Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Kitchen: Before and After

Kid-tested, mother approved! Clearly I'm not the only one excited about about cooking in the remodeled kitchen.  Today I have the before and after photos of the (mostly) finished kitchen. 

My husband and I are responsible for the "before" photos (and the photo of Kal-El above).  The "after" photos are curtesy of my father-in-law.  I enlisted his help because his photography skills completely eclipse mine.


These photos really make me laugh because they totally make me feel like I am looking through a photo album of my childhood.  I was born in 1974, back when this kitchen was current.  Unexpected side benefit of remodeling:  our family photos will no longer look 30-40 years older than they are.

I remember that Me Too cried when I painted over the hearts and bows stencil shortly after we moved in.  I am NOT a hearts and bows kind of girl.  Me Too cried and said, "You're painting over the pretty."

This "before" photo was interesting to pull out of the archives because I could have sworn that we cut those spindles off the first day we moved in in November.  Apparently they survived until at least Christmas.

The cabinets were original to the home and dark-stained oak that the previous owner had painted white without priming.  The centered knobs were not original.  We have some of the original cabinets hanging in the garage and the original hardware was much larger and more gothic in feel.


I am so happy that those soffits are gone!  I am tall and can reach (just barely) the top shelves.  The new cabinets are painted maple.  The old drawers had particle board backs that had disintegrated to the point to where they would no longer hold on to any hardware.  Anytime you opened a drawer in our kitchen you had to put your knee underneath so that the whole thing wouldn't wind up on the floor.  I'm happy to report I have all drawers in the lower cabinets and none of them require the use of knees to operate.

The appliances are all Frigidaire Gallery with the exception of the microwave.  To the best of my knowledge, the Frigidaire appliances are the only ones with a special fingerprint-proof finish.  It really works.  I do not have to polish these appliances.  The only parts that get smudgy are the handles and I can clean them up with a quick wipe with a wet dishrag.  The microwave on the other hand is a GE and it fingerprints very easily.  I have to rub it with a cloth whenever someone touches any part except the handle and the fingerprints really don't come off very well.  


I did not give my father-in-law the before photos so that he could match the angles.  Sorry.  I'll try to at least provide before and afters of the approximate same sections of the kitchen.  This photo is from the day of our home inspection and the previous owner is standing in front of the dishwasher.  We do not have a big kitchen.  This section of the kitchen is about nine feet by seven feet.


Someday I'll have to make a little video tour so you can hear my midwestern accent and check out the inside of these lower cabinets.  The old kitchen was all dead corners and awkward storage.  Now I have drawers, a pullout pantry insert (left of sink), and a lazy susan.

Did anyone notice that there are no receptacles in the backsplash tile?  Code would have required five additional holes in our very small backsplash for receptacles.  Instead we opted for angled plugmold (tamper-resistant series by Task Lighting).  

The only thing that is not done is the installation of light rail on the bottom of the upper cabinets to hide the LED under cabinet lighting.  The options that the cabinet company sold were either super huge and clunky or crazy ornate and inappropriate for shaker cabinets.  Our favorite local carpenter is making me something from scratch.  However he is a bicycle-building, easily-disappearing surfer type that hasn't decided to show up yet.  We were expecting him in July.


That tall cabinet in the far left of the photo above is a LAUNDRY SHOOT.  Bah. And, even if you were okay with your dirty underwear falling down a shoot two feet away from your oven, the second floor access to the shoot was in the floor of my youngest son's closet.  Probably because everyone LOVES sneaking in to their three-year-old's bedroom closet at 11 p.m. to throw their dirty laundry in the shoot.  Not.  My husband added shelves to it so I could use it as a pantry shortly after we moved in.  There were several messy but hilarious incidents (think magnetic fishing poles and peanut butter jars) before we wised up and bolted the access door shut upstairs.


