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NOTICE ON PICS - All pics on this blog (unless otherwise stated) are my personal work. DO NOT take pics from this blog without seeking my permission first! Bless you.

Welcome to my blog. It is updated weekly with pictures and projects from our homeschool - maybe you can find something to inspire you :) I have a (no longer updated) materials page elsewhere on my website and will, occasionally, post my homemade materials in this blog.

I'm married to Tim (delivery driver and gorgeous musician), have 2 daughters, live on the south coast of the UK and have 1 aging cat (Hemmingway or Hemmy for short). I love reading, yoga, crafts, baking, daft old comedies, music and teaching.

On this page you can find my homeschool blog, if you want to read my general, day-to-day blog, click the link below :)

My NOT Homeschool Blog!

Our Homeschool Room
View Our Homeschool Room in 3B!

Great Links:

Hands of a Child

Homeschool Share


Nature Detectives


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NOTE ON PICTURES: This shouldn't be necessary but I have, sadly, noticed growing cases. Please DO NOT link directly to pictures on this website - it steals my bandwidth and is BAD! I CAN trace you if you do and I will take action.

Category : Homeschooling


Monday, January 24, 2011

New site live!


Just to let you know my new site is LIVE! At last! The blog is being done, hopefully, today. The main page is there, the about us page and the free materials pages are there. None of the other sidebar links work yet but I'm getting there! :)

So, this is the VERY last post on this blog - the archives will be left here for reference. Enjoy the new site!

Wise Little Owls

Posted by Sarah at 10:58 AM [ permalink ]
Categories: Homeschooling


Thursday, January 06, 2011

New website

It's been a year now since I got my new website - a year and it's STILL not ready :( I'm annoyed at myself. However, it IS coming FINALLY. I'm working on having the whole thing done by the end of February and, as mentioned before, the first thing to go on it will be my blog. I'm leaving the archives of this one here and putting in a link so that new visitors can go straight to the new one. I'll be starting the blog from scratch, not taking everything else with me!

So, this is the last post on this blog. The new blog address will be:

See you there! :)

Posted by Sarah at 10:32 AM [ permalink ]
Categories: Homeschooling


Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Free complete curriculum

Following on from my last links, here are some for COMPLETE curriculum (ie all subjects with no need to add in anything else), in different formats - video lessons, printables, games etc.

NeoK12 - Grades K-12 - video lessons, games and some printables. You can create a free account and create playlists and keep track of your childs viewings, games completed etc.

What 2 Learn - KS3 and 4 - Games based learning and printables - from their website "What2Learn is a national award-winning interactive learning solution which provides effective educational resources and revision games. "

Ambleside Online - K-12 - Charlotte Mason based curriculum. Something I've always wanted to use but never quite got to grips with! Great if your family likes reading A LOT. I was in 2 minds whether to include this as you will have to provide your own maths curriculum - there is, however a completely free maths curriculum (all years/grades) here at MEP.

Clickschooling - K-12 - This is a great curriculum if you want something a little more low-key and prefer to focus on 1 subject per day (leaving the rest of the time free for more self directed learning). You can sign up for the newsletter and get 1 web based curriculum idea per day (Mon-Sat) in your inbox. The system works on Mon-Maths, Tues-science, Weds-Language Arts, Thurs-Social Studies, Fri-Virtual Field Trip and Sat-Music/Art/Foreign Languages. The only drawback with this is that you don't know what your getting (grade wise) until it arrives so if the link that arrives isn't suitable for your child's age/ability, I suggest you visit the archives for that day and find an alternative.

Lesson Pathways - K-5. You set up your "pathways" for each subject then simply follow them through. Each pathway contains all the links, materials and ideas you need for the lessons. I would say with this that, looking through it, it would seem academically quite challenging. It's just my opinion, but I think you could easily "bump" this up by a grade or 2 and it would work brilliantly, meaning you could use it up to grade 6 or 7.

Little City Kids Perspective - K-2 (although, I've taken some of the ideas from this and EASILY adapted them for my older daughter). Loosely Montessori-based. Curriculum based on a timeline of history from Dinosaurs right through to "That's Like Awesome" (a study of the 1980's!) Everything included - writing, art, craft, history and science however you will need to supplement with maths for an older child.

Milestones Academy - K-12. Charlotte Mason-esque curriculum with a Montessori slant for early years (yes, really!) Is Christian but you can work round this if you don't want that as it's not overtly-so.

