Monday, February 25, 2013


Montessori offers so many wonderful hands on tools for teaching grammar to children.  The subject of grammar can often be dry when presented through traditional worksheet means.  I have collected a number of free online resources and purchased materials to make grammar fun and engaging here at the Middle of Somewhere.

When we started our grammar education I started a wee bit backward from the Montessori method.  In a typical Montessori environment the farm is used first to introduce each part of speech.  Our farm was all set and ready to go but I was drawn to the wooden grammar symbols and sentence strips, so that is where we started.  I bought this set of symbols from Alison's Montessori and printed off sentence strips for free from Montessori Materials (look under the purple words grammar box materials.)  Montessori Materials also has some other great and free grammar and language materials, so take some time to look around  Montessori Primary Guide also has some great free lessons for introducing the parts of speech (look at the left side bar under total reading). We spent quite a bit of time working our way through the sentence strips and labeling them with our symbols.

Then, I introduced the grammar farm.  The farm we use is a Fisher Price set purchased as a gift for our oldest daughter 10 years ago.  Don't get sucked into believing that you must have a "Montessori" farm set for this, you don't, use what you have or what you can find.  We keep a basket of collected farm animals next to our farm and a sets of word cards for every part of speech.  The word cards would be easy to make yourself either on the computer or by hand but I purchased a set from Montessori Print Shop.  This has been a fun material to work with.  For our first grader the farm work has been an introduction to the parts of speech and reading practice.  For my older 2 children, ages 10 and 9, the farm has been hands on review and often times a creative outlet for silliness.  Also close to our farm set I keep a bucket with blank word cards and a pen for when the children need to write their own words rather than use the pre-printed materials.

So where will we go next with our parts of speech?  Well I think some worksheets will be in order and of course some books.  I am always drawn to picture books that can teach a concept and be engaging with its pictures and language at the same time.  We own several of the Ruth Heller grammar books, look for other titles by her as well.   I would also like to add some Words are Categorical grammar books to our collection. For the worksheets, I think a membership to Super Teacher Worksheets is necessary.  It would be nice to combine the books and worksheets to do a mini unit on each part of speech for review and deeper digging.

Happy Learning and today is Montessori Monday, go visit and see what other Montessori homeschoolers are enjoying.

Friday, February 22, 2013

25 Things About Me

I thought it was time for a little mom update, so here goes.

1. I am really starting to crave summer.  The warmth, the lighter clothing, the lighter heart, the sound of children running about outdoors, I am yearning for it all.

2. I'm ready for hubs to be home on the weekends and sit with me in church.

3.  My heart is feeling restless.  For what, I don't know but the feeling is there and I don't like it.

4. I think it might be time to retire my big tea cup (hubs says it's embarrasing).  I want to replace it with something similar in shape but with either white and green or white and goldish polka dots.  Has anyone seen anything like what I am talking about?

5. Pinterest is making me irritated.  I can't pin anything and it is a bit disconcerting on how dependent I have become on the site to hold all of my recipes and ideas.  However, pinning is so much better than all of my previous paper waste.

6.  I want to take this 30 day vegan online class.

7. This ice cream idea looks interesting.  I like both the peanut butter and nutella ideas.

8. We are almost all out of tea, a rarity around here.

9.  I try to hide in my room every afternoon to drink tea, read and be alone.  I just finished reading The Language of Flowers.  It has been one of the best books I have ever read.  It's about attachment, love and fear in relationships all surrounded by the old victorian meanings for flowers.

10.  Hallmark had all of the Love Comes Softly movies on recently and I am slowly working my way through them.  E keeps asking "can I watch them with you?"  but I tell her no because I really just want to be alone (guilt).

11.  We need more snow so I can have more days skiing with my family, away from the house and all of its demands.

12 A's birthday is tomorrow and he is having a party tonight.  Speedracer, pizza and cake are all on the docket.

13.  I just started reading Ezekiel and I am looking at it so far as if I am the prophet and my home is Israel.  I  am finding encouragement through these eyes.  Also, chapter 4 references the food Ezekiel was to eat while lying on his side for 390 days--wheat, barley, beans, lentils, spelt and millet.  I started a new FOOD section in my bible notebook to record all that God's word has to say on the subject.  I also like the diet passage in Daniel 1.

14. I have completed 2 weeks of my version of project life.

15. I'm wanting to order some project life supplies from two peas in a bucket. I like Simple Stories the best.

16. I have been doing a mini reset this week--all fruits and veggies.  It was going great until I was frustrated with A's speedracer cake and helped myself to several bites.  I am so disappointed in myself because I was going to make it until today's party to enjoy some cake and pizza.  But, today is a new day and I'm back on until this evening when I can enjoy some cake and tomato basil pizza (homemade by me of course).

