Thursday, September 30, 2010

First Instrument: Glockenspiel (and Japanese Folk Tale--Momotaro)

I have found the glockenspiel  (affiliate link) to be a wonderful first instrument for LD and DD. (LD has since moved on to the piano.) In our music classes, we are learning the basics of rhythm (quarter notes, eighth notes and the half note at this point).  And, I've introduced a few notes to the kids.  The first song DD learned on the glockenspiel was Bee, Bee Bumble Bee (to the tune of Rain Rain Go Away).

Last week we learned about a Japanese folk tale called Momotaro. The story is about a boy who sets off to try to defeat some giants who are destroying fishermen's boats.  Along the way, he befriends a pheasant, dog and monkey and offers to share his rice with each of them if they come with him. The animals help him defeat the giants and Momotaro brings lots of gold back to his village.  As I told the story, the kids played instruments when various characters/things were mentioned -- giants, gold, or rice. And whenever the hero of the story was mentioned, we sang his name--Momotarosan, Momotarosan.  So, this week we went over the rhythm for the bit we sing for Momotarosan and then we learned to play it on the glockenspiel:

You can find out more about the rhythm cards here.
And I've been very pleased with the glockenspiel. (affiliate link) I got mine several years ago from Amazon. It's now about $30.

You can read one version of Momotaro at, though this is not the version I used.

Disclosure:  Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

White-Tailed Deer

Sorry for yet another picture, but we're just thrilled watching the deer!  We're at a timeshare with Grams and Gramps for a few days and have been having a wonderful break.  Yesterday we spent all day at an indoor water park.  I must have gone up the stairs (about three floors) at least 25 times with LD and DD!!  Whew!  But there were no lines.  How amazing to homeschool and have the opportunity to do things like this in the off-season! By the way, ED fell asleep in the car-ride home last night, so that's why her hair is totally fly-away and disheveled!

Mom Stories: Scary Adventure on the Trail

This is another Mom-Story I'd like to share with my kids/family/friends (well for the kids, maybe I'll share this when they're MUUuuuuch older!).   It's a story about a scary drawing, potential kidnapping (and worse),  and the police!  Bear with me as I set the scene--it takes a few minutes before I get to the story itself.

When I was at university, I studied anthropology.  I started out being interested in archaeology, but in time, leaned more towards cultural anthropology.  I had an amazing and influential professor who taught West African Art. He was quirky and was a marathon runner (later in graduate school I became a marathon runner too!) and my professor told amazing, funny stories about running through the bush in Africa and the reactions he got there. As my coursework unfolded, I decided I would do my anthropology field work on east African art.  I had studied Swahili (spoken in Kenya and Tanzania).  I put in my proposal (to the anthropology department for funding), sent out feelers and was all set to go work at an art gallery in east Africa for the summer.  But in the end, our department didn't give us the information about funding soon enough for me to purchase plane tickets and I wound up having to change my topic.

I stayed closer to home and decided to do a similar project -- studying the impact of tourism on the Appalachian arts.  I bought a bus ticket, packed my backpack and headed down to Tennessee, where I chose a few small towns where I thought I might be able to do some field work.  In the end, I met some amazing people and my thesis centered around how a small town really had a connection to its past and promoted itself based on its historical identity.

But that's not really the focus of this story!  Since I didn't have a car, I decided to hike on the Appalachian Trail and visit a few small towns before determining where I would do my field work.  Off I set with a full backpack and the trail ahead of me.

As you may know, the Appalachian Trail is a 2,000 mile trail that extends from Georgia to Maine.  The area I was hiking had beautiful mountains. The rhododendrons were in full bloom, but it was misty and foggy up on the mountain.  After a few days of hiking north, I was hiking through the fog, when I came across a man and his son who were heading south.  The man was very concerned that I was hiking alone and told me their story:

The night before last, he told me, he and his son were awoken in the middle of the night by the police whose guns were drawn.  They were looking for a man who was somewhere along the Appalachian Trail. The police weren't looking for him, but he had the feeling he knew who they were looking for.  He went on to tell me that  he and his son had come across another female hiker the day or so before who, like me, was heading north.  He, his son, and this young woman (a nurse) sat together to eat lunch before continuing on their way in separate directions.  From out of the woods -- not from the trail, mind you, but actually out of the woods -- came a disheveled man who had no backpack.  This sent warning bells off for the man.  He tried to hint to the nurse to head on her way. He hoped to keep the man there.  But she didn't head out until they all had to push off. The other man said he was heading north too.  Anyway, the man told me, something obviously happened.  I don't know what, but  you'd better be careful, he told me, as the police are still looking for him.