Speyer School Curriculum - K-8 - Vintage but very, very lovely. Charlotte Mason in flavour, easily followed outlines for each grade with book suggestions.

EZ School - K-12 - Worksheet based, not the most inspiring or exciting to be honest but it's free.

Montessori 6-9 - Full curriculum albums for 6-9 year olds, all subjects - bear in mind that Montessori is VERY advanced and introduces concepts at a much younger age than traditional schools. If you want to use this style of learning but don't want to push your child too much I suggest looking through it and "bumping up" if necessary. Same for the 3-6 curriculum below.

Montessori 3-6 - See above!

Free World U - K-12 - E-flashcard learning - all subjects - sounds lame but, at first inspection, actually seems pretty good. Would DEFINATELY need to be supplemented with hands on activities away from the computer but, as a basic core curriculum, is excellent.

Head of Class - K-8 - talked about this in previous post - will eventually cover all grades from k-8, currently k-4 with grade 5 due this month sometime.

Old Fashioned Education - K-12 - based on vintage books, Charlotte Mason/classical style.

Mater Amabilis - Currently K-8 although their website seems to suggest that it will, eventually go right through to grade 12. Charlotte Mason based with book suggestions for both US and UK users so good in that respect.

Free maths curriculum - now, at the start I said these were complete but some DO require supplementing with a maths curriculum (mostly the Charlotte Mason type ones). Just my pennies worth, but I feel with maths curriculum (more than ANY other subject) you need to place your child based on ability NOT age - for most homeschoolers that probably doesn't need saying but (iI know from personal experience!) there is sometimes a "fear" about keeping your child in their right grade level regardless of their ability. Here are some that are free:

MEP - mentioned above - all grades - hands on and workbook style lessons.

Math Moves U - Grades 6-9/10 (depending on ability of your child) - game based but also contains Math Moves University where you can download free worksheets to go with the online games. Good fun :)

Math Frog - Grades 4-6 - game/worksheet based curriculum.

Wired Math - Currently grades 7-9 but grade 10 due to be added in 2011 sometime. Game/worksheet based.

Math Instructional Resources - K-12 - lesson ideas for all grades plus weekly, self directed challenges - lots of hands on ideas here.

Math ABC - 1-6 - Online maths practice for all topics.

Khan Academy - No fixed grades are given and, I suspect, this would be better for older children who, perhaps, experience maths difficulties - see comments below) - video lessons from basic maths right through algebra. If you set up an academy account (with Facebook or iGoogle), you can follow the suggest path through all the levels/topics. Once you gain 10 correct answers the system allows you to move on to the next level. The route suggested is totally unlike anything I've ever seen - it starts with basic (very basic!) addition, then goes through some basic subtraction, multiplication and division before moving on to adding decimals (I guess they figure that it's a natural follow on from adding whole numbers and that does make sense), subtracting and multiplying decimals and then adding/subtracting negative numbers. Sounds confusing but I actually think it might work! Easiest to go see for yourself :)

Posted by Sarah at 12:46 PM [ permalink ]
Categories: Homeschooling


Tuesday, December 07, 2010


Maybe you know these maybe you don't but here are some great links for homeschool I discovered recently :)

Science projects - LOADS of

Maths Instructional Resources - all grades

Maths Stars Newsletter - for grades 1 - 8, these are brilliant for self directed work

Problem Solving Cards - for grades 1 - 8, again, great for self directed work

Superstars Maths Problem Solving Programme - Grades k - 8 ditto!

Head of the Class - FREE multimedia curriculum for all subjects - currently grades k - 4, 5th grade due some time this month with 6th, 7th and 8th due Spring next year.

Maths Practice Problems - for grades 1 - 8

Writing Fun - free, online, text organisers

Posted by Sarah at 6:49 PM [ permalink ]
Categories: Homeschooling


Monday, November 08, 2010

Website news and Lulu sale :)

First, a quick update on my new website. I'm going to try and move the blog over there sometime in the next couple of weeks but some of the other things like materials and grade level web pages MAY have to wait until after Christmas .... we'll see! Things are slow at the moment - I'm REALLY tired (not sleeping well) and there is, obviously, a lot of pre-Christmas preparations going on. Anyhow, I've made some final decisions about my materials and selling/not selling. Here goes :)

  1. All materials currently on the "general homeschool materials" page on THIS site, will continue to be FREE on the new site.
  2. My older Montessori materials (those I made over 3 years ago) will all be available FREE on the new site
  3. Some of the newer materials (made in the last 3 years) will be available FREE.
  4. My newer materials plus the larger ones (those which involved huge amounts of work to make - phew!) will be available at a very low price.

