Friday, October 31, 2014

Playing With Food

Lately DJ has been interested in trying out new foods. When we go grocery shopping he makes sure to try out a new fruit or vegetable. When he picked out a orange bell pepper and put it in the cart, I had no idea that he was going to make a Jack-o-:Lantern with it.

I am impressed! All these years I have been trying to figure out a smiple way to carve a Jack-O-Lantern. 

I hope everyone had a eventful and safe Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Daily Life Of An Animal Lover

 I made a new blog where I will post daily. I will be writing about animal facts, my pets, and more animal related things. I would love it if  you checked it out and feel free to ask questions. Please follow,  here's a link to it


Monday, October 27, 2014

Our Weekly Rhythm

In an effort to not switch from subject to subject like we are racing against a checklist we created a Weekly Rhythm for our homeschool. I heard the kids loud and clear every time we were past warm up and their wheels started turning asking can I just finish this up, after I would announce it was time to move on to something else. My homeschool mom guilt started to get really bad, because I knew we weren't getting to those other subjects like we "should" be. We had a family meeting and resolved every one's issues (fingers crossed).

Mindful Math Monday

So Ken has been having a major self confidence boost in Math, thanks to her current math program Hands-On Equations. They say we need to play more math games too. DJ is begging for more stimulation as far as maths goes and it is a wonderful thing to hear him request Montessori Maths. Mondays are the only days we don't leave home, which allows us to take advantage of using  the Montessori math materials. When DJ gets into his math lessons he finds a way to do them, I can easily see him doing math everyday once he is presented with Montessori math lessons. I have been pulling my teeth trying hard how to get him back on track. During the storm we lost some of our most valuable math materials. So we push forward and revisit our math materials, go deeper with what we still have until our Montessori blessings arrives.  

Tuesday's Travel
 In the photo above DJ is eating our geography lesson for breakfast :) Has this ever happened in your homeshool? Our spine for Geography is Mapping the World by Heart, and lots of puzzles too. Montessori Pin Maps are going to be in full effect. I am adding in some Waseca Biome Work for good measure. Next week they will be learning about Contour Maps. Please know that research is interest led here in our homeschool and may be always done regardless of which day of the week it is. City Bus Travels can be scheduled in now. Anyhoo, they are ready for some challenging geography lessons. so let the games begin!

Wednesday Word Play

As I mentioned in a previous post we are using the Brave Writer Program for Language Arts lessons. With this new rhythm it is going to take us two weeks to do one weekly lesson, Doing the lessons this way isn't really all that bad, especially since we feel like we are going too fast through our lessons each day in other areas or just dropping the ball on other subjects all together. Also they will be doing  poetry, word games, spelling, cursive, and writing projects. The kids are also finally going to be contributing on the blog at least once a month.

Throwback (History) Thursday 

Reading Like a Historian has definitely stolen our hearts.  I am so excited that we now have three hours that will be uninterrupted to delve more into our history studies. I know both of them have a need to work with the Fundamental Needs of Man research work, and I feel ecstatic that I can now add that into our history days. I am 1 to 3 in our home and balancing all of our homeschool and work has been a challenge, but I digress! Time is on our side. The beauty of homeschooling is that you can schedule "school" based on the family's need.  Love that we have found this new rhythm!

Foreign Language Friday
Unfortunately Latin was one of the subjects that we have been skipping right over so much that we had stopped doing it. Not anymore! What is great about this is that I can see now how they are more ready for it. DJ also ask to study Japanese as well, so he is definitely ready to become Multilingual. Games, Songs, and Prayers I love this Latin Curriculum! In order to get the best of both worlds I have also immersed our other Latin program Song School Latin.

Saturday's Artist
I absolutely love the way these kiddos do art. They are learning to find their own medium to express themselves. This is an area that they usually just tell me what they need to finish their independent project. With crazy days, and the holidays approaching I felt there should be time set aside so it doesn't become neglected. Art also allows my family to meditate together. Sometimes it involves paint, music making, and clay. Other times sticks, sewing machine, and a saw keeps the hands and mind relaxed. I start off with our Observational Drawing Art lessons and then we will branch off to doing what we like best.

STEAM Sunday
We continue to incorporate our Thinker of the Month on this day. Also we are adding in Simple Machine and Electronics/Electricity threads using Building Foundations of Scientific Understandings Vol II and Vol III. DJ is already working independently in his zoology studies. Ken and Nia are building websites with HTML/CSS and all three of them are interested in learning how to CODE with the Arduino Uno. Also they are working on a documentary on the affects of Alcohol. STEAM Sunday will most likely be all day :)

Family Meetings are held on Sunday and this is when we talk about whatever it is that is on our minds, and also discuss those Work Plans. I share the required work and they may ask to meet that requirement a different way then I had outlined. They can also propose a different time frame that I have given. We will continue to read everyday like always, the books go along with the Brave Writer program. My work schedule is still evolving if I work in the mornings we do school in the afternoons and vice versa. No matter what we are either done by 12:00pm or 4:00pm. We as a family do chores that are assigned, help with dinner, etc. Usually by 6:00pm dinner is served and they may watch t.v play video games and what not. Lights are out at 9:00pm. The weekend is entirely different we don't get up until around 11:00am. So I figure we will most likely not begin our lessons until 1pm and end them at four o'clock.  I purposely did science and art on the weekends, because that is what they have been routinely doing anyways. They have plenty of time in their days to get some "me" time and still do projects of their liking. Most of the time when I am doing tutoring they are working on bringing their own ideas to life, see we motivate each other :)

Weekly Wrap-Up

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Rube Goldberg Challenge ~ Turn the Light Off

Looks like we were timely to explore Rube Goldberg as our Thinker of the Month.


