Friday, April 8, 2016

School Days - January, February and March 2016

School had taken a backseat for a bit after Christmas. I am always reevaluating our school at the beginning of the year. I guess that's because we've gone through the first semester and I realize what changes need to be made. I'm happy to say that we are back to schooling pretty regularly for the most part. It is a little busy for us around here since we just had a birthday and are fixing to celebrate my daughter's first communion. But we've been schooling pretty consistently for about 3-4 days a week. Here is a bit of what we've been up to:

Cat and MJ have been working through the sections on Multiples, Least Common Multiples and Factors. About half of this work is done on a pegboard with pegs and the other half is done on paper, working towards abstraction. Below is MJ working on his tables. These tables are just multiplication tables from 2 through 10. They use these tables to fill out their factor tables, which are then used for further works.

Here Cat is finishing up her multiples work that she took forever to do. She is circling the multiples of individual numbers to see the patterns they make. She kept avoiding it and was motivated when I showed her the pegboard work that comes after it. 

Here he is filling out his factor tables using his multiplication tables on another day.

And here he is doing his suffix work. Or I should say playing around between doing his suffix work. He was pretending to die from stabbing himself in the stomach...boys. 

 Tes has continued to work with the Trinomial Cube. She really loves that thing. She has put it together separated into it's layers as well as blindfolded. I'm banking on all this concrete experience turning her into an Algebra whiz!

Here is one of her creations using clay

Tes has continued on with the Stamp Game. At this point she's done addition and subtraction work. We should move to multiplication and division next week.

Cat is working on her word problems. We are using Primary Grade Challenge Math. It was recommended by Jessica at Keys of the Universe, where we get our Elementary albums from. This is independent work for Cat and MJ. I have each chapter marked, blue for MJ and pink for Cat. As they work on a chapter, they pull off the tab.

Here Tes is using our microscope. I try to keep her working with the primary materials but occasionally I let her use this microscope just because it is so cool! We got this as a gift from my uncle who is a professor at a university. The biology department donated their old microscopes and we got one :).

We did a lot of work with the bells but there are just so many games to play that I feel like we'll never get to writing any music. The kids come back to this work every so often but with the little time we have to work on school, music tends to take a backseat. Hopefully as I get more organized, we'll have a bit more time to do this work.

Cat working with the bells as well and me playing with camera angles. I love this camera. Wish I had more time to play with it, but I don't. So school time is my camera

Swiper is able to work a little bit more now that he is older. Primary Montessori schooling starts around age 2.5 -3 and Swiper is already 2. He is almost ready to join our Primary class. Here he is working with the light switch tray...haha. He can actually reach them if that basket wasn't in the way. I believe there is a sensitive period for playing with light switches and that time is now.

He has a small shelf with some of his own works that he can utilize during school. I'm really bad about switching work out though. He will easily get bored with the trays and then won't touch them for a month. I am very unorganized as far as the infancy years are concerned. This was my first go round with infancy using Montessori and there is always a learning curve. I have many nice materials that are age appropriate but they are hidden away and I forget I have them until I see them on Amazon! I recently got some Assistant to Infancy albums from My Montessori House. I got the album for 18mo-2.5yrs. Once Swiper hits 2.5, he'll be in Primary using the Keys of the World Albums like the others did.

Below Swiper is putting coins into a box with a slot on the top. It has a little drawer that you pull out to get the coins.

Love that yummy concentration face!! This work is called "Trying to unscrew the top of the spritzer so I can dump the water on the rug".

Tes was working on her numbers with the squared boards so Swiper naturally followed suit. 

Lots of circles. Getting ready for cursive :). And he's looking like he's going to be a lefty! 

Cat worked a bit on geometry. We were finishing up some presentations on angles from last semester. Here she was putting together triangles so we could name whether they were obtuse, right or acute angled triangles.  This was about all we did and have moved onto lots of math work. Hopefully we can get in another chunk of geometry this semester. They are short and sweet. I like to spread them out between the other subjects. Everyone's always up for geometry.

MJ finally started Logical Analysis. We had 2 presentations and then we stopped. I've been reading some books on classical education which puts a heavy emphasis on grammar. We are also going to be starting Latin and so I need him to have a decent grasp on grammar before we move on to other languages. This lit a fire under my rear end, so I have been helping MJ to finish up the grammar boxes. He is 9.5 yrs old and should have  finished them when he was 8. Cat is now working her way through grammar so she can finish on time. She'll be 8 this summer so we have a bit of time.