I am trying to make as much of my stuff available free as possible but also want to be fair on myself because I do put much work into these :)

Anyway, quite a few of my materials are currently on Lulu (link at the top of this page) and, until the new website is up and running, I'm reducing the cost of some of these in a little sale (watch out for some more being added in the next few days!) I'm intending to keep Lulu as well as my website shop for 2 reasons - firstly, the purchaser can download straight away rather than have to wait for me to send and, secondly, I can apply discounts more easily - which I hope to do lots! :)

Here are the links to the currently discounted materials - just click on the buy now buttons to go to full descriptions:

Periodic Table of Elements set - Huge set of 97 pages containing 3 part cards, flashcards, build-your-own period table (huge, on the floor!) and sorting activity). This is normally £3.75 but is currently on sale for £2.81. Support independent publishing: Buy this multimedia on Lulu.

Food Groups Set - picture and heading sorting cards for the main foods groups, posters/control cards and a set of riddle cards - normally £2.50, now £2.12. Support independent publishing: Buy this multimedia on Lulu.

Grammar Materials Set - A set of grammar symbols to "map" sentences, a grammar farm (pictures and word labels) to introduce nouns, verbs, adjectives, articles and conjunctions, grammar symbol 3-part cards and a gorgeous set of picture/sentence cards to practice mapping with the grammar symbols. Instructions for these materials included. normally £3.00, now £2.25. Support independent publishing: Buy this multimedia on Lulu.

Lastly, my pink level reading cards - These were lost away in the depths of my archives so I dusted them off and have put them up for sale. They will normally be £4.00 but are currently (because they're new and in a new font than my older materials), discounted at £2.80. There are 9 files included here (including instructions). Support independent publishing: Buy this multimedia on Lulu.

Oh, and one final thing - as an added incentive to go shop, the first person (from today) that purchases one of the discounted items can choose from any of the other (non discounted) items for free. Just let me know in a Lulu message which item you want and I'll send it to you :)

Posted by Sarah at 10:30 AM [ permalink ]
Categories: Homeschooling


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Am I excited?

You bet I am! :)

After literally MONTHS of umming and aaahing, I'm finally going to start getting on with my new website but NOT in the format it was originally going to be in which was a webstore. Basically, I've decided to give our homeschool its own website! I'll have our blog there, separate pages for the grades our kids are in and (wait for it!) FREE downloads! I will have ALL our educational materials on there - ebooks, downloads that are currently on the materials page on this site AND all our Montessori materials.

This is something I've given huge thought to. There are waaay too many sites charging for materials and, to put it bluntly, a lot of them have far more professional looking materials to mine. From a purely business point of view the market (especially for pdf Montessori materials) is fairly saturated. From a personal, "me" point of view - well, it was always my intention to make things for free download. However, I became demoralised when so many of my materials were taken and then passed off as something made by someone else or, even worse, sold on.

I've come to the conclusion that, sadly, that is the world we live in - there will always be dishonest people who think nothing of effectively stealing someone else's hard work. I COULD charge for things as a way of making myself feel slightly better about the "thefts" but I won't because I don't want to. It doesn't make ME feel good - I WANT to give, not sell. If I do anything at all, I'll put a donation button on the website and then it's up to individuals, if they have the money, to donate if they want to :)

That all said, I DO have an idea for something I MAY sell ..... but that's a way off, something I'm working on. It may never see the light of day but, who knows ;)

In the meantime, feel free to bookmark the new site and check back fairly often because it will suddenly appear one day :) I'm SO looking forward to it!

Wise Little Owls

Posted by Sarah at 3:02 PM [ permalink ]
Categories: Homeschooling


Friday, October 29, 2010

Making Montessori Work - Part 2

I think one of the things that always scared me to death when I first started considering Montessori was the idea of having materials everywhere. It seemed to me that, to use the Montessori method, you HAD to have a lot of materials, sometimes several for one topic. After a lot of trial and error (not to mention cash!) I realised that this isn't true, at least not for a homeschooling environment. Nor is it necessary to have EXACT Montessori materials.