The laundry shoot was demoed out and a real honest-to-goodness pantry with oodles of pullouts is in it's place.  Everything is also taller on that side because we ditched yet another hearts-and-bows soffit.  The cabinet above the fridge is now as deep as the refrigerator so I can store up to two preschoolers up there if I have to.

The following shot is one of my father-in-law's throwaways (sorry Papa!) but I am including it because you can sort of see the veining on the peninsula countertop.  The countertops are prettiest in person.  They are very hard to photograph because they are so reflective and so white.  

They are quartz, Hanstone "Tranquility."  I like them a lot.  In a perfect world in which I have unlimited funds and no OCD I would have marble countertops.  However, in this world it freaks me out when I spend a lot of money on something and instantly start seeing damage so we went with quartz.  We sat tomato sauce and coffee on the sample for days before we ordered it and everything wiped right off with a wet dishcloth.  You can NOT write on it with a Sharpie or wipe it with resin-melting chemicals, but otherwise it can handle anything.  I'm going to say this here because I saw it nowhere else on the internet when I was researching white quartz:  white quartz shows fingerprints and smudges.  There is all kinds of information about black quartz showing fingerprints but no one mentioned the problem on white quartz.  It is putzy.  However, it is exactly the look I wanted so I am willing to put up with it.

You can see some more of the veining in the closeups of the sink.  I asked my father-in-law to take glamour shots of the sink because it my favorite thing in the new kitchen.

There she is...Blanco Performa Silgranit in Metallic Grey.  It's huge.  This is the first time I've ever had sink grids and I love them.   

My VERY favorite thing in the ENTIRE kitchen is the drain basket on the right.  Yup, that's right, the drain basket.  My husband says we could have saved a lot of money by just replacing the drain basket (and tailpiece) in the old kitchen.  Right.  Anyway, it's a Kohler Duostrainer.  I like it because you turn the little knob in the middle to change it from "drain" to "plug."  No more tilting the drain basket sideways so that you can rinse dishes in the sink and alternating between having the basket keep falling shut and having stuff fall down the drain on accident.  Fun times.

I am also loving the new pulldown faucet.  It has a magnet in it so that the head of the faucet does hang down looking sad.  It looks like the Delta Trinsic but its a much more economical lookalike by Delta sold only at Lowes called the Trask

There you have it!  I am so clearly NOT a designer, but picked out everything myself and did the job of "general contractor" on this project so I am pretty proud of it.  I found a way to do everything I wanted within our budget except one thing.  I wanted a real, serious, workhorse of a fan over the range, not a big fancy statement piece but one that worked well.  I had hoped for a cabinet-mounted microwave in-between the refrigerator and pantry.  That kind of microwave cannot be legally mounted in-between two walls like that and due to the size of our kitchen there was no where else to put a microwave except over the range.  The over-the-range microwave really does not vent very well and I bought the Consumer Reports best-rated microwave for venting.  Maybe someday we'll go "microwave free" but in the meantime, I do like it for reheating leftovers and melting butter.

Thank you for humoring me with my kitchen remodel!  And now, back to our regular Montessori topics...

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Makeover Week!

Whether it's America's Next Top Model or The Biggest Loser, I love makeover week.  As you can probably tell from Pinocchio's booty tooch, this makeover has more of a sassy ANTM vibe (although no one had to rock a newly shaved head) than a teary TBL vibe.  Can't you see the new materials smizing at you?  Werk it Montessori, Werk it...

Sorry Denzel, we bypassed the beard weave.  Instead we directed our funds toward some flashy printed materials from ETC Montessori (As usual, I am getting NO LOVE from ETC Montessori).  I bought three different sets:  grammar box filling material, command cards, and logical analysis material.

Check out all of those grammar boxes (Kid Advance)!  I decided at the last minute that I wanted to use the traditional color scheme rather than the "new scheme" that matches the grammar symbols.  The fastest way I could get cut and laminated filler materials for those boxes from ETC.  I was in no mood to buy, make, or store 40 color-coded boxes to store the filler material so I resorted to my long-time favorite hardware drawers (on top of the bookshelf):

The clothespin progress markers on our fraction cabinet have been a huge hit with the boys.  This time we used Power Ranger and Transformer stickers.   In case you have forgotten, the fraction cabinet features their very OWN heads.

