Thursday, September 25, 2014

Observational Drawing

Back in July I enrolled in Lori Pickert's Free Observational Drawing Class. The class was set up with a forum for those who wanted to share and learn more from Lori's wisdom on Project Based Homeschooling. The lessons were delivered straight to your email. I really enjoyed taking the class on my own pace and being able to go back to the lessons after the classes ended, this class was for seven days. Lori included lots of tips and resources which is really helping me to feel more poised at given instruction in art. 

We did the first lesson today that introduced Blind Contoured Drawing.


 They really liked using the paper plate to blind them of their drawing while using their eyes to really focus on what they were drawing. Just so you know I decided to have them use a permanent marker so that once the activity was over they wouldn't want to "fix it". Also the first lesson given by Lori has the student'drawing their own hand. I know these two kiddos too well to know that drawing their hand wasn't going to be well received on our first go at observational drawing.

Plus it was such a beautiful Fall day and you couldn't help but notice the leaves.

I think it was a successful activity, expecially since they have continued to draw all day.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Reuniting With My Creative Self

It is happening again. What is happening again you say? There are two reasons that have always kept me from wanting to continue to blog, but I digress! The first one was doing reviews. I can't seem to enjoy anything once I have to do them. I still have one review that I have given my word to do. I absolutely, positively think that you guys would love this book. I have learned so much from reading it and the kids have learned a lot too. The problem is this review was due months ago, so now I have added pressure unto myself and right when I am about to hit the publish button I say "Naw I can do better than that", and then the saga continues.

The other thing is I really don't want this blog to be a "show off" blog. I don't want you guys to come here and see what new fancy schmancy whatchamacallit we have in our homeschool. There I said it! What I want is that when you leave this space you feel better than you did before you came. That. Is. It.


For a long time my creative juices just weren't flowing as I like them to be. Tonight I think I figured out the culprit, I have found Pinterest to be guilty of sucking all of the creative energy out of me. Yes! I have found a lot of inspiration from a lot of creative boards, which has caused some dependency and loss of creativity. I have decided that I will not recreate another project from Pinterest unless I have created a work of my own to share. If I do a project on Pinterest, I must follow up by doing a creative endeavor on my own and then eventually I am back to my creative self again. Did I ever share how much I love a challenge? :) I want to use everything I got everyday! I can't afford to lose anything to not using it at all. Does that make sense? I sure hope so.

How has your days been? Mine has been mostly smiles, full of grace, and kids talking about Halloween costumes. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

How We Do Spelling

They are very good at asking how to spell words that are meaningful to them. Frequently they record the word in a need to know place just in case they may need to know how to spell the word again. Lately, they have been asking for formal spelling practice. I did like All About Spelling, but for them it was "too much like a script", that had everything to do with me. I started to dislike the style of the lessons, although they were learning I dreaded spelling. lessons. I decided to come up with something that would keep this subject exciting, challenging, and consistent. 

I came up with a list of possible activity ideas to do with the spelling words, this certainly isn't an exhaustive list. They may and I hope that they will come up with another way to study their words.

I decided to use the National Scripps Spelling Word List for 2013-2014 School Year . They will also be using Quizlet to hear the pronunciation of the word, and for other fun activities that are available on their website. I made a matching the word to the definition activity. They love stuff like this, and I still like offering self correcting material.

DJ's spelling words will always be color coded blue, and Ken's will be red.

 The spelling work is contained inside two pouches. The smaller pouch which holds the words goes inside the larger pouch that holds the definitions. I was out of blue ribbon so for this pouch DJ has to remember that that his pouch has a green ribbon.

Here it is shelf ready, or backpack ready :) We start adding spelling into the mix this upcoming week. 

Organizing Lessons and Work Plans

In the moment of needing not to be tied down to a computer for finding all of the lessons in various folders I elected to print the lessons as we learn bi weekly, for some lessons/activities they may be stretched out to even a three week span. My organization needs to be portable and accessible at all times. We have had a lot of distractions that prevented schooling just because our homeschool wasn't portable enough. Now I have managed to organize for the mishaps. We can school anywhere, at anytime, or day.
I love the cover! I just looked for the link to the Free template, I can't find it. I apologize for not being able to link to it. I believe I found it through a Pinterest Search. It is the perfect look I was going for. Thank you so much to the person who chose to share their hard work, I really do appreciate it. I added Washi Tape around the border and ta da I was motivated.

The three ring calendar I found at Target in the stationary aisle. I use the calendar to record when I present Montessori lessons.

A look at the academic subjects that have lessons planned.

 I will use Math planned for DJ as an example of how all of the other subjects are organized.

