geometric Solids

Geography Shelf
World Puzzle Map, World Globe, Land/Water Globe and land, water, air cards and World Cards from Montessori For Everyone
Puzzles
Puzzle Holder with Puzzles

Wood/Classic Toys
Pumpkin Number Card, Stacking Cups, Counting Bears, Bead Sequencing
Cutting Food
Pegboard and Toolbox
Wooden Barn and Wooden Animals

Practical Life - ironing, kitchen, and dolls.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I think I'm finally finding my groove

This is the first year that I did feel like I needed to do a slight revamp of our curriculum/schedule around this time of year. This year, I made our plan and we have stuck with it.

It certainly makes it easier on the wallet when you aren't having to re-buy things. I think it helps that I am using many of the same type of resources that I've used in years' past, so I already knew that it worked for me and my children. It also makes a difference that I'm used to homeschooling, the kids are used to homeschooling. It also makes a difference that we do all the schooling for everyone in basically one big space and I can come easily come over and help Jelly Bean during her morning seat work. And it makes a difference that the younger children nap in the afternoon and I can do more teacher-intensive subjects with Jelly Bean then (and Super.)

The only very slight tweak is that I had to re-do some of the preschool shelves, especially on the bottom shelves. The infant that I watch is getting increasingly mobile, as well as spending more time awake and out with us, so I had to move some of the things that I didn't want her to put in her mouth, etc.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Weekly Schedules: October 4-8, 2010

Preschool

Color of the Month: Orange
Number of the Month: 2
Shape of the Month: Square
Nursery Rhyme of the Month: Peter, Peter
-------------------
Letter of the Week: Cc
Stories for this Week: Bears (Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?, Corduroy, A Pocket for Corduroy, Bear Party, and We're Going On a Bear Hunt)

Kindergarten

Math: Math U See Primer Lesson 8, 9, 10
Language: Working on Pink Level with "e" in the middle
Science: Bears
Social Studies: Making a Timeline of his life

3rd Grade

Spelling: Spelling tests over lesson 2 and 3 from Spelling book
Writing: Working on a line a day from first poem in Poetry for Young People: William Blake
Language: Run-Together Sentences in Unit 1 of God's Gift of Language A
Math: Math U See Gamma, Lesson 4 and 5
Geography: Michigan
Art: Poster Paint projects from Usborne Complete Book of Art
Science: Lesson 3 in Apologia Land Animals (Bears)
History: Chapter 4 from Story of the World 2

Friday, October 1, 2010

More about how we do the Pink Level

Here is Super finding the words that match the picture. These labels and picture cards are from part of the Pink Phonetic Series from Montessori Print Shop.


Here he is using the word and picture cards with the moveable alphabet to write words. All the words that he is working on have the "a" in the middle. The word and picture cards are from the same Pink Phonetic Series from Montessori Print Shop.

I have three folder envelopes. Here is the KidSoup Reader folder. In addition to the Scholastic Readers, and Bob books, we also read a book that contains words that start with a certain letter. This week, obviously, is "C" week. The little book and word wall card are from KidSoup. The little book is geared from emergent readers.

There is also a Pink Level Reading folder. The activity on the left is the same activity that Super was using in the first photo. The 2nd activity involves matching up the word and card. The picture card and the words are separate. Both activities are from Montessori Print Shop. Also included in the folder (but are not in the picture) is the Pink Sentence Cards - Set 1 from Montessori Print Shop.

Here are the two writing activities. For the activity on the left, I take the letters needed to spell all the "a" words from the moveable alphabet and I put them and the picture/word cards in an unsealed business size envelope. This way, Super doesn't get frustrated with sorting through the moveable alphabet for a letter. (He does now the order of the letters, and he can find the letters if I ask him, but he does tend to get very frustrated when he has to search the moveable alphabet for letters for several words, and then doesn't want to do it, so I pick out the letters for this activity. The blue board with lines came from Learning Resources, although I got it at a garage sale. There is also a dry erase board with lines on it that is stored in this folder.
The activity on the right is from Pink Beginning Sound Cards from Montessori Print Shop. I laminated the sheet so he could write in dry erase marker on the card.