With that, they trekked on and I was very, very nervous.  I decided to head into the next town (which was reachable that day as it was about 10 miles away) .  But for hours, I hiked alone in the mist and fog feeling very spooked about who might lurk around the next corner.

After hours of hiking, I came to one of the shelters and looked through the log book.  What I saw scared me! It was dated from sometime earlier in the day.  There was a picture of a cat, holding a knife that was dripping with blood. The caption on this drawing said "I am the cat and I'm out to kill."

OH MY GOODNESS! Let me tell you -- I felt real fear!  I crammed my snack back into my pack and practically ran down the trail and then off down the road into the next town.

When I arrived down into town, I found a cheap motel to stay for the night.  I came across some other hikers who had been hiking south and had come in from the other direction on the trail.  They too had a story to share with me. They too knew that the police were looking for someone. That night before, they told me, they awoke in the middle of the night to some crashing in the woods.  From out of no-where came a man with a grocery bag full of food (NO backpack!).  Then he trekked back into the woods and brought a sleeping bag, laid it down in the shelter and went to sleep.  The three young men were really scared and as soon as dawn arrived, they packed up as quickly as they could and made there way to the nearest house. The other man stirred and also headed out, but not with them.  From there they called the police to tell them what they had seen.  Well, they told me, that was enough for them.  They had gotten off the trail, called one of their brothers to come and get them.

Well, that was enough for me too.  I got a ride WAY away from that part of the trail and headed back to a town that I felt had a lot of potential for my field work.  I was dropped about 8 or 10 miles from town and felt like I could make that last bit into town. Who did I come across, but the man and his son again.  They shared a few more details.  I also met another hiker who had a few more details to share with us about the nurse.

When she and the strange man headed out, they chatted for a little ways before the man said that he had to go and he tramped off into the woods (not along the trail, but just off into the wilderness).  The nurse had a funny feeling and tried to hurry on her way.  A bit farther on, the man jumped out at her, duct-taped her mouth and wrapped her hands. Somehow, she managed to get her hands free, ripped off the duct-tape and talked her way out of the situation.  She pointed out that many people had seen them together and people could identify him.  Somehow she got away and fled down the trail and got to safety.  She and others gave the police descriptions of the man.

I thought that was that -- I got to town, stayed at a camp ground, did some amazing field work, heard some outrageous and fascinating stories about the area and the past...  One day, I was going into a nursing home to visit with someone.  It was the only 10 minutes of TV I saw all summer and do you know what it was?  The news had a brief story about a man who had attacked a female hiker earlier that summer and he had finally been apprehended by police and was awaiting sentencing!

To know how close I was to the whole situation, how I heard the story unfold piece by piece was very scary!  But how amazing to know the outcome as well!  My adventurous spirit had taken me closer to danger than I ever cared to face again!

Now, that didn't stop me from doing things on my own.  I went on to join the Peace Corps and had my own adventures there. But nothing that ever scared me quite like that!

Oh and by the way, my studies about Appalachia led me to a deep appreciation for American history... which led me to a new interest and passion in history, to teaching history in a private boarding school, and studying history in graduate school!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fabulous Fall

We had fun on our nature walk and found such beautiful things!!  We have a full grocery bag of acorns and pine cones for crafts in the coming weeks.  The kids have never seen fall leaves (and Daddy and I haven't seen fall for 14 years or so!)  It is so, so amazing to be experiencing autumn again!  Gorgeous!  And the kids are so excited to see the white-tailed deer up close. 
I love this explanation of why leaves change color from nature detectives.  It's five pages and is appropriate for early elementary (even DD, age 5 can understand a lot of it). It's a great website.
These white-tailed deer were very tame, but it made me sad to see people feeding them cheese doodles and potato chips (goodness, I don't like to feed that stuff to my kids very often!!).  I feel like "the big bad Mom" telling the kids not to feed them people food.  I guess a lot of people feel otherwise.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Mosquito Life Cycle

We've had a lot of mosquito larvae in our make-shift frog/toad habitat.  We watched a fascinating,  informative video about the mosquito's life cycle here.  We didn't know that the mosquito larvae breathe through a tube at the surface of the water.  Also we learned that mosquito eggs can live through the winter and hatch in the spring.

