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Almost Montessori – All About Spelling

My boys are hands-on learners all the way! All of my boys attended a Montessori School for at least a couple of years before we started homeschooling. My oldest son was in the Montessori school for six years! And when we brought them home to homeschool, we continued with the Montessori education. As they have completed and grown out of their Montessori materials and have moved to more abstract thinking, we are moving into a more traditional education formula… but we still migrate towards the hands-on curriculum. That is what made me start the series Almost Montessori to begin with. We were finding all these materials that were not traditional Montessori works, but close and certainly kept with the Montessori educational philosophy. Which brings us to today’s article: Almost Montessori – All About Spelling.

Almost Montessori - All About Spelling

For students who learn to read phonetically, spelling seems to be a struggle, at least early on.  My boys read early and are voracious readers now. Spelling was a challenge… until we started using All About Spelling!  This pigeon-toed perfectly with my boys coming from a Montessori background!  The Montessori Method itself is a multi-sensory approach to learning. Children are encouraged to manipulate and explore the materials in the environment. In the same way, All About Spelling’s letter tiles and Phonogram Sounds app provide multi-sensory (sight, sound and touch) learning tools so your child learns more quickly and retains what they learn.

Recently, they have even created another level of sensory learning… taste!  If you sign up for their free newsletter, you will receive a free cookbook! And anyone that has been in a Montessori classroom knows, we encourage our children to be involved in the preparation of food early on… so, from that aspect, even this cookbook is Montessori too 🙂

ABC-Snacks-Summer-Snack-Bundle-Cover-Graphic

We started in the first book (even though my oldest was already in fourth grade). I’ll explain why… I wanted him to hear the rules and the rule breakers that AAS covers. In the beginning, we used our movable alphabet instead of the magnetic tiles to help this work feel familiar.  So let me give you some more detailed information about All About Spelling and some of the reasons I chose to use this product for the Almost Montessori series.

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It is a seven level program that teaches encoding skills, reliable spelling rules, via multi-sensory strategies to help your student become a proficient speller for life. This program has won so many awards, see for yourself!

These are some of the reasons I love AAS:

  • Multi-sensory approach makes it easy for kids to understand
  • Can easily use the movable alphabet instead of the magnetic letter tiles especially for the first book
  • Very quick lessons, most are less than 15 minutes
  • At the beginning of most lessons is a quick review providing a built-in review system which is part of the spiral approach
  • Just like Montessori, it is focused on mastery of the skill 
  • Easy to teach because all lessons are already planned out!
  • It comes with Free LIFETIME Support!
  • Can be used with multiple children at one time
  • By Level 7, my boys will be spelling at the high school level.
  • It is VERY affordable!!!
  • Finally… they provide a ONE YEAR guarantee! They are that confident that their products work.

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I hope this series is a blessing to your homeschool and classroom!  Please share and pin these articles if they are beneficial!  It will help us get the word out about our blog and the Almost Montessori series!

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Almost Montessori Unifix Cubes and Mathematical Patterns

One of the concepts that is so foundational and part of the very core of Montessori is teaching abstract math concepts with concrete materials.  I’ll be introducing you to Almost Montessori Unifix Cubes.

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All of my boys are extremely advanced in math (seriously, my 10-year-old is doing Algebra) and I give 100% credit to the way Montessori teaches Math.  This approach to math is so very logical, clear and highly effective. The students internalize math skills with these concrete materials and the progress toward the more abstract concepts. This allows children to thoroughly understand and develop a solid foundation where they master the concept.  They then move to solving problems with paper and pencil while still working with the materials.  Finally, completely abstract, where they are solving problems with paper and pencil without the materials.  That is the goal.

Note, I offer a  word of caution here…  Remember the goal is to teach our children to think abstractly.  It is so easy to fall  in love with the materials and want our children to get the full benefit from using them that we forget to follow our children when they steer right away from the concrete materials to work abstractly.  I wrote a whole post on my love of Montessori materials and how dangerous it is to be in that place.  The goal is for our children is to work abstractly… not to work with the materials.  The materials are tools to get them to abstract thinking. Long as we remember the goal, we will keep the materials in their appropriate place.

