Are you an Art Vacuum Too?

So, as I was saying, Pinterest has become my new muse!  Up until now, I have never had time to investigate my creative side and to determine what my talent might be.  And it has been a gap in my life, my whole life… I was an “art vacuum”, if you will.  Completely devoid of any identified artistic gift.  I am the fifth of five children.  All of my siblings have talent, and they have not only identified their talent(s) but they apply their talents to help them escape the “busyness” of their chaotic lifestyles. Or, these gifts have become their careers.  Over the years I have jokingly explained that all the talent was distributed in the family gene pool by the time I came along… masking the blatant artistic gap with humor.  So, needless to say, as a mom, I have been determined that my children will not suffer this same artistic void!  Ironically, in my quest to offer them creative outlets, I am starting to find my own gifts.  And… through this process, I’m starting to realize the goal is not to find the one artistic talent I have, but in exploring all the possibilities.   

With that being said, I must admit, I’m not terribly creative yet!  In our homeschool we study artists.  We study not just their art, but their life.  We search for what inspired them, what experiences in life shaped them, and other topics such as, did they have a muse (a person, place or thing that inspired them). To assist in our research of the various artists, I created a research guide that you can download here: Artist Research Worksheet.  (Note this is for upper elementary or higher level research).  For a research form for younger students, has created a great free artist biography form.  


Art Vacuum


One of the ways we get to know an artist is by exploring the artist’s chosen medium(s) and attempt to recreate one of their art works.  For this post, I’ll show our Starry Night and Van Gogh project.  It all started with this coloring page from  I found it on Pinterest and pinned it, not knowing exactly how we would use it in our homeschool.   (Have I mentioned that Pinterest is my new muse? LOL)  Months later, we were discussing Van Gogh and pulled out this coloring sheet.  Even though it was a stretch, we decided to paint Starry Nights!  And for an artistically challenged person such as myself, that was a stretch indeed!  I loved being able to use this coloring page to help me see the transitional points in the painting.  It really helped me paint this artwork!  So, if you haven’t tried this yet with your children, I highly recommend it!!  

We then needed to see the painting, in color, preferably large enough to study it.  One of the many sites I found was the VanGoghGallery.  It gave a beautiful vivid picture of Starry Nights, but it also gave some details about the painting, what was happening in Van Gogh’s life when he painted it, etc.  Another great site is ArtCyclopedia.

Once we felt comfortable, we spread out our materials on the kitchen table and started painting.  Here are the results of our study: 

And, my painting…  

I hope we have inspired you to just start exploring the possibilities in order to avoid being Art Vacuums!  

This post is linked at Think Pink Sunday at Flamingo.

Until Next Time…

Free Montessori Materials from Around the Web

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As a homeschooler on a seriously tight budget, I completely understand the need to stretch our budget as far as it will go.  I have been homeschooling for four years now and starting to pull together many resources that provide free Montessori Materials.  Below is a list of the ones I know of at present.  More will be added as I find them.  If you have Montessori materials you are sharing (or know of a site that is not on the list), please either leave a comment or email me!  I hope these are a blessing to you as much as they were a blessing to us!

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 free montessori materials from around the web


Vendors for Materials that offer free downloads:

  • Birds Match-up & Memory
  • # Rods Control Card & Numbers
  • Weather Tracking Cards
  • 0-10 Numbers and Counters (Summer)
  • Celebration of Life
  • 0-10 Quanity, Symbol & Written Word Cards
  • Triangles 3-part cards
  • Stamp Game Papers
  • Square Chain Labels
  • Superimposed Geometric Figures
  • Small, Medium, Large Sorting
  • Labels for Sensorial Area
  • Puzzle Word Cards
  • Plural Series
  • Pink Ending Sound Cards
  • Picasso Art Book
  • Globe, Continent & Ocean Labels
  • Color Matching Cards
  • Frog Match Up & Memory Game
  • Frog Nomenclature Cards
  • Frog Nomenclature Book
  • O’Keefe Art Cards
  • Large Number Cards
  • Electrical Applicances 3-Part Cards
  • Nomenclature Storage Tags
  • Dinosaur Cards
  • Bead Chain Papers
  • Australia / Oceania / Australasia Landmarks 3-Part Cards
  • Animals & Their Sounds
  • Phonetic Word Cards – Step 1
  • Annimal Camoulage Cards
  • Celebrations of Life
  • Storage Labels for the Pink, Blue, Green Phonics Series
  • Storage Labels for the Step 1, 2, 3 Phonics Series
  • Flamingo Nomenclature Cards
  • Fall Cutting Stripis
  • Imagine Story Cards
  • Language Record
  • Research Outlines
  • Seed & Plant Matching Cards
  • World Continents Pin Map Flags and Map
  • Ladybug Lie Cycle Cards & Charts
  • Printable Stamp Game & Instructions
  • Animal Adaptation:  Birds and Beaks
  • Australia Fun Fact Cards
  • Compass Rose
  • More Than – Less Than
  • Short Poetry
  • Bossy E Word Cards
  • Graph Paper – Half Inch
  • I Spy Pages
  • Garden Tools
  • Animal Movement – Swim, Walk, Fly

Elementary Workplans & Teacher Tools

  • Workplans: 1st – 4th Grades
  • School Calendar 2012 – 2013
  • Evaluations
  • Testing Info
  • Just for Fun
  • Nametag Templates

Language Materials

  • Language Activities
  • Reading and Pre-Reading Activities
  • Story Writing
  • Nomenclature Cards
  • Word Study – Nouns
  • Grammar & Punctuation

Cultural Materials

  • Botany
  • Zoology
  • General
  • Months & Seasons
  • Seasons Matching Cards
  • History & Geography

