A slow start

20 days into the new year and I am not posting to this blog as regularly as I'd like. I certainly hope to post at least once a week or more.

What have we been working on?
Transferring dried pasta elbows with a spoon. This also evolved into pouring when Bubba got impatient. I think next time we will use less pasta so he achieves the goal within a few (3-5) scoops.

(Art Kit Photo)
As an almost daily request Bubba brings me his art kit and asks to "cor" (color). His art kit is a great idea for kids of all ages. Thanks to Grandpa Bob, he (and his cousins) got the best toolbox to be had.
(Art Kit Contents)
This is wonderful because as you can see it is filled with markers, crayons, chalk, paints, paintbrushes, colored pencils & a ruler. Now I just need to make/buy a waterproof smock and floor mat to be comfortable using the paints.
What do you use for managing art supplies?
(Art Desk Photo)
Another fantastic addition (thanks again Grandpa) is the new art easel/desk. This has a chalk board surface when an easel and a smooth dry erase surface when a desk. It is adjustable so it should last for years to come.

It may go against the Montessori idea (I'm not sure) to use flash cards but we have also been having much success with them. Bubba is starting to use words but like walking he seems to reserve his efforts until he is ready to run. Out of 36 cards he attempts to say 25 words after me. There are even some like car, ball, bird and fish that he will say from picture recognition. This is great because we have only had the cards out about 5 times and each time he attempts more words.
What is your take on flashcards? Do you use them?

I am conflicted about teaching a baby to read. My sister K has decided that she is going to use the BrillBaby method to teach my almost 1 year old niece to read. This is great because it works for them. I am not ready to do something like that with my son. I think that reading will progress naturally through our reading books, using flash cards for item recognition and when we start language studies through the Montessori method.

New Resources

I found another blog resource for at home Montessori education. The Wonder Years couldn't be more aptly named. She did a post today for the under 3 crowd! Of course with Bubba being only 20 months old my tired eyes perked right up. Since we now have a chalkboard I am going to show Bub how to paint with water. Bubble making also seems like something that would be practical for learning about soap and an extension of washing hands. I love her felt rings. Since Bubba got a wooden version of this for christmas we will be working with it more. The family photo album is something I am going to incorporate into our flashcard time. Love the little cleaning tools. Bubba follows me around the house making vroom noises when I swiffer the floors. I think he would make good use of tools like this but I'm not sure if I want to shell out the cash to purchase something like this in the long run. Lots of great ideas. I will be adding this blog to the friends & links over ----------------------------->
Do you have any great Montessori blogs that you'd like to pass my way?

Itty Bitty Love wrote this post today and I was in awe. Better words wouldn't have crossed my lips. Thanks Anne. I want to add the words RESPECT, DIGNITY & FAIRNESS as well as LOVE, FAMILY, PEACE, and INTEGRITY to our walls someday soon.
What words would you put on your walls?

Early work ideas from Teach Me To Do It Myself

Teach Me To Do It Myself has been a great resource. I like several of the activities.

In the Practical Life Skills section we are already working on:
Washing hands (in the sink, not in a bowl)
Brushing hair (this has been something Lovebug has been doing for quite some time. We just need to add the element of a mirror.)
Learning to pour (this has been spontaneous from Lovebug, this week)
Learning to transfer (also spontaneous, this week)

Practical Life Skills we will be working on:
Cleaning teeth
Folding clothes (Lovebug is really good at unfolding them)
Putting on a coat
Buttoning a shirt. (I will be making dressing frames for buttons, zippers, snaps, buckles, laces, ribbon ties, velcro, safety pins)
Putting on shoes
Washing shoes
Using clothespins
Using tongs
Opening & closing objects
Threading buttons

Developing Senses (sensorial) work to come:
Textural opposites
Tactile opposites
Comparing textures
Mystery bag
Learning shape & size
Matching two dimensional shapes
Matching three dimensional shapes
Discovering colors
Distinguishing sounds

For developing Language Skills we will continue to read. We will also be taking a weekly walk to the local library to choose new books.

Numeracy skills will come along the way so the only one I will focus on for now with Lovebug is sorting into sets.

Science is also a later skill set. We will continue to work together in the kitchen and gather objects to be analyzed on our walks.

Preparing the Prepared Environment

I have been working on the Prepared Environment for the last couple of weeks. This includes making clothing accessible in a dresser instead of on hangers in an armoire, putting lots of little baby things in storage, and beginning list after list of how to and what to do.
I must confess. I am a list lover. You, dear reader, will see many lists as we prepare for preschool. I am not limiting my lists to that time period though so you may see the many lists that are in my life in regards to our Montessori work.
Since I confessed I should share a list right? Of course. This list is not quite complete but will be updated once choices/changes are made.

Projects to make
1. Geometric Insets
2. Sandpaper Letters
3. Mystery Bags
4. Number rods & red rods
5. 2-d shapes
6. Color Tablets 1, 2, 3 & resemblance
7. Sound Jars
8. Smelling Jars
9. Button Frame, zipper frame, snap frame

More to come... Stay Tuned!

Our story starts here

Where to begin.
I have been reading a couple of blogs that have inspired me to begin the Montessori Method at home with our son. This inspiration has come from Montessori Free Fall and Chasing Cheerios.
I checked out as many books on the topic I could find from my library. A couple recommended books were not on the shelf so I asked Barnes & Noble to bring them in so I could look at them and purchase at least one. (I was disappointed to see the local store carried no material on Montessori.) They were happy to help so now I am the proud owner of Teach Me To Do It Myself by Maja Pitamic. I also have Lesley Britton's Montessori Play and Learn on loan from the library. I have chosen several concepts from both books and will blog about them in a future post.

We will begin our (home) preschool in January 2009. I chose this date because I need time to prepare our environment and materials. I also wanted to get past the holidays and chaos that entails. In the mean time I will be posting our preparations and the impromptu lessons that may happen along the way.

I guess that just leaves one thing.


Save Handmade

Save Handmade Toys