Montessori really focused on introducing the patterns that exist in math.  InfoMontessori stated it well:

Arithmetic deals with shape, space, numbers, and their relationships and attributes by the use of numbers and symbols. It is a study of the science of pattern and includes patterns of all kinds, such as numerical patterns, abstract patterns, patterns of shape and motion…. Montessori took the idea that the human has a “mathematical mind” from the French philosopher Pascal. Maria Montessori said that a mathematical mind was “a sort of mind which is built up with exactity.” The mathematical mind tends to estimate, needs to quantify, to see identity, similarity, difference, and patterns, to make order and sequence and to control error.

Using the Unifix cubes is a fantastic way of demonstrating this concept of patterns in math. Multiplication tables, addition and skip counting all require an understanding of and proficiency in patterning.  Below are some wonderful ways to use the Unifix cubes to really demonstrate the patterns.

The first product is a labeled number line. You can certainly see how quickly you could see patterns on a number line 100 numbers long!

AM Unifix Track

The next product is essentially the 100 board but with a grooved grid that will hold the unifix cube in place.   Same concept, showing patterns, would be so visual and easy to see when learning to skip count, or working with evens and odds.  I love how this concept is grasped so quickly with these products.

AM Unifix Grid

You could purchase just the package of 100 cubes, which would be less expensive, but you would be unable to make the patterns consistent up through 100… which I think is absolutely necessary to see the patterns. So, even though this is significantly less expensive, it is not really viable.

AM Unifix cubes 100

Finally, here is a box of 500 cubes that gives you more cubes!  You may still need to get more than one set to accomplish the patterns to 100 (depending on what the pattern is). For instance, if you are showing even and odd, that is 50 of each color to get to 100.  Figure out the number of sets you will need to accomplish what you are teaching.

AM Unifix cubes 500

I see these serving as an extension to the 100 board work.  Many of the things our children do with the 100 board, you can do with this set. You could even label the unifix cubes so that you don’t have to use a 100 board at all… the grid could become your 100 board.

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Below are some resources, website and blogs, to help you with implementing both the 100 board work and the pattern extensions.

First, I created a 100 chart for you to print and highlight the control chart for whatever skill you are teaching. For instance, if you are teaching skip counting by 3’s, you would highlight the 3, 6, 9, 12, 15…. or if you are teaching even patterns 2, 4, 6, 8 etc.  And if you are like me, you laminate it after you highlight it so you can use it for years 🙂  100 chart

Here is a video of the 100 board extension where she is teaching odd and even patterns!

State of Virginia has a 100 board pattern lesson and even has task cards!  So Montessori!

Here is another traditional school doing a fantastic job of teaching exploration of the 100 board! And this one is introducing multiplication and division patterns…   I love this lesson!

Finally, This lesson is great as well and covers quite a bit of ground!  From addition and subtraction to prime numbers.

I love to provide Strike the Imagination books to encourage our children to want to learn the concept.  So here are a few math pattern books and games to start with.


I hope these Almost Montessori posts are a blessing to you and your homeschool!  If they are, please help us get the word out by sharing them with your friends via your social media sites.

Until next time…..

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Almost Montessori Nest & Stack Cubes

One of the concepts that I found to be uniquely Montessori is to teach visual perception of dimension at a very early age.  It is important to help our children develop their visual perception skills because it is this skill that helps our children relate to their visual world. Our ability to process what we see is critical in every day life, and in learning.  What our eyes take in, our brain interprets;  and this interpretation creates a picture that renders meaning.  From that meaning our brains created, we then make action plans. An example would be, when you see stairs ahead, you prepare yourself to either step down or up, based on your ability to determine which direction the steps are going.  We interpret our world in a way that aids us in organizing the objects and space around us. So developing this skill early will not only help their motor skills, it will help our children with their ability to read, write and build things.  Because all these abilities are based on an understanding of how things go together, including symbols such as numbers and letters. Today’s item: Almost Montessori Nest & Stack Cubes. Nest and stack cylinders

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There are two sets of these.  The first set are cubes, which are 56% off with 5 stars.

Montessori Nest and Stack Cylinders

And this set are cylinders and these are 63% off!

In my mind, these are similar to the knobbed cyclinder work that is a traditional Montessori work, even though these do not have knobs.  It does have the base which will help children determine which item will go where, because the base has only one cut out that fits each piece.

Below are lessons on how to present the traditional work, knobbed cylinders, that you will need to adapt to use with these.

