Elephant and Piggie books

Elephant and PiggieWe’ve gone a bit moggie for the Mo Willems, “Elephant and Piggie” books.  Definitely a set I’d use with a starter reader, because THEY ARE SO FUNNY!  And, lovely big words and just a few which tells such a great story.

These two characters are best friends, Gerald and Piggie.  And they get up to so much mischief, totally misunderstand each other, totally adore each other.  I just had to share this great little find we have from the library.  And, look how many we have booked out at one time!

Here is a snippet to entice you ….  :)  Gerald goes off to rescue Piggies ball that got stolen.  Gerald is quite big, so of course he can get back Piggies ball.  But he doesn’t expect who he is up against!

A big guy took my ball

Journey of handwriting

A few weeks ago, lying on my bed, putting Josie to sleep.  Izaac comes and snuggles up to Josie and says sadly, “Mummy all my friends can write, but I can’t.”  I asked him “Would you like me to show you how to write?”….

The topic of writing has been a bane for me.  I’ve prepared so much work, which have all been difficult to implement.  Izaac has had a left-over-right reflex delay, that my chiropractor picked up when he was 4.  So crossing over his mid-line has been difficult.  So trying to show how to write is all just too hard.  Even doing exercises to encourage this reflex was hard.  He hated any figure 8 work. I’ll get the kids to demonstrate easy positions you can do to assess if a person has this reflex delay.  Many kids do.  Handwriting is very important to me, because I have made life decisions of subject to choose in school, what to study, based on my slow writing skills.

But me pushing Izaac, him having a delay … I spent a month or so this year really questioning myself, reading about delaying rather than pushing.  I finally made peace that he could have all of Year 1 off from writing.  We would do art, Waldorf form drawing, handwork, drawing, metal insets instead.  I was just going to totally drop it.

Our chiropractor gave us new exercises and Izaac just gravitated to it – I think his body was in the process of fixing this delay.  He had to jump one leg to the front, other leg to back and opposite arms swaying forward/backward, marching style.  He loved this challenge.  A teacher at the school where I pick up my friends kids gave me good fun exercises to do too.

So this month we started.  Fortunately I joined http://keysoftheuniverse.com/ online Montessori elementary programme.  Jessica gave good advice on what to do with an elementary child who do not yet write.  I prepared these green boards, so that Izaac could practiceGreen boards his letters.  Each green board is based on how the letter family are formed.  Like ”c, a, d, g, o” in cursive all start with “magic c”.  He first feels each letter.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   Izaac then practices the letters on the megasketcher.  He hates chalk, so I’ve never been able to do chalk work, like from HWT (which I have!).

paper practiceThen he practices each letter combination on lined paper.

It’s been incredible – he has progressed so well in such a short time.  There really is something to say for waiting until a child is ready.

2013-12-16 22.34.01 This picture here shows how we started.  And then just over a week later the above letters was produced.

But one of the advices from keytotheuniverse is to start writing words as soon as possible.  Izaac asked for this within days!  So I recited a few words and he wrote them.

But this has bought a dilemma!  I need to get my work for him ready.  I stopped doing all our work because I had stopped all handwriting prep!

Samsung6A recommendation from the book mentioned in this post, was a series called ‘A hand for spelling’.  Where it is encourages in order to teach spelling to use writing.  But it’s based on a British cursive (I think).  So I’ve been converting the files, using my lovely new Joinit font.  ‘A hand for spelling’ is a out of print series.  So if anyone perhaps has 2A, please let me know!  If anyone is interested in sharing my files, please send me an email.

Land form adventure

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Today, my gorgeous girlfriends and their children joined us for a unit on Landforms.  So we headed down to a local river reserve where I knew there was loads of sand.  It was a perfect day and we bought alive landforms.

Earlier in the week, we reviewed our landforms.  These landforms took me AGES to make and I made far too many mistakes in making them.  One day I might right up about these.

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So when we got down to the river, I bought out all the above landforms and discussed them.  Talking about where you would normally find a peninsula, or that beaches are often found in bays.  And how we need to know what these are, so that when someone says meet me at the bay, you know what it is, or if your dad wants to meet you at the peninsula for fishing, you know what this is.  I then asked them each to choose a landform to make.

So after a bit of play at the river, I handed Josie to my friend for some cuddles and starting digging.  Making our first main island.  Pretty soon, I had the co-operation and enthusiasm of little landform creators around me. I then started roping them in to build their chosen landform.

