Friday, March 29, 2013

Alphabet Egg Hunt

I thought I would share the pictures from our egg hunt that we did today, to finish up our Easter theme. I have to say, this just goes to show that kids really don't have to have candy inside an egg to be excited about finding them. My children HAVE done candy/egg hunts, so I wondered if they would be let down by just eggs with no fillers, but I was very wrong!

I had them all go in one of the bedrooms, while I hid all of the eggs.













 After hiding them in various places in the main part of our house, I laid the tray (just a cookie sheet from the dollar store) on the table as a place to put their eggs when they returned them. I also laid out our moveable alphabet as an added mini-challenge - they had to bring the egg back to the table, find the correct matching letter, and then return it to the tray.



I know this picture is blurry, but it's because they were, for the most part, running to find eggs. It was so neat to see them so excited about something so simple, even the older ones :)  

They all thought it was funny that I hid some of them in our grammar farm 






After a few rounds of hunting and finding the eggs and matching with our alphabet, I made it a bit more challenging. I had previously sat down with them, before we began, and had everyone examine a basket of small objects, one for each letter of the alphabet. I wanted to make sure that even the younger two girls knew what each object was and be familiar with it. After matching with the moveable alphabet, I took the letters away and laid out each object, in alphabetical order, and they had to find the egg, then come back and find the object that made the same beginning sound. They enjoyed this, although they were tired and hungry by the time we got here, so we only played one round this way. Bug had to have a little help remembering some names of objects that she wasn't very familiar with at first (such as cork and lightning). I tried to upload a video to show you a clip of Hoss as he brought back an egg and found the matching object, but for some reason it didn't want to load right. If I can get it to work, I'll add it at a later date :(    



I hope you have enjoyed this and maybe can do something similar with your kiddos over the weekend! I have a feeling we won't see the end of egg hunts, regardless of the fact that Easter is in just two days and then will be over for another year! The kids were already hiding them this afternoon for each other.  I hope you all have a blessed Easter weekend!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Easter 2013

FINALLY getting around to getting this post up. Before I go into the fun little things I added to our shelves this week, I want to say that I absolutely think the focus of Easter should be on what Jesus Christ did for us. I don't mind having fun with my children, but we don't go overboard with Easter in a commercialized way - that drives me crazy to see so many people use ANY holiday just as a means to make more money.


As most of you that have read the posts on my blog, Montessori is relatively new to me. Thankfully, there are so many good resources in the 'blogosphere' (okay - I admit, that word still rings odd to me!). I am at a point now where I think I have the basics down as far as what I would like to see happen with our homeschool, and know where to go for quite a bit of information that I need to make that happen.  No way on Earth do I have anything mastered - I am always learning, and probably will be until the last child graduates! What I am trying to swing my focus on now is organizing and keeping a good schedule for myself , so that I can learn what needs to be done when, and try to stay ahead. I would love to have a great big school room where I could have everything needed at my finger tips whenever (much love over the school rooms here and here). But due to small space, I really have to learn to stay on top of what I need to have ready when current works are accomplished. All that to say this - I sat down a week ago and tried to start compiling an organized schedule of what I wanted to do, theme wise, for the next few months and what we were covering currently in the general subjects, so that I can figure out what I need to try and have ready, or what I need to get together to take the place of books that are still on the shelves. So I was able to do a bit better about knowing what I wanted to bring in this week for our school shelves, that I could put a fun twist on for the sake of Easter being on Sunday.

Here's what I came up with:



One of the first things I set up was numbers/counters. I wrote the numbers 1-10 on 10 eggs, and filled them with the right number of objects. I actually had this one out for two weeks, but didn't get pictures the first week. I rotated the objects from various small types of erasers (fish, eggs, rabbits, smiley faces etc.) the first week, to different colors/styles of pom-poms, some smooth, some with a sparkly rough texture, the second week. That gave us the opportunity to explore the difference in rough and smooth, as well, as you can see in the picture below. Buddy Boy really liked to rub them on his cheeks everytime he opened a new egg.    


I took a picture of the orange ones to show the rough texture of the sparkly ones, vs. the smooth texture of the green ones above. Something really surprised me when Buddy Boy opened up the egg with the orange ones. He saw them in the egg, gasped, and said "My rawr!!!" 



Do you get it now? I didn't expect color recognition to show in this work, but lo and behold, the connection was made :)



 I also pulled out a new filler for the sensory box from our Presidents day works - using Easter basket 'grass', I hid small erasers, ducks, birds, eggs, rabbits inside, each with a matching eraser, for them to find the matches. Buddy Boy fell in LOVE with the erasers, and would yank out all the grass, dig through and find the erasers, put the grass back in, and just play with the erasers. Not necessarily the way he was supposed to go about it, but he did enjoy himself. So much so that when I replaced the filler halfway through this week with beans, TINY egg erasers (making it harder), and a control of error sheet showing how many of each color to look for (see picture below)       


I replaced his small sensory bowl that did have beans, a scoop and a couple trucks, with a lot less 'grass' and the erasers.



