Friday, November 28, 2008

Teens Work

Josh has been STRUGGLING with the teen numbers! I have tried EVERYTHING. I finally broke out the Addition Snake game that I have been hoarding and set up a bit of teen work with those. It helped...sort of...a bit.

I had wanted to do the teen boards like these from (scroll down!) but we have been just struggling with the printer. (I have a new one now and will be printing the teen board out today!)
Finally...a couple of days ago I saw it click! He was setting up a set of flashcards in a row, just doing a quick get out of your chair activity before we did more phonics work. He was having the usual prob with the 16, 17, 18 area and I just pointed to the second number on the card and said, honestly in frustration, look Josh it is just 6, 7, 8, just like you did before but just with a 1 first. clicked...he got it and seems to even be able to count it aloud just fine now. I guess it was just finally his time to figure it out...funny though.
Especially since he used to be fine with it but somehow got it all mixed up. The mind is a fascinating thing...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wednesday's Website

Today's website is more of a general homeschooling, rather than Montessori, help! Everyday they post a homeschooling freebie, many of which I have found helpful now or worth saving for the future. If you sign up for their list they send you an advance email of what will be offered in the upcoming week. Oh yeah, and an extra free downloadable goodie!

Check it out~

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Training Tuesday?

Remember the days when I was organized? When I used to do Training Tuesday regularly? Well I really would like to start it again...but maybe with a bit more flexibility. I will Blog about it on Tuesdays but do the lesson whenever it happens throughout the week. I think that will work better for us! SO....

We have started with crumbing a table. Last week we had a particularly crumby breakfast in which Joshua excused himself to use the bathroom toward the end of the meal. Which allowed me to see the HUGE mess he had left. I sighed and was about to clean it up when it occurred to my too sleepy brain that he was quite capable. SO when he returned I sent him to get his brush and dustpan. Like this but we paid much less and it came with an upright vacuum! I quickly showed him how to brush his crumbs gently and he cleaned up his mess.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Montessori Monday

An oldy but a goody...

I keep forgetting to do this but it is a "must do" this week!

The Command Game

Supplies needed
  • index cards
  • list of verbs (action words)
  • child
  • marker

Write a different verb on each index card with a marker. Make sure they are verbs that your child can perform, such as run, jump, walk, spin, etc...

Child reads word and performs action. An extension could be to write a sentence on the card for the child to read and perform, such as touch your nose, find a red ball, etc...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

As Requested...

Amber requested I expand a bit on my previous post in which I said that we are working on planning ahead to behave right now.

Just a bit of background first...
We try to use Love and Logic as our discipline tool. It is, in short, giving your child choices to teach them to make appropriate decisions on their own. There is much more to it but...

Anyway, Joshua's behavior lately has been quite say the least. We pretty much figure it started when I began watching Little C. Sort of the old Only child syndrome. Although it is understandable that he is struggling with sharing Mommy, that does not make his behavior acceptable. We believe that as parents it is our job to teach Josh appropriate ways to behave.

I have pinpointed several times throughout our day in which Joshua has the hardest time choosing to behave. As an example, one such time is when Little C is dropped off. So now, when the time is approaching we talk about what he can plan to do during this time so that he does not make inappropriate choices. The conversation might look like this...

Me~ "Josh it is almost time for Little C to arrive, have you made your plan for what you will be doing?"

Josh~ "I will help you, Mommy."

Me~ "Well, Josh, that does not seem to really work for you right now...have you made your plan for what you will be doing?"
(The repeating is a Love and Logic trick!)

Josh~ (sometimes comes up with a plan but often gets frustrated with me not letting him meet them at the door. If he does not choose something, I might say...)

Me~ "You could build a tall tower for little C to knock over after breakfast or we could get out your Lego's for you to use at the table, which one would you like to choose?"

Josh~ (sometimes chooses, sometimes comes up with his own plan. I allow this most of the time as long as it is appropriate. L & L would suggest making him pick from the choices and in some situations I agree but here I am okay with him planning his own activity!)

When the doorbell rings, I remind him to stick to his plan and most of the time he does. Occasionally, especially if C's mom is taking awhile, chatting etc... he comes in the room. I see how he behaves...keeping a close eye on him and if he gets even a bit silly I remind him by saying something like, "Josh are you following your plan?"

If this is not enough to send him back to his plan it often will lead to a timeout in his room which also accomplishes my immediate goals of showing him his behavior is unacceptable and ensuring that the drop off time is calmish for Little C and his Mom.

We have been pretty successful with this for the past few weeks. Josh is quite an active child and seems to need to think ahead in situations that might excite him. He is very fond of the baby and wants to play with him but is really struggling with a way to play with a 1 year old who is just walking. So for now, we are making many plans throughout our day so that he can be successful and learn what is expected.

I am also going back to a more scheduled day which generally looks like this
8am Drop off
8:30 Breakfast
9am Boys play! With me, right on the floor with them to help with appropriateness!
9:45 C's Bottle and down for nap
10am Preschool
12pm Wake C and begin Lunch
1pm Josh on computer and C and I play
2pm Both boys nap
4pm Josh can come down and little C is generally gone by now.
This is a tough time because Josh wants me to play but I am often exhausted and trying to get dinner started. I would like to find a solution here...any ideas?
5:40 Daddy gets home and I finish making dinner
6pm Dinner and evening activity
7:45 Get Josh ready for bed
8pm Josh in bed, Mommy and Daddy passed out in family room from utter exhaustion!

