Where do the hours in the day go? Lately I've been trying to focus on one thing at a time. My mind is always racing, with oh, I forgot to...I need to...I will...and the more I try to remember the more I forget. So no more. I'll have a pad of paper in my back pocket and a pencil in my ponytail, and that will be the extent of my double-tasking. If I remember something I'll write it down. I will put my planner book, cell phone and ipad away, and just write. Or just read. Or just ...you name it. And THEN I will do the next, you name it. One at a time. Is there any other way to do it with neanderthal linear thinking brains?

So, what have we been up to? Here is a very small bit of it all: starting with bead chains. And lots and lots of them. D is a little young to be going through this sequence, but this is where I like that Montessori is flexible. He really likes number symbols. He likes counting things, in this case beads. A lot. I've just figured out that I did these bead chains a bit out of order, but I was augmenting his number name memorization with another resource so my mind got switched around a bit. Anyway, usually one starts with the hundred chain and then proceeds on to the thousand chain right away before starting the bead chains. There are bead chains for the squares and cubes of 1-10. These bead chain works help reinforce physical quantity, linear counting, number recognition, skip counting, multiples, squaring and cubing, and probably a bunch of other things I am forgetting at the moment. So, we started with workbook pages. Oh, no, we started with the tens and teen boards and beads. THEN D really wanted to continue counting so we got into the workbooks. This was around the time when I started pushing down on that "need-to-know-your-math-facts" button with T and S and D needed workbook work at that time too. So he got a counting workbook. And then he finished that in a flash and he wanted another counting workbook and another one. I think he paused after three. Anyway, after all that number symbol recognition work, he was super excited to count beads. So he started counting and counting and counting. Above he has out the square and cube chains of 3. The children use color coded tickets to mark multiples. And you can see that he puts the squares and cubes above the quantities the correlate.Here he labeled the cube chain of 4.

He completed the square chain of 7. He always says the numbers up and down the chain a bunch of times after counting.

And here is the cube chain of 5. He needed a little bit of help once he reached 99. He's been saying 100 after 99 for months now, but when he came the 100th bead, S had to help him out a bit.

Then he figured out that you could make shapes with the chains. He started making a stair with the 8 chain, but then figured out that he didn't have enough bars to make all of the edges. Then, by himself, he figured out that he needed the 10 square chain. I think he had stars on the brain because of the Land of Israel work we had been doing for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.

And finally, we are at the thousand chain. (And it isn't yet Christmas time! S got to this work just as we were packing to leave for Mexico last year. Great timing. D's timing this year is a bit better.) D is just shy of 4.5 years old and the album suggests that he should be about 5 when doing this work. BUT, D didn't do the collective golden bead exercises before this work which is what most children do. We are a tiny bit behind on that sequence, you'll see where we are below, but D started this whole math thing earlier than most children. Like 3.75 years. And he hasn't stopped since. He just really likes numbers and we are going with it. So anyway, the thousand chain is what you see above. It extends from our classroom down the hallway and into the boys' room.

First D and I put the tickets in order. Or rather, D put them in order and I helped organize it a bit here and there. I just love shots with that concentration face.

Here we are putting the blue tens tickets in "hundred families." They were a big mess but D got it under control and put them all together. I think it helps that he is a pattern finder.

I rarely post out-of-focus pictures, but I had to share this one. This is his "I-am-super-happy-face" he makes with the fingers to the mouth. This was his face when he finished putting all the tickets in order.

Also another exhibit of jubilation. I'll try to remember to post pictures of the finished thousand chain when we get to that point.

So, we are about mid-way through the introduction to the golden-beads work. I suspect that we'll start the collective exercises very soon (all of the operations with the golden beads.) Here I got a golden bead quantity with four different categories (thousands, hundreds, tens and units) and D retrieved the appropriate number cards. Next up is the change game.

While I am on D, I'll share that he did some writing. This is "ee" on his chalk boards. I encourage him to vary the size of his writing. He is definitely a lefty now, and all the time, when it comes to writing!

