Life and Changes

Sometimes, though you have the best intentions, life gets in the way.

First, Easter week happened.  I work for my church and in the church world Easter is kind of a big deal.

Then, Carter went through a terrible bout with salmonella poisoning.  It began a few days before Easter and persisted and persisted and persisted.  During the week he was showing symptoms, we had NO idea what was wrong with him.  It was pretty pitiful and the kind of thing that drives a mother crazy.

Here he is trying to have fun on Easter, but ended up pooped in his Daddy’s arms.

Thankfully, he got better just a few days before we were scheduled to leave for NYC to visit my brothers.  As far as Carter is concerned, NYC = Subway trains.  He wants to ride them every chance he gets and he makes it his job to learn all the trains that we need to take and the stops where we need to get off and transfer.  He’s quite the conductor.  Here are a few images from our time in the Big Apple.

Tickle Time!

Carter Bug at the Staten Island Children's Museum

Preschool Art at Rockefellar Park on the Hudson

There are some great parks in NYC!

On the "Shakey Bridge" with Uncle J.

Life is good when you're 3.

Admiring the fountains at The Met before going inside.

Central Park

Enjoying an amazing view from a highrise in Brooklyn.

During all this time away from our daily “school” routine I came to some tough conclusions.  The first is that I’m totally missing what Carter is ready for with the activities I’m planning for him.  I realize that this may not come across as a problem to some of you, but it is one in my eyes.  If I am planning activities for my son to learn letter sounds and match uppercase and lowercase and the like when he is ready to read books and write, then I am wasting both our time.  If I am having him count items to 10, when he can easily count from 1-100, identify those numbers and write them I am totally missing the mark.  The larger problem is that the things I am teaching him now have been the things I have been teaching him since before he was 2 because those are the things I taught my students in PreK. It’s my comfort zone, so to speak.  Teaching a child who is reading and teaching a child anything past pre-math skills is a little beyond my area of expertise.  I can now see that keeping a bright child challenged is just as difficult as teaching an at-risk child to recognize their name and learn academic basics.

I’m going through a bit of a redo myself.

I have started to research some more things to challenge Carter from a language standpoint.  I read over this Montessori Language Scope and Sequence to find some jumping off points.  I’ve purchased some early readers: Miss Rhonda’s Readers and Bob’s Books.  I have purchased the moveable alphabet and will be assembling it today.  I am swinging by my library to pick up The Read Aloud Handbook and Reading Magic to take our read aloud time to the next level.

I have not yet started my research on math and beyond.

I say all this to say that I’m pausing to reevaluate and the site may take on a different direction, since it is just documentation of our learning journey.

If you have any suggestions for resources, I would greatly appreciate shared links, books titles and materials that will spur us forward.  I’ll showcase anything I get in a new post to make it easier for others to benefit as well.

Inspiration

I have been watching Carter, trying to decide what direction we should go in during the month of April to capture his interest.  I had a few ideas, but nothing solid until a few days ago.  This video gives you a little peek into our jammie-filled Saturday mornings.  I have to laugh when I watch this because Carter and I were both struggling with allergy issues and sound so funny when we talk to each other.

Carter received a package from his Uncle Chad who lives in New York City.  He sent him 5 varieties of REALLY interesting tomato seeds.  In a few days we’ll plant them in trays so they will sprout, then move them to a larger pot.

Along with our planting, the area where we live will be full of flowers and trees that will be growing and ready to explore during the month of April.  And, my favorite thing will happen: strawberries will be ready to pick!

I’ve already found a lot of great resources and activity ideas that I’ll be sharing with you throughout the month.

Happy April and Happy Spring!

Enjoy and thanks for your comments!

March Sensorial, Science and Art Materials

Spring I Spy Bottle

Of all the materials that I created for this month, this one is my favorite by far.  And, it’s proven to be Carter’s favorite as well.  When we visited the Montessori school in our area, one of the directors sat with Carter and a huge I Spy bottle while we observed the classes.  I saw then how much he enjoyed discovering the tiny objects inside.

The I Spy Bottle is really simple to make.  First, I dyed rice by putting some in a ziplock bag with a capful of rubbing alcohol and a few drops of food coloring.  Shake it around in the bag until all of the rice is covered, then pour it out on wax or parchment paper to dry.  Make sure it dries fully or you’ll get rice clumps in your bottle.  I found the mini bugs and flowers in the scrapbook section of my local craft store.  These are actually buttons, which don’t work as well as using pieces that are the same on both sides.

To complete the activity, Carter rolls and shakes the bottle until he finds one of the objects on the board.  When he does, he marks it with a button.  You can see the pdf of my game board if you would like a close-up of the objects that were in the bottle.

Puzzles

These two puzzles are also a big hit.  The kite can be printed for free from abcteach.  The rainbow was a template that I printed off of KidsSoup and laminated, though it really wouldn’t be terribly difficult draw it out and make it without a template.

Coloring Sheets

I am not a huge fan of coloring sheets and I really wouldn’t put them in the Art category.  To me, they are more of a pre-writing activity.  Whatever you call them, they are the easiest material to provide.  Simply search for Umbrella Coloring Sheet…or whatever you would like to find.  DLTK also has a LOT of free printables.

Enjoy and thank you for your comments!

*For those interested, I updated the Language Materials with one of the activities that I left off.