17. There is only 1 of me and 5 others in this house who all want my attention and at times it is very overwhelming.

18.  When I am overwhelmed or paralyzed by life's demands I  pray and "just do the next thing."

19.  I am craving a break, maybe the first week of March when we finish our Character through Literature Unit.

20.  I need to do a bunch of  focused homeschool prep and write next weeks lessons plans.

21. I really like sweet blackberries.

22. The sound of geese honking makes my soul happy.

23. I praise God for his protection and mercy upon my children when I am not there to keep watch.

24. I am really focusing on 1 Corinthians 13 and Ephesians 4:29 for myself and the children.

25. And I want the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit putting my hope in God that 1 Peter 3:4-5 references.

Happy Friday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Monday, February 11, 2013

Preschool Update

Good day everyone!  Thank-you for stopping by to see what we are up to.  I hope that your visit here will be both inspiring and encouraging in your education journey.
I was given a copy of the book The Resolution for Women at Christmas.  The book is a spin off of the resolution that the men signed in the movie Courageous but written specifically to women.  There is a quote that I read from the book 2 weeks ago that I wanted to share with all of you because I keep coming back to it frequently.  It is:  "with new resolve I started scraping up everything I could salvage, not wanting to leave behind any part of this delicious experience...Promising never again to miss anything in my life."  In this passage the author is drawing a picture of "licking your plate clean" and that is what I want to do with each day I spend with my children and husband.  I want to lick the plate clean and not miss one single drop of this sweet life. That is one of the reasons we chose day in day out to raise our children wholely and completely at home.
I have been enjoying some great times with our resident preschooler, he is just ripe for learning numbers and letters.  Last year at this time B wanted very little to do with numbers and letters and was solely focused on practical life work, it is fun to move forward and see his excitement.

Learning His ABC's
Who knew an alphabet puzzle could be so interesting and multifaceted.  First we matched letter rocks to the letters on the puzzle.  B knew a lot more than I expected, it was a delightful surprise.

Then B dumped out all of the letter pieces and matched them up to their spots. I was amazed by his sustained attention span.

Then he sung (it had to be by himself, without my help) the ABC song and pointed to the corresponding letters.  Simple activities but so much fun for a preschooler.  I think he even impressed himself with what he knew.

B also loves this letter matching set from Parents.  Last year we worked with this a lot but his attention span is so much longer so he can complete a lot more cards at one time.

Learning Numbers & Counting
This boy is in a counting sensitive period.  He counts and counts whatever he can find.  Here are a few things we have been working on to reinforce his interest:

Matching numbers and bead bars.

 Counting cards to match numbers and items.

Matching number tiles and number cards. I think these are from Confessions of a Homeschooler.
More Fun
B has been a bit puzzle crazed of late.
Melissa and Doug Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles in a Box

The World of Cars 24 piece puzzle

Sorting winter and non-winter items.

Playing Sequence for Kids. (My he looks shaggy.)

Working on fine motor skills with locks and keys.

It's Monday so I'm linking up at Living Montessori Now.

Monday, February 4, 2013


Here at the Middle of Somewhere we have just finished another month of geometry study. We started out with a review of our previous work and then moved on to angles. For our angle work we used a combination of booklets, sorting cards, videos and worksheets. The spine of our study was Montessori Print Shop's Study of Angles Book. We would go over the booklet terms and then watch videos to elaborate on the concepts.  Our 2 favorite places for videos were Kahn Academy and Study Jams.

Once the children understood the difference between right, acute and obtuse angles they completed an angle sort printed for free from Cultivating Dharma.

Then we moved on to worksheets.  Below A is doing a fun angle snowflake search from Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational..  Superteacher worksheets also has some good angle pages for free.  We do not have a membership to this site nor do we use a lot of worksheets but this is a great resource that could really help me in planning future lessons, so we may have to subscribe.
When we  return to geometry in the spring we will be ready to move onto lines and triangles.  I had really hoped to move through all of our geometry materials this season but I don't think we will make it.  I remind myself,  isn't that why we homeschool, so we can move at our own pace?

I'm linking up with Montessori Monday, go take a look and be inspired.

Also just wanted to let you know that I am posting a lot of fitness/heatlth information on my facebook page and instagram if you would like to follow along. And of course there is Pinterest.