We have been quite busy this past week!
We dove head first into grammar a couple weeks ago, and have tried to keep it going at a good pace! Last year I spent a great deal of time trying to learn how grammar was taught in Montessori, so the materials themselves didn't come out until this year.
Just last week I made our grammar control chart for the symbol/part of speech and a quickly made noun family to hang at eye level near our grammar farm. (Don't laugh - I know my noun family drawings probably look a bit weak - I am NOT an artist! You can see how stick figures go with me.... :) This just manages to get the point across!)
This is what they look like in relation to where our grammar farm is. If you saw my school room tour, this is in one corner of the shelf-less wall :) I would like to find a table to put the farm on, so I can store some of our other grammar materials underneath it as well.
Before I go in to why someone so old is using the farm still, I will tell you a little about my farm. A friend that works in our local Montessori school gave this set to me. Most of the animals came with the set, along with the barn, farmer, truck, and fencing.
Everything else was handmade by yours truly. Felt became my close friend - from the grass, to the pond, even down to most of the tiny vegetables!
(since this picture was taken, I have changed the vegetable labels to a singular word form, so they can use the word(s) a and an to practice the rule of using an article with a plural object.)
Everyone except Buddy Boy is currently getting their hands on the farm. As a note here - from what I have seen and read, this is generally a primary material. I have been inside our local Montessori school, and this work is only found in the primary classroom, which makes sense when you take in to account all the grammar materials that are in the elementary classroom. However, I knew that after my children have seen this farm just sitting, waiting for me to finish all the little things (like miniature tomatoes!), they would all want to get their hands on it - even the big kids. Also, although the older two have had some grammar work in the past through workbooks, I just really wanted them to get a good grasp on it through the visuals.
As of right now, we have used it for lessons in the noun and the article and I just finished the adjective labels today, so if we make it through the weekend without someone wanting to use them, they will come out on Monday. I am trying to quickly push Little Mama and Hoss through the farm work, so they can enjoy using it and get a reminder of what they actually already know. I am working on making my own grammar boxes. Well, let me re-state that - I am working on making all the fillers for the grammar boxes. What I will actually store them in, though, is still up in the air. I am definitely open to suggestions (!) because there is no wood working going on in this house!!! Hopefully I will be able to finish those soon, so that the two oldest can use them after the lessons in the adjective. I don't know if I will go any farther than the adjective as far as the grammar farm work goes - that depends on if I get a table to put the farm on and have plenty of space for the labels, which probably could be smaller. Maybe I will re-make them in the future.... who knows :)
Although I do not have pictures yet to show this wonderful piece of news, Miss Priss is now officially a READER! I was going to talk about that in this post, but it's just too much - it will have to wait a few days.
One of the more fun language games that we have played in the last few days is using Scrabble letters with 'I Spy' pages (found for free at Montessori Print Shop). Bug has enjoyed putting the correct letter to match the beginning sound.
This one was a bit enlightening to me - my girl is an out-of-the-box thinker, apparently. Instead of using the 'M' to label the muffin right away, she insisted that the yellow circle was indeed a moon! I guess she's seen her share of full moons.... :)
Little Mama has been learning about a number of different types of charts/graphs/diagrams. We went over bar graphs and line graphs this past week. A bar graph is nothing new to her, but we touched on it anyway, and she learned how to use a line graph as well. We used our colored fraction circles to make a very simple bar graph, and then used a work scenario (mowing yards) to track the amount of hours worked on a line graph.
The next day she learned that you can use a bar graph and a line graph to compare two or more different types of information. For this one, we put a fun twist on it and pulled up The Old Farmers Almanac to do a study on the weather. Not this years' weather, though. We pulled up the weather from nine years ago, to the day Little Mama was born. The fun didn't stop there, though. You see, Little Mama was born in another state - my husband was stationed at an AFB in Florida when the first three of our children were born. So we made two tables - one was the weather each year on her birthday, starting at her birth year (2004), in the city she was born in. The other was the weather from the same dates, using the location of where we live now, in my husband and I's original home state and city. We used this information to make both a bar graph and line graph, comparing the differences in weather over the years in the two locations.
I didn't get a shot of the finished work :( but it was very interesting to see which years were very similar, which were very different, and also to see the differences from year to year in the same locations and how it changed from one year to the next. She was able to easily see that graphs and charts can compare information. We will be doing pie charts this next week, and then moving on to the goal of this whole project - Venn Diagrams. I will share about that later, too.
Hoss has been steadily doing some initial reminder lessons on fractions and equivalence.
Out of all the children so far, Miss Priss has by far been most driven in the Math area. She has done the first work in addition with our homemade-style bead bars. She balked a little at this when I first showed her, but by the end of her first page, was excited to do more. I think in about four or five days total, she had worked through all addition problems, using starting numbers 1-10. Today alone, she did numbers 6-10, completely self-motivated - that's 50 problems!!! By today I could easily see she had already caught on to the pattern - add 1 to the second addend, add 1 to the sum. She only used the bead bars today for the 10+___ problems, because she said she thought they might be hard... :)
We have printable more than/less than cards that I believe I got from The Pinay Homeschooler that I planned on having her use with them. I am not sure if we will come back to these - I am going to watch and see if she seems interested in them at all. If not, I think we could skip the addition board. The subtraction board will probably be used more, since that's a slightly more difficult process. She actually had a pretty good grasp of addition that she picked up on her own over the summer, which may add to why she's not interested in as much of the easier work of addition. Bug, however, has decided that she really wants to learn to add now, as well, so she may get more use out of these! I know that means we are 'cutting corners', and I say that because I just read a WONDERFUL post about doing just that over at Discovery Moments - read Steph's post here about Cutting Montessori Corners! Not only was it encouraging to me, but reminded me that it does make sense sometimes to NOT stress over having every material or catching EVERY little lesson if it's not necessary. As much as I believe in following your child's cues, it is still easy to second guess yourself when you start trying to decide if something is or isn't totally necessary!
There's still so much we have done this week that I will just have to share the highlights from later - like Miss Priss and reading and our new DIY SUPER easy 100 board.
Do take time to leave a comment if you have a suggestion or any type of constructive input - I really enjoy getting good advice on how to keep going and encouragement is always welcome for any homeschool mama!!!