This is how the folder envelopes, the Scholastic readers and the Bob books are stored. (Holder bought at a thrift store.
Folder envelopes from Office Depot.)
In addition to the items shown here, I also substitute in pink level activities from Practical Homeschooling and Montessori for Everyone.
------------------------
Each day, we will do an activity out of each folder. I generally pick the activity, however, if he asks for something, we do that activity instead.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Montgomery Academy Kindergarten - 2010 Version


Well, this year is a bit of a first for me. Flower was in 3rd grade when she started homeschooling, and Jelly Bean was in 2nd grade when she started homeschooling. I've taught lots of children (including all of my own) here at Montgomery Academy Preschool, but this is the first year that I've homeschooled a Kindergartner. It is also the first year that I've had a child who was doing part of their day at public school, and part of their day at home.

In our school district, Kindergarten is offered as full-day, although they do mention in the handbook that you have the option of sending your child for half day. According to the principal at our local elementary school, it is very uncommon to send your child half days.

I decided that I didn't mind being "uncommon."

So Super goes to school in the morning (he rides the bus with Flower - she is in 5th grade at the public school this year) and he does Circle Time activities, reading, math, and library twice a week, music twice a week and art once a week. I pick him up at noon. He "misses" lunch, naptime, PE, Science, Social Studies, and Math and Language Enrichment activities.

Here is what Super is working on in the afternoons:

===========

Reading and Writing - I am using some reading and writing activities from the Montessori Pink Level from a variety of sources (mostly from Montessori Print Shop, but I use the Pink Level spelling lists from Montessori For Everyone, and things from a Montessori Language album), as well as working on emergent level reading from a few sources (Bob Books, Scholastic Readers, and the Emergent Reader for the letter we are working on that week from KidSoup.)

For the activities from the Pink Level, we have started with working on words with vowel "a" in the middle, and will then move on to words with the "e" in the middle, etc. until we get through all the middle vowel sounds.

I also read to him. LOTS. :) I have a book list that I choose from, but he also asks me to read other books to him too. Some of the books that appear on Jelly Bean's Literature book list will be also be Read Alouds for Super.

Mathematics - Math U See Primer. We will also be study some Geometry this year (using Montessori Geometric Cabinet, Constructive Triangles, Geometric Solids, and Geometric Sticks with lessons from this Montessori Geometry album.

History - the VERY basic idea of what we are studying in Story of the World 2 that week and lessons from a Montessori History album (this album primarily covers the concept of time with activities about calendars, clocks, and timelines.)

Geography - Continent Study (We use the idea of Continent boxes and study the music, art, animals, plants, and culture of each continent) and Landforms (from a Montessori Geography album)

Science - the VERY basic idea of what we are studying in Apologia Land Animals of the Sixth Day with some 3 part cards for each type of animal from a Montessori Zoology album. We also do lots of nature walks and look at plants and animals (and take pictures/draw in sketchbooks, etc.). He also helps take care of our dog.

----------------

Read Aloud Booklist

-Winnie The Pooh

-The Child's Book of Virtues

-Robin Hood

-The Three Musketeers

-Marco Polo

===========

It may look like a lot, but when we are doing it, we do it in a couple of different chunks (and he generally goes outside and plays or builds something inside in between), and the the total time that he spends on school in the afternoons is about 45 minutes.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Montgomery Academy 3rd Grade - 2010 version


Jelly Bean is in 3rd grade this year (time flies!).

3rd Grade

Spelling - Practice Makes Perfect Grade 3. My local teacher store carries several books in this series - math, spelling, writing, etc. This year, I am trying to concentrate more on words that have the same sort of spelling (have "ai" in it, end in "y", etc.) instead of just memorizing words in a list. She should finish with this book by November, and then we will move onto Grade 4 in this series.

Writing - Practice Makes Perfect Cursive Writing, although when she finishes this book, which should be soon, she will be doing Copywork during this time. Copywork will be from Poetry for Young People - William Blake.

Read Aloud - The Little Princess (This is her first read aloud book for the year. The complete read aloud and literature booklist is at the end of the post.)

Literature - The Third Grade Detectives #1 (Her first literature book of the year.)