I print out all of the lessons. Most likely we would have internet accessible, but we also have been without electricity due to an Ice Storm. The libraries were packed, and it would of been better if we were able to do school for the sake of keeping the rhythm, but if all the plugs and the computers are being used your chance of doing school is slim to none when all of the lessons are on the computer. Now I know to print lessons as I plan them and then we could even school at the park. The activity that I printed above can be found here. When we actually do this activity I will share the why behind I am reintroducing DJ to the Checkerboard.
I don't do daily lesson plans, instead I just go through and record the lessons in a sequential order, and Montessori Lessons are entered here based on my observation of Kennede and DJ. The plan above is for DJ, and you can see that he has enjoyed his Fraction Story Problem book for all of his math. I am certain the Checkerboard will be well received. I just haven't had the work available yet. I write all the dates next to the lesson only when the work was completed. I love notebook paper! I don't have to scrunch my handwriting into boxes, when I have a lot to write. Doing our plans like this prevents this Mama from feeling like we didn't do what we were suppose to do that day, it also allows me to give more freedom of work choice and it keeps me from always having a hidden agenda.

Nice little pocket folder that keeps our Latin CD's just in case we are doing school at a study space, like the Library of Michigan. Yes we look for inspiration all around us. We have become really resourceful homeschoolers. I also keep a wall world map in the folder. 

The pencil pouch does fit in the binder. It contains sharpies, post its, calculator, glue sticks, pens, pencils. scissors, etc. It is all mine, I do not share :) LOL. I am in love with how convenient it is to have everything I need no matter where we do school. This binder stays on my desk when not beside me during our work period. It is a Grab and Go system that all I have to do is hold our morning meeting, where we discuss our work plans and if need it be we can put "school "in a backpack and still have fun. The kids binder is set up similar to mine with resources for lessons, and notebook paper galore.

Their work plans are working out lovely. During our morning meeting we discuss what works will be done, and why they may be of importance to get that done. The photo is a page from Ken's Work Plan Journal. Super easy for them to implement! They will eventually be a little more detailed by the week as the school year progresses.

So all of this helps me to create their Portfolio  for the year- more on that as it develops.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Taste the Power

Well we are off to an early start today. I managed to get Kennede interested in one of our science resources.

We did a fun experiment that illustrated how the current of a battery could be changed by the saliva on our tongue. Disclaimer: There is a tingling feeling you get when you place the battery on your tongue, when you dry the tongue the tingling feeling isn't as intense.


Ken also learned more about using a Multimeter while doing a lesson that can be found on EEME


DJ will join us as we learn about Ohms in our next electronics lesson.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sneak Peeks

 We have just been getting our feet wet.

The Lesson Plan Binder has been my saving grace and the kids new work journals have been having an amazing effect. If your interested in knowing more about how this lesson plan binder plays out I would be happy to write more about it.


Science just kicked off for DJ this week. Ken not much science, but a whole lot of creative writing has been going on.


 They have binders too. The binder system has been amazing, it just took this familiy's organization system up a couple knotches. It is model of mine, they were intrigued by how all of my favorite things like Sharpies, scissors and glue sticks were in my pencil pouch right inside the binder. It would be an understatement to say that they love their personal pencil pouch with office supplies. 
We have been schooling away from home helping my mother with a health challenge. All is well ! We have embraced it and continue to pray. Now that my mom is home from the hospital we have entered into a new rhythm .....

History is up next. I made the Clock of Eras out of felt, I love the way it turned out. Math will come after History, actually they have been doing math while reviewing with beloved Life of Fred: Fractions (Ken) and Fractions Stories for DJ, but I mean Math with the Montessori materials. Reading and Writing with Brave Writer continues to be a success! We are just close to ending the first week of Arrow and Boomerang since we started in August(?). Did I mention that Ken has been writing a lot :)  

Well this post was suppose to be a sneak peek, in hopes that I could get ya'll to ask some questions. Go ahead. Ask away!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Volunteer Time!

The kids have been volunteering their time by helping with Brain Builders Inc., the non profit organization that I helped to organize. The last week of August we offered activities during a Kindergarten Camp at a local school and I must say that their enthusiasm and talents went far beyond my expectations of them. We shared our love of hands on fun with over 50 kindergartners, that rotated in groups of six to the different stations that were set up.


 After fooling around with circuits and making lots of play doh, Ken felt confident enough to give a lesson. She did an impressive job!

                                                         Squishy Circuits in Action!

Kennede was glowing with excitement as each kindergartner's light came up while be guided by her. Yep, she knows how circuits work, no testing required :)

 DJ was the guide at the Vinegar and Baking Soda Works table. I bet you guys already know that he rocked it out, especially if you are a reader of our past homeschool blog We Don't Need No Education.

In fact he did so well that he was offered a position as a third grade teacher assistant. Way to go Donovan!!


Nia and my nephew Christopher guided the Make Your Own Geoboard table. It was a success, their natural encouraging voices made it possible. After they made their reflections they said that it was kinda difficult for them to complete, but when they said "you can do it" the kindergartners got the job done. Both of them agree that the kindergartners liked it, and they should have more practice in the classroom improving their fine motor skills. They did well as a team and their smiles wear sported the whole time.


We all agree that we did a great job preparing the Tin Can Robot Making activity. The other activities were sewing and marshmallow tower building with toothpicks and spaghetti noodles. Fun Stuff!!

We will be starting back our regular "school routine" next week. It does make this mama feel good that the kids are volunteering. learning how to present lessons and doing a fantastic job at it. We really do love to learn!!
I am linking this post to Montessori Monday.