Sunday, November 15, 2015

B.C. /. A.D. Timeline

First off, I want to apologize for not posting as often these days.  We are in the midst of packing to move into a new house.  I am super excited, but it is a lot of work.  I will post pictures later in a few months with our new classroom setup.  We will have a separate space for our atrium which will be very nice.  It will be good to have a dedicated space for that.

Ok on to the B.C./A.D. Timeline!

Kui and I have been talking about the books of the Bible and how it is split up into different sections. For those that are not aware, the Catholic Bible contains 73 books while the Protestant Bible only contain 66 books.  There is a great article here, explaining why 7 books were removed from the Protestant Bible by Martin Luther in the 16th century.  We have discussed the first 5 books (Pentateuch) along with the next 11 books (Historical Books) and are currently talking about the next 5 books which are referred to as the Biblical Novellas.  It is quite interesting to be learning these things along with my child.  Such a great gift and blessing of homeschooling! 

I'm sure you are thinking, great, but what does this have to do with B.C. or A.D.?  Well in our Story of the World study for history, we have already touched upon this and what each stands for.  B.C. stands for Before Christ.  B.C.E. is also used and stands for Before Common Era.  (Of course Kui then asks why it doesn't stand for Before Christ Era.  I didn't have the answer.  It was a very good question though.  Please comment if you know why.)  A.D. stands for Anno Domini.  However, most people think it stands for After Death. So she learned this, but we never really went into further detail about how the centuries are calculated and that one era counts up and one era counts down.

So....I made this simple timeline for her so she could visibly see the difference and where the beginning of our calendar began, with Jesus Christ's birth.  I put a picture of the nativity in the center and built the B.C. and A.D. centuries to the left and right of it.  I explained to her that there was a monk named Dionysius Exiguus who was a Roman scholar and theologian who was best known for his creation of a calendar that led to the modern Gregorian calendar.  Then Kui jumped up and ran off!  I was intrigued as to where she was going because I didn't think she had ever heard of this monk (or really even cared)!  Boy was I wrong.  She came back with the book, Story of Clocks and Calendars.  She had found the page with the story of the monk and told me that she recognized that name when she heard me say it.  I was impressed.  I mean, she actually reads those books I put on the shelf?!  This is GREAT.

We also reviewed over how long a century is and talked about how B.C. centuries start from a larger number and count down until they reach 1 A.D.  Then the A.D. centuries count up, the numbers get larger. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Decanomial - Sensorial and Bead

THE DECANOMIAL......dun dun dun......
Coincidentally, I showed Bubs the sensorial decanomial in the same week that Kui and I got to the bead decanomial (Well really we got to it because we finally got the beads in the mail!) 
I presented this to Bubs after I had shown him the short bead chains and he had worked with them for awhile.  He is quite aware of the different colors for each number.  For example, red is one, four is yellow, etc.  So when I started showing him this material he immediately pointed to the bead cabinet and said, "Mommy, it looks just like that!"  His shrill little excited voice encouraged me greatly in my homeschooling journey because all of these materials are quite time consuming to make.  Yes, there are quite a few materials that can be bought, but there are also quite a few that need to be made by the teacher (a.k.a. myself).  A great example of my hand made material can be seen in the third picture below.  Anyone see the wavy rectangles?!  Ha  Those got jammed in the laminator and when I tried to reprint them, my ink cartridge ran out and the blue squares looked more like a sky blue.  Needless to say that I wasn't going out to get ink any time soon and every day is precious in the wonderful world of Montessori learning.  So.....I decided to go ahead and present to him even though the materials were somewhat less than perfect.  (I do plan on fixing these, but for this presentation, it had to do.) 

I also need to make a storage container for all of these little rectangles.  Not sure where I will find that.....

Those wavy rectangles just add character right?!  This material is truly one of a kind.