I also found this really cute Chick-Tac-Toe game at a local grocery store, with a mat and pieces that all fit inside an overly large egg. I laid the mat on the shelf, and kept the pieces inside the egg. This one has been a BIG BIG hit this week - maybe it's the thinking process behind the simple game, or maybe it's the competitiveness - either way, they love it!

I also took 26 eggs and - you guessed it - wrote each letter of the alphabet on them. I actually did lowercase on the top half, uppercase on the bottom half, to make two parts to this next work. 


I decided to pick 2 colors at a time, and use all the letters from those two colors, for that particular day or two for the tray, to keep from having so many different colors getting mixed around together. I placed them all on the tray, taken apart, with the tops on one side, sorted by color, and the bottoms on the other side, sorted also by color. I wish I had a picture that actually shows what the tray looked like on the shelves, but I never took one and so you will just have to imagine what it was like. I also put a small brown basket (pictured) on the tray, with enough small objects for each letter sound. The object was to first match the upper/lowercase letters together, then find the right object that makes the beginning sound for the letter (K is for Koala, etc). I changed this one out frequently - every day, or every other day atleast - to make sure we got through all of the sounds in the alphabet.


Large eggs with small objects, and our moveable alphabet for spelling words. I changed this one out every day or two, as well, to keep it interesting. Side note - I will most likely do this off and on throughout the year with these eggs, just because I like that it gives some fun practice with the alphabet and spelling. 



I also kept this small bucket on the shelf (you can see the Chick Tac Toe next to it) with some rhyming word matching. Some were a little easier than others.




Add to that the Spring playdoh that I made for them, along with a few Easter cookie cutters (a cross, egg, and a couple different bunnies), and you have our Easter themed activities for this year! I hope you enjoyed this! I hope to have a fun and educational 'egg hunt for the alphabet' later this week, but that will have to wait for another post later this week, or next.


I encourage all of you to grab those eggs when they get marked 50% off - I plan on using them off and on all year, for many different things! Thanks for stopping by and don't forget - you can find me on Facebook under the name No Greater Honors. I'd love to connect with you there to find good ideas, funny stories, and encouragement!

Happy Easter! And remember - Jesus is STILL the reason for the season!

Matthew 28:5-6 - And the angel answered and said unto the woman, Fear not ye:for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. (6) He is not here, for He is risen, as he said, Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

John 14:1-4 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself: that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.



If you want to find out how our Alphabet Egg Hunt  went, follow this link to see pictures!
    

  

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pantry Shopping

The kids initiated a creative 'work' for their school several months ago, which has led to quite a bit of food showing up in unexpected places!



like here....

                                                                 
                                                                   and here....


Introducing the 'shopping game'. Like I said, this was NOT my idea at all. Before the money game ever made it's appearance, we had this work on our shelves. The first thing to happen was for at least two, if not three, of the kids to go find anything, from a baby doll stroller (top pick!) to a Disney Princess tea cart, and load it up with groceries. Not pretend groceries, mind you - real food! My pantry and fridge were open territory for them to buy whatever they wanted. The freezer was put off limits rather quickly, though - no thawing out meat allowed during this game!



I had found this great magnetic money from the Dollar Tree, which was initially used with the small slips of paper shown below and a magnetic cookie sheet. The point then was for the person using it, mainly Hoss at the time, to draw a slip of paper which had a random amount of money shown, and use the money to show the amount. He enjoyed it, but the grocery shopping became much more appealing.     





I made some very simple slips of paper - 'receipts'. These were used to write down what they were 'buying' and how much it would cost. I tried to keep the prices pretty much realistic, but occasionally I would have to work around what they had left in the bowl (as in, if something realistically would cost $3, but they are out of the $1 bills, I would ask for $5 instead). When I started out, I geared it toward Hoss and was surprised when Miss Priss wanted to join in - I should have expected that, though. 




In the beginning, Hoss had to write down what he was buying, then I would write down what I wanted him to 'pay' me, and he would find the correct amount and lay it beside or on top of the food. Miss Priss would only have to find the correct coins - I would write down what she was buying, how much it cost, and break it down for her so that she could learn the correct names for the coins. 





Now, thanks to the money game and practice with the shopping game, we have moved up to the level that Miss Priss can write what she is buying (good hand writing practice and a touch of easy spelling practice), I write how much it costs, and will FIRST tell her how much it is going to cost. Then, if she can figure out which coins to use to make the exact amount, we move on. If she can't quite figure out what coins she needs, I will tell her all of them at the same time, and she has to remember all quantities of each coin and lay them out correctly (instead of saying 3 dimes, then waiting until she finds them to tell her the next amount, I will say 5 dimes and 2 nickels and 8 pennies, for example).     




