Saturday, November 5, 2011

Not-so-home schooling

It's fall in Florida! We've left the smotheringly hot, tourist-filled days of summer behind. Finally it's cool enough to be out all day, the theme parks aren't bursting at the seams with crowds, and there are festivals every weekend.

And with this change, we've also significantly slowed our at-home homeschooling. Sure, every once in a while we're home long enough for Nugget to ask to do school. But most days we're out and about and learning through experience.

Our homeschool co-op is meeting every week again, and Nugget is actually enjoying it this year. Most of it is just a weekly park day, a chance for homeschoolers to play and interact, but there are also neat little additions like some activities based around a theme.

It's the time of year for Epcot's Food and Wine Festival, with booths from all around the world. Nugget has been exploring those with us, trying something at each one and collecting stamps in the provided "passport" to track the countries whose cuisine she's tried.

SeaWorld is lovely right now, with no waits for anything and plenty of seats at the shows. One of Nugget's aspirations for when she's grown up is to do "aquatic animal rescue" or veterinary work, so SeaWorld is a real treat for her. I think we need to start digging a bit deeper in animal knowledge, though, because she's mastered a lot about the animals there.

Oh, and the festivals! This weekend we went to a local Renaissance Faire where Nugget was immersed in a time period she's quite interested in right now. She learned how to shoot a bow and arrow, watched a joust, learned about medieval occupations, helped solve a murder mystery, and generally had a great time. Next weekend is the Owl Fest at a local avian rescue center; we've gone to this every year since we moved here, and we look forward to it all year.

We're buried in books about Native Americans and various periods of early American life. The story of Sacagawea is retold frequently, Thanksgiving books about the Pilgrims get pulled out every day, and we're still working through Little House books. (I'm so sad that the yearly Pow-Wow was the same weekend as the Renaissance Faire!)

We've just been busy busy busy. It's a bit overwhelming sometimes, and there are times I wish we had a quieter, more rhythmic life like I see in some of the blogs I follow. But I can't bring myself to give up any of these great experiences! Plus, as my husband reminds me, soon enough this time of year will be over and we'll be forced into that quieter life. For now, we're just embracing it and letting ourselves be carried along.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Little House

It seems like nearly every girl around the age of 4, 5, or 6 goes through a "Little House" stage, and we are firmly into one ourselves! I think I was one of the exceptions growing up; at least, I don't remember anything about the books. So this has been a neat discovery for me, too!

We raided the local library system for every Little House picture book that they had and blew through all of them in one sitting. That kick-started Nugget's interest, and since then we've been working through "Little House in the Big Woods" as our bathtime chapter book.

I'm working on putting together a casual Little House unit to go along with our reading. Do you Pinterest? If so, check out my Little House idea board.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Merit badges

I got a great idea from a homeschooling friend. She was looking for a way for her son to see evidence of the progress he'd made and what he'd learned, but she didn't want to use grades. The solution came to her from an email list -- merit badges! I loved this idea, and immediately made it our own.

I've worked up a number of badges, some of which Nugget has already earned and some of which she's in progress on.

Some are based on curriculum we're using, like levels of Hooked on Phonics, Handwriting Without Tears, RightStart, and Ready2Read. The SeaWorld camp one is for her camp experience this past summer.

The "Dolphin Tale" one she'll earn when we work through the curriculum from Homeschool Movie Club and we see the movie.

The others are my own creations:

  • Recite days of the week in order.
  • Recite months of the year in order.
  • Recite seasons in order.
  • Know today's date, including year.
  • Know what day is tomorrow and what day was yesterday.
  • Know the months of major holidays or celebrations (New Year's, Valentine's, her birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas).
Aesop's Fables:
  • Read and do coloring sheets for all fables.
  • Summarize the story and moral of 5 fables.
  • Know the difference between deciduous and evergreen trees.
  • Identify major tree parts.
  • On a walk, identify 5 neighborhood trees (magnolia, palm, pine, oak, orange).
Nugget is quite taken with this idea, especially after seeing her (Eagle Scout) daddy's badge sash. Unfortunately, I have no way of making woven patches; instead, I'm just printing them on cardstock and hanging them in her homeschool corner in the dining room.

