Sunday, March 27, 2011

March 2011- Addition Strip Board & Grammar Symbols

Math is a tricky subject for us.  Mason is very ahead of the game when it comes to math, so we tend not to do "math" during school.  He enjoys doing math related activities all the time, so I do not feel like we need to focus on it (right now). That being said, I still LOVE Montessori math!  So once in awhile I will make a material that I know I will eventually need for James anyway and have Mason do it,
"for fun". 
 You can find all these charts and lessons at, plus lots more albums!

In the green bowl are strips of math equations. Mason never even used the strip board, but had I had this during the time he was starting to add it would have been a wonderful tool.  I am excited to have it complete and ready for James someday!

Although he did not need it, Mason LOVED using this working chart.  He had a great time...who knew math could be so much fun!

We used these answer tiles to play a math addition game

Having him use the control chart to check his own work is awesome! He does not feel like he needs to get the answers right for "me" he wants to do well for himself!  There is no pressure on him.  This will teach him at an early age to work towards his own goals...not mine! And...within a prepared environment I can be sure he is still learning what I need him to do, but with no pressure.

A very silly 6 yr old...working with the noun and article grammar symbols and cards.  Each wooden symbol is related to a part of grammar.  Mason had to match the symbol (concrete learning) to the definition and words (abstract learning).  He then took a basket of noun symbols (black triangle) and went around the room and placed them on things (book, chair etc..) that are nouns.  I then asked him what article (the,an,a) he would use in front of them.  I made sure he picked on noun that started with a vowel so he could us the "an" article.

Lets find Spring!

We have been very busy with our home school friends searching for SPRING! 
We went out in the yard and brought the camera.  The kids found signs of spring and then they took a picture of it.
crocus sprouting
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onions in the garden sprouting

forsinthia budding
lilac buding
grass turning green
green bushes
We made eggshell planters.  The moms blew out the eggs, except for Mason who wanted to blow out his own.  The tops where broken off, the kids scooped dirt into them and planted Mourning Glory seeds in them.

Some where in blogger world I saw this great idea for letting your little ones help water plants without a huge mess.  I LOVE this, and it works so well!

I use a small bulb baster in a small glass vase, so the kids can squeeze a small amount of water to use to water the plants.  This keeps the water from pouring over the dirt and flowing over.

With another home school group we had a Nature Explores Day at The Sheep Pasture in Easton, MA
Our friend Loni put together an extensive list of things to find and hear in early spring. 
We split up into groups and off we went....
Here is the list..
  1. robins
  2. more bird songs (some birds are beginning to establish territories and find mates at this time)
  3. lift a stone or a log to look for insects
  4. lift a stone or log to look for worms
  5. can you hear a frog yet?
  6. redwing blackbird?
  7. wood hellebore
  8. a bumblebee (if we hit 55 degrees)
  9. grape hyacinth
  10. the sprout of any flowering bulbs (crocus, daffodil)
  11. snowdrops (small white flowers)
  12. milkweed leaves
  13. barn swallow
  14. grackle
  15. mud!
  16. skunk cabbage
  17. a turtle ( we found a dead one)
  18. a bluebird
  19. the chickadee spring call (swee-tee)
  20. mourning dove call or sighting
  21. migrating geese or ducks
  22. a weeping willow in full chartreuse
  23. a chipmunk up from hibernation
  24. pussy willow buds
  25. witch hazel flowers
  26. woodpecker drumming (territorial)
  27. marsh marigold
  28. snow trillium (usually along a stone wall)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Future of Food

I follow this blog called Crunchy Chicken.  She wrote this blog about the Monsanto seed company. What is going on with this company is not new to us, my husband has been following this situation for a couple of years now.  I want to help educate people on how out of control big business is getting! I am not going to rewrite what she wrote, you really should read her article and watch the movie to get a better idea of how this company is monopolizing and bullying the small farmers to gain legal control of all our seeds! CRAZY!
To read article....future-of-food-part-i.
To see the movie for free....thefutureoffood

Thursday, March 24, 2011

St. Patrick's Day 2011

Each year for St. Patricks day we make leprechaun traps!  The legend goes, if you can trap a leprechaun he has to share some gold with you!  Leading up to this we read a great book called "A Leprechaun in the basement" and talked about how leprechauns are the "wee folk" that make shoes for the "fairy folk" in Ireland.  We listened to Irish music while doing schoolwork, Mason worked with St.Patrick's day 3 part cards, and we made my grandmother's Irish soda bread (mmmmmmmmmmmm).  We had their cousin sleep over the weekend before and all 4 kids got to work using out recycling to build their traps! They painted rocks yellow then rolled them in gold glitter to make fake gold to trick the leprechaun!

The little sign says "climb this ladder" Mason theory was that the leprechaun would not follow the rules and climb the other the top of the other ladder will be the gold rock and a false top so he would fall in. A lesson learned from last year was to make the ladder wider than the top so he could not use the ladder to escape (like he did last year)

My theory was to place the gold rock on top of a string holding up a basket, hoping when he lifts the rock the basket would fall.

James....what can I say he had fun gluing everything together!!

So in the end, we did not catch that tricky leprechaun, but he left us each some gold chocolate coins in our traps, and that mischievous "wee folk' turned pictures, dishes and toys upside down! He even changed the toilet water green!
Mason spent the morning designing next years bigger better trap, which includes a sensor trigger door to a castle!...better luck next year!

Boston Museum of Fine Arts

Mason took an art class at the MFA.  It was great!  They walked around and looked at landscapes, talked about what is in the foreground, middle ground and background of each painting, then finished with painting their own landscape on a piece of canvas.  While we waited for the class we went exploring in the "Ancient" exhibit for awhile by ourselves.  Mason is learning about ancient civilization in his Story of the World Co-Op. 


papyrus style pillar

Egyptian statue

sections of a pyramid

Painting a landscape in class

Mason's picture, notice the foreground, middle ground and back ground!

Science Fair- Magnitism

 Mason was in a home school science fair.  He wanted to do Magnetism!  We had a lot of fun putting it together.  Of course we used a Montessori style to the presentation.  He put out trays with different hands on activities for the visitors to touch and play with.  He focused on mmagnetic force, earth a magnet, and magnetic VS non magnetic materials.  He currently is going thru a non writing stage, so to help get thru the research and writing part, I would have him read a paragraph in a book about magnets, pick out 4 KEY words he wanted people to learn about, then I had him put those words into his own sentences.  This was a way of teaching him how to explain a concept without paraphrasing someone eles work.  Since he could not possible sit down and write all this out on his own, I had him dictate his sentences to me as I typed them out on the computer in "trace" font. ( the dotted font for tracing).  I printed out the pages and had him trace over the sentences.

        Love how he wrote it all out!

Magnetic force, making a paper clip chain

     magnetic VS non-magnetic materials

  Mason showing his home school friends how it all works.

 Its hard to see in this pic, but there is a toy car on the green tray with a magnet on it, you use the magnet wand to push the car forward by using the magnetic force.
          Intensely playing the mind trick games at another table!

   James and a friend playing peek-a-boo!

Mason and dad studying, Pierce's project on how to make a hovercraft!