Meanwhile, we have about 20-25 tadpoles that have survived in our habitat and are growing larger.  LD in particular has kept close tabs on them!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Japan: Geography, Music and Culture Unit (PreK; Grade 2)

The theme of our music class these next two or three weeks is Japan.  Each week we sang the continent song together.  This week, we pulled out a new kind of map, a Montessori flag map.  We learned where Japan was located and placed the flags we knew on the map.  Then everybody piled outside to do a scavenger hunt for Japanese flags. (from Japanese Flag printables)

We then looked at the photos and listened to the beautiful music that our Japanese friend suggested to us.  This is from his hometown:
Furusato (my home town):  
Last week we talked about the story of the Daruma Dolls. This is more or less what I shared with the kids (you can find something more accurate than this here!) According to the legend, Bodhidharma (the founder of Zen Buddhism) went into a deep meditation for nine years. In order to stay awake, he cut off his eyelids and threw them onto the ground whereupon they became tea plants.  He sat and sat and thought and thought.  After some years, his legs atrophied and fell off!  More time passed as he meditated. Then his arms fell off.  So the Daruma dolls you see have no  no eyelids, arms or legs. These days, artist hand paint  Daruma dolls and sell them at the temple.   When you make a goal, wish or New Year's resolution, you color in the left eye.  When you have achieved your goal or the wish comes true, you color in the right eye.

Here are some photos of the Daruma Dolls:

I got a lot of my information on this Daruma activity from this website:
Lesson plans on Japan K-3 and here is the Template for the daruma doll that the kids made above.

Daruma Game (from here)
**You say the poem and two people sit across from one another. One person has to try to make the other serious, contemplative person laugh. 
Daruma-san, Daruma-san
Nira Miko Shimasho
Waratara Dame Yo
Ichi Ni San Shi Go

(Mr. Daruma, Mr. Daruma
Let us stare at each other
You had better not laugh!)

After talking with our friend from Japan and seeing the interesting things he allowed us to borrow, the kids were excited to learn more about Japan.  LD begged to do more crafts AND a lapbook on Japan.  So guess what I did (quickly, quickly??)  I put together an impromptu unit on Japan! 

We Made Fans with a Japan Theme:  Mount Fuji is the most famous and revered mountain in Japan.  It is admired for its height, shape, and beauty, and has featured in Japanese poems and paintings since ancient times. (according to the British Museum)

We looked at these examples of Mt. Fuji in Japanese art and then the kids made their own fans:


print from the Brisith Museum

Here we are working on Koi kites.  I got a lot of great ideas from the crafty classroom.

Families with boys hang koi kites out on 'boys day' one for each boy.  The largest kite is hung on top representing the oldest boy. The koi (or carp) represents courage or perseverance. The koi has to struggle and makes its way upstream and each family hangs the kite in hopes that their sons will grow up brave and strong. (for more information and craft ideas go to activity village )

You can use streamers, but I couldn't find ours and had lots of left-over ribbon from another project.
 Our friend recommended a few you-tube videos for us to listen to.  Next week, we'll listen to the Cherry Blossom piece and dance around with streamers/ribbons.
Songs: All of these songs are the ones we [my friend from Japan] traditionally sing at schools mainly for the lower grade levels:
Sakura (cherry blossom): 
Aka-tombo (red dragonfly): 
Shiki no uta (song of four seasons):

We haven't yet done origami, but plan to use some of the ideas from here

Here's a nice coloring page:
Children Around the World: Japan

And here are a few more websites that our friend suggested to us for our unit on Japan.
Kids web Japan: a very good Japanese resource: 
Web Japan: The parent site for the Kids Web Japan.  Wider spectrum of information is available.
Origami Club: an amazing site for the origami lovers, teachers, and parents for K-12. Tons of downloadable diagrams and step-by-step 3D Interactive directions.
 Our friend let us borrow his Kendama.  You can do simple tricks, catching it on one of the bowls or on the spike at the top.  There are some pretty amazing tricks people do if you look through you-tube for "extreme kendama"!

