Friday, May 30, 2014

A New Venture In Blogging

I have been patiently waiting to share my new venture in blogging with you, and the time is now!

Along with 29 other wives and mothers, there is a new blog in town,born of the idea from Sarah Avila at My Joy Filled Life. I can't tell you the honor it is for me to be a part of this blog, which focuses on large family living. Honestly, I never would have considered five children a 'large' family, although apparently it is to many others! I guess each child came one at a time, so it never felt 'large' to me. However, I am excited at the idea that maybe through the life we are blessed to have, with our family that God has given us, I might be used to be an encouragement to someone else.

I would love to have you come look at the new blog, which is set to launch June 1!

To find the blog, check out Fruitful Families at

To find Fruitful Families on facebook, go to Fruitful Families on facebook.

For a look at the Fruitful Families Pinterest boards, where every post that comes up will be pinned for the future, go to Fruitful Families Pinterest Boards.

Last, but not least, to subscribe to Fruitful Families by email, where you can get almost daily emails with new encouragement, and inspiration, and ideas, go to Fruitful Families Email Subscription.

Although the blog, and it's title, lends itself to the idea that this is a blog for large families only, please don't hesitate to stop in. Although the perspective might come from large families, the information you can read here is applicable for all families, small and large. I personally can't wait to start reading the other posts from other wives and mothers, in all walks of life, yet with this common bond between us. From the family just starting out, to the one deep in the trenches of motherhood with more things to do than her day has time for, to the mother who has watched her children grow up, homeschooled them, and now is seeing the fruits of her 'fruitful family' labors -there is bound to be something here for you!

I do hope you will stop in, read the posts, visit the facebook page and show you support with a like and a share, and do subscribe for emails! You never know what might come up that you will learn from, or get encouragement through!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Changing Energy

Simplified, the kids and I learned about when energy makes a change from one form to the next. 

As put in our BFSU book:

 First, energy always remains a form of energy. It may be converted from one form to another; it may be stored in various ways and subsequently released. 

Nebel, Bernard J. (2007-11-30). Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding: A Science Curriculum for K-2 (p. 265). Outskirts Press, Inc.. Kindle Edition. 

As I quickly read through this lesson, I wanted a visual way to show the kids about the relationship between the different forms of energy as certain circumstances bring about a change. I remembered this post from What Did We Do All Day, about making a quick 'on the fly' Venn Diagram, and was inspired. 

(If it's hard to see, click the picture, and it should zoom in for you!)

I wanted a way for them to connect the two energy forms that were changing, and this version of a Venn diagram worked well. Hoss decided to add the 'energy' tag in the middle, although we removed it when we were actually using the layout. 
We reviewed each type of energy form that we had learned about, and also what we knew about stored energy. 

Then, I introduced the following scenario:
"Suppose the sun is out in the middle of summer, and it's very, VERY hot outside. What happens when you try to walk outside barefoot?" They were quick to say that your feet would burn touching the ground. I asked them what type of energy the sun released, which they recognized as light energy. I asked them if the light energy is what caused their foot to burn on the sidewalk. They thought for a minute, and said no, it was because they ground was hot. I followed with, "What kind of energy would work through a hot sidewalk?" They were able to quickly come back with heat energy, and the connection was made! Light energy from the sun heats the sidewalk, which converts to heat energy from the sidewalk causing your feet to get hot and feel 'burnt'. Hence the picture at the top of the post with an egg cooking on the pavement :) 

We went through several more scenarios, which you can see in this picture of our diagram, post-lesson.

A closer look. You can see in the picture below that the following action - start the car and drive down the street - rested between movement and one other form of energy (electric). With their previous understanding of stored energy, they knew that there is actually stored energy in the gasoline, which is released when the electric energy starts the car, then we talked about the conversion to movement energy as it drives away.

I laid out every possible energy conversion pair (Miss Priss called them a 'team') and, as a group of three, they discussed each situation and decided together what change took place. Sometimes they were correct, sometimes they weren't, which made for teachable moments. For example, they understood the car scenario, but the generator use (in the bottom right of the picture above) was not as clear to them. 

