Sunday, August 29, 2010

Back to Basics

This was a short week for homeschooling. Ian got sick with tonsillitis, had fever and received injections of antibiotics, too much stress for him. Fortunately, he recovered quickly, but shortly after, I got sick. The story of our lives, we always fall ill together.
Those facts, obliged me to take a rest from homeschooling. I added some activities during the week but kept the ones from the last week. This is the first time I did that. We do not have much space to have many activities put away, so I rotate activities every week. Another reason to do that is the short attention span of Ian with the activities.

On the other hand, after my camera broke, I had a "aha moment" and I saw myself treating Ian's homeschooling as a race. Naturally, this week, I reduced my anxiety to have Ian working everyday. Before that, although my level of frustration had decreased enormously, I had kept suggesting to Ian that he should do the activities. I've learned to respect him when he says "no" and, a great advance for me, do so without feeling upset. This week I went further and, after making a short demonstration of the new activities, I left him to choose whichever he liked. It was very rewarding when while I was busy around the house, I heard some sounds (like garbanzos falling into the pitchers) that announced that Ian was doing some of his activities. Another gratifying thing was that Ian not only picked new activities but some of the "old" ones too.

In the absence of my digital camera, I used Daddy's Blackberry and a disposable camera to take photos, just like when I started this blog. Back then I used to enjoy writing this journal as part of my personal learning process and to be a gift for me in the future. No matter how dreadful the quality of the photos, I felt that my reports were "impressive", and that is the way I feel again.

Another task I have now is to make a record of all the activities that my little super cute student has done so far. There are many activities Ian has not yet mastered and I want to put those ones out again.

Now, let's picture our week.

Practical Life

Dry Pouring Pitcher to Pitcher. This is the first Montessori exercise Ian did 6 months ago (this is a great memory for me). As part of my attempt to go back to the Montessori basic activities and reinforce them, I set it up again and observed that Ian still has the habit of not holding the spout correctly to prevent spilling. However, he is supporting the pitcher of beans with his non-dominant hand more often now, as well as paying more attention to these control errors: spillage of beans and remaining beans in pitcher.

Vaseando solidos (garbanzos esta vez) jarra a jarra

Tweezers. Ian still can't use tweezers properly. I could not find small beads and the pom-poms I was using for this activity seemed to be too big. This week I changed them for pom-poms made for me. Actually, my goal was to make black pom-poms for Ian to use when we read the counting book Ten Black Dots, but what a mistake I made! :-) .. no even close to the pom-poms Mary-Ann at Counting Coconuts  made (I follow her tutorial :-). I changed my mind and made more pom-poms for Ian to attempt to transfer with the tweezers. The colors of the yarn were the same as the lids of the empty tempera tray Ian likes to unscrew, so I used it to set up the new tweezer activity. It seems to be easier but not simple yet, he still needs several attempts until he gets all the pom-poms.

Usando una pinza para transferir pompones a una
bandeja de temperas. Ian desenrosca las tapas al empezar
y, una vez transferidos todos los pompones, enrosca
las tapas de acuerdo al color.


Sorting paper clips. Finally Ian is interested in sorting activities. I just need to find the objects that captures his attention and paper clips are just right. As with the activity above I am combining the activity I want to engage Ian, with another I know he likes. For this one, I used an old little box Ian used some time ago to match keys. I put the clips in a bowl, on the left side of the hook box, but Ian insisted on placing the clips inside the box, just like we did in the keys activity. Well, he follows the same order as always, first he gathers all the hand-shape clips, then the foot-shape clips and finally the star-shape clips. That's right, he is discriminating the shape of the objects but, I need to remember not to mix the clips on the hooks. Certainly, the hooks set up a requirement for extra concentration as the clips were a bit tricky to hang.

Clasificando clips por su forma y colgandolos en ganchitos.
Ejercitando sus sentidos y su motricidad fina.

Here you can see a bit of how the activities are set up around the dinning table.

Aqui se puede ver como estan dispuestas sus actividades
alrededor de la mesa del comedor


Preparation for Reading and Writing

Figure Pattern Card. This activity reinforces the ability to follow a pattern from left to right. We have a figure control card and a basket with figure cards (which are duplicated on the control card). Ian had to follow the sequence of the control card, find the matching cards and place them on top of the control card. At the beginning he tended to take the pictures from the basket and looked for a match in the control card; so, we've been working together on it and he's been catching on to the idea. By the way, I used the cute figures of Sarah Kay, I love them ... Daddy asked me if this activity was for me (lol).