Hope this is helpful! Please feel free to ask any questions and make any suggestions! I will answer in the comment section if it is a quick answer/comment.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Working Together!

Many of you know that we host pretty much all the holidays in our home for both sides of the the same time. For the most part, it works out well. However, for me, it is a LOT of work. I have been going a little crazy this week trying to clean the house and plan the meals and still taking care of both of the boys.

Yesterday, after breakfast, I was cleaning in the kitchen. The boys were driving me a bit crazy...under foot and all. Then, Josh asked if he could run down and get his duster to help. Well I of course agreed but I figured it would be less help and more of a hinderance. Apparently he had a plan, we are working on planning ahead to behave right now. So anyway, he also brought up his vaccuum and handed it to Little C. So for the next 10 minutes, Joshua dusted and Little C vaccuumed and I got some actual cleaning done!

Dr. Montessori would have been so proud!

Friday, November 21, 2008

This is How We Roll

Hmpf...I crack myself up!
Anyway...Josh finished rolling this entire container of pennies in about 2 days of short sessions. He did need a bit of supervision (read double checking!) to make sure the penny count came out right but he did really well.
All we did is have him stack pennies in little piles of 10. Then he counted 5 piles and we stuck them in the wrappers. Easy!
Now why did I let them sit there for 6 years on my kitchen counter???

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wednesday's Website

When I first started on my Montessori journey with Joshua I discovered this amazing website with all of these super helpful ideas and pictures. I immediately realized that not only would I never have such an elaborate set up but I never wanted too! This woman is amazing and way beyond me!

But seriously, check out all the pictures, you are bound to find an idea you could use with your children. Prepare to be a bit stunned!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Montessori Monday

Idea borrowed from Montessori Read and Write by Lynne Lawrence~

I do not know about you but I CANNOT get Josh to do the Mystery Bag activity without cheating. So when I stumbled upon this idea I knew my problem was solved.

Lynne Lawrence suggests, at around age 4, to play a game called Guess the Object. All you need is a drawstring bag filled with small objects and 2 willing participants. You have one person reach into the bag and describe an object. The other person may then guess what the object might be. When guessed correctly the 2 may switch roles. I love this idea because it provides for a wonderful language exercise teaching the child a wonderful lesson on adjectives while also having a sensory experience.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Thanksgiving Plans

Since I was planning the next couple of weeks for Josh, I thought I would share it all with you! Hope you find an idea you can use.

I am personally borrowing A book from the Raffi song Thanks a Lot! A counting game using dice. A counting/graphing game using unifix cubes.

Don't know how much of this we will get to do but it will sure be a fun couple of weeks! We are pretty excited about Thanksgiving this year. We have not seen too much of Andrew's parents this summer and they will be staying with us for a few days. Also it is just nice to have several days in a row to spend together! Not to mention...the pumpkin pie...yummy!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Our Fall so far...

We have been very busy this past month and a half. Here are a few highlights!

Here is Josh with one of his Columbus Day projects. He created the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria out of an egg carton, play dough, toothpicks, and paper for sails. I have yet to come up with a quality read aloud for young children about Columbus. They are either misleading or just way too complex. Any suggestions for next year??

Here is Josh at our Camp reunion canoeing with me and Andrew. We had a great time and the weather was wonderful.

We also continued with our preschool work. We have been spending less time in our preschool room and more time at the dining room table. Josh seems to be drawn to doing work in workbooks and worksheets right now. I am planning to come up with a few new items to put on the shelves to see if we can renew interest in Montessori but if not I have no problem with just following the child!

Oh he is using the cards from Jo. He loved these and even made them into a book when he had finished this counting game.

We have 2 giant trees in our front yard so we have enjoyed many fun Fall days jumping in the leaves!

We also made our annual trek to the Pumpkin Patch. We try to always get a picture of Joshua next to this scarecrow sign. This one turned out especially cute! We did a corn maze and checked out the farm animals but we went to a local grocery to buy our pumpkin because I just cannot pay $20 for a pumpkin. We ended up spending $6 for 2 local grown, one fancy and one regular.

And finally, here is Joshua in his Harry Potter costume on Halloween. We went trick or treating this year which was a first. Because of Joshua's restrictive diet, we just traded Josh his candy for the more nutritious treats we had waiting at home. He was thrilled since not only is he unable to eat much of the dyed candy but he also strongly dislikes (read totally hates!) Chocolate! We had a fun time since it was a beautiful night...very strange for Michigan. It is usually raining, sometimes even snowing on Halloween.
Thanks for visiting!

Wish I Had Remembered My Camera

Today we got out the giant bowl of rice I keep packed up under the art table. Josh worked at finding coins and making a pretend cake while I ironed the fuse bead creations we had made. When I finally joined him I realized that the coins were covered in... I do not know... something yucky. So we grabbed the vinegar and salt that I had remembered from Chasing Cheerios (Thanks Melissa!) and we got to work! They shined right up and I had Joshua use the "chopsticks" from Let's Explore to pull them out of the solution one by one. He did great and it was nice to see all the Montessori work paying off in a semi real world setting.

In the midst of all the fun, Joshua says "Mommy this is just like our work in preschool!" Hmmm, just what I was thinking.

Not going to give a bunch of apologies or explanations for our absence...I just needed the break.