January 30, 2012

Thinking Ahead About Nature Study

This next year (2012-2013) we plan to study about birds and insects.  So I have been looking around to see what is available out there online that I can use that will inform us about these two topics. I want to use living book in a narrative form that will inspire observation and nature study. And I want to implement a nature journal. As I was out looking for resources, I was so impressed by the variety and volume of FREE resources of all kinds on the web, I thought you might be interested to know about some of the ones which ended up in my files for further investigation. I also made a few things of my own to enhance the Insect Folk e-book by Margaret Morely. So without further ado, take a look at these amazing resources for birds and insects:


The Handbook of Nature Study Part Two: Birds and Fish
Burgess Bird Book by Thornton T. Burgess Kindle or PDF or in AUDIO
The Burgess Bird book coompanion
Montessorri Cards of the birds in the Burgess Bird book
Birds of the Air by Arabella B. Buckley ONLINE or AUDIO
Bird Coloring Book by Cornell Labs
How to Draw Birds by Raymond Sheppard
A Year with Birds by Alice E. Ball
Birds Every Child Should Know by Neltj Blanchan
Every Day Birds by Bradford Torry
The First Book of Birds
How to Attract Birds
Travel of Birds by Frank M. Chapman
The Bird Study Book KINDLE, HTML or PDF or AUDIO
Stories of Birds by Lenore Elizabeth Mulets
Citizen Bird by Mabel Osgood Wright
The Curious Book of Birds by Abbie Brown
The Boy who Knew what Birds Say by Padriac Colum
The Nest in the Honeys and other stories
The Tale of Solomn Owl by Aurhter Scott Bailey
The Tale of Jolly Robin by Arthur Scott Bailey
The Tale of Turkey Proudfoot by Arthur Scott Bailey
The Tale of Rusty Wren by Arthur Scott Bailey
The Tale of Old Mr. Crow by Arthur Scott Bailey
The Tale of Bobby-bo-bo-link by Arthur Scott Bailey
Online Bird Guide by Cronell Labs
Bird Sleuth 4 homeschools
Outdoor Hour Challenges birds


The Handbook of Nature Study: Part Four insects and invertebrates
Insect Folk by Margaret Morely KINDLE, HTML or AUDIO
Insect Folk vol. 2: Butterflies and Bees by Margaret Morley
Insect Folk PDF ($1.50)
Insect Folk Copywork (50 cents)
Insect Folk Notebooking Pages (50 cents)
Insect Folk Montesorri Cards (50 cents)
The Bee People by Margaret Morley
Grasshopper Land by Margaret Morley
The American Boys Bug Book
The First Book of Bugs
Life of the Spider by Jean Henri Fabre or AUDIO
Little Busy Bodies By Jennette Marks
Insect Life by Arabella Buckley ONLINE
Among the Meadow People By Clara Dillingham Peirson
Among the Pond People By Clara Dillingham Peirson
The Tale of Chirpy the Cricket by Arthur Scott Bailey
The Tale of Daddy-Long-Legs by Arthur Scott Bailey or AUDIO
The Tale of Kiddie Katydid by Arthur Scott Bailey
The Tale of Misses Lady Bug by Arthur Scott Bailey
Notebooking pages for bees,butterflies, and wasps
Outdoor Hour Challenges on Insects

Next year will be the first year that we will be implementing nature journals and a more CM approach to science in our lessons. I read this post about keeping nature study living and it got me to thinking, what things make a nature study living? Carol smith writes:

"Education, including Nature Study, as Mason told the young lady whom she interviewed to attend her college, is about living. I have thought about it and I have asked myself the question, “Are these (mentioned above) ways of teaching Nature Study more about “doing” Nature Study weekly or are they about “living” Nature Study. We are to develop the habit of living fully and part of that living is relating to nature and knowing the places where we live, not just doing activities, even Mason inspired ones!"
From the article I found at least four things to implement to keep the nature study living (maybe there will be more later)
  1. The nature journal will be theirs. Their take on nature and their expression of their observations. So what if there are not to many things they have done to show they are learning. Let them learn without having to produce something to prove it.
  2. We will be outside instead of inside. We will be looking at real things instead of only reading about them in books alone.
  3. The books I am choosing will be living books.
  4. Have tools availble to the boys so making an entry into the journal isn't a chore. This would include, finding rhythms of working that are adaptable to our discovery habits.
I have been giving my boys many hours of outdoor time a day since we began schooling a few years ago. We also routinely take nature hikes. I have been materly inactive in this area allowing them freedom to make a connection with the natural world around them. But this next year we will do it with more of  a purpose. To develope skills of observation, attention to detail, drawing skills, writing skills, learning the scientific method and much more. The trick is to assign the work so that it is theirs and at the same time the must of the CM methods is accomplished. I think I'll be needing to learn that balance more next year. I can't wait!

