Thursday, October 2, 2014

Full Time Montessori School

My boys are officially IN school.  Link and Bumblebee are going to a Montessori school from 8:30 to 3:30 every day.  While I miss them terribly and feel left in the dark about their school, it has been nice having more time for my two baby bugs :)  Anyone wonder why?

Well, in a nutshell, my husband changed jobs.  The long story is we are moving out of state, currently in a hotel, and now have access to at least 5 Montessori schools.  I couldn't homeschool in a hotel, no matter how big it is.

It's going great though!  I knew there was a reason I thought Montessori was so great.  I'm finally FULLY experiencing it.  Oh, we had our moments at home.  Both boys were reading when they started, doing some math, and other things.  But now they are so much more independent in their work.

Link is THRIVING with the older kids.  He wants to practice his reading and writing at home.  He likes doing the big work, especially when an older kid works with him.  Its a great environment for him.  It has cemented in my husband and I what we were pretty sure of before - Link needs Montessori!  I would not put him in a normal school, public or private.  I would either homeschool with Montessori (with extra group meetings) or do Montessori private school.

Bumblebee is busy busy bee as well.  He wasn't having the difficulties at home that I was having with Link.  He was just being neglected because he's four and Link is six, and I felt like I needed to focus on Link.  His reading is really progressing.  But, he can't really remember what he does as school, so all I have to go on is what he brings home.

If we end up moving, I'm still planning on homeschooling.  If we stay... I don't know.  I really, really like their school.  So we'll see.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summer School at Montessori

Here's another look at some of the boys' work. 
I'm a little concerned by the worksheets. Link has made several books based on three part cards. His concentration and willingness to work seems to be improving. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Summer School

The two big boys have been in a Montessori summer school. Check out some of their work. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

New Baby!

Please welcome my little Ladybug!

We have a lot going on here lately, so I won't be posting for a while.  In addition to being up a good bit of the night with this sweet girl, holding her most of the day, trying to get outside to enjoy the weather and keeping the boys out of trouble, we're also getting ready to move. (Notice I didn't say anything about school time!) I'll catch back up in August.... maybe :)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Kodály Method for Teaching Music

I would like for Link to have some additional music education.  The Key's of the Universe album that I have covers the bells and music notation very well.  However, I wanted more for singing, rhythm and movement instruction.  

Link seems to have an aversion to music!  So I don't want to jump right into formal music education. I'm going to have to start small.  Kodály so far seems to be a great fit.  

This post is really about me taking some notes from The Kodály Method by Lois Choksy, which I checked out from the library.  I was debating purchasing the newer version, The Kodály Method I, which is supposed to include monthly and yearly plans for each grade level.  For now, the library version does the trick, but I need some notes for when I take it back :)  I'm only focusing on Grade One.

The author first notes that if a child has not learned the concepts normally taught in the Hungarian Nursery School, they should be taught first, regardless if the child is now 6 years old, in the first grade.  Those concepts are: 
"in-tune singing, feeling for beat and accent in duple meter, ability to identify rhythm patterns of familiar songs and to step and clap rhythm and beat, as well as the understanding of the concepts of high-low, loud-soft, and fast-slow.  In addition, it is necessary to build a repertory of songs and singing games of small range and easy rhythms from which to draw the later skill-teaching material."
Two nursery rhymes that are recommended for teaching duple meter and for later deriving rhythm pattern and accent are Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater and Baa, Baa, Black Sheep.  At some point in the book I read that only the best teachers should teach music. I should note here that I have no idea what teaching duple meter is and I personally don't know how to sing in-tune.  I hope I don't mess this up!  Maybe I'll learn along with the kids :)

The activities suggested for use with these rhymes are to "aid in the development of a rhythmic sense as well as of inner hearing and concentration."  They are as follows, in increasing difficulty:
  1. say these in rhythm
  2. step the beat
  3. clap the rhythm (the way the words go)
  4. play the rhythm on hand drum or rhythm sticks while stepping the beat
  5. clap the rhythm while thinking the words but not saying them aloud
The next part is where I have difficulty.  In-tune singing is taught concurrently with rhythm and beat. I don't think I could teach using the first method mentioned, since I wouldn't know in-tune from out-of-tune.  Here's the good part - "The earliest material used for teaching children to sing accurately and in tune should be authentic children's singing games and fold music of the proper ambit..."  Horray!  I can start there :)  Then we'll add to that by performing them in different ways to teach high and low, soft and loud, and fast and slow.  The author suggests that half of a school year should be devoted to building this repertory of basic teaching songs.  Only then should one move into the teaching sequence.