Hoss writes everything he is buying on his receipt, I tell him how much each 
thing is going to cost - or write all the amounts on his receipt quickly - and then he lays everything out and shows me when he is finished. I would like to move him up to adding it all up, telling me how much he needs total, and teach him to make change so he knows how to give a larger amount and how much he should get back. This is a time consuming game, however, so we can't play it as often as I'd like - the last time I got too distracted with this game when all the kids were awake (including Buddy Boy) my computer lost 7 buttons of the keyboard, all thanks to Buddy Boy's curiosity getting the best of him!

I took a few shots of Hoss and Miss Priss playing in tandem today, with Miss Priss using the magnet money, and Hoss using our money game tray for his money.







Like I said, it is a little time consuming. If you have little ones, I would suggest maybe using it as something good to do during nap time, or when there is more than one adult in the house to keep the others busy. That being said, it is a GREAT work for patience and concentration, due to the many different areas included - loading the groceries, waiting patiently for your turn if there are several players, writing out EVERYTHING, and finding the exact amount of money needed, and then they get to go put everything back up where it belongs!

I enjoy seeing them enjoy it, and look forward to being able to use it in real life one day, taking individual trips to the store with them, and letting them use what they have learned to make decisions.

I hope you have enjoyed hearing about our little game! I am interested to see if anyone else has ever done something similar to this (I'm sure someone has), and how you set this type of work up in your house.      


Look me up on facebook at No Greater Honors for sharing great ideas and funny things that happen in our day! 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

In Case You're Looking...

Well it's finally happened - my blog has joined the 21st century :) I finally got around to opening up a facebook page! I debated whether to do this or not for quite some time, but decided that if someone was truly LOOKING for me on facebook, I wanted to make it accessible to be found. 

Honestly, I didn't want to do this at first. One of the reasons is because I didn't start a blog as a kind of popularity contest - I'm not a business, or out to reach a certain number of viewers. How many people see, or like, my blog or facebook page is not of MAJOR importance to me. I started the blog as a way of reaching out to others - first of all, because it is a blessing and honor to be able to teach my children, and I thank God for it. I also have received so much encouragement and great ideas from other blogs that share their ideas and daily routines, and it has helped me greatly in beginning my Montessori journey. 

So I wanted to pay it forward, so to speak - so that people know that I realize the opportunity to be able to homeschool is from God and couldn't work without Him, and maybe - just maybe - I can be a blessing to some other homeschool mama that may be looking for the wisdom needed to give her children the education she desires to, even if it means I am just the 'middle man' to point others to greater blogs than mine.

So after much ado, I am on the facebook map under the name, No Greater Honors! I will try to keep my post updates and great ideas that I find for homeschooling there - so if you are interested, look me up, like the page, and we can share ideas together! Also, if you find a good idea, feel free to share on my FB page so that others can see it as well!   

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Homemade Playdough

My children love homemade playdough!

You can find the recipe here, and some great tips for enjoying it here at counting coconuts   , here at 1+1+1=1, and here and here at Living Montessori Now. That's just a few to scrape the surface of the many great things you can use playdough for. We have a great way to keep our playdough, and I hope to get that post up soon.

Since I was making some new balls of dough today, I figured I would just take a few pictures and make a 'pictorial' of sorts :)   


                                  
                                   Gather your ingredients
                                         
                            
                                           
                                          1 cup flour


                                                       

                                       1/2 cup salt


                                                            

                                          1 tbsp oil


                                                       

                                   1 tbsp cream of tartar


                                                             

                                             1 cup water


                                     
                      Your choice of color/flavor varieties 
  
 * I used kool-aid packets this time, in lemon-lime, strawberry, lemonade, and a berry flavor, to have green, yellow, red, and blue play dough. You can use a variety of different things here - I have used extracts and food dyes, jello gelatin mixes, drink mixes from large containers, and kool aid mixes. I prefer to mix in the drink mixes or jello mixes simply because you just toss it in when you mix everything, and it cooks right in without any more fuss. I did add a little food coloring to the yellow, as the lemonade mix just turned the playdough a light peachy color and not the yellow I was hoping for, and green to make the green slightly darker. I would suggest adding the food coloring before cooking, simply because you don't have to get it all over your hands if you do it this way.    


Mix all ingredients, first dry, then wet, and stir in a bowl until smooth. Pour in to your choice of pan (I used a 10 inch saucepan, I believe), and stir CONSTANTLY on medium-low heat. The mix will quickly start to look like it is clumping up in a few places, and as you stir, the clump will grow together. When the mix begins to pull away from the pan and gets a dry look to it for the most part, turn it onto a countertop or table top and knead into a smooth ball of dough. It will be warm, but not so warm that you can't work with it. If you find that it is still a little sticky after beginning to knead it, add a little flour. If you feel that it is a little dry (as mine has sometimes been after cooling off) and looks like it has a cracked exterior, just wet your hands with a little water and knead the dough in your hands. It will moisten it to where it should be. The end result should look something like this:   

                            

                         A nice, smooth ball of play dough! 


                             
                      You can also add some fun glitter! 
                     This particular time I added gold glitter to the yellow
                      and silver glitter to the green.




Last, but not least, ENJOY! 




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