Tuesday, November 18, 2008

only one child making progress

My middle child, who will be 3 in a matter of days, has a problem. I believe she has always had this problem but for M it is making for bad times.
She will say she wants something, repeatedly. Knowing the history, I will say are you sure you want that and not b, c, or d? "Yes, I want that!" She gets it and moments later "I DON'T WANT THAT!" For somethings it's not a big deal, for food it's "you'll have to eat that before I give you anything different", but with M it is a real problem. She will pick a work and then decide she doesn't want to do it but REFUSE to put it away. She will even take out all the pieces, like today with environment matching cards, and then refuse to do the work, which has to be done before she could put it away anyhow. I'm at a loss for how to deal with this. Any suggestions? (she asks her 2 or 3 readers)


No, that's not actually nonsense. If you read my previous post, you'd know. We made AT's "book of letter sounds lower case cursive". I didn't follow what My Montessori Journey does and make an individual book for each set, but one book for the whole alphabet. I let AT pick the cover color, so it's pink. She remembered most letters after just a few tries but it took her a few days to really remember the g sound. A big motivator for her practicing was getting to take photos to put in her book. She had to learn all 4 sounds before she could take pix and she had to come up with the items too. 2 per sound. There was some coaching when she said she didn't know any words that started with a certain sound, like "there's something that starts with "buh" that you sleep on". I try to not put a pronounced "uh" sound on the letters when I say them, but I don't know another way to phonectically spell them! She chose: rock, rope, apple, ant, monkey, moth, flower, foot, book, bat, gun (It was the first thing she said and I tried to get her to pick something else but it was a nerf gun and she said "but we don't touch guns because it's mean to gun people"), grape, igloo, icky, tooth, treat. I used a couple of clip arts from MS word, otherwise it's our photos.
I used my second pick cursive font for the individual letters she glues in and for the name below each photo. Just so she's exposed to cursive in that form ie without lines.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Modified Red Word Drawers

In my last post, I mentioned I was modifying the "Red Word Drawers". I am trying to find a way to share with you my MS Word document. So far, all I've seen is importing things to google docs and then linking it. That's all well and good, except it changes the document quite a bit. So just for the heck of it, I'm linking you to one of the pages. It only slightly resembles what I will actually be doing. Further, if you do not have the font I used on your computer, I don't know what the text will look like.

tried scribd.com it doesn't read the font so it shows the vertical line character before the words which in the script font is the character for the beginning stroke of the letters. But it shows the pix and clip art so... here it is.

trying box.net, see this
added: seems to be hosted by scribd so that's no help

Thursday, November 13, 2008

cursive letters begin

I have noticed that my eldest, nearly 5, doesn't understand the difference between the little spaces between block letters and the big spaces between the words. An M teacher once told me that this is why they teach kids to read in cursive. Now, I don't know if this is just at that school or if it is a M.M. precept, but I liked the theory.

I haven't started sandpaper letters yet because even at $26-35 each set, it is enough to give me pause at this time. However, making them is an unknown for money and a huge time investment. I have printed out 2.5 inch tall cursive, lower-case, letters in pink/blue and put a bead of glue on them, but she isn't interested in tracing them with her fingers at this time. She also isn't interested in writing them, but this seems to be because she's not getting it perfect on the first or second try. It's the same with many of the block letters. When she was 2, she picked up on how to write several block letters on her own so I suppose she thinks they should all be so easy.

I've gone back and forth on whether to forge ahead with block letters since she knows all of their names or to introduce cursive. When I decided on cursive, I went all over and back on what font to use. The letter shapes I like the best come in a pre-lined font like in a typical kindergarten writing tablet. (in a close second is this one) I've decided to go with it anyway, because as another MHS'er pointed out, the lines give the child a point of reference so they can better understand the way to write the letter - when they are ready. Then there is still the color method. I've seen it done both ways, but I'm going with pink consonants and blue vowels. The order of the letters also changes per reference, but usually they say pick 3 letters that have different shapes and sounds in each group. I'm going another way. I'm following what My Montessori Journey does, mostly. And this is largely due to the materials she has shared on her blog. Her letters are grouped so they follow the above rules but also so simple words can be formed with them. You can see her post on this here. AT is definitely ready to read, at least a little, so I really liked MMJ's method. We've introduced all the red letters and I feel she has mastered the first 4. Tomorrow we will solidify all 8 and the next day we will work on "Red Word Drawers". Aside from the fact that I'm going to do them like 3 part cards, I did change the sheets a little. I put in the cursive font and did the pink/blue thing. In hers, the word colors correspond to the "color drawer" and in mine the border around the cards does. I also changed a couple of the photos and added 2 words. I'm really excited and I think AT is too.

Related to this: -She understands, at least to some degree, that cursive and print are different ways of doing the same thing so that hasn't been a problem... when we did the "cursive sounds" she said "Oh, that's a cursive "a" because "a" says "ah"" - Today was the first time, that I know, that she looked at cursive words as words. I titled her letter book (more on that later) and asked her to point out the words and she did that easily. She even recognized her name, but she couldn't point out any of the other individual letters. A trade off for the ability to recognize the words that I wasn't expecting. I'm going to finish with cursive anyway as I'm hoping that the pink/blue/pink of the words will help to clarify this for her. - When I was writing on her book I started off like a real title and made a "B" then I decided to change it since we're working on lower-case. I erased it, thought I made a funky "b" and erased again. She said to me "That's OK, Mommy, I don't do it perfect either." I LIKE that she sees me mess up, not get upset and try again, and again until I get it right. I've never been 100% on the M.M. idea that the teacher has to be perfect at all times so the kids see nothing but perfection. For the first presentation, sure, for an activity that the child is physically capable of doing perfect, probably, but for my sensitive souled child, seeing me mess up my writing lifted a huge weight she put on her own shoulders.