Below is the sentence "Tes cut the cheese", although I blurred out her real name. He had to break the sentence up into subject, predicate and direct object. He doesn't enjoy grammar too much, but he doesn't fight it. We are just working through it little by little.

Below MJ and Cat are working with our new pinmaps! We got them last year but this was the first time they actually used them. They are very nice quality and are a great alternative to the expensive ones that I've seen. These maps are laminated and you put the flags together yourself. The maps fit on top of large foam boards with corner cuffs that hold the maps on. There is a great review of these maps on What Did We Do All Day. I do have to say that the time it took me to make the flags was a lot longer than the 8 hours she estimated. I'd say it took about 24 hours, or maybe I'm just really slow at these things. It was time consuming because the small piece of tape used to adhere each flag to the pin would naturally pull itself toward the flag at an angel I was not aiming So I'd say that I had to tape each flag twice. Still totally worth it, just want to give a more realistic estimation on time.

Tes has been reading for a few months now. She has gone through most of the reader series we own and likes to read along with me when I read aloud. She is the first to go through the reading/writing threads correctly and it shows. She is very motivated and has all the tools she needs. She enjoys reading and trying to read above her level.

Cat worked on a bit of biology. She's gone through this Story Material before but not all the packets I have. She used to shy away from the reading. Since she's been reading more, she has come back to this work. She has to read the little cards and match them to the pictures that fits the descriptions. The cards have information about all aspects of a particular animal. In the picture she is working with the squirrel packet.

And finally, we got to the Communication in Signs great lesson. I believe it is the 4th great lesson. This is the first time we've done this. It is basically the story of how people began writing. We have a great book called Fun with Hieroglyphs. It comes with a set of stamps for the hieroglyphs so the kids can create their own writings.

For now that is all I have in pictures. This work took place in January. Apparently I took absolutely no school pictures in February or March, even though we did school. Cat and MJ have finished up all the Least Common Multiples work as well as the Factors work. I think they are getting a little burnt out on the math so we'll probably start work in a section of geometry now. 

We finished up the rest of the Sun and Earth section from the geography album and moved onto Biology. We've started some preparations (planting seeds) for some botany work and discussion of animals in preparation for some zoology work. This past month we did lots of gardening and landscaping, so the kids have been able to spend lots of time outdoors. The weather has been beautiful, so we are taking full advantage!

We also finished up the last Great Lesson which is The Story of Numbers. This presents the first numbering systems as well as other used around the world. Good stuff. Cat enjoyed this lesson and recreated a few of the charts with acrylic paints. We've also been painting a lot more recently. I also found a wonderful Montessori art album recommended by  Grace and Green Pastures. The album is amazing. There is so much information in it and I can't wait to get started! Of course we'll be posting on it when we use it. That's it for now. Hopefully I can get some pictures in the coming weeks.

Happy Easter Season!!!


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Off the blog break and some catching up!

Ok, so we took a break last semester from blogging. I was trying to figure out how in the world I could get school done and keep a young toddler out of everyone's hair. I finally figured it out....I can only do school when he naps! At least that is when I can give presentations and give undivided attention. So far it is going good. Here is a little of what we accomplished last semester:

Tes is slowly dipping into reading. Here I think she is just looking at the pictures but she'll come to me and ask what a particular word says here and there, so she must be trying.


At the start of the year I was having either Cat or MJ sit with Swiper and help him do his own "work". He has a small shelf with some trays on it and a basket of books. Cat read to him on several occasions. 


I can't remember exactly what MJ was doing here but he's been interested in WWI and WWII recently. I believe he was looking up some country in Europe, then he asked if he could work with the puzzle maps. This is a primary work, but I allow it from time to time depending on how desperate I am for them to just work so I can deal with Swiper!


In these next several pictures Tes was working on the graded figures. They are just plastic cutouts of squares, triangles and circles in different colors and sizes. 


Tes building the trinomial cube inside the box.

Then she built it outside the box!


Cat was doing some great practical work sharpening all the pencils for everyone. This stuff is relaxing to me, I wonder if she feels the same.

Look at those sharp tips!


Tes working on the Formation of Numbers using the golden beads. This work teaches the child the pattern of building numbers and place value. It goes up to 1,999 with the beads and cards. Here I was giving her a number orally and having her build it with the cards as well as the beads. 


