the list

Last week we tried the workboxes. They didn't work out to well. I so need to find something, anything that works for focusing this kid, even for a day.  He loves games--computer, WII, XBOX, you name it he loves it. First thing this morning he asked about playing one. I told him as soon as his learning was done he could. He asked what he needed to do so I made a list for him of everything I wanted to do with him today. He was excited about having a list and being able to check it off.

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And surprise it worked. Must take after his parents. We love lists.

We were able to do a lesson in Right Start math.

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We played a game with the movable alphabet. I spelled a word, then he read it and spelled it again.

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For art he drew this picture of the ocean. He included swordfish, sharks, plants, rocks, seahorses, and garbage--realistic touch. The #50 in the picture is the number of babies the seahorses are going to have.

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Played outside, and yes it did my heart good to see him in this position.

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In this pic he is telling me that his lego creation is not a spaceship that tranforms into a spider, rather it IS a spider spaceship. Geez.

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This was his idea of a fun game this evening. He lined his toys up and asked me to point to the smallest, the taller one, the next tallest, etc. 

And he was able to play his game.

It felt good to feel like we accomplished something today.


the fall trays

Here are the new trays for Jack's shelves. He loves sorting and tweezing so these are always big hits.

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This one has leaf, acorn and pumpkin gems. He can sort by type or we can change it up and do leaves and acorns by color and pumpkins by size.

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This one is tweezing the different ball shaped beads onto the backs of the bath stickies (can't think of the correct term for those bath things).

Today we also worked on more decorating and switching over the nature table to fall. Pics to come.

school today

This week we are talking about transportation. At the end of the week I'll put up a post with everything we used. It fits in perfect because this Saturday is our Hot Wheels party! Woohoo!

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Today Jack read his first book with HOP! Yay!  He has read the first few in the BOB series, but we were beginning to wonder if he had them memorized. But the HOP book he worked through and even had to sound a few words out.

In the pic above he is using the transportation word cards I printed out with the movable alphabet. He really enjoyed this and went through all the cards.  After he finished with them he spelled out words he knew--Jack, mom, and.

Over the weekend he watched the sight word video I bought at Costco--I'll link up later. He enjoyed that and started making the connection between it and the written words today.


This week I have been learning/researching/thinking about the Montessori concept of normalization.  It's given me some peace about where Jack is right now with our schooling process.

Here are some blog posts regarding normalization:

Stages of Normalization

Redirecting Behavior in the Montessori Classroom

Deviations in the Normalization Process

Sterling Qualities of the ‘Normalized’ Montessori Child

Notes on a Conference

Quiet - inside and out  --be sure to read this one. I agree with her thoughts on what a child does and can absorb from a parent.

activities to work on

Today I did some brainstorming about activities that Jack could do that would involve the outdoors and be helpful, learning activities.  Here's what I've got so far:

  • watering container plants
  • weeding
  • taking stuff to the compost bucket/emptying bucket
  • feeding rabbits-earning rabbits trust, learning how to take care of animal
  • washing outside windows
  • harvesting vegetables
  • planting vegetables and flowers
  • cutting and arranging flowers
  • sweeping
  • washing outdoor table
  • filling bird feeders
  • hanging laundry on laundry rack

I also wrote down a few indoor ones I would like him to help with

  • dusting
  • folding clothes
  • changing washer and dryer

This week I've been trying to get him involved more with the care of the environment and self care.  We've worked on sweeping, washing hands- I don't have to ask anymore, brushing hair, fixing food--he now has a shelf in a bottom cupboard and the bottom drawer in the fridge with his food, clearing dishes, and our never ending dressing lessons. We also worked on buckling his seat belt. Lately he has wanted to sit in the back sit of the van, which is great other than it is hard to buckle him in. Through this all I've noticed that his confidence is increasing and he's more willing to try new things and help out.


Our over-riding attitude should be that we do not wish to teach the child, or in any other way dominate the child, but only to help provide the child's natural development with the best environment in which to unfold freely. Second, we should realise that although the use of Montessori materials will generate cultural and intellectual matter for the child's mind to absorb, it is up to us to provide the absorbant mind with emotional, moral and spiritual substance. In this respect, we should strive to be compassionate in our emotions, tolerant in our ethics, and humble in spirit. Third, when we present the child with our emotional, moral, and spiritual substance, we need to know our weaknesses, to be alert to our preconceptions and prejudices, to reassess our motives constantly, and to ackowledge and learn from our mistakes. In a word, we must be honest. Children will absorb what we do, and then compare it to what we say. We shoud never put on an act with children, for not only are they sure to see through it, but we may risk permanently losing their trust. Finally, we should believe in the innate potential for goodness in every child, so that even when we don't see an angel before us, we know there is one in there somewhere, and that by providing the right freedoms and opportunities, we can help the goodness to surface.