January 26, 2012

Yeah! They Are Reading!

Today, Zak and I had a giggle over the name of the fox in his story, “foxy woxy.” Every time he read it he jabbed me in the side with his elbow and giggled. I giggled too. Mostly I am giggling because Zak is reading, all my boys are reading and I am thrilled. I am also relieved. I have struggled with this subject since we began working on it two years ago. It is so nice to finally be over the hump. Now we are giggling and enjoying stories together. They don’t read perfectly, but that is part of the charm of it. There is something so precious in hearing the emerging reader sounding out words and getting a funny sort of rhythm to the telling. One of my boys shouts. Why, I don’t know, but it seems to help him keep on task. I am not complaining only reminding him he doesn’t have to shout when he reads.

My plan this year was to saturate them with little language lessons through out the time we ‘do school’ in the mornings. I had four different things I did on top of narration, and copywork. We did a lot of language arts each day. As we have been doing these I noticed that some of the lessons were really working, and some were not. So I have adjusted the plan.

Here is the old plan:

• Read a story from the Elson reader each day. Narrate the story they read.

• Write down and review on phonic rule each day.

• Two times a week do a lesson from Reading Reflex at the reading level.

• Two times a week do a reading lesson from Reading Made Easy, with worksheets from the activity book.

• Do copy work at least once each day in other subjects like history, music, or astronomy.

Here is the new plan:

• Read a story from the Elson reader each day. Narrate the story they read.

• Write down and review one phonic rule each day.

• Do one lessons worth of worksheets from the reading Made Easy activity book each day. That is about three to four simple worksheets.

• Do copy work at least once each day in other subjects like history, music, or astronomy.

If you look at the new plan you will have noticed we dropped the formal reading lessons from RME and RR. Those were the things I added because I was nervous they would have a few gaps in their learning if I did not do them. The things I kept the boys all WANTED to do and are using them to teach themselves what they need to know to read.

My oldest son wanted to do the phonics rules, so last year when he told me this I created the way we would do this, and it is working great. I posted two sheets one for the steps to do to complete the review sheet, and another sheet with the steps to write down the phonics rule for that day. They can do this lesson by themselves. Once they are finished the rule card and the review sheet, I check their work and they redo it if it did not meet the standard I have prescribed. It took only a few sloppy endeavors for them to realize it was more work to do it hastily than to do it right. :)

They all adored the worksheets so we kept those and copywork, well it is required by mom still.

My twins wanted to read through the Elson readers, so all three boys are doing just that. I was reluctant to do this at first because I thought they would not have enough words to be able to read it, and then they would be discouraged. But, they were determined and away they went. I had planned to do JUST the primary book this year, reading two or three times a week. And I had planned to use a few of the teacher’s guide activities on the days we did not read, but I soon saw that they needed to read every day and not to bother them with the teacher’s book stuff at all. They read every day and made quick time through the primary book and went on to book one. The stories are still simple but longer. They are just about to finish it, we begin book two next week. I am so proud of them!

I am beginning to see my boys owning their learning process. What fun that is! To see them chose materials for their reading lesson last year which will to get them to the goal of learning to read and then to watch them using those materials to do it is wonderful. It is a pleasure to see them succeeding and to know I had very little to do with it. Truly, I have been more like the parent steadying the bike as the child is learning to ride it. They are doing the work to ride, I am simply keeping them up until they do it. Now I watch as they are riding on down the block under the large elm trees soaring away into a whole new world.

January 21, 2012

Drawing in Latin Class

Max's drawing of elephantus, avis, etc
In our latin lesson once a week we have been drilling the vocabulary using these Montessori cards. We play concentration and go fish with them. and we have been drawing.....

Zak's circus
Detail from Tj's circus

Another detail form TJ's circus.

Animals by Max

Animals by Max

Cat by Zak

The cat with the other animals by Zak.

Planet Earth

Zak as planet earth in our rotate and revolve exercise a few months ago.

