Montessori Elementary Homeschool Blog - with documentation of our infant Montessori, toddler Montessori, and primary Montessori experiences; as well as preparation for the upcoming adolescent Montessori homeschool years.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Family Tragedy

A tragedy has struck our family.

I struggle to see the good that will come from all this evil; my deepest core knows it is there, somewhere.

Please pray for my family; that the next 18 months will not only go by quickly but may be drastically shortened. That we will continue to grow together as a family through this tragedy and after it. That our family home businesses will not be out of date when this tragedy is over - and that enough residual income will continue to support my son during this time.




Friday, December 29, 2017

Keys of the World and Keys of the Universe

Legoboy and I have been working on some new projects!

New websites and some new structure on the current sites:
**Products are being added daily to each of the new sites**

Garden of Francis 

(new site is in-progress - once all products have been transferred over, the old store will close and the new store will replace the current site; for the time-being purchases are accessible through both sites)

New Site for Garden of Francis:

  • All of the offerings from both Keys of the World and Keys of the Universe in distinct purchase options: 
    • Mentoring via Albums/guides
    • Mentoring via Videos
    • Mentoring via Online Support
    • Certificate of Completion payment and instructions
    • Materials (download and physical)
  • Home Goods
    • Soap
    • Cloth items
  • Christian Formation
    • Catechesis of the Good Shepherd materials
    • modified Godly Play materials 
    • Prayer table and family altar cloths
  • Liturgical Celebrations
    • Organized by the liturgical season
    • Crocheted rosaries


The familiar site for Garden of Francis:

  • All current offerings (no changes)
    • Soap
    • wood cutting
    • custom orders
    • downloads for Montessori mentoring
    • liturgical seasons
    • Catechesis of the Good Shepherd


Keys of the Universe

No changes have been made to the outward offerings.
Upcoming changes:

  • Mentoring via Videos will be a separate purchase, with the current prices set as a combined price separated to lower amounts. 
    • Those people who already have video access will continue to access it in the same place as now AND will be able to access the videos in their new homes on the online support. 
  • Mentoring via Albums
    • complete albums continue to be offered. 
  • Mentoring via Online Support
    • online support continues to be offered. 


Keys of the Universe Montessori

All Keys of the Universe elementary Montessori offerings in distinct purchase options:
  • Mentoring via Albums/guides
  • Mentoring via Videos
  • Mentoring via Online Support
  • Certificate of Completion payment and instructions
  • Materials (download and physical)

Keys of the World

All Keys of the World Primary (ages 2.5-6) Montessori offerings in distinct purchase options:
  • Mentoring via Albums/guides
  • Mentoring via Videos
  • Mentoring via Online Support
  • Certificate of Completion payment and instructions
  • Materials (download and physical)


The Shepherd and the Vine

All of our religious-based offerings from Garden of Francis, separated to their own site as well.
  • Christian Formation
    • Catechesis of the Good Shepherd materials
    • modified Godly Play materials 
    • Prayer table and family altar cloths
  • Liturgical Celebrations
    • Organized by the liturgical season
    • Crocheted rosaries

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Crazy Times - Some are Awesome - and A NEW WEBSITE!

Life is crazy - and has so many curveballs, some awesome, some so far beyond painful I can't even share them, and some downright heart-wrenching as the strength of my supportive friends and family is proven second after crazy heart-breaking second.


First the awesome news!

I get to babysit my newborn nephew for two weeks 💖


The oldest of my mother's grandsons
with the youngest of her grandsons. 

Brotherly cousin love ;) 


And I spent the bits of downtime putting together three new websites. The first one is now live and active!

Keys of the World Montessori Resources
The Mobile Site

The Desktop Site

The listings for access to mentoring via albums, videos and online support are all up - I will be adding materials over the course of the next week, while working on the other two websites to be updated: Garden of Francis and Keys of the Universe are both getting a complete overhaul, with a similar format to the new Keys of the World site.



For the weekend I am focusing on some craft projects:

The baby's older sisters are learning to latch-hook. I helped them find a way to organize their colors and their pieces. The youngest is 4 and is just practicing putting the colors on - not following the pattern just yet.





