Monday, July 4, 2011

One month into Summer....

Okay, so I know it's supposed to be summer vacation but after a week with no structure, my kids were crazy and I was going nuts.  My family thrives on structure and routine.  I had already begun gathering things that would make great lessons so I just jumped right in and set up two shelves of lessons for the boys.  Many of these lessons came from the closet of toys that I rotate in and out of their bedroom.  We made a trip to Toys R Us for Melissa and Doug lessons but ended up with a cool water table, a small Lego set and a graduated stacker.  While many would say these are toys, they are what my family calls work. 

We found a small chest for the Lego's, along with the guide sheet.  This is a rug lesson.  Baby Boy mastered it within about 15 minutes.  This built lots of confidence and each time he works with it, it reinforces to him that he is capable of doing something really cool. 

The graduated stacker is for Rooty.  He is still working on mastering this but is really enjoying his work with it.  It has 5 pegs with a different color/shape on each one.  The first peg holds just 1, the 2nd holds 2, etc.  Each time he chooses this lesson, he seems to find something different to question about it.  He mastered his colors about 6 months ago but for the first week he seemed to enjoy just taking the shapes off and putting he colors together.  He's noticed that there are more of some colors than others and has even begun to count them (he can count items up to 3 but can say his numbers to 14).  Today he began asking about the shapes of each of the pieces.  Sometimes he stacks them on his rug, sometimes he lays them side by side on his rug.  Sometimes he mixes all the colors up on the stacker and calls it a rainbow.  His excitement over this $10 lesson is so fun to watch.  He hasn't began to put it all back together correctly yet but I do make sure that each time he takes it down to work, he finds it in proper order so that he sees the correct way to put it away.

The water table isn't so Montessori (it's a pirate ship) but the fun part of homeschooling is getting to offer the same activities in your own way.  The boys love raising and lowering the anchor, pouring the water, squirting the canon, etc.  Baby Boy enjoys testing "volume" of objects by placing them into a full cup of water and seeing the amount that pours over the side.  I would like to get some graduated cylinders to put in the water table for him to begin noticing the lines and discovering actual measurement.  I'm a science nerd so I don't think it is the least bit too early for him to be doing this!  LOL!!! 

Some of the other lessons that we have on our shelves so far are a basket with 3 different seashells.  They are different shaped, different textured and different sound.  I would love to find some larger shells but these came in a basket with many others from the Just a Dollar store.  We have a Jack in the Box (well, really its Elmo in a kettle but again, it's homeschool...).  Baby Boy started learning origami and Rooty is working on fine motor skills by sticking stickers onto paper.  We have buttons to put into a muffin tin, large beads to thread onto a piece of yarn, a 100 piece puzzle, play dough, a snail that wiggles when you pull his string, a see and say, a rice spooning lesson, two different cube stackers, a globe and books that switch out nearly every day.

  Our 15 year old nephew is staying the summer with us and commented about the boys doing work during the summer.  I loved my husband's reply!  He said, "They enjoy working and learning so why should we stop them?"  That one sentence summed up the entire reason that we believe in Montessori and is exactly why we are choosing to homeschool since the tuition was too much for us.  We want our boys to grow up with a love of learning and an interest in things far beyond those that are printed in a textbook.  Maybe I am raising nerds but that's perfectly fine by me!!!  I have two very happy, playful and good looking little boys and in my world, there is absolutely nothing wrong with knowledge!!!

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