Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The "A-ha!" moment.........(or was it the "Duh!" moment?)

I cannot really explain why I haven't blogged here for so long.  If I am completely honest, I suspect it has something to do with the fact that I haven't felt for several months that my homeschooling with the boys is quite how I wanted it to be.  Without making this post just about that topic, let me just say that for quite a while we've been getting our "basics" done every day, but we haven't delved much into the more "meaty" curricular areas such as history and science as much as I'd wanted to.  When I decided to homeschool my sons, the idea of learning with them was one of the things that really appealed to me.  I got off to a great start at the beginning of the year planning all kinds of enriching activities and projects, then after Dad passed away in October, pretty much all I could manage for a while was getting in the three Rs.  I'm not trying to use his death as an excuse, though, because I'm sure that could have happened anyway since in addition to homeschooling the boys I'm teaching 12 piano lessons and 2 Kindermusik classes each week to bring in additional money for our family.  Anyway........for quite a while it's been weighing heavily on me that I wanted to be giving the boys "more" in terms of content.........so over the past few weeks, I've been researching and planning and I now feel like things are coming back together again the way I'd envisioned.

In addition to not being completely happy with the breadth and depth of our content area study, for quite a while now I haven't been really thrilled with math for my youngest son.  I started the year doing Right Start for both my 4th grader and 1st grader.  I'm still happy with it for my oldest, but got to a point where I wasn't keen on it for my youngest anymore.  I ordered Math Mammoth which we tried for a few weeks.  It's very workbook oriented, which I didn't like.  He didn't seem to mind, but it wasn't what I wanted.  Then I ordered Singapore, but when I got it, I realized that what I'd ordered was too easy.  It was also mostly workbooks, so that was a negative for me as well.  I also looked into MEP which is actually very good (and free)........we used that for a while when I had the "a-ha!" moment that I refer to in the title of this post.

As many of you know, I am a trained Montessori teacher for 3-6 year olds.  I wrote a Montessori blog called My Montessori Journey for three years.  When I stopped writing that blog to start this one, I had a few comments and emails from my faithful Montessori readers asking me why I wasn't using a Montessori curriculum for homeschool.  I responded to their questions in THIS POST.  My "A-ha!" moment, resulting from my dissatisfaction with my first grader's math program, caused me to ask myself why I wasn't using Montessori math materials with him.  I have always believed the Montessori method to be excellent and the math materials/curriculum to be superior to anything else I've ever seen.  So............over the last week or so I've been digging into these great Montessori elementary teacher albums that you can access online and printing and laminating a TON of materials.  Over the course of the next few weeks, I'll be writing a lot about how I'm incorporating these ideas and materials into our homeschool day.  DUH!!!  Why didn't I do this sooner?  I am super excited to share with you all about it!


  1. I am really glad to hear that you will be using the montessori math materials with your youngest. I homeschool two of my children montessori inspired and untrained. We have been using the same album you linked to. It has been difficult for us due to the lack of materials, but it has been the best math program ever. Thank you for sharing and I am looking forward to reading how you incorporate this math album in your homeschool.

  2. Just wanted you to know I'm still around and reading your posts! Glad you are getting your groove back!

  3. I can not express my joy when suddenly you pop with a very excellent offerings..i was really very glad to receive that would come from extra good and nice person like you. i gladly accept every bit of sharings you will offer. i will always remember you and others who without "IFS" and "BUTS" can share a lot of montessori materials and most how these materials are integrated in developing language, mathematical awareness and others..thanks so much..your sharings will surely help in making young people learn from me to maximum..

  4. Awesome!!!!! I'm glad to hear that you are using elementary materials. My daughter just turned 6 and I am trying to think ahead for next year. I cant wait to see what you do! I'm glad that you are working through your homeschool blues. It happens to the best of us! I'm sure a change will help! Happy Schooling!

  5. Yay!! Cant wait to read all about it-and learn from you!!

  6. I just wanted to recommend Apologia Science. We are using Astronomy this year and loving it. Exploring Creation with Astronomy. We use the Jr. Notebooking Journal for my 7yo, they also have a regular version that is good for 4th grade and up. It's so easy to do science, we do it twice a week, working our way through the text and notebook. I purchased A Journey Through Learning's lapbook for some extra lapbooking elements, but there are already some in the notebook. The projects are easy to pull together, but you can purchase lab kits for each one.

    I know you didn't really say that you are unhappy with your science, just that you weren't getting to it, so I thought I'd mention this since we have had such success with it. Before this I found it really hard to get to science. :)

  7. So glad that you are back:-) I love reading your post. You have inspired me the world over! Sending love your way as you and your family heals from your recent loss.

  8. Here's a chance for you and your readers to win 2 elementary AMI albums of your choice! If you're interested, info. is here:

  9. I wanted to say I've been a reader for a looooong time too and those albums are really awesome. I think they're amazing and we use them daily. :)


  10. Hi Laura,

    I just popped over to see how you were doing and am glad to see some updates from you. It was our first year of real homeschool with kindergarten and pre-K and I have to say it's gone the same as with you. I haven't done near as much of the extras as I wanted to. Just keeping up with the core and workbooks is an accomplishment each day.

    Something I think we have in common is that we are trying to run businesses from home. Every few days I get bummed and stumped on how I cannot accomplish everything I want to. I guess I am horrible at time management. ??? Like your music classes, I have about 4 classes out of my home a month for stamping and scrapbooking. The prep and paperwork and communication behind the scenes is a lot.

    Anyways, I just want to say that I am encouraged to hear that I'm not the only one who feels discouraged with my juggling act. Not to mention that we both try to keep up blogs to help others (mine being crafting and food allergy and homeschool) and that just adds another stress although I enjoy it.

    I enjoy Money Saving Mom's methods for time management as she homeschools and runs a business too. But I am nowhere close to fine tuning like she does. But in the end, I think we are both doing fine and probably are just too hard on ourselves. I like to think that we can make up for some lost activities this summer without the workbooks. Right?

    I will stay tuned to see what cirriculum you are moving to b/c we are right behind you. Thanks for paving the way.


  11. Can you tell more about why right start was not the best fit for your youngest. I am looking at the curriculum for my two boys (am also a Montessori trained teacher) and would love your feedback. My two are 2nd and 3rd grade.