I'm going to stop there.  I'll check the book back out in 6 months or so, when we've mastered some songs.  Its sad that we haven't included this in our day to day so far.  You can probably tell I'm not a very musical person myself.  I like to listen to music, I appreciate it, I just don't have any skill.  I want to make sure that my boys have more opportunity than I did :)

There are two resources that I have purchased, but have not yet received.  The first is Kodály in Kindergarden by Katinka S. Daniel.  Here is the description from Music in Motion:
Curriculum lay-out, 50 lesson plans and 107 songs to establish both musical and language knowledge, instill a love of singing and moving together, give a feeling for aesthetics, develop the body and character.
The other is Learning Basic Skills Through Music by Hap Palmer.  This one I will use just to sneak some rhythm work in with music, since Link seems to dislike listening or singing anything.  He does like to move!  Hopefully these two together will give us something to start with, but I won't really know until I get my hands on them.  

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Short Bead Chains + 3 Boys in the School Room!

My first experience presenting the short bead chains was such a let down!  I was going to title this post "I Have the Whiniest Kid Ever."  Link was so excited when I said "Today you get to use your new bead chains!" We got through counting to about 8, and he said "Mommy, don't you know I don't like school?"  After taking turns with him a few times, I couldn't take the whining anymore and I finally just asked if he'd like to put it away.  He wanted to know if that meant school was over, but I told him he'd have to choose something or I could choose for him.  He chose the binomial cube, knob less cylinders, then he read me a few of his readers from LoE set A (he's on B now).  The rest of the day was a struggle.  Bumblebee was very interested in the 100 chain!

Baby in the school room!
Later, he mentioned again that he thought the bead chains were going to be fun, but they weren't.  After explaining that he would learn to skip count using them, he was interested again (he often tries to skip count, but can't.)

The next day, I let Link choose any color he wanted.  He asked for the long chains a few times, but I insisted that he had to show me could do the short ones first.  He was going to do them all!  He chose 1s, 2s, 3, and 5s.

I caught Bumblebee, who is about to turn four, taking short chains off of the cabinet several times.  At first I'd tell him no.  Then, when I realized that he was taking each off very carefully and folding it up to compare to the square, I decided to let him.  Then he said he wanted to skip count, but sometimes he'd skip numbers.  I decided to start him with the teen bead stair since he knows those pretty well, but still needs some work.  I'll work through the Group 3 section with him even though he hasn't started Group 2.  We finished up Group 1from Meg's album last week with the Memory Game of Numbers.  I need to check back with Gettman to see if there is anything that we skipped with Bumblebee.  He really gets the short end of the stick!  I need to start focusing more on where he is in the periods!  I'm not sure he's ready for Group 2, but I may at least introduce it.

You may also notice that there is an almost-two-year-old in the school room!  Boy does that make it difficult to stay in one place!  Beya has his shelves and really enjoys what is on them.  But he also likes to constantly see if he can grab something off of the other shelves.  He's only been joining us for the past week or so, so hopefully he'll learn soon and calm down a bit.  I have a feeling I'm going to have to start rotating his shelves now too!

This is all getting a little difficult for me to keep track of!  Bumblebee has learned all of his letter sounds and some counting, just from being around Link.  I haven't really focused on him at all!  I haven't even made sound boxes for him!  Don't ask me how he learned what he has, I'm amazed :)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Planning With Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding (BFSU)

I'm in the process of planning for our next term and I want to make sure I get a bit more Science in the mix.  To that end, I'm planning out a lesson from BFSU once a week, and hopefully integrating it with my nature study plans.

So I sat down with my BFSU and opened up to the flow chart page.  After flipping back and forth from it to various lessons, I decided to search online to see if someone had made something a bit more concise for planning.  It took me a while, but I found two great resources and I had to post the two links before I lost them!

First, is a list of the topics in an order that ensure prerequisites have been met.  The author of the book is very adamant about NOT creating this list from what I've read on different forums, because he wants to keep flexibility in how they are presented.  That's nice, but I'd rather have a schedule I can change than one that is so flexible that I can't follow it!  Here's the link to the blog where I found it.  At least now I can assign a lesson to a week and easily know what to prepare for ahead of time.

Second, is "Lesson Plans" for each lesson.  The order is very similar to the list of topics above, but different since there are various ways to meet the prerequisites.  These lesson plans cannot replace the book, but offer a concise plan to follow after the book has been read.  It'll make actually doing the lesson a little easier I think.  If you want to download this, I suggest using the Google Docs link, rather than clicking on the picture, as it is much simpler to get the file.