Tuesday, April 13, 2010

School Day

Kal-El started work today with what are sometimes called "pink secrets" (CVC words written on little slips of paper and folded. The "secret" part is that the child reads the word silently because it's a secret. This is supposed to ignite the idea that they can read "inside their heads" rather than always sounding out loud.)

To change things up a little, I put the pink secrets inside these spring-themed eggs I picked up after Easter.

"Alternatives" to traditional eggs were rampant this year. I was also able to pick up "eggs" shaped like sports balls, cupcakes, and Spiderman heads. For now I am using them for "secrets." Later, they should find second lives in grammar and math activities.

Kal-El loved the "treasure chest" I found at Goodwill for fifty cents.

I filled it today with CVC objects. Instead of pre-printing labels, I wrote the words on blank label cards in front of him and he matched each label to an object as I wrote them down. Although we were communicating more directly this way, I refrained from correcting any errors as he went along. This type of material is self-correcting because if done incorrectly, the last label does not match the last object.

He was proud of his work and asked to pose for a photo at the end.

Next, we put away the labels and he chose to take out the moveable alphabet and write the words.

You can see in that picture that Me Too is in the background and had just clumsily knocked a bowl of counters off of the math shelf. Me Too did not want to "do school" today, he was too involved in his Hot Wheels cars when we began. He floated in and out of the room quite a bit, mostly playing with his cars but sometimes looking at a stack of cards off the culture shelves, "reading" a box of pictures I made to go with the moveable alphabet, or transferring counters in and out of one of the math bowls. We even got in a short game of "I Spy."

He made a lot of mistakes with this card and matching labels. Kal-El tends to sound out the first two letters and skip sounding out the last if he thinks he has a match. That posed a problem with this particular card because many of the words were similar such as "cop," "cot," "cap," and "cat." He didn't realize his errors until the last card and had to unravel several mistakes to get it to work out.

I tried to talk him into working on the sound bin for the letter "I" because he never remembers what sound that letter makes. He knows it is giving him trouble, but said "no, thank you" and moved on to a more physical activity.

He invited Me Too to build the brown stair with him and they did this together several times in a row. Kal-El gave him a "presentation" on checking his own work. When Me Too wandered off again, Kal-El pulled out a brown stair/pink tower extension.

He did a beautiful job with this. However, he was very frustrated at the end because he discovered that our third smallest prism (from Adena) is cut improperly. It is crooked and very rounded at each end...as if it was a wax block that someone has been drawing with. We have had this material for a long time and this is the first time we noticed. It matters in this extension because many of the prisms have to stand vertically. I just pulled some earthquake putty out of the drawer to keep it in place for the short time that we needed it.

In other news, I Fit (www.montessoriequipment.com) is having a sale. I had been considering ordering the rest of the math materials through them. Consequently, I spent some time making a spreadsheet to compare their prices to Adena's. I prefer to order from I Fit because I believe their materials are a little higher in quality. However, when I did the spreadsheet Adena still came out $100 cheaper and that was with the bead cabinet ( my I Fit order was without). Part of the problem is that it is so expensive to ship from Canada to the U.S. At any rate, if you are in Canada it is a good time to order. They have a coupon code on their front page for an extra 10% off.

The bad news is that I was counting on tax return money to pay for my order and we broke even this year...no extra money. The good news is that I believe this will by my final order and the math materials I plan to order will be everything we need for math through the end of elementary. Everything else I need will be things I have to make or random "culture" items like, say, a microscope or rock collection.

I have to get on this soon because we are up to cards/numbers and counters and the spindle boxes. To continue from here requires the bead materials. Yikes!

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  1. I am in a similar siltuation right now. We have all we need for practical, and sensorial (minus one or 2 things) and we are also on board with language. But I need to get on going for math, and indeed, the beads are next on my list...How are you buying this? I got a set of the golden bead material (the demo tray and enough to do the 45 layout, but I don't know how to go for the rest. Buying the kits as I need them and as we go, or buying the complete bead material...good luck with your decision. Let us know what you do.

  2. This isn't a comment on this post, but a general comment on your blog...I've really been enjoying reading it! I think I found it through another blog and have found myself coming back to read your posts.

    We don't do a Montessori homeschool, but I am interested in it. I used many of the ideas from my copy of Montessori Play & Learn when setting up our house, and will pull out activities that I think might interest my older son from Teach Me To Do It Myself. I'm planning to borrow the book you use for planning from our library; I read through parts when my first was barely a year and it wasn't as immediately relevant then.

    I also like your blog because I have two sons myself - 2 1/2 yrs and 10 mo, and it is interesting to see what life with our boys might looks like in a few years!

  3. Hi MBT! I just purchased all of the math/geometry I'll be using w/the kids starting as soon as we begin homeschooling. I am super busy with the new baby now but I will post about my decisions on the bead material I chose.

  4. Hi Gigi! I'm looking forward to that! Your son is beautiful!

    I think I am basically buying the list that Montessori at Home (Moosehuntress) compiled...plus an addition dot board, division and multiplication bead boards. I also still need the constructive triangles. I think the MatH list is missing 45 thousands cubes though to be accurate on the "every activity" assertion. Other things, like seguin boards I was going to make, but my friend has probably already made them. She is giving me anything made of "paper" for free and we are going to eyeball anything made of "stuff" and she said she'd say things like "$10 for this pile...." Keep your fingers crossed for me :)

  5. Hi MBT!!, love your school day!! We also working on our new materials... and I read about your constructive traingles... I made ours!! and they will make the same work!!lol, I'm going to send you and e-mail with the ones I found...just in case you want to make yours...

  6. Karen,

    I look forward to checking that out. I started to make my own using foam once and was so frustrated with the impreciseness I gave up.