We have been having a fun time with our unit on planet earth. Is it not amazing how perfectly it is designed? Our text is still Exploring Creation with Astronomy by Jeannie fulbright. I first read them the chapter from this book about the earth and we have discussions/narrations as we go along. Then next lesson we begin reviewng the information we read about with the following notebook pages which have been made to look like the earth. Our mini books are placed upon these pages. It may take a few lessons to fill them all in and color them but it gives us a nice way to go over the material in the lesson again. If there are demonstrations or experiments we do those as well. This unit we lit a lamp (the sun) and placed it upon the table. Then on the four walls around the table with the lamp I placed a card with one of the four seasons written on it. You can imagine what we did next. I then tilted a blow up earth ball with the hemispheres devided by a black line we drew with a peranent marker, so it was summer.Thus the light was shinning of the southern hemisphere. Then I walked the bow up earth ball around the lamp and stopped at each wall to show what each season would look like. In this way we coudl see more clearly how the tilt of the earth made the seasons.
Have a look at our notebook pages.

Before we added the mini books this time the boys colored the blue paper with some green paint or marker pens to create a background that looks like the earth.

The perfect land game has cards like Montessori cards. You match the label to the picture.

One of Max's Pages

One of Zak's pages.
Because I want them to be thinking about astronomy and not working on fine motor skills, I am still printing out and cutting up all the mini books.

One of T.J.'s mini books.

All of our mini books came from these two sources:

 A Journey Through Learning: Apologia/Jeannie Fulbright Exploring Creation with Astronomy Lapbook B&W
Knowledge Box Central » Exploring Creation With Astronomy - Lapbook Lessons 1-6

To wrap up our unit on the planet earth we painted this world map and added glued o labels for the perfect attributes we learned about. This is Max's perfect earth.

T.J.'s perfect earth.

And last but not least Zak's perfect earth.

we can't complete the unit yet without doing a solar system map drill. Get your free copy of it here.

Thank you for stopping by. Visit us again soon for we are going to the moon.

January 19, 2012


"But let them have tales of the imagination, scenes laid in other lands and other times, heroic adventures, hairbreadth escapes, delicious fairy tales in which they are never roughly pulled up by the impossible--even where all is impossible, and they know it, and yet believe.” –Charlotte Mason

What is imagination? Why is imagination so important in education? How do you develop it in young scholars? These are questions I have been pondering. The research I have been doing to find the answers has been delightful, insightful and inspiring. I realized maybe for the first time that Charlotte Mason’s methods all have an over arching goal to them….to develop the child’s imagination.

What is Imagination?

Imagination: The ability of the mind to form pictures of things that are not present or real.
It is the world inside of our minds. It is a place that we can see, hear, and smell things remembered, things invented. It is a place to put one idea together with another. It is where we create and invent. It is also a place to retreat to when the world around is unpleasant or cruel. Sara in the story the little princess survived the terrible shock of her father’s supposed death but imagining. Here is a portion of chapter eight In the Attic, when Ermengarde and Sara have just become friends after Sara troubles began. They are talking about Sara’s troubles of losing her father, her position in the school and becoming a maid now living in the attic.

“I don’t see any good in them,(the troubles)” said Ermengarde stoutly.

“Neither do I-to speak the truth,” admitted Sara frankly. “But, I suppose there might be good in things, even if we don’t see it. There might-doubtfully be good in Miss Minchin.”

Ermengarde looked around the attic with a rather fearsome curiosity.

“Sara,” she said. “do you think you can bear living here?”

Sara looked around also.

“If I pretend it’s different, I can,” she answered. “Or if I pretend it is a place in a story.”

She spoke slowly, her imagination was beginning to work for her, it had nor worked for her at all since her troubles had come upon her. She had felt as if it had been stunned.”
What if little Sara could not have begun to imagine again? How dreary life might have become for her.
Why is imagination so important in education?

This is a much harder question for me to answer. Then I thought…what if we were made without the ability to imagine? No pictures would form in our minds when words were read from a page. Thus no books would have been written. We would know no stories. We would not be able connect ideas from one subject to another. We would not be able to understand math notations. How would we do math? History would be completely lost to us. And then further on outside of education, what if we could not imagine like little Sara did? We would not have a place to go to when troubles over come us. There would be no inventions. How would we know God since he is not visible? Or have faith in things unseen? We must conclude that we were designed to imagine. We were designed to believe in things we can not see. We were designed to put ideas together in our minds. It is part of being human. And if a child is a person as CM says then it is important that we cultivate this aspect of thier being. So.....

How do we develop imagination in our young scholars?

Just below is a rough, off the cuff list from my various readings trying to nail down practical ways I can be cultivating a healthy imagination in my three boys. I wanted to be aware also of the big and small ways I may be stunting their imagination, so there are two lists.