Math & Geometry Materials

  • Math Activities
  • Number Writing Practice
  • Math Fact Practice
  • Geometry Materials

  • Puzzle Outlines
  • Hammer Kit Patterns

  • Pink picture cards and labels
  • Blue picture cards and labels (scroll down. On the right side, right below the item number.. )   

Reading and Language

  • Pre-Primer Lowercase Matching Set
  • Scissor Practice
  • Vegetable Vocabulary Cards (Nomenclature Cards)
  • Blue Reading Dominoes Set I
  • Mirror Cards (C-V-C reading practice)
  • Sight Word Activities Pre-Primer Hand Flashcards
  • Pink Level Reading Phonics Bingo Set I
  • Color Word Flashcards
  • Shape and Sight Word Scavenger Hunt
  • Letter-Recognition Matching Cards
  • Kids Joke Cards
  • Finger Labeling Activity (Labeling parts of a finger)
  • Today is… Beginning writing prompt journal paper
  • Beginning Alphabetizing Work
  • Number of Syllables Cards
  • Blue Level Phonetic Noun Cards
  • Building Sentences (with instructions)
  • Spanish Phrases Set 2 Cards


  • Red and Blue Rods with Number Cards
  • Equivalent Liquid Measurement Cards
  • Divisibility Cards
  • Sorting Number Cards
  • Percent of a Number Cards
  • Place Value Mission (with instructions)
  • Tangram Pieces and Pattern Work
  • How many game (with instructions)
  • Counting Arrangement Game (with instructions)
  • Congruent Figures
  • Equivalent Fractions Matching
  • Spanish / English Number Words
  • Geometric Shapes Nomenclature Cards


  • Diffusion Science Experiment 1 and 2 and explanation
  • Thirsty Carnation (absorption) experiment and explanation
  • Science Observation Sheet (for both young and older children)
  • Solar System Sequencing / Patterning Cards
  • Vertebrates and Invertebrates
  • Moon Phase 3-part Cards
  • Simple Machine 3-Part Cards


  • Weekly Schedule
  • Calendar
  • Class Checklist for 25 -35 students
  • Class Information Sheet
  • Parent / Teacher Conference Record
  • Journal Paper


  • Spring Fact / Opinion Cards
  • Fruit Nomenclature Cards
  • Vegetable Nomenclature Cards
  • Outdoor Vocabulary Nomenclature Cards 

LOTS of stuff here to download.  Too much to list, so I’m listing the categories!  

  • Canadian French Nomenclature
  • Canadian History and Geography
  • Games, links and fun
  • Language
  • Life Skills
  • Science
  • Sensory
  • World Culture

  • Teacher Preparation
  • Practical Life
  • Sensorial / Geometry
  • Language
  • Math 
  • Culture
  • Catechesis new


Bloggers that are creating and sharing works: new new new new’sintheBox/documents new 


Training Centers that are sharing Lessons from their Manuals:


Free Kindle Books (NOTE:  CHECK PRICE before you buy and download, prices change DAILY):

Spontaneous Activity in Education 

The Montessori Method Scientific Pedagogy as Applied to Child Education in ‘The Children’s Houses’ with Additions and Revisions by the Author

The Absorbent Mind

Dr. Montessori’s Own Handbook


Free Montessori Manuals:


Cultivating Dharma:


  • Math 1, Math 2, Geometry, Language Albums

Miss Barbara: 

  • The Great Lessons

Montessori Teacher’s Collective:

     Three to Six:  

  • Math 
  • Culture 

     Six to Nine:  

  • Math
  • History
  • Geometry
  • Biology
  • Language 

     The Great Lessons
     Timeline of Life 
     Timeline of Writing

Montessori Album:

  • Practical Life, Sensorial, Math, Social Studies, Music, Art, Language, Science and Methodology (these are not very complete yet)… 

Shu-Chen Jenny Yen’s Albums: 

     Three to Six:  

  • Practical Life 
  • Sensorial
  • Language Development 
  • Math 


     Three to Six, Six to Nine and Nine to Twelve Albums

  • Practical Life
  • Sensorial
  • Language Mathematics
  • Cultural
  • Science 

Elizabeth Ross Hubbell:

     Six to Nine:  

  • Geometry Album

Info Montessori:

     Three to Six:  

  • Practical Life
  • Sensorial 
  • Language
  • Math

Montessori World  This site also has videos!  

  • Beginning Math
  • Beginning Reading 
  • Practical Lie
  • Handiwork
  • Music
  • Sensorial Development


Curriculum Assistance

Toddler Classroom Curriculum

1st grade curriculum guide

2nd grade curriculum guide

3rd grade curriculum guide

3to6 Scope & Sequence

6to9 Scope & Sequence

Complete Classroom Setups for LE and UE

Curriculum scope and sequence all

Namta Curriculum Downloads    

Lesson Plans 


Homeschool Schedule and Daily Checklist

There are some tools, forms, etc. that I use in our homeschool that I thought might be beneficial to others.  So, I’m sharing them below.  Some of these are so integral to how we homeschool!

Picture of Oldest Son's Schedule

Picture of Oldest Son’s Schedule

For each of our children, I created a schedule that gives each of my boys a visual of their day.  I am sharing them as Word documents so you can use this form to adjust, modify for your own use!

Our boys like to have a checklist to check off each day.  They feel it keeps them on target and on track.  After they complete the daily checklist, they turn it into me.  I then write it in my calendar and I save each of these slips of paper in my annual homeschool organizer.  This is one of those integral “can’t do without” pieces of our daily homeschool routine.  All of the daily schedules are in one document and I have saved it in Word so you can modify it for your needs. Daily Checklist All.

Daily Checklist


Until Next Time….



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