We'll see how this goes!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Homeschool annex

Here's a peek at our homeschool annex. Our Montessori works are in the master bedroom, but we haven't been able to get into there lately because Sprout has taken to screaming when I leave his sight (we're on the last 2 teeth, so I'm hoping this calms down soon!). Instead, we've taken over a corner of the dining room.

This has slowly grown and is working well for right now. The table and chairs are a set from Ikea that's moved around our house as the needs have changed. I love them!

Next to it is a set of plastic drawers. Each drawer holds the materials for one subject (and one drawer for trash). I turn this around when we're not doing work so Sprout can't pull them all out.

On the back wall is our calendar. It reads:

Today is
August 26 2011
The weather is sunny
High temperature 92 degrees
Tomorrow is Saturday

We change this every morning and color in the weather graph (above the calendar). We're going to do a weather graph for each month, so we can see how things change during the year. Next month I might incorporate a line graph for the high temperature.

On the wall facing Nugget is a bulletin board. Across the top (barely visible) are some Aesop's Fables coloring pages. Below that, our Handwriting Without Tears letters. The major focus on the board is the materials from the Moffatt Girls' Ready2Read program. The caterpillar is made up of the sight words we've done, and below that is a garden of word families.

I really love this small, unobtrusive corner. Of course, other materials are spread throughout the house.... globes on the sideboard, books throughout the living room shelves, art supplies in the kitchen.... I'm so excited for a time when Sprout is less destructive and homeschooling can take over the whole house!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Happy Not-Going-to-School Day!!

Today is the first day back to school in our county. Nugget is 4, not old enough for Kindergarten. But in our state, we have Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK). It's offered through preschools and private schools and is free if you want to do it. Every 4 year old we know who will be going into the school system goes to VPK; anyone who's left plans to homeschool for the early years.

So the questions have started -- we went to the (quiet) grocery store this morning and the cashier asked, "Your kids aren't ready for school yet?". I passed it off to Nugget ("Nugget, do you go to school?"), because I've found those questions are best defused by an extremely verbal child expressing her excitement at homeschooling.

Here's how our "first day of VPK" is going to go.

1. Calendar and weather at breakfast (including graphing how many days of each weather per month).

2. Fine motor skills through dressing and undressing stuffed friends.

3. Library storytime for listening to and following directions from someone other than a parent as well as paying attention in a group setting.

4. Baking cupcakes for practical life (measuring, mixing, following directions).

5. Arts and crafts through decorating for our Not-Back-to-School Party.

6. Academics:

a. Writing -- finishing up our preschool handwriting workbook and preparing to move into the Kindergarten one.

b. Reading -- done with Kindergarten level Hooked on Phonics and moving into first grade level phonics, reviewing sight words and word families, reading lots of early reader books.

c. Math -- halfway through Kindergarten level RightStart (level A), working on mental math such as breaking a number into parts (what are all the parts of 4? 5? 8?) and the concept of getting change for a purchase.

I know that homeschooling isn't for everyone. I know that logistics or finances or simple preference mean that we're in a small minority. But I feel very lucky and oh so happy that we've been able to make this work. It really feels like the right choice for our family, and as Nugget gets older and into real school age, I'm more and more sure that I want her home with our family.

Friday, August 19, 2011


I love the ability to "do school" anywhere. We had about a 45 minute drive home from a playdate the other day. Just a few minutes into the drive, Nugget started figuring out and talking about various addition facts (up to 5). So I picked the thread up and we chatted about those for a while. Then we moved on to the 5+x facts that RightStart Math emphasizes. We made a little game out of both. Then we reviewed odds and evens, then Nugget decided to count to 100. THREE TIMES. By the time she'd finished that, we were almost home -- and math was done for the day!

Monday, August 8, 2011

In a rhythm

We've settled into a really nice rhythm for the last month or so. I've been quiet because, although this is working really well for us, it isn't the creative sort of homeschooling that makes for good blogging. I thought I'd share where we are right now, anyway.

The way we've worked homeschool time into our schedule is during Sprout's nap. He goes down just before lunch these days; Nugget and I eat together and usually start working toward the end of our meal. We get homeschool time in nearly every day; I'd say we miss 1-2 days a week because of being out-and-about or deciding to curl up with a chapter book instead. But we don't take official days off -- if we're home and in the mood, we do work, even on the weekends.