In this post, I'm hoping to cover what I, personally, think is important to have and what isn't. Remember, these are just my personal opinions - things that have worked for me.

Really Essential

3-Part Cards - When I started out with Montessori, these were the first things I "discovered" and, to this day, they remain one of my most favourite of all the materials. Why? Easy! They are such a truly simple idea and yet they can teach SO much. They allow the child to learn in a completely independent way and they take, sometimes very complex, ideas and make them easy to understand and remember. They can be used for language arts, history, science, geography (anything!), are easy to make yourself (or purchased very cheaply) and small enough to store easily without taking up a lot of space.

Let's take a topic, say, the human heart. This is a complicated organ with a lot of "bits" that make it up! If you give your child a textbook with a labelled diagram of the heart and ask them to memorise the parts so that they can then (without looking) colour and label their own diagram, they could do it but what hard work! They'd literally have to just stare at the picture until they remembered the parts! Now take a set of 3 part cards - 1 card for each part of the heart, black and white line drawings with just ONE part per card coloured (usually in red) with the name of that part underneath. To go with this, you have exactly the same pictures but this time with the labelled area removed. Your child can "play" with the cards - studying the labelled cards, matching them with the unlabelled, finding the matching word cards and, eventually, challenging himself to match the correct labels with the correct pictures without looking at the "control" cards. It's hands on and interactive - he/she isn't just staring at a picture and trying to memorise it - they are, almost, taking the heart to pieces like a puzzle and learning each part in turn.

I once heard 3-part cards being dismissed as just "bits of laminated card that my kids wouldn't be interested in". No, no, no! I suspect this lady really hadn't given it much chance (if at all) and dismissed it out of hand. Possibly - I don't know, maybe her children wouldn't have been interested but, then again, maybe they would. These "bits of laminated card" are incredibly powerful, simple learning tools!

Puzzle Maps - Yes, those beautiful maps you see in Montessori schools HOWEVER not all (unless you can afford them and have the space to store then go ahead!) We have the world puzzle map and the map for our own continent and that's it. That's all I think you "need" - for the other continents I just made pin maps by printing out the map, laminating, mounting on foam board and then providing a lablled control map and pinflags for the countries. I think it's really important for the kids to have the opportunity to create their own maps by tracing, colouring and labelling the pieces (brilliant for hand/eye co-ordination for littles too!)

Geometry cabinet/solids - Over the years I've spent vast amounts on Montessori materials .... and then sold them again! The 2 things we'd NEVER part with though are our geometric cabinet and geometric solids. They are used again and again and again, they are a beautiful and tactile way to learn various geometry concepts and can be used with toddlers for sensorial exploration right through to more advanced concepts. We've used them (apart from the obvious of learning the names of shapes!) for ordering sizes (using the circle drawer), in place of inset shapes for learning to use a pencil, for measuring angles of triangles and so much more. The kids have used the inset frames for tracing when doing art projects and, yes (Montessori puritans might shudder in horror!), April has built churches and castles with the solids and peopled them with Playmobil characters!

Stamp Game - If I had to choose ONE maths materials, above all others, that was my favourite it has to be this. Rosie (my eldest) had the most HORRENDOUS problems, at age 9/10, grasping the concept of place value and carrying/borrowing and I'd tried everything. I was already using 3 part cards in science and decided to investigate the stamp game. I made my own out of coloured paper and "presented" it to her (more or less!) as per the Moteaco albums - after a couple of fits and starts she got it. Totally got it and didn't have ANY problems with this concept again. Being able to count out the stamps for the sum she was doing, PHYSICALLY change the stamps for 1 of the next place value when she got to 9 and SEE the result laid out in front of her just made it all click into place. A brilliant, brilliant "invention". Truly.

Not Essential

Coloured beads/Gold Beads - again, if you can afford it and have the space then go for it but if you can/haven't don't beat yourself up over it. There are 2, perfectly good, alternatives - connecting Cuisenaire rods (in place of coloured bead bars) and base 10 blocks (in place of gold beads). They are generally cheaper and do exactly the same job.

Animal/botany puzzles - beautiful yes, but not necessary. Use 3 part cards to teach the parts.

