Sunday, 29 January 2017

Real life learning

We had to go to the big city this week, for many reasons. We had made felt veggies for a swap, wanted to catch up with a friend at the sanctuary, midsumma pride and a protest against new regulations for homeschooling.

We camped at a nearby campground, which happened to be in the rainforest (cool temperate).

Amongst many things we visited the Ada tree, the biggest tree on the mainland. 75m high and 15m girth at breast height. It was fascinating learning about rainforest ecosystems, light that falls to the ground, species of plants, fire history, indigenous history. We found a species of rhinoceros beetle and discussed its body parts. We have a book on this beetle.

Hella was fascinated by the native animals in the zoo and learned the word koala. She did lots of walking and observing. She likes to stick her nose into plants and smell them. She's very independent. The photo of her on the bridge was taken at a park where we stopped for lunch. There's a playground on the other side. I told her to come back, but she turned around and waved bye bye. Cheeky girl!

Sarah developed a fever on Saturday, so we went home instead of the marches. I was keen to check on our chickens and plants anyway.

Today is our first day of the school year!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Continent work

First an apology for zero formatting. I haven't worked it out yet, but thought its more important to start writing again so that I get this blog going.

Continent work is by far Sarah's absolute favorite work. It features daily.

I remember last year, I traced a map onto coloured paper, following the Montessori colours and got Sarah to match them with the map. I had also painted the sandpaper globe into those colours.
There was extensive talk about which animals lived where and we started our animal collection (which by now is embarrassingly large, I'm quite addicted myself).

We added the oceans and seas over time. And then creation of lands and features (geology).

Most of our work concerns the physical and animal world but recently, she's five now, we added our first culture. I made three part cards of national dress, around five cards per continent. She's starting to understand the concept of countries

I'm also working on proper continent boxes. These contain maps (physical and political), bag of animals, flags, three part cards, objects, books and music. I just bought the cardboard continent puzzled too. I've only just started and got a long way to go, but it will be so nice to have it all in one spot.
I'll also have a box for oceans, dinosaurs and the universe. All favourite topics.

I got three part cards on the following: States of Australia, continents, traditional dress, universe. I'd love to add oceans and famous buildings and features (like grand canyons and fjords and natural things like that).

I try to keep the box as concrete as I can still. Traditions, culture and politics are quite abstract and shes simply not ready yet.


This is of course another major work on the continent works. We did some last month, using play dough. It was quite simple, just play dough and a plate. I didn't do water pouring as it made the play dough yuk.
I did as many landforms as I could remember and gave examples of ones we've seen where possible. We've seen all but archipelago!
Following this I showed her about continental drift. I showed Pangaea, Gondwanaland and laurasia and how it went on from there on. This is also a hot topic! I tried, but failed, to remember time frames and relate it to her extensive knowledge of dinosaurs. It will happen. I did make three part cards on this too! It will all come together soon enough.
Today she took the play dough out and reenacted continental drift. It was lovely to observe and it clearly showed the next step: adding a timeline.
Not sure why she thinks there were two meteorites.

And this is why I looooove the Montessori way. It's offering information in a complete and logical way. Most of what we do relates to the great stories that are meant to come next year. I follow the child, though and while her interest borders on obsessive, I'm going for it. She's obviously in a sensitive period for it, and absorbs the information like a sponge.

I really enjoy seeing the information as a whole and am growing my own knowledge and understanding as well.

Photo of Sarah working on the clay continental drift

Tuesday, 10 January 2017


There's an app for this too. Now to figure out how it works.

We stopped travel and Sebastian, Now Sarah, went to a real Montessori school. It was great. It was expensive. We just started homeschooling again and I am soooo keen to get this blog going.

Got to figure out how to add photos. Otherwise I'll have to find out a better way.

Sarah's been amazing in her learning. She writes, reads, adds up, counts, knows more dinosaurs than I do. I'm most proud of the last one. There's lots to share about it all.

Hella. She's 1.5 now. She's gold. Her fave game is chores. Loves her cars, stacking, puzzles and all the other toddler stuff. Its great.

I'm feeling excited. School has been worth it, but homeshool is way more fun.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

I've not forgotten

But I've been too busy and had too little access to internet to write. In the last year we've travelled and I've had a baby! I'm a bit sad, though, that I don't get time to write about what we do. I often think about it, but with little to no internet, it's not really an option.

