Wednesday, September 11, 2013

First Two Weeks

We have been back at work for more than two weeks now.  Me Too began his "first grade" year and Kal-El began his "second grade" year.  I don't start out the year with a bang.  We are more of a "fizzle in, fizzle out" kind of family.  After a long, relaxed summer the boys are super happy to see family works and get back into our routine and don't really need new work or fancy presentations.  I save those for when the sparkle of our routine starts to dim a little bit.  Like a real Montessori school, our shelves are at their emptiest in the fall.  I have a whole storeroom of new work bursting at the seams though and you will definitely see some changes as the year progresses.

 There is ONE new work I put on the shelves early just to be sure I saved enough room for it.  The boys have been chomping at the bit to get their hands on it.  It is the Waseca Continent Stencils and Cabinet.  Each continent has four beautiful wood vellum pieces. Three are stencils to trace:  the continent, the rivers, the mountains.  The fourth is painted to show the biomes.  I let the boys "unlock" each drawer of the cabinet by demonstrating to me that they know the names of all the countries for that continent on the puzzle map.  I bet you can guess why they unlocked Australia first.  I'll post about the cabinet again soon.  I didn't get any pictures of their finished work for one reason!

Kal-El picked up right where he left off last year in the multiplication memorization sequence.  He has finished the multiplication bead bar work, the multiplication bead board, and is now working on the first finger board.

Me Too did some refresher work with the subtraction snake game.  I was busy last night getting booklets ready for him so he can start the subtraction strip board.

They have done some spelling and word study work every day since we started, but they seem most interested in math right now.  Above they are working on equivalencies and addition with fraction pizza game.

Me Too has been working on some elementary geometry chart type of work.  I have one more project to finish first, but I think the boys and I will tackle the geometry charts immediately following that.

The boys each do some kind of word study every day.  Here is evidence of one of Me Too's in which he was reviewing "long-A" words by reading cards that unlocked a "command" that told him where to affix the card.  This one was "Find a toy and put this car on its face."  He decided that his own face was more accessible.  He stuck another card to my rear-end when the command was "Put this card on something that shakes" and began singing..."Shake, shake, shake...shake, shake, shake...shake your booty, shake your booty."

Kal-El planned a big nature hike for us the other day.  He brought specimen collecting supplies, sketching supplies, food, drink, and even a first aid kit.  If you have been following us on Facebook you know the back story on some of that.  He collected Milkweed pods to dissect.

Me Too was NOT following instructions with the knife and did eventually cut himself.  He was being closely supervised so it wasn't bad.  A lesson was learned.

The milkweed was messy.  But after we were cleaned up a little we took some of the seed with their "parachutes" attached outside for a little hands-on lesson in seed dispersal.

Both boys have been doing a lot of composing for the violin and piano.  I have a post about that I'm working on for over the weekend.

The boys have been active in boy scouts, violin and soccer.  Coop starts this week.  Last weekend I took Kal-El to an astronomy lecture at a local observatory and he viewed some double-stars through some powerful telescopes.  He also attended a soapbox derby event.  They are busy, busy boys!

Next week it is time to kick off the Great Lessons and maybe add one or two of our new lines of inquiry to our routine.


  1. You guys simply amaze me! I always love your school days postings! I can't wait to be able to purchase the cabinet from Waseca, it looks great! On their site I really couldn't get a good look at it. Are you guys studying Biomes this year? Everything in this post is inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

    1. DM,

      THANK YOU! I have to say I'm sad that I won't be able to leave comments on your blog with them turned off. I love to leave you comments. I felt personally responsible because I didn't comment on ANYONE's job all summer because I limited my desktop computer time to save my back. I tend not to comment when using my iPad because I dislike typing on it.

      Waseca sells the contents of the cabinet altogether like I bought it. But, they also sell it in pieces by continent. To get a closer look at the cabinet contents look at each individual continent. For example, here is the link for NA, there are seven pix so make sure you click through all the pictures to see the detail:

      We will be doing the Introduction to Biomes and our own continent. I did not purchase cards for the other continents yet in order to spread out the cost. We'll buy one a year. I got the cabinet all at once so they could start the rivers and mountain ranges at any time. There is a lot of overlap with the traditional Montessori albums...zoology, geography, botany, etc., so I have a lot of the impressionistic charts already.

      I'll talk more about WHY we are adding it in a future post.