We're still focusing on the three main subjects. In reading, we're at lesson 60 or so in "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons", and we're about to start Unit 4 of the Moffat Girls' phonics program. Nugget reads through the stories in "TYCtR" without difficulty, and when encouraged, can read through beginning reader books. But, oddly enough, she still hasn't taken off into reading. She still LOVES to be read to and loves to sit and look at books to herself, but she has to be encouraged to actually read something. I figure things will just click someday, and we'll keep going through these programs as long as she's enjoying them and they aren't stressing her out.

In math, we're chugging through Level A of RightStart Math. I'm loving how this is done, and Nugget is picking it up really, really well. She's having a bit of a hard time with the geometry, strangely enough, but the number work is falling into place really quickly.

And Handwriting Without Tears is always a favorite. We're nearly done with that, in fact -- another week or so to go. I'm not sure what we'll do when that's done; whether we'll move into the Kindergarten version or take some more time to refine her fine motor. She's doing a LOT of writing in her daily life now -- labeling her drawings, writing cards to people -- and I love seeing her practice reflected in her play.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Supplementing math

Math has been going ok with Nugget. She's got the golden beads down pat, we've done an introduction to golden bead addition, worked with the hundred board a few times, used the number rods to find the various combinations that made numbers from 1-10, and formed teens with beads. She did the work readily enough... asked to "do math" during homeschool time... but wasn't really taken with it.

The other day, a post by Laura (formerly of My Montessori Journey, now of Walnut Hill Homeschool) got me looking at Right Start Mathematics. It's a math program written by a Montessori teacher, but not a traditional Montessori progression. It emphasizes understanding over memorization and working problems mentally (using an abacus as an aide in the beginning). I was really taken with it because it teaches solving problems the way I've learned to do it but NOT how I was taught. Things like "seeing" the numbers up to 5 instead of counting them, learning 6-10 as 5 plus something else, and adding larger numbers by "making 10".

I fell so in love with it that I bought levels A and B (used). We're going to combine it with elements of Montessori to make something that works for Nugget -- and really engages her. I want her to see math as puzzles and patterns instead of just columns of numbers. Yes, memorization of basic facts has its place. But a lot of that comes free with practice (and with the math games that are included with Right Start). I want to make sure she sees the fun and beauty and usefulness in math first.

To that end, I've made sure to watch some of Vi Hart's mathematical doodling videos with Nugget peeking over my shoulder. It's worked -- we've spent the last couple of days drawing "math pictures" on a huge sheet of paper and playing "math games" to color them in.

This is the math that I love!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Our reading program is clicking!

It's been a little over a month since we started using "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons". It was a slow slog in the beginning, but Nugget was happy to do it every day because it was really just a review of the letter sounds she already knew. When we started to move more into actually reading words, it got harder and she wasn't as enthusiastic. But we stuck with it. And she was doing great! Sounding out words really well. Then the book started emphasizing reading things "the fast way" to start with, and it got tougher. I could tell she was bumping up against her limit.... but I could also see that she almost had it. She resisted pretty strongly for a couple days, we had to repeat one lesson because we stopped in the middle of it.... but then something clicked. And now she really is reading!

It's still pretty basic stories ("We see a duck. We can sit in the sun with that duck. It is fun in the sun."). But she finally seems to be realizing that she can do it. We've worked our way through "Hop on Pop" (with her reading or remembering most of the words, and me helping as necessary), and she's showing an interest in the words around her.

I've decided to start adding in some other reading work to bolster what she's gotten from "Teach Your Child to Read....". Today we started in on the first unit from The Moffatt Girls. I like that it gives her more practice with the sight words that we're already seeing in our phonics book. It's also a nice change -- where "Teach Your Child to Read...." is black-and-white, lesson-on-lesson, this is more like a program you'd see in school with coloring, pasting, singing, etc. Nugget gets a kick out of that sort of thing (although it also distracts her, which is one reason why "Teach Your Child to Read...." has been so effective, if not the most exciting thing).

Can I just say how happy I am that camp is over? She's so much more interested and engaged today, instead of being so drained. We did a ton of homeschool while Sprout was napping, and she's still going strong! In fact, right now she's writing and illustrating her first story!!

"I see a cat."