Because the first several drawers are word sorts from advanced section of the traditional Montessori noun sequence, we haven't actually filled a grammar box yet.  However, Kal-El is burning through singular/plural and masculine/feminine nouns.


He reads the instructions, sorts the cards, and then records any "rules" he discovers on paper and stores it in his language binder.

To the right of the hardware cabinet you will find our new Grammar Command material

I wasn't sure how to organize them.  I ultimately decided to group the command cards by fours with their accompanying word cards and put them in my favorite 6x9" manila envelopes.  Maria Montessori states in TAMM regarding the storage of the adjective commands that, "The commands are printed on little slips of paper which are folded and all held together by an elastic band with a series of brown cards containing the adjectives." [61-62] She provides the command cards throughout the book in groups that would be kept together.  There is only ONE image I could find online anywhere that shows the storage of grammar commands on a real shelf in a real Montessori classroom and it doesn't really clear things up:

The ETC material is beautiful as always, however this is the only thing I've ever bought from ETC that I've been disappointed in.  These are not the same sentences from The Advanced Montessori Method Volume 2.  ETC invented their own and they are much less advanced.  I think these would be excellent for a student in a third or fourth year of primary or first year elementary.  They are too basic for older elementary students.  That said, Kal-El LOVES them.  Love.  Love. Love.  So, I'm happy to have them.  He is working through them very rapidly. Because they make him so happy, I'll let him go through them and then replace them with the proper cards.  They are included for free as part the Keys of the Universe program.  If you are not a member of the course, you can buy a file to download that includes all of the grammar box filling material and the command cards through the Garden of Francis site.

At any rate, check out how happy these cards make Kal-El:

There are also simple experiment cards that had him measuring the temperature of water, filling bowls with sand, and sorting objects with a magnet.  However, they were pretty primary compared to the experiments suggested in T.A.M.M.

I also bought the Sentence Analysis Level 6-9 cards.  These are very thorough and align nicely with the Montessori R&D albums that I have always used for grammar.  The set includes four categories of work that combine to make the child approach sentence analysis from different directions.  You can view images of the different types of cards through the link.  The "Reading Analysis" cards as you would expect, provide the child with a sentence to analyze with traditional sentence analysis circles and arrows.  The "Sentence Construction cards" provide several images and a picture of sentence analysis circles and arrows.  The child is to create a sentence for each picture that follows the pattern of circles and arrows.  The "Oral Games" cards are simply a collection of beautiful photographs to use as inspiration for the child to write, and then analyze, their own sentences.  Finally, the "Logical Analysis" cards require the child to read a fable (provided on separate cards), find a sentence that meets certain criteria, then analyze and record the sentence.

I stole the box from our double sandpaper letters and it holds the cards perfectly.  Here on Kal-El's chowki, you can see the box of work.  He can choose from any section he wishes.  Also on the table is a copy of the first of two forms provided for recording the sentences.  The form mirrors the forms suggested in most AMS and AMI albums I've seen.  Also on this table is the piece of paper I mentioned earlier on which Kal-El is recording any "rules" he discovers as he works.  I guess he though he should have it handy.  The boys made several sets of bookmarks by themselves to keep their place among the many sets of cards in this box.  

Here is an example of some of the work Me Too is doing in this box.  This is the first "Oral Games" card he chose.  He picked it because the woman in the photo looks EXACTLY LIKE ME.  My family will be somewhat freaked out by this because the resemblance is uncanny. I even have the same swimsuit.  He wrote the sentence on a blank grammar slip (I keep them stocked), cut it, and placed the sentence on the sentence analysis symbols.

