Thursday, June 22, 2006

 

Montessori & Waldorf Homeschooling Email Intro

Here is a Montessori based math that uses stories - it has a preschool curriculum. It is absolutely wonderful!!!!! From my Masters course, I have Montessori primary school manuals from ages 6-12 and I still bought it as I needed worksheets and I saw with Letterland how stories worked with Emma. It is necessary to get one set of blocks because the material refers to it by colour and of course they used different colors than Cuisenaire rods. Also they are hollow on the bottom and this they creatively use for subtraction -(something I didn't think worked well with the Cuisenaire rods). You can come over after music one day and see the elements. There is a free demo CD which is fantastic and sold me on it. There are way more stories than on the CD too!! He teaches you on DVD and Emma watches them too. I can't say enough about this program. I am thinking of the preschool program, but want to share the cost with someone. http://www.mathusee.com/ There is a NZ distributor too. I think you have to specify if you want the bible stories for the preschool program or nursery rhymes.

Here is the intensive phonic based program we use also. It is based on phonic fables that explain the sounds made which is especially important when it comes to digraphs and rules such as the magic e and double vowels. Each character has their sound in their name and a strong personality that persists throughout learning phonics like red robot has a band of robots that steal vowels like Arthur Ar steals Annie Apple and says ar ar as he runs away. Emma learned her sounds at home mostly from listening to a CD in the car and then at 4 1/4 learned to read by discovery. Once she knew all the initial letter sounds (short vowels and consonants) words appeared on a black board and she said what's that and then I said "I don't know see if you can tell me" and she sounded it out. words turned into short phonic sentences and then paragraphs which I took from a learning to read in 21 lesson book. Learning to read in 100 lessons is at the CHE library and you can sections of the book out as you need them. But I didn't push her and she didn't want to read a book until she was 5. There is no rush and she has taken her time and gone at her own pace and is doing well now reading chapter books for 7-8 year olds. Children will do it in their own time and reading often comes to boys later.
I bought the http://www.letterland.co.nz/ which is a NZ distributor - the program in English system as the price indicates.
Also with the CDs you'll learn the sounds properly - it took me a while to learn the England/NZ English pronounciations - I have learned so much about phonics in the last few years.


I bought:
- the teacher's Guide (Primary Years ) their is a preschool version but no need as this covers all the initial sounds and blends and digraphs.
- Letterland ABC book (softback) you can get it with a CD too but I couldn't find it on the website.
- Letterland ABC CD (initial sounds sung in songs about the characters)
- handwriting CD you could get the First Handwriting Activity Pack(book and CD) for $5 more
- Blends and Digraph CD no need until they are reading - great for Spelling
- Blends and Digraph Advance CD no need until they are reading

I will buy the Advanced Phonics Teachers Manual too shortly as I want the stories to explain to Emma


At first I thought I would have a Montessori classroom and have bookshelves with materials, but I soon discovered it wasn't going to work for us. I do a mix of Waldorf and Montessori which works for Emma. A friend of mine who I did the Masters with has spent literally thousands and thousands of dollars on didactic material that she purchased off of eBay in the US and she picked up there on holiday and she just about has a full Montessori class room. She is pulling her 7 year daughter out of Nova Montessori primary school and is going to start homeschooling her old next term. Personally I have let go of that idea and realized that you don't need it and Cuisenaire rods and reading stories teach the same thing. Also making equipment is incredibly time consuming and stressful especially when they only use it once. But learning what works for our children and us is a journey we each need to take. A neighbour down the road was very similar and trying to build stuff but her son was interested and she is now using a very mainstream US Waldorf (Steiner) influenced Kindergarten program for her 5 year old (US starts 1st grade at 6) and he responds to the stories and activities much more. I too have the first grade program for Emma from this company and used it more last year for her and now have part of the second grade from a friend for her as this is more her reading level.
http://www.oakmeadow.com/ they have sample curriculum lessons online.

another wonderful more truly beautiful Waldorf/Steiner program is http://www.live-education.com/ it has samples online too.


Montessori material (print off)http://www.montessorimaterials.org/

Montessori album online (how to)
http://www.ux1.eiu.edu/~cfsjy/mts/_link.htm

Montessori materials to purchase in New Zealand
http://www.montessoridownunder.co.nz/
there is a Malaysian company too that has the maps and wood manipulatives at a reasonable price, but I'd have to look around for it.