And I am starting on Christmas stockings for each of my family members. Won't all be done in time for St. Nicholas Day, but my son and I are the only ones who officially celebrate that one. Everyone else fills their stocking on Christmas Eve.

And the adolescent-Montessori-homeschooled boy is studies history, Minecraft and computer coding and the book of Proverbs - when he's not snuggling on my lap.



Sunday, July 30, 2017

REVIEW POST: Montessori Kiwi Elementary Montessori Boot Camps

There is not one thing I do not love about Montessori Kiwi's Bootcamps for Reading, Writing and Great Lessons!

I was privileged to access all three of them and, while I was asked for a review on just one, well, I can't do that. I truly appreciate the content of all three of them and can't pick a favorite.

As a homeschool mom years ago, just starting out; or as a newly trained Montessori teacher just going into my student teaching and even my first full-on teaching experiences, I would have loved Lisa's concise, focused, *practical* guides that she provides here. Even with my own studies, full training and many successful experiences in the classroom and at home, these boot camps provide a down-to-earth perspective that makes it all feel possible!

She includes ideas for "what if this doesn't work", shares experiences from her own teaching,

Each half-hour video is a slideshow presentation with Lisa's voice-over. A pdf of the slides is included with each video as well; the writing portion has a writing template.


Great Lessons: 
She includes specifics on what can be done before, during and after the Great Lessons. Typically with such resources there is always something that makes me cringe a bit or think "that doesn't quite fit with my reading of Montessori's work" or similar. But NOT this time! Spot on, 100% agreement! I gleaned some new ideas/tweaks as well; which just goes to show that collaboration does indeed help us adults go deeper!

Writing: 
Lisa includes information on the Inquiry approach which is very much in line with the Montessori approach, but (as she states) was not created for a Montessori environment - so some of the details are somewhat "givens" (such as freedom to go back and review a concept at any time). The way she organized and presents about the writing prompts, inquiry, and all else is very intuitive, very practical - and very much needed reminders about how straight-forward we can be with the children!


Reading: 
In this boot camp, what she describes as happening in primary/casa/other-name (ages 3-6) includes a variation on the pink/blue/green series, that not all Montessori approaches utilize. I find reading to be the one area that different Montessorians really take different approaches. I love how Lisa works through this area in a way that honors any of the approaches.



She also offers supportive downloads in a variety of areas. Take a look!





Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Planning my presentations

This post isn't about planning the children's *work* - it is about planning my presentations.

Mostly for the little ones: infant, toddler, and primary. While I am not showing the infant and toddler portion, it is the same principles.


The general overview of the intervals is at this Montessori Nuggets post on Organizing Primary Presentations. What I have in my notebook is the detailed version which tells me the specific names of exercises to be worked on in each interval. This is available at Garden of Francis or is included free with the Keys of the World Primary Montessori albums online support.


Just a simple three-prong folder. I drew in some lines to separate the areas for me visually. Each interval covers about 6 months if I start with a 2 1/2 year old. Older than that, I still let the children move at their own pace (slower or faster), but I consider the fact they may be in need of something appropriate to their age-interval, while still wanting to get in these preliminary foundation experiences.

At this first interval, as long as I am reading books with the child, providing lots of real life experiences and having lots of conversations, I am looking at 1-2 "new" presentations a week. This number fluctuates between 1-2 up to 5-6 for some intervals (essentially a daily new presentation).

This does NOT dictate the child's work choices. Simply my presentations of new material.

Each week, I look over the list, consider the needs of my children and select which are the most appropriate.

I might note the date I give the presentation, or check it off, or I might write it on a calendar of some sort. Since I have had foster children in my home, I have used a calendar to note what plans and outcomes rather than print out this document for each child.

I might make a list of materials for the interval I am focusing on - things I need to check on or purchase or locate. When making purchases, I might look 2-3 intervals ahead to try to save on shipping and time.
See this post for more information and pictures - Planning in the Montessori Homeschool





For those looking for elementary Montessori homeschool planning: