Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Been Meaning to Tell you...

As of Friday we are no longer watching Little C. It is his Parent's decision for there own personal reasons unrelated to us. It was definitely unexpected and we were quite upset at first. However, it really will be for the best for us!

It was much harder than I anticipated...fitting him into our lives and still doing what we need to do. Preschool was being rushed if we even could fit it in. Not to mention, errands and household duties that just seemed to never fit around nap schedule.

The hard part of everything is that Josh was pretty upset. We have known since last Tuesday. Which has given me just over a week to convince him how yes we are going to miss him but we will have so much more time for playing with our itty bitty legos and going to playgroup, etc... Luckily, he is buying it, and with the hope of future visits, is finally at the place were he is kind of excited.

I plan to just cherish the last few months of our time alone before Josh begins Kindergarten. Even bigger changes are coming for us!

Wednesday's Website

Sonlight is a homeschooling curriculum. It really seems very comprehensive and if that was the route we were taking I think I would probably use it.

But we are planning to send Josh to school in the Fall and just "afterschool" him. So, what I really use this website for is the AMAZING booklists. I check the books out of the library when I need them. I linked to the preschool list but make sure you check out the other lists as well. We are currently using the K and 1st Grade lists. They span many subject areas including Science, History, Geography, Handwriting, Literature, etc...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Montessori Monday

Taken from Montessori Read & Write by Lynne Lawrence

The question game for ages 3 and up.

After you read a book to your child or he/she reads it themselves ask questions like...
  • Who was the story about?
  • What do you know about them?
  • Why did they....?
  • How?
  • When?
  • Where?
  • With What?
  • What happened in the end?
  • How did everyone feel?

This activity is great for language development, as well as checking for comprehension. Josh and I need to be more diligent about discussing books in this way. Especially now that he is reading them. It is easy to get caught up in the decoding of the words and forget about if he is actually "getting" the story!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wednesday's Website

If you have not already done so...sign up for the Kids Craft Newsletter. It comes every month or so and is packed full of thematic craft activities. Also check out the website and make sure to skim through the archives.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Training Tuesday meets Sex ed...ish!

Apparently, Josh has some major confusion about the differences between boys and girls. And...all of a sudden it is coming up all the time. He keeps asking me about my penis (as in "Mommy is your penis sometimes still wet after you wipe?") and no matter how many times I explain that I do not have one he is insistent that I do. As a matter of fact, he often just looks at me like I am crazy and says, "Are you sure Mommy?"

So anyway, Today we will have to have the talk...or at least the first and probably easiest of many "talks" to come. (Complete with age appropriate books!)

Wish me luck!

Monday, January 19, 2009

My Latest Scheme

Josh is really into writing right now. So I am working on setting up a writing area for him. I have been really inspired by...

Supplies I have gathered...

Things I still need...

  • The perfect shelf system
  • Envelopes (I am out right now!)
  • Hmmm...what else???

Montessori Monday

I have an article to share today for Montessori Monday! Check out this wonderful article written by Lori from And if you need any materials make sure you check out her website. It has items to purchase as well as some amazing freebies.

Next week we will actually have real pictures! Of a real Joshua ...doing real activities...I hope.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Games We Just Love!

We are spending a lot of our time right now playing board games! Josh is really into them. I thought I would share our favorites.

Obvious Choices

  • Hi Ho! Cherry-O (Ages 3 - up) This is a super simple counting game. We have actually outgrown this one but he refuses to get rid of it.
  • Memory (any version) (Ages 3 - up) Simple matching game that comes in many different varieties, also easily made!
  • Chutes and Ladders (Ages 3-6) I like to play this game on a day when he has spent a lot of time in trouble. It really CLEARLY shows kids the power of their choices. If you choose to misbehave you "fall down", if you are kind etc... good things happen.
  • Cranium Cariboo (Ages 3 and up) Simple game of matching letters, numbers, shapes and colors. I really appreciate that many ages/levels can play by choosing different things to match. It also comes with a second version of cards to use for advanced players.
  • Boggle Jr (Ages 3-6) Another great game for varying degrees of difficulty! You can just have the child match the letters to the card, using the picture to identify the word. Or, you can cover the picture and have the child read the word. Finally, cover the word and have the child spell it using the picture.

Lesser Known Games

  • Buggo by Ravensburger (Ages 5 and up) Adaptable game of counting. We play it as an addition game but could easily be played as a simple memory or counting game. Josh actually shrieks with laughter every time we play this.
  • Globe game by Leapfrog (Ages 3 - up) Could not find a link...Strange! We just love this geography game that even comes with a blow up globe.
  • Great State Junior (4-7) Another fun geography game. Believe me...we can use all the practice we can get! This is a great one to help with U.S. Geography.
  • Tell A Story by Ravensburger (4-8) We really could not believe how much fun we had with this game. You pick a set of cards and then put them in a rational sequence and tell a story about them. There is a bit more to it than that but you get the idea. It was super fun and it was amazing to hear the stories everyone came up with!
  • Rivers Roads and Rails by Ravensburger (5 and up) This game is probably our all time favorite. You could easily play this with anyone 4 and up. So fun! It is very similar to a domino style game but you are matching 3 different transportation modes. Your piece may have a river, road, and/or rail on it or any combination and you need to find a match.