This is the only thing that perplexes me about this area of work.  Maybe a reader can help me out.  The child is supposed to be using the sentence analysis symbols with slips of paper.  They also are apparently supposed to be recording work on that chart.  The most basic chart requires them to do the following:

  • Write down the sentence.
  • Write down the given questions and their answers (such as "What is the action?" and "Who is it that does the action?")
  • Draw a  picture of the sentence analysis symbols for the sentence.

My problem is this:  It seems redundant to do both.  I think one should either write the sentence on the slip of paper and use the wooden symbols or they should skip the wooden symbols altogether and use the form.  If you skip the wood symbols altogether and use the form it is no longer "hands-on grammar."  I am guessing that I am supposed to use the wooden symbols as long as the child will tolerate it and switching to the form is for the older elementary child who is abstracting and now finds it tedious to manipulate all of the pieces.  But I'm not sure.  Edited to add:  Below is a picture of one of the "reading analysis" cards and the form together.

Both Me Too and Kal-El are doing all of these types of work: grammar boxes, command cards, and logical analysis.  I mention Kal-El more frequently because he currently has grammar as an every day line item on his work plan.  Me Too has grammar on the cyclical section of his work plan at this time (with three paper clips).  That means Kal-El is simply getting to this work faster, hence more pictures.
Kal-El's work plan simply says "grammar."  That means he can choose the grammar box cabinet, the command cards, or any of the types of work in the logical analysis box that he wishes.

Here is that close-up of the actual shelves again (it will get bigger if you click on it).

Top shelf:  Logical Analysis cards, sentence analysis boxes, solid grammar symbols.  Also, a basket containing blank slips for sentences, a scissors, and a stencil for coloring grammar symbols.

Second shelf from top:  box of flat wooden grammar symbols, grammar boxes 2 and 3.

The next two shelves hold grammar boxes 4-9.  A homeschooling family that needs to save room would probably only have one box out at a time.

Bottom Shelf:  Sentence Analysis definitions chart.  Sentence Analysis forms for recording.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

School Days: Week 2 Music Explosion

Week one was all about maps.  Week two saw an explosion of work with the music materials.

Both boys became very interested in reviewing the building of major scales.  They can play the violin in the keys of G, D, A, Bb, d minor, and a minor.  Me Too liked to use the resonator bells and major scale strip to build the G, D, and A scales and then play Suzuki violin songs he knows by ear.

Kal-El went a little further and built major scales starting on every pitch possible.  Whenever he built a scale he plays on violin, he brought out the letter charts we sing Suzuki songs from  and played the songs on the bells.

When he ran out of music he became super involved in writing his own music (again) and working on taking his notational skills to the next level.  He is now interested in learning about minor scales with the bells so that he can expand his repertoire.

Me Too wanted to start learning to read pitches on the staff and so started working his way through the traditional montessori bells/bars exercises.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Work Plan 2014/2015

This is what our work plans look like as Wednesday afternoon on the third week of school, September 2014.  As always, my photos enlarge if you click on them.  We used the same style of work plan all last year with great success.  The work plans change throughout the year based on the boys' individual needs.  These will certainly look a little different in a few months.  I have already made changes and reprinted these three times this year.  I have to make one small change and reprint them yet one more time.  After that, we should be good to go for some time.  

Each child's work plan is broken into two sections, daily work and "other" work.  At the start of the school year I thought the "other work" would be "weekly" work.  One week in I realized we were not close to finishing and I changed that to "every two weeks" work.  On my next printing I'm just going to label that section "cycle."  As we draw to a close this week I can see that it took my boys three weeks to get through the work.   To be clear, that is three weeks, four days of "school" each week, one 3-4 hour uninterrupted work cycle each of those days.

When we begin the work plan, all of the paper clips start out on the left.  As they do work in any category they move the paper clip over to the right-hand side.  The work plan is set up to give a framework of what I "expect" in a given period of time, but allows the boys to construct their own school day.  This work plan looks like it has a lot specified, but each area is just a "category" and there are often countless ways the boys can satisfy the category.  So, not only do they choose many of their categories each day, but they choose what type of work to do within the category.

