Thursday, October 2, 2014

School Days

Today I have mere glimpses of the work we have been doing the past few weeks.  I am finding that a lot of the presentations I've been doing lately require my hands to be full, so there is certainly NOT a photograph of everything we've done.  Have you ever tried to take a picture while standing in a 4'x4' , pitch-black, windowless bathroom with two kids while holding a flashlight in one hand and a balloon in the other and drawing lines of longitude with a Sharpie?  I didn't think so.

We have been working our way through all of the "Sun and Earth" lessons in the KotU geography album.  Last week we worked with the time zones work chart.  Above, Me Too is reviewing the effects of the rotation of the Earth in regards to night and day.

It was 11:00 a.m. so we put the 11:00 a.m. clock above our own location on the map and covered our longitudinal area with a white strip of poster board.  The boys placed the rest of the clocks above the chart and the appropriate strip of poster board according to whether it would be "night" or "day" at that hour.  You are just giving the child a general concept here so the time zones are straight lines and 6:00 p.m. is rather arbitrarily assigned the "onset of darkness" and 6:00 a.m. the dawn.  

Montessori geography work chart GW1 time zones

The boys did this work together with minimal, but persistent, fighting. 

We reviewed prefixes.  I stuck poster putty on a wheel, rotated it along a strip of paper, and marked the two points at which the poster putty met the paper to define the root word "cycle."

Then we matched the root word with some prefixes.  The boys were thrilled to see some familiar faces. That's Kal-El riding his tricycle for the first time, Me Too's first time riding bicycle (at three with no training wheels!), and Daddy doing stunts on his unicycle.

Then we explored other occasions to use the prefix "tri."  I had a small triceratops but someone absconded with him before I snapped the photo.  We also reviewed the etymology of the word "prefix."

Me Too has almost finished our stack of subtraction equations on the small bead frame.

He decorates between equations and likes to get ideas from a booklet I put together for him some time back.

He does not like doing division with the stamp game.  He finds the stamps cumbersome and we don't have enough for the big exchanges.  I have glass beads in the right colors for every operation so he grabs some from the manipulatives cabinet whenever he runs out.  I'd move him on to the racks and tubes if I thought it would help, but it's not like those are less cumbersome.

Me Too finished the final variation with the multiplication bingo board last week.  He started the division bead board this week. I haven't uploaded pictures from this week yet so I don't have a photo today. I posted about how we handle the division bead board at our house in this post which includes a free download for the division booklet.  

Me Too worked on the addition of fractions in which the sum is an improper fraction that must be changed to a mixed fraction and sometimes reduced.  He did a great job.

The boys have been picking the more complex games to play with the fraction pizza set.  It is good review for equivalence and reducing fractions.

We played the "Racin' Across the United States" from Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational daily for the past two weeks.  Me Too loves it.  In the next two pictures you can see him celebrating one of his many wins...

We finally got to some geometry.

The boys learned about whole, straight, right, obtuse, and acute angles.  The also learned about the parts of an angle (sides, vertex, and size.  We are not calling size "amplitude" because it is called "size" on our nomenclature materials.).  I am annoyed with the geometric sticks.  It comes with all those cute color-coordinated thumbtacks but you almost never get to use them because you are almost always creating a vertex of some kind and they aren't long enough.  We are almost always using the nails instead and the set doesn't nearly come with enough.  Also, all of the lessons call for doing neat things with colored pencils stuck through the holes in the sticks but the holes aren't big enough to put the lead of a pencil into.  I can only do it with a mechanical pencil with the lead is overextended.  Mechanical pencils only come in one color.  Then, after you do your work your mechanical pencil is overextended and you can't write with it.  Grrr.

We have been going through the thread on "Energy" in BFSU.  I gave the boys presentations on four types of energy (movement, electrical, light, and heat).  They learned that energy can be stored or changed.

Above are some cards I made that we used to talk about ways one kind of energy can be changed to another.

We used balloons, balls, ramps, and pendulums to learn about "kinetic" and "potential" energy.

Here Kal-El is working on one of his vocabulary lessons.  We are using Vocabu-Lit, Book C

The weather has been nice.  The boys do a lot of their work out on the front porch.  Above they are identifying a caterpillar that they captured.  After they identified the caterpillar they studied the type of moth it will become.

Kal-El set up a habitat for it and it has since built its cocoon.  

We have finally been doing a consistent job of listening to Story of the World (history lessons in story form) during breakfast or lunch.  We have the activity book that goes with.  I like to use it to reserve the recommended books from the library.  The boys like to do the map activities.  Here Me Too is coloring the Nile river, identifying the delta and both "lower" and "upper" ancient Egypt.  The maps are so zoomed in that I usually pull out an appropriate Abeka map to show them the context.


  1. I just really love your school days posts. They are so encouraging, especially after a long day - or week - like the one we may or may not have had this week. I know I've said it before, but so many times I feel like I just barely scratch the surface with my kiddos. Somehow, seeing your boys so busy at work, and very often doing some of the same things we are, keeps me pushing on (and feeling like we should, seriously, be neighbors. There - I said it. lol! j/k). Thanks for taking time to share - I definitely know how hard it is to be present in the school day,and snap pictures, and do these things somehow without interrupting the flow of work :)

  2. I love the school days posts too. It gives me an idea of what can be possible. Your website is my secondary Montessori training after KOTU. :) I've read a lot of books, but being a visual person I understand so much more from your pictures.

  3. Thank you so much for your school-day posts. I know it isn't easy to document things, while in the dark bathroom with two boys, and a flash-light and some other apparatus...
    We are almost there. Almost. I am waiting on a couple of mail order things so that I can properly organize a few more things in our seemingly small space before setting the kiddos lose. (These organizers will ensure that things will not tip-over, and folders will not get spilled out.)
    Thanks for the fraction cabinet advice, and I think with a few area rugs (to cover the hard-wood floors we just put down...) we'll be in business next week. Wish me luck. There are still a few things I think are still lost in my collection of not-yet-unpacked-cardboard-boxes.

  4. Amazing Days!!! LOVE LOVE the physical Geo presentation (day and night around the world) I was in the preparation for this..... But I LOVE you idea, much biger than the little strips I was cutting!!LOL definitely I will try you idea!!! Thanks for share it!!

  5. Would you be willing to share your decoration booklet for math equations? This looks like so much fun!