What cultivates imagination                            What stunts imagination

Living books                                                       too many toys
Solitude/free time                                                 television and DVD’s
Open ended questions                                         a busy schedule
Asking questions                                                  busy work, ruts
Nature                                                                  video games
Handicrafts                                                          dreaming about ones self
Games                                                                 sermonizing a reading
Narration                                                             the teacher talking too much
Wondering aloud                                                  telling things that can be discovered
Encouraging thoughtful observation                       hurried lessons
Activities where the brain works                            passive work
Executing his own ideas                                         following your ideas
Independence                                                        dependence
Relying on his own minds                                       giving answers instead of asking questions
Raw materials + time                                              indifferent teachers
Looking outward                                                   looking inward
Painting pictures for the mind                                 no inertia
Discovering of new ideas                                       going over the same ground again
Providing a banquet of ideas rich and varied           spoon fed doses of facts
Finding relationships between ideas                        unit studies
Encouragement                                                      criticism
Having direct experience with something                 not requiring memorization
Giving him meaty ideas                                           avoiding structure in learning
Mastering the grammar of everything

From these two lists, you may see what occurred to me, that CM’s methods, if used as she prescribes them, will no doubt lead to a well cultivated imagination. I also noticed something else, and that is that imagination is NOT exclusive of discipline or structure. Note the above points in the list: mastering the grammar of everything, not requiring memorization, avoiding structure in learning. In Anthony Esolen’s fascinating book Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child

He writes,
“If that seems merely absurd, you have never beheld the serpentine belt on a recently manufactured car—a belt that turns the fan, the alternator, the power steering, the water pump, and so forth. Goldberg's machines were wildly imaginative, really a gleeful celebration of the spirit of invention. In more recent times, Nick Park of Wallace and Gromit fame has revived that spirit, with Wallace sliding off his tilting bed into his trousers and through a trap door in the bedroom, down to the kitchen table below, where robot arms slap a shirt over his head and half a sweater on each arm. The Coyote in the old Road Runner cartoons was a failed Wallace, always purchasing some absurd heap of junk from the ever-present Acme Company—magnetized iron bird seed pellets, jet propelled roller skates—only to find the physics of the machine turn against him, causing
projecting ledge of a cliff to fall on his head, or something similarly disconcerting. None of this playfulness is possible without a deep sense of structure—without a skeleton upon which to hang one's welter of experience.”

“Structure: “grammar” that orders every part in its appropriate place—is important not only for the physical sciences, but for every kind of intellectual endeavor. It allows us to do more than weave a fancy from the bits and pieces of our private experience. We can, by the power of structure, weave a whole artistic universe.”  -Anthony Esolen Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child
So it seems imagination is not a freeing or unfettering of ALL restraints to flit about at your own fancy. It is helped along as well by structures. Some structures that Mr. Esolen mentioned in were: memorization, learning the grammar of things, detail work, mastering something, hard work. Also structures like those Charlotte Mason advocated; Life is a discipline, habits, perfect execution, attention, obedience etc. also then lends to the cultivating of a strong and vibrant imagination.

In our homeschool we have some good things in place, but this study tells me there is much more to be learned. I haven't yet completed Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child, but I certainly will. It is fascinating to learn more about this wonderful tool for education.

January 9, 2012

Our Look at Paul Cezanne

A still life of our Cezanne Study
We have had a wonderful time looking at paintings by Paul Cezanne. I introduced this fun artist to the boys via the book above called Cezanne and the Apple Boy by Laurence Anholt. It is lovely story about two Pauls, one small and one big. Small Paul has a summer off so he leaves his mother (Hortense Fiquet in the cards above) in the city to go live with his father, big Paul, in the country. The two Pauls have a wonderful summer together. We learn that later small Paul when he grows up becomes an art dealer and sells his father's paintings.

Paul Cezanne Montessori Cards
We have used Montessori cards with each of the artist we have studied and still we are not tired of playing the games that teach us the names of the paintings. The boys favorite game is concentration. They can not keep the pair unless they can say the name of the painting with no help and no hints. They do very well for after the third time playing, we played about ten times, they had the names down pretty well, even the hard French words. They play having fun and never really think that I am getting them to learn something.

