School Days


I know it seems like :everyone: has a 'School Days' post somewhere on their blog, but there was just no better way to title this, unless you want to call it a mish-mash-of-photos post! 

My last post was about the weather theme that we have been working through in our homeschool, and I like to have a 'point' to my posts when I can, but I always have so many miscellaneous pictures that are still good :) So I figured it was time to have a post about them. 


I found these cards at Dollar Tree months ago, and snatched them up before I could think twice about it. I am very glad I did. We use these for word studies, mostly for Little Mama and Hoss, since they are the readers and the others really don't need them yet. The set you see below are Homonyms, but I also have Synonyms, Antonyms, and Compound words. The first 'presentation' (if you want to call it that) consists of us going over each pair of words and talking about them. For example, with the homonyms pictured, I divided all the sets in to about four groups, so there would only be about 8-10 matched sets, which means we are reviewing close to 20 different vocabulary words each time.  Generally, I go over three pairs of words with him, then stop a do a review of those three, using the three part lesson (for more information on the three part lesson, read this post by John Bowman on the Montessori 3 part lesson). After I know that the child I am working with has mastered the meaning of the word pair, we move on to three more words in our group of 8-10 matches that we are working on.  





I think I have 3 or 4 different groups of words for each category, and they all have some type of 'control of error' on the back, whether it be a certain amount of dots, tally marks, number, or even shape. I keep all the cards in a vegetable tray that was originally purchased for a sorting tray, with the current group of each type of word in it's own spot. I would like to, in the near future, make sentence strips that the word cards can be matched to, and print off small picture cards for the compound words (as in, a picture of butter and a picture of a fly, that can be put together and then discover the word 'butterfly'). Hoss also likes to play a matching game with them, but after I put in the control of error, it took the fun of that away. Okay, enough about the cards. I just wanted to share my ideas for a fun way to teach different types of words.       


I love the concentration that shows on Bug's face in this picture!



This is what she was doing when she gave me that look! A long time ago, someone gave my mother a bag of unifix blocks, and I ALMOST didn't take them - I hate clutter! - I am so glad I changed my mind! In this picture, she is matching the right block bar to the number card. I have used these as a substitute for number rods and bead bars, in the sense that the difference in 1 - 10 is very real with them, and there was a color associated with each number. What I plan on changing - I am going to switch up the colors a little bit, to try to match the Montessori bead bar colors as much as possible - I won't be able to completely match them, seeing as how I don't have pink, but I have a different shade of red that will be put in it's place for now. I think I have every other color I need, including a nice bright yellow that can be in the place of the golden ten bar. These can obviously not do everything the bead bars can, but I knew it would be a step in the right direction. We use them for a number of things - Bug and I use them to help her identify 1-10. In the picture she is using the bars, with large playdough mat number cards from The Pinay Homeschooler, and the small number cards are from this website which has a  *FREE* printable tens and teens board. It's not quite as fun as the real thing, since you can't slide the numbers in and out, but hey - who can argue with free? Due to limited space, I put both the large cards, the teen strips, and small number cards all on the same tray, along with the block bars, and we just pull off what we want when she chooses the tray. Right now, she is not using the teens strip, only the cards to help with identifying 1 through 10. She can recall her numbers very well up to 7, but still sometimes forgets the names of 8-10 when asked to tell me in the 3rd step of the three step lesson. So we will continue with these until she gets that right, and then will move on to the teen strip after showing mastery with her 1-10 numbers. Miss Priss used these, but oddly enough, preferred to use the big cards and only used the teen strips and small cards when coaxed. I think the challenge of the teen strips for some reason was a little bit daunting, so when we used the big cards a few times and she realized how easy it was to match the blocks, she was more open to the teen strips and cards. When I taught Miss Priss the numbers 11-19 with the teen strip, I used the bars the same way you would with the bead bars, except that we just re-used the ten bar every time, and used the correct 1-9 bar to go with it. I hope that makes sense - I only share that for someone who might be in the same place I am, with no actual bead bars yet, but that might have unifix cubes or anything like it. I also have made 10, 10-bars and currently have them on another tray to go with the tens strips. Right now I am working with Miss Priss on recognizing just the numbers 10, 20. 30 and so on, and then we will work on mixing it up - 21, 38, etc. Once again, I find her a little reluctant, so either she is just not extremely interested, or I need to find something different or change it up a little - who knows. Or maybe it's the worksheets that she still loves so much..... :/          