**Note added 2/20/09. Hmm, wonder where she gets this from?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Nomenclature card credits

I am working on making more nomenclature cards - a full post will come later - but as I'm adding things I want to give credit to the flickr users I'm using from:

YES! Paste

I'm mixed on the YES! paste.
First and foremost it didn't wrinkle the paper so that is a big plus for it.

2nd, it easily washed out the the china bristle brush I used to put it on. When using it, I thought I had surely ruined the brush.

3rd it worked better than the glue stick in terms of not drying before I got the paper down - mostly. I had to re-glue about half of the first section (6 cards worth) I did where I put the paste on the paper. And I had to fix 5-7 individual cards of the 40+ that I did. And the next morning 2 more had pulled up a little in the center. However, that is way better than the glue stick.

4th, I could see it beading up on the slick surface of the cereal boxes and I could flake off the overrun from the box. I'm not sure how they'll really hold up, hopefully the mod podge will help. (this also leaves me dubious on their claim to be suitable for glass, metal and the like)

5th, after I already used it, I looked on-line for instructions for dry time and found several reviews of it that said that after as few as 5 years, the paste began to yellow and then turn brown, ruining what ever it was used on. I'm pretty sure the brown will easily bleed through the printer paper so I'm now doubtful if they will last long enough for the baby to use them when he's old enough.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Making Classified Picture Cards

Like many other Montessori Home Schoolers, budget is a big issue in our house, especially now. Something that is big in M is classified pictures. These come in a couple of forms but, I'm working on 3-part cards and environment matching - at least this is what I've come to call them from others' work, it may not be a true M name. To save money I'm making them myself, with some help (YAY Becca and Brea!). Some MHS simply print them and laminate them, however, my kids are really rough on things so I didn't think that would be sturdy enough plus I don't have the funds to invest in all that lamination. I'm sure overall it isn't very expensive but the intial cost for supplies is several meals worth and at the moment, that's very important to keep in mind. So I'm gluing the printer paper to heavy card and then putting Mod Podge over it. Here are some things I've learned from my experience, yours may be different...

1. Cereal boxes make great "free" cardstock. The "free" depends on who bought the cereal in the first place! Tip: don't use boxes that came in direct contact with the food as there may be some invisible food residue that may cause problems later on.
2. I chose to attach the paper to the printed side of the boxes so the backs would be plain rather than a point of interest to the kids. You can see through the white parts of the paper somewhat, but I'm not personally too concerned about that.
3. Glue sticks dry very fast, often faster than we could get the paper stuck down. I had to go back later and redo all the edges with mod podge and a paint brush.
4. Glossy mod podge leaves a surface that is slicker and in theory easier to clean if they get smudgy. There are brush streaks in mine but I'm OK with it - now.
5.On my inkjet printer, some of the ink colors run. Blue in particular will smear all over your picture, into the whites, on the brush and onto the next card you do.

To remedy the running I tried:
1. Clear acrylic spray. Naturally I didn't think of doing one or 2 cards, I tried a whole "spray box" full. a)The acrylic makes the paper translucent so you can clearly see through it b)it reacted with the mod podge that was on the edges, making it sticky and stippled looking.
2. Krylon Spray Fixative - an old can that didn't spray so I have no results for you
3. Aerosol Hairspray- which my architecture professor said was the same as spray fix at a much cheaper cost. I've never done a direct comparison. a) it also saturates the paper and can cause some running even if left flat, but especially if you hang the paper to dry. b)it takes a while for the paper to completely dry (I'm typing while waiting for mine to dry, sheet by sheet) and 2 light dotty coats is better than one that gets the whole thing covered c) after spraying, wipe the surface of your work space - mine is covered with wax paper - because some ink from the saturation will bleed through and then dot the next paper. d) If you spray the paper before you glue it to the card stock: once totally dry, the paper will return to its original translusence. If you spray the paper after it is gluesticked to the card stock, it will be slightly more translucent than original but less than if you spray acrylic onto gluesticked paper. e) the ink may still come off a little but mostly on your mod podge brush and not smeared all over your work.

Now my papers seem to be dry so I'm trying YES! Paste, bought on sale, instead of glue sticks which don't work well or mod podge/white glue because those would make the paper wrinkle up and YES! isn't supposed to. I'll let you know...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Still going

I'm not as disciplined as I would like and we do not as yet have a real schedule. I am still working on all the things I said I was working on. Only, I've found very reasonable sets online for scent and tasting bottles, (I'll update this post later with the link) so I'll probably just buy those instead of collecting containers. I've got a cabinet with things however, the eldest is quite bored with them but doesn't want more challenging work. She's not willing to go through work books a page at a time so she can learn things incrementally like they're set up for. I'm not sure what I'm going to do.