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I loved the co-operation.  Here we had to build another island to make an isthmus.

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I love how I had ideas about how to build a landform and then I’d rather watch as each individual has their own ideas too and they were fantastic.  One could also see how although we had worked on what a landform was, this understanding still wasn’t quite there, like the isthmus.  So here I could guide them on building another island – now let’s join them together to make an isthmus.  And you could see the realization happening!

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I loved watching the dedication of little 4year old Ollie to completing his strait project.  He was so focused.

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We had kids shouting out their landforms.  The younger ones just loved being part of the fun, paddling in the cool water around us.  I think every Montessori classroom should go on an outing and bring landforms alive.  This can be done at a river like us, or the beach, or just ones backyard in the sandpit.

Maths and Natural Strategies

In a recent post, I mentioned that along with Montessori, we are using Natural Maths Strategies.  What really fascinates me, is that I haven’t really worked on this too hard.  We did “Rainbow facts” (facts to 10) earlier this year.  We’ve been playing double games – randomly asking, ‘what is 6+6 etc’.  But I’ve noticed that Izaac has been working out natural math strategies himself and it’s fascinating.

Tonight Izaac and hubby were working out what 24+12 is.  My mind, I think 2+4, then 20+10.  Izaac did number splitting – something I have not shown him at all.  After he told the answer, I asked him how he worked it out.  He said, ’24+10=34′, then ’34+2’!  Wow!

And I’ve just order Ann Baker’s (author of Natural Strategies) new series, called ‘Back to Basics‘ – aimed for mums and dads at home and at a crazy price of $7.95!

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Where have we been?

20132 So sorry for almost disappearing – but I’ve been very busy the last few months growing the sweetest little baby.

I’ve felt it’s been just too hard even homeschooling and in term 1 and 2, we had the slowest homeschooling ever.  I hardly could have a full week.  It was so hard!  Life was so disorganised.

I’m at the ripe young age of 43, having my third.  And my body just really felt it.

20133I tried to, along the way just really enjoy and relax with this pregnancy.  I gave myself permission to just not be perfect and be ok with that.  I was also balancing trying to work out dropping off my little social butterfly at preschool and still homeschooling – well ended up being libraryschooling Izaac.  I let the kids do loads of drawings on my big tum and I loved it.  I loved experiencing pregnancy, the discussions about where the baby came from, feeling the baby together.  I loved it with Sade and Izaac.  Izaac has longed for another sibling for ages.

P1240452 But I had to let go of the guilt of not getting “enough” homeschooling done.  It helps that from 5 and a half Izaac can read, so I feel a huge weight off my shoulders of a BIG TICK!  Sadly, I think I missed a few sensitive periods with Sade.

And then, end July, our litte Josie Faye was born.  The journey to motherhood has just been wonderful, again.  My desire to have our third has been fulfilled and my heart is so full of joy and contentment.  Thanks to my wonderful Father, who made and formed a perfect little girl for us in my precious womb.  She is an absolute joy.  And I really feel that God is giving me the strength and oomph to now continue our journey of homeschooling, however it blossoms.  I hope I can share as much as possible, to share with my family, to journal for myself and to help anyone who would love to combine Montessori, some Waldorf, some Charlotte Mason, some whaterverelselooksgood in our homeschooling journey.

Nomenclature template freebie

I’m busy working on Karen Tylers Astronomy album.  I’m learning loads through this process and I’ll add more info later.  But I searched through my Nomenclature documents to find something that I could use for my template.  I find everything written about Moon phases are Northern Hemisphere information – so I had to create my own as we do things a bit upside-down here in Australia, excuse the pun.  But I didn’t have Nomenclature files that I liked the format to, that didn’t seem too big, or small.  Also – importantly not only 1 nomenclature per page!  Lamination can be expensive and printing!

So thank you to The Helpful Garden Nomenclature image – who has the most beautiful free downloads, I looked and copied some of her ideas to create this template.

It’s built around tables in MSWord.  When you need to change the colour of the borders, one little tricky thing you’ll find, is the the label part (right-hand side), where you type the label, this is another little table.  I needed the line above it to be thicker than the rest of the card, for when cutting it.  So each main table has just an outside border (box border).  But this little table has only a top border, which is thicker than the rest of the surrounded table, for neatness when trimming the end product.

To download, please click here

Here is an example of what it looks like.

phases