"I am beginning to suspect all elaborate and special systems of education. They seem to me to be built upon the supposition that every child is a kind of idiot who must be taught to think. Whereas, if the child is left to himself, he will think more and better, if less showily. Let him go and come freely, let him touch real things and combine his impressions for himself, instead of sitting indoors at a little round table, while a sweet-voiced teacher suggests that he build a stone wall with his wooden blocks, or make a rainbow out of strips of coloured paper, or plant straw trees in bead flower-pots. Such teaching fills the mind with artificial associations that must be got rid of, before the child can develop independent ideas out of actual experience." -- Anne Sullivan
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Monday, May 31, 2010
The Montessori Geometric Insets are really a gem, in my eyes.
If you don't believe me hear it from the woman herself:
‘These drawings perfect a child’s skill in that they oblige him to draw lines of different lengths and make him ever more skillful and sure in the use of this hands… I do not believe that any means could be found more efficacious in gaining such a victory in less time and which could afford so much amusement to a child. " Discovery of the Child, Maria Montessori
What are they?
10 geometric shapes in plastic or metal. They each have a frame, like individual puzzles.
What is the learning objective?
- To teach differences in shapes
- To develop the child’s muscles for holding a pencil correctly.
- To develop control and precision of movement with flexibility.
-Indirect preparation for art development of pattern and use of colour.
You can buy these Insets made of metal or plastic or you can make them on your own for much cheaper using heavy duty poster board. I bought a plastic set on Ebay for a great deal (Ebay is GREAT for Montessori deals!) since I wanted mine to last through many children.
This exercise is very simple and I believe can be done with a very young child:
1. Using one shape at a time, take inset and frame to the child's table and remove inset from frame.
2. Going clockwise, trace with the index finger the outside of the inset and the outline of the frame's inside edge. (this is a great exercise for refinement of small motor skills and concentration)
3. Tell the child, " This is a circle," etc.
4. Ask the child to point out objects in the room that are circles
5. Proceed in this manner with the remaining geometric shapes, using Step 1 to 4 for each, as well as using the three period lesson.
6. Show the child how each inset fits into its own frame.
7. Finally present the full tray of insets and frames, remove all the insets, and have the child replace them.
Control of Error: Insets will fit only in their correct frame.
In the book Teaching Montessori in the Home, the Pre-School Years (great book and investment!) the author suggests that the ages for this activity is from 2 1/2 - 5. However I believe a child of MUCH younger could accomplish this Part 1 activity of the Geometric Insets.
Part 2 of the Geometric insets gets a little more challenging and fun....I just started it with my own daughter so I will be writing a post on it soon.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
I made up this Colors in Nature sheet for her to use on the walks we take, you can download it here.
Beautiful, clean, spotless....
And it's probably only one time in the life of your dish brush that it will EVER be that clean again.
The worst is when you're scrubbing cheese off dishes and the whole thing just gets covered in a gooey mess and you are very tempted to throw it out cause, gosh you wouldn't want to scrub any more dishes with it looking like that! (especially when you have dairy allergies in the household like I do!)
BUT I have a solution for you! Aren't you thrilled? :)
Honestly, it is the small joys in my life that keep me going.
My favorite new cleaning solution :)
-Put your Dish Brush in a cup
- Fill it up with vinegar (enough to cover the brush)
- Wait an hour or two, or overnight
- Rinse with HOT water
If all the gunk doesn't completely come out just use a fork to get between the bristles.
You can feel content again scrubbing dishes with your now clean as new Dish Brush.
Friday, April 30, 2010
This next one was a bit more difficult, but a good difficult.
As long as I prompted her and asked her how many balloons, finger, ducks, etc. there were, she was able to count on her own and for the most part understand that you had to match it up next to the corresponding number.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Yes. I do.
And that's all I clean with (for the most part).
Something about the extreme chemically smell of cleaning products has always bothered me.
I never wanted to breathe the fumes in....and now after doing research I have good reason not to!
So I use vinegar.
For my counters, toilet, shower, windows, mirrors, etc.
Here's what I found out about vinegar:
"Heinz company spokesperson Michael Mullen references numerous studies to show that a straight 5 percent solution of vinegar—the kind you can buy in the supermarket—kills 99 percent of bacteria, 82 percent of mold, and 80 percent of germs (viruses). . He noted that Heinz can’t claim on their packaging that vinegar is a disinfectant since the company has not registered it as a pesticide with the Environmental Protection Agency. However, it seems to be common knowledge in the industry that vinegar is powerfully antibacterial. Even the CBS news show “48 Hours” had a special years ago with Heloise reporting on tests from The Good Housekeeping Institute that showed this."
