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!!!



  1. LOL. I did eventually assemble all my flags and it really did take me about eight hours. I already had a LOT of experience from when I glued all of my flags on my pins for my original maps so maybe that work experience equalled greater speed :) I would apply the tape to the front of the label, then lay the pin onto the tape parallel to the edge of the label, then folded the remainder of the tape around the back. I didn't really have any trouble with the tape. I guess I got lucky. Maybe the cold climate here saved me from gummy slippery tape.

  2. Seriously, my tape was pulling towards the flags as I was trying to place it and it would just pull itself and stick in the wrong spot...annoying! Is that static electricity? I don't understand but it happened EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Anyway, thanks for the clarification. I'm glad you actually went through it so maybe others will have your experience. They are so NICE!!!