New work journal

There is nothing to get you acting quickly, than an inspection.  We have our homeschool inspection next week.  I had to keep a journal for this week to show the Department.  But I had nothing.

Whatdidwedoallday – my all time favourite inspiration Montessori website posted about her journal and I knew this was exactly what I had to do.

imageSo in a quick afternoon, I examined her journal intently and came up with this Word Document – click here to download this template.




wpid-20141016_103315.jpgThis is a view of both pages – so I needed to print the pages on both sides, to make the open book.



Here is a detail of each page – very much like Whatdidwedoallday – because our boys are at similar stages.

Journal Page 1

Journal Page 2

So each week, I plan to write the top headers, as I see fit. What I love about this, from just starting to work out what we did all day – I can see the progress we are making. Sometimes I feel so helpless, like “have we done enough??”.  Now I can see that yes, all is going OK.

I also love how I can see where we need to focus, or are missing out, just by the blank sections.

I also love how I can document natural learning, where Izaac teases me he wants 100 pieces of fruit toast when I ask him how many he wants for breakfast.  So you’ll see under “word problems”, I’ve documented that I asked him to work out how many bags of fruit toast he was wanting to eat.  It made 100 pieces seem a lot more real!  He definitely didn’t want that.

Thank you Andrea once again for helping me along our homeschool journey!

If you are wondering what some of the codes mean, we have

LEM – read this post

B2B – Back to basics series.  Read this post.  We are on the multiplication book.  I so need to give a new update on how well this is going.  I just love the strategies.  Read here for a bit more info.

WFS – Write from the Start – read this post.  We’re back to continuing these books as Izaac’s perception still needs loads of work.

MA – Moveable alphabet.  You can see my handmade on in the LEM post above

CW – Copy work

Once again – please click here to download my Word document copy of this work journal that you can edit and change as you wish.


Holiday practical life


During lazy holidays, why not extend our practical life that kids help with cleaning the car. They help to mess it. I was becoming so irritated at how messy the car is.

It must be a magical 7, but Izaac is so easy going and will do as I ask. He enjoyed the loud music playing, working away on his own.


With Sade at almost 5 and being so much more social, needed to have me close. So I wiped everything down as she worked. Would happily work at first, but then getting really irate. I didn’t expect perfection, only a willingness to work.

Car looks beautiful now.

LEM phonics and Montessori and how we are doing it. Part 2

As I mentioned in Part 1, I had to think about how to incorporate Montessori self-directed techniques into our LEM programme.

This is how I’ve started to achieve this for our homeschool. Initially, when working with a new Lesson, this is something we need to work on together.

LEM Main Lesson

Lesson cards

The first thing I did was to put the lessons onto these cards in cursive, our font of choice.  I didn’t do all the words from the Word List book, only those that I needed to explain rules, as simple words would just bore Izaac.

LEM divides the Word List books in Sections and Lessons/Days. We’re in Section A, Lesson 5, which I put at the top of the card.


To add self-direction, for this lesson, I get Izaac to build the words using our two small moveable alphabet.  I love this part, because I can add letters, remove letters and generally show the rules.

Just to explain a bit about these lessons, for example the word ‘school’, LEM gets you to break the words into syllables.  And you put the dash between. Izaac and I broke down the word.  We looked at the phonogram ‘ch’ and tried to work out which number it was.  So for ‘ch’ it’s, ch-k-sh – this one is ‘k’, number 2 (oops we have the wrong number).  Then we look at the ‘oo’ sound.  The previous lesson (4) was explaining how you have a double ‘l’ after a short vowel.  So here, I put a double ‘l’ at the end of school and we worked out why this was not accepted, because the ‘oo’ phonogram is 2 vowels.

When we worked with the ‘wor’ phonogram, it was good to be able to remove the ‘w’ and explain the rule or ‘w’ in-front of the ‘or’ phonogram, makes the ‘wer’ sound.  I love how the Moveable alphabet cements this work.

So this is a lesson, that is very hands on, called ‘Lesson time’ – so Izaac should know to call me to do this lesson.

Rule cards

Rules card front

Rule card backEach of the rules I’ve made into Rule cards, so that we can review them as we go through the lessons.  At the back of each Word List book is a list of the rules and which Section/Day these rules are in.  So it was easy for me to work these out.

Self work

After a lesson, Izaac then works through the different lessons.

In this lesson, he reviews the Rule cards, he will need to ask me for the Dictation he needs to build.  I just look in the Word List book, as I’ve basically put these lessons onto these cards.  Then he goes to the BOB time (Back of Book) that I got from ‘Back to Basics’ and he self checks his work – just a card at the end of the work with the answers on.


I haven’t got this perfect yet. We still need to work out how to practice these word’s and then writing them into his Word List book. But at least for the new term we have something to go with that he can feel independent to work on.



And this is where it is all stored, with the Phonogram cards at the back.  I love how neatly this turned out.

A review of LEM phonics and Montessori and how we are doing it. Part 1

Izaac started Year 1 doing half homeschool at our local Christian school, for a day and a half a week. This serves his need to be part of a pack, and not having a hectic out of home experience. His amazing teacher so understands our need for half homeschool to mainly to be for him to have sports and have a community.

But she introduced me to LEM phonics. For spelling, I had bought All About Spelling. But it just didn’t fit with me. So I managed to get the whole LEM curriculum for a swap of my AAS! This includes the awesome whopping book, called, The book of Rules. Plus all Australian English.

Just as a review of  LEM, you work through these sound cards. What I love, love is that it has all these jingles throughout learning your sounds. So if Izaac asks me how to spell something, we’ll say things like, it’s the ‘er’ of father, or “it’s the ea of ‘eat bread or steak'”. So Izaac knows which phonogram to use where.  I don’t need to spell ‘ea’ for the ‘ee’ sound.

Each sound has a number, so for ‘eat bread or steak’, eat is 1, bread is 2, steak is 3. And as we go into the Word Lists, we study words and label phonograms with these numbers.



So now we have worked through most of our cards and have started our Word List books.


And our lessons


As much as I love this programme, it just takes too much of our time, because it’s set up for a classroom, more than a homeschool. And nowhere near self directed. So I had to think of how to Montessori this programme. I looked at how AAS achieved this. My thoughts were, it had to have self correcting, small chunkable lessons, the kids could do majorly on their own.

Up next, what I’m doing so far. Click here for Part 2

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 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.