ALL the varieties of maths materials - this is probably a bit of a tetchy subject but I really don't think that there NEEDS to be, say, 3 or 4 different materials to teach addition facts. Now, I'm not a trained Montessorian so perhaps I'm missing something but I think having the addition strip board and several different addition fact charts might be overkill. Personally, I think the strip board material is enough. Same for subtraction, multiplication and division - we don't have enough room in our homes for ALL these things (at least I don't and I know others who have said the same)!

So, imo, what would we use for basic maths? Just these:

Addition/Sutraction - Strip Board Materials.

Division - Division bead board

Multiplication - Multiplication bead board

Connecting Cuisenaire Rods (for doing the bead activities)

Base 10 Blocks

Stamp Game

In our homeschool, we also feel that a good computer based learning programme is useful for maths (particularly if it isn't your strongest subject!) I know they're not used in true Montessori environments but we are Montessori-enhanced NOT true Montessori :)

Posted by Sarah at 8:19 PM [ permalink ]
Categories: Homeschooling


Thursday, October 07, 2010

Making Montessori Work - Part 1

NOTE: In this post I recommended PBS Sid the Science Kid as a great resource. Unfortunately, PBS powers-that-be have decided to block viewing if you are outside the US (even on You Tube!) so, sadly, I can no longer recommend Sid or any other PBS resource. Very sad because April adored watching the video clips. I shall attempt to find a UK alternative! :)

There have been some changes, homeschool-wise ...

Readers who've been with me a long time will know how much I favour the Montessori method of education - indeed, most of Rosie's learning up until the last year has been Montessori based. We moved away from it for 2 reasons - firstly, I became irritated by the sheer amount of materials we had out all the time and secondly ..... we thought the grass was greener .... Yep, like a lot of homeschoolers we figured there "must be a better way"!

Well, guess what? For us, there isn't a better way. We had the better way all along, it just needed tweaking.

So, the materials and the "3 hour work period" (which used to dirve me bats too because "life" always gets in the way and prevents you from doing the work period you had planned). I was trying to be Montessori + .... TOO Montessori and it just doesn't work in a home environment. What you have to do - I have learned since - is take the "idea" of Montessori (hands on learning activities, freedom to choose what to work on and when, lots of practical life) and work it into your home life rather than trying to recreate a Montessori classroom.

So, for our purposes, I've broken things down into 3 stages (pretty much those of a Montessori school) - Primary (4-8), Elementary (8-12) and Secondary - or Erd Kinder as it's officially known - (12+). At the moment we're ignoring Elementary as April's in Primary and Rosie's in Erdkinder and I take each of those phases one at a time and figure out how I can create the freedom of choice and movement and the hands on type learning. Here are my solutions:


Maths - lots of "real life" maths (weighing stuff when we're cooking - if April wants to help she can - measuring, counting pennies etc) combined with a good, interactive learning programme on the computer (more about that in a minute). I don't have all the maths materials out all the time - what I do is that if April has worked on the computer programme, I look to see if I can provide a Montessori activity based on what she has learned. For example, the other day she was matching solid shapes to their bases on the computer so i dug out our Montessori shapes and their wooden bases and she played with them on and off for a couple of days. She was recreating what she'd done on the computer. Then they go away again. This seems to work pretty well.

Reading/writing - I DO have Montessori style cards for phonics (because they work and we love them) - at the moment she's working on consonant blends (slug, brick, drum etc) - I just put these in a small, lidded box and leave them on the table where she works and she can get them out and work with them when she wants. She's also working her way through the Peter and Jane reading books and she's doing the writing exercises in her project book. All these things she asks to do rather than me telling her unless it's been a few days since she's done any and then I gently suggest that she might. Obviously, we have LOADS of books out on the bookshelves to encourage free reading - both fiction and non-fiction.

Science - this is usually sparked by the season or something she has got interested in - for example, the other day she picked lots of leaves in the garden and was sorting them out. I found a great video on Sid the Science Kid about leaf investigations and she watched that. Then (because the kids on the video did!) she wanted to stick some in her book under big and small. Finally, entirely on her own, she dug our leaf shape cards out of the cupboard and matched some up to the leaves she had found (pic for that is in the last post). So there you have it - self directed (apart from the video which I added), self planned and entirely Montessori!


Erdkinder (German for Earth School) is quite unlike ANY other secondary programme of education. In a real Montessori Erdkinder, the children would live on a farm and this always made me think that this style of learning wouldn't work at home. However, again, I was trying to be TOO precise - you can take the "idea" of the Erdkinder and adapt it slightly for homeschooling and, actually, it fits incredibly well!

