Tuesday, October 14, 2014

School Days

This picture illustrates that cracking an egg is still a skill "in progress" at our house.  Whoops.  I keep a paper towel underneath the bowl when he cracks them so that we can still dump the egg into the mixer if he misses.

After it took the boys three full weeks to work through their work plans the first time, I quietly added a little incentive.  I announced that anytime someone completes their work plan we will "celebrate."  That person gets to pick a recipe and mom will teach them how to make it.  Kal-El picked monster cookies.  Me Too picked lemon bars.

He loves making anything with lemons because he gets to use both the juicer and the grater.  I think my plan worked, because Me Too will finish his work plan for the second time tomorrow and this time it took two weeks instead of three.  I don't want them to rush through their work plan.  They haven't.  They just seem a little more motivated to do one extra work before packing it in for the day.  Or, as they did last night, slip into the school room after dinner to knock out some word problems.  He has gotten a lot of enjoyment out of thinking about what he will cook this time.  I haven't heard the final decision, but it sounds like lemon merengue pie.  We will be chubby and smart.

Me Too has been working hard on the Africa map, the only map the boys don't have at least basic proficiency with.  Here he is using the puzzle map, control, AND the Montessori iPad app to help him pronounce the countries.  

Kal-El is plotting a volcano build in the near future.  He reviewed the parts of the volcano with the Waseca cards that came with the North America Biomes Curriculum.

One of his favorite things to do is draw scientific things on the whiteboard.  After his review he drew a volcano and told me about all of it's parts.

This always starts a lot of drama because Me Too likes to use the white board for spelling as intended.

Me Too was along for the ride last year when I presented the hierarchical materials.  I have decided he was really a primary child all of last year and therefore needed his very own presentation on these materials this year.  Such a difference!  He did all of the work with these in one sitting.  I've left them out for the week to encourage additional exploration.  He also had his introduction and first two exercises on the large bead frame.  Soon I will introduce him to the LBF paper.

A little insect work was done as one of his "kid's choice" selections.

He has struggled a bit with story problems until recently.  He always, always seems to know the answer right away.  However, thanks to his firm Montessori background, the relationship between addition and subtraction, division and multiplication is really strong.  So strong that he sees every subtraction problem as an addition problem and every division problem as a multiplication problem.  The command cards ask him to write down the equation needed to find the answer.  So if he is asked, "A male seal weighs 340 lbs and a female seal weighs 200 lbs.  How much more does the male seal weigh?"  He writes down 200+140=340.  It really doesn't matter, but this is one of the few places in our work where I am trying to familiarize the boys with what a public school student might see or do.  So, I've been gently reminding him that he has just discovered the difference between two numbers and that when we find the difference we have subtracted.  The equation is 340-200=140 and the equation HE wrote down is also correct.  All of a sudden this week he seems to have caught on.  I'm not worried.  I think his reasoning shows understanding.

Kal-El works with story problems as well.  The difficulty level of the operations is much simpler than what he does in his other work, but it's the reasoning and working with different ways he can be given the information that he needs to practice.

He is still alternating racks and tubes work and checkerboard work from day to day.  He is working with three-digit multipliers now.  However, I have yet to see him get through an entire equation without some small error.  Usually it's a silly addition error when consolidating or exchanging.  I hope that is normal.

Me Too likes to work with our Albanesi command cards for geometry.  Our recent work on angles unlocked a few new cards for him.

Here Me Too is working with the grammar command cards.  He pulled a card that asked him to sort "plant" and "animal."  I shuffled up the picture cards from our animal and plants kingdoms charts. Those were TOUGH for him because he had to distinguish poriferan and cnidaria as animals (even though they look like plants) 


  1. Awesome!! I like the cooking incentive. We are just starting off now, and I am again trying to gauge where everyone is, what they remember and what they forget. I like to see that you all are rolling along. It also reminds me what loose ends to pick up and prepare! I am thinking about all those command cards right now and I think that this might help spur some independence in T. Back to work on those materials. Save me some lemon bars and Monster cookies! :)

  2. Looking good! Can you come to my house and help me get my kids on track? You can babysit the 6 month old so I can actually give a full presentation without being interrupted! :) I just made some geometry command cards but haven't put them on the shelf yet. Do you sort them or just stick them altogether in an envelope? Is this required work for you or are they choosing this on their own?

    Lemon meringue sounds friggin' delish right now!!!


    1. Jenn, we'll have to coordinate lessons, and our own baking projects...and then overnight some to MBT!! Oh, wait, do you need any extra MBT? It sounds like your boys are keeping you well stocked!

    2. LOL! Me Too made a cherry pie Thurs. Mmmmm....

      Smart and chubby!