“If geography is prose, maps are iconography.” Lennart Meri
It has been a light week here since we finished our main lesson block on Tuesday. So today, Louis and Sophie made up a game to play with the United States map. It’s rather like that game you play with a group of dots where each player takes a turn making a line between two dots and the one who closes the box claims it. Louis won this time ’round.
Then the older kids worked together to locate both state and national capitals. And then made the map of the world look like a nice game of Global Thermonuclear Warfare. It was at once amusing and slightly unsettling. The winner for the longest range missile is Tonga, which managed to reach Japan going round the long way.
Geography was my favourite subject growing up and I’m extremely gratified that my own children are having so much fun with it, too.
In case you’re curious, our pretty maps are from National Geographic, and our frames are from Michael’s. The latter are wood with a plastic sheet to protect the maps. We just use regular dry erase markers.
We’re home with Nicholas and Olivia! It has been quite a couple of weeks, learning about each other. It wasn’t very long after we picked them up that it became clear that the information we received about their education levels was wrong. Both of our kids are bright, but neither of them has anything like a 4th or 5th grade education. Our kids have achieved about a preschool and kindergarten level equivalent, respectively. They are capable of learning, but will need an awful lot of help to catch up. We need to do about 5 years of intensive remedial work with them to bring them up to a level near what they should be for their ages.
In order to do that, I’m going to need some materials that will help them to learn and practice. I have made Montessori materials at home for many years, but our needs are more urgent than I can meet by making them myself now. I’m going to need to purchase materials so that we can get the kids started right away.
Because our previous giveaways have been so much fun and so successful, we are going to do another one!
An Apple for the Teacher
For every 100 apples claimed, we will give away one Apple Watch. And this time every gift is the same amount: $25.
Claim as many apples as you want. The more apples you claim, the greater your chance of winning.
To claim your apples, send your gift of $25 per apple through PayPal to nissa_@_gadboisfamily_._com
We will draw a winner (or winners) on Sunday, December 6th – St Nicholas Day. Please help us spread the word! We’re sure that lots of people will want a chance at an Apple Watch right before Christmas!
Whatever we raise in excess of our needs for materials will be put toward other projects here at the house: completion of the permanent schoolroom, completion of the third floor bedrooms for our adult children and guests, an office for our ministry, workspaces for making candles, soaps, and sewn items for our shop, a room to be used as photography studio – all in support of our ministry.
*No purchase necessary, click here for details. Void where prohibited.
Lately I’ve noticed several homeschool moms sharing this amazing new thing – planning lessons using notebooks rather than charts or computer programs. I seriously didn’t know you all didn’t know about this. Way back when I was in school, my mom did the same thing. She got me steno pads to keep my assignments in. My Assignment Books. I guess I figured everyone’s mom did this.
Each day, I was to write down in the assignment book what I was given for homework and projects. Make a list. Tick it off as I finished. So simple that it’s genius! The idea for homeschoolers is that mom writes in the book what she wants each child to accomplish for the day. The child can check off or line through what he or she has completed as they finish each task.
Writing plans out by hand for several children can give you a hand cramp. BUT, if you’re assigning so much that your hand is cramping, you’re either expecting too much, or you have a really large family and need to enlist Papa to help write up the lists. 🙂 I feel like teenagers should be collaborating on their assignments and helping to fill in their own books, but that’s my style.
A plain old notebook may revolutionize your homeschool. It’s simple, it’s elegant. OK. It’s not elegant. Those notebooks are UGLY. And if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I adore Pretty. So I thought I would show all of the new Assignment Book enthusiasts how to make pretty ones. It’s really easy. The first one might take you 10 or 15 minutes, but after that, you’ll get them done in under five minutes. You remember how fast you could cover a book with a shopping bag, right? Like that.
Here’s what you need:
Spiral bound notebooks (I like the steno pads for their size, columns, and for nostalgia. You use whatever you like)
Decorative cardstock (or recycle cereal or cracker boxes)
Scissors or Xacto knife (cutting mat for the latter)
Needle-nose pliers (jewelry ones are ideal, but regular ones will do)
Binder clips and trombone paper clips
Micro-punch or awl
And here’s how you do it: (It seriously took me longer to type it out than it will take you to make a pile of them).
Place two binder clips on either edge of your notebook. This holds all of the papers in place and keeps the holes aligned. You don’t need to bind the top cover in with the inner sheets.
Next, using your pliers, carefully unhook each end of the coil and straighten the right-hand hook out so that it will slide through the holes without catching. Then simply unscrew the wire. The first turn will be a little tricky as you will need to keep the other ‘hook’ free of the book.
Now, using the original cover as a template, cut out a piece of cardstock.