There are other writings on this better than I can do so maybe go read these first and then come back here :) Go ahead, I'll still be here!

Erdkinder - The Montessori Answer To Adolescence

Michael Olaf

So how do we make all this work for us? Well, there is no reason that we can't provide "working on the land" activities - gardening ... in our garden! Just let them get out in the fresh air, get their hands dirty and work the earth. How much better is that for a child of that age than being cooped up in doors just READING about plants or farming or whatever. They are learning SO much from this gardening experience!

I just sat down and thought of all the things that Rosie really needed to be able to do by the time she's 18 and used that as the basis for our Erdkinder programme. I included obvious things like cooking, gardening, handling finances, doing laundry etc but also things you might not immediately think of - like wiring a plug safely! Absolutely everything.

Then I added in a required amount of maths (again, using the same online company as April), English, Science and lapbook work of her choice. I made her a sort of checkbox system on a form that she sticks on her bedroom cupboard - she chooses WHEN she wants to do a piece of academic work and, when done, ticks the box. For example, there are 5 checkboxes for maths - when she completes 1 lesson in maths, she ticks the box. If she's very enthusiastic she wants to get her maths out the way early and does 2 lots a day! This system gives freedom and encourages her to get her work done early to give her more time for other things. I'm still saying "I need the work done" but it's up to her WHEN it's done. I basically give her a week to complete all the checkboxes and then she gets a fresh form.

All VERY Montessori and, my goodness, FAR less stress on all of us!

Anyway, online resources we are using are (I won't describe these - you can go check them out if you want): (for maths for both and science for Rosie)

BBC KS3 English

Sid the Science Kid

We get other resources from:

Hands of a Child Lapbooks

Montessori Print Shop

Montessori for Everyone

Oh... and my own Montessori resources ... shop coming soon ... OH HEAVEN'S I keep saying that don't I?! :( It will come honestly!

Posted by Sarah at 9:06 AM [ permalink ]
Categories: Homeschooling


Friday, August 27, 2010

Back VERY soon peeps!

Yes indeed! After a lovely summer of doing not much, the homeschool blog will be up and running again soon - we start our first week, next week! We've got our books ready, first lapbook planned, ideas for projects ... we are READY!

In the first week, apart from the MEP maths, April will be starting a Madeline lapbook, learning about dinosaurs (herbivores in particular), practicing her reading on PBS Island and looking at paintings by Van Gogh. Rosie will be starting a grammar lapbook (mostly review for her but a nice gentle start to the year), making indoor rainbows in science, starting Spanish lessons (another language AT LAST!) and, with her sister, studying Van Gogh art.

Can't wait - I think it's going to be fun :)

Posted by Sarah at 8:14 AM [ permalink ]
Categories: Homeschooling


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A little break and a little planning

We've kind of stopped homeschool work here for the time being - taking a summer break for a while. We haven't put any stop/start dates on this - we'll just take a break until the kids start making "bored" noises and then we'll start work again :)

Anyway, I'm using this break to do some planning for new work - here's what I've decided on:

MEP Maths - yes, I was going to use this before but I got annoyed and bored with having to continually print the practice books (shame on me!) The lessons themselves were very, very good. Anyway, since April didn't complete Year 1 in the end I'm going to start her there and with Rosie I'm doing Year 7 (even though "technically", she's Year 8) because MEP is academically challenging and year 7 is the first of the secondary years. Year 7 is a good place to start with an older child who's not done MEP before because it reviews work done in previous years and gets them used to the MEP style (which is quite unlike anything else!) Really lucky living in the UK because I can get the actual practice books from Plymouth Uni meaning I don't have to spend hours printing and binding. The whole years curriculum (lesson plans are free online) cost me £11.00 for BOTH kids!


Read, Write, Think. This is a wonderful site for language arts lesson plans for K-12 - excellent interactives too.


Thinkfinity - lots of free lesson plans on all subjects.


Teachers Domain - Brilliant multimedia lessons which you can save to a folder for future reference (if you sign up - free). I'm getting some great science lessons saved up.


PBS Teachers - again, great multimedia lesson ideas.


PBS Island - lovely, interactive reading programe we're using for April - she loves it :)


BBC History for Kids - games, videos, worksheets and other lesson ideas.


BBC Wildlife Explorers - excellent wildlife site with video clips.