Simple kendama tricks can be seen here:

LD has been working away and has now been able to catch the ball on the biggest and medium bowls.
In the meantime, we'll keep working on our lapbooks and will share them at some point in the next couple of weeks. We've used lots of lapbook activities from lapbook lessons. And there are more Japan unit ideas here.
Japanese numbers 1-10

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mom Stories -- Attack of the Bees

Everyone has amazing stories that make them unique and interesting.  I've had the itch for a long time to write down some of my stories for the kids.  I had this "I can do it" moment on Sunday morning when I realized I could write up a few stories on the blog, collect them in a folder and sometime compile them for the kids.  Why the blog?  Well, this is my hobby and my journal (I kept a written journal since 5th grade, though now it's in this electronic format.) I can copy, paste and edit later... and with the blog, I'm more likely to "just do it" than on a hidden folder on my computer.  So without further ado here's the first (and hopefully not last) of my Mom stories, dedicated to LD, DD and ED.

[In my story use the terms bees/yellow jackets interchangeably, though obviously yellow jackets are not the same as honey bees.]

When I was in college, I took a job as a camp counselor at a girl scout camp.  I almost always worked in the horse units.  Towards the end of the summer, I was the head counselor for the oldest group of girls.  At the end of their session, we took the girls on a long trail ride along a lake. It was an out and back trail.

The head horse instructor was at the front of the line.  I was at the end (on one of the less reliable horses).  As we approached a rocky area of the trail, the horses slowed as they picked their way across an area that had a whole bunch of  8-15 inch rocks. There seemed to be a bit of a commotion and I realized we had stirred up a yellow jacket's nest.  A yellow jacket got caught in one girl's hair and stung her on the neck, and another stung one of the horses, but otherwise we got through unscathed.

Not too long after that we took a break for lunch.  I talked to the other counselor and tried to persuade her not to go back down that same trail, to go around the area where the yellow jacket's nest was. I could see that the bees had been quite stirred up.  She wasn't to be convinced, though.

Let me interject this before I go on with my story. When I was seventeen just a few years before, a friend of mine went canoeing with her brother.  He got bit by a spider and died of anaphylactic shock. So, I knew allergies could be deadly. I asked the girls if anyone was allergic to bees and one girl raised her hand.  I took mental note and then off we went.

I was still at the end of the line of horses.  The ride went fine until we came to that same rocky area.  I looked up to see a horse rear into the air and a girl come flying off her horse. I quickly got off my horse and handed the reins to one of the girls in front of me.  I went up to see the girl who had said she was allergic to bees COVERED in bees. Her helmet was just one solid mass of yellow jackets.  I told her to fling her helmet off and I started grabbing bees off her shirt with my hands.  I was just brushing them off her as fast as I could.  Bees were flying into my face as I leaned over her.  After some minutes (1? 3? 5?) I hollered "run" as the bees were still swarming up.  I kept sweeping the bees off her as best I could. I was utterly panicked as this, I felt, could be life threatening to this girl.  All I wanted was to save this girl and get the bees off of her.

Eventually we got all the bees off of her.  She had only been stung once.  We managed to get the rest of the girls and my horse (who had broken his reins in his panic) around that spot and headed back to the pick-up site.  I immediately started swelling -- everywhere.  I had 50? 75? 100? stings on my face, hands, arms, down my shirt, on my back.  I had to take my watch off as my wrist started swelling up enormously.  At one point I remember we stopped alongside the lake and I dunked my hands, arms and face into the cool waters.  My skin felt very hot.

Finally, we made it back to the pick up point.  We had radioed the camp ahead of time and told the camp director of our troubles.  They met us there, but I still directed girls telling them where to put their horses, how to take off their tack and so forth.  I remember being miffed (internally).  Why didn't they take over for me?  But I think I had that huge calm that comes with a big shock and scare. The camp director said I was handling it all so well she didn't want to step in.

I assume I was taken to the hospital (though I don't remember if that's true). I'll have to ask my family!  The girl who said she was allergic -- in the end wasn't. (She had been stung once and swelled slightly.  And of course the camp director pointed out they would have sent an epi-pen with us if she had been allergic. Of course, I didn't know or think about that at the time.) So, thankfully she was alright!   And I was just fine too (just a bit swollen and grotesque looking -- perhaps still am, right guys?!).

So, that's my bee story. Hope to share another story with you soon.

Piggy Bank Counting; Odd Man Out (odd-even game)

Piggy bank counting --
In this activity, the kids each had their own sets of coins and 'piggy bank.'  (DD had nickles and pennies; LD had quarters, dimes, nickles and pennies.)

LD tossed his coins onto his piggy bank.  He got to 'keep' the ones that were heads up.  He sorted those and got rid of all the ones on 'tails."