Now for Kui's bead decanomial.  Wow, I definitely did not allow enough of the morning to complete this one!  I mean how long can it take to lay beads out in rows?  Clearly over an hour.  Ok maybe we had a few distractions like the table being bumped and beads messed up, T-man discovering that he can reach the top corners of the table and grab beads, snack time, etc.  Kui finally completed it though.  She was very proud of herself. 
Working diligently
In the picture above, Kui has already switched out her loose squares with the fixes squares on the diagonal.  If you click on the picture it will become larger.  Then you can see them in the top left hand corner and going diagonal to the bottom right hand corner.  Then she switched out the beads using the commutative law of multiplication.  2 x 3 is the same as 3 x 2 for example.  This is what gives you the pattern of the decanomial.
Her finished decanomial.  Phew!  It was a lot of work, but she discovered that it was the same thing that Bubs was working on and he thought that was pretty cool.  He looks up to his big sis and the fact that they were doing something so similar was cool to him.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Typical school day

Well, here are a few pictures from a typical school day around Our Lady of Good Counsel.  Don't mind the moving boxes in a few of the pictures.  I tried to not get them in there, but they are all over the house and they prove to be a great barrier for T-man entering the classroom, especially the one with heavy dishes.  However, you can see in the picture below, that someone had moved this great barrier and he had his way with the environment.  His first stop, Nito's chalkboard!

Oh did I forget to mention that he prefers to draw standing up and probably on one foot if he could manage!  This boy has no fear.

I presented the decimal checkerboard to Kui the other day and she picked it up right away.  It is very similar to the regular checkerboard. 


I showed the Zoology booklets to Nito and he really picked up on it quickly.  He did about 4 more and a few more the following day.  I am quite sure that he is ready for more materials, but I am finding a hard time giving him priority over Kui and Bubs at times.  There is just not enough time in the mornings to get to all of them.  Then you throw T-man into the mix, well....I'm not sure how I get anything done!

Bubs has zoomed his way through labeling the short chains and I can't quite keep up on the following presentations fast enough.  I am so happy though that he loves numbers so much, unlike his sister.  She is slowly coming along these days, but I hope to keep his interest as long as I can.  I just need to be more diligent in making sure I know what presentation comes next and having the material ready. 
Here is Bubs again with his numbers.  He insists on writing all the way to 20 and has begged me to let him use the marker board.  I gave in and told him that next week he was ready for paper though.  We'll see how that goes and hopefully there isn't a tantrum involved.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The 1,000 Chain

Well Bubs has made it to the 1,000 chain!  I really can't believe it.  He is really into counting and numbers these days.  When we are at Mass, he just opens the missal and starts counting the numbers in the Table of Contents!  He does seem to always point out to me the number 23.  He says, "Look Mommy that's how old you are!"  I have to remind my dear son that I am indeed not 23, but rather 32.  Clearly we have a little more work to do. 
Anyway, back to the 1,000 chain.  Bubs was sailing through the teen board and ten board so I moved along and presented the 100 chain to him to see how he would do.  Well.....he did it correctly the next time he took it off of the shelf on his own, so I watched him do it one other time by himself and then moved him on.  But here is where the challenge began.  Now I had to get creative with this gigantic chain.  Where shall we do it?  Do we have enough work rugs?  How can I time this presentation to fit nicely into T-Man's nap time?  (I wouldn't want 1,000 beads rolling all over the hardwood because T-Man thought the chain makes a better necklace or toy than a material!  It was sort of a spur of the moment presentation because he was asking for something else so I winged it (which is never a good idea to do in primary since the child really needs that sense of order and all of the materials ready for him as opposed to the elementary child).  Nonetheless, I persevered and improvised.  Only my daughter knew that I was using the Black Strip from elementary as a work rug (Shhh!).  But hey, it worked perfectly!  When you are homeschooling on a budget, you really have to work with what you have.  That thing was collecting dust anyway.  (Until now, because my daughter saw it again and of course wants another presentation on it like yesterday.)

Bubs was placing a hundred square at every hundred beads.

We managed to stretch the chain from the far end of the living room to halfway through the kitchen.  Thankfully T-Man slept the whole time.

Bubs really did the entire thing by himself.  I started him off and it is basically counting by 10s all the way to 1,000. It looks like this: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 20....100, 110, 120,.....980, 990, 1000.
Then at the end, you can put the 10 hundred squares next to the 1,000 cube to show that there are 1,000 beads!  Voila!! 
He did get it out the next day, but T-Man was awake so it was quite interesting to see how he managed to lay it out in the classroom.  He made it all the way to 700 before Nito had his way with it and messed up the labels.  Boy oh boy you can imagine how that went down........

