Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Not-So-Montessori Memorization Game


A few weeks ago, Hoss and Bug were playing dominoes at the dining room table. Well, they were trying. My dear children had NO idea about the rule of the 'running domino', and had some kind of board set up that looked akin to a 12-legged spider. I sat down to play with them, and explain the rules. When we finished, they were going to start another game when an instant burst of inspiration hit me. It had to have been from the Lord, because it's been loved for three weeks now.

Enter: The Domino Game

Invite a friend (or brother, or sister) to the table with the dominoes. Line them up in two equal rows, so every domino will get used before the end of the 'game'.

Choose two dominoes (similar to a matching/memory game). If they match, keep them. If they do NOT match, flip them back over and the turn goes to the next player.

IF they matched, as in, having two sides with the same amounts, put the matching sides together. The amount on the OTHER side are your numerals for your equation. 

For example. with the above dominoes, Bug chose them. She slid the 6's together, and, since  she is working on memorization of addition, her equation became 7 + 1. The next step is to record them in your binder/notebook/graph paper (or whatever you are using).

Last, but certainly not least, use a control of error (in this case, the addition chart #3 - finger chart - for Bug, and the multiplication memorization chart/Table of Pythagoras chart for Hoss) to check your work. 

If you read this post, you'll know that this work was so exciting to me. Not because it's ingenius - I am sure someone (or many people) have done this before, but rather because Bug loves it, and will willingly choose it WITHOUT wanting me to be right beside her. In the weeks following the first game, she has done this many times with Hoss - sometimes daily - and loves it!

So, if you've got extra dominoes lying around somewhere, and kiddos that love to play with them, they might enjoy this game! It will work for 3 out of 4 operations (it's pretty obvious that it wouldn't work for division). 

I hope this comes in handy for you in your home(school)!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Encouragement after a long week or two...

Phew. It's been a long week and a half.

The beginning of last week had us recovering from a long weekend of stomach bug - all over the place. Buddy Boy had come down with something the Wednesday before, and I was hoping (and praying) the other kids had avoided it.

It was not to be so.

So, after a tough weekend (not a lot of sleep, because just when one would stop making trips to the bathroom, another would start), we spent a couple days recovering. Then - it was a life school end of the week. Thankfully, by Friday we got back to some school time around the house. Days like that, though, tend to discourage me - as a mother, and a homeschool mama. Those tend to seem like two different, and yet the same, jobs sometimes. 
I was trying for a better start to the week today, and got the feeling that comes all too often. You know the one - the, "I'm barely scratching the surface, and am so TOTALLY going to fail my children and I must be the worst mother ever" feeling.

Yehap - that's me. Most certainly NOT meeting my own expectations, I was sure.

Hoss discovered the pattern of the numbers (products) on the multiplication finger chart, which he was actually using just to check his work. On his own. He was playing the domino game, which is something that won't make any sense to you yet, so I will explain it in the next post. It's irrelevant here, though. While I was lamenting how little I felt I was doing, he was studying the chart and seeing something that I didn't realize he didn't see before. *Note here - he was older when we began Montessori and has had little to no experience with the number chains. If he had, he might have picked up on this sooner. That didn't matter - he found it out on his own.

Same day:

I love watching this little girl concentrate on her work :) 

Miss Priss discovered the rule of alphabetical order - on her own. I gave what was her first official presentation. Nothing fancy, and possibly nothing like what is in any manual. I can talk about that later, too. The point is, again, she found it.

Some more revelations, now that I'm thinking on it:

Recording her work in her binder, after checking to be sure she had the answer correct.

Bug is playing the aforementioned domino game *without me*. If you know anything of what I have EVER told you about her, that is a miracle  in itself. 

LM - well, she still reads like crazy. She's also enjoying her piano lessons and new-as-of-this-year choir class immensely. Oh, and she's also playing piano BY EAR. No one taught her - she has begun picking out music on the piano of songs she knows, even just today (a day after I started this post) playing part of a song we sing at church. One that she has no written music for, and that no one has shown her. She was able to show her piano teacher what she knows, and get further guidance to play both hands of that particular piece. 

This picture speaks volumes of the concentration going on while he was playing with Legos. He didn't even know I'd taken it.

Buddy - well, he's still Buddy. :) He counts pigs. Little, miniature, cute pigs. Did I mention his pigs fly? Leaves the mind to grasp the concept of "when pigs fly", doesn't it? "When pigs fly" he'll be focused. Until then, he's just having a whole lot of fun. Oh - there was that one day, a few weeks ago, when he started and stopped his own work cycle that lasted about 2 hours. Or that *one* day when he played and built with legos for 30 minutes, mindless of what was going on in the room and how much noise the rest of us were making, fully focused on what he had going on. 

Come to think of it, I guess life's not too bad here after all :)

Philippians 4:11 "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."

*Editor's update - it took me almost four days to finish this blog post, if that's a clue to how busy we've been!*

Thursday, October 2, 2014

We've Got Grammar Going On

*a little late in posting, but it's better late than never!*

Week 6&7

Grammar seems to be showing up everywhere here lately - at least, in the pictures it is!

LM (not pictured - at all) is finishing up the review of parts of speech. Many of them she - brace yourself - hasn't had the formal first presentations for. That doesn't mean she doesn't know what they are - she just hasn't gotten every presentation that some of the younger ones have. I want to get to the advanced grammar that she is really ready for, so we are having some fast review lessons so she can get the notes down in her binder and be ready to move on. 

Hoss worked on reviewing verbs these last couple of weeks. He has a hard time keeping track of the name of the pos AND what each one does, and being able to tell me both. Example: He can sort the phrase "the little boy sings" in to article, adjective, noun, verb if I give the sentence, but then can't quickly tell me what each does. OR he can look at the words 'article, adjective, noun, verb' and tell me which words belongs to the rule I give (usually). I am working on trying to get him to know which is which easily. So we are doing a lot of review of what we've done before to make sure he's on good footing. 

Here we started with the simple phrase 'the tiger' and talked about the job of the article again, then added the adjective and reviewed it's job, and then finally the verb and talked about it's job again. We did this with several sentences, and he recorded them in his binder - I am loving the VERY easy DIY grammar symbol stencils that I made for this year. I got the idea from MBT and this post - What Did We Do All Day - Grammar Stencil. Hers looks MUCH better then mine, but mine still does the trick :) and the kids enjoy being able to label their parts of speech easier.

The same day that Hoss reviewed the verb, Miss Priss reviewed the adjective. This is a work she did often last year, but didn't record it in her binder. This year, she made note of the job of the adjective, and recorded/labeled each adjective/noun phrase - i.e. green felt, orange felt, etc.   

Although this constitutes more as language, Bug has enjoyed working with 3 part cards as of late - pictured are the Electrical Appliances cards and Life Cycle Of A Ladybug cards, both from Montessori Print Shop's Free Downloads. 

Miss Priss also likes to review phonograms with 3 part cards from Trillium Montessori

Another extension for practice work with parts of speech that I showed both Hoss and Miss Priss was this one. We picked out a book, any book she chose from either ours or a library book. This particular choice was the book 'Mind Your Manners B.B. Wolf'. She read it to me/with me, and every time she saw a phrase with the article/noun or article/adjective/noun, she would record it, and after filling her page up with different phrases, went back and labeled the parts of speech. I wanted something they could do on their own to practice what they are learning, but that can be a little 'new' every time. 

The next post will be an update on some of the Math that went on during these weeks. 

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