Before counting his coins he had to trade in his pennies for dimes or nickles at the bank (the tray in the picture below.)

Sorting out the coins he got to keep (those coins on heads)
LD is counting out 10 pennies to trade at the bank for a dime.
Odd Man Out -- I had never gone over the concept of odd and even with DD.  Today was the day.  To reinforce these concepts, I pulled out 6 tiles.  She had to roll the die, get that number of tiles and determine whether each counter had a partner (even) or if one was alone/the odd man out (odd). Pretty simple, right?!

We played this game at least 30 times, so I guess she liked it!

Eventually we decided to keep a tally of how many times even or odd came up.  And then we turned it into a competition to see who won on each side (who won the even side; who won the odd side).

Monday, September 20, 2010

Enjoying Time in the Woods

On Monday we spent several hours out in the woods exploring.  The weather is perfect -- low humidity and comfortable 70-80 degrees (22-25 C or so).
Do you have those -- knock your hand against your head moments?  Well we suddenly realized why these are called Yellow Poplars!

(Below that is a purple maple leaf DD wanted in the picture as well!)

There aren't anywhere near as many mushrooms out in the woods these days, but we did come across this pretty one.
I have no idea what kind of a tree this is, but the way the sunlight was catching these lacy looking berries was just beautiful.
Just watch out for the thorns on the trunk of that berry tree!! Ouch!
The kids were so industrious.  LD was building a "trap." DD was making a complicated map.  And ED was drawing animals in the dirt.

Pets Theme -- Patterns, Countin' Whiskers Blindfold Game, Colors

This week ED and DD are going with a pet theme for some of their activities. Even before I could finish printing things out DD was bursting at the seams to play!

This is a pattern matching game from  (a paid website whose graphics and activity ideas are wonderful and well worth the membership fees for us -- ages 2-6 or so -- we use it all the time and it is always one of my first "go to" sites.).

After playing the stripes/spots matching game at least 4 or 5 times, we talked about the patterns she saw.  Then I handed these blank kitty/doggy pages and told her to design her own patterned pets (while I rushed off to do other things).  Here's what DD came up with (ED just colored, obviously!)
Some of my best ideas come in the peace and quiet of the shower!!  This activity is just to reinforce basic numbers and counting.  DD was blindfolded and had to pick up a number, feel it and then put that number of whiskers on her cat.  Lots and lots of giggles resulted and I think we just tried to make the craziest cat! Everyone wanted a turn (and another and another!) We all helped ED count the whiskers as she put them on her page.
Kidssoup had a kitty-poem and these colored kitties.  The poem was about a cat that changes colors as she eats different foods.  As I read the poem, ED had to pick up the correct colored kitty and hold it in her hand.  She did really well (though LD and DD couldn't resist helping her out a number of times.  I had to shush them so ED could do it independently.)

We'll have a few more pet-related activities as the week goes on.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Math Gameboards and other stuff

It's been a long time since I mentioned these math gameboards from The School Bell.  DD and I have played these addition fact games.

Let's say DD and I were playing on the 5s gameboard. DD drew a 5 card, then she would move her piece to the next 0.  On my turn, if I drew a 4, I would move my piece to the next 1 on the board. The first player to have their piece in the final circle wins the game. 

Here are the gameboards and worksheet from The School Bell (on the right in the picture above) that LD and I have used lately.

I haven't been writing much about other things partly because they don't take good pictures! We read about 6-10 picture books each day. We sneak books in pretty much anytime, but especially when we're eating around the dining room table.  We read lots of Caldecott award winning books together along with other good picture books.  We got a huge lot (of about 75 or 80) Newberry winners.  They are longer chapter books and I've let LD choose what interests him. We're reading the Whipping Boy  now (I read those aloud.). I've been pre-reading the books myself (I sure loved Caddie Woodlawn and can't wait to read that with the kids sometime! I was really touched by Wringer, but suspect I'll wait a couple of years before sharing that with LD (found it really touched upon being humane and making the difficult choice to stand up to what you believe in.) Meanwhile, LD continues to work through the Magic Treehouse books by himself.  He seems to love those books and they've generated a lot of interest in history in general.