So there we have it :) Some of the very best resources I think - although there are many, many more obviously. Back to our break now - see you soon!

Posted by Sarah at 8:59 PM [ permalink ]
Categories: Homeschooling


Saturday, February 20, 2010

My free files

I've put a section in the sidebar with my free Montessori downloads including my latest file - types of sentences.

For the sentence file, you put the coloured dots on the backs of the sentence strips for self checking - the dots are the same as the ones on the description cards. You'll see! :)

Posted by Sarah at 9:51 PM [ permalink ]
Categories: Homeschooling


Sunday, January 31, 2010

Belated post!

I meant to post this a couple of days ago but forgot! Here are a few activities over recent days (by April):

Sink and float experiment


Building words (objects)

We started learning about space and April coloured some planets and glued them in order on some dark paper (idea from My Montessori Journey blog)

She also worked with our planet models and learned the order of the planets from the sun (unfortunately, we seem to have mislaid Mercury and it had to be replaced with a small orange bead!)

I've been putting together maths materials ready for when April needs them (which might be quite soon) - I've done the addition boards and I'm working on the golden bead material at the moment. I'm using real gold coloured beads for the units and ten bars and printed versions for the 100 squares and 1000 cube. Below is my file which you can use if you want - just print, cut out, score, fold and glue for the cubes - for the 100 squares just cut apart (and laminate for durability if you want). This is not a huge cube but (by sheer coincidence!) the little circles are exactly the same size as the beads I'm using so, if I take one of our ten bars and place it on the row of "beads" on the hundred square it fits exactly!

Printout for 100 squares/1000 cube

Posted by Sarah at 3:46 PM [ permalink ]
Categories: Homeschooling


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Going well :)

Our transition over (back to!) Montessori is going very, very well. Actually, it's better than it was before for reasons that I don't really understand. We seem to have a very good program going for Rosie - she would, technically, be in the last year of upper elementary so we're "sort of" following that but not as exactly as I would have done had we used Montessori in it's entirety with her over the last few years. The Conquer Maths is a PERFECT, secondary level, follow up for a child who has been using Montessori maths over previous years because the emphasis is on independent, self directed work. What amazes me is actually HOW good Rosie's maths is - far better than I ever thought - she's getting an average of 85% in all her question "papers" so far which is astonishing.

April is using all Montessori now - slightly done "our way" in places admittedly but Montessori nevertheless.

Anyway, here are some pics from today :)

Geometric cabinet, triangles drawer


Working on "teens" - I got rid of all the Montessori beads I made a long time ago and couldn't be bothered to make more so we're using segmented Cuisenaire Rods instead (you can't see they're segmented in this picture but they are) Next step after this is the teens board.


Matching animal prints to the correct animal - these are self correcting in that they also have the animal picture on the back of the print. You can get the printouts to make this here. You need to make 1 copy of the prints in circles and 2 copies of the match up worksheet (the only bit of the worksheet you need is the animals - 1 set to go on the back of the prints).


Rosie working on Conquer Maths



... and using 3 part cards for the parts of an amoeba


Posted by Sarah at 5:26 PM [ permalink ]
Categories: Homeschooling


Monday, January 25, 2010

Constructive triangles - rectangular box 1

In deep concentration ......


The finished result :)


Posted by Sarah at 5:23 PM [ permalink ]
Categories: Homeschooling


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Montessori continent folder pictures

Here is a little something for those of you that need them - continent folder pictures for all 7 continents. These are basic and don't focus on animals or food or landmarks specifically, just give a general overview of the continents. There are 6 pictures for each and they have the appropriate Montessori coloured borders - note the one that seems not to have a border is Antarctica, you will need to cut this out and leave a white border around it.


I've placed the file in my Box account (left sidebar) - depending on your connection speed PLEASE be patient with download as it is obviously very photo heavy!

Hope you like them :)

Posted by Sarah at 10:42 AM [ permalink ]
Categories: Homeschooling


Thursday, January 21, 2010


.. just a few pictures - certainly not everything we did today though!

Looked after the garden birds by putting food out for them


built words with the printed alphabet


drew shape pictures by tracing the inset frames


did some reading analysis

Rosie also did her daily maths lesson on Conquer Maths - we really are so pleased we invested in this as she is doing fabulously well. Just as she used to do brilliantly with the Montessori materials (after being presented a lesson), now she is doing briliiant working on Conquer maths. Both of the methods rely on independent work and, clearly, she thrives on that.