They have even more control.  As you can see, each child has two colors of paperclips.  The black paperclips are for daily work.  The green or blue paperclips are the weekly/cyclical work.  They can change the color of the paperclips in the weekly/cyclical section if they wish.  For example, the first week of school both boys were super interested in maps so they both changed that paperclip to a black one to indicate that they wanted to do that work every day for a while.  They can change that clip back to green or blue any time they wish. The second week Kal-El was very interested in music and also changed the music paperclip to a black one.

At the end of the day, all of the black clips (and several blue) should make their way over to the right-hand side of the work plan.  The boys usually "clear" their charts at the end of the day by moving all of the black clips back to the left so it is ready for the next day.   Sometimes they run out of time and don't get to a particular "daily" work.  When that happens, I ask them not to "clear" their chart at the end of the day.  They are required to do those works first the next school day.

As the first week progressed I discovered that, unlike last year, this year the boys (particularly Me Too) really want to move a paperclip every time they do any work.  I did mention in a previous post on work journals that the boys' work plans double as a very primitive work journal. I hope you can see how I might interpret these that way.  However, not everything possible is on the work plan nor do I want them to feel like their work is limited to categories on a work plan.  So, after the first week I added "Kid's Choice" to their daily work as a category. This is by far their FAVORITE category.  They spend a lot of time outside of school planning what their "kids choice" activities could be the next day.  

Another category you might find interesting is "Mom's Surprise" in the daily category.  After I give whatever presentations I have planned for the day I tell the kids that was their "Mom's Surprise" and that they can move that paperclip.  In the past few weeks those have been presentations from the KotU geography album, the Waseca Biomes albums, and Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding.  I give many other presentations, but they tend to fall under one of the other categories and the boys prefer to move the corresponding paperclip.

Certain categories in the cyclical section of the work plan have more that one row and more than one paperclip.  This allows me to weight the cycle according to my preferences.  If I listed each category only once in the cyclical area we probably would finish the work plan in a single week.  Hmmm...I'll have to think about that.

Last year's work plans looked very similar.  The main differences were a little less daily work and most of the "other" work was only listed once or twice.  That work plan was intended to be complete in a week.  However, we almost never finished it in a week.  I noticed the same works kept "falling off" from week to week which leads to a lack of progression in that area.  That is why I decided to extend the time frame for the "other" work and treat it cyclically if necessary.

Our work plans from the 2012/2013 school year were a completely different style.  You can read about those in this post:  Work Plan 2012/2014.

Jessica is trying to compile different family's work plans over at this link:  Work Plans and Journals.

That completes the "how the work plans work" section of this post.  The boys are much more involved with their work plans this year than last and you'll see them lying around in many of their work pictures this upcoming week.  

What follows is a basic summary of the types of things they are currently doing in each category for those who are interested in that type of thing.  If not, stop reading now.

Here is a closer look at Me Too's work plan.  His daily categories are as follows:

  • multiplication
  • bead frame/ stamp game
  • reading
  • Mom's surprise
  • kid's choice

Here is a closer look at Kal-El's work plan.  His daily categories are as follows:

  • division/multiplication
  • writing
  • grammar
  • Mom's surprise
  • kid's choice

Let me give you an idea of how they fulfill those categories.

 Kal-El is currently alternating "multiplication days" and "division days."  I had these as separate line items on his original work plan for the year.  Likewise, on Me Too's work plan the bead frame and stamp game were separate line items. Here is an image of my first work plan of the new year:

However, I knew even as I was typing up those first work plans that I had way too many line items in the daily category.  Too many to leave room for choice.  I left it alone for that first week to see what happened and see what the boys' preferences and opinions were.  After the first day it was obvious that the best solution was to alternate the stamp game and bead frame work from day to day for Me Too and to alternate multiplication work and division work for Kal-El.  You can see that I started writing changes on the work plans and used them that way for a little while prior to retyping and printing.