So here's what I do:
I fill a spray bottle with a solution of vinegar & water; either 1:2 or 1:3, depending on how I'm feeling or what I am using it for.
You can either spray it on the desired area and wipe off immediately or you can let it sit if you want it to work harder.
For my mirrors & windows I spray it on and wipe it off....streak free, for real!
In the shower, I spray it on all over and let it sit for a while. Then I usually go back spray it again and wipe it off, using a scouring pad in places that needs it.
To clean my toilet, I pour straight vinegar in, filling the toilet up just past the top of the water, in order to get that mucky ring off. I leave it for 30 minutes then dip my toilet brush in the water/vinegar, pour baking soda all over the brush and dip it back in the toilet to scrub, scrub, scrub.
On the kitchen or bathroom counters (and walls) I just spray and wipe off.
Here's another tip for using vinegar in the kitchen for cleaning:
"Keep a clean spray bottle filled with straight 5 percent vinegar in your kitchen near your cutting board, and in your bathroom, and use them for cleaning. I often spray the vinegar on our cutting board before going to bed at night, and don’t even rinse, but let it set overnight. The smell of vinegar dissipates within a few hours."
One of the BIG pluses for cleaning with a safe and natural cleaner is that I feel comfortable having my daughter help me! One more practical life skill I am able to teach her and she really loves spraying the spray bottle :)
Math is difficult for so many people.
My husband, is completely the opposite.
But can it really be that simple?
One inherent difference is that I attended a Montessori school during my early grade school years (thanks mom!) and he didn't. Of course you can't simply blame the difference in one's schooling for a lack or strength in core subjects such as math...or can you?
All I know is that the way Montessori teaches math concepts in such a concrete, hands on way, I really don't see how anyone could fail....honestly. If someone is not naturally gifted at math, I really can see how the Montessori method would help them reaach a higher level of achievment than would the traditional method of teaching math in other schools.
That's my two cents, I will be posting more later on specific math concept activities I am using and will be using with my daughter....so check back later!
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Built for growth spurts! Give your child our beautiful solid wood chair now, and someday he'll take it to college! Both the seat and footrest adjust to fit tots, growing kids, even adults up to 150 lbs. Built to last, and about half the price you'd pay elsewhere. Cushion included. Supports ...
Everything I wanted!
Pros: Easily Assembled, Easy To Clean, Stable, Durable, Comfortable
Best Uses: Toddlers
Describe Yourself: First Time Parent
I really wanted a chair that my two year old could get in and out of by herself and one that actually went with our decor. This chair caught my eye and I have to say it is everything I had expected. I really love the fact that if necessary I can scoot her into the table all the way and she can't get out :) Like those times that she really needs to finish all those vegetables.
She just LOVES it, climbing in and out is so easy for her. I love the fact that it's adjustable. I also love the fact that I can scoot it up to the kitchen counter and have her stand on the bottom step to help me with food preparation. It is MUCH safer than having her stand on a chair, since I know she can get down on her own and that she's not too far from the ground.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
The object is to match the lower case letter cards to the upper case letter on the sheet.
This was perfect for my daughter since she tends to mix up a lot of the lower case letters like d, p, b, q....etc.
This is how I do the activity with her:
I put the pile of cards in front of her
"What is that?"
"Yes, that's a small 'r', where is the big 'R'?"
She does pretty well with it and enjoys it for the most part.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
So now when he's done slathering it on his hair to make his punk rock look, all he has to do is rub the remainder wax in his hands since it's all natural. Nice.
So here's the recipe:
1 cup Olive Oil
1/3 cup Beeswax
1 Tbs. Coconut Oil
Heat together in a pot until beeswax is fully melted. Remove from heat, let harden.
I got the beeswax at a local Health Food Store. It was like $23/lb (yikes!) But they had small containers of 0.165 lb for like $2 so it was pretty cheap, and there was some leftover after he made this first batch.
It looks like I'm rubbing off on my husband after all :)
Saturday, April 10, 2010
It also added the challenge of being more precise with her movements.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I found this printable activity from Workboxables, a GREAT resource. Enjoy!
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Soapwalla Kitchen is a truly wonderful find on Etsy. Rachel, the creator and chef of Soapwalla Kitchen started making luxury organic face and body products in her apartment kitchen to alleviate her painful sensitive skin rashes caused by lupus, an autoimmune illness. Her objective is to make the highest quality products available, made with organic, vegan, food-grade ingredients, and never harmful or synthetic additives such as petrochemicals, parabens, pthalates, or sodium lauryl sulfate.
