Category : Home Education
Friday, March 01, 2013
Just a quicky today!
Basically, I'm putting out feelers :) I'm hoping to start taking April for regular swimming at our local sports centre in the near future (as soon as the flipping weather warms up!) and wondered if there was anyone else (home educators), living reasonably locally, who fancied meeting up and coming with us? The centre offers free swimming for children 8 and under.
If so, there might also be the chance for other, informal, play sessions too as there is a lovely playing field right next to the centre and a gorgeous playground next to that (that also has play equipment for disabled children). Ideally, it would be great to have the same group of parents/kids meet up at least once a fortnight.
As I said, just putting out feelers but if you are in, or reasonably close to, Ferndown then drop me a line on my contact form and we'll try and sort something out.
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Friday, February 08, 2013
Moving on and changes
As mentioned in the last post, we've been using Core Knowledge in addition to the Montessori work. The fact has emerged that both April and I LOVE Core knowledge - I HAVE just purchased the Year 2 book to use with her. Yes, it's a year below the one we already have ... the reason for this will be revealed in another post!
I feel it's time to move on from Montessori. We've used it for years and loved it but it's just not gelling anymore for various reasons. April, particularly, has tired of it - for example she no longer wants to use the maths manipulatives and would rather do the work in her head if possible, she IS mathematically minded and I can see why the stamp game, beads etc have become a burden to her. Rosie used them for a lot longer but that was because she found various maths concepts very difficult to grasp and I still maintain that for a child who doesn't "get" maths easily they are an absolute godsend, whether or not you use the Montessori method itself.
Anyway, in order to clear out and simplify and avoid having materials and books that we no longer use sitting around gathering dust, I'm selling on my Montessori stuff (with the exception of the fraction insets and geometry stuff which we still use extensively).
I'm going to list things here on my blog first before going on ebay, to give my readers a first call so to speak! Also, if anyone buys anything off the blog, I will chuck in some freebies in the form of 3-part cards and stuff I have stashed away (parts of plants, flowers, animals etc - I've got LOADS but don't want to sell them because they came from various manufacturers as pdf's). It'll be completely random what you get! Fun :)
So, I'm listing the first few things (there will be a few more, smaller, bits like books and stuff to follow). It's worth noting that, including the postage, I actually paid in excess of the prices I've listed and all items have been very gently and carefully used. All prices have p&p taken into account for UK ONLY:
Wooden, in it's own box and comes with the skittles and circles for zero. £25.00
Coloured Bead Bars:
This is the checkerboard set and contains 20 of each colour of bead from 1-9. I brought this set so that I could use the beads for other mathematical activities (addition memorisation for example) but still have enough for the checkerboard when we came to it. Comes in a wooden, partitioned box. £45.00
Grammar Symbols & Stencils.
Wooden grammar symbols (for all parts of speech) in partitioned wooden box. Also comes with plastic stencils for the grammar symbols AND the sentence analysis work. £25.00
New Child Montessori Manuals:
This is the biggy! We have LOVED these manuals but I just can't work with these AND the Core Knowledge books - finding there isn't enough of an overlap! If you like the idea of Montessori but have no idea how to put work together then these are for you. 4 seasonal guides which can be adapted for ages 3-12 with more work than you actually need on any one day meaning that they'll last several years. NOTE: I did scribble notes in these in pencil which I have, as far as possible, rubbed out but it's not perfect and I may have missed bits here and there! £100.00
New Child Montessori Art Manual:
HUGE book - not only the seasonal art activities to go with the main manuals but also general art lessons starting from very basic right through to more complex. Also contains instructions on the geometric cabinets and inset work in the back. I just don't need this anymore as the Core Knowledge books give very comprehensive art instruction and art appreciation lessons. £50.00
I just wanted to say, if you are looking at the prices of the manuals and art book and gasping ... well, they cost me around £200 new ... that's all I can say! :)
Use my contact form to let me know if there is anything you want (that way I can Paypal invoice you for everything in one go). I'd prefer payment by Paypal but will also accept cheques (but they will have to clear before I send out the items - sorry!)
That's all for now - don't forget the surprise freebies if you buy anything! I shall give it a couple of weeks for my blog readers to get first refusal and then they'll go to the wider public (at the same prices) on Ebay.
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Thursday, January 31, 2013
GCSE's or not
This is a question which comes up a lot with home ed parents (at least those who don't simply push their kids through them because they feel they "should"). Sooner or later you have to decide whether or not to take exams.
So, do you or don't you? Worth it or not?
Firstly, I think children who've been home educated are a lot better at deciding (sometimes very early on!) what they want to do with their lives after they finish their 5-16 education. They very often develop strong interests and, without the hassles of school, get time to explore their interests in great depth. These interests then, inevitably, lead on to thoughts of careers.