This is "pumpkin." He did this spontaneously.

D is also reading. I think I already mentioned that here on the blog, but I can say it again as a very proud parent. Here he is reading single word cards and matching them with pictures. I made these word cards as part of the Pink Blue and Green series. (We don't "do" PBG, but these cards came in handy.) I think he chose to share them with his sister who figured out that you can make a pretty hexagon with the addition snake game beads.

The thing that is so interesting to me is that S started out with no confidence reading. Zero confidence. D is very very confident, but doesn't like reviewing sounds and doesn't like the sandpaper letters at all. He doesn't read just because he wants to yet. S did this all the time. If there was a single stationary word in front of her she was all about sounding that out. D ignores all words unless you say, "I want to "tell" you something," and you write that something down on a piece of paper. T took no time to explode into reading short stories. S took FOREVER to start reading more than one word at a time. I wonder what D will do.

S is working on the grade 2 Daily Math Word problems...

And T is working on the grade 3 Daily Math Word problems. I think that this was a sequencing problem and he needed a bit of help with this one. All of the other ones in this book are pretty easy for him. I pulled back from the Challenge Math book since he wasn't being consistent with it. Not sure why. Sometimes he could do a set of word problems independently no problem. Other times I needed to take 45 minutes to PULL it out of him. And that was a simple money addition problem. So we rolled back for a bit.

S has been doing the addition snake game to practice math facts. I think I posted about this earlier, so if you are looking for more info use the search box or labels below.

T is continuing with the racks and tubes division...

And the bank game as a review.

And sometimes D helps him out with getting number cards. I have to say that D's work with T has really helped him recognize thousands, hundreds, tens and units.

And sometimes D is less than helpful.

Somehow S slipped into some plant classification. Not quite sure I remember how this happened, but here we are talking about angiosperms and gymnosperms and she is writing it all down. We used the Montessori R&D classification books we have and the internet to look up how to classify an amaryllis.

Here she looking at a picture of an angiosperm.

Then she wanted to classify a sunflower. It is my aim to help her create a collection of these classifications and then encourage her to draw parallels between the different types of plant species she knows.

Maybe this is a bit of Twister and a bit of US geography? S has only 6 states more to learn.

And finally, one of the big reasons I am not blogging much anymore is that I've been making Catechesis of the Good Shepherd materials. I am not opening my own atrium and I presently serve in a fully stocked atrium so these materials are for me and for my personal formation as a catechist. I find that when I do, I understand. So I am making all sorts of things and the kids are just overjoyed to get to do atrium work at home. T, S and D would probably want to spend three hours a day in the atrium but we only get 2 hours a week. Above, are the liturgical colors (chasuble) tracing cards.

Here D is doing a liturgical colors pasting work. There is a liturgical colors lesson that goes with this tracing and pasting extension work. D received this lesson in the atrium.

All three like singing the song that goes along with the liturgical colors and I think that besides the word "one-hundred" D's second favorite word is "Pentecost."

This is another liturgical colors work that also goes along with the raised surface map of Israel as it was during the time of Jesus.

And this is a liturgical calendar coloring work that D did half correctly. He hasn't had this lesson yet, but he took this paper from a stack I had elsewhere and I didn't have a control he could take with it. So, the feasts should be white, except Pentecost, which is red, the times of preparation are purple and the times of growing and resting are green. He figured out that the calendar kind of looks like it has a nose, so he drew in eyes, a mouth (11 Sundays worth of ordinary time) and two arms; one holding bread, and the other wine.

S found our rosary pamphlet and since we had been talking about Mary and the rosary this month in CCD, she decided to pray an entire rosary with the Joyful Mysteries. That is her praying expression, not her "I-have-a-stomach-ache" expression.

And finally, I've been working with the colored pencils. These are part of the Altar items tracing card sets. Next up, I get back to the power tools to make some dioramas. Fun!

And finally, I'll leave you with a picture of T playing goalie last Sunday. Have a great week!