(Boy, do we need to get moving on that handwriting program! LOL)

Sunday, July 3, 2011


I've started incorporating another non-Montessori material into our curriculum -- Handwriting Without Tears. Nugget has recently developed an obsession with a wipe-off tracing book that we got her that shows letter formation, and she's been writing her name on her art projects. I love the jump, but I noticed that she wasn't getting very good direction from the tracing book -- for instance, she was making her "X" out of 2 'v's (one right-side up, one upside-down). So I picked up the preschool and kindergarten curriculums of Handwriting Without Tears. We've just started -- doing some crayon grip & scribble exercises as well as playing around with the letter shapes (I didn't buy the wooden ones; the teacher's guide has a pattern and I used craft foam).

This makes 3 core subjects for us. Phonics (via "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons"), we do every day FIRM. We're up to lesson 30-something and she's reading two sentence stories in the book. Handwriting I'll be trying to get to every day or every other day, depending on how things are going. Math (following the Montessori progression, currently working on teens formation, the hundred board, and addition with the golden beads and number rods) I try to get to 3-5 times a week.

Last week and this week, Nugget has been attending an art camp at a local Montessori school. It's from 9am-1pm, and she comes home pretty drained emotionally. Because of that, I've backed us off to _just_ phonics on camp days.

We did math today, but it's the first time in a week. She did the hundred board solo (well, with Buzz Lightyear's help). She's been wanting me to "count to the speed limit" or "count to 100" in the car all the time lately, so I figured the hundred board would hit her right in the sensitive period. :) There was quite a push there at the end to make it all the way through, but she did it! (Just in time, too -- Sprout woke up from his nap not a minute later.)

Teen bead worksheet

I added a file to my (accessible from the side of this page). We're working on making teens, so I made this coloring/stamping worksheet for Nugget. There are 2 styles; in each, you build the teen from a 10 bar and the bead stair, color the bead stair bar, then stamp (or write) the resulting teen. Hope it's helpful to someone!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Facebook group established

Please join me! On Facebook, search "[redacted -- see below]" and request to join the group. Please post a comment here if you have any trouble! Also, feel free to invite anyone else who's doing Montessori methods in the home environment.

Edited to add: Since a couple of groups came up when searching that name, I changed the name to "Montessorian Moms". Give that a shot!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Facebook group?

Here's a crazy thought. Would anyone be interested in joining a Facebook group for those of us doing Montessori at home? I know there are days when I have a question but don't have anyone else doing what I am who I could ask.

I'd be happy to set up the group if there's any interest!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Homemade materials

Hundred board:

I'd been wanting to make a homemade hundred board for a long time, but had been putting it off. I couldn't figure out in my head how to make it good enough. Finally, one of my endless Google searches turned up a reference to using tiles from the home improvement store. Lightbulb! I went to Lowe's and bought a sheet of 144 small glass tiles. They peeled easily off the backing, and I used a Sharpie to write the numbers on each.

For the board, I took a leftover piece of flannel and sewed straight lines to delineate where the tiles should be placed. This turned out to be a fabulous solution, because I can roll or fold up the board for storage, and the tiles don't slip at all when on the board.

I'm storing the tiles in an old silicon muffin tin that fits perfectly into one of my trays.

Of note is that I decided, instead of going from 1-100, to go from 0-99. I think it makes more sense to start each row with the next 10 group. However, Nugget was disappointed not to have a "100" tile at the end.... so I made one up for her quickly, and told her that her reward for counting to 100 was that she got to put this 100 tile into a small cup on the shelf. Every time she gets to 100, she can put a new 100 tile into the cup. That way, she can see how many times she's completed the hundred board.

Now, this was probably presented to her a bit early. We hadn't worked yet with making 11-99 with the bead stair. But I had the material sitting out, and she found it.... Even though it was a bit early, she was able to complete it with some encouragement from me. It's a lot of work!

Hundred squares:

When I purchased our materials, I only bought 10 hundred squares. I figured I could make that work, but I had forgotten that I needed enough to do regrouping of hundred squares into thousand cubes. I thought about putting in an order, but ended up needing the extra hundred squares before I made up my mind.

I did a lot of thinking about how to make homemade hundred squares, but once I thought to use foam core for the material, I knew that was the right answer. It's lightweight like the squares that I have and easy to cut to the right size.

Figuring out how to make the dots was the hard part. I tried using paint and applying it different ways (eraser, brush, q-tip, etc), but it blobbed and didn't look good. Plus -- painting hundreds and hundreds of small dots?! No thank you. I finally decided to just print out some sheets of dots and spray glue them on. It wasn't the look I was going for in the beginning, but it worked out well enough.