This is the case with Rosie. Over the years she's danced and performed in ballet shows, trampolined to a very high standard, written reams and reams (including a book which she published at the age of 13) and taken up horse riding. Any of these things could have led to a career of some sort but it was the horse riding which really caught her attention. So, after deciding she wanted to work with horses we had to sit down and think about how she could fulfill that ambition and this, of course, led on to discussions about exams.
She has 4 possible avenues into "working with horses".
- Full time (3 days per week) college at Kingston Maurward Equine Academy. This is a Level 1 course and she could then move on to the Level 2. These 2 levels would be enough to make her very employable but there is a further Level 3 if she wanted to.
- An apprenticeship with a stables, however, for this she'd need to go to college for 1 year and get her Level 1 and then do the Level 2 as part of the apprenticeship.
- Get taken on by a stables on a fully employed basis and trained as she goes - basically starting waaay down at the bottom and working her way up.
- Continue in home education and study/take her BHS (British Horse Society) exams in her own time before eventually seeking employment.
The thing that ALL of these options has in common is that GCSE's are not needed to do any of them. GCSE's are just not a required piece of paper to work with horses :)
- Requirement is riding experience (check), 2 good references (check, got them already!) and work experience (will have come the summer).
- Requirement is the Level 1 which she can get at college first (see 1 above!)
- Requirement is riding experience (check) and work experience (ditto as for 1) .. probably references too but, again, we got those.
- Requirement is .... nothing! She would just work through these in her own time and the resulting BHS pass would make her incredibly employable.
So, GCSE's just don't figure .... so why do them? Well, we're not. There is simply no point in bothering with some pieces of paper that really aren't in any way needed for her to pursue her career choice. Oh, of course, you'll get people (relatives? haha!) say "oh but she should have them anyway!"
"well, just .... because"
Not good enough I'm afraid.
When your child starts thinking about their future career, think VERY carefully about all the possible routes into that career, particularly if they're not keen on the idea of exams. It may very well be entirely possible to bypass them altogether as in our case.
Rosie, as I've mentioned before, has pretty much settled on the first choice - full time at KM.
So, what's she going to do for the year and a half she's got left in home ed? Carry on riding, get work experience at the stables, continue writing her stories, practice her maths, hang out with her sister, continuing going to Guides (until the summer anyway), learn valuable life skills (cooking etc) ..... there is plenty of stuff to do :)
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Sunday, January 13, 2013
Well, hello! I'm finally back to get into regular blogging! Hurrah!
However, a word of warning first - if you have linked to any of my posts prior to this one, you may find that link now goes to an entirely different post. This is because I gave up blogging on our old computer and had to install Thingamablog on my laptop. Republishing has caused all the blog post numbers to get mixed up - sorry!
Anyway, that said - back to work!
I decided to cover a few bits with April that we didn't get chance to do before Christmas, namely planets (order of), brief study of constellations, solids/liquid/gas and land/water forms. So, this past week we've been doing the planet and constellation work.
I started off getting the models of the planets out to see if she knew the order, she didn't so I introduced 2 a day and we made a little booklet using the circle insets. By the end of the week she knew them all :) We slipped in a little review of solids, liquids and gas after talking about Jupiter which is made of gas (neat eh?)
With the constellation work, we looked at a few of the common constellations, learned the names and used the overlay cards I made ages ago. Then she made a nice poster with 3 of the constellations on using silver paint and gel pen.
We didn't go into huge amounts of detail with any of this because a) The Montessori curriculum is cyclical so we will revisit these topics (several times!) in more detail in future years and b) We are going to start the "Great Lesson" work next year and want to save a lot of it for then. Oh, and yes I know kids in a Montessori school would have been introduced to this before the age of 8 but Montessori is very advanced and I prefer to hang on a bit.
Anyway, here are some piccies :)
We also threw in a bit of number work review this week with the cards and stamp game (I think it always helps after a long break!) We're going to get started on some geometry next week.
So, next week is landforms! I've dug out our geography box and April's already had the landform models out (I made these a while back from plastecine) She poured the blue water in, got out her animals and sorted them out into land and water. Ok, pretty elementary but I do think these kind of sensorial experiences are REALLY important when introducing new topics. Means she's already got a few of the names of the forms learned ahead of actually starting work - result :)
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Wednesday, December 05, 2012
The Festive Season Beginneth!
Well, we're into December and all the fun that brings but first let's play a bit of catch up :)
First home ed. We went along to Kingston Maurward and had a look round and spoke to one of the equine tutors to see if the course really would be right for Rosie. It seems yes and, furthermore, he thinks she'll have no problem getting on it! She's been asked by the woman that runs the riding stables she goes to if she wants to do some work experience there, perhaps next summer, and Rosie wants to so it's all panning out nicely :)
April is continuing along very well. She doesn't use as many Montessori materials as she used to (although we still use the grammar work) and has settled on Life of Fred and MEP for maths with the occasional me-writing-out-a-page-of-sums-and-her-filling-in!. Just before we stopped for the Christmas break we had started some work on Mountains, reading this book and learning about the lithosphere and so on. We got this idea from the New Child Montessori books that I raved about a while back. I still rave about them - they are the best! Although Montessori based, the theme ideas can work well with pretty much any materials/books and that is where we got the idea for the mountain formation theme from. We're also going to start using Waldorf style main lesson books again - until recently we've done work on loose paper and stored it in a ringbinder but the ringbinders are SO bulky to store so were switching to blank books instead.
As said, we've stopped for the Christmas break now but I'll be back to regular home ed blogging in the new year. I've been looking back through some really old blog posts, c.2004-2007, and realised that, that was when I enjoyed blogging the most - I think I just put more effort in! So will be trying harder in the new year!
So, what else? Well, I did my Christmas cake (back at the beginning of November in fact!) - turned out as yummy smelling as ever :) Now in the process of feeding it with brandy but will be doing the marzipan soon. My hubby also treated me to these:
Oooo! I love Tala baking stuff - it's so gorgeously retro AND good quality. Last year I went shopping for Christmas cookie cutters but left it FAR to late and couldn't get any! This year I got them early so now the kids and I can have fun baking gingerbread and decorating it :)
Another thing I'm really into at the moment are these:
Yes, they're candles and I've ALWAYS had candles burning around the place in the winter - but this particular variety of candles - Yankee. Oh my! They are heavenly - the scent is far superior to any other brand I've tried and they last ages. This is a Christmas set and I've just finished up the first one - Cranberry - and am going to spread these out over the whole of December (using the Christmas Eve one on Christmas Eve naturally lol). I don't burn these all down in one go as I do have other candles and tealights going at the same time. They're too special to use up that quickly so I tend to light one at about teatime and then burn for 2-3 hours and then put it out again. Each one lasts about 15 hours in total. Gorgeous :)
I've done all my Christmas shopping! It was fairly painless this year in fact as I committed to starting early (even though it felt a little "wrong" to start with!) It was a good plan because now everything is here and I can now spend some leisurely evenings wrapping it all up.
Finally, birthdays! April just had her 8th birthday on the 3rd and Tim's (40th!) is coming up on the 9th. April is very into Moshi Monsters at the moment so got some of that and a Habba wooden marble track that she'd been coveting for ages (goodness her daddy likes helping her with that one lol!)
Talking of Tim, he's working mega-hard at the moment! As mentioned a while back, he's had his hours (and pay yippee!) increased at work and it's certainly a lot more than he used to do. Very grateful though, so many people without work and he's in a secure job (the company is actually flourishing!) Also very thankful because the amount he works and the hours he works means that we won't be effected by Universal Credit when (if!) it comes in and I am hugely grateful to him because it allows me to continuing staying home and home educating.
I think, at this time of the year probably more than any other, we should all be counting our blessings and remembering those who have less and are worse off don't you think?
So, it's nearly christmas (yes I will blog again before then!), the time of goodwill to all men (and women!) and so here am I offering happy, peaceful thoughts to ALL my readers, extending the hand of friendship and saying a warm welcome to new readers. Hope everyone is enjoying their December so far!
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Tuesday, December 04, 2012
To be angry or sympathetic that is the question
Hello everyone - long time no see again!
I have honestly been busy - trying to keep up with my crafting/homemaking blogs, home ed with the kids and, of course, getting ready for Christmas!
Sadly, I wish this post could be of a chirpier nature but there is something I want to say and then the subject will be closed and I'll say no more.
Blogging. The point of blogging is to share things right? I like to share things on my blog(s) - I like to write about my crafts, nature table, homeschooling and life in general. I like that people read it and enjoy it.
What I don't like is, essentially, being ripped off.
There is another blogger, who shall remain nameless because I'm not into naming and shaming (although it's bloody tempting sometimes!), who appears to not have much life of her own. The reason I know this is because she routinely blogs stuff that is SO similar to what I've put on one of my blogs that it cannot be a coincidence. Why do that? Well, because you feel your own life is so lacking that you have to basically leech off someone elses that's why.
This makes me very angry - it's been going on for some time and is not just one or two posts - there have been lots. It's not just post content either - at various times she's copied style of blog, fonts and backgrounds colours. It's utterly pathetic.
Tim says I should feel sorry for this woman - that clearly her own life is SO sad and SO empty and SO tedious that she somehow feels that emulating my blog and, dare I say it, my life, is in some way going to make hers better. He says (with a laugh!) that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
He's very charitable, I'm not.
My view is this. If you don't have a single original thought in your head don't blog. Don't rip off other people's blogs. Be yourself or don't bother. Copying someone else isn't going to make you happier or more fulfilled - you just need to get your own life.
Ok, that all said, I'll be back in the next day or two with more cheery stuff - Christmas stuff! :)
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Thursday, November 08, 2012
Branching out into new things
Well, we've continued to be busy here with lots of work going on ....
April on her maths using some (very cute!) base 10 people - I got her these and made a set which I'll have as a free download shortly - it's to make a place value street but more on that another time!
