Tag Archives: Montessori

The Middles Start School

I’m not sure I could be more creative in a title, do you?

But it’s straightforward and to the point: the middle kids started school today. Middle kids being Alice and Jamie. I mean, I have four middle kids. I could be more specific I suppose. But today was Jamie and Alice’s day.

chmsfirst-6632 chmsfirst-6633

I don’t worry about Alice when it comes to things like this. She is outgoing and fun and polite and sweet and even if she might be a little lazy (“Mom, I don’t think I’m gonna learn to read yet.”) I know she’ll eventually get it. She loves everything about school: seeing her friends, choosing works, PE, show and tell, recess, and most of all, lunch.


[oh, those? no big deal…i only spent forever and a day making and decorating the cutest apple and pencil cookies…]


After school she told me how she wants to do Amazing Athletes and how Alex and her did a really challenging puzzle map work. She loved her lunch and at recess she played. She was really glad Ms. Megan was still her teacher and she still likes all her friends.

Alice has this year in the bag.

But I’ll be very honest with you (honesty might be one of my strongest qualities, and that it both very good and very bad): I worry about Jamie. Jamie is not outgoing most of the time. He likes to read in his room alone or sit on the sidelines and watch. He is sometimes polite (he can be the most polite child in the world at times) but he’s sometimes just awful. He sometimes hisses at you and cries and screams when things don’t go as planned. He goes from 0-10 on the anger scale in the blink of an eye and he doesn’t eat lunch or snack which sometimes leads to a grumpy afternoon. Each morning I drop him off and silently beg for a wonderful day. Most of it is out of his control, we are learning this more and more, which makes it even more difficult and heartbreaking.

But luckily there’s a pretty ace team behind him at Children’s House to see him through.


I think grade 3 will be a good year.


After school, he said, “School was great. I wrote stories with my friends. Except…was my lunch a joke? Was it a test? Because….I didn’t eat a thing and I think you knew I wouldn’t.”

Classic Jamie.

Happy First Day of School, CHMS students!


Language Work


For the most part, homeschooling is going really well. I’m still learning how to schedule and how to be flexible — the flexibility part is hard when it comes to school because I’m so used to organizing things out and having a schedule and a plan and a start point and end point for things. And Maria’s schedule isn’t the same as mine. But I’m getting there.

In the morning today we did a little language work, working on the parts of speech. If I learned this in elementary school, it must have been covered over the course of a couple of hours because I have never had a really solid understanding of adverbs and adjectives and whatnot. I mean, duh, a noun is a person, place, or thing. And a verb is an action. But beyond that, it all kinda blended together. Prepositions, conjunctions, interjections, articles…they can be very confusing.

So to help Maria, we made a “Parts of Speech” flip book where she wrote out each part of speech and defined it, so it would be easy for her to quickly reference it in writing.

On Teachers Pay Teachers (such a great site!) I found a list of words, hundreds of them, that belong to each part of speech. I laminated them and cut them out and put them in library envelopes.

Then, I created sentences on the floor with them. I could definitely be a bit more creative. I also need punctuation cards.

grammar-4I think perhaps you all know about my love of beautiful Montessori materials, right?

Well if you don’t…I love Montessori materials. Most are made out of wood and come in perfect wooden boxes, perfectly organized. Ah, I love them. I purchased this set from Amazon:


And printed a key off the internet for Maria:


She went to work assigning each word a symbol.

grammar-5 grammar-8

To be honest, I wasn’t sure how it would go. If it would be too easy for her and she’d just rip right through it, or if it’d be too hard and she’d be stuck. I was so pleasantly surprised that it was a really great balance between challenging and easy. When things are easy for Maria, it boosts her confidence. Of course it does, right? That’s true for all of us. When we do things without error, we feel pretty good. So it was nice to get a boost before having to ask for help on some parts.

Language is difficult. She had labeled “light” as a verb. It is a verb, but in the sentence she had, it was being used as a noun. So we had a good talk about words that are both nouns and verbs and it depends on how we use them as to what part of speech it is. We came up with a few more words for which this is true and that helped her out a lot.

Do you wanna do this? It’s super easy! You don’t need to purchase anything. Color the symbols on printer paper and cut them out. Write words of your own on little strips of paper (we had to make our own nouns because our noun envelope is missing!), no need to laminate them even. This is a great exercise, especially for mid-elementary students (grades 3, 4) and maybe even early elementary (I think Jamie would pick up on this right away and do really well!).

The Polar Express


I bet you were starting to wonder if I had given her away.  Nope, I didn’t.  We’re keeping her . Not sure we could find a girl as sweet and wonderful as Maria.  Thursday we dropped her off at school before taking the other kids to their own spots.


There she goes.  Like a big girl.  *sigh*


Then we dropped this silly thing off at her “school.”




And then it was time for Jamie to go to school.  On Thursday, Jamie and his friends took a ride on the Polar Express.


They read the book and then re-enacted it.  It might have been the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen in my children’s (very short) school careers.


The kids ate it up.


One by one, Ms. Megan woke them up with a sweet pat on the back and an outstretched hand…leading them each to the train.


Look at his face.


They rode across the snow, seeing polar bears and snowflakes and lots of fun things outside.  But then it was time to get off the train, so with a little help from the conductor, Jamie stepped over the gap.



At the North Pole, Jamie was Santa’s helper.  He very sweetly took the hand of each of his friends, “Would you like to tell Santa what you want for Christmas?”



(Charlotte just did some puzzles.)polarexpress-43

And after a visit with Santa, their snack of hot cocoa, an orange and a gingerbread cookie was waiting for them.


And outside?





This was a good lesson for me, this Polar Express re-enactment.

It took a while for Ms. Megan to wake each child up separately and lead them, on their own, to their spot on the train.


Know what would have been easier?  Saying, “Okay, everyone wake up and get in a line!  Follow me and find a spot on the train!”

But know what is more magical and fun?  Ms. Megan’s way.  The kids loved it.  They were all so good and so fun and so in the spirit of it all.  There are 3 year olds and there are 6 year olds in the class.  None of them thought it was silly or dumb.  Because it totally wasn’t.

It pays off to do things slowly.  To make time for things and make experiences a little more magical, even if it’s more work for you.  They will remember it.

Watching them all hold hands like it was no big thing was the best.  Watching Jamie lead his friends by hand to greet Santa and all of them taking his hand very willingly was the sweetest.  They all played along and I’m pretty sure it was Jamie’s favorite day yet.


I didn’t have time yesterday to do my Friday Favorites, but I will this week.  Right now I’m taking a break from creating a cityscape for Jamie’s birthday party that is in 4 short days.  Stay tuned.  There will be pictures.