Friday, April 5, 2013

Metal Inset Easter Eggs

Hi Friends,

As I mentioned in my last post, the girls spent hours making Easter eggs using the oval metal inset.

They cut them out and decorated them (our 5-yo made these):

They taped them together and filled them with beans:

They made Jesus-themed eggs; they made stickered eggs (is it just me, or is anyone else bummed out that the Paas Easter egg dye kits don't include even a single cross?); they made eggs inspired by stained glass windows (our 6-yo made these):

My husband even got into it...

 ...and showed the girls how to use one oval metal inset to make a heart:

They collected them into Easter egg books...

They made so many eggs, I could never show them all here. I was very thankful that they were so busy and happy and focused in the weeks leading up to Easter. We hope you had a nice Easter, too!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Real Life Practical Life: Making Egg Salad

Hello Friends!

How are you? We are still here, still plugging along, still using the Montessori preschool curriculum with our two younger girls (now 5 and 2-3/4), and still looking for opportunities to incorporate Montessori into our day-to-day activities. We have a few Practical Life activities on the shelf, but for the most part, we focus on using our Practical Life skills in our everyday life to serve our family (and isn't that really the goal?). The two older girls (now 8-1/2 and 6-1/2) are learning to bake, do dishes, fold laundry...things that our homeschooling family truly, desperately needs (amen?).

In the weeks leading up to Easter (our family's favorite holiday), the girls used the oval metal inset to make dozens of Easter eggs (they were awesome -- I'm going to snap a pic of some and post them soon). They also dyed Easter eggs (32 of them, all of which I will be primarily responsible for eating!). Yesterday, after an Easter egg hunt to retrieve all of the dyed eggs, the girls spent a long time peeling and cutting eggs to make egg salad. All of them enjoyed peeling the eggs, but the two little girls spent a long time cutting them.

Cutting hard-boiled eggs is a wonderful activity for young children, because the eggs can easily be sliced with a butter knife or cheese knife:

(My wonderful husband originally got me this cheese knife for cutting hard cheeses, but we've found that it's much more effective for cutting things like hard-boiled eggs, bananas, strawberries, and soft cheeses.)

Cutting an egg in half lengthwise is relatively easy, but if your child struggles after that point because the egg rolls around, show him or her how to place the egg with its cut face down so that the egg will sit still.

The two little girls spent about an hour chopping eggs, an hour they no doubt would have spent getting into trouble--so not only did the egg salad get made, it kept their little hands from being idle. ;)

I'm going to be eating egg salad for a looooong time:

I hope you all are well, and (Lord willing, which He hasn't been for a while :) I hope that this will be the start of many more posts to come!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Week in Review, 3/12 - 3/16

Last week we took an early Spring Break in order to get some big, time-sensitive projects done (one of the privileges of homeschooling, no?). While we didn't formally "do" school each day, the big girls did math (we do math almost every day -- even during the summer!), and the little girls got some good Montessori work done. We also threw in a quick science experiment for good measure, and our 5-y.o. -- frustrated by the "mental math" that Singapore Math sometimes requires -- pulled out the bead frame to supplement her math work. 

Some highlights from the week:

G - geometric solids, geometric figure cards...

G - opposites matching:

G - world map...

...and labels:

G - color box (3?), grading seven shades of a color from lightest to darkest:

E - exploring magnetic and not magnetic (and then she took to threading a nail into the circle end of a safety pin, which kept her busy for a looong time -- who knew? :)

E - sorting three colors of bears

E - nuts and bolts activity:

E - marbles on golf tees:

E - Matryoshka dolls:

E - Melissa & Doug grill set (slicing/tonging/skewering (akin to beading/stringing, only easier because the skewers are hard)):

E - open/close; pushing toothpicks through teeny holes in spice jar lid: 

S - Singapore Math 2B. As I mentioned, Singapore Math puts a great emphasis on "mental math," or doing math in one's head. For example, for 300 - 99, they tell her to think of 300 as 200 100. Then, they tell her to subtract 100 - 99, which equals 1. Next, she adds 200 + 1 to get her answer: 300 - 99 = 201.

It's a good system, but S was having difficulty -- for her, it would have been easier to stack all of the problems and work them out by subtracting and borrowing. I didn't want her to have to do all that borrowing, and even Singapore Math didn't want her to do all that borrowing -- after all, the whole point of the exercise was to make subtracting easier!

But because she was getting frustrated, I suggested that she grab the bead frame. She had used it before but needed a quick refresher. Once I reminded her how to use it, she set to work and knocked out all of her textbook and workbook exercises in no time flat! 

For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, may I present the large bead frame (it typically comes in large and small -- we have only the large one). The colored beads are on wires that correspond to the decimal system (units are green, tens are blue, hundreds are red, thousands are green, and so on). S will now demonstrate the process she went through to solve the problem 800 - 98:

First, 800, or 8 hundreds:

She needs to take away 9 tens, but she doesn't have any tens. She "gives one hundred back to the bank," or slides one hundred bead to the left...

 ...and exchanges it for 10 tens... 

...she takes away nine tens and needs to take away 8 units, but she doesn't have any units, so...

...she "gives her ten back to the bank..."

...and exchanges it for 10 units (she's working fast now, can you tell!? My camera could barely keep up :)...

...she takes away 8 units...

...and she's left with her answer: 702

After she got the hang of it, the problems were easy...

...and eventually she was able to do them in her head...and isn't that the whole point? 
(PS - "The bank game" language is a holdover from S's many years playing the bank game with the golden bead materials. For a very basic tutorial on the bank game, click here)

We waited for a sunny day and did experiment #116 from the Janice vanCleave book. We put ice cubes in two zip-loc baggies and closed the tops. We covered one bag with a black piece of paper and the other with a white piece of paper. The girls hypothesized which set of ice cubes would melt faster -- those under the black paper or those under the white. This is what the ice cubes looked like when we started: 

We covered the bags with the paper and checked the ice cubes every five minutes to see which set melted faster:

This isn't the final photo, but you can tell that the ice cubes under the black paper melted faster than the ice cubes under the white paper. We talked about how the sun gives off energy in the form of light; black absorbs light energy better than white, so the temperature under the black paper was higher and the ice cubes melted faster. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Brown Stair/Marble Extension

For those of you who don't frequently check out the other blog (OMS Daily), we did a cool brown stair/marble extension I remembered reading about at The Wonder Years long ago: rolling a marble down the stair as a control of error.

When we tried it, we were delighted to discover a musical surprise. :)

Thanks for the great idea, Amy!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Valentine's Day Heart Stamping

Another simple, cheap, easy craft idea my husband saw on pinterest courtesy of Rust & Sunshine -- thanks for the great idea!

We tried this craft because even our toddler could do it. Simply fold and tape a toilet paper roll into a heart shape, and stamp away.

All of the girls enjoyed this activity -- even our 7-year-old. Now that the stamps have dried (we used some pink acrylic paint we had on hand), the girls plan to go back and add layers of hearts in different colors, write special messages, and them send them to family members for Valentine's Day.