Math - Math U See Gamma . We are big fans of Math-U-See here. I switched Flower to Saxon last year because I thought it would be better for her learning style, and honestly, because I got it for free, but how I wish I would have stuck with MUS for her too. It is very hands on and the children concentrate on really learning one type of operation at a time, from simple to large. Flower, in fifth grade, still struggles a bit with her time tables, and I know that it if she had done MUS, she probably wouldn't be having that difficulty.

Language - God's Gift of Language A, and Montessori Grammar once a week.

History - Story of the World 2

Science - Apologia Land Animals of the Sixth Day (We will be doing this book the first half of the year.) After we finish Land Animals, we will be doing Apologia Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day.

Geography - 2nd half of the 50 states (US). We use a variety of resources for our Geography Study - US Atlas, Don't Know Much About the 50 States book, Dover United States Coloring Book, US Mint 50 States quarter program, US Kit from Montessori For Everyone, books from the library about each state, etc. We will also be studying Landforms this year.

Art - Usborne Complete Book of Art Ideas and Artist/Picture study of Durer, Caravaggio, and Delacroix.

Music - Keyboard and and Composer/Music study of Beethoven, Vivaldi, and Chopin. We will also be learning a hymn per month.

---------------

Here is Jelly Bean's complete booklist for the year:

Read Aloud
A Little Princess
The Door In The Wall
The Minstrel In The Tower
The Apprentice
Castle Diary
Twenty-One Balloons
Strawberry Girl
White Stallion of Lipizza

Literature
Third Grade Detectives 1, 2, 4, and 10
Robin Hood
Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland
The Three Musketeers
Dr. Doolittle
The King’s Equal
Pollyanna
Marco Polo
The Whipping Boy
The Viking Adventure

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Don't forget to look for things at the thrift store!

I don't know how many things I have found for preschool/homeschool while I have been thrifting, but it has to be a lot. I may buy specific Montessori materials new, but everything else, I'm always searching for a cheaper option! Even last year, when we were homeschooling 4 children 2nd through 5th grade, we bought things at the Homeschool Curriculum Sale and borrowed a ton, and ended up having to spend less than $100 total on all of our homeschool materials for the whole year.

Anyway, my son (known on this blog as Super) was in preschool here for the past two years, and was starting to read a few words at the end of last year's school year. I read quite a bit to him over the summer and he did some reading too, but it was pretty relaxed. This school year, he is going to public school Kindergarten, but only half days (it is the norm in our school district to do full days.)

In the afternoons, we do a variety of things, much of unstructred, but he is also working on the Pink Level in Montessori Language (basically 3 letter consonant-vowel-consonant words.). I have a variety of materials (most of them from Montessori For Everyone and Montessori Print Shop) but I didn't have any readers that used these kind of words. I have seen some phonic readers from Scholastic or even some of the Montessori catalogs, but they were all pretty pricey. Over the summer, I looked in the book section at one of our local thrift stores, and look at what I found!

One of the books in the set was missing, but for $1.00 for all of these books, I decided I could overlook it! LOL Here is Super reading from one of the books:

video

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Our Preschool Rhythm - 2010

We've settled into a rhythm for our days for the preschoolers (all of them are 2 years old. There is a 2.25 boy, a 2.5 boy, and a 2.75 girl.) And while there are some Montessori materials on the shelves, we also have some Waldorf Materials too and our rhythm leans toward a more Waldorf type of rhythm too.

Our Daily Rhythm

Arrival - Free Play - Coloring - Morning Circle - Scheduled Activity (painting, play-doh, making bread, cut and glue activity, or making soup - each child brings a vegetable from home to contribute to our soup) - Morning Snack - Outdoor Play - Lunch - Nap - Free Play - Outdoor Play - Dismissal

The baby is still on her own schedule, although she does tend to play nearby during our circle time, and we include her at the table when we are over there, as well as take her outside if she is awake during those times. She is coming closer and closer to napping at the same time as the 2 year olds too.

