Saturday, 11 January 2014

DIY Montessori materials: teens and tens boards

Off course these laminated versions do not come close to the real deal, but they still effectively taught the concept of numbers to a hundred and the units and tens place values to little A. U also benefited from using these boards as it made clear the concept of a number being made of of tens and units. For example 66 being 6 tens and 6 units (as well as being the 66th number along the number line).

For an easy to follow tutorial on how to use these boards with the Montessori method can be found for the teens board and tens board.

We are using these boards as part of our Unit 4 maths topic on numbers to a hundered.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

What's cooking?

I'm quite fed up with hearing myself tell my kids "not now, there's not enough time" everytime they ask if they can help in the kitchen. Instead of feeling really bad about it and wishing they could do what they want more often we've decided they can cook or bake something every Friday. To make the experience even more special, U and A alternate weeks, so its a great experience for me too as I get one to one time with each kid, which is a rarity.

U has completely thrown himself into it and plans his menu well in advance, consulting recipe books and ingredient lists to make sure we have everything on hand. The last thing he mentioned before sleeping today was how he couldn't wait to make the yummy scrummy super special bread he is planning on making on Friday inshallah. Yes, fresh homemade bread on the menu! Previously U made a vegetable pie, and last week A made a honey cake.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Trefoil and quatrefoil

A few posts ago I mentioned I wanted to revive our maths curriculum, which we were three units into. The first couple of units were about planar and solid shapes. We covered the topics quite thoroughly, however as we did them about 16 months ago, I thought maybe definitely the kids would benefit from a bit of revision. So we re-did some of the activities and then we searched online for a shapes chart to print for reference. The one we found had two new shapes that I was completely unaware of...trefoil-a three lobed shape  and quatrefoil-a four lobed shape. A wiki search revealed that trefoil and quatrefoil originally refered to leaves with three or four lobes respectively. That was as good a reason as any for a trip to the park in search of these types of leaves. We found lots of trefoils but not a single quatrefoil, although that may be because we got distracted by playing in the leaves instead of searching through them.


Reading challenge

Another homeschooling mum was telling me about how she introduced a reading challenge for her two daughters. The first to read a hundred books will get a special treat. This struck a cord with me and the kids so we've set up a similar challenge for us as well, complete with a record chart already being filled with stickers. This has proved to be a great incentive as they've even started to take their books to bed with them and are already reading before breakfast.

I am curious to see who will win!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Incidental learning and the wow factor

There are so many positive things I have found about homeschooling, that although I can't imagine keeping the kids at home all the way until university (!), I can't really imagine giving them to school either.

One of the plus points that I am constantly encountering while going about our homeschooling (unschooling) days is how ignorant I am about so many things! Off course that in itself is not a particularly good trait, however the benefit of not knowing means that I experience a wow factor when I learn something that I didn't know but ought to have. Because I get really excited about little snippets of information that I learn about, this feeling is apparent to the kids and they start feeling the wow factor too.

I am always switched on for experiences that can serve as natural learning moments for the kids as it's through incidental learning that I've found the kids (and I) are captivated the most and has that 'wow factor'.

Maybe it's because I've declared ignorance, have decided to take it easy, and let learning, not teaching, lead the way...but homeschooling feels liberating and right now I'm absolutely loving it. (Although that's quite easy to say whole heartedly because at this moment the little ones are fast asleep and quiet!)

Apple day

We went along to our local apple day recently, which turned out to be more about the kids running around on the open grounds than appreciating the local harvest. However I found a few things quite interesting and yet again was remind of how little I know, and what a learning journey homeschooling has become for me. So to share the highlights...
There were 43 varieties of apples on display of which I recognised a grand total of one! For anyone wanting to see if they can beat that score I've included pictures of the apples and a list with the names.



We also saw a demonstration of apples being juiced using a traditional juicer. Apparently the kids also got a taste of the apple juice while I was busy taking pictures of the apples- the things I sacrifice for this blog!

We saw an original sundial.
And the most interesting new thing I saw was this seemingly humble rock that is known by the grand title of 'glacial erratic boulder", which apparently is a rock that was separated from its origional location and carried away by a glacier during the Ice Age.  That explanation even made U say 'wow'.


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Art and nature

We've borrowed a couple of really exciting art books from the library recently which I intend to hang on to for a bit. As soon as the kids opened them I  was bombarded with requests of can they try this, no that, actually this, no definitely get the picture. So I had a look and realised these books were as good as the they were making out. I made a mug of tea and had a proper browse. I love art. I love nature. These books have both.

I am definitely going to have a go at these projects right along with the kids. In the meantime the kids use these books for inspiration when they've been doing free art.

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