Jan 11, 2009

Totschool, the after Christmas edition

After taking basically two weeks off for Christmas, we started back to official school this week.
I started phasing out the Christmasy stuff and replacing it with winter or just regular stuff. I am taking it slow because it just isn't as much fun to take it out as it was to put it in!

I added some cards I made for Kaytie and Nate a looooooong time ago. They are just star stickers on cards with the numbers written underneath. This is just for counting fun and number recognition. Abbie has yet to notice them, but Daniel enjoys spreading them out and counting the stars.

They played with the peg board. It's really too big for my tub, so it's one of those occasional things they get to choose every once in awhile.

I switched the red and green puffballs out for wintery ones. I wanted to just do blue and white, but I didn't have enough, so the baby pink went in as well.

The sound jars are something that Abbie enjoys a lot. I took out the bewildering array of different sounds and put in two "noisy" ones with noodles in and two "quiet" ones with cotton balls in. She enjoyed them even more after that. She likes to shake the noisy ones and shout, "NOISY!" then shake the quiet ones and whisper, "quiet!" Maria Montessori is probably rolling over in her grave, but it works for us: it's fun, she is learning concepts and opposites.

The counting games I had out seemed to be a little too much for Daniel and Abbie. Alex gets a lot out of them, but he doesn't come much any more, so I switched them out for this. Daniel enjoys this a lot. He names the number and then counts out a "snowball" for each snowman.

The color die game was played almost non-stop all week long.

For Christmas, I got a gift card to my new favorite store and spent part of it on these pretty geometric solids. Since I'm not a Montessori purist, I don't mind that the shapes aren't exactly what I would find at a Montessori school, and that they are not painted blue. I was very excited to get them and to introduce them to the kids. I put out the pyramid, sphere and cube to start with.

Abbie calls them a triangle, ball and block, but she had a great time playing with them! She worked hard to get the sphere to stay on the cube. It cracked her up every time the sphere would roll away.

Daniel learned the proper names rather quickly, but he doesn't seem to enjoy them as much as Abbie does. Maybe it really is true that ignorance is bliss? :)

Abbie is demonstrating that they are "heavy"!

Another big hit was this bowl of noodles and small toys. The rabbit eraser was the favorite find.

And, finally, this is why I am glad that I switched to this method of learning with the kids. This puzzle was out on the table for the big kids to choose. With my old method of doing school, Daniel would never have seen this puzzle. I would have kept it in the cabinet, and only gotten it out for the big kids while Daniel was napping. But he saw Nate putting it together, and then, while I was busy with someone else, he snuck it off the table and took it to his mat. When I saw that he had it, I thought, "Well, he'll get bored quickly and put it back." Except that he didn't. I put in the three pieces that have more than one state, and I gave a few "spatial hints" when he got hung up on a couple of states. As in, "That one goes way up at the top." But he sat and worked with this puzzle until he got it all together! And it took him awhile. I was very very impressed with his determination!
For more Totschool posts, go to Carissa's blog.


One More Equals Four said...

You have inspired me. I definitely do not have the vast array of activities that you have, but I have slowly been making a few games for Cancer and she really seems to be enjoying them. Thanks for all the great ideas!

Carisa said...

Once again you have a week full of wonderful ideas!!! I have got to spend some time going back through some of your posts and getting together your many simple, yet wonderful ideas.

I love that you use Montessori as an inspiration but don't stay rigid with it--that's how I am too.

Thanks for sharing so many activities and details, as you always do!

:) Carisa

chubbycheeks said...

It looks like you all had a great week. I will have to investigate this Montessori. I keep hearing it, but really don't know what it means?

Mama Teaching 2 said...

I so love your Montessori schooling. :) Everything always looks so pleasant and sweet. Blessed Kiddos!


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