Archive for the 'Homeschooling' Category

May 27 2008

Land & Water Forms

Published by under Homeschooling


Models of island, lake, peninsula, gulf, cape, bay, isthmus, strait, systems of lake, archipelago.
Control cards, picture cards, name slips and definition cards.
cise 1
The child must at least do 4 la

Presentation 1

2 models – island and lake
jug filled with water and a sponge

First stage
1. Put 1 model in front of the child and tell him for example “This is an island. An island is a piece of land surrounded by water.” Ask the child to say island
2. Teacher then pours water into the model and repeats the above. Child can feel the water.
3. Put the next model in front of the child, tell him “This is a lake. Lake is an area of water surrounded by land. Can you say lake?”
4. Either the child or the teacher pour the water into the model.

Second stage
1. Place both the models in front of the child. Ask the child to show you the island and the lake. Mix around and repeat a few times.

Third stage
1. Put 1 model in front of the child and ask him to tell you what it is. Do likewise for the next.

To teach names of land & water forms.

The photos above also shows the variation of the activities, including matching the land and water forms to the picture cards. And when we do such activities at home, we can be quite messy and not so well organized like in a school environment.

4 responses so far

May 14 2008

Metal Insets

Months ago, WH’s teacher has commented about his readiness to write. I’m very well aware that he’s not quite ready as in his motor skill in griping the pencil and putting the right force to write on a paper. When the school term started early this year, he was only 3 plus. I wasn’t too worry about his unreadiness and told the teacher to go slow with him.

Meantime, what we do at home is to get him to work on the metal insets.

I have these 2 sets at home. They are like the Montessori school metal insets but the different is that these are made of plastic. It’s more like a stencil. The normal metal insets are really made of metal and they are heavy and space consuming. If you buy the metal ones, they usually comes with 2 stands, which I do not have space at home for that. I keep these stencils in a box instead. The yellow/orange set was an earlier set I’ve got. It only have 6 shapes, the normal one would be 10. Later I manage to scout one the 10 pieces one.

After tracing, he would let his imagination runs wild and proceed to draw something out of the shape he had traced.

Even JS works with the inset to produce some pictures.

I used to cut the A4 paper to size of the frame, but notice that I actually waste a lot of paper (the left over part of the A4 size paper, as I can only cut 2 squares out of it), hence later, I just let them trace on whatever paper there is at home.

A little info about the metal insets:

The metal insets are a traditional Montessori material. Dr. Montessori analyzed the movements which are connected with writing and developed the Metal Insets for directly preparing the child for handwriting. The Metal Insets (ten metal insets and frames) exercises strengthening the three finger grip and coordinate the necessary wrist movements.

Concentrated work with the metal insets leads to a refinement of the small muscle groups used in handwriting and gives the child mastery of all the movements required to form the letters of the alphabet in cursive writing. At the same time, use of this work reinforces recognition of the geometric shapes.

The aim of this material is:

  • To provide a kinesthetic preparation for handwriting.
  • To develop hand-eye coordination.
  • To acquire control and develop concentration.

Physical Description:

The material is a set of 10 square metal, reddish colored frames with blue metal geometric figures inside each frame, five made from straight lines (triangle, square, rectangle, trapezoid and pentagon) and five from curved lines (circle, oval, ellipse, curvilinear triangle, quatrefoil). On each blue shape is a small knob, and the insets are usually kept on two sloping wooden stands.

Use by child:
The child used paper cut the same size as the inset frame and colored pencils to complete their inset work. The geometric shape is first traced and then filled in with colored pencil. Later when concentration is further developed filling in of the shape becomes more detailed as the child uses patterns and multiple colors. To further heighten the complexity, a child might trace two or more of the same shape making multiple sections prior to filling in.

3 responses so far

May 07 2008

Latest Book Collection

Published by under Homeschooling

This is my latest book collections. It’s hard to find any books on Montessori in Chinese and I’m glad to have found this set. It’s more for homeschooling, very practical activities are suggested in these book. 4 books in a set, each book targeting different age group. It’s some simple activities, unlike the crazy me you go buy so many materials for homeschooling.

For a change, it’s refreshing to read something in Chinese.

5 responses so far

Apr 29 2008

HomeSchool – Unschooling

Published by under Homeschooling

What I could understand about homeschool is that the child is kept away from school and learned from home, guided by their parents or guardian and that they are taught in the home under the supervision of correspondence schools or umbrella schools with an approved curriculum. To me it’s just like going to school, learning what you learned in school but in a homeschool case, instead of school but learning at home.