Our circle time consists of singing songs/finger plays, and then we talk about the letter of the week, sing our calendar song, and our weather song. Then each child has a "helper" job for the week - one child does our color of the month (this month is red), one child does our number of the month (this month is one) and the third child does our shape of the month (this month is circle). We sing a song for each of the helper jobs, and the helper does a little activity (like find something red, sing a song with the sandpaper shape, do that number of chants/claps/fingers, etc.) After helper jobs, I read a story.

During free play, the children can pick items off the shelves. If the child picks a Montessori material, the first time, I will give the child an individual lesson. It sounds very formal when I write it like that, but it is actually occurring quite naturally, in fact, more naturally this year than in other years.

The children are naturally incorporated in practical life activities instead of having lots of practical life activities to choose from on the shelves, although I do have a couple practical life items out on the shelves. The children help with such things as sweeping, wiping the tables, straightening up, and undressing and dressing themselves. The children also help with the garden during the summer/early fall and late spring.

We do have a dog, and the children help by telling the dog to go outside and to go back to "his" room to lay down as well as giving him water in the afternoon. We are hoping to get a fish soon too.

Monday, August 30, 2010

We went ahead and started School Year 2010/2011 today

We were going to start the day after Labor Day, but Jelly Bean wanted to start, and I also had ANOTHER new 2 year old (hereafter known as All Boy) today, so there just didn't seem to be any reason to NOT start and it helped us have a little more of a rhythm to our day.

Notice I didn't say structure. LOL

Montgomery Academy now has a 10 month old (crawling/pulling up/super curious/mostly non-sleeping/very cute) little girl (goes by Belle here), a 2 year 9 month old (goes by Giggles here) girl, a 2 year 6 month old (goes by All Boy here) boy, and a 2 year 4 month old (goes by Little Boy here), and Jelly Bean (8 1/2, my daughter). My other children, Super (age 5) and Flower (age 10) are going to public school this year.

(FYI to locals, I am now CLOSED to any new students, daycare or preschool.)

While I have had other 2 year olds at Montgomery Academy, I've never had this MANY of them. And while I've had an infant (either one of my own or one that I was watching), I've never had one THIS active. But that said, today was a really good day.

We had free play until 9 am, and then very short circle time, followed by the children picking things off the shelves until 11 am. Even on the first day, the children were able to put things back on the shelves before getting something else out with only a couple of reminders all morning. I don't have many Montessori materials out, but I gave individual presentations to all of the 2 year olds this morning on knobbed cylinder A, and two children had a presentation on the brown stair and open/close containers.

Then we had lunch and went outside and played for 45 minutes. After outside time, they napped for a couple hours, and then afternoon snack, more outside time, some watercolor paint, and finished the day off with an hour of free play.

And what was Jelly Bean during this time? We started the day with a few pages from her Read Aloud, A Little Princess. Then she did spelling, handwriting, and language arts at the dining room table while the preschoolers were doing shelf work. After lunch, I read from her History book, and then she did Math and Geography at the table, and then went downstairs to the Rec Room to do her free reading (she is currently reading Wizard of Oz. Again. She loves that book.) She went outside with the preschoolers when they went out after nap. We had planned on doing Science after we came in from outside, but it seemed like too much for the first day, so we didn't.

I'll make a separate post about what Jelly Bean is doing this year, but here is the brief version:

Read Alouds: Various titles
Spelling: Using spelling books from the local teacher's store
Handwriting: A handwriting book from the local teacher's store
Copywork: Various sources
Language Arts: God's Gift of Language A
History: Story of the World, Volume 2
Math: Math-U-See Gamma
Geography: Finish the second half of the United States (we studied the first 25 last year)
Science: Apologia Land Animals and Apologia Flying Creatures

Today, I had fun. I really enjoyed being around a bunch of two year olds, and a baby, and an 8 year old. It was good, fun, day.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Preschool Classroom - 2010 Version

As I stated in my previous post, I moved the preschool classroom from downstairs to upstairs. This area was previously our living room/playroom. This link will take you to pictures of the 2009 living room and dining room as well as other pictures of upstairs rooms. I also reorganized the shelves and put quite a few items in the storage closet because this year, all the preschool students will be 2.5 when we start (our start date is the day after Labor Day.)