Wikisori has a video of the presentation, directions for the presentation and extensions.

Montessori World has a great written presentation for this material including vocabulary that will help children define these pieces.

Disclosure

Some fantastic “Strike the Imagination” books and games are below.


I hope this article will be a blessing to you and your homeschool!

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Almost Montessori World Oceans

As I think through all of the fabulous materials and works we use to teach our children using the Montessori method, one of our favorites has always been the maps. Maybe because I love puzzles myself or because it is a really concrete way to see where we are in the world, I personally have always loved these works. We do spend a lot of time teaching about the continents, but only just recently have I started seeing puzzles that don’t focus on the continent and only focus on the oceans. And these are not available in the US yet or they are really expensive.  So I thought I would share how we taught this concept …. Almost Montessori World Oceans.

World Oceans

 

This World Map is not a traditional Montessori work, but has the same concepts as the foundation.  We use tactile works to teach abstract concepts.  This is a large fabric world map (56″x 33″) with reinforced grommets for hanging (we used it on the floor and hung it after we were finished with it), with labels.  We used this in conjunction with the free study from Montessori Etc of the World Oceans using three-part cards.

Montessori Etc World Oceans Nomenclature Free

Most of the time, world oceans are presented in conjunction with the study of Continents of the world. Below are various manuals and how they introduce this topic.

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Here is a great article on the scope and sequence of geography by Montessori Primary Guide.  It shows when to present what pieces, if you are following the traditional Montessori curriculum!

Here is Montessori Research and Development’s lesson the Continent Globe.  They are using the Continent Globe to introduce the continents and world oceans.

Here is North American Montessori Center (NAMC)’s manual lesson section on Oceans.

Here is another Montessori Album that provides a free lesson on World Oceans.  They are using World Map puzzles for this lesson.

I stumbled upon a fantastic strike the imagination work by Mama Papa Bubba Site.  It is Frozen Ocean Animal Rescue.  If my boys were younger, we would be doing this one for sure to strike their imagination.  I would probably wait until spring/summer to do it!!

For older students, here is a presentation by a Montessori Middle school teacher, Victor Young.  He presented Building an Ocean Legacy Through Ocean Literacy,  at the International Montessori Conference in August 2013. You can see his slides and here his presentation here.

Disclosure

Books that would be great to help strike your children’s imagination about the Ocean.

 


I hope this presentation was a blessing to you and your homeschool!

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Almost Montessori Fraction Circles

Today I am presenting another product that follows the Montessori foundation and pedagogy of teaching, but is not a traditional Montessori Work. I created this series, Almost Montessori, as a way to help homeschoolers be able to benefit from a Montessori education without breaking the bank. Montessori materials are usually pretty expensive and this is my attempt to provide alternatives that maintain the core purpose and are Almost Montessori in their function.  So be watching for these posts! Today’s items that is in the “Almost Montessori” category is: Almost Montessori Fraction Circles.

Fraction Circles

Educational Insights Fraction Center

A puzzle and a conceptual fraction lesson, all rolled into fun; Includes: Game board, leveled puzzle cards (50), foam fraction pieces (65), guide, and solutions for every puzzle; Alert: CHOKING HAZARD – Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.

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These instructions are for the traditional Montessori work, so you will need to modify to fit your use if not using the Montessori materials.

Montessori Primary Guide has the Lesson and presentation for Fraction circles. And if you are visual, here is a video to help you see the fraction lesson in action.

Here is a lesson for older students for multiplying and dividing Fractions from NAMC. And here is a video of multiplying fractions for older students.  And here is a fraction division video for older students.


If this series is helpful to you, please share and help us get the word out about it!!

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Almost Montessori Movable Alphabet

Today I am presenting another product that follows the Montessori foundation and pedagogy of teaching, but is not a traditional Montessori Work… I’m going to be calling this series “Almost Montessori” so be watching for these posts! This is another way to make Montessori more affordable to homeschoolers. Today’s items that is in the “Almost Montessori” category is: Almost Montessori Movable Alphabet.