Recently I found out that there’s also a term call UNSCHOOLING which is a curriculum-free philosophy of homeschooling. Unschooling is a method of education that do not resemble schools, primarily indicating that they do not rely heavily on textbooks or spend much time at desks. The parents actively conduct the children’s education, using a variety of resources.

Parents who unschooled their children do not authoritatively direct the child’s education, but interact with the child following the child’s own interests, leaving them free to explore and learn as their interests lead. “Unschooling” does not indicate that the child is not being educated, but that the child is not being “schooled”, or educated in a rigid school-type manner.

Children learn through the experiences of life, parents should live their lives with their child. This interest-led or child-led learning, unschooling attempts are to follow opportunities as they arise in real life, through which a child will learn without coercion. An unschooled child may utilize texts or classroom instruction, but these are not considered central to education. Holt asserted that there is no specific body of knowledge that is, or should be, required of a child. Unschooling advocates believe that children learn best by doing; a child may learn reading to further an interest about history or other cultures, or math skills by operating a small business or sharing in family finances. They may learn animal husbandry keeping dairy goats or meat rabbits, botany tending a kitchen garden, chemistry to understand the operation of firearms or the internal combustion engine, or politics and local history by following a zoning or historical-status dispute

Children who are unschooled choose how, when, why, and what they pursue. Parents who unschool their children act as “facilitators,” providing a wide range of resources, helping their children access, navigate, and make sense of the world, and aiding them in making and implementing goals and plans for both the distant and immediate future. Unschooling expands from children’s natural curiosity as an extension of their interests, concerns, needs, goals, and plans.

At one point of time, before I knew about unschooling, I was a little worried that my method to teach my children is a little laid back. I do not have a rigid schedule to say they must read a particular book per day, or do writing or what so ever. My method is very child led. They tell me what they want to do and I act as an facilitator. You may ask, will they learned? Would they be left far behind their peer? You will be surprise, they do learn and they learn at their own pace. Sometimes you get so tense up why they still don’t know what you expect them to know,, but if you let them go by their own pace, you will be surprise that they do learn there’s actually nothing much to worry about.

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Mar 28 2008

Our First Leap In SWR

Published by under Homeschooling

I was very gungho wanted to teach JS phonics the Montessori way at home (at one point I was so gungho about the homeschool thing) until Leah introduce this SWR program to me and I’m glad she did. As I found out if I were to use the I know if I were to use the Montessori pink scheme, blue scheme and green scheme to start with phonics, that’s going to take a little long while for JS to master spelling.

I have got this SWR kit for slightly over a year now, if I have started the day I got it, I think I would have see a very good result in JS already. However I did not. I took too long to read the book and digest it. Somehow , all those words and pages in the manual/guide just scared/put me off. Perhaps the old brain is not working to well, I find it hard to comprehend and master it in order to have the confident to start.

Before I got this kit, JS has been exposed to phonics ( a very wrong phonics approach ) and I do not how to undo what she has learned. I kind of lost confident there and got stuck at the preparatory stage. And for a VERY VERY long time, we are stuck at the phonetic awareness phase. We didn’t progress, she’s still learning to read through the very visual and conventional way ( I told you , the school phonics don’t work , neither do Smart Reader) and obviously she can’t really spell.

Then Leah is kind enough to run a workshop for us, mummies not long ago. I have gained more confident after seeing her demonstrating the method, but still didn’t progress. (Why I dili deleh, I didn’t know) Then I saw MG’s blog on her girl’s composition, it’s quite an achievement of a homeschooler. That pressed the panic button in me. I started to say “”sei foh loh” my girl can’t even write simple sentence. I must really do something more proactively” . Talk about letting the kids learn in at their own pace, I guess there’s still a little kiasu-ism in me, whatever , I think besides letting them their own pace, I have to put in the effort to guide as well and clearly I have not put in enough effort and time, my approach was way too relax.
So I dug out the kit and really work with JS. The first step is always hard to take, but once you leap out the first step, it will be on track. Just like what Leah told me “You don’t need to master the program to use it. You just need to be ONE step ahead of your student” , I must say I wasn’t convince. But now I realize it’s through. Mastery only comes with experience. If you never start , you will never going to master it.