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

My new Primary student - Nito!

After several persistent requests, Nito was finally presented watercolors!  I was actually trying to hold off on this because I could just envision the disaster looming in the future especially with that loooong walk from the classroom to the bathroom sink to rinse out the water bowl.  However, he surprised me 100%.  I guess it is really true that you should follow the child.  He has consistently taken this off the shelf 5 more times and with each additional time, I can see his concentration level grow.  I believe he is feeling very happy that he can do the same work as his big brother, Bubs!

Here he is doing button sorting.  I had to get a little creative with some transition materials from toddler to primary.  I had moved all of those items off of the shelf for Bubs awhile ago and sort of transformed them into new works.  Nito really seems to enjoy this and right now he is just sorting by colors.  I did present it as a work for gradation of the sizes, but that will be a point of interest later on after he works with it for awhile.  I will say that Bubs likes to take it off the shelf and say, "Nito, this is how you are SUPPOSED to do it!"  Thankfully Nito doesn't think too much of it and just says, "Oh."  Phew.....hopefully his self-esteem isn't crushed (I probably do enough harm by myself without Bubs).


Good ole table washing.  He is getting better with this one.  Less water on the floor these days.

 Oh, if only I could lounge on the couch and catch up with an old book!  He is very intently reading up on the energy from the sun.  I think he likes the pictures the best.

What is it about polishing that just peaks the interest of the boys in the house?  Whether it be brass, shoe, wood, it doesn't matter.  Polishing is the prized material in the classroom these days.  Let's just say that all of our boots, crucifixes, bells, wooden bowls, etc. should be quite clean at this point. 

Ok so this set of materials is just ghetto!  When it comes to the color tablet boxes, I only have the second box out of the three.  Therefore, I had to become creative to see what color Nito knows.  So I took the closest looking tablets of a few colors from Bubs box.  Then I just threw them in a basket and presented a matching presentation to Nito.  It was great!  He loves it and actually knows all of these colors.  I will then add the brown, black, gray, etc.  Then he can just move on to the regular color tablet box where it involves the gradation of colors from lightest to darkest.  Hey, he's only two and doesn't know any better.  Thankfully Bubs hasn't mentioned it or maybe he doesn't realize these came from his box.  Oops.......well maybe he will discover that soon enough!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Story of the World - Volume 1 ultimate nightmare and the one subject I dreaded the most as a kid growing up.  I mean, who cares about all of those ancient people and their Gods, spears, and armor anyway?  Ok that was a little harsh.   I'll apologize to all of those history buffs and lovers out there but the thought of history really does leave a bad taste in my mouth for whatever reason......until I discovered Story of the World by Susan Bauer.  Granted, we are only in Chapter three of Volume 1, but I am already in love with how she presents the information and makes it intriguing for the children. After all, the second plane child loves to hear a good story.  This is how you capture their attention and then let their imagination run free.

For those of you who are not familiar, Story of the World, it is a four volume set ranging from the Ancient Nomads to Modern Age.  There are several formats from paperback to audiobook.  Susan Bauer also provides a great resource with the Activity book.  Included in this for each chapter are additional literature resources to find at the library, review questions and several activities to go along with the current chapter.  It is actually quite awesome and I have learned a lot so far.  It is so great to be able to learn along with my daughter.


These two pictures are of a "cave painting" that Kui needed to do as one of the activities for the chapter on the Earliest people.  She was to try and create a painting like a prehistoric man would on a cave wall.  Her picture is of a goat with two people carrying bows and arrows trying to kill it for food.  She struggled with the technique that she was supposed to use, but overall I think she got the general idea that these prehistoric men would leave messages on the walls.

This is an example of a coloring sheet from the activity book.  The earliest nomads turned into farmers and created a leather bucket to capture water for watering their crops.

Our next step down the history trail is to utilize our history question charts.  Stay tuned for a post on our progress in learning about the Egyptians through the use of SOTW (Story of the World) and these charts.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Decimal Fractions - Part 1


Yay!  We have finally started something official for math this year: DECIMAL FRACTIONS.  I am shocked that I actually have my act together enough for this.  It isn't "easy peasy lemon squeezy" like my daughter goes around saying.  The tricky part to all of this Montessori homeschooling business is that I have to first understand it, figure out how to do it, and then be able to present it to the kiddos in a way that makes sense!  Thanks be to God for You Tube and all of those teachers who like to video themselves doing these presentations.  Just when I think no one in their right mind would video themselves talking about how to read decimal fractions, what do ya know?  There are at least 100,000 videos on the topic.  Go figure! 