Bead stair tray:

This is a pretty simple one. I had a bead stair but no tray. Another thing I thought I could do without, but once we started to use it, I realized we really needed to be able to lay out the stair in order and not have it roll away. This is just foam core again, one sheet on the bottom and one with a triangle cut out glued on top of it.


Nugget has a strong interest in animals, and it's been a common topic of discussion around our house if an animal is a mammal, reptile, bird, etc. I decided to show her a bit more formally how we classify things and where these divisions came from.

To start with, I printed off some pictures. Four each of non-living, plant, invertebrate, mammal, fish, bird, amphibian, and reptile. I took a bit piece of felt and drew a graph on it.

At the top, we separate living from non-living.

We take the living and separate plant from animal.

Then the animals are split into invertebrate and vertebrates.

And, finally, the vertebrates are split into bird, fish, reptile, amphibian, and mammal.

For even more interest, I also put out a selection from our Safari Toobs.

Some of these animals end up "helping" with the rest of the Montessori work. :)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Slowly easing back in

Four months ago: I was feeling lost. Sprout had drained all of my mental resources. We'd dropped formal school time for Nugget a while back, but I was still trying to work out themes or units of study. Things were feeling scattered, I wasn't dealing well with the demand it placed on my time and energy, and the thought that I had to write something good up for the blog was stressing me out. So I closed up shop for a while, we dropped any pretense of "doing school", and just ... played. Asked and answered questions. Did experiments. Went places. Joined a laid-back homeschool group.

Now: Nugget is 4, Sprout is 14 months. I'm still drained by the demands of having a toddler, but at least I'm sleeping better (maybe not through the night, but better!) and my husband can whisk him off for an hour or so to give Nugget and I some one-on-one time.

With the end-of-year curriculum sales and conversations, my husband and I had been doing a lot of talking about the direction we're going to take when Nugget reaches kindergarten age (officially, fall 2012). We looked over the standards for our state, wrote out our own ideal curriculum, and reviewed boxed curricula.

At the same time, we were looking for a summer camp opportunity for Nugget. We found a fabulous program at the local Montessori school, offering a half-day art history camp for a few weeks. When Nugget and I went in after the school day to drop off the paperwork, her eyes lit up. When the guide heard that we did Montessori-inspired homeschooling, she invited Nugget to take a look at and work with a material or two. Nugget was in heaven. In fact, she didn't want to leave. There were tears!!

I was feeling inspired by our homeschool discussions and research, and motivated by Nugget's overwhelming desire to "do homeschool". However, I was wary of getting in too deep again. I feel strongly that we homeschool for the flexibility and the chance to experience things in the real world, not the classroom. So we decided to come at things a bit differently this time. We're using a mix of methods. I have no expectation of a "work cycle", how long we "should" be in the room, or of Nugget doing her work independently. I even incorporate her stuffed animals in some of the work. Homeschool time is a chance for us to have one-on-one time together -- and ENJOY it.

Here's our areas of concentration:

1. Reading. This is the only thing I make sure we do every day, but it only takes a couple of minutes. I'm not a fan of the traditional pink/green/blue Montessori program, and a try of Hooked on Phonics didn't work for us. Right now, we've settled on "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons". It's not the most interesting thing in the world, but the lessons go quickly and it seems to be clicking with her.

2. Math. I love Montessori math. Love love love. Nugget is blowing through the early golden bead material, including the bank game; we're about to start addition. Today, she completed the hundred board!

3. Science. My husband and I love science. Science comes up every day around here -- weather, dinosaurs, habitats, health.... We're going to be following Nugget's interests, answering questions and finding things in everyday life to notice and study. Most of our focus will be on earth science and animal studies, though. We have done a few things in the school setting -- a discussion of natural selection and some work on taxonomy.

4. History and culture. These will come later, but we have some ideas for areas we want to cover in the next 2 years.

5. Sensorial. Nugget has never had the most interest in the Sensorial activities. I'm putting a few out on the shelves, and she does them because she hasn't seen them in a while. But they don't hold a lot of interest for her. The most interesting thing for her was building the red rod maze. But she hasn't even touched her previous favorites, the cylinder blocks.