She's also been continuing her study of the Artic and has been doing some Draw Write Now copywork to go with it. This one is the wolf - love the picture so much!
Rosie has been continuing with her GCSE/iGCSE work - in this picture she's making drawings of plant and animal cells:
I got an email the other day from a lady who's son is doing iGCSE's like we are. She said that they had used Waldorf/Charlotte Mason influences in their home education and was worried that using the textbooks might be a bit dry. I decided to answer her question here because I'm sure others could benefit from it too! :)
Basically, my feeling is, that whatever your children are used to, you should continue in that vein. Just because they are now using textbooks for their information, doesn't mean that the only option is to read and answer questions. YES, there will come a time when they will have to practice exam type questions in readiness for the actual exam but the learning along the way doesn't have to be that dull!
So, if you're used to Waldorf, have your child read an appropriate section in their book and then create paintings or drawings in the usual Waldorf manner in a main lesson book (imagine what a stunning review tool these main lesson books would be!)
Charlotte Mason? Continue narration (both oral and written) and perhaps find quotes related to what you're studying to use as copywork or dictation.
Is your child happier learning on the computer? Go search for some websites which can help with learning online. Here are some that we use:
The same goes for hands on learning - if your child has always enjoyed learning by making models or "playing" with things, then just continue with that.
We use a combination of online resources and hands on work/drawing because that is how Rosie has always approached her learning.
I've spent a lot of time over the years maintaining a home eduation website, making learning materials etc. and I will still be blogging here regularly. However, for the longest time, I have wanted to have an outlet for 2 of my other great loves - namely, homemaking (more specifically seasonal homemaking) and crafting.
I was going to delay this a little longer but I'm so excited to be finally getting going with it that I'm going to share! I've begun 2 new blogs (just Blogger blogs):
Changing Seasons Homemaking - my homemaking site
New Life Pretties - my crafting site/shop
I won't say much about them here as you can hop over to them and check them out - not much there at the moment but they will grow!
Hope you like :)
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Friday, October 19, 2012
A round-up and looking ahead
During my absence from blogging I took LOADS of piccies and we did loads of stuff but (have to be honest!) I can't really be bothered to blog it all now! Sorry!
However, here is a round-up!
As ever, at the beginning of the school year, there are changes to things we had planned. It happens every year, no matter how carefully I planned. My view on this? Don't sweat it! So, something planned didn't go quite as ...er ... planned - no biggy!
For April we finished up our human body unit and she immediately wanted to do stuff on the Arctic (despite the fact that I had planned to do some space work). Oh, ok then. So I ordered a little book on the arctic and an arctic "toob" and we are making an arctic scene (piccies for that later).
In maths we took a little break for a bit because just weren't going ok. Not really sure what it was, just not ... working! So, in order to change up the pace a little I ordered a set from Teachers Pay Teachers. It was a teacher created set on fractions and April LOVED it. I've now grabbed a set of Halloween things for her as well and she's really excited about doing them.
These little sets are really working for us - I like the fact that they are created by teachers, they are always very, very cute, that everything you need is included and that they contain a variety of activities - games, cut/paste, colouring and worksheets.
What I do with these is collect all the work she has done from the pack and then put it in one of those pastic page protectors. Then I keep them in a ringbinder - hey presto! Instant portfolio of work! :)
The other thing we've started doing (again from TpT) is daily maths pages. These are great - you print out the pages for the month and each day there is a little selection of 4 or 5 questions on a variety of grade appropriate topics. She's doing the grade 2 work (grade 2 is roughly equivalent to our year 3).
As for Rosie - well, she's still on schedule to go to Kingston Maurward to do equine studies but her original course didn't actually NEED exam passes to get on it (she could have gone from that, an introductory course, straight on to the level 2). Now, she still MIGHT go in for that but she's decided to study some exam courses and sit the exams anyway and so then she'll have the option to go straight into level 2 - she'll have a choice about which course to apply for at KM - always good to have a choice right?
Now, the reason why we weren't very in the mind to do the exam course originally is because Rosie is PRACTICAL - she isn't that great with written-exam-type-situations. The equine course is, obviously, very hands on and I know she'll be brilliant with it and I was so happy to see that she could get on it without the need for dragging herself through any written exams - I mean, what's the point if you don't need to? People go on about how important it is to do exams but I rather think that depends what you want to do with your life and how you plan to get there! Some things just don't NEED a string of GCSE's - just practical experience, willingness to learn and hard work - just like her horse riding - and she has all those in abundance.
Anyway, she and I are still not 100% sure how she'll cope with the exams but we're just going for it and I know she'll do her best whatever :) We've located an exam centre in Southampton where she can sit as a private candidate so that's good (hard to find a centre!)
So, she's doing:
iGCSE English Language
I make out a timetable of study for her each week and then she gets on with the work. She's studying with a mixture of video tutorials, interactive activities online, reading, quizzes and hands on activities.