Emparejando las figuritas de la tarjeta de control (con fondo
verde aqui) con las de la canastita. Ejercitando la habilidad
para seguir un patron de izquiera a derecha y mejorar
coordinacion ojo-mano.

Pasting. Six months ago he disliked any activity that could dirty his hands. I've been setting up a pasting activity every so often, but he never got interested until this week. The tray I set up contains: a small bottle of white glue, a brush, a small bowl of collage scraps of paper and a sponge. This tray is placed on the table he has in his bedroom, along with paper. He learnt the steps quickly and enjoys all the process, but it is not yet an independent activity for him. I cut figures from gift wrappers for the collage pieces. When Ian is pasting he does not pay much attention to the figures, but he does when he has finished, he takes his time to admire his job (I love this part) and names the figures.

Pegando recortes de papel de regalo. Ian usa un pincel
para aplicar la goma en el recorte antes de pegarlo y
una esponjita para limpiar

Sequence/Patterns Puzzles. When I saw this craft I thought It would be perfect for Ian to practice putting the numbers in order. I made two of them, one with a picture of two clownfish (his favorite fish) and another with a picture of us. I numbered each of the craft sticks and made a control frame with the outline of the sticks and its numbers. I thought it would be easier as Ian is able to recognize the numbers, but this activity requieres other abilities Ian has not mastered yet, like following a pattern from left to right. So, for now, I put the sticks in the tray always in order to let Ian just transfer them one by one in order to the frame. At first he needed a reminder to do it sequentially, but after a few practices he is doing it pretty well.

Armando rompecabezas hecho con palitos. Para facilitar la
tarea, hice un marco donde marque la silueta de los palitos.
Estos y los del rompecabezas estan numerados.
Hice dos versiones: una con una foto de un par de peces
payaso (favoritos de Ian) y una foto de ambos.

Ejercitando la habilidad para reconocer numeros, seguir un
patron de izquiera a derecha, mejorar coordinacion ojo-mano

Counting puzzles. Ian is not able to associate quatities of objects with numbers yet. He does it sometimes, but I guess it is by rote, as we count things aloud all the time. This week I put out a foam puzzle to associate quantities with numbers. I did not expect Ian to do it but instead practice number recognition and visualize how different quantities look. He loves to disassemble and assemble the puzzle while I count out each piece he takes out and puts in.

I am sharing this post on One Hook Wonder where you can see other toddlers learning according to the Montessori Method.


  1. I am glad you and Ian are feeling better! God bless you and keep you guys with good health.

  2. You are really aware of what Ian can do and what stage he is at..... remember to celebrate his achievements (and yours at putting out lovely activties for him) rather than just list what he cannot yet do!!! He is so little that he cannot be expected to do them all yet.... remember that Montessori believed in sensitive periods and that is when children learn best so you can support his particular interests with a few activities for that area and not worry if he doesn't do other activities..... he will when he is ready!!!! Big hugs, hope you are feeling better! Jenni x

  3. Jenni, I am a "work in progress". I am learning not just to observe and follow my child, but to observe myself too and then spend some quiet time with myself. I am working on undestanding the difference between what are my son's needs and mine. You've helped me to see something I was missing. Thank your very much.

  4. Hola Sandy, pasaba por aquí para buscar un enlace y veo que no está mi comentario que creo no te dejé porque volví a olvidar verificar la palabra.
    Bueno quería decirte que como siempre me gustan mucho tus actividades, PERO, el rompecabezas me encantó. Espero hacerlo esta semana, ya lo puse como proyecto en el diario de actividades y pasaba por aquí precisamente buscando el enlace pero me detuve a ver si sí había dejado el comentario anterior, pero creo que no, en fin, procuraré ser más cuidadosa.
    Gracias por pasar a mi blog, te dejé una respuesta ahí, sucede que ando algo apurada y ya me extendí en este comentario.
    Saludos a Ian, mi nena lo ve en la compu y dice "nene, nene" =D.

  5. hola, soy mami de un niño de 18 meses y me encantaron tus actividades! espero estar por aqui mas seguido, mi favorito tambien es el rompecabezas, un saludo! Hayde

  6. Hola Sandy, es una pena lo que me comentas, en verdad me gustaba mucho tu blog, seguirás en HM?

  7. Bueno pues ya sabes donde encontrarme Sandy. Te agradezco mucho pues has sido de gran ayuda y una gran inspiración, de cualquier modo yo te seguiré leyendo.
    Saludos y en verdad, muchas Gracias.

  8. So sorry you two were sick! Oh, I'm going to miss these wonderful posts of yours. Thanks for linking up. :)

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