Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I’ve been thinking ahead about things I’d like to do with Ender in the next year, specifically since he will be old enough to attend preschool. This past fall we started our experiment of sorts. Brian and I knew we wanted to educate our children at home, but we were unsure of what exactly that would look like. As I read more and more about different philosophies of education (and gave Brian the condensed version), Montessori is mostly where we landed. I suppose technically we would be considered eclectic, since there is a lot that I appreciate about other philosophies, specifically Charlotte Mason.

In the last 6 months I have:

1. Worked on providing a learning environment in our home

2. Tried to have a definite work period in the mornings

3. Learned to observe the boys in order to know where to take them next.

Lesson planning is one of my very favorite things. I get to take my observations from the previous week or two and decide where the boys should go next. Some work stays on the shelves as-is, sometimes someone is ready for the next stage or an extension on a work, sometimes they are ready to move on to new work. The difficult part is that I sometimes get so excited about planning lessons for the boys that I get so far into planning to the point that we would be having sit-down school all day! Hardly the thing for a peschooler, much less a toddler!

So I think I’ve found a system that is working for all of us and I thought I’d share our slightly new direction.

1. Montessori Time Daily. This is usually 45 minutes, and I’ve been doing a lot of presenting (and re-presenting) of math works lately. Ender is working with our own version of the teen board and a lot of counting work. Ezra is keeping busy with practical life and farm play. He is in love with his animals!

2. Table Time. This time is often art, but includes working with dough, making books, specific crafts (like our butterflies from the other day) and other structured activities. We’ve been having a lot of collages lately now that Ezra can dip a q-tip in white glue without licking the end.

3. Books. We’ve always included a lot of books in our lives. We read several times a day and Ender is starting to enjoy listening to longer books. One of the changes we’re making for summer is to add themed book baskets to our learning area. We are blessed with an excellent library system and I take advantage!

4. Outside. As we head into summer this is where you’ll most likely find us.

Another idea I’d like to experiment with over the summer is to have a special center set up that will be changed as the boys lose interest. My starting ideas are to be job centric- postal worker, veterinarian, doctor, farmer, firefighter, etc. I’m curious to see what they think about that.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Weekend Redux

Wow- I'm glad the weekend is over! Our grand plans to clean out the basement were kind of thwarted- we only got about half way through. Our dear friend Sarah gave birth to her first child Friday evening so after I got out of the recording session Saturday morning (that ran over by an hour!) we went straight to the hospital to visit Sarah and her new daughter Juniper.



My parents were also moving over the weekend and they called us because they discovered a few things of ours that we needed to take back (they are moving into a small duplex from their big 5 bedroom house). So we went to pick up several boxes and moved them into storage, then back to the house to finally start on the basement storage room. We managed to get about half way through- about 25 boxes went to storage (mostly books and baby items) and about 10 boxes to donate. Superman finally parted with some very old software, and we both were able to get rid of some of our childhood stuff that wasn't worth keeping. We're going to try to finish up over the next two weekends, but it's going to be tricky since Superman is working both Saturdays.



The excellent things that came out of this? My parents needed to get rid of their bigger freezer so that came to us! I'm so glad to be able to take advantage of some sales now that I don't have to worry as much about space.



Also I'm going to be putting in shelving in the basement storage room for all of the extra baskets, work and other activities for the boys that I don't have room for while it's not in use. I'm most excited about this extra storage space. The only things staying in basement storage are our Christmas boxes, my teaching materials for the studio (bulletin borders and things like that), and the clothes that Ezra has yet to grow into. I'm so glad to have this project started so I'll have the extra room!
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