We were able to talk about how you can have one type of movement energy coming from a flying baseball join another movement energy (from the bat, which had previously  been stored energy) meet together. They really liked this one, since it was so easy to relate to during baseball season. 

We discussed a few scenarios with different stored energies that are released prior to the change in form. 

And that was that. All together, I think it took me about 3 minutes to scan this lesson in the book (my wonderful Kindle purchase), and about 10 to make the materials on the spot. Sure, it would be nice to have these prepared and laminated so they can be used again, but I just haven't had the time to do that. On the fly is working right now, and just goes to show how science can be taught in such a fun way, easy for them to understand at their level. My older two pick up on these lessons much faster, but these are building their foundation for greater lessons at the same time as building on the foundation for Miss Priss. Right now, we only do these lesson with the oldest three. The younger two do now sit long enough for them, and they are over their head, therefore not very captivating. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Study Of Adjectives

I had some fun with some 'real-life' grammar application a few days ago with one of the munchkins (and no, I don't mean this particular incident :) )

Miss Priss has been working on the noun family - Article, Adjective, Noun - and we played a little game the other day to get some practice seeing them in order, and concretely.

I would write a 'secret message' on a slip of paper, fold it, and hand it to her. She had to read it quietly (or get help from a big brother or sister if it was a new word) and go find exactly what I wrote, and bring it back. 

Then, she labeled the phrase with our printable grammar symbols. 

We did this 8 or 9 times, and I tried to make sure that I reinforced the rules of singular/plural articles indirectly throughout our 'game', sometimes giving her nouns that I knew we only had one of in the house. I also was specific in the adjective, such as: RED plate, SMALL brush, PURPLE binder.

(Please ignore the fact that I am fairly certain she grabbed that fork from the sink!!!)

This one was by far the hardest for her to figure out, and she thought it quite hilarious when she finally discovered what I was asking for. 

When she was finished, she recorded each phrase in her binder where she keeps all her language and grammar work. I am going to make a template for labeling words with the correct grammar symbols, but for the time being, I showed her how to make three columns, heading each one with the correct part of speech name. 

She loved the game, and has already asked to play it again. I love seeing her enjoy work - she likes things to be new and exciting, and I try my best to keep up with that when I can.

Friday, May 16, 2014

School Days - April and May


A little peek at the odds and ends pictures taken over the last 3-4 weeks (has it really been a month since I've given a school days post? eek!)

~~~~~~ LM ~~~~~~

I don't always get a chance to get as many shots of LM working as I do with some of the others. I am usually working with some of the younger children, and she is working steady in some other part of the house (or reading, if she can sneak off and do that for a while!).

A quick shot of Hoss and LM working together doing some *group work* in one of our BFSU science lessons.

As I have read through CD's (Cultivating Dharma) Language Album, I try to catch any little gaps that maybe we haven't specifically covered in Language/Grammar and cover them. I have these singular/plural cards from Montessori Print Shop, separated by rule, and we reviewed each of the rules, one at a time. 

We also used these for spelling words while reviewing them - she worked on both the singular and all plural spellings and studied them on her own through the week after getting the lesson on that particular rule. This is a quick shot of her copying them in to a small section in her binder reserved for any type of Spelling work.

Thankfully, with our successful work journals method in place, the much-neglected fractions have been in use again. In the picture above, she actually showed me this set up that led right in to a quick lesson on improper fractions and mixed fractions (while adding fractions with like denominators). Below, she is working on reducing fractions to their simplest form -another unexpected review (because she had already caught on to this on her own, for the most part) that came up while she was working on adding fractions.

What the pictures don't show: LM loves to  make her own work. She does this often in language/grammar, reviewing for herself what she has learned by writing stories using different concepts and word studies.She is finally mastering WELL the concept of multiplication and division, which is going to cause a large breakthrough in these areas and the ability for us to move on much farther. She reads all the time - any time she can sneak away, she can be found in book-land on her bed, oblivious to anything going on around her. In fact, she gets a great deal of History in her day through personal choices in reading content.