The East Wall

1/2 of the South Wall

The other 1/2 of the South Wall

Practical Life Area -
Dressing Vests in the basket, ironing, clothes line, babies and high chair

Practical Life/Language Area -
Lock puzzle, Open/Close
Language Cards, Matching Cards
Magnadoodle, Letter Magnets

Sensorial Area (and Music) -
Red Rods,
Color Tablets 1 and 2, Fabric Squares, Percussion
Block Tower, Knobbed Cylinders A
Brown Stair

Alphabet Area -
LeapFrog Letters
Sandpaper Letters
Sound Bins

Reading/Infant Toy Area -
Preschool Read Aloud Basket, Mother Goose book, Flower Fairies book
Homeschooler Read Aloud/Literature books
Board Books
Infant Toys, Cloth books

Geometry Area -
Insets, Shape Cards
Shape Puzzles
More Shape Puzzles
Shape Sorter, Geometric Solids

Geography/Puzzle/Toddler Toys Area -
Continent Globe, Book about Animals of the World, Sandpaper Globe, Continent Puzzle
Bead Maze, Stacking Cups
Puzzles

Math/Science Area -
Pegs, Counting Bears
Fruit and Vegetable Puzzles
Spindles
Sandpaper Numbers, Number Cards,
Large Dominoes

The West and North Wall

Wood Toys -
Bead Pattern, Gears
Cutting Food, Toolbox
Farm, Wooden Animals

Dollhouse/Infant Toys/Silks -
Dollhouse
Silks (on top of drawer tower)
Puppets (first drawer)
Potato Heads (second drawer)
Infant Toys (third drawer)

There are also some preschool/homeschool items that are in the dining room. The dining room is adjacent to the living room/preschool classroom area.
The Sensory/Practical Life/Block Area is in the dining room.
It is in the southeast corner.
There are shells in the nature box and some castle blocks.
The bottom row of drawers has castle blocks, tree blocks, and wooden blocks.
The upper row of drawers has glasses, bowls, tongs, cloths. You have to lift the top portion to be able to open the upper drawers.

These bins/drawers, etc. contain most of Jelly Bean's homeschool books and materials. It is in the southwest corner. (Sorry about the shelf that is falling. I didn't have the energy to try and fix it before I took the picture LOL)

This is the art cabinet. I no longer have free art available on the preschool shelves. (I'm brave, but not two year olds and an infant in a room with brand new carpet brave LOL)
The art cabinet is the northwest corner.
On the top is collage materials.
Watercolors, prismacolor pencils, pastels, charcoal, contact paper, big construction paper, etc.
Crayons, twistables, scissors
Markers, colored pencils, sketch books, paper.

The play kitchen.
It is in the northeast corner.

A picture of the whole dining room.
Jelly Bean is at the table, working on her spelling, I think.
Tomorrow, I'll post pictures of the "new" rec room. There won't be nearly as many pictures. I'll try and keep it down to 4-5 pictures, I swear.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I might as well dive in -

I'll try and post the overdue posts someday when I've got more time. The writing is done, but pictures are not, and they are the type of posts that would be kind of confusing without pictures.

Anyway, as I mentioned a few months ago, Montgomery Academy was probably going to be changing quite a bit this year, and it has. My sister did move (sniffle!), and all of the preschool aged kids have moved on to other preschools this year. Super is going to public school this year for Kindy (although he will be back home next year) and Flower is also going to public school for 5th grade. Jelly Bean is still home, and is technically in 3rd grade, although most of the work she is doing would be considered 4th grade work. Little Boy is still here, and at 2.5 is now ready to work on more preschool-type activities. I also still have Belle, the infant, and she will be one in October. We have also added another little girl, who is also 2.5 (who will be hereafter be called Giggles). I've also had several people contact me this month for preschool/daycare, so there is a possibility that there will be more. But anyway, Montgomery has 4 children right now, and it is kind of nice to be a little smaller, especially after being BIG last year.

I've also completely rearranged things. We sold our upstairs living room couches and moved all the preschool/Montessori materials upstairs. Since I am dealing with younger children this year (I had mostly 4-5 year olds last year) I had to rotate lots of materials out and different material that hadn't been out for awhile back in. The room definitely looks more like a Montessori classroom instead of a living room, but it is nice to have all things preschool-related on one floor.

