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

Math/Science Area -
Pegs, Counting Bears
Fruit and Vegetable Puzzles
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 -
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.