Friday, February 3, 2012

Home School Life

Mega is 1 yr. 6 mo. old
Zilla is 4 yrs. old

In the past couple of weeks (ok, the whole month of January really) I've been struggling to get our daily lives back into a normal routine.  We've had many unexpected and uncommon interruptions but in spite of all that there is still time to learn.  As Mega becomes more interested in Zilla's work we've been running into problems.  The biggest problem is that she wants to do everything he does - and not everything he does is able to be adjusted to her level.  Because of this Zilla and I are making some extra special time on the days when he is not tired enough for a nap but Mega is.

With the Christmas money we received this year I bought the Brilliant Minds Montessori Math Kit and Reading/Writing Curriculum.  Since I don't have Montessori training I sometimes feel a bit lost as to the progression of things or how/where to get the various items which are used.  With Zilla's continued interest in numbers and letters I felt it was time to get something that will allow him to explore both areas and discover how they work.  I know he will learn these things eventually in school but he is interest in them now.  Also, I'd rather have him get a hands-on start which he can come back to again if the things taught in school are not making sense.
The Brilliant Minds sets in combination with the Montessori At Home e-book have given me enough to resources and direction to stay a few steps ahead of both kids.  I've also discovered the wonderful site Montessori Materials which has many free printouts which go along with the things we're working on.

So, would you like to see what these Montessori things look like when put into practice?

The shelves in our kitchen/dining room continue to serve us well.

A very practical Practical Life activity... kids wash the breakfast dishes.  While they don't wash them every day I do try to give them the chance to wash either breakfast or snack dishes a couple of times a week.  Since most of our dishes are either plastic or Corelle (I don't buy anything for the kitchen which is likely to break in an earthquake) there is not much concern about them breaking. At the end of a washing time they also get practice in wiping up spilled water as Mega has a tendency to dump the water out of a cup in the wrong direction once in a while.

A new favorite - graphing snacks.  It is amazing how easily his mind takes in math ideas when his tummy gets to take them in too!

Zilla still loves the Kumon Cubes and the challenge of making the various arrangements pictured on the accompanying cards.

 Sometimes the activities we do are aimed more at Mega's level.  She is starting out with the very first pre-writing activities.  When I set this up the plan was to glue on the noodles but it quickly became clear that she is not ready for glue yet!

Zilla's first attempts at the beaded stair went well. 

He took to this activity right away which basically means it was too easy!

After breezing through the beaded stair Zilla is stuck on figuring out the teens.  He can say the names of the numbers, but never in the same order twice!  He was also struggling with the actual concept of numbers being more 10.  Through working with these beads he is practicing the names of the numbers and wrapping his mind around larger numbers.  Normally we would do this activity on a rug on the floor but if there is a chance of Mega waking up before he's done he works at the table.

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