Multiplication: Kal-El alternates between the checkerboard and flat bead frame for his multiplication work.  Soon we will add the elementary bank game to that mix.  

 Right now, however, Me Too is trying to muscle through the final exercises on the primary finger board (the blank or "bingo" chart) so he pretty much fills about two pages in his multiplication notebook each day doing that.  When he wants a break he asks to play a multiplication game, chooses some flashcards, or occasionally asks to do the chart using the iPad app instead of the actual chart.  He usually does the whole chart on the iPad each time so I don't really object.  He only does about 15 equations each day when he uses the real chart.  Soon he will have the option of the elementary "bank game," the large bead frame, or the checkerboard for that category.

Division:  Kal-El is working with the racks and tubes.  

Bead frame/stamp game:  Me Too is working on dynamic subtraction on the small bead frame and dynamic division with the stamp game.  

Reading:  (Me Too) Right now this is almost always a lesson from The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading.  If I give a presentation from the "word study" section of the albums that would fulfill this category for the day.

Grammar:  This is daily work for Kal-El right now and on the cyclical section for Me Too.  I have recently revamped our grammar area in the the classroom.  Kal-El is rotating among grammar boxes, grammar commands, and logical analysis.  Me Too will be as well, but has been doing presentations with me instead of independent work thus far.

The categories in Me Too's cyclical section of the work plan are as follows:

  • fractions
  • word problems
  • squaring/cubing
  • geometry
  • writing
  • grammar
  • spelling
  • maps
  • Spanish 
  • music
Kal-El has all of those categories with one additional category:  vocabulary.

Fractions:  Both boys are still working through the drawers in our fractions cabinet.  They also like to look at the fraction charts or play fractions games (fractions pizzas or fractions dominoes).  Kal-El is almost done with the first elementary fractions album (MRD) and will start the second (unlike denominators, etc.,).

Word Problems: Both works from their word problems baskets.  Me Too is using the "first grade" level problems and Kal-El is now using third grade level.  Me Too finds these to be a breeze.  Kal-El always gets the right answer but has trouble writing down the equation he used if it is a division equation because he sees all division equations the way they asked as multiplication in disguise.

Squaring/Cubing:  These would be presentations and work from the elementary math album as well as continued work with skip counting.

Geometry:  Both boys have avoided geometry so far.  Tomorrow that is almost all that's left on their work plan so it will come to a head.  Lessons will continue from the elementary geometry albums.

Writing:  Both boys work in either his Handwriting Without Tears workbook or from Writing with Ease.  It also includes work on the chalkboards, sand tray, and other tactile work.  Kal-El has started a cursive iPad app.  He has a few more pages in his last HWT book and will start New American Cursive any day now.

Spanish:  I work on this with both boys together  and I plan to post about it sometime in the future.

Music:  These are lessons from the Montessori albums plus whatever tickles my fancy from day to day (music being "my thing" and all).  They did a lot of music work last week that I plan to post about.

Spelling:  Both boys use All About Spelling.

Vocabulary:  Kal-El reads really well but, like any elementary aged child, doesn't know every word there is to know.  I found a literature-based program we are trying called Vocabu-Lit.  I bought book B for Me Too and Book C for Kal-El.  Me Too doesn't really have time in his busy schedule to start yet.  Kal-El is on the fence.  He likes most of the work.  Some of the work involves looking up words in the dictionary and copying the definition.  The scope of that is a bit too much for him at this stage.  The activities in book B would be perfect for him but he already knew all of the vocabulary words.  Book C has just the right amount of "new words" but the activities are geared a bit old for him.  We'll see.  

Speaking of busy schedules, I am having a VERY difficult time finding time to blog this year.  I don't intend to give up, but don't know exactly how I'm going to fit it all together.  Please bear with me!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

School Days: Week 1, Geography Explosion

Geography explosion.  All week our house looked a little bit like someone had vomited maps everywhere.  The photo above is just the school room.  The kitchen table, family room and bedrooms have taken the hit as well.

