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:

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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.

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Read Aloud Booklist

-Winnie The Pooh

-The Child's Book of Virtues

-Robin Hood

-The Three Musketeers

-Marco Polo

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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.

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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.