Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I Love Math?

Advanced Bank Math Game in Montessori -- powered by

Am I REALLY starting to fall in love with math? How can this be?! Growing up I had the most difficult time with math! I had so much trouble understanding the problems even though my family and sometimes tutors would try to help. From about middle school and up, I just could not grasp the concepts and would fall so behind since the next chapter would depend on what you had previously learned. Sad to say, it seemed that I would always just barely get by without really learning much.

Now, as I study the Montessori method and materials for teaching my children, I cannot believe how excited I am to learn more about how math is done. When I say excited, I mean really excited! I'm actually hungry for the knowledge to help give my children a good foundation in math. It is truly amazing, given the fact that math has always stressed me out! I too am using the Montessori method to learn math, it would seem, for the very first time. So, in my joy and new found love of math, I would like to share a few resources that I have come to enjoy!

The Materials:
One of the things that has helped me in understanding how to present the math lessons to the children has been actually using the material myself. All this talk of bead stairs, number rods, stamp games, and ten boards was a bit foreign to me. That is... until I was able to use the materials for myself, or see them demonstrated. I highly recommend that you get your hands on a set of Montessori materials if possible. This is what really turned the light on for me! So far the Montessori Outlet has worked for me. Montessori Materials, as most of us know all too well, can be very expensive, so if you can't get your hands on some materials, I would suggest visiting a school and observing some presentations if possible.

Math Works: Montessori and the Developing Brain
This is an awesome book I just got that talks about Montessori math materials and has a reference section in the back naming the materials with a short description of what they are used for. Never in my life folks! Never in my life did I think I would be reading about math and enjoying it!

This video gives an overview of the Montessori math methods:

You can find a transcript of the complete video for purchase from EVP by clicking HERE.

Finally, here is one more video by Tami Elliot, (I am so grateful to her for making these videos!) owner of Northstar Montessori Preschool, in which she demonstrates counting in the teens by using the hanging bars:

Hanging Bead Montessori Activity -- powered by

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Eye Candy Alert: Childrens Art Portfolio!

The other day I was browsing Flickr for some Montessori eye candy to inspire me while setting up our home classroom. I love looking at picture's of classroom's and how things are set up and arranged. I find pictures of classroom's that incorporate art or nature especially inviting. So there I am browsing my little heart out (probably the only advantage to nursing a "nip & napper"!), when I come across the picture above! I thought it looked so cool, but what was it? It turns out to be an art portfolio put together by Jojoebi over at A Bit of This and That . She went ahead and gathered all of her son's artwork from 0-3 years and had it printed in a photo book by Blurb. How cool is that? I don't know how many times I've had to struggle with deciding what to keep and what to toss when it comes to my children's art work. This is totally the hot fudge sauce on my sundae! I am loving it! Go check out some more pictures of little Ebi-kun's art portfolio Here.

If you want to start collecting your little Picasso's art projects for inclusion in his or her very own art portfolio, here is one of my suggestions on how to start organizing this:

1. Start with an accordion file and label the tabs with your preferred method. of classification. For example, by month, by media, season, etc..

2. When your child creates a new work of art, display it in a rotating gallery. Be it on your fridge, their bedroom or playroom wall, your child will feel a great boost of confidence seeing their creations displayed nicely and it will give them a sense of dignity in the work that they do.

3. Make sure to talk to your child about the work of art that they've just created. Ask questions, and remember to let them do most of the talking. Art can be such an intimate expression, and we can really get a peek into the child's heart, mind, and soul when we leave the explaining up to them. Also remember to not just say "Good boy" or "Good girl", but actually comment on what you notice and like about the picture. Saying things such as, "I really like the color combination you chose", or "your ability to blend the colors is beautiful", not only provide both positive and productive feedback, but they will also be more meaningful to your child as well.

4. After a week has gone by, (you decide the time frame), place the artwork in your accordion file and attach any notes you may have taken when discussing the work. The notes can be included alongside the picture of the artwork in the portfolio to capture the overall essence of your child at the time the artwork was done.

5. When you've gotten a good amount of pictures for each category, you can review them with your child and ask which one's they would like to use for inclusion in their art portfolio. The pictures not chosen for inclusion in the art portfolio can be given away to loved ones as gifts, or can be made into birthday cards for friends.

When it comes to art projects that are mixed media, sculpture, etc.. you can use a camera to take a picture of their project and store it in the same fashion as above.

Monday, August 18, 2008

It's Monday! New Post at Montessori for Everyone!

I love Monday's. Why? Lori over at Montessori for Everyone adds a new post to her blog on Monday's. I always look forward to reading her insights as a former Montessori teacher in the classroom who is now home schooling her two children using the Montessori method. Go check her blog out at

Saturday, August 16, 2008

In the Land of Wonder and Miracles...

Once upon a time there was a Mami. She had 5 little angels she had to love and care for. She knew she was blessed that God had entrusted them to her, and thought long and hard about how she and Papi could bring them up best. She prayed, and prayed, and then prayed some more. Little by little, Her prayers were answered and miracles started happening. Papi took the plunge to work from home so he could help out more with our growing family's needs (Dr.'s appointements, sick days, etc..) . Mami was happy to have her lovely family together, but the future looked a bit uncertain. The angels were growing fast and needing food for their brain and for their souls. What was Mami to do? She loved Maria Montessori's take on nurturing and feeding the minds and hearts of the little one's, but Mami knew that sending the little angels to get a Montessori school would break the bank. Mami prayed and had faith that God would help her in this great task and journey, And... alas... it was granted. Mami never saw it coming, but little by little she encountered other soul's who would offer to help her and guide her and even provide materials, traning manuals, and one on one time with her and the dear little one's. "How could this be?", She asked herself. "Everything is just falling into place!", it could only be God. So to Him, Mami gives all praise and thanksgiving. To Him Mami offers up all her worries and sufferings. To Him, Mami gives her life to, that He may continue to help and guide her on the path to educating and guiding her little one's to Heaven. And so, our story begins.........

My name is Susana and I am the mother of five children ages six and under. Five boys and one baby girl :) I hope that you will come to enjoy my blog as I share my favorite "Montessori candy" with you, and share my journey as a Montessori home schooling mom as well. One of the things I'm very excited about is the Montessori record keeping system I've designed, which I hope to make available to you soon. Thanks for coming along for the ride!