We have moved along pretty quickly with the first few initial presentations.  Simply explaining that whole numbers are a unit multiplied by 10 to get 10, 10 x 10 is 100, 100 x 10 is 1,000, and so on.  Then, if you take a unit and divide it by 10, you get a tenth.  You have to almost spit on your child to emphasize the "th" at the end.  (Ok, how many people just tried to say tenth to see how much spit you produce?!)  Then if you divide 10 x 10 you get a hundredth.  A hundredth divided by 10 is a thousandth, and so on. 
The picture above is the "pinwheel" shape that is created when you write out the whole numbers and decimals with the cards.  I didn't get a picture of it, but if you stick a pin in the middle of the unit, you are able to spin it around, thus showing that everything revolves around the unit.  (Sorry about the glare in the photo.)
We jumped right into working with the decimal board which Kui really seems to enjoy.  She is using the piece from her chess set to show that the unit is King.  This reminds her to either multiply or divide depending on which way she is moving away from the unit.  If she is moving to the left, she would multiply to get a whole number.  If she is moving to the right, she would divide to get a decimal fraction.  Side note:  Don't mind the tray of beer bottles in the background.  She was working with those earlier to create different pitches with varying amounts of water.  Yes, #herdaddrinks

Here is a simple problem using the decimal squares and then locating the corresponding card.  She has 8 decimal squares in the ten-thousandths column and has found the 8 ten-thousandths card.

We did quite a few more examples of the simple problems and then moved into problems that involved exchanging.  For example, if she had 12 millionths, she would exchange 10 of those for 1 hundred thousandth and have 2 millionths remain on the board.  So, it is getting used to the idea of moving to the left to exchange quantities (which is a lower amount if you think of it as a whole number).  So far, so good though.  She enjoys it and keeps pulling it off of the shelf.
Stay tuned for adding and subtracting decimal fractions!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

1st day of school

Well... we actually did it.  Started back with school in the middle of summer.  I mean, who does that really??? 
Our first day was a big success.  The kiddos were very enthusiastic to see the new materials on the shelf.  However, I did have to slow their roll and remind them that I would not be presenting anything new for a few weeks.  We are spending some time reviewing while I get Nito transitioned into the Primary "classroom".    He is quite the eager little fella and will make quite the student. 
All summer long, Bubs has talked about how he was going to do the water and wine presentation, but the first thing he pulled off of the shelf was water colors!

Nito went straight into gluing, because, what is more fun than getting your fingers all sticky and then touching all of the other materials?

He did move on to more serious work like the brown stairs and dishwashing.  His first presentation went smoothly.  I was very impressed with his concentration level.

As you can see (sort of) in the background, I have rearranged the classroom since my last post.  I also have some empty shelves because new materials are in the mail.  Also, because T-man is around.


This is what the true classroom looks like when T-man is awake and on the prowl.  Bubs is being so patient with him while he is trying to do dishwashing.  T-man thinks it is like the bath tub and is splashing bubbles and water all over the floor!  Don't worry though, Nito is not too far behind with a towel to clean up the floor.  He actually enjoys doing it.

In the two pictures above, Bubs is planting fruit seeds.  The kids had this grand idea to plant cherry, lemon, and apple seeds and see what happens.  I'll keep you posted throughout the year to see if any seedlings pop up.  (You might have to check back in like 5 years to find out if any other them turned into an actual tree!!)

Bubs had quite the busy morning, moving from sensorial, to practical life, to language.  In the picture above, he is weighting the baric tablets.  He uses his fingertips to decide which is heavier.  He got them all right!  (I even struggled to get them right last year when I was "practicing".)
Nito ended the morning with his own rendition of "Twinkle twinkle" on the recorder.  It was veeery loud.  Thankfully T-man was awake from his nap. 

By the way.....if you noticed, there were no pictures of Kui.  She was not feeling well today.  I'm sure there will be a lot from her coming soon :)