Montessori training
if you are truly interested in Montessori then you should get yourself on the Aperfield evening preschool diploma course that the teacher do. it takes 2 years once a week and you have to write stupid regurgitate papers, but it gives the confidence that you can teach it. http://www.aperfield-montessori.co.nz/index.htm


If you are looking for Christian curriculums then there are tons and tons to select from - there are some at the CHE library in Rislinghom.


CHE (Canterbury Home Educators) is the best group to belong too http://www.che.org.nz/ they send weekly activities out via yahoo groups emailing and files and messages are kept online and they send out a list of thhe 200+ members contact info. Parents can organize any activities they want, and advertise for free in the newsletter and on yahoo groups email. Every term there are several activities at the museum, art gallery, and science alive too. People have set up swimming classes, $5 weekly ice skating times and lessons, rock climbing classes, drawing classes, language classes. Most you will find are aimed 5 and up but I take Sophie to them all and she gets something out of them and I've met some really nice people and we usually get a coffee in the museum cafe afterwards and the kids play. we also have done science alive saturday classes and do keyboard with Miss Nicky, swimming, and jazz dance. you'll see I organized a watercolour painting class and a Waldorf influenced one day school - Sophie and Gracie does the crafts with us - felting and clay mostly. We are also starting a listening based song and games (no writing or reading) Spanish class on Fridays for younger children ages 4 + in Cashmere, which Emma and Sophie will do. Adam could do it and you would meet some really nice parents that I know. there are Christian groups too if this is your thing, but everyone belongs to CHE - it does the most. It is only $25 for the year and most activities are free (museum) or like $5 (science alive, gondola) per 5+ year old kind of thing - parents free.


Library has some good Montessori books

- any book by Lillard, Paula Polk
- Teach me to do it myself : Montessori activities for you and your child by Maja Pitamic
- Hainstock, Elizabeth G. Teaching Montessori in the home : the pre-school years
- Montessori Play and learn is great too but I found most activities better for older child even if it says 3 also very time consuming to think about making the stuff
- Montessori read and write : a parent's guide to literacy for children / Lynne Lawrence fantastic I think for when they are older and reading - I used it last year with Emma at 5 and still do a little at 6.


Peggy Kaye Math Games, learning Games are great and at the library. I have purchased Reading Games and Writing Games which I use with Emma but not Sophie yet.

there are a few books I've read on the why of homeschooling many at the library and CHE has the others. I love John Holt and I have purchased a few of his books - CHE has them too. Homeschooling in New Zealand : anything you may want to know : including personal stories by Kiwis / by Anna Johnston. Updated 2005 version c2005., John Holt’s How Children Learn and How Children Fail and Learning all the time, Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto, Trust the children : a Manual and Activity Guide for Homeschooling and Alternative Learning by Anna Kealoha, Family matters : why homeschooling makes sense, by David Guterson, and Homeschooling and the voyage of self-discovery : a journey of original seeking by David H. Albert

this sounds really interesting Bittner, Terrie Lynn, 1959- Homeschooling : take a deep breath--you can do this! c2004

Dobson, Linda. Homeschooling, the early years : your complete guide to successfully homeschooling the 3- to 8-year-old child
Mary Pride's complete guide to getting started in homeschooling

Barfield, Rhonda. Real-life homeschooling : the stories of 21 families who make it work / Rhonda Barfield. c2002.


Hope it helps you on your journey. If you are like most you will find that your decision to do it will fluctuate and you will doubt your ability to do it and cope. I was a yoyo for years and in a whim when she was 5 1/4 I decided I had to try it for 3 terms before I was legally required to do anything. The first year we were all settling into it - gettitng routines and establishing connections. It has really clicked into place this last term and Emma seems much more ready at 6 1/2 to sit and write a little when asked (something she struggled with and in fact got very upset with sometimes if she made a mistake. So I decided not to force it and got her to write cards and to a fairy that writes her - we have Wanda Word Fairy, Glitter the math fairy, snow flake the snow fairy etc ). Last year we did more manipulatives and games and I read lots to her (almost entire Little House series) and we discuss the story asking questions or having her dictate back to me small sections. A puppet is also very useful for getting her engaged. I have one called Gussy the Guessor that guesses words and Emma talks to him and laughs and tells him he is guessing etc. The kids love it. I take lots of photos too as reminders and I write in a journal freeflow by date coding up the subjects on the side.

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