I think it started with Kal-El and the coin map of the 50 states.  He decided it would be a good idea to memorize the 50 states and that the most fun way to do this would be to complete the map every day and time himself with a stopwatch each time.  He is recording his times in his math binder.  We discovered that Idaho is missing.  Me Too patiently helped me dig through a gallon of loose change trying to find another one.  I am trying to find a good book about the state quarters so that the boys can look up the story behind the images on each coin on their own.  In the meantime, the iPad has been very busy answering questions.

Not to be left out, Me Too (aptly named) got to work on the 50 states puzzle map.  After which he reviewed the Australia, South America and North America puzzle maps.  Then he memorized five new countries on the Africa puzzle map.  Afterward, he put all the desert and mountain pins in the physical pin map of Australia.  He decided to "finish that later" and moved on to the pin maps of North America and South America and put the countries pins in.

In the meantime, Kal-El had moved on to North America pin map.  He LOVED it.

He loved it so much he decided to make his own for his room to "practice."  

He did so using our Waseca biome stencils.  He liked this idea so much that he decided to do EVERY continent and tape them together.  He was disappointed that the scale was inconsistent from continent to continent.

Kal-El also started making labels on little pieces of paper. He wants to cover his bedroom wall in cork to make his own pinmap of the world.  I offered him a corkboard that he could use with one continent at a time, but he wants the WHOLE WORLD.  Since covering a whole wall in corkboard is not an option we are discussing poster putty as an alternative.  Me Too, again, did not want to be left out so he made an Australia biome map.

Then, Me Too moved on to tracing all of the continent puzzle maps one piece at a time to recreate the map he made with his brother last year.

Kal-El worked with the Africa puzzle map a little bit which inspired him to take out the continent box.  He asked me to put the cd of African music on the stereo and the boys listened to the whole thing while decorating the school room with everything in the continent box.  Before I thought to take a picture, suddenly the cd was over and the boys had put everything away like it had never happened.

Kal-El wants to learn more about electricity.  I plan on using lessons from BFSU but haven't given the three pre-requisite lessons.  The first was on "energy."  This worked very well along with the lesson "Energy comes from the sun" in the Waseca "Introduction to Biomes" curriculum so we did that.  The Waseca lesson leads nicely back into the traditional Montessori elementary geography album into the "The Rotation of the Earth and it's consequences" section.  There are about 30 pages there that I want to cover in the next month or so.  This week we covered the presentations that go along with the chart above and the charts that follow:

Saturday, September 6, 2014

School Days, Week One: Math

This week was a lot lighter on the math that I would have wished.  However, Kal-El found some time to continue his checkerboard work.

He taught himself to do the work abstractly on paper if he is lucky enough to pull an equation with a single-digit multiplier.

I introduced him to the racks and tubes!  I will post more about it when we are a little further along.  Right now I am technically giving him the "primary" racks and tubes presentations.

Me Too started division with the stamp game.  He's excited because it was driving him nuts that he wasn't using the little skittle pieces until now.

The only thing he has hanging on from primary is a little memory work.  He has two more games to finish with the blank board for multiplication.  Afterward he needs to work on the division boards.

Both boys are a little weak in the memorization of their multiplication facts for 6's, 7's, 8's, and 9's.  I decided to pick a fact family (8's) and focus on it until they are solid.  Afterward I will move on to a different family.  

We have the Classical Conversations apps on my iPad, but the boys really don't like the singsongy skip counting songs.  Instead they prefer junk like this:

It actually worked in pretty short order.  However, the songs for the other numbers by this company are so similar I wouldn't try working on several at a time.

We have been playing Speed! with the eight's deck.  The boys have been pulling the relevant sheets out of our Skipcountapalooza.  I added some sheets to the collection such as some dot-to-dots by eights and mystery phrase papers.

That's it for math!  I'll post more about our other work this weekend.