~David Gettman, Basic Montesori.

Wishful thinking.

It snowed today! Jack watched it for a minute and then told me , "I guess we better get the Christmas tree out."

Wishful thinking.

 Here he is trying to kiss me. Can you see the cold sores? Ummm... yeah think I'll pass. You can see three of them pretty good. There's actually 5 on his lips. None inside though. So that is good news. The ones on the outside are healing quickly also. 


He got this out this morning and has spent hours with it. We also did some cut and paste work and made a color book. I also got the dot paint markers out for him to use, he used them to paint heart doilies.


This is the first thing I made with the hearts. I made number cards and am using the hearts for counters this week.


I also made some simple addition cards. I got this box at Michaels. I like it because it has a lip around the top so he can use that to put the cards and counters on. We'll see how he likes it tomorrow. So any ideas for the rest of the hearts?

a good game

I keep talking about how the game Upwords led to my rediscovering the Montessori method.  I thought that maybe this would be a good activity to show here.

My 11 yo dd has learning issues. She doesn't hear sounds in the right order. Even if she does hear them in the right order doesn't mean she can translate it back to you. One of our main goals in her therapy last year was to work on her spelling. The therapist started using the game Upwords with her. She would tell her a word and have dd use the tiles to spell out the word. One of the reasons it worked is because it was immediately correctable and kinetic.The one thing the therapist wanted to change about the game was to have lowercase letters, the game is in capitals. So I quickly found an Upwards game of our own, spray painted the letters white and then stamped lowercase letters on them.

 As we progressed we used it to learn word families.

 You can spell one word like sit, put a h on top of the s and you have hit. So we could run through them all. Also you can practice prefixes and suffixes by adding and taking away letters. It dawned on me after about a month that I had seen something similar in method to this in a book before. As I researched it I was reintroduced to the Montessori method. If only it was a month earlier I could have saved the time altering my game and bought a movable alphabet, which we do have one of now.


Okay I bought some hearts last year to use for Valentine's day. I had grand plans that never happened. So I'm thinking a new activity is in order for this last week before Valentine's Day.  But what?


There are 5 different shapes. I also have some that I painted red. Any ideas?

what sick looks like...

During the night Jack started running a temperature. This morning it got really high, too high. So we've been pushing the tylenol, motrin, and fluids. And we've been chilling out. I didn't get any sleep with him tossing and turning and whining next to me all night. Of course I was a little afraid it would turn into another throw up incident.


Our sick tray complete with juice, crackers, and drawing material. Also we can't forget the nice, green blankie.


Laying on our magic carpet, with our very own monkey watching Aladdin. Falling asleep during Aladdin and taking a 2+ hour nap.

While he was snoozing, no I can't take naps, I got some new activities ready to go for our shelves.


The other day Jack started playing an online game that had simple addition. We showed him how to use his fingers. So this addition exercise should be a hit.  You add the kisses and then clip a clothespin on the correct answer.


We've also been working on counting from 10-20. With these cards you count the hearts and clip a clothespin onto the correct number. I put a blue dot in the back of the card where the correct number is so that he cna self check.


This is a matching exercise using a basket and two sets of erasers from the dollar store.

Jack's fever is spiking up again tonight. I missed one dose while he was napping.

the new stuff

Here are the trays/activities that I put together yesterday:


This one is from Kidssoup.  Count the bears and place the right clothespin on the card. He came up with the following extension for it:



Next up three part cards of arctic animals made from two sets of flashcards from the Target dollar spot.


Last the Wiki Stix alphabet book. I bought this from one of the Scholastic flyers. He tried this last night when he was tired and it was too frustrating for him then. He was obsessed that the stix weren't perfectly straight after use. I finally had to put it back. We'll try again when he's not so tired.

I also put a small plastic caddy filled with crayons, markers and colored pencils along with a tray of colored and copy paper on the table. He's been spending hours drawing, practising his letters and numbers and just having fun with it. In fact everyone has.

I finished up some planet 3 part cards and a new set of pink series cards. I don't like the pink series cards we've been using, too small.

Inspiring me today:

Young Writer's Workshop

This is a wonderful idea. Now I have an idea for that bookshelf.