Now Nugget? She's THRILLED. I haven't asked her to do homeschool a single day -- she's always the one who brings it up. She works through all the materials I ask her to do and chooses a bunch more. She's very much developmentally ready for the work we've been doing, so she's interested in it and finds it easy to handle.

I'm keeping our classroom area small -- just 2 shelves. I'm rotating a lot more and just keeping less out. We spend 10-45 minutes a day in the room, varying a lot depending on what our day is like and how into things Nugget is. I do a phonics lesson every day and some sort of math (these days it's golden beads, teens and tens nomenclature, or number rod addition). Anything else is up to her to chose (she's really into the metal insets right now; in fact, she's been in there for 20 minutes after I left, doing more).

As for the blog.... I don't think I'll go away for this long again. But I won't be as regular as I was before, either. I'll probably pop over here to mention any new homemade materials or if things are going particularly well or particularly poorly. It's nice to have a place to write things out and work them through in my head.

Wait, what can this be?.....

I'm feeling like I might want to pop in here with an update in a bit.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Long-term hiatus

This has been in the making for a while, but I'm officially putting this blog on long-term hiatus. Good luck in your homeschooling journey!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Studying ocean layers

We've been really laid-back about the current space and ocean studies. I make up some material whenever I'm inspired, and we fit the conversations into our day. I decided to put together some stuff for Sprout's nap time on Sunday, so we did an alphabetical order activity (train cars), some work with golden beads and tens, and an ocean layer activity. (When I asked Nugget what she wanted to do during Sprout's nap -- "read books, play alone, do homeschool" -- she jumped up and down and said, "homeschool! homeschool!". Poor kid! I wish I had more energy/motivation to make up more schooling stuff.)

To make the ocean layer activity, I painted a piece of posterboard with 4 shades of blue (in theory, there should be one more for the trenches, but I skipped that for now). Then I printed off pictures of some of the animals that can be found in each layer. The backs of the pictures have a brushstroke of the same color as their layer, so that Nugget can check her work.

Top: Sunlit layer with dolphins, penguins, tuna, etc.

Second down: Twilight layer with laternfish, bristlemouth, and jellyfish

Third down: Midnight layer with anglerfish

Bottom: Abyss with tube worms, sea pig, and basket star

This was an excellent activity. She was really interested, we had some great conversations, and she was able to place everyone accurately after one demonstration. This hit her interest perfectly, because she's fascinated with/terrified of the anglerfish from Finding Nemo (she's never seen most of the movie, but we've read the book and gone on the ride at Disney).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Where am I?

I disappeared for longer than a traditional winter break, huh?

Things are kind of up in the air here. I'm in a period of reevaluation for our homeschooling in the short term.

I now have a 9 month old who has three non-crying states -- attached to Mommy, into anything he can reach, or attached to Mommy AND into everything he can reach. His naps are unpredictable and short. All this to say that sitting down for dedicated school time with Nugget just isn't happening, not even considering the preparation time that goes into it. I'm feeling a fair amount of guilt about it.

So here's what I'm doing:

1. I'm working on telling myself that it's just a season, that soon enough he'll be in a place to spend more one-on-one time with Daddy or to participate without destruction.

2. I'm working on changing my curriculum perspective -- instead of thinking about all those things I think Nugget could handle at this point (landforms, bank game, etc), I'm thinking instead about what things I feel are important for a 3 year old to know. Those are more whole-person things -- playing outside, lots of free time with craft materials, early chapter books, lots of exposure to navigating the adult world (post office, grocery store, etc), and -- of course -- trying my best to patiently answer the endless endless questions.

3. I'm temporarily switching from Montessori lessons to being Montessori-inspired. For instance, the Sensorial materials are away, but I try to incorporate the three-part lesson in daily life.

4. I'm trying out some more pre-packaged curriculum options. I have to fight my nature to tweak and change -- but I need to recognize that an imperfect solution that's easy enough to implement that we actually DO it is better than a perfect one that overwhelms me and we can never use. This week we're trying out Five in a Row. Each day for 5 days you read a classic storybook (we're doing "Owl Moon") and do suggested activities for one of the focus areas -- social studies, language, art, math, science.

Writing all this out makes me feel a bit better. I still feel like a slacker, but I'm pretty convinced that I'm not damaging Nugget for life. :)
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