~~~~~~ Hoss ~~~~~~

Hoss really likes working with the younger ones, helping them with their work. Here, he is working with Miss Priss and the geometric solids, identifying them using only the sense of touch (Tactile). This is a popular thing lately, with the difficulty increasing depending on the child.

He is also currently working with the dot game. He has just begun to use the dot game for multiplication, but really enjoys it. Both Hoss and LM have a good time making up their own equations, much to my relief - I don't have to have a great deal of prepared equations for this work. The only thing I have to watch for is to make sure he is choosing some that end up with exchanges (dynamic) - this was more a problem when he was using it for subtraction, since those exchanges come quick in multiplication.

Just this week, Hoss decided to tackle a long (cubing) chain for the first time. He has never had any experience with any of the long chains, and which one did he pick? The cubing chain of 9. I knew the minute he said he, he probably had no idea how time consuming it would be, and indeed it was! It ended up taking him the better part of the morning, but he was so glad to see it completed.

Oh, those many bead bars and arrows!

Miss Priss came in to help about halfway through, and her help was welcomed greatly!

Hoss wanted to be sure to get good pictures of his work when it was complete. Notice how the chain ran the length of the table almost 3 times. Our table seats 8 - it's huge! That gives you a good idea how big this work is, if you've never seen it. I hadn't until he did it.

Our printable cubing chains were found at Making Montessori Ours' Printable Page. We bought both the Golden Beads and the Complete Bead Cabinet PDF files. Although the full sensorial feel isn't there, there is so much that can be accomplished with the PDF version, and Cherine has done an amazing job with these!

The celebration of a job well done! What you can't hear is the excited 'woot-woot!' that accompanied this picture. :)

~~~~~~ Miss Priss ~~~~~~

I really have to sneak around to get a picture of Miss Priss working, or else convince her I'm 'just taking a picture of her work'. This time, I think she may have caught me :) She has been working on the last subtraction chart (the blank finger chart). We have not done all the exercises for the charts that you can do. I know her well enough to know that she would get tired of it after a while, and so I am watching her to make sure she shows mastery. So far, I am fairly certain she has not only nailed the concept of subtraction (she pretty much had that after the first concrete lessons), but has also shown a fairly quick mental subtraction as well.

One thing I think is rather interesting is that she does this work almost daily. Although she is far past the need for sensorial work, she still loves the cylinder blocks. She also tends to do them close to the end of her work period, which makes me lean towards thinking she probably uses them to decompress after working on harder things. I introduced her to working with the cylinder blocks with a blindfold, and she thought it was fun, but hasn't asked for it again, which adds to my conclusions that she just wants something relaxing. 

Although she is past the Golden Beads, I wanted to give her a fast-track introduction to them, so she could concretely prepare for multiplication.These are from the Golden Bead Material PDF files from Making Montessori Ours. I was afraid at first that these wouldn't be enough, because of the lack of the sensorial experience. However, that is what I could honestly afford at the time, and so far it seems to be working just fine. I took these pictures the first day she worked with them, which has probably been a month ago now, and since she has moved through addition and is doing equations with subtraction. She doesn't choose this work on her own, and I only asked her to choose it once a week. I am secretly hoping she will enjoy it more as she goes on, or we will just get through it and be done. 

I included this picture to show that it's not uncommon for her to bring a few 'friends' with her to school. :)

One thing she really DOES like is the stamp game. After she had her introduction to the Golden Beads and had a good picture of the difference in units, tens, hundreds, and thousands, I also introduced the stamp game. I am letting her move at her own pace with this one, and she is still really enjoying addition with the stamps. She uses the large number cards from our GB materials to build her own numbers (She makes her own equations, and she loves the magic slide!) and then sets them out and does the math. There have been a few times that I have given an occasional equation, or she has chosen the augend and I have given the addend, when she began dynamic addition, but now she is pretty good about picking out numbers that will have exchanges. Whenever she is ready, we will move to subtraction.

We have also been slowly having new lessons in Geometry. I am lacking almost all the primary geometry materials, and some I feel are important before moving on. Soooooo - I am thinking on ways to make up for it the best I can, and then we may just have a geometry explosion - maybe.