Posted by Sarah at 7:00 PM [ permalink ]
Categories: Homeschooling


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tweaking the curriculum

I've changed some things around homeschool wise.

Rosie - I've switched her on to Conquer Maths - I think after many years of Montessori-type maths, she was finding the blandness of the work book system we had begun to be uninspiring. She gave up trying and was not progressing. Also, the level of maths she is working at now is beyond my capabilities (Tim COULD teach her secondary school maths but, frankly doesn't have the time or anything). So, Conquer Maths it is - it's an online tuition service for secondary school maths that uses very visual, interactive lessons. It's brilliant and so far she is enjoying it AND doing very well - well worth the money!

Still going to use Igniting the Writing with Rosie but going to add in some Montessori style reading analysis too.

Want to also try and start including more hands-on, Montessori stuff again - she seems to miss the "exploration" side of things that she used to have.

April - I'm umming and aaahing as to whether to stick her on an entirely Montessori based programme. She loves doing hands on stuff and gets very demoralised with too many "sit down" activities (she likes to be up and about!) She is still very young so a switch over from what we are doing would be easy enough. I've gained a lot of Montessori experience over the years and feel it would be nice to put it to good use.

Posted by Sarah at 3:42 PM [ permalink ]
Categories: Homeschooling


Monday, January 18, 2010

A plug for my shop :)

For those of you who like Montessori materials, I just want to point you in the direction of my pdf materials store which has been up and running for a while now. I have various materials available for sale at very low prices (and lots more to add soon!) as well as some freebies.

Just click on the link at the top of this page to go there :) Thanks!

Posted by Sarah at 5:33 PM [ permalink ]
Categories: Homeschooling


Monday, January 11, 2010

Scrapbooks and snowman maths

I made myself a little scrapbook by taking some thick card and some ordinary printer paper and then sewing them together into a book. I'm going to use it as a 2010 memory book. Anyway, April decided she wanted one to "stick allsorts in" so I made her one and she decorated the cover. The first things she stuck in were some life cycle printouts she got from one of her Learning Land cd's (pretty old, I used to use them with Rosie years ago! Look them up on Ebay - VERY good for 4-7 year olds! These lifecycle pictures were from disc 5, "Tim's Got a Cold" in case you want to know!)


I also made her a snowman maths game for practicing adding and subtracting numbers to 5. The snowman heads I got from Childcare Land but the rest I made myself - I put little pockets each side of the snowman to hold the cards in :)



I've also added 3 Cuisenaire rod worksheets to my Box account (see left sidebar) - these are basic "introducing the rods" type worksheets. On one you have to put rods on the blank "rods" on the sheet, write in what it's worth and colour. Another sheet has a rod stair to build and colour and the last has some number cards for 1-10 to print and place by the rods when they've been put in order. I think that the sheets must be printed in A4 size so that the rods in the pictures measure right - I'm not sure if they'll work properly if printed any other size - let me know if they do! :)

Posted by Sarah at 4:28 PM [ permalink ]
Categories: Homeschooling


Friday, January 08, 2010

Pictures from this week

Due to the snow we added a couple of snow-related activities in this week :) Rosie collected a cup of snow and did a small experiment on comparing the volume of a cup of snow to the amount of water that results when it melts. April had a load of snowman themed activities from childcare Land which she has been really enjoying! April didn't start her animal science work this week ... never mind, will start next week instead.

Anyway, here are the pictures:

MEP maths:

April using the shape board (see my materials page for download) and working on one of the practice pages from the lesson book:


Rosie was working on area and perimeter - here (although you can't see it very well!), she has drawn round her hand on graph paper and is estimating the area:

April snowman work and crafts:

Rosie doing her work on photosynthesis - on the computer and her drawing:

Their art books:

April is making the art book from Kinderart - here is her cover page and the first activity - Primary Hands!

Rosie is also making an art book but she is studying different artists, starting with Guiseppe Arcimboldo who created portraits using fruit, vegetables and flowers. She wrote her information sheet on him and then did her own picture in his style. She decided against a portrait and instead created Aubergine Bird with an aubergine for a body, grape for an eye, cherries for legs/feet, lettuce leaves for wings, chilli peppers for a beak and a stick fo celery for his tail!

Posted by Sarah at 12:57 PM [ permalink ]
Categories: Crafts, Homeschooling


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