Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Summer Traveling - Will return in 10 days!

We have been traveling for the past week and are leaving again on a trip to Puerto Rico in a day! We got home from Brownsville and South Padre Island, Texas on Monday and leave Thursday to Puerto Rico. We washed all of our clothes before we left South Padre so everything has stayed in the suit cases for the next trip!!!

As some of you know my husband is from Brownsville, Texas. Brownsville is at the South tip of Texas. There is a stop light to turn to his Mom's house. If you pass the stop light you are at the border of Mexico, Matamoros, Mexico. I am from Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is an Island next to Cuba. It is US territory. So these trips are to visit family. In Puerto Rico we will be spendng it with my father and one of my uncles and showing the kids the sights! I can't tell you how excited I am to be going home. I miss Puerto Rico so much and wish we could all live there. It has been four years since the last trip I made out there. I don't think I'll be able to sleep tomorrow night, which is not a bad thing since we have to get up at 3:30am since the flight is at 6am. Crazy hours but we save money traveling and we get there early. My Dad lives in the mountains and I don't like to take all of those curves at night.

Spanish for the kids in Brownsville did not go as well I thought it might go. Both their Grandma and Gradma's Sister (they live together) do not speak English. We stayed with them and half the time the kids did not know what they were talking about. (I guess 50% is better than 0%!...just trying to make myself feel better!) Bella would cover her ears when all of us spoke Spanish. I wonder what it will be like in Puerto Rico when EVERYONE will be speaking Spanish: fast, loud and many conversations at once :-) It should be interesting!!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

I am no longer teaching Spanish at the Montessori School

It was a very hard decision to stop teaching Spanish part-time but I had to do it. I feel that I need more time for the kids, husband and home. The kids will be attending school part time so I will only have time to work with my online computer science students.

This was so hard for me to do because I LOVED teaching Spanish AND it was at a Montessori school. It was one of those very hard times where I had to choose between my career and my children. I love my career but I hate to be away from my kids for a long period of time. That is why teaching online has been such a blessing for my family and me. It has allowed me to stay at home with the children while earning income, a very good one at that, lots of great benefits, and the fact that I love to work and interact with other educators.

I am very excited to have the children at school part-time. The kids will attend school from 8:30-11:30. The campus and programs are amazing. This is such a fantastic Montessori School. It has everything I wanted in a school. I am very fortunate to have been able to get both kids in the school. Sweet Boy will be in Kindergarten and Bella in PreK-3. These are my labels. Since it is a Montessori School, they will both be in the Primary Classrooms. I will write a separate post about their school with pictures of their campus at a later date.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Flowers Work















Here is a flowers work I put out for my kids. I love flowers and do not know the names of the flowers in our garden or the cut flowers I purchase for the house so I thought this was great for all of us.



















These are cut flowers my husband purchased for my birthday so we used them to match to the cards! I will slowly add more flowers for us to name. I want us to be able to name all of the cut flowers I usually purchase, and flowers/trees/bushes in our yard and garden.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Primary Training: Big Cats

Here is another students presentation.














Here is a website I found all about big cats with helpful information on how to distinguish between them. www.BigCats.com There are beautiful photos under "Learn to Identify Big Cats".

The term big cat - which is not a biological classification - is used informally to distinguish the larger cat species from smaller ones. One definition of "big cat" includes the four members of the genus Panthera: the tiger, lion, leopard, and jaguar. Members of this genus are the only cats able to roar. (The leopard, while a "big cat" in this context, is actually smaller than some cats outside of the Panthera genus.) A more expansive definition of "big cat" also includes the cheetah, snow leopard, and cougar. These "roaring cats" are also sometimes distinguished from the other big cats by the term great cats.

Despite enormous differences in size, the various species of cat are quite similar in both structure and behavior, with the exception of the cheetah, which is significantly different from any of the big or small cats. All cats are carnivores and efficient predators. Their range includes the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Some of these pictures I took and some where taken by someone else. The ones you can enlarge I took.












You can enlarge this picture. As part of the lesson on the parts of the tiger, the teacher would hand write the parts as they were being presented.













Matching cards and parts of the lion. This one can also be enlarged.













This picture cannot be enlarged. The children match the types of furs and can also feel the difference in softness.