Below Cat and MJ worked on multiples. MJ did a few chains on his own but Cat wanted nothing else to do with them. Each chain has sectioned off sets of beads from 1 to 10. For instance the 5-chain has 5 sets of 5 beads, amounting to 25 beads altogether (the short one anyway is 5^2, there is also a long chain that is 5^3) . They label each set to see the multiples of that particular chain. Below they are working with the short 9-chain and 10-chain. I believe this particular presentation was for common multiples, hence two chains and not just one.

After this chain work with multiples comes work on paper, where the kids have to circle the multiples of a particular number on a 10x10 grid of numbers. They see the patterns that multiples make across the grid. MJ and Cat both started this but Cat never went any further. MJ finished a grid for each digit from 1-10 including a sheet with *multiple* multiples! This was as far as he got with this work last semester.


Below Tes is working on the Teen Beads and Boards. The presentations starts with just the beads and then just the board, then combining the two. This work helps the child to learn the names of the teen numbers.

Here she is building the numbers using the cards. Below she is adding in the beads to the corresponding cards.


Below is the Ten Beads and Boards work. This helps the child learn the names of the tens as well as the linear process of counting.


Cat reading to Swiper again. He is pointing to the animal that she names for him to find.


Cat and MJ were given an overdue presentation of Congruency, Similarity and Equivalence using these blue triangles. We had all the other Constructive Triangle Boxes except this one. I finally ordered it because I needed some other items as well and so decided to just go back and see if they remembered the concepts. They actually didn't do too shabby.


Tes above and below building larger numbers using the beads and wooden material. This material is also used for operations. It is basically wooden hundred squares and thousand cubes that make it easier to work with as well as easier on the wallet :). Beads are expensive by the thousands.


Tes working with the Decanomial Square. She was trying to get it just perfect. And below is the final product. She's so proud (and so am I).

We continued to work with the Decanomial Square by removing pieces from the sides/bottom and seeing how they all fit back together. It was interesting but I did'n't get any other pictures of it. There is more work to do with this but she hasn't chosen it and I keep forgetting to remind her.


Binomial Cube blindfolded! She is actually very good at building the Trinomial Cube too but she is not confident enough yet to do it with a blindfold. She's been building it in layers, so maybe the blindfold is coming soon!


Moveable Alphabet. She *wrote*, "he likes vanilla icecream". I can't get her to work with this very often but am trying to since she's a bit behind on writing. She moved into reading faster and sort of left writing behind.


Some botany, art work! She used 2 different shaped metal insets to make this design.


Cat and MJ finishing up some long overdue work on Suffixes. This seriously is first year work that they never took interest in and I never finished up with them. Sadly they got this second part of the presentation and we never touched it again! Well MJ did but Cat didn't. We are really slacking in the language department. 


Here Cat was working on fractions. We started this in primary but didn't get to operations. She actually enjoyed this work. I'm not sure if it was actually the fraction work or just the fact that she got to use whiteboard markers in the classroom.


Swiper figuring out what to destroy next. See the numbers laid out on the floor? Yeah those don't last too long when he's around. He thoroughly enjoys walking over to them and just stomping across them. Boys = Destruction.


MJ was motivated by the geography presentations. He recreated his own chart. This charts shows what would happen if the earth stopped spinning.


Swiper's in jail because he probably destroyed something that somebody loved. Possibly the work below, can't remember. He loves being on the wrong side of the gate. Perfect baby protection! Gate = Protection From Baby or For Baby?


Tes moved into operations work! Last semester she went through all four operations...woohoo! She was zooming through math work. Guess she was having a super sensitive period for it. Above she is collecting  the addends from the trays and below she is putting them together to count out the sum and get the corresponding number cards.

Also, not pictured,  I gave all the geography presentations for the Sun and Earth chapter, minus a few that I haven't finished the charts for. Below were the materials for the presentation on the Earth as a Sphere.


We took a break during the last week of Advent as well as the Christmas Season, which lasts for about 2 weeks in the Catholic church. And that is starting ON Christmas Day :).  MJ's birthday is in December as well, so there is always lots to do. He turned 9!

 Happy Birthday MJ!!! and Merry Christmas!!! and Happy New Year!!!

I'll be trying to post at least once per week for the second half of this year, so stay tuned for our new routine and classroom schedule. I'm a bit more organized this year....just a bit.