Paper clip your original and new covers together so they don’t slip. Transfer marking for the holes from the original cover onto the cardstock, using a soft pencil.
Carefully punch holes through the card stock. I couldn’t find my micropunch. It must still be packed away. So I used my bookbinding awl. It worked a treat.
Place the new cover on the stack of papers and back cover. Use binder clips to hold everything in place. adjust everything so the the holes line up nicely. You may want to use your awl to neaten up or enlarge the holes now.
Screw the wire back in. Watch the way the wire wants to go. Most of mine needed to start in the back at the far right of the book. One or two needed to either start in the front, or begin on the left-hand side. Be careful to gently guide the leading end into each hole. It should go fairly quickly and easily.
Be sure to bend a new ‘hook’ in the leading edge and to hook each end of the wire around the adjacent loop. This prevents snagging.
If you’re feeling particularly fancy, you can hand-letter little name tags to glue on each child’s Assignment Book. Carrie was happy to get some more calligraphy practice.
Her tags made the books so special.
Now, if you want to make your own notebooks from scratch (because you’re a compulsive crafty mama like me), I’ve gotthis pretty template for you. Here’s what to do:
Print 20 copies on nice paper (per Assignment Book)
Cut them in half
Make a front and back cover. The back one can be made from a piece of bristol board or the back of a used drawing pad (save those!).
Mark the holes (about 1/4″ from the top edge, evenly spaced), do the cover first and then use that as the template for the rest of the pages.
Punch holes using a micro punch or awl. You can probably punch four pages at a time without too much trouble. But hold them securely with clips so they don’t slide around.
Stack your covers and pages together with the holes lined up neatly. Secure with binder clips.
Wrap a piece of 20 gauge wire (or 18 or 16) around a fat magic marker or size 15 knitting needle the same number of times as holes you have, plus one
Screw the wire into the holes.
Bend the wire ends in or make a hook to catch the next loop in.
Voila! Totally custom Assignment Books.
BONUS: now you have a compact, easy to access basis for transcripts. And you didn’t have to use a fussy chart (unless you like fussy charts, which I sometimes do).
If you found this tutorial helpful, or interesting, or even amusing, please consider contributing to our adoption fund at Reece’s Rainbow. And we sure would be tickled if you shared this Tutorial with your friends through social media. Please feel free to pin away! And if you need to purchase supplies, you can do so right through our Amazon affiliate link. Those commissions go toward our adoption, too!
Three part cards are an important element of Montessori materials. They are extremely versatile in that you can use them as aids in a wide variety of subject areas. Use them for maths, reading, science, geography… anything. And they are very simple to make and to customize to your family’s needs. You can copy and paste images to trace or print onto your cards, or, if you are particularly handy with a paintbrush or coloured pencils, you can create your own artwork.
For simplicity’s sake, I made colour nomenclature cards for my littlest ones to work with. They are super-quick to make and you probably have the materials right there at home.
12 index cards (or cut your own from white or cream cardstock)
laminating sheets and laminator (optional)
I chose to do primary and secondary colours, but you can do as many as you’d like. Add in brown, black and white, make tertiary colour cards… I just mixed my own from what I had here.
You want to paint squares of each colour on pairs of cards – two red ones, two blue ones, etc. When they are dry, print the names of the colours on the cards. In hindsight, I should have printed ours in D’Nealian handwriting since that’s what I’m teaching them. Easily done over later.
Now take one set of cards and cut them in half. You now have three part cards – one complete card set to be used as the control cards, one set of colours, one set of printed colour names. I feel that it is a really good idea to laminate the cards if you can. it is spendy, however. Laminating makes the cards last much longer, and you can wipe them clean in case a baby brother gets ahold of them while snacking. 🙂
Alternately, you could paint decoupage medium (like Mod Podge) over the front and back of each card. You’ll probably want to do several coats, and probably before cutting the cards.
Now, to use the materials, show your little one all of the cards – controls and their matching picture and name cards. Show them how they match up, that the letters in the words match the ones on the control cards. Now, let your little one try. Take up all of the ‘cut’ cards and mix them around. Leave the control cards out at first. Let her match them up. Let her make mistakes and then ask if everything matches exactly. Point out errors so that she can understand what to look for next time.
Eventually, she will be able to recognize by sight which words go with which colours, without using the control cards. And she will start to be able to pick the words out of books she’s reading with you.
You can do the same with letters and sounds, numbers and their qualities, shapes, natural science, history – whatever you can think of. This is also a fun way of introducing English as a second language to an older child (which we will soon be doing), or of introducing a foreign language to your children.
I would love to see the cards you come up with. Send me a link when you make some!