Saturday, August 22, 2009

What I'm up to

Still cutting laminate and writing tutorials to go with some of my projects. Tonight I did a 6 part series for making Constructive Triangles. Probably starting in 2 weeks to give me time to take, edit, post, and insert the photos. And now it's time for BED!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Record Keeping

I've mentioned My Montessori Journey before, when I was making some language materials. She just made a post about how she keeps records in her classroom and asked what her readers do. I thought I'd share my check list with you. I based it on David Gettman's book Basic Montessori: Learning Activities for Under-fives. This list will take you farther than that though because he described more than that in his book.
You can download my Montessori Skills Checklist.
I use it by marking a "P" for presented, "L" for learning when I see the child working on it and finally a "M" for mastered when the child can do the skill with little to no error.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Practical life and school organization all in one

I happened to find a book shelf that was formerly in a used book store. The wood was good, but it wasn't all that stable and the baseboard caused a gap between the shelf and the wall. So I decided to turn it into a book case. I added a simple, though not pretty, hardboard back using my electric stapler. Since some of the staples were still a little raised, I decided to call in some help.

More soon!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

On Tuesday a truck pulled up to my house and delivered these:

Inside were 25 other packages

I haven't opened them all but everything seems to have been wrapped with care

More soon, and it has to do with the book case in the background

Saturday, August 15, 2009

43 yards

of laminated material.
I've been working on this little by little.

And I do mean that, here's a shot of my Razr phone for scale. There are hundreds of these little things - lots of 3 part cards, plus, the "shapes in real life" set that has over 200 pieces alone.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Preparing for the new school year

-Trying to make cohesive "unit lessons" out of the scramble in my brain
-Cutting 43 yards of laminated materials: Found a local store that has occasional 1/2 off 1st 30 yards
-Trying to come up with solutions to the problems I encountered while making materials last year
-Still waiting on my order from Adena
-Lucky to have found a shelf for materials, but where to put it?
-Waiting on preschool to start so I can have some of my thoughts to myself

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I said "Montessori" not "Momtellsittome"

After Mrs. Timemanagement taught me what a Montessori homeschooler does (duh all homeschoolers are Montessori - NOT!) (yeah, what era did I come up in?), I was provided the opportunity to speak my side. Not because of anything directly related to the conference, but because the AJC had a reporter there, who was in that class, sitting in front of me, and because that speaker irritated me. (If you, the reporter, do happen to check in on this blog, forgive me. I can picture you, I picture you telling me your name, and even your ID tag, but I cannot picture your name. Please let me know) I asked her to please remember that not everyone homeschools for religious reasons, not everyone purchases a set curriculum and text books, some of us make our own and are on very small budgets. She seemed interested to hear from someone outside the parameters covered by the Expo. Hopefully she will look into that more and find fodder for the future. Maybe she'll write an article that can reach more parents who are searching for something different for their family but aren't of either the strict scheduler or extreme unschooler varieties. Plus, it's OK if they don't despise the public school system.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Southeastern Homeschool Expo

The last 2 days I attended the Southeastern Homeschool Expo. My opinion afterward is mixed. I got bits of good information here and there but there was a lot that wasn't useful to me. Before I go further, let me just emphasize that last word there: ME. I'm sure it's very helpful to a lot of people. I overheard parts of excited conversations and many of the booths were doing brisk business.
I was aware before going that there were no Montessori vendors nor any Montessori speakers. I went to hear the speakers on organization, lap books, Math-U-See, art and creativity. I also wanted to see what the vendors had that I could use to supplement or substitute for my mainly Montessori approach. For instance, Math-U-See is often used by Montessori homeschoolers, but I didn't know much about it, so I found that class to be very helpful. Others were not so helpful because, as I discovered, they were not titled / described very accurately. Perhaps I would have avoided them if the description were better.
There were some varying opinions on technique, in one organization class the speaker said (paraphrase) "Please don't make your older kids, especially the girls, into Little Mama. If your kids are doing your job, then you need to reassess." While in a time management class the speaker had her kids doing all the cooking, some of the household management, some of the teaching and even some of the dicipline. Both valid views but obviously a person can only find one or the other helpful - although I personally didn't find either of those workshops helpful.
Speaking of the time management workshop... talk about a reminder of reasons to be thankful for your friends and family - let's recreate what happened there:
Speaker: Since we have limited time, I'd like to know a little about you, where you're at; what you need; what you're hoping to learn.
2 other ladies speak up.
I raise my hand and mention / admit Montessori for the first time
Me: I'm just starting out and I'm coming at this from a slightly different angle. I'm mostly doing Montessori and
Speaker: If you're homeschooling then of course you're doing Montessori. {with a slight head shake and a half-roll of the eyes}
Me: Well, no not really, Montessori is child led but what I'm hoping to learn is how to manage school time so I can ensure we cover all the subjects during the week.
[side note: this can be an issue for unit study and lap bookers as well so even in other non-rigid curriculua, you can still get off track]
Speaker: Yeah, sure, of course.
So, what did Mrs. Timemanagement, who is of course using the Montessori method, teach us? That she's had a schedule ready for her children from the time before the first was born, which didn't include child cued feeding as she never nursed at night; that their days are scheduled from 6:30am to 7pm when the children start to go to bed, to 9pm when she goes to bed; that all the kids at least start out on the same subject as eachother everyday; that they follow a pre-planned, purchased curriculum of textbooks and workbooks; that she chooses what they work on; that they use spanking as a punishment if a child repeats a behavior that they have been told 1 time wasn't acceptable. That's all well and good if it works for her, but it is decidedly not Montessori.