Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Back to School Week 2014

I became that parent this week. 

We are still full swing into summer break and I decided "why not just start now?!?" So we did.  We started back up with school work. We are going to plan on just four work days a week for a month or so and work in a week off every 5-6 weeks during the school year. Or that's the current plan... we all know it can change whenever...

I'm really pleased with some of the new books we picked out this year so I thought I would share it along with some of the ways we incorporate Montessori into it all. 

Barrett (age 6 1/2)
Math: Karen Tyler's Montessori Math Manual and Singapore Level 2A/2B

Language: Writing with Ease Level 1, Interest Based Literature (the A-Z Mystery guides are a favorite right now)

History: Story of the World Volume 1, Usborne World History Encyclopedia (geography and literature studies are worked into this as well)

Science: Usborne Science Encyclopedia (supplemented with Botany, Zoology, Astronomy and Physical Science Manuals from Karen Tyler)

Piano: Premier Piano Level 2A Theory, Performance and Lesson Books

Indie (age 3)
Math: Karen Tyler's Montessori Math Manual (currently working on numbers 1-10 and introducing the teen boards and beads)

Language: Karen Tyler's Language Album with emphasis on writing and the moveable alphabet (currently working on initial sounds and letter formation)

Practical Life: Karen Tyler's Montessori Manual

Science: We are starting some physical science and placing heavy emphasis on experience the natural world (Botany, Zoology and Astronomy will be introduced as well through the year)

Music/Art: nothing structured, a focus on appreciation and experience along with varying mediums for art (paint, paper, non paper surfaces, painting with various tools and instruments)

How We Structure Our Day:

We've done so many different things over the past few years. I really enjoyed using our student contract last year but I wanted to streamline it a bit this year. I was hoping to combine the idea of a list and the possibility of self discipline. We decided to get a nice blank notebook (leather and everything!) for each kid. I write down the subjects and what I would like to see Barrett work on that day. There is enough room on the page so that when he works on something not on the list, he writes down the time of day and what he worked on. This gives him the flexibility to work on projects or to really end up involved in a lengthy project without having the pressure to check off every box. 

For Indie, I also have a notebook for her but I take time during the day to write down what I observed her doing and what time of day. If I introduce something new I will write that down as well. It generally looks like this: 

3:00 Screwdriver Board
3:30 letter H box
3:35 painting
4:00 outside

We've been playing with various work times. 9-10 is fairly consistent along with 2-4 in the afternoon. This gives us time to work in field trips and playdates without messing up our day too much and if we have to transport our little guy somewhere, we can just take our stuff with us during that time. Our only general rule of thumb is that the "list" has to be done between breakfast and dinner.  

I'm super excited for this year and finding a new rhythm. I hope you stick around with us for a little while!


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