One thing Miss Priss does REALLY enjoy is cards and counters. I have used the very same large playdough mat number cards with small glass beads/stones that I found at the Dollar tree and created a cards and counters work with them for her. If you go to the number card download on the link I gave you, you will see that the cards go all the way to 20. I think I got a little ambitious and put enough counters in there to be able to use all 20 cards! Yes - that's a LOT of beads! Over 200 of them, to be exact! I think I am going to take half the cards out and only leave it at a 1-10 counting work this next week. I know that she knows those numbers, but she has showed almost perfect mastery of the teens numbers, and the number '20', and I think she likes these because they are relaxing and very engaging for her. I don't want to mess that up by making them too complicated.     




These pictures are of some of our small objects. Little Mama really likes to set up a small scenario with them. Here she took a couple wooden boxes that I found at Target and a plastic bucket that I found at the Dollar Tree, and created her own little world with my objects. I have quite a few, some of them in a 'large' category, and some in a small category - she chose the small ones. I have plans to get a hardware cabinet to store them in alphabetically, so that they are easy to access, but just haven't yet. So these abide in a plastic ziploc bag for now. I usually use them for sound baskets, and spelling eggs (you can find a good example of their uses in my Easter 2013 post) but she found them one day last week and got very elaborate with her imagination and the objects, which warranted a couple pictures!     






I have also been seeing a lot of this ^^^^^^ around the house lately. Out of the blue this past week, Hoss discovered the joy of being able to take something apart and put it back together. I forget what the first thing was that he felt he needed to un-screw, but he immediately fell in love with the art of taking a screw out, taking something apart, and being able to put it back together in an orderly way. This was not something I suggested, I made no practical life work for it - it came from him. A little history inserted here - years ago, when he wasn't quite 2 years old, my husband and I discovered him with his toy tools one day under the small dining table we had at the time. Come to find out, he had managed to loosen all the bolts with his plastic tools! Jump back to present time - there has been a great deal of this kind of thing going on from him - he calls it ' his work ' and has created some followers around the house, which is why you see Little Mama doing the same in the background. While he worked on the grammar farm (insert gasp that I never let escape for fear that it would break his concentration!), she was unscrewing and re-screwing the hinges to our mailbox that comes directly into the house! I have seen many things, including wood supports from underneath our dining table and pieces of circulating fans, coming off and being put back on. I told him the only rule is, he only does one thing at a time, and he better be able to put it back on right, or else he has to explain it to his Daddy. I am thinking I need to find an old fan or radio or something of that nature, that will be okay to be taken apart and put back together, and won't be a financial loss if he can't get it back together again just the right way.    






The older two continue their piano lessons each Thursday, and I *finally* got around to getting all their piano music that was printed into a folder, in sheet protectors, so that they can play through everything they have already mastered each time they sit down to practice. They are allowed to choose to practice any time of the day, and the only rule is that they have to play through all they have learned, and then practice their new music for the week. As much as I would like to sit with them every time they practice, that is an impractical impossibility! So I try my best to listen whenever I can, and usually can catch any mistakes they make by ear. I love watching them progress - Little Mama surprised me a while back by playing one of her pieces, by memory  THROUGH the keyboard cover! I was shocked and made her do it twice to be sure I heard her right. Sure enough, she had memorized where the keys were on the keyboard, and without having to see them, could play the piece. Granted, it was simple, but I still thought it was extremely well :) And Hoss is doing much better than I thought he would! Little Mama has a beautiful, God given voice, that has always matched pitch and tone very well. Hoss, well, doesn't so much, but he is very good at hearing the right note and being able to pick it out and play it. So when I can sit with him, I will 'sing' the name of the note, or the word in the song, and by hearing can remember which note he is supposed to be playing. I recorded a video of him playing, but for some reason, it wouldn't load properly, so this picture will have to do. My favorite part - the fact that he was playing to his beloved 'Rufus' that he has had since he was 2, a gift from my husband right before his sister was born! 

Well, that's it for now! I am tired, and still have some things to do before a new school week begins! 

I hope you are enjoying your school time as much as we are!!!

       
                                       








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