Friday, July 31, 2009

Opinions on Kid Advance Montessori Materials?

I'm looking for reviews or opinions regarding Kid Advance Montessori Materials. Anyone out there have any? I am considering ordering my maps from them but would like to know how their quality and customer service is. Let me know if you've ordered from them and what you think. Thanks!

Want to Buy: Used Map set from Montessori-n-Such

Does anyone have a good/used set of maps and cabinet from Montessori-n-Such? I am looking for a set in good condition.

Please leave a comment if you have a set you are willing to part with.

Inspiration for Edible School Gardens

This video was taken from the Edible School Yard website. They have some interesting sounding publications on integrating various curriculum with the school garden. Check it out!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Montessori Farm School in the Home?

Do you have older children you'd like to home school using the Montessori Erdkinder model? Angela over at Three Plus Two has some interesting information to share. Check it out!

Sooo Cute!

I love, love, love this video from Countryside Montessori in Illinois! Check out these Montessori children preparing and setting up lunch!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

NAMC 6-12 Classroom Guide!

My husband and I just bought the whole set of Lower Elementary manuals from NAMC. It was a big purchase and pretty exciting to get the stuff in the mail. I will have to tweak some of the curriculum to fit in with our Catholic Living education.

So far, I'm halfway through with the NAMC 6-12 Classroom Guide. This guide is so awesome! I'd also like to get the 3-6 guide if it is significantly different. I totally recommend the NAMC manual as I have not come across the practical day to day function in the Montessori classroom anywhere else. I am so glad we got this now that it is summer so I can be more prepared when our school year begins.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Practical Life: Montessori Snack Time!

I've been eying these cooking cards by Kinderlings sold at Montessori Services for a long time now. I debated spending the money on them, but I'm glad I finally did. My kids love, love, love to help cook and they were so excited to get these in the mail.

To be honest, I don't think the description on the website does them justice. These cards are actually a Practical Life Montessori cooking curriculum!

They talk the "teacher" through the process of setting up the snack area and the activities are arranged in sequential order from simplest to more difficult in true Montessori fashion.

For example:
First it has you setting out a simple already cut/made snack. The child serves themselves snack on a napkin or in a cup. They then carry it to the table and when done they throw away the napkin or paper cup.
Next you would pre-cut an apple, and the child would take one slice and chop it up into pieces, put it on a napkin and carry it to the table, etc.

Once the kids have had a lesson on dish washing, you would introduce a dish washing station for them to use dishes and then wash them instead of using napkins or paper cups.

The recipes become more complicated, like cutting one apple slice, one orange slice and adding yogurt to make a fruit salad. They also have more complex salads and snacks later on and even have some ethnic recipes that can tie in to cultural studies.

I love that each step is on one card for the children to see easily. The teachers cards advise to set up the snack making area like an assembly line from left to right, with trays containing necessary ingredients with the corresponding card.

The teachers cards are awesome in that they tell you how to prepare ahead of time for each recipe, very "a la" Montessori. These cards make it so easy to implement an excellent Practical Life snack station for the kids. I had been trying to create a snack program on my own, but luckily now I don't have to!

I can easily see my kids 7, 6, 4, and 3 using these at different levels because the recipes and steps are very adaptable. I love that they will learn to follow directions, while understanding that each step is important.

Let me know what you think! I'd especially love to hear about how you do snack in your Montessori home school or program.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"Summertime, and the living is easy"

copyrighted photo by my handsome husband

Wouldn't that be nice?
Life is never really quite what you expect it to be. What's that they say?
"If you want to make God laugh, make plans."

I asked my husband to stop me if I came up with any ideas to start a new business. It seems my mind is always working and always coming up with something new, although this time around it was him who approached me with an awesome idea that we're going to work on in the "slower" winter months. Anyhow, I told him I was just going to concentrate on the kids schooling and try to double that as my hobby. If anything, for some variety, I would take up baking and sewing.
My plans for this summer were to visit at least once a week one of the following because we have memberships: the zoo, botanic gardens, aquarium, and local kids hands on science museum in addition to our weekly trip to the library.

We were off to a good start at the beginning, but got off track with a "spur of the moment" trip to visit family in another state. It was lots of fun and I wouldn't trade it for the world, but I'm the type of person who is really happy following a routine with a little bit of flexibility. Once I get off that track, I'm kind of like an ant who gets off course when a twig or stone is put in the way of it's path.
Besides taking our out of state trip, I recently got involved with a group of friends wanting to start a Catholic Montessori school. So far, it has taken a lot of my time and brain power! However, a valuable lesson I have learned is to not put too much on my plate and remember to take care of my primary responsibilites.

On a side note, two weeks ago I got my four wisdom teeth taken out at the same time and my lower right lip and chin are still numb! I've been slow to heal and can't really eat much solids so I've been drinking a lot of V8 and eating yogurt and berries lovingly made by my husband. Looking at the silver lining, I've unintentionally lost a few pounds and could probably stand to loose a few more (5 babies in almost 8 years of marriage will give you a good baby pouch!).

So far, summer has been busy, but we've definitely had some great moments in there. Birthday parties, 4th of July, family sleep out in the clubhouse, concerts in the park, as well as many more to surely come.

Anyway,the UPS man has been good to us and brought some cool Montessori resources for this coming school year. I'm excited to share my excitement for the goodies with you, in hopes that it will help you in your own homeschooling/schooling endeavors. Stay tuned!