Montessori lower case magnetic letters

 

 

These new magnetic letters are color coded as well, showing which letters are consonants and which are vowels.  For some children, having the letters stay in place is a huge deal for them.  Using these on a small magnetic white board would be a huge relief for them.  For many of my friends, they have to homeschool on the go!  Taking a traditional Montessori movable alphabet would be out of the question.  The Educational Insights Magnetic Color Coded alphabet fits a great niche and are very cost effective at $9.99 and free shipping if you have a prime membership at Amazon.  (If you don’t, you might want to consider it. If you click the picture below, you can try it for 30 days free!

Join Amazon Prime – Watch Over 40,000 Movies & TV Shows Anytime – Start Free Trial 

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Purpose of the Movable Alphabet

– To help children with the analysis and exploration of  language which is known to him and to reproduce words with graphic symbols.
– Preparation for writing and reading.

I have listed some free lessons below on how to present and use the Movable alphabet.

Montessori Mom does a great job of not only telling you how to present the lesson, but also of giving you three letter words to start with.

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Montessori Primary Guide has a great lesson plan with exercises.

If you need a free Montesssori language album for ages 3-6 to understand the scope and sequence (when and where to present language materials), Montessori Teacher’s Collective has a great one.

If you are like me and want to SEE it, here is a video for you 🙂

This is the perfect time to pull out the Bob Books and other rhyming early reading books as well as introduce poetry.  I have provided a collection of the ones we loved below with a few fun games thrown in:


 I hope these will be a blessing to your homeschool! Please share and pin these articles if they are beneficial to help us get the word out about our blog and series!

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Almost Montessori Sentence Building

I just love the way Montessori teaches children! It is such an amazing experience to watch a child have an aha moment! I’m addicted to them!  I’m sure that is why teachers want to teach 🙂 When teaching abstract concepts to children, those aha moments can be elusive… but with Montessori’s principle of using concrete material to teach abstract ideas, you will see those “aha”s regularly! I’m going to be presenting items this year that follow the Montessori foundation and pedagogy of teaching, but are not traditional Montessori Works… I’m going to be calling this series “Almost Montessori” so be watching for these posts! This is another way to make Montessori more affordable to homeschoolers.  So I will have two series this year.  One is Montessori Made Affordable, where I’m going to present traditional Montessori works that I find that are on sale and then Almost Montessori that follows the principles but are not Montessori works.  Today’s items that is in the “Almost Montessori” category is: Almost Montessori Sentence Building.

Almost Montessori Sentence Building

Sentence Buildings are so Montessori, yet not Montessori.  Sentence Buildings Create sentence cities with 9 durable parts-of-speech buildings and over 300 double-sided cards. Parts of speech include: noun, verb, adjective, pronoun, conjunction, article, preposition, adverb, and punctuation. Use many or just a few buildings to differentiate instruction.

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I love this!  It is very similar to the Grammar Boxes but at a fraction of the price!  Grammar Boxes are a set of eight grammar boxes in colors of the grammar symbols. These boxes are color coded with different parts of speech. These activities aid the child in analysis of grammar and development of interpretive reading.

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So, you can see differences, yet the underlying principles are the same. To see how Montessori Grammar Boxes are presented, I found the following presentation from Island Video:

Here is a free language album to read how to give Grammar lessons.

While you are thinking about grammar, be sure to visit my article on 8 MUST Have Grammar Books.  These were recommended to us at the Montessori School I was involved in prior to homeschooling.  It is a FANTASTIC series!

I hope these will be a blessing to your homeschool!  Please share and pin these articles if they are beneficial to help us get the word out about our blog and series!

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Montessori Made Affordable Division Material

Hey Montessorians!  Today I found another lower elementary work you.  It is Montessori Made Affordable Division Material.

Montessori Division Materials

The Division Finger Charts are used to:

  1. Learn the division facts. 
  2. Gradually transfer from concrete to abstract representation of division. 
  3. Learn more about remainders. 
  4. Develop concentration and independence. 
  5. Develop a sense of accuracy.
  6. preparation for finding the Highest Common Factor and the Lowest Common Multiple. 

I found this work at KidAdvance for 57% off!  I checked on Amazon, because KidAdvance sells there as well to see if the item was cheaper and it was actually more expensive.

I am not a “deal blogger”.  I am a Montessori homeschooling mom that has seen the fruit of a Montessori foundation and am just trying to help homeschoolers implement Montessori concepts economically.  But I also provide links to the lessons so you can see how to use the deals I’m finding.  Below are lessons and video from a few resources to help you understand when and how to use these Division materials.