The small cats on the orange plate are for transferring. The strips with the small cat on one is to measure how many little cats long are the strips. There is also some other transferring beads activities and the little fur balls are for cards and counters. These would be the counters!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Primary Training: Gardening Activities

In my last post I wrote about the Primary Training Group making one of their Final Presentations. They got to present to us. Each student had one or two tables setup with Math, Sensorial, Language and Practical Life activities with a theme of a Cultural Area.

Here is student #1.
These activities are all to be done in the Garden and can be stored in plastic containers and kept outside for the child and teachers. Click on the pictures to enlarge them. This student is already working as an assistant in the classroom.



















Here is a wide shot of the presentation.



















This is a listening activity. Everyone can sit outside quietly and the teacher can say "Do you hear a duck" if the children hear it you put it under the Ear card if not you put it under the ear that is crossed out.



















The child uses these stick to find things in the Garden with that color. I did this today with my kids and they loved it.



















The activity above the sticks is a seed sorting activity.



















This is egg shell grinding. The children get to grind the shells and then bury the egg shells next to a plant.
You also see in the picture a sign on a stick that says "Sun". There is another one that says "Shade". You have multiple of these so the children can put them in the ground where they see shade and sun.



















Parts of a flower.



















Counting.



















If you enlarge this picture, you will see to the right some paint sticks with letters on them. The child finds something that begins with that letter.

You will also see a plastic bucket with some pictures. These are pictures of things in the garden. Actual pictures of things in your garden. The child finds these things in the garden.

There is also a bird feeder for the children to fill-up. My kids favorite!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Full Day Working Mom's - How do they do it?

Well, my one week, 8-5pm, Montessori training is over and I survived. What made this week so hard was my husband was out of town. Not only was he out of town but the weather decided to turn for the worse. We had tornadoes, flooding, and very very load thunder and lightning in the middle of the night! This meant no sleep for me because everyone was scared.

All I could think was, "How do full time working parents do it?". How do people get home at 5:30pm or later with kids and begin to cook, play with their kids, baths, get things ready for the next day, etc....? And how do single parents do it? I know that I had to be very organized and have EVERYTHING ready for the next day. The hardest things for me were the lack of sleep, no down time, and the little time I had with the kids. But I can see how when you have to do something you do it and you just keep going not thinking about anything except what needs to be done for that moment or the next day.

I am very thankful to have the time I have with my kids. I don't ever say "I am lucky" because it is not luck. I made this career for myself thinking about kids and how I would want to be home with them when they were little. Now I am thinking beyond the preschool years. I really enjoy our time together and I enjoy the slower pace of life when you don't have a job, meeting or school to be at a certain time!

Well, I will soon share some exciting things that happened this week at the training. One being the Primary (age 3-6years) final presentations. So AWESOME!! You will love what these students presented. We were asked to attend their presentations. I took tons of pictures. Each student took a cultural area and made 3 Practical Life Activities, 3 Math, 3 Language, and 3 Sensorial activities that to go with that Cultural Area. For example: One student's project was on Africa. All her activities incorporated Africa! Stay tuned!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Montessori Training this week

I will be in training all week long so I will not be posting Monday-Friday.

I thought I would share with you the books I am reading currently. Since I am only teaching 2 classes over each summer session, I get to read A LOT!!! I love it!

Living Liturgy Elementary Reflections, Sofia Cavalletti - a book to help adults who catechize children understand for themselves the deepest, most essential aspects of the liturgy. I am also looking for a curriculum to teach the kids about the Catholic faith. Anyone have any suggestions?

Punished by Rewards, Alfie Kohn - I got this book after a debate at a birthday party this weekend
with Mom's that think that behavioral charts posted in the front of the room with colors and stickers of happy faces/frowns are OK. Of Mom's who are OK with rewards for school work. It makes me sick to my stomach when I visit a school or hear about kids being punished for their behavior by changing their color infront of all of their classmates. I found this while browsing at Half Price Books today.

Basic Montessori, David Gettman - I had to get this one after hearing about it so much from other homeschool moms.

The Discovery of the Child, Maria Montessori - This is part of my Montessori collection that I am reading.

I also love women fiction books which I will pick for our vacations at the parents! We will be spending a week and a half at my husbands Mom's house where there is no cable or Internet so all we do is read!! She lives in Brownsville, Texas. Then a week and a half at my Dad's house in Puerto Rico. He lives on a mountain at the center of the Island where you can't even get reception for your mobile phone so plenty of reading will be going on there to!!! Let me know if you have any suggestions.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Lots of work going on at home!

