Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Our New School Year...

This past year I bought a whole Montessori program. Then I turned Allison's old bedroom into our new classroom. We really didn't get to do much before our school year ended bu,t I was able to set up the new room. I figured, I'd start with a tour...

Here is the left wall as you walk contains the sand tray, maps, puzzles, geometric trays and a small table to do work on...

This is the far back has all the sensorial items, language arts, and math...

The next wall has a little table and the farm table...

Here is the closet that now has two cabinets that house our book work and our dressing frame stands by the door...

One of the first things that I work on with my younger ones is learning to read. We do lots of work on recognizing the alphabet, the sounds each letter makes and listening to many great read alouds.

Now, Genevieve is reading quite well but she has been having trouble spelling and writing. I began to research what I could do to help her and was lead to this program... Now, I liked what I saw, but the price, well it left a lot to be

It got me thinking though...
(cute baby photo...David 15mos)
What if I used my Montessori Pink, Blue, and Green cards to make my own spelling program? You can get these cards for free online and you can get them cheap here...

(Cute Sophia photo, dance costume)

So, my plan is this. First, collect 60 paper lunch bags. For each bag, write a phonogram on it, like "ai". Genevieve will see on the bag the letters ai with a number with it. She'll need to write ai in the middle of her paper however many times the bag says. Then she'll open the bag and out will come photos of things that have ai in them, like; sail, hail, mail, tail, rail, fail, etc...
(Sophia's dance costume)

Also, in each bag will be little wooden letters, only enough to complete each word. So for sail, there would be an "s" and an "l" in the bag. When she has built each word around the phonogram that she has written, she will run out of letters in the bag. If she runs out too early, or has letters left over, then she'd know something was off. She would then leave it for 5 minutes and then return to try to read the words she made.
(Evie right after her recital)

Basically, it would be self-checking. After she completed each word group, she would then go back and WRITE the letters before and after her phonogram in a different color. The goal would be for her to be able to look at the photos and be able to write the words without the wooden letters.
(My little monkeys being silly)

For language arts, I found a really neat, simple program that I'll be using for Genevieve to go along with her's the website...

The material looks good. And it's a really good price. I bought the first level Phonics for the littles, the 3rd grade language arts, and the 3-12th grade spelling that I'll add on to her learning. She has samples of each level and now that I have it, it's exactly what I was looking for. It reminds me of Queen Homeschool without all the bells and whistles.

My next find is this FREE Literature/History program...
This is a program quite like TOG but I think the activities for the younger ones are more creative and SIMPLE. Simple is essential when you have 4 young kids and not a lot of time for collecting supplies. I like the book choices and it's set up like a Sonlight manual.

Math will continue with Genevieve doing Singapore and Isaac doing MUS.

Science will be simple too. I found that Rod and Staff's science is simple but interesting for Genevieve. We also suppliment with A LOT of extra reading.

So, that's it for now. I'll take photos of the spelling program once I have all the materials completed. I hope this helps someone else with a struggling writer/speller.


A Small Update from Me...

A lot has happened since my last post. I'd rather just get to why I'm blogging again but I also know that I'll thank myself later if I do a quick update first. :)

May 1st was a big day for us. My very first child grew up and flew the nest. Wow, it happens fast. It was one of those happy-sad moments that has made it hard for me to blog. I'm so glad that she is doing well on her own, is happy, and is able to fly on her own without help from us. I'm sad that she's gone and that we only see her once a week or so. I'm sure all of you Mother's of older-grown kids understand all the emotions that have been coursing their way through me as I learn how to be a Mom to a grown up.

The second one to leave, but only for 3.5 weeks is Jon. He's off in the mountains of Georgia right now enjoying his last year of Boy Scout camp. He returns Saturday and will be home a week. Then he's off to Engineering camp. He was selected to go to Rose-Hulman's Operation Catapult for a 2.5 week camp. It should be fun and I'm hoping it will help him to decide what he'd like to major in. This coming year is his senior year. He only needs one credit in a foreign language and he can graduate but I think he's going to take a couple of credits at the college in addition to his one homeschool credit. I'll be playing guidance counsellor again this year. Not too bad since most of my students will be in elementary school, but still it's another hat and I'm feeling the pressure.

And last but not least, Genevieve is off on vacation with my parents for the next two weeks. She's going all over the East Coast and will no doubt have a blast. My Dad is a big roller coaster fiend and I'm sure she'll get her fill. :)

So that leaves me with the 6 and under crowd. Not too bad... almost like a It's funny to think back to when I only had three and I thought it was overwhelming. lol We've had some fun this summer. We had a membership to a local country club for two months and swam at least 2 days a week, sometimes more. We've also been swimming in our own pool and Eric was so kind to refill the sandbox with all new sand. The kids spend a lot of time covered in sand. lol I'm going to try and pretend that I'm a summer camp host for the next month and see if we can enjoy the outside and each other this summer. We'll be putting up the bounce house, playing on the slip and slide, having water gun fights, swimming in the pool, building sandcastles, painting and otherwise playing until the new school year. I NEED a vacation and I'm going to make the most of it. :)

Well, there's my update. The next post will be about what I'm up to in the land of schooling this next year. I'm hoping to post more but we all know that life happens so I'll just do my best.