Here are a few of Soapwalla Kitchen's products and my two cents on them :
Luxurious Moisturizing Body Oil
Organic Hand and Body Wash - Recover
And along with that purchase Rachel will be throwing in something special for you to enjoy as well!
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Thurdays are counting days with my daughter. We are at 1-15 right now, she has known 1-10 for months but always confuses 13-15. We have number cards and a counting catepillar that we match up together on the floor. This part is simple for her. Next we place stones below the cards to correspond with the numbers. She doesn't quit get it yet but loves putting the stones down and is able to count them all by herself.
I have always wanted to buy a placemat that helps a child to learn how to set a table. I never thought of making one myself until my friend Jodi put up a tutorial on her blog! Check it out here! I love the choice of fabric in her placemat below.
I tweaked her pattern a little bit to make one for my two year old. It is still a little rough around the edges (I am waiting for that promised serger from my mother-in-law) but I was so happy with how it turned out and the fact that my daughter LOVES using it!!
We also love using wooden Maracas , they are beautifully painted and are the perfect size for small hands. We did get them from For Small Hands but I just found them for $1 each here!
You can use them to sort a variety of things. In the picture my daughter is sorting small pony tail holders (which she LOVES playing with) but I also have small different color pom poms (bought for cheap at any craft store) that she loves too. The "sorting" tray is used for paint, got that for super cheap at a craft store too.
Friday, February 12, 2010
"Family dinners get much simpler when they're predictable: Monday pasta night, Tuesday rice night, Wednesday soup night, and so on." ( I LOVE this idea!)
Now those quotes barely scratch the surface, but it's all I can offer at the moment :)
A reader asked me a couple weeks ago what my typical day/schedule looks like. Since a big part of Simplicity Parenting is on the Rhythm & Schedules of children I wanted to read it first before sharing my own.
Basically Payne says that children need to know what's next. They need predictability in their lives so that they can fully feel secure in their worlds. They also need time to just play. Payne says that boredom is a gift, a gift that should be freely given to children. It is only through boredom that creativity can be found. A child's daily or weekly schedule shouldn't be so packed that they don't have time to just "be".
In my case, I am home all day with my daughter. We only have one car and my husband is in school full-time. I get the car once or twice a week. On those days I do grocery shopping or other errands. I don't try to jam those days full of errands though because I know my daughter can only sit in a shopping cart/car seat for so long.
My typical day is very typical. For those who care, here is a brief summary :)
- Wake up, slowly make our way downstairs, coffee/breakfast (the coffee's just for me), dishes while Dear Daughter (DD) plays, food preparation with or without DD help, prayer time.
- Upstairs to get dressed, make the beds, tidy up the rooms, brush teeth. All the while DD just busies herself with whatever suits her.
- Downstairs to do daily cleaning, if she is able to DD helps me (like with dusting, "trying" to sweep, etc.)
- Snack/lunch time
- Activity. I usually have one type of activity I try to do with DD a day (which is a separate schedule) that I might do with her before her nap. I could really go into detail but for brevity's sake Mondays I do a classification/sorting activity, Tuesday I do sequencing, Wednesday I do matching/memory games, etc., then DD takes a nap.
Believe me it DOES take a couple hours to get to this point :) I just try to really be present to my daughter and if she wants me to read a couple books or play or do a puzzle, I do those things with her and when I am thru I proceed with what's next on my list.
- Wake up from nap, snack.
- Prepare dinner (we eat pretty early) while DD helps or just plays.
- Dinner time, I clean up while DD plays with her daddy. The rest of the evening is kind of up in the air.
- Bath time usually around 7 pm which can last up to 45 minutes, since she LOVES being in the water. Snack, read books and bed!
I do have to say that I love the calmness and simplicity of my days. While I was running my Etsy shop the days weren't so calm and stress free for me, but I have realized that I really do need to maintain a sense of peace within me in order to be the best Mother and Wife that I can be.
I hope this helped! And if you haven't already, check out Simplicity Parenting from the library!!
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Monday, February 1, 2010
*Easy for toddlers to self feed!
Barbara sent me a bowl in the mail to review so I can fully back up every one of her claims. My daughter LOVES to use it for her apple sauce! She no longer asks me to scrape the last little bit out of the bowl since she can do it herself! It even works when the slop is facing away from you ( which is how my daughter insists on using it).
And of course Barbara is generously offering one Baby Dipper Bowl to one of you!
