Sunday, August 11, 2013

learning Montessori

My friend Jena requested that I share some of the links I've gathered while researching Montessori for the Babes.  Everything I'm doing with him is self taught through necessity-- there aren't any Montessori schools here in Belize, unfortunately.  So don't be too hard on me, anyone who has actual training :)

I started off with some reading to introduce myself to the big concepts of Montessori.

-Maria Montessori's works are free for Kindle on Amazon (I haven't read it though)
- This is the book I read-- I have to say it was a bit boring and not too helpful on instituting Montessori in my home, but it did give me a foundation of concepts to start with. Also, it was the only Montessori book my library had :)
- I also have this book, which has lovely inspirational photos but not much concrete methods.

Ok, now to the details...

-I have a friend who is an actual trained Montessori teacher.  She sent me this link to a Montessori school's course outline, which is super helpful to me because it lists the activities that are introduced by each age group.  Then I go to another site to find out how to do the activities myself.

- Ok, here is where it can get a bit overwhelming.  This site  is where I try and begin when I am learning about an activity.  The site gives extremely detailed step by step directions for a ton of basic Montessori activities.  Why is it overwhelming?  Well, for example, teaching a kiddo how to roll a mat has 21 steps.  Here is where you can benefit from my experience.  When I first saw the crazy amount of detail my brain fizzled and I ignored it, figuring how hard can it be to teach a child to roll a mat?  Um, yeah.  Hard.  I'm still trying to fix the mess I made by teaching the Babes the wrong way.  This is very important: kids will stick to the first way you teach them something.  It takes waaaay more effort to reteach a method then to teach it right the first time.  The thing about Montessori is that it builds on little lessons learned along the way.  So my kid can't roll a mat, no big deal, right?  Well the skill he failed to learn there will also needed for self-care activities taught down the line, etc.

-Living Montessori Now is a site that has a TON of  Montessori DIY activities, as well as links to more sites that offer free printables and lessons.

-as usual, there is tons of inspiration to be found on Pinterest.

And for inspiration, so you don't get bogged down in the details and forget the beauty of this method:

- Three Oaks
-How we Montessori
- Sew Liberated  (actually one of the first blogs I ever read, when she started blogging she ran a Montessori school in rural Mexico)

Don't get discouraged by the gorgeous pictures of 2 year olds using kitchen knives to chop carrots.  Remember they started with the basics, too.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

seven quick takes vol. 8

When you live in a country with no walmart or target, sometimes you just have to improvise.  Miss M loves her slightly getto baby play station. 

Speaking of Miss M, my very proper British mother-in-law was kind enough to watch the kiddos last week.  When she handed Miss M back to me, she said, "this little girl is very good at bringing up air."  Translation: your baby burps like a 13 year old boy.  Why yes, yes she does.

Just look at this deliciousness.  I do a monthly photo shoot with Miss M, and I think this shot is my favorite.  It didn't end up being the picture I used for her album, though, because she can't actually sit up yet (she is propped here) and apparently I have strong feelings about honest representation of baby abilities in monthly pictures.  I often find myself odd, too.

The Babes and I are still working in a few montessori activities each day.  His favorite right now is anything to do with transferring.  I am amazed at this little boy, who used to spend most of the day attached to my leg whining, and now spends large chunks of time fiercely concentrating.  He also spends large amounts of time fiercely saying No.

For example: the Babes-- water? Please? water?
                      Me-- here is your water.
                     the Babes-- no.  NO.  NOOOOOOO!

Let's just say the amount of wine being drunk in this house rises in direct proportion to the amount of time outs experienced per day.

#^*@* chickens. Yeah they look all cute and fuzzy and smooshy now, but wait till they are ugly scrawny teenagers who poo all over the yard. My husband might be a science teacher, but apparently we need to have a nice chat about rooster+hen = eggs = MORE CHICKENS.

I finished my mobile, and I love how it came out. 

My parents are coming to visit in a few weeks.  We will take a quick trip out to the Cayes where we are renting a house with hot running water, AC, and a pool.  You might never hear from me again.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, August 5, 2013

where I shop: the Boundary Store

I was too tired to post last Friday, cause Daniel and I took a sort of impromptu road trip on Thursday.  We had a meeting in Belize City which ended a bit early, and since the babysitter wasn't expecting us back for a while..... we decided to drive an extra hour up the coast to my favorite thrift store in Orange Walk.

6 hours total driving time in a 20 year old pickup truck with no air conditioning is no joke.  It is also an indication of how desperate I am to get out of the house, since my car is still not fixed.  If I'm lucky I have been getting out of the house twice per week-- an hour for Mass, and about 2 hours for market/ grocery shopping.  I think Daniel agreed to tack on a few hours to our trip because he knew it would ward off insanity for a bit longer.

Anyways, I love the Boundary store.  It is such a random place, and every couple of months the inventory totally changes because they get a new shipment of things from the States. This time there was about a hundred lamps, a room full of baby swings (which would have been useful for Miss M a few months ago) and what looked like the entire contents of a cafeteria kitchen.  Huge stainless steel pans and serving equipment-- even a whole silverware/tray serving station that is ubiquitous to cafeterias everywhere.  I kinda wanted it.

such a bad picture.  I was really rushing. The point is, this place is HUGE.

I always mean to take pictures when I am there and always forget because I am in such a rush.  This is not a man-friendly shopping place.  After about 20 minutes of me digging through shelves  and bins and pondering if I really want to get another pair of shoes, Daniel starts to get a distinctly martyred air. I think the most time I've ever managed is an hour.  Sadly, I ran out of time/ Daniel's patience before checking out the literally 1000's of shoes (since I once found a pair of Manolos for $5), but I did get some great materials for the Babe's montessori work.

Babes hard at work. I got the tray from a Boundary store a while back.
various bits and pieces.  He looooves the tongs.

My favorite find this time was a bunch of quilt scraps.  At some point this lovely vintage quilt that someone spend a lot of time on was chopped into pieces.  I rescued them.  None of the pieces are very big, but with a bit of bias tape sewn around the edges, they well make perfect doll quilts for the Babes and Miss M to enjoy.

The next shipment is due mid August, and I'm already scheming to get back...

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