Crazy Choice

  • Hulk Smash (6 and up) I was totally against getting this game! I knew who would be stuck playing it with Josh and I was not going for it. However, for Josh's Birthday he got a gift card and insisted this was all he wanted. UGH!!! Well anyway, we gave in(after 3 mind numbing hours in Toys r us, "JUST PICK SOMETHING!")...even though the age is way too old, and it involved playdough, and mild violence. BUT friends, I tell you, this game is fun and EDUCATIONAL! Pretty much all you do is roll the number dice and ADD UP the 2 numbers. Move that many places, either with one or more playdough vehicles(more math!). Then you might be able to smash a playdough vehicle with a green hammer like fist. And really...who does not love a bit of playdough smashing?

Most of these games we bought at thrift stores and yard sales. I am always amazed at the good deals you can find if you are willing to look. A word of advise, COUNT the pieces before you buy it if at all possible! And, if you cannot make sure it is worth the in you could do something else with the pieces.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wednesday's Website

This is an amazing site I just stumbled upon in which you can create your own sets of 3 part cards by just dragging the picture you want onto the format you choose! Super easy. I have already made 3 sets!

Warning: This site is in a beta trial so is free for now! I say use it before we lose it!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Training Tuesday

This week we spoke of Safety. We spoke of the different types of people we know and our family rules about staying safe.

We also read Don't Talk to Strangers, Pooh! by Kathleen W. Zoehfeld and Watch Out for Strangers by Alex Ramsey. Both I like because they talk about how even though you may know people through your parents they still may not be safe! (especially the Watch out... book!)

A helpful discussion that inspired me to talk to Josh...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Montessori Monday

Montessori has been a little slow lately with the holidays and just general craziness. As a matter of fact we have not even entered the classroom in awhile! We have been working at our dining room table most of the time.

I am in the midst of planning a revitalization for our classroom work but in the meantime am just enjoying the easy morning sessions with a big mug of tea.

HOWEVER I have been meaning to share a really amazing MONTESSORI supplier with you. This is an incredibly generous mom who homeschools her girls in the UK. She makes BEAUTIFUL cards and has them available for free on her blog. So without further rambling I give you
also check out her

both are wonderful resources. My personal favorite is her continent cards on the Montessori page!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Embracing Winter

We are doing a Winter theme right now. I guess I figure if you can not do anything about it you might as well embrace it. (However I did just see it will be a HIGH of 12 next week sooo... we will be embracing it from the indoors!)

Anyway here is what I planned...








We will work on this for probably the next couple of weeks or until our interest is gone. We will also continue to use our basket of workbooks that he is real "INTO" right now!

Watercolor 101

Thanks to those who left advice! I have also been researching on my own and figures I might as well share some of what I have found!

An entire watercolor tutorial! We will be doing this as soon as I buy new watercolor paints
Cool watercolor activity. Stay tuned for info on an entire snow theme we are doing!
A watercolor techniques lesson.
The only recommendation for what type to buy was for this brand! So expensive though...
color mixing with watercolor

Watercolor must haves...
any watercolor paper (this is just the type I found in my stash!)
watercolor paint (I would like to try something other than these caketype paints!)
...and what I am most lacking...

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Wednesday's Website

Check out their worksheet section and activities section! I have been busy planning some fresh new work for us (stay tuned...) and have been finding a ton of ideas on For example... how about Super cheap sandpaper letters anyone????

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Training Tuesday

This past week we worked on using watercolor. But frankly, I am really frustrated! The paints we have are cheap and light and somewhat useless. So I found watercolor pencils and thought we would give those a try. I seriously do not understand how to use these.

We tried painting over a drawing with water but it does not do much. Anyone else have any suggestions? I am willing to buy different paints but any ideas what?

So for this Training Tuesday, I beg all of you to train me! Watercolor 101...

Monday, January 05, 2009

Montessori Monday

My sweet Cousin-in-law sent me a new Montessori book Dr. Montessori's Own Handbook by Maria Montessori at Christmas this year. Needless to say I have been pouring over it since it arrived.

I just love Dr. Montessori's description of the 3 period lesson (a way to teach a Child terms):

She says:
  • Period 1. Naming. "This is thick. This is thin."
  • Period 2. Recognition. "Give me the thick. Give me the thin."
  • Period 3. The Pronunciation of the Word, "What is this?" (Montessori, 58)

I, personally, need to work on incorporating the 3 period lesson into my style of teaching with Josh. I often forget but I love the clean way it expands his vocabulary.