Our time spent during "school" has mostly been spent outside of home, so we haven't really scratched the surface of exploring our Thinker yet. Our trip to the library confirmed that yes, Rube Goldberg was someone who is deifintely worth learning more about.

When I saw this activity set up I was so thankful. This was the most perfect way to get the kids charged up about Rube again, it was so well organized too. I got a lot of ideas of how to pull this type of thing off at home.


The Rube Goldberg challenge was to turn the light off. The clip is very short, but you can still see that this activity had DJ thinking. DJ and Ken both were successful at accomplishing this challenge, and of course the camera never works when your ready to record that great moment :)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Reading Like a Historian

It took me some time to realize that Ken and DJ needed more challenging work. They needed work that moved beyond there already mastered skills in research work. I found a perfect history program for them for FREE. Reading Like a Historian is geared toward 6-8th grade. This program can be used as a stand alone or as a supplement. You can use any history book you want, it covers US History and World History. There is another progam for highschool, Historical Thinking Matters which I think is awesome too, and I am excited to know what direction we are going as far as how we are approaching history. It is what I was looking for in a history program all of my life as a homescholing mama of middle schoolers! :) 

If you get a chance I would browse through it and see how it may work for your family or classroom. I believe that it enhances the Montessori child's education as well. If we look beyond the materials and stay focused on the Montessori Philosophy we can see how purposeful it is to be able to Read like a Historian. Also I see plenty of opportunities to incorporate those true Montessori Materials in a very natural approach. 

We are going back to our first book in the History of US series by Joy Hakim as we have decided to really tackle US History. This has given us a chance to do the introduction lessons that are included in the program. 


These are the concepts that we have covered so far. History in our home is always met with great anticipation, it is requested to be done often. We laugh and really get our debate on. This is another great way that you can encourage your child to speak up, and challenge in an appropiate way. Yes! Children challenge us adults, because that is how they learn.

"The adolescent must never be treated as a child, for that is a stage of life that he has surpassed. It is better to treat an adolescent as if he had greater value than he actually shows than as if he had less and let him feel that his merits and self-respect are disregarded." - Dr. Marie Montessori from Childhood to Adolescence


Friday Freewrite

On Fridays we make sure we incorporate Freewrite into our day. For reading and writing we have pretty much dumped all other language arts programs, in favor of Brave Writer. We have always read a book daily together and using this philosophy just makes sense for us. This time around I read individually with each of the kids instead of all of us reading the same books. They love to read and write, this program feels so natural. Some day we will bust out our Sentence Analysis work, but really First Language Lessons did a great job of teaching sentence diagramming. We left off of First Language Lessons more than halfway through, we will pick it back up again when their need for worksheets arises again.

This was their writing prompt today. Can I say I have some kids full of imagination? DJ wrote a story about "If You Give a Rat a..... " and Ken wrote about how candy is marketed to kids based on "holidays", and  how Gummy Rats make for a good treat in someone's trick or treat bag.

Keep them Writing!

Note Taking and A Coloring Book

A few books have been getting a lot of attention from DJ and Ken.

Ken absolutely loves the writing style and pictures that are inside the Student Atlas. Kennede decided that she would like to learn about note taking and uses this book everyday to practice that skill.



 Ken loves to change colors while she is note taking. What I like most is how she is attracted to note taking, it wasn't any where in my lesson plans to teach this skill. I love following the child!                                                                               
DJ has been enjoyng his new coloring book. This book takes learning about zoology to another level. Although it is written for a college audience he is understanding quite well. Let's just say the student has surpassed the teacher in this subject area :)

He loves his highlighters, I just think this was such an awesome idea of how he incorporated that into his work.

All is well!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Thinker of the Month

This month we are starting a Thinker of the Month. Well, I will try to introduce a new Thinker each month, but if the kids are highly interested in our current Thinker past the month we will continue until more inspiration is needed.


Since we will be also learning about simple Physics/Electronics using Basic Foundations of Scientific Understanding, I thought Rube Goldberg would be the perfect Thinker to explore.

I got a lot of  recycled materials handy and a surprise kick off project in a bag. We have a lot of busyness going on this week so I most likely will pass off their bag of inspiration over to them this Sunday.



3D Printing Machine

This week is Lansing Maker Week. Today we visited the East Lansing Public Library's Pop up Makerspace.



They were so excited to learn about and make things with the 3D printer and so was I. This Makerspace is available three days a week and on Saturdays for FREE for the next six months. I think this  place is going to be a valuable resource to us. 

Do you have a Makerspace in your area?