Hello 2017 and Update !!

I don’t know about you but I am glad that 2016 has come and gone.  We had a very busy year filled with new opportunities and major changes. In August I started Little Learners University in home preschool which has turned out to be a great success we also celebrated Lil J 1 year of being seizure free in Septemeber.  October kicked off my training for International Baccalaureate P.Y.P facilitator.  November was full of surprises Lil J turned 4 years old and officially began his studies as a kindergartener. We enjoyed a quiet holiday season at home this year and today is the last day of Kwanzaa for us.

So let me see if I can do quick run down the earlier months.  We enjoyed many S.T.E.M related lessons and we continued our studies with Montessori-inspired learning and preschool.  During the summer we enjoyed many fun outings and spending time with nature and exploring. The Spring we learned about caterpillars and watching them turn into beautiful butterflies and then setting them free. Lil J was enthralled with everything earthworms and anything to do with the solar system over the summer.  The Winter provided tons of fun with our study of Antartica, penguins, and polar bears and back by popular demand we are kicking 2017 off again with Antartica.


I finally took the plunge over the last 2 weeks and settled on Math and Language Arts curriculum for Lil J, don’t worry we will still be doing all our hands on activities, I just decided it was time to move on to some more support materials for him.

So here is our 2017 Curriculum line up:

  • Math U See Primer – New for 2017
  • Hand Writing Without Tears
  • Language Together – Mandarin and Spanish
  • Oracy
  • KinderScience and KinderStem by Tara West
  • S.T.E.A.M Club
  • Lego Club – New for 2017
  • Learn to Read and Language Arts CEP- New for 2017
  • World Geography – Montessori-Inspired
  • Who is Books  Series and African American History
  • Logic/Critical Thinking  Activities

Whew sounds like a lot?  Trust me we rotate days for lessons. Every day our goal is to work on Math, Reading, and Writing our school day starts at 9 a.m and ends around 1 pm. During that time we play games, do hands-on activities and have lunch, do art projects, read aloud etc.. and some days we just blow off school and just hang out, run errands and cook together. Each day in our home is an adventure and I try to plan a fun day full of excitement and love.


How could I ever forget Lil J falling in love with all things Stars Wars and Legos, so now I am tripping over star wars figures and dodging legos on the floor.  Watching him grow over the last 4 years has been a joy, I think every mom has that moment when they look at their child and realize they aren’t that little toddler anymore and it makes you a little teary eyed. I had my moment last week and I balled… but I look at this way apparently I am doing a good job because I am I can tell you anything you want to know about Star Wars so I am in the cool moms club and anything I don’t know about Star Wars I have some Star Wars Mom veterans and friends to help me.

So as we continue on our journey for 2017 I wish all my readers Happy New Year and I look forward to blogging more this year.Remember you can always find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube!

Warmest Regards,

Lil J and Mama Montessori!

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The Monster Inside Book Review!!

I was provided this book by author all opinions expressed here are my own!

In November my son turned 3 and all heck broke loose. Holy independant Threenager!! 

I was a skeptic about the Threenager phase that I heard so many moms talk about and I thought to myself there is no way my sweet boy going to go through this phase right? WRONG!!!!
It seemed like it happened overnight, we were battling some major attitudes and agression at times over simple things like putting on pants or getting into the car. Now let me just give a little background my son has seizures but has only had 6 in 3 years, he takes Keppra and can sometimes display what a lot of moms whose children that take this medication called “Keppra Rage”!  We have our fingers crossed that this April we can wean him off his meds if he continues to stay seizure free. He is still our sweet boy but we have some extra monster visitors that I am convinced is not Keppra related.

When The Monster Inside author  Belinda O’Brien was looking for moms to review her new book, I was excited to review this book after finding out what it was about because we were now dealing with some little monsters that were now visiting our home. 

  
The book The Monster Inside  is a beautiful story of a little boy named Jack dealing with his own monsters when he becomes frustrated or irritated with people or activites. One of best things I loved about this story line was the mothers loving approach and calmness that is awesome example of positive parenting discipline method.

The little monters that show up in the story are cute and my son has sinced nicknamed (Greeney, Pete and Spike) Jack learns a calming technique that his mom teaches him to stop the monsters from making Jack make wrong decisions and acting out. What I like really about this book is it gives real life situations that are easily relatable to children. The books also lets the child see that it’s okay for them to have emotions and feel upset, but it’s how they handle these feelings is what is important.