Play house is done and lots of pretend play has been going on already!
Here are pictures of the play house getting finished.






































Before



















After - It turned out beautiful....go hubby!



















Below is sweet boy finishing up his world map. His puzzle map at school did not have separate puzzle pieces for Antarctica so I traced them for him and he is poking them out here.


















And the finished product!















Below is Bella making a collage.


















And below is the kids working with the land forms. Sweet boy was great at teaching his sister the different land forms. The only assistance I provided was getting a measuring cup and towel for spills.

Friday, June 5, 2009

New Work - Geometric Shapes






































I purchased this geometric shape puzzle work for the kids a few weeks back at Mardels. The kids really like it. Bella uses the wood boards to match the designs and sweet boy will make different designs. I have found some other designs in a Children's Math book that I will print later on when they stop using these boards.

By the way, as I was searching Mardel's online website to find the link to this work, I found that they have wood geometric solids for $16 and the cards to go with them. I just did a search on the word geometric. So, this got me wondering what other materials they have that are Montessori materials.... I have not searched but you might and let us know what you find!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The New Materials are being used!

As I brought in all of the materials my sons teacher gave me the kids started to use them. The maps were the most popular. This is a must in any Montessori homeschool. They are really drawn to maps and puzzles and figuring out their place in the world.



















Here is sweet boy working on the United States and Bella working on Canada. Bella came up to me and said "I'm going to trace Canada". I'm sure her brother helped her figure out which country she was tracing!



















Sweet boy is working on Mexico and Bella is working on Bolivia.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Free Montessori Materials

My sons school received a huge grant for the Montessori Classrooms for new classroom materials. Very exciting news for the teachers specially my sons teacher who has very old materials.
I spent about 4 hours last night helping her pack up her room for the summer. As we were packing she mentioned how she was going to get rid of her old materials that she was replacing. I quickly asked her if I could have them!

I am so excited and blessed to have received these materials. It is my dream to one day have my own Montessori Classroom. For now, I will use them with my children. They will be attending Montessori School half days so this will be great to have at home to continue their learning for the afternoons and summer learning.



















Knobless Cylinders - she said the blue box is missing one cylinder. I have not checked. A little worn.















Land and Water Globe - It comes off its stand

Continents Globe - It comes off its stand.







































The Maps - all have missing pieces. I read this post about another mom who fixed a puzzle with a missing piece, missing knobs, and chipped so we'll see what I can do. Here is a few maps. She gave me all her maps except for the USA Map which was new.















The land and water forms. Some paint chipped but other than that...great. I plan to paint the part where you put water blue. To me, the brown seems confusing.




















This very cool memory game.















The Color Box 1, 2 and 3 - Not sure if complete. I have not looked at this closely



















These wonderful cards for bead lacing. I just need to purchase the beads.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Summer Fun!!

Although it is not technically Summer, we are in the Summer Mode!

We have started some of our Summer projects.

Here is hubby and the kids working on the wood play set.





































Sweet boy had a BLAST sanding the picnic table of the play set and the sides. Can you tell? He told me, "I got to sand with a REAL sander"!! Nothing I would have let him do...does not seem safe but I was not around when he did the majority of the sanding.















Here is hubby spray painting the plastic play house. The sun faded house did not bother me but hubby really felt like it needed a paint job! He is somewhat of a perfectionist! I'll show a before and after picture when he gets done. It really does look nice with the new pain job. He used a special paint spray that is used for plastic.



















The splash pool is out. We actually need to buy a new one because the top tube has an air leak.
On my shopping list for water activities: pool, float tubes, beach ball, goggles, and butterfly net for cleaning the leaves out of the pool. I can purchase everything at the Dollar Store "Dollar Tree", except for the pool itself. Notice the pool is at the end of the slide. They will slide directly into the pool. Lots of fun!



















Swim lessons have started. I need to take some pictures of the kids in swim lessons. They love the water. I don't know what kid doesn't!

And just lots of overall outside fun!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Homeschool Resource

I found this great resource this past week. It is called Homeschool Share. I may be the last person to find out about this resource!! I just saw that another blogger wrote about it so I thought I would share about it also. The only area I have explored so far is the Toddler and Preschooler area of the website. They have activities to go with many books we have at home or can easily check out from our local library.

I downloaded a very cute apple match file folder game. I've printed it and will be putting it together tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes. I really like file folder games and plan to make some for my kids. There is a picture and download link of the game on the Toddler and Preschool area link above.