(By the way, pictures will be posted in my next post, probably tomorrow.)

I moved all the art supplies into a cabinet that I moved into the dining room. Also, I put most of Jelly Bean's materials into the organization system that we had in the dining room last year.

Then downstairs, I made the preschool area into more of a "rec" room. I moved the living room bookcase downstairs and filled it with all types of levels of books (including my well-worn copy of Pride and Prejudice) a love seat (it was already downstairs, but rarely used where it was previously located), a side table with a lamp, another bookcase with doors on the bottom that I filled with board games and a couple puzzles, and on the shelves, there are geoboards, potholder looms, tanagrams, origami, etc. There is a small table, and a rocker. There is also the the Foosball game that our neighbors gifted to us, and an easel.

We still have the homeschool room downstairs, but it has changed a little. It still holds our geography materials and math materials, and books that will be used in preschool/homeschool that year, but aren't currently being used. But I also have my sewing machine set up in there. It's been awhile since I've been able to access it on a regular basis.

It's only been a few days since I did all of this reorganization, and already I'm REALLY enjoying it. It seems that the house, overall, seems to stay cleaner. Part of it that, I'm sure, is that I also tried to use this opportunity to declutter quite a bit.

We don't officially start schooling until Labor Day, but as soon as I get the Preschool and Elementary Plans, I'll make sure and post them here, as well as update the Preschool and Elementary documents for 2010.

Hard to believe that this January marks my EIGHTH year of teaching preschool out of my home. I love how every year is so different. Different children, different room set-ups, different hours, but yet, I've always used the Montessori Method. It works so well, I see no reason to change.

Monday, June 28, 2010

I really need to blog here!

I've promised a bunch of posts, and then in other exciting news, we are homeschooling year round! It has been FUN! We are pretty relaxed about it - First a read aloud while we are eating breakfast, then 5-10 minutes on spelling, and 20 minutes or so on Math followed by a break. Then we have lunch with a read aloud (out of a different book), Science (I think this is the kids favorite subject so far! Flower is doing Weather, Jelly Bean is doing things out of The Ben Franklin Book of Easy and Incredible Experiments, and Super and our daycare friend from last year are doing Bugs right now.), Art/Music (Jelly Bean is doing recorder, Flower is doing Keyboard and Guitar, and the little kids are listening to music CDs), and then Individual Reading. We generally do a couple hours of "school" although sometimes it takes longer because they are really into art or music.

Anyway, I want to blog more about it, and I promise that I will soon! And I'll get those past post finished up too. Keep watching here - when I get behind, then I usually do a post every day for a couple of weeks to get caught up! LOL

Friday, June 4, 2010

Thinking about my Learning Areas

I have an area for learning materials in my dining room and two learning rooms (one homeschool room, and one preschool area) downstairs. I feel blessed to have the space.

But

there are two things on my mind right now, and it would impact my learning areas.

1st - I am really trying to cut down on the amount of STUFF that I have in my home. I am not really someone who holds on to things much, but yet, we still have so much stuff. I have a closet full of fabric and craft materials. I have a closet full of preschool items that are not currently out on the shelves. I have two file cabinets. I have 5 bookcases in the homeschool room alone, and 12 in the house. Every drawer in my dresser is full. I probably have 20 pairs of shoes (wish may not seem like a lot to some people, but really, shouldn't 3 or 4 pairs be enough?)

and

2nd - I will probably only have one homeschooler and 2 or 3 preschoolers next year. The next year after that, I may have 3 homeschoolers, and 3 preschoolers, but I just don't know for sure.

Based on wanting/needing to cut down the amount of things in my home, does it really make sense to have a whole room for homeschooling? Based on the fact that I will only have one homeschooler, do I really need to have a whole room for homeschooling?

I think I know the answer.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

BIG changes around here at Montgomery Academy

This year was busy, busy, busy, and lots of children - 4 preschoolers, 4 homeschoolers, 2 toddlers, and an infant. It took a lot of planning, and a lot of help from my sister/assistant. But as we get to the end of the year, I'm feeling like we did well. The homeschoolers had fun and learned about many things (I'll have a wind-up post soon for both the homeschoolers and the preschoolers) and so did the preschoolers. And the toddlers and the infant just grew and changed so much, so quickly.