So this year we travelled. Seb learned a lot about the different ecosystems. We travel slow, spending up to 3 weeks in one place and visiting spots more then once. The repetition is great and I can see how much he's learning. He likes to find an audience and repeats what I've told him! It's too cute.
When we drive, we talk. I tell him about the environment we see and the human interaction. He likes to talk about powerlines and has his own powerline song. It goes like this: powerline poooooooowerline powerliiiiiiiine etc. He makes me laugh. Of course, I have to sing it with him! It's a great sound game.

I've stocked up on materials. I had a bit of a splurge after some difficult news. woops. It's good though! It's good to have the real thing set out. Funnily enough, it improves Sebs behaviour! He's much calmer when the environment is prepared. He enjoys doing the metal insets and since I've got the moveable alphabet he's interested in letters. We do the other materials together. A favorite is using bottles with food colouring and droppers to drop dye on some kitchenpaper. He just experiements with colours now.

My little girl, she's 10 weeks now. She's just waking up. She sleeps a lot. I'm very curious to see how she will go and how things will go with two kids. She's a delight and very easy to look after.

I'm sorry, I don't have photos this time. Like I said, I'm very restricted with technology. Hopefully I get to pick up this blog properly, but you'll have to be patient.

Monday, 22 December 2014

busy time of year

And I don't even celebrate commercialism Christmas. I don't have to think about family feuds  parties. I haven't wrapped one present.

Taking it all in.

It's busy cause we're moving. Not just house, which is crazy enough, I'm moving into a caravan. Lots of reasons. I've traveled around the country twice now and around nz one and a half times. I've always wanted to do it with kids. And now I got the freedom divorce has granted me, there's nothing stopping me. It's an overwhelming journey to get there, though. Steep learning curve as I discover the joys of electronic breaking systems and tare weight.

Letting go of stuff. Not just the carefully compiled star dust, but the emotions attached to it. The stuff exists in my house because they trigger memories. Nice thoughts. I'm surprised to discover they also trigger bad memories, negative reactions and old patterns. Once the ties are cut, there's just star dust left and it's easy to let go. It's a huge job though!

And while I'm growing this new journey, I'm growing a new child. I'm very excited that after one year minus one day of planning, I tested positive on a pregnancy test. Feeling eternally blessed with an easy ride so far! I'm excited to learn about infant montessori practise.

So that explains my absence in posting, but our montessori journey hasn't stopped. It never does. It can't. We're still busy matching all the things.
I've packed up our shelves, though. There's just the native animal collection left. The rest is in boxes and will come with us. I've decided I rather not take the fridge if it means I can bring the pink tower. I'm very curious to see how it will work out. It's quite an untraveled path. So I'm keen to share for others.

I've finished reading montessori method. Why I didn't do a review for each chapter I don't know. It's so rich! I won't be able to summarise it in one post.  And I had to return the book two days before I finished reading it (which I didn't, I finished the book) so I didn't get to make notes. Very interesting chapter on food I'm keen to share. It's not something I've read elsewhere.

Practising montessori had helped us through some tough times (I've also had bronchitis). It's helped me focus on providing beauty. Choosing to only keep beautiful stuff is easier than keeping stuff cause it's worth something. Keeping the living room as calm as possible. Ensuring ds gets the opportunity to explore. I've done a lot of observing him and it's mind blowing. He's becoming more and more conscious and determined in what he needs. I do my best to provide, but it's easier when I let him go and find what he needs himself in a prepared environment (like the zoo, parks, botanical gardens or museum, can't say my house is prepared much). I also involve him in all our new journeys. I talk to him and explain what's going on. I'm talking to the adult he's going to become, teaching him decision making, care for others, dealing with change etc.

That's enough rambling from me. 😊 things will settle soon enough and I'll be back to posting more regularly. I also need to make sure my child wears clothes so I can include pictures.

Happy solstice!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

he's just not ready yet

Practical life skills: going out for a cuppa. 

Ds turns 3 in a few weeks. While he sleeps through breakfast, I was reflecting on what we're doing. Or not doing, to be more accurate. He just shows such limited interest in the materials. He does them a bit when they're new, but doesn't show that obsessive impulsive interest in the way he does with his cars and animals.