~~~~~~ Bug and Buddy Boy ~~~~~~

Bug has diligently been working away at her handwriting in her binder. We do have a version of the sandpaper letters, although she doesn't use them very much anymore. She likes to see if she can keep up with Miss Priss in her handwriting.

Bug and Buddy Boy have also been enjoying a simplified version of the blindfolded geometric solids. We usually only use 6-8 of the solids that they are familiar with.

Buddy Boy really enjoys new fillers in the small sensory box I try to keep out. These pictures were from the Easter theme sensory box. I try to make sure there is the ability to do something educational with what's inside - we did a lot of counting of poms, beads, etc, and listening for what's inside the eggs. 

Bug has also been very interested in reading, and is doing very well. We work casually on it whenever she feels the urge to. I am still very relaxed with her as far as when/if/what she works on during the day. Here she was reading through a book that she had fairly memorized from it being read to her. She does, however, read to me from the Abeka Reading Handbook that we have. 

What we are still having a hard time with usually, is that neither one of them openly choose a work very often. Call it distraction, lack of concentration, disinterest - I don't know. It's harder than I would have thought keeping new things out to catch their eye - if I focus on one age group, the other gets neglected, or vice versa. Anyway, I could tell there was a need for something to work more on concentration, so I created a small polishing tray. 

Buddy Boy - on his own - began calling this the 'quiet work', which I thought was neat to see him notice that element :)

This is the only semi-good picture I was able to get of Bug doing it, and you can't even see the tray :( she's just too fast for me!

One day about a week or so ago, Bug came and asked me what "3+3+3" was. I told her it would be a great idea to find that out, and told her to run and get our homemade bead bar box. She ran and got it, pulled our 3, 3-bead bars, and was so excited to discover the answer - we're talking, ear-to-ear grins and real joy of learning. That small event in the day caused a fountain of adding to spring up, and for the next 3 to 4 days, all she wanted to do during school was grab the bead bar box and see how many bars she could get and add them all together. Sometimes she would grab 8-10 of like quantities, and sometimes she would 'go in a pattern' getting 3 or 4 different bars and laying them out several times in the same pattern. Then, we would count them and lay the answer out vertically underneath. This is so similar to the snake game, in a way, and she has been introduced to the snake game as the beginning of the addition sequence was started, but I guess coming up with this idea on her own made it more exciting! 

Then, one of those days, she asked what "10+10+10+10+10+10+10" was, and that led to the 100 chain lesson. You can see the mat to the left, where she actually laid the chain out and labeled it with arrows, and then we compared our unit bead, ten bar, and 100 chain to show how much bigger 10 is than 1, and how much bigger 100 is than both the others.

There is still so many other little things that go on behind these scenes - but I feel like I've already written a book in this one little big post, and this gives you  glimpse through pictures of some of what we've been doing lately (and gives me something to look back on!). 

If you are reading this, I hope you are having a wonderful school year, as most are probably getting to the end of their year. :)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Giveaway Time!

It's giveaway time at Living Montessori Now!

If you are anything like our family, you are always in need of something for your homeschool. Even if you don't homeschool, maybe you would just like more of an educational slant to toy options, or you have grandchildren who would love Montessori materials - or maybe you are even a Montessori teacher that could really use a replacement item (or two) in your classroom. If you are even more like me, you know that you are always working on a limited budget and could really use a great deal when you find one! 

Right now, Living Montessori Now and Alisons Montessori have teamed up to offer you a great giveaway!

Go to Living Montessori Now and enter to win one of 2, $100 gift certificates. The entry really is easy - it may seem overwhelming at first, but it only took me about 5 minutes, and gave me an excuse to sneak over to Alisons Montessori to drool over look at their materials again. 

So head over there now, and enter to win today! 

If you enter after reading this post, and happen to be the winner, please stop by and let me know so I can congratulate you! 


You seriously can't miss this giveaway now! :)

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