But as the school year nears a close, it is with quite a bit of sadness that I think about next year. My sister and her family will be moving. FAR away. States and States away. She is likely going to continue homeschooling, but we won't be doing it together. So I'm sad about that. I'll miss teaching my nephews in the afternoon, and I'll miss my sister's help in the morning, but mostly I'll miss her company.

And after a lot of consideration, Flower's dad and I have decided to have Flower return to public school in the fall. She wants to return and way back when we started homeschooling, it was the plan to have her return for 5th grade. It wouldn't take much to sway ME to continue homeschooling her, but it feels like we made the right decision. I will miss her SO much. And Super will likely be going to Kindergarten at the public school too. I'm strongly considering just doing half days (mornings) but at the very least, he will be at the public school for at least a few hours a day. He will back to homeschool in first grade, but still, I'll miss him TONS. Since we started homeschooling, we always said that we would take homeschooling on a year by year basis, and that we would choose what we felt was best for the child. It may not be the same for each child. And right now, we have decided that Flower and Super at the public school next year. Jelly Bean will still be at home. (Oh, we are both VERY excited, and we already have some great plans for next year!)

Princess will be going to Kindergarten in the fall. Sweetie is going to a different preschool. Spunky may or may not be back.

So Montgomery Academy will be going from 4 preschoolers, 4 homeschoolers, 2 toddlers, and an infant TO 1 preschooler, 1 homeschooler, 1 toddler moving up to a preschooler, and an infant moving up to a toddler. From 11 to 4.

Times and Seasons. I know. And I've learned so much from this season. I'll miss so much from this time. But there will be different experiences I'm sure that I'll gain from teaching at Montgomery Academy this fall too.

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PS Any locals, by the way, I would consider taking one 2 or 3 year old for preschool only, or full or part-time daycare for this fall.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Knobless Cylinders . . .

(picture from the Nienhaus website)

I was on the fence for the longest time about buying these - and I even tried selling them once because they didn't get used much back then. But this year - WOW. In the last month, the knobless cylinders have been out so often in the Preschool Area. And they have learned so much from using them.

In fact, this year has been an interesting year for me, Montessori-wise. This is the only year in the past 7 years that I have had more than one child that is doing lots of work in Period 5 (and in Period 4 too) I'm also often seeing one or two children using the knobless cylinders, another using the brown stairs, and another using the block tower, and then they talk about how they each have ten, and how they can all stack up, etc. The Montessori materials never cease to amaze me - I don't even have to open my mouth and they learn the concepts, just from using the materials.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Upcoming Posts . . .

I have got a few posts almost complete -
  • Geography for the Homeschoolers
  • Geography for Preschoolers
  • Language for Preschoolers
  • Poetry for Homeschoolers
  • Science for Homeschoolers
  • Geometry for Preschoolers

Sometimes it is just hard to teach and blog and I'm a mother first, teacher second, and blogger third (or so LOL)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Preschool: A few more what we were up to from Late March . . .

Sweetie working on the Bead Matching Activity.



Wiggles working on the dry erase letter Ss. Sheet from Confessions of a Homeschooler.

Wiggles doing a turtle counting activity from Confessions of a Homeschooler

Wiggles doing another turtle activiy - this time it is the turtle color matching activity from Confessions of a Homeschooler.




Sweetie working on the block tower alone

Sweetie and Super working on the brown stair and the block tower

A trapezoid - our shape of the month

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Preschool: What We Were Up To in March

Making a rainbow book - cover is from
Confessions of a Homeschooler

Back Cover by Super

Wiggles working on the Shape Puzzles


Working with Pink Cards with
Moveable Alphabet - Super and
Princess are really enjoying the
Pink Level works that are out right now
Wiggles working on the Rainbow
Color Matching cards - cards from
Confessions of a Homeschooler

Making a small book -
the children like to take a few sheets
of inset paper and staple them together
to make a book.
Spunky working with the Sensory Tub.
Green peas and gold coins were
in the Sensory tub for March