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Montessori Math Album with age, aims and prerequisites.

Presentation from Montessori Album.  Shu-Chen Albums… so of the best free albums on the internet.

Moteaco.com Math Albums with Extensions.  An Excellent resource!

Video of the Presentation from Montessori Live.

I hope these posts are a blessing to you and your homeschool.  If they are, please share and help us get the word out about our blog, our homeschool and our Montessori Made Affordable series.  Also be sure to look around our blog some.  I am a Montessori homeschooler that is now using the Montessori philosophy to teach my middle and high school students.  They are blogging on this site as part of their creative writing curriculum.  Actually, this entire blog itself is a part of their education.  You can read the details here.

I sincerely hope you will join us for our farmschooling adventures and be a part of our community.

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Montessori Made Affordable Sandpaper Letters

I think it will get really hard to find items the way I have this series named. So, I think I am going to use a different naming convention for this series from here on out. I will still use “Montessori Made Affordable” in the beginning of the title, but put the item I’m discussing at the end. So, for example, today’s post is Montessori Made Affordable Sandpaper Letters.

Disclosure

As we discussed when I first started this series, one of the missions for Live and Learn Farm is to help homeschoolers implement Montessori economically.  This means sometimes I will suggest non-traditional works and materials.  If you are a Montessori purist, this series probably will give you lots of heartburn… so consider yourself forewarned 🙂  For the rest of us that love Montessori but don’t have the big budget, today’s item is for you!

Montessori Made Affordable Sandpaper Letters sort of

 

The whole point of teaching the alphabet using sandpaper letters is to provide a tactile experience with the materials.  Tactile learning or Kinesthetic learning is a style in which learning takes place by the student carrying out a physical activity… “do-ers”.  Not all children are tactile learners, but the point is …  Maria Montessori was using various learning styles to reach her students. For my family, tactile learning has been better than any other way of teaching for helping my boys grasp abstract concepts.

These letters are not exactly the traditional sandpaper letter materials,  but they perform the exact same function and purpose of providing our children with a physical experience in learning the letters for a whole lot less!!  This set includes both sets of lowercase and uppercase sandpaper-textured letter cards.  And I doubt this set would withstand a classroom of fingers using the material… but for me (with three boys), we were able to purchase items such as this for our homeschool that would not hold up to a classroom of students, but were perfect for my three children to use.

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I am also providing free lessons on the presentation of this material and different extensions that can be used with it.

NAMC Early Childhood Manual Presentation for Sandpaper Letters

An AMI Montessori Video of the Presentation for Sandpaper Letters.

Finally, a lesson with detailed language of how to introduce Sandpaper Letters from The Learning Ark

I hope these posts are a blessing to you and your homeschool.  If they are, please share and help us get the word out about our blog, our homeschool and our Montessori Made Affordable series.

Until next time, I’ll leave you with a fantastic Maria Montessori quote….

“Movement, or physical activity, is thus an essential factor in intellectual growth, which depends upon the impressions received from outside. Through movement we come in contact with external reality, and it is through these contacts that we eventually acquire even abstract ideas.” ~ Maria Montessori

 

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Montessori Made Affordable December 31st

For today’s post of Montessori Made Affordable December 31st edition, I went in search of Montessori deals and found another great one! I honestly really enjoy going out searching for deals for you guys. In the process of doing this search, I am going to stumble upon lots of free items to add to our ever-growing Free Montessori Materials list.  So, I’ll be updating it more frequently as well!

Yesterday, I featured a Parts of the Turtle puzzle from Alison’s Montessori.  It sold out before mid afternoon.  So, if you are interested in the deals I post, you probably need to consider them a short-lived deal! These really great deals will not last long once pointed out!  With that thought… here is today’s deal.  It is for elementary students and is from Montessori Outlet this time.  If you are not familiar with Montessori Outlet, it has a great reputation in the Montessori Materials market.  Today’s deal is a WHOPPING 85% off!!!  

Multiplication Snake Game

 

 

This is called a Multiplication Snake Game.  This material is usually introduced to the lower elementary student well into their multiplication study.

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I have added a couple free resources below to help you learn how to present this material.

I hope these posts are a blessing to you and your homeschool.  If they are, please share and help us get the word out about our blog, our homeschool and our Montessori Made Affordable series.

Until next time….

 

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