We are a family with three 'wee winkles' exploring the pleasures and perils of educating at home using Scripture, Montessori and a lot of love!

Sunday, 29 May 2011

The sense of taste

For the sense of taste I made a felt mouth on our little roll up felt mat.
While it might help Lamb learn the basic parts of the mouth and the names of the teeth, I did it more for a counting exercise as he places the teeth. He gets mixed up from 14 through to 18 so I thought a little practice wouldn't go astray.
We also added the next row on our five senses chart.
Lamb was able to read 'hot' and 'cold' and glue the correct pictures into their squares but he needed help deciphering the other words. Once he knew what they said, he knew what picture needed to go where.

Monday, 23 May 2011


Our look at Matisse's 'Snail Trail' created a love in Lamb....snails. We have spent quite a bit of time in the garden watching them move around (you know that means poking their antennae and watching them come back out again)
So we got a couple of books out from the library.
Did some colouring in.
And baked some scrolls for snails.
Cherry rolling out the dough
We filled our scrolls with caramel sauce and walnuts, rolled it up then Lamb cut the roll into pieces. He felt very important being allowed to use the sharp knife. You might be able to tell from the look on his face!
Et voila!
Snails. Yum!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011


A couple of the math activities that we do regularly.
Until now Lamb has been focussing on building a staircase with the cuisenaire rods and learning their progression  by naming the colours.
Today I introduces the concept of naming them by numbers rather than colours so that we can start to do meaningful equivalency activities with the rods. Here Lamb is working out what the number for each coloured rod should be by counting the 'ones'.
We found this book on halves at the library so I set up an activity for Lamb with buttons so that he can work out what the half of a certain number is. Here is placing one button on each semicircle until all ten are placed at the end of which he says "Half of ten is one, two, three, four, five".
I did a few other cardboard circles to introduce the idea of thirds and quarters too and while doing them Lamb ran to get the pieces of his Melissa and Doug pattern blocks to make up the hexagons in the same way.
Whole, halves and thirds.

Lamb's language

 One day a few months ago while going through the sandpaper letters Lamb said to me, "I know all of this already, Mum". I explained that I can't know if he knows it unless he shows me which was fine at that moment but it made me wonder if I wasn't failing to see the cues for 'moving on'.
My husband's take on it was "Just move forward until you can see he's reached his limit". A friend of mine who was a teacher for many years in a whole body school which used Montessori and Waldorf activities said much the same thing except that he focused on the potential harm on not moving on in that you might miss a 'sensitive period' for the next thing or that you might inadvertently teach them that the status quo is where they should sit.

So I still do the odd beginning sounds activity with Lamb.
We used the moveable alphabet to find the beginning letters of each of these pictures (from a National Geographic Little Kids Magazine).
But the focus lately has been on three letter phonetics. I tried to use the picture cards from Montessori Print Shop to help him build the words with the moveable alphabet but he never took to that. He likes to sound them out when building rather than copy them.
We started sounding out some words in a little animal book we have and Lamb was enthralled with the idea of 'reading' so I used the phonetic picture cards to make these...
Flashcards with the word on one side to sound out and then a picture on the reverse so that Lamb can check himself if he was right. I store them in a little cardboard box that I covered with black paper for the sake of aesthetics. He loves these but is reaching the end of this too. He gets the concept so I think perhaps we're ready for blends....
I also got a couple of pre-readers from our local library. The type that repeat "I can" and "I like" and the child can work out from the picture and perhaps a first letter what the noun is. He is very much into these but after reading them twice wanted to know if there were any new ones!
So again, it's me trailing!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Mapping Tasmania

We have just spent two weeks in Tasmania. A lot of those days we were able to get out and see things but some of them we were stuck in a little holiday house. I had taken a few things with us but, with limited resources, Lamb and I decided to make a map of Tasmania....
His version was one big wobbly circle.
We plotted the points of places we had been and from the few scrapbooking things I had taken to do on the trip, we found something to use for the boat and a car. The four different coloured pegs on the car are the members of our family and we reenacted our travels around the island.

Monday, 9 May 2011

The sense of smell

For the sense of smell we had two great books.
This one if relatively basic most of the way through but it does introduce the olfactory bulb and sending messages from senses to the brain. Lamb was a bit weirded out as the olfactory bulb in the picture looks like a slater!
Lamb loved this book and we have had many conversations about allergies since. It probably goes into too much detail regarding synapses for a three and a half year old but you can skip that. It contains images from under a microscope of all of the allergens it discusses.
Both are available at Amazon Books.

We used the second as the basis for what we filled our squares with on our 5 senses chart.
Lamb drew pictures of flowers as the book discusses pollen as an allergen, we did little dots for pepper, he drew a dust mite, I drew a mushroom for mould as it's a fungi while Lamb insisted on attempting to draw the mildew as it appears in the book and we stuck a guinea fowl feather on as the book discusses down in pillows as an allergen.

Our 5 senses chart

As part of our journey through the five senses I decided to make up a chart so that we could document our observations and have it on the wall as a conversation starter whenever Lamb felt the need.
So we glued sandpaper on for 'rough', seaweed that we collected on a trip to the beach for 'slimy' (though it didn't stay that way when it dried of course), some shells for 'smooth', cotton wool for 'soft' and glitter on glue for 'gritty'.

Matisse's Snail Trail

We found this book at the library and Lamb loves it!
It's available at Amazon Books.

 I printed off some Matisse art cards from 'Montessori Print Shop' to go with it.
And we did our own collage snail!

Lamb cut all of his own pieces of paper and glued them into position.