  
We have read this books several times and it has been placed in our calming area in our home. I have seen some big changes in my little guy since receiving the book.  He is taking more time to calm himself and he is using the techniques in the book. He is using more assertive words to express himself rather than throwing a tantrum. 

This is a great book for parents who are encountering behavior issues that they need to help their children overcome. I think this would be a great addition to any home library, day care and school. The Monsters Inside can be found on Amazon where it has recieved 5 stars! 

It’s a cute little book that leaves a great impression on kids. 

Until Next Time,

Mama Montessori and Lil J

Native American Study

This year I decided instead of doing a traditional Thanksgiving theme for the month of November we would study Native American history.


We focused on 3 tribes and they were Chennye, Powhatan and the Cherokee. Lil J was super excited to see his room change to reflect our study. I was a little concern I wouldn’t be able to find much hands-on materials for us to use but I found just enough to help us.

I wanted the information that I presented to Lil J to be accurate so I sought the help of friends who were natives and certified Native American websites and literature.

I was very fortunate to come across several books that were written by actual Native American. One of Lil J favorite was “Giving Thanks”  by Chief Jake Swamp this book is beautifully illustrated and elegantly written, we read this book several times. I also purchased the Safari Toob Powhatan Indian Village and used the learning key from Living Montessori Now.

  

I created a sensory activity with a bag of mixed beans, Lil J loved looking at all beans and using them play with his 3 part cards.

 
Lil J really was into all the activites presented with this study. When it was time start transition to our new new unit he asked if we could keep some of the things out. 
   

I guess I can say that this  unit went over really well. Join us in December as we take our learning to the continent Antarctica! Be sure to like our Facebook to get updates and watch our Youtube.

Until Next Time,

Mama Montessori and Lil J

Math Time

So over the summer we took a small break from doing our usual lessons and I decided to concentrate on Math skills. I made everything fun and exciting and new for him. We kicked everything off with a water balloon toss. He needed to toss the balloon into the correct color shaped hula lei. Let me just say that trying to form geometric shapes with lei’s was a bad idea, next time I attempt this I will use dive circles for the pool.
Lil J had tons of fun with this activity. I called out the colors and shapes and he would toss the balloon. Warning side putting a water balloon in a child’s hand  can lead to you being the target of a huge balloon fight.

As you can see he decided to just throw them at me first before actually doing the activity.

Lil J knows his numbers up to 45, but we are reviewing all numbers so I took out a cookie sheet activity to work on 1 to 1 correspondence, quantity and number recognition.
I love this magnetic activity because he also recognized insects from our insect study theme.

Insect Sensory Bin 

 
Lil J loves working with his sandpaper letters and I decided to take out his sandpaper numbers finally. I gave him a lesson on how to use them and then I let him begin his work. He worked on this activity for almost 25 mins they were a big hit!
 
I decided to our Melissa and Doug Big Button activity on his shelf to see if he would work with it. After breakfast he went over to his shelf and pulled it down. He did really well with it and asked for help after he got to the 4th board. I really like this game because it uses great shape manipulatives.
We did so many activites over the last few weeks that he enjoyed. He even asked to repeat some of them over the course of the last few weeks.

Shape Bingo

Butterfly Counting (from Confessions of a Homeschooler)

One of my favorite activities was the Lakeshore Learning Math Tin. We played with this together for almost 45 mins going through all the cards. His favorite card was the fish bowl card.
It’s great that we were able to get in so many activites. I made a lot of observation notes and determined what skills we needed to work on and those that he has fully mastered.
Until next!
 
Mama Montessori and Lil J

That Time of the Year!!

We have been having a great summer so far so the idea of having to think about getting things organized for the upcoming school year has began to pull at my brain.

Okay let me just be honest I LOVE SCHOOL SUPPLY SHOPPING! Omgosh the killer sales on crayons, markers and glue sticks makes me super happy! As I look around I see other moms who are as eager as I am and we greet each other with the same head nod and smile of approval!

(Target $1 Spot is soo awesome this was my second trip)

For the homeschooling mom our school year planning usually starts as soon as we end one school term. The hunt begins on finding a new curriculum or supplements for the upcoming year. Then  we all come together in our online support groups and swap valuable secret information or just a shoulder to cry on  or to just vent.
Even though Lil J is almost 3 the pressure is on to build an awesome enriching learning exiperence for him. In other words more pom poms and interest led learning and playing. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it!
My biggest struggle this year has been customizing my planner. I use Erin Condren Life Planner, before you gasp in shock, yes I am a part of the EC addiction mania and proud! I use that planner for my own personal organization  but I want a lesson planner for Lil J. So right now I am trying out some online templates from different websites and making my own.

 

So I am still working through our curriculum and seeing what is going to work for us this year. The one thing that I did manage to get done was our new circle time. Let’s just say it is still a work in progress because I have my eye on this calander that I saw at Lakeshore Learning. Lil J seems to love it though because he asks everyday can we do circle time.

 

I also have set up a new language and literacy area for Lil J that I personally am very excited about using.

 

We are off to a good start I think but at any given moment things could change. I have to admit I am secretly looking forward to this year and watching him grow and learn.
Until Next Time,
Lil J and Mommy

Tiggley Review

I was provided Tiggly Words. All opinion expressed here are my own!

I usually don’t let my son have a lot of tablet time if any at all, but on those rare occasions he does I try to stick to educational apps. Here recently I came across an email promoting a new app and manipulatives called Tiggly words. I was intrigued by the video promoting the app. My son is 2.5 years old and we are currently working on phonetic reading skills since he already knows his letter sounds and alphabets. I thought this would be a great way to bring things to life for him and have tons of fun.

I ordered the product on a Thursday and it showed up Friday morning I was extremely impressed with the rapid free shipping they offered. They system arrived in a cute box with one of the manpulitives peeking through the front. Lil J was instantly draw in when he saw it but it was naptime so we had to wait until after his nap to explore.
The letters that arrived were vowels, they are lightweight and durable. They have  black cushions on the bottom so they don’t scratch your tablet and they are stable once set on the screen. There is a small white bag enclosed in which you keep the letters in between playing with them. Easy to read instructions are also enclosed for setting up the 3 free apps ($8.97 value) that come along with the purchase. The letters also don’t require batteries, wifi or bluetooth to work, major plus in my opinion.
Before intiallly letting my son play on the tablet we first went over each letters sounds and naming the letters. We also talked about not banging the letters on the screen as well as they don’t go in his mouth and when we are done they letters go back in the bag.
The first game we played was Tiggly Submarine, this fun filled game features beginning letter sounds for cute animals and sea life.
The second game was Tiggly Tales this game worked on building words with short vowel sounds using all the letters. My son loved this activity his favorites were the words “cub and pig” the animals appear on the screen and do funny things.
Lastly was Tiggly Doctor. This app really comes alive for the children. It’s starts off with 3 patients waiting in the waiting room and the children select one and they are taken to another screen to help take care of the patient using words they build as well using their hands to manipulate the medical instruments.
I highly recommend this new learning resource if your child has begun the early stages of reading. I am always looking for ways to make learning fun with my son. He really took this system right away like I said this is just one great resource your can offer your child and feel confident that it is not overstimulating.
You can order Tiggly Words from http://www.Tiggly.com or on Amazon!
Until next time,
Momma Montessori and J

Preschool Prep Review

This post contains affiliate links!

I am always looking for different ways to keep my sons interest in reading and building his vocabulary. He just recently turned 3 and is an avid early reader.

We first discovered that Lil J could read words when he was around 13 months old but I wasn’t really sure I thought maybe he had just memorized the words as the months flew by he started to show more interest in words and sounding them out. Finally I was convinced when he was 2 weeks away from 2 years old he could in fact read and he read us his first book completely. 

Recently I reached out to the wonderful Preschool Prep Company and told them I had recently purchased their app bundle for our iPad and how Lil J was loving it. The company responded and sent us a 3 DVD copy of their Sight Word collection. We were excited to recieve the collection because we already owned their Blends and Diagraphs DVD’s as well as their Sight word flash cards.

  

This sight word dvd set is awesome and it’s interactive which something that I loved. You can play the dvd in several different ways. One of the things I loved was the repetitive nature of the words and cute characters. They show the child the word in two types of scenarios one in black and white and then the next as a cute character. They use the words in sentences and they highlight the words as they read them. The interactive feature option is brillant and allows parents to stop the dvd  and have the child read the words and then restart dvd again. 

Preschool Prep sight word 3 part DVD series teaches :

  • 47 sight words, 
  • 30 Fry and 
  • 30 Dolch words 

I was so impressed with the dvd’s I ordered the sight word set 1 box set. My son read the first 5 books in minutes and was so proud of himself that he went on to read the next 5 books.   

 

If your looking for a fun and interactive way to introduce sight words to your child Preschool Prep Company’s is an wonderful resource. They not only offer dvd’s for sight words they offer full collection of educational resources. I will be purchasing the workbooks and the other sight word box sets very soon!

Until Next Time,

Mama Montessori and Lil J