Max's Painting of  Saint Victoire
I gave them a choice to paint any of the 12 paintings above, so they picked two  favorite ones and we did something with it. Max's choice was this painting. All three did a splendid job on it! They painted on canvas board which I purchased from Dick Blick art supplies for very cheap. I bought the classroom pack and saved a bundle. I think the boys enjoyed having 'real' canvas to paint on, and the finished project is sturdy and pleasing.
We began by drawing with a pencil a light sketch of the main elements in the painting; the tree, the mountain in the background, and some of the obvious bushes and trees. You may notice we left out alot of details to suit their ability. But the painting still works. Then I gave them yellow and blue to make the greens they needed. Then yellow, red and blue to make brown, and finally blue and white to make the sky. Whaaaala a bunch of paint makes a landscape.
The Card Players...everyone's favorite
This painting they all loved. but instead of painting in onto canvas board which would have been too difficult for them, I tried something I had seen over at Art Projects for Kids.

To begin:
  • I photocopied a coloring page of this painting.
  • Then I taped a piece of velum over it.
  • The boys colored the picture with my sharpie permanent markers (they got better colors that way and the ink didn't run in the next step)
  • Once they were done coloring the picture they cut off the extra edge of the paper, and we decoupaged it onto the canvas board. I used a mixture of 1:1 glue and water to do this. I fisrt painted the back and laid it onto the cavas board and then painted over the top try desperatly to get those wrinkled out. But they just would not go.
  • Then we let them dry.
In the end the colors faded a little and the wrinkling was terrible. But it makes a cool finished project any way. It was fun to look at so many still life paintings and landscape paintings, something we haven't had much exposure to, and see that even that can be interesting to three little  boys. I didn't speak at all about the cubism which is what made Cezanne revolutionary to the boys, because the boys would not have cared. They liked the natural concrete things in the paintings, and the rich earthy colors. After all, our aim is appreciate art and save it in our minds for rainy days when we need to remember beauty still is with us.

We also filled out an Artist bio sheet same as the ones we used before using Dover art stickers to embellish the page at the bottom.

I also used Van Gogh and friends to add to our knowledge of the paintings and about Paul Cezanne himself.

Now we will step back from appreciating art and learn to make some as we work on our art skills. We are focusing on drawing skills this year with Barry Stebbing's art curriculum entitled I Can Do All Things.

January 3, 2012

Peter and Polly

Peter and Polly in Winter is a wonderful story written by Rose Lucia. It is one of the treasures I have found amongst the public domain books. The stories are about a little boy and a little girl as they live their lives on a small farm with their family and friends during the winter season. There are three other volumes, Peter and Pollly in the Spring, P and P in the Summer, and P and P in the Autumn. The stories as wholesome and winsome. When I read the first few chapters it dawned on me how cleverly they fit with Charlotte Mason's idea of nature study. I was intrigued. Could this little reader be helpful in nature study as well as reading practice, narration practice and copywork? Turns out it is not too bad. Might even work in the place of life skills too!

In this e-book you will find:

A cover page which can be printed on card stock for a durable start to your copywork book or your nature notebook...or both!

A Map of Peter and Polly’s village.

A 35 reading lessons for emerging readers. The original books were not graded but I would guess it is at the 2nd or 3rd grade level.

At the end of each reading lesson you will find:

Narration prompts. I have found that the best way to initiate narration practice for the new narrator is with material that the narrator has read for himself.

Copywork exercises. I have provided one sentence from the reading lesson for beginning writers using the primary lines and two or three sentences for those using regular lines. (There are blank pages at the end of the book if you want to make your own or do more work on this.)

A nature study prompt or activity that follows the thread of the story. (There are notebook pages at the end of the book if you don’t have a nature journal that you are already using)

A coloring page

I hope to be able to complete the whole series this year so that if we can follow Peter and Plloy through the seasons learning our CM langauge arts skills and doing some nature study and some life skills in the process.

Starting a New Year

Yeah it's January and a new year has begun! I like change, I like all the possibilities change can bring. This year I am excited as usual to begin a new year. So when I saw Sheila's challenge over at Living books curriculum I was thrilled! She asked us to answer two questions:

ONE: What is working? (IN YOUR 2011-2012 SCHOOL YEAR)
TWO:  What didn't? (IN YOUR 2011-2012 SCHOOL YEAR)
I am going to do it. You can ask why it didn't work and why it did but I want to keep it simple and just take inventory by asking to two questions above.