To enter this giveaway:
Please visit the Baby Dipper Website and leave a comment here telling me what you favorite feature of the Baby Dipper Bowl is!
1. Subscribe to the Baby Dipper Newsletter
2. Follow Baby Dipper on Twitter
3. Subscribe to Baby Dippers Blog
(Check them out on Facebook too!)
Note: Previous winners of the Baby Dipper Bowl giveaways sponsored by Baby Dippers, LLC are not eligible for this giveaway
The winner will be selected at random on Tuesday, February 9, 2010!!
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
The link to the printout and instructions to this activity is below. That site is a great resource for other activities as well! Have fun!
Thursday, January 21, 2010
But as I think about it now I did make a very simple resolution at the beginning of 2010, whether I was intending it to be my New Year's resolution or not. I decided to temporarily close my Etsy shop.
I think actually part of the problem was that business was going so well that I sort of lost focus of my first two vocations in life...that of being a wife and mother.
So I proved all those things very well.
So I am taking a break.
So after I had started to simplify my own life a little I read about a book called, "Simplicity Parenting" by Kim John Payne, M.Ed.
Basically, here's the gist of it all. The author has been a school counselor and family-counselor therapist for many years and has found that the missing piece in many children's lives is simplicity. As a result so many children are suffering from anxiety, ADD, ADHD, OCD. Children are being so bombarded with toys, books, activities, that they don't have time to be children! Take out 3/4 of all they have in their life and they will be happier, less anxious, more attentive, etc.
He outlines 4 ares of life that need to be simplified: their environment, rhythm, schedules and filtering out of the adult world.
Now since I haven't read the entire book yet I can't go too much in-depth but I have to say I love what he says about a child's environment. Much of it goes along with the Montessori principles that I already love and have put into practice. He suggests only having half a dozen books on the shelf at a time. The rest can be put away and used as a sort of library to borrow from every week. Toys should be kept at a bare minimum and should be mostly limited to those items that foster creativity in a child. So think of all those toys that are supposed to "entertain" your child...pitch em. In their place put building blocks, puzzles, creative materials, construction toys, etc.
I will definitely write more about the book when I read more....stay tuned!
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
Naturity prides themselves on the organic integrity of their products, which are compromised of 99-100% certified organic ingredients. They are also a green company using only sustainable packaging. All items are contained in recycled glass or tin and orders are shipped in recycled packaging and bi-degradable packaging peanuts.
They have recently been rated "zero" toxicity in the Environmental Working Group's skin deep database.
So with no further ado let's look at the three main product lines Naturity offers!
Products include Nipple Cream, Belly Butter & Belly Massage Oil.
There is also a Mother's gift basket including those 3 products, which would make an excellent gift.
I received Naturity's Belly Massage Oil to review and was very pleased with the product. When I was pregnant I was super cautious about what I put in and on my body for fear of hurting my growing baby, that's one of the reason's why Naturity's products excite me so much!
The Belly Massage Oil was very easy to rub on and did not leave a super oily feeling left on my skin afterwards, unlike the cocoa butter I had used during my first pregnancy. The smell of it is very pleasant smelling and actually brought me back to my childhood when we used to crack open vitamin e capsules to put on our cuts. I highly recommend the Belly oil!
Next we have Naturity's Organic Babyhood line, which is vegan friendly and nut and wheat free.
All of the Babyhood products are free of chemicals, fragrances, additives and synthetic preservatives. Naturity doesn't use any essential oils that may cause irritation. All products have been tested and are safe for baby skin.
Naturity's Organic Babyhood line includes Diaper balm, Baby Massage Oil & Baby Powder as well as a Welcome Baby Bucket including those three.
I received the Baby Massage oil to review as well and I'll repeat what I said above about the Belly oil, it was very easy to put on and didn't leave the skin feeling oily at all. As advertised this oil was fragrance free.
Last but not least we have Naturity's Body-Bath line. All products contain pure, unrefined organic ingredients gentle enough to use daily on the body or in the bath to nurture healthy skin. All products available in unscented and six herbal scents.
Products include Massage Oil, Sugar Body Scrub, Salt soak, Herbal Bath blend, and 2 gift baskets as well.
I received the Sweet orange bath salt soak to review. I was very happy to have an excuse to have to take a bath (the first one in two years since my daughter was born!)
The aroma was very pleasant, not too strong at all. It left my skin feeling smooth and moist and not in much need of lotion application afterwards like I usually do. Highly recommended!
Naturity will generously be giveaway a Welcome Baby Bucket to one of you!
To enter into this giveaway:
The winner will be picked randomly and announced on January 19, 2010!