Anyway, here are just a few piccies from recent times! Sorry, some of them are mega-blurred!
One example of the sort of thing Rosie does - this was for some work on life processes from her biology course. Now, I know a lot of people think that kids of this age don't need this kind of cut/create/glue type activity but I strongly disagree! 1) doing ANYTHING hands on and creative helps the information "stick" 2) This will act as a perfect and clear revision tool later on. Bust out the glue and collage materials I say! No child is too old for this type of learning!
One of April's daily maths pages from October - we just love these cute, fun pages - can't wait for the November ones!
From the fractions work we did - a few examples: the first was a booklet
Working out fraction word problems
Oh, and just so I don't forget - here is April's completed body part thing! Some of the body parts got stuck on a bit wonkily but it's all there!
On a different note, we are getting into full-swing for the up coming festive season! Oh yes! In 2 weeks time I shall be making my Christmas cake - we've got Halloween and Guy Fawkes night, then April's birthday, then Tim's birthday and then ... Christmas!
This year (thanks to the Flylady and her "Cruisin' Through the Holidays" programme, I am MEGA organised! We are on to Mission 5 and, I tell you, it is really doing the trick! I've been using the regular Flylady programme for a while now and just love it.
Ok, a lot of stuff in this post could/should be linked to but I'm going to end here and, instead, update my links page over the next few days so look out for the TpT stuff there soon!
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Monday, September 03, 2012
Here are some pictures from our first week back in homeschool - we took it very gently and just introduced a few bits this week. The dirty socks? They are part of Rosie's biology lapbook work on living organisms! She had to put on old socks and tramp around different parts of the garden (lawn, soil, pathway etc) and then see what she picked up. It was surprisingly varied! There were various grasses, seeds, small pieces of stone, a moneyspider and a woodlouse - you can see the woodlouse at the top - yes, it was still alive as was the moneyspider!
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Thursday, August 23, 2012
SO sorry I'm so late with this! Life has a way of throwing you a curve ball sometimes doesn't it? Basically, Tim's hours at work went up by a fair bit (he also got a pretty substantial payrise so we're certainly not complaining!) This has resulted in us having to make quite a few changes around here with the way things are done and who does what. This has taken a lot of my time recently and that, together with general last minute homeschool planning has meant I haven't had time to blog.
Anyway, here now! Here, briefly is our outline (for April) for this September:
Main Topic - Me! In Montessori we start with the whole - in this case the human. So, September is always human body/health/hygiene month. Younger children can concentrate on learning external body parts and senses, slightly older kids (April's age group - 7-9) will concentrate on learning the names and positions of the internal organs. Older children can go into much more detail and learn about the various body systems, all the bones of the skeleton, genetics, reproduction etc. I'll be posting pictures of the work as we go.
What we are using for this topic:
My Body - read about the different body parts, colour and cut them out and create a life size replica of yourself! We've already drawn around April's outline (on 2 pieces of parcel paper stuck together) in readiness for this activity.
Montessori Print Shop - Internal Organ Cards - we are NOT using the definition book at this stage - that will come later when she's older. For now, we are just concentrating on learning the names and locations of the organs.
Model Human Body - these are great - you can remove the organs one at a time and match them up with the organ cards. Also good to try and remember where all the organs go when putting it back together!
Usborne Lift the Flap See Inside Your Body April's actually already read this from cover to cover (loves it!) but we'll study it in more detail alongside the other activities.
For maths and language arts we are simply going to continue where we left off last year (after a little review!) We're going to review the bank game (see my earlier video for how we're going to do this) and addition/subtraction to the tens place with the Stamp Game and move swiftly onto all 4 processes with the stamp game from there.
In English we shall review the first parts of speech that we covered last year (articles, nouns and adjectives) and then start to work on the other parts of speech using the grammar symbols and sentence strips. Spelling will be the Montessori blue level words and the movable alphabet (paper free spelling lessons yay!) Handwriting will be copywork using Draw Write Now .
Just to give you a heads up (more details later!) - October is Creation of the Universe Month which means the first great lesson story and the study of our solar system!
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Saturday, August 04, 2012
I should have entitled this post "On Not Spreading Myself Too Thinly"!
I've had to take stock recently because I was starting to get stressed over the sheer amount of work I had to do. Making materials, writing books, updating the website, making videos, housework, childcare, homeschool planning ... and trying to be a wife!
So, I had a long think about what I want to focus on. Obviously, housework, Tim and kids come first but I decided to slim things down a bit on the shop front.
I want to concentrate almost entirely on getting my writing done - little Kindle books on various homeschool subjects. I've got a lot of old ebooks I wrote ages ago that I want to dig out, revamp on and put, inexpensively, on to Kindle so I'm going to be working on those.
As such, the actual materials are going to take a backseat for now. Certainly, I don't intend to produce any more Montessori materials (other people do it so much better than me!) So, all the Montessori materials that were for sale on my site (plus some others I have on file which I still need to upload) are now free.