What worked:
  • Latin once a week with fun games and activities to remember the words we learned last year.
  • Reading through the Elson Readers. The stories are wonderful.
  • Learning math via the abacus. Once we got to place value they understood it so easily with the bars on the abacus being avisual for the place values.
  • Making an astronomy book using lapbook mini books glued onto cardstock pages to review the reading from our text.
  • Experiments!
  • using public domain materials.
  • Setting up the phonics rule so the boys could do it without me.
  • doing the phonics rule at the end of the day so there is an incentive to work through it quickly.
  • making egypt pockets and all the things that go in them.
  • reading from Opal wheelers stories about the composers.
  • Classical kids music CD's
  • playing the storm the castle game for math review.
  • Coloring the works of artists to encourage the boys to notice details like color and form and what is in the paintings.
  • Using canvas boards for copying paintings.
  • reading about one mathematician from Mathemeticians are People Too, the last day of our week
  • Kathleen Krull's famous scientists series
  • reading a few chapters from a Trailblazer book by Dave and Anita Jackson to begin our lessons.
  • Reading our read alouds after dinner and before going to bed.
  • Audio books and music played as they are going to sleep or when they are sick.
  • stopping lessons when their attention wanes.
  • havng space inspection to finish off our lesson time each day.
  • buying them sewing kits and lots of felt to practice sewing in the afternoons in their free time.
  • buying a trampoline so they can jump off the jitters before lessons.
  • Do chores before breakfast
  • keeping lessons to 20-30 minutes
  • variying lessons so there is alot of variety in the day and in the week.
  • egypt map drill and the solar system map drill, they are really learning the maps this way.
  • using montesorri cards to learn the names of paintings we are studying in our artist studies. We play concentration and they must be able to name the painting to take it as a pair.
  • The egyptian game! so much great review and learning packed into this game.
  • my oldest son reads aloud with his dad while I hear the twins read-aloud to me.
  • keeping short accounts with polite behavior so that it remains thus.
  • Having the boys narrate what they have just read aloud has been the best way to encourage and see them suceed in narrtion which we just begin doing this year.
  • limiting the amount of writing so they can produce good writing.
  • focusing on only three habits which all things submit to: habit of attention, habit of obedience, and the habit of perfect execution.
  • listening for the signs of their interests and building my future lessons around this. a good example was when I noticed that the boys liked the birdman in the opera by Mozart The Magic Flute. So we learned his song and made bird masks and lip-synced the song.
  • returning to Charlotte Mason's original writings to get more refinement on her ideas. When I do this I find her methods work better. It is easy to miss the point.
  • reading the historical fiction books the year before I read them to the kids.So this year I am reading greece and rome books while we study egypt.
  • making my own materials.
  • returning to more reading of literature of all kinds and eliminating busy work.
  • encouraging curiosity by asking questions instead of giving answers. using statements like, "I don't know, what do you think?" or "let's see?" "What happens if?" or "let's see what the book says?"

What is not working:
  • Using a book about teaching your child how to read to teach reading. Learning some rules and reading aloud  TOGETHER has been better approach for us. It was what my kids asked for. I added the teaching books. Good to listen to our kidos. It sure pays off.
  • requiring too much handwriting. the boys began to become sloppy in their printing.
  • narrating stories above their comprehnsion level. They learned very quickly to narrate once they narrated stories they had read themselves. They also like narrating where before they didn't. Makes sense we tend to like what we can do well.
  • doing a map drill for Egypt every week. they are doing much better when e do it every other week.
  • Letting them HAVE their sewing kits. When I kept their sewing kits in my cabinet and lent them to them when they wanted to sew, they took better care of their tools.
  • coloring too many pictures of artists work. This is detailed and long work. I did it with them many times. SO we break it up and try to do only two or three for each artist trading off with painting one on canvas board or playing the concentration game with the montessori cards. we do three artists a year.
  • reading aloud when they did not have something to do with their hands. I can now read to them for hours when they are building with legos or coloring a picture etc. while I am reading.
  • doing more than 6-8 math problems out of the book in a lesson.
  • having them work on math or copywork while all at the same table. best to split them up.
  • doing the same kind of lesson over and over. even within the same subject they are much more attentive if one day we do math problems in the book and onther day we lay a math game like storm the castle, then on another day read a story about a mathematician and back to problems in the book etc.
  • introducng the mini books for our astronomy book one at a time. They need to have all the mini books at once so they can place them onto the pages at the same time. In this way they can place them and see that they all fit before they glue it down.
  • scolding doesn't work, natural consequences do.
  • long lessons. wordy lessons, and irrelevent lessons.
  • Busy work doesn't accomplish much in the way of learning.
I am sure I could add more to each one of these lists...but for now that is my inventory. What is working for you? what didn't work? I would love to see your list if you have made one.