I've decided it's fine to wait. To follow the child, even if he's not moving the way you expected. I see these other children starting at 2.5 and good on them! Mine just isn't. And I don't want to pressure him.

He is learning a lot, of course. Still matching all the things. Learning more and more self care and becoming more determined in that. I don't think he'd care whether his socks are on our not. He's so like me! Naked is the way of life, unless it's cold.
I can see his car games developing more. He's into bridges at the moment. Going under and over bridges fills him with such delight. Same with going up and down ramps. So yesterday in the play ground, we spend a good half hour running over bridges and up and down ramps. He ignores the play ground altogether. He just runs and runs and runs.
Stamping animals

I'm trying to focus on practical life. But at the moment, it's hard. We're moving into a caravan and I'm selling all the things and it's a huge job. I don't have time nor energy to do the dishes, let alone do the dishes together. My focus is all on this great move.
Interestingly, I started to notice ds screaming for attention and misbehaving. It just made life harder and I tried my best to be strict, even considering a naughty chair. I found the negativity just made things worst, so decided to go against the grain and actually just give him more attention. Listen andflow thechild, he's wiser than you. We've had a few baths together, I've run with him on the play ground, I've played with his cars and involved myself in his life. Works much better, he's my little angel again. It's hard work, though. I do it all on my own.

Dutch tradition. He loved it but felt a bit intimidated sitting on his lap. 

We celebrated sinterklaas on the weekend. I felt a bit conflicted by letting him believe in this fantasy, but I couldn't not do it. It's too much fun. I've tried to keep it as realistic as possible. We went to the Belgium club for the celebration and did presents at home. His dad bought them for us so I couldn't not do this. He loved the stamps, he loved the zebra that matches with the big zebra! He hasn't touched the Maya the bee figurines, they're not real. He knows they're a bee, but didn't think of matching them to his animals.

Thus we're plodding along.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

matching games

Ds started a sensitive period for matching all the things all the time. It's amazing. I mentioned in a previous post I didn't really believe in matching games, they look so boring. I'm glad I gave it a try.

He found these tiles and put them like this before I even noticed. 

Here's what we do.

Matching 3d to 3d. 
I've got the mystery bag of shapes. He likes working with it but doesn't quite get the bag thing yet. But he likes to sort the shapes together. He also sorts his animals to match.
Matching of dinosaurs to a copy.
After a while I'll get him to trace to an outline,
following a similar pattern as with the geometric cabinet. 

Matching 3d to 2d.
I quite literally stuck his plastic animals under the photo copy machine. About 9 to 12 per sheet of animals in the same category. So I've got insects, fish, aquatic banale, etc. It's easy for him, but he does it again and again.
he also, spontaneously, started matching his plastic animals to pictures in books.

He's discovering his new animals here. I got a small version for midday of them. 

Matching size
Big cow goes with little cow, big fish with little fish, etc. I'm trying to teach him that all the big animals go on one side and the little on the other but he prefers to put them right next to each other or even on top of each other!
It's a fun game that we play together. He begs me to join in.
I think he's ready for understanding the pink tower too, now. I need to reintroduce it to him. The other day he begged for the knobless cylinders (which he's not supposed to have yet, but he likes things differently) and build a tower on size. He was nearly prefect!

Matching colour
I may have made a slight suggestion, but really, this game came up spontaneously. He's matching his cars to colour and making piles for each. Sometimes I'll sit with him and we make a rainbow, but he doesn't really get that yet.
He also matches things to the colour box we got and to anything, really.
Matching cars to colour.
When he's done he runs over and proudly shows me! 

Matching to real things
This is really cute. When we do the weather chart in the morning, he insists on going outside and holding the felt sun or cloud against the sky. He asks himself "do these match? " I laugh so much when he does this, again, his spontaneous idea.

Our felt weather station. It's so much fun to help him observe the weather.
I'm keen to add the moon phases, just haven't gotten around to it yet. 

These are great games for cementing the language into his little brain. It also helps him get a string sense of size and colours. I'm amazed at his keenness.  It's something I read about frequently in the books I'm reading. This spontaneous, effortless activity that looks like magic.