We're busy with lots of outside activities now -- soccer (LD), gymnastics (LD and a tot-class for ED), dance class (DD), music classes (for all three), homeschool group (all three) and other endless opportunities!   LD is still learning the piano.  We keep meaning to start back with science experiments, but for some reason I haven't had the planning time I've needed.  I'm thinking I should go back and simply repeat a lot of the ones we did last year (but I haven't even done that and we're already 6 weeks into the semester!)  There's never a shortage of science-based activities here at the homeschool den, but LD especially loves that hands on element.

Meanwhile, I continue to try to make a blueberry garden--digging out the grass/sod, beating the sod to get rid of the dirt, trying to loosen the soil, etc. [Later: I just had to add these pictures of ED helping me in her princess garb.  Too cute!!] It's slow, tedious and semi-strenuous work.  Unpacking is still an unfinished job.  Ugh.  I might spent an hour or two tackling one area of the house, but then the kids doing their creative things elsewhere, which usually winds up meaning HUGE cleanup times.  Creative messes, as I like to tell myself.  There just seem to be so many projects we need to tackle (putting gutter-guards over the rain gutters to keep out leaves is one of Daddy's big projects, for example). 

We're slowly meeting people and making friends, though I have to admit there are lots of times I'm still quite lonely.  We might have quality time with friends and the kids have a good play or fun at their activities, but somehow it's not been enough for me personally (just to chat, commiserate and complain with good friends).  I know that's often the life of homeschoolers as we've chosen such a different path to most, but I feel it more acutely as I have no contact with my Australian friends (time differences and such) and have yet to make those close connections here. It's also so different since Daddy is gone for such long, long hours.  So, there's my complaining for the moment.  I try to be positive about most things, but boy transitions are hard, right? Sigh...

Ending on a positive note, the kids just love, love the woods and creek area here near the house and we continue to see all kinds of amazing critters.  There were a dozen bats circling overhead the other evening.  LD has a little toad habitat he's been keeping (he always lets the frogs go since we learned their skin can be toxic to other little critters).  And today, for example, the kids saw a box turtle.   What a beautiful and special world we live in!
I thought this was so cute -- I know Grams is probably cringing seeing ED in her princess dress and sparkle shoes, but she was so determined to help, I thought it was adorable!
And with help like this, what Mom wouldn't smile?!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Australia -- Music and Culture

 In our music class we are covering music from different places around the world.  Easiest for me was starting with some music from Australia!  I talked more about this in another post below.  One of the outside activities everyone did this past week was to make their own dot painting.

The picture on the left is a dot painting that we bought in central Australia about 10 years ago.  It was useful in giving the kids examples of some of the aboriginal symbols (such as the U shape with a line -- representing man), the star shape with white blobs (which is a bush with witchetty grubs inside, the stream on waterhole (looks like a target), etc.  If you google aboriginal symbols, you'll find better examples (and images) than I can explain with words.

Anyway, the kids spent a couple of hours making their own dot paintings and decorating rhythm sticks.  They shared it during the 'show and tell' portion of class.  Everyone had a great time again -- especially with the active music games (1 and 20, London Bridge, In the Woods, a musical version of "duck, duck goose and more!)
DD's dot painting
LD's rhythm stick including various aboriginal symbols.

Here are a few other Australia-related resources we used if you're doing a unit on Australia.
Australian animal flashcards (includes wombat, emu, platypus, kookaburra and more)

Australian flag printables 

Children Around the World: Australia

Next week we're off to Japan for more music and culture there!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Math Activities

Here was a quick math activity for DD. The princess bookmarks were from here.
It had been a while since LD did this place value activity, so I added this in to our other activities.  I really like the purple paper beads which I printed out from here. I bound 10 sets of 100s with a brad to make a 1000 bead bunch.  While we also have actual Montessori beads, I've used this set lots and lots. You can see in the picture that LD had to build the number by laying the thousands on the bottom, then 100s, tens and units.
LD did a number of other activities as well -- work in a math workbook, work with me with our Right Start Math curriculum and a math game (yet another round of Fast Track!)

Monday, September 13, 2010

3D Castle Maze

LD read a book called "The Knight at Dawn" and decided he wanted to do some sort of knight-related craft.  We built castles.  I mostly did the big castles (with bits of help from the kids) while they used the scraps to build elaborate small castles (which unfortunately this photo totally obscures!)

Dad used the castles as the entrance and exit of an elaborate 3-D maze. It became more and more elaborate as the weekend wore on!
This wasn't part of an elaborate unit, but LD did request lots of books on castles and knights which we checked out from the library.