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The story of our precious little girl's 17 months of life with Trisomy 18 (July 4, 2010 - December 15, 2011) and of us, re-learning to live "after Lilly."
"I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made ...." Psalm 139:14

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Some homeschool helps and more Montessori activities

This has been my best year ever, as far as planning and organizing for homeschool.  It's a shame it's taken me so long to get to this point.  (I started schooling Tabby 8 years ago.)  Though really every year I try new methods.

I spend a chunk of time on Saturdays typing out all the assignments for the next week.  This saves so much time and stress during the busy week itself.  I am using Ambleside Online's curriculum schedule for the bulk of our day, and adding in other things of our own choosing.  I print out my assignment lists and keep them in a binder.  Of course I had to embellish the cover of my binder - I used some vintage clip art:

I haven't figured out how to post documents in my blog, so maybe these pictures will work well enough for you to see examples the assignment pages I made.  This is Hunter's schedule for one week (I use the same method for Tabby):

After I am finished and print out the week's schedule, I load up a tote with Hunter's schoolwork for Monday:

I load up Tabby's work too, using the workbox method.  (see here for Sue Patrick's Workbox System. I started using workboxes years ago with Tabby, as the method really helps her.)

There is a separate drawer for each assignment.  A card (which I made) shows the subject:

When Tabby has completed her work for a subject, she turns the card over (they are secured by velcro dots):

If it is a subject that she will be working with me on, I add an extra card indicating that:

I have a stack of workboxes for Hunter too, though at this point, I use his for storing his curriculum.  It really saves time each evening when I am loading up the tote with his work for the next day:

Sue Patrick recommends open boxes on carts for this system, but Tabby felt it was too cluttery and overwhelming looking.  So we use two "6-drawer mobile organizers" from Staples, that are stacked and taped together.

The week before last, I introduced a new Montessori activity to Solomon each day.  For Monday, I gave him an "acorn sensory bin" (I got the idea from here).  It has popcorn kernels, acorns, and pine cones in it.  (Solomon helped me pick up acorns the day before.)  And I gave him a tray of scoops and pouring devices.  (Looking back, I probably gave him too many.)

I instructed him he was to keep the everything off the floor and in the bin.  He did pretty well with that on that day.  But another day, he was playing and suddenly started throwing and kicking the corn and acorn all over the place.  That session was ended abruptly!

Tuesday we did color matching.  I took some colored pieces of foam sheets and stapled them to make a pocket.  I used a green piece of felt because I didn't have foam in that color.  (I had seen some really nice, sewn ones on Etsy for sale which is where I got the idea.  Mine were not nearly as nice, but they worked.)  I used marker to color the popsicle sticks:

Solomon had some trouble getting the stick into the felt pocket.  The foam was so much better because it slid in easily.

When he was finished, he got the corn/acorn sensory bin back out and played with everything a long time.  He added his stacking/nesting cups to the game:

Wednesday was another color sorting activity.  I took a really neat vintage wooden silverware holder that I had gotten on Ebay, cut colored foam pieces for the slots, got out the little balls and a strawberry huller.  He used the huller to pick up the balls to match to the correct colors:

Solomon has gotten good at matching colors.  But he still doesn't usually get the names of each one right.  So we continue to point out colors of stuff throughout the day.

After he played with this color game a few times, out came the clothesline again.  I continue to be surprised at how much he likes this activity:

Thursday we practiced sorting "big" and "little."  I made signs for them on cardstock and gave Solomon a number of sets of things so he could separate them into big and little piles.  He really liked this and even when he had finished what I gave him, went around the room and gathered up more things to separate.

Friday was easy.  I gave Solomon a book - Montessori Number Work

This is such a neat book.  After counting objects on a page, you turn the page and it shows the number of those objects.  The number is a sandpaper number that is large and you trace it with your finger.  Solomon goes through this book most every day now.  Sometimes with me, but he usually likes to look at it by himself.

I haven't given Solomon any new activities since then.  He has been happy continuing to do those same activities over and over each day.  Plus his cousins gave him some train tracks and Thomas trains to play with, so he has been busy with those.

 As if I don't have enough pictures already in today's post, I am going to add a few more.  Since this is the time of year that colorful leaves on the ground are plentiful, I wanted to share a fun book that is full of ideas of leaf pictures to make.  Look What I Did With a Leaf! by Morteza E. Sohi.

Here is an example of one of the book's creative leaf designs:

 I showed this book to Hunter recently and then we went outside to gather leaves. I made some weird animal creatures:

I sort of expected Hunter to do the same.  But instead he made a leaf machine.  (What in the world was I thinking??!!)

"May the beauty of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—    yes, establish the work of our hands." - Psalm 90:17


  1. That made me "LOL" ...... I continue to be fascinated by the drawing Hunter sent to Dennis.
    Your leaf animals are spectacular! Hope to see you soon.

    1. It's funny how much fun making leaf animals was. I do love doing creative things when I take the time for it. Wish we could see you when you are up here next week.

  2. Neat leaf machine. I'm sending you my analysis.

    1. Hunter had me print out your analysis and continued to chuckle over it and be impressed the rest of the day. :)

  3. WOW you are so organized, I wish I could just come over for a day and pick your brain! Are you sitting with Solomon while he is doing his activities or are you sitting nearby doing something else? Great are project, it was so hard to throw our leaf projects away when they had dried and withered;(

    1. The organization has been a long time coming! I get Solomon started on his activities, showing him how to do it, and then watching while he works for a few minutes. Then he continues and I am in the same room. That's when I am doing schoolwork with Hunter. I showed Hunter ya'lls leaf projects before we went outside to collect leaves. He liked them too!