The other, more generic materials are still for sale. This is because it's entirely likely that I may continuing adding to them at some point when I get the Kindle books done - they are still a growing thing whereas the Montessori materials have come to a halt (although we still use Montessori!)
I'm still going to continue making the videos but production will slow down a bit while I get the books sorted.
I also want to try and spend a bit more time blogging and writing stuff to cover the homemaking side of a homeschool life. I do enjoy this aspect of it and I thought it might be fun to share some ideas here.
Finally, we're not that far away from the start of the school year. We work in 3-monthly cycles and I'm going to post the details of what we're going to do for the first cycle very soon. We do use the New Child Montessori books as a framework for our year and, if you don't have them, I can strongly recommend as they have made planning so much easier!
That's all for now - go check out the Montessori stuff! :)
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Monday, July 02, 2012
Stamp Game Videos
I'm hoping to get going with a series of videos I wanted to do on homeschooling with various Montessori materials. That is, using Montessori materials from the perspective of a homeschooler rather than in a school setting so they may not be exactly as they'd be presented in a school!
I did the static subtraction video quite a while back (with April's help!) but have only just got the static addition (which I did on my own) done. Next up will be dynamic subtraction and addition. I'm also hoping to do some on the grammar symbols soon.
Montessori Stamp Game - Static Addition
Montessori Stamp Game - Static Subtraction
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Saturday, June 23, 2012
How to create seasonal-based homeschool using a nature table.
One thing we have done in recent times is to move from a "term" based, "year" based homeschool to a more natural, all-year round homeschool. We no longer break things down into terms and have a much nicer time because of it!
How then, do you plan your year if you are not cutting it up into terms? Perhaps “plan” is the wrong word but I shall use it here because it fits the idea of what we are doing. We are thinking about making the best use of the year and, more importantly, the seasons, in order to give our children the best learning experiences.
Noticing the changing seasons and welcoming them (rather than, in some cases, dreading them) can be the first step to more seasonally aware learning. We do this, primarily, by keeping a seasonal table in our living room. This table has changed many times over the years from an actual round table, to a tray on a shelf, to on top the dining table to its current incarnation in its own special place. It houses little seasonal gnomes (a Waldorf education idea), appropriately coloured cloths (white in the winter, pink for spring, pale green for summer and brown for autumn). It has a little house – originally, this was just a clay house I made but this has been joined recently by a lovely, large wooden house.
When creating a seasons table, choose a spot in your house where the table will be noticed and enjoyed and attended to regularly. Try to add a good mix of crafted items (flowers, fairies, gnomes etc) and “found” items picked up from the garden or from a nature walk.
Here are some ideas for each season:
Spring – spring coloured flowers, tissue paper blossoms (although you can also have real blossoms if you are lucky enough to have a tree that gives blossom) and a daffodil fairy.
Summer – huge glittery paper sun, candles to represent the heat of the sun, butterflies, seashells and rose fairy.
Autumn – pinecones, conkers, acorns, clay mushrooms and autumn leaf fairy.
Winter – King Winter (make one or buy from somewhere like Myriad), pretend snow (we use toy stuffing!), pinecone snowmen, holly fairy.
(extracted from my upcoming new book ~ The Beauty of Home Learning (How to not just "learn at home", but learn at home beautifully & Peacefully)
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Friday, May 25, 2012
Update type thing!
Just a quicky!
The shop bit of this website will be "stocked" come Tuesday/Wednesday next week. I'm working on some stuff at the moment and that, together with some other bits, will be put up then.
At the moment my writing time is being hampered by the fabulous, hot weather - NO! I'm not lazing about in the garden *laughs*, I just can't write - my brain melts I think and I end up with serious writers block! Sooo, I'm writing a little in the evenings when it's cooler and I can think straight so progress is slower than I would like but I am getting there.
Finally, you will know that I have my Montessori Themes website for the Montessori packages. As well as that I'm THINKING about adding a section here, on this website, for individual files for those that don't want the sets. I'm thinking .... we'll see what happens :)
Update done! If you are having lovely weather where you are, hope you are enjoying it :)
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Tuesday, May 01, 2012
Well, my website is really taking shape now :) All the pages (apart from the contact form) are up and I'm starting to add content to them.
I promised a little alliteration freebie for you to celebrate the new site but I'm actually going to go one better than that (2 better in fact!) - 3 cute freebies!
First is the promised alliteration set:
Then, I made some stuff on frog life cycles. The first item is a Powerpoint which also includes a video (I didn't make the video!) When you use the Powerpoint it will ask you if you are sure you want to open it (because it contains a video) - just say yes :) Unfortunately, if you've got an older version of MS Powerpoint, the video will just show up as a picture and not actually play. If this is the case, here is the link to the video so you can still watch it.
To go with that I made a set of life cycle sorting cards and worksheets.
Hope you enjoy them :) More stuff in the shop (including freebies) soon!
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Monday, April 23, 2012
Out with the old ....
The last post, on my fraction work with April, has inspired me.
For the last week or so I've been getting my Montessori shop up and running. If you haven't checked it out yet, please do :) It's Montessori for those who want to use some of the materials without going the whole hog. The materials are really fun and nice to use.
Thing is, that is now set up and kind of running itself (sort of!) and, as anyone who reads this blog regularly, will know I'm an eclectic homeschooler. We use allsorts. We dabble in this and that. Sure, I love certain aspects of Montessori but I also love Waldorf style nature tables and art and I also love Charlotte Mason style narration and nature study and I also love notebooking and lapbooking. We even occasionally love (gasp!) workbooks and worksheets ... and BBC Schools and other online learning. We take the best from everything and leave the rest behind.
All this got me thinking about THIS website - which is a separate entity from the Montessori one. Waaay back in 2004 I originally had a homeschool website (set up, then, under Tim's name). I did love it - it focused entirely on what I wanted it to focus on - homeschooling and a homeschooling family life. Over the years my website has kind of wandered about and lost it's way somewhat.
Now, with the departure of my Montessori stuff elsewhere, I've decided to get it back on track - turn it, once again, into a little home learning treasure trove :) It's going to get a complete overhaul, be consistent (appearance wise) throughout the whole site, and will focus entirely on homeschooling (eclectic homeschooling!) and living as a homeschooling family.
There will be:
- This blog for "what we've done", lesson ideas, our day trips etc.
- A shop - I ADORE making lovely little learning things (notebooking pages, lapbooks, card games, worksheets etc) and I want a place to put them. They will be colourful, fun, cute and (obviously!) educational. Don't worry - they won't cost huge money and there WILL be plenty of freebies :)
- A page for each of the kids - these will be mostly photographic records of the work they are doing in this (and subsequent) school years - their own indidivual little "class" page if you like :D
So that's what will be happening over the next week or so. Tim and I spent a fair bit of time this morning sorting out the new graphics (I brought a GORGEOUS webset to use over the whole site!) Tomorrow he's going to code the basic pages for me so I can start adding content (I CAN do it myself but he's much quicker lol!)
I'm HOPING (fingers crossed) to transfer EVERYTHING over to the new layout/style in one go rather than having to do it in dribs and drabs. So, expect everything to stay looking the same for a bit until one day the new stuff will whizz into existence!
Oh, and I've been doing some work with April on alliteration so I'm going to "welcome" the new site with a VERY cute alliteration freebie for you :)
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Friday, April 20, 2012
I've been introducing April to the idea of fractions using a couple of fun activities :) I also made a worksheet to go with these (there's another sheet but that came from a teacher blog - will try and remember where I got it from!) Here are the things you'll need to do these activities:
Fraction tower cubes (or similar)
A bag with lots of different colour pom poms
Piece of card or construction paper
First, I explained how a fraction was part of a whole and used coloured beads to demonstrate. I had her thread some beads - as many as she wanted - and then we counted the beads up.
Then, she worked out how many were yellow, blue, green etc and I wrote that on a piece of paper as "6 out of 12 are yellow" and so on.
Next a craft activity! She drew out 10 random pom poms from the bag and glued them on her construction paper to make a caterpillar (or fractionpillar as we called him!) She added feelers and button eyes :)
Then we took the fractionpillar worksheet and coloured it in to match her pom pom 'pillar. After she was done, we did the same thing as the beads - how many are there altogether? 10. How many are pink? How many are yellow and so on. She filled in a slip for each colour of her caterpillar.
That was all yesterday :)
Today, I reviewed with her the parts of a whole thing and introduced her to writing fractions as a number rather than words. Then I gave her 4 pizza "boxes" (folded and stapled construction paper) each containing a pizza cut into parts (hand drawn pizzas, each one a different number of slices). I also gave her the pizza worksheet.
The idea was that she had to first put her pizzas together, then count up how many slices were in them and then work out what fraction of the slices had mushrooms on, what fraction had peppers on etc. She then wrote the answers as fractions.
... not sure about the blue pizza there! :)
Here are my fractionpillar files:
Incidently, most of my home ed related posts/free files will most likely be on my shop blog now so if you're looking for home ed stuff, that's the place to go - just click on the shop logo in the sidebar :)
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Friday, April 06, 2012
A little work, a little play, a little rest ... and it's all good
Hello lovely people!
First off, eagle-eyed readers may have spotted the Twitter "follow" button in my sidebar - I started a Twitter account mostly for work stuff because it's easier to update new products there. I can also put any other education related stuff I think is fun too :) I DO occasionally put non-education silliness on there as well. Anyway, if you wanna follow then follow .....
So, work. It's going good! I made the big decision to move my purchase products from this website to Currclick. Currclick is HUGE and I can reach a far bigger potential customer base there than I can through my website. The free stuff (English and Maths) continues to reside here. So what's in the shop? At the moment I've got my first theme book (April/May) and my first set of Montessori Basics - this is a little something I put together for those who want the materials but not the theme element. They will come in sets for 3-6 year olds and 6-9+ year olds - for example Botany Set 1 (in the shop now!) is for 3-6 year olds. Botany Set 2 will be for the other age group. I'm currently working on Zoology Set 1 and hope to have it in the shop in a couple of days.
I seem to have settled into a nice little routine at the moment. Get up early, do some yoga, have breakfast with the kids, work for an hour or so on the shop/products, do some stuff with the kids, lunch, do some housework, play about, answer emails and so on ..... It seems to work well, it's a good routine :)
What else has been going on?
Well, the other day, we took delivery of a new bed/shelf combo for Rosie ... that had to be assembled. Tim went out in the morning and I was left clearing out all her old stuff and dismantling things. Errk! What a horrible spidery nightmare! Anyway, whilst doing this, we happened upon an old bubble wand under her bed so, feeling rather tired of the work, we went outside to play in the sunshine ... spot the bubble :)
I also made little lemon cakes. Basically just regular cupcakes with lemon juice and zest added to the mixture. They are then decorated with icing made with lemon juice and bits of zest on the top. Rather hastily thrown together but quite yummy :)
Finally, yesterday afternoon, I had a check up with Mr Tiernan the surgeon who got rid of my facial mole a couple of months back. He seemed very happy with the way it had healed up (not NEARLY so happy as me - I can't tell you how pleased I am with my face now!) Unless the thing grows back (small possibility) I don't have to see him again. I'm very glad I had it done, he did a FAB job and I can heartily recommend him if you need anything like that done. I saw him at Newhall Hospital in Salisbury - it is private but, honestly well worth the money if you really feel bad about something like I had.
That's about it for now :)
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Tuesday, March 27, 2012
I'm still here :)
Yes, I did go a little absent there! Thing is, we've been enjoying the fab weather and getting on with gardening (got all the new fence up!) and planting out my seeds (potatoes, carrots, spinach, spring onions and lettuce). The seeds have all been planted in a quite bewildering array of "pots" - carrier bags with potatoes in to name one! I've been recycling big time :)
The nice weather also took us (today) to Linford Bottom - a very, very, very lovely place in the New Forest which Tim went to a lot as a small boy. Oh how beautiful! We even paddled in the little stream it was that warm!
The other reason for my absence has been work. Yes, work. I've decided that I'm going to contribute to the household funds (have plans .....) but I can't "go out" to work because of homeschool committments so it has to be something I can do from home.
So, I'm tapping into my skills.
- Curriculum. This is something I've dabbled in before but never quite got off the ground but now it's all kind of fallen into place. Seasonal, hands on, Montessori inspired, bi-monthly curriculum books focusing on science/nature and "the world". There is a certain amount of reading/writing involved but I envisage that folks will use the free maths and English stuff I've provided to go with the purchased curriculum. The first book (April/May) is due out (fingers crossed!) on or around the 1st April. You can take a look on my home education pages (link now in sidebar!)
- Consulting. For many years I've been assisting new (and sometimes not so new!) homeschoolers with getting set up, general Montessori questions etc. I've decided to do that on a more formal basis and offer more in-depth help so I'm offering a consultancy service. Three very reasonably priced packages are available so if you're reading this and are a new homeschooler, a new Montessori homeschooler or just plain in a muddle (been there!), drop me a line - make use of my experience :) Again, there is a link to the consultancy page in the sidebar.
That's all for now - got new work pics to upload soon but that will wait until another day :)
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Friday, March 16, 2012
OK, ok ... you win!
I still get plenty of emails/messages asking me about the home ed/materials element of my site.
As you know, the reason I took them down was because of theft and general unpleasantness from people who thought that even if they were being given something for nothing that they could still email you and complain about it. There were other reasons to but I can't be bothered to go over that now.
Thing is, I'm all too aware that educating your own child is NOT a cheap option - far from it. Home educators get NO help from the government whatsoever so we are responsible for all the books, materials, activities ..... I KNOW there will still be theft but I'll just try to ignore it and hope that the decent people of this world outweight the crappy and I have minimised the chances of ranting maniacs by removing all email links (bwa-ha-ha!) .... I like to share the love so to speak .... soooo....
...... I've decided to make a home ed element of this site again. It will be Montessori inspired and will contain videos of activities along with pdf's of the materials OR how to make the activity yourself OR a link to a site where you can get the material.
At the moment, the only section that is "live" is the maths so you can go along and see that :) It IS a work in progress and will take a long time to fill up nicely so bear with me and don't get narky if nothing has been uploaded for ages.
I've decided to make it kinda free - kinda being that I have added a donation button which I HOPE that people who download will use at least ONCE but I'm not insisting upon it and I don't keep tracks of who donates or not and how much etc. It's a free choice.
Here is the link to the pages (you can also get to them from my main homepage).
... and here is the most recent video I did - April using the stamp game :) Enjoy!
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