So the first very first 15 minutes lesson ( I don’t count the previous lessons as it was not consistent) I’ve introduced 20 and more than 20 sounds. (The 26 letters has 45 sounds). It wasn’t that hard, I do not have to follow the lesson plan of 4 letters a day, because she has known the basic 26 sounds, I just add in the extra ones as well as covers a few rules. Right after that we did a simple spelling test and she got all correct.

So that’s our very first lesson, tomorrow we shall continue with the remaining 6 alphabets plus revision of the 20 we have done today and very quickly we will move to consonant/vowel and then the next leverl of sh, th, oo, ee, er.

After the first lesson today when she has completed the spelling and got all correct, she feels so elated and she actually wanted to do more , but I think that’s enough for today as she needs to remember the few new sounds that I have introduced.

But both of us are very motivated now. Anyhow this is just the very first step and I need to persevere

4 responses so far

Nov 03 2007

PLE – Sorting Marbles

Published by under Homeschooling

Sorting out the colors of marble with tongs for JS and by hand for WH as the tong is a little too big for him to handle and I’m afraid that he might poke his eyes if he’s not careful

3 responses so far

Sep 20 2007

Division Board

Published by under Homeschooling

When I first received the four operation boards, JS was very excited and want to work with each and everyone of it. She’s particularly interested in the division board. I told her she’s not ready for that as I have not even introduce multiplication with the short bead stairs with her. But she insisted and I let her have a try. We turned it into a game instead. Division is about sharing, so we made it into a sharing game. And the outcome is that it’s really fun activity. Even WH wanted to try.

This board game includes some human like skittle and the beads. So JS would imagine the beads as something she wanted to share out and the skittles would be the person she wants to share the things with.

I introduced her to the division sign and taught her how to do recording.

3 responses so far

Sep 19 2007

Teaching Maths The Montessori Way

Published by under Homeschooling

Initially I find teaching JS maths the montessori way at home a little difficult. I was stuck and do not know where to start and not able to follow the sequence as what I had learned during my course. The reason being that she has been in a conventional school since age 4, which means numerals were taught to her the “conventional” way. She has no problem with 1 – 10 and she’s also learning simple addition and subtraction using the 5 beads abacus and currently her school is only beginning to teach linear 11 – 20 the conventional way as well. With so many methods, it seems a little confusing to her. To remember the what the abacus beads stand for, the very concrete foundation of the Montessori method and the very abstract of the conventional method. I’m at lost on how to combine and adapt to what she has already know. Some day we learned maths through my daily chores, through playing snake and ladders and also through the dot to dot game book. It’s really a combination of everything.
Abacus that she uses during mental arithmetic class.
Some day she asked to work with the montessori materials, some day she asked me to set question for her so she can work with the abacus and other time she can just asked me to draw some pictures for her to count and do simple addition. It’s all mix up.

Revision with the rods and numbers
Revision with cards and counters.
We skipped a few stesp like doing away the sandpaper numerals, briefly work on the number rods , spindle and also cards and counters and went straight into introduction to the decimal system . Then I worked with her on introduction to the decimal system – numerals. These activities can’t really seems to capture her attention. I guess we were impatient. She thinks she has knew all but the foundation is not strong. We tried to move on to linear counting with the short bead stairs. And she still often get confused with the “TEENS” and the “TIES”. She doesn’t have the patient to go through learning these. She prefers doing sum.

But I have learned that I shouldn’t be rushing. No matter how she doesn’t like I still have to make sure the foundation is strong and that there’s really no skipping in the sequence of the montessori way of learning the numbers.

3 responses so far

Sep 18 2007

WH Working On Continent Map

Published by under Homeschooling

The other day while I was at the hospital waiting for my turn for check up, hubby brought the kids to the suite next to the gynae. There were some toys to entertain them as it was the paediatrician’s clinic

There’s a battery operated globe quite similar to this

It’s nothing at all like the Sandpaper globe I have at home and it doesn’t really look like the continent map we have. But when hubby named out all the continents, WH is able to point to each and everyone correctly. :D

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Sep 15 2007

Word Building With LMA

Published by under Homeschooling

For a time I really thought that JS is dyslexic, when I started word building activities with her earlier, she did it miserably. That was not really her problem, but mine. I have been in a rush and have not really prepared her. After some I spy games, and phonetic awareness games, she’s picking up and able to build words using the LMA. I have bought 3 pink object boxes from Ebay which she has been working on. She’s progressing, however I’m slacking in teaching her more especially the SWR and phonogram. Really need to spent more time on that.


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Words Of Wisdom

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth

~ Khalil Gibran, The Prophet
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