Saturday, October 29, 2011


Just had to stop by to share this with those who'd appreciate it:

I found these school books - all 47 of them - at the thrift shop today! There are some real gems in this pile and the best part is the whole lot cost only $12!!

I'm now inspired to reorganize our entire library into a more coherent system. We have four 8-foot bookcases packed with books, and the above purchase will have us spilling over onto another bookcase. I'll be back (at some point) to share details and photos on how I organized our school books and James' reading books. It's going to change the look of our classroom a bit, but I'm feeling ready for a change so the timing is perfect.

Speaking of change, I've also been doing A LOT of thinking and researching about James' curriculum for the reminder of this year and the 2012-2013 school year. You may be surprised to learn that we'll be moving away from Montessori for the most part. I'll still use certain aspects of the method and many of the materials we already have because I really do believe Montessori is an excellent way to teach and learn. The fact is, there are just some subject areas where James suddenly seems to be doing better with worksheets. Not to mention the fact I have come to the sad realization that I just don't have the energy anymore to create loads of trays each month. And on that note, I should mention that I won't be doing big monthly themes anymore either, but instead we'll focus on smaller, less frequent units - sort of like our mini-units.

Of course all of the materials we already have and those that I've made won't go to waste - when Juliet is of toddler age and throughout her preschool years I'll guide her by way of the Montessori method, just as I did with James. It's peace of mind to know I already have all of that on hand, ready to go!

On a different note, I'm slowing working my way back into blogging. I'll stop in and post only when I get a chance. Truth be told, I don't think I'll ever come back to blogging as often as I used to. I've quite enjoyed this break and it made me realize just how much time I spent on the computer before Juliet came! My priorities have shifted, my "free" time has been cut in half, and my energy level hovers somewhere just above low. :) It's all good - I'm not complaining. Just sayin' you won't see me around these parts as much as you used to.

These two sweet coconuts keep me on my toes!

~Thank you for your comments!~


Lindsey said...

So jealous, those are awesome! Makes me want to hit our thrift shop. :)

Tim, Allyson, and kids said...

Wow, what a great thrift store find! Enjoy your little ones and don't worry about not blogging as often as before. I know that I'll still be following along and will find great ideas or encouragement when you do get a chance to stop back by the blog world :)

Julianna said...

Two is a whole new ball game! I don't think I felt like my old self for about a year or so after my second was born. I got far less sleep with him as I was nursing on demand. It gets better, I promise, and you will have some of that free time back bit by bit. :) I'll miss your posts!

Homeschool @ sg said...

You sound like another part of the world! I've a 4 yr old too and I just gave birth to a girl as well! I've also been Changed my homeschooling the boy so to accommodate the girl! It's sure is tiring and I'm also sad that I don't have as much time for the boy as i used to.

Andrew & Terri said...

Have you heard of Delicious Library? It's a great way to catalog and organize the books you have so you can find them!

Bethany said...

I must comment! I found your blog at the end of my pregnancy, which was in February of this year. I was scouring resources to learn how to teach my then 18 month old using Montessori principles and other ideas. I read it and used a lot of your ideas! And then in April, I had the baby, and I had to rethink how I spend time online and educating my kid and budgeted my energy.

I feel so freed knowing you made some of these same choices! I totally compared your teaching methods to mine and you set the bar pretty high!

I know have a six month old and a 27 month old, so I have cut things back due to practicality and to allow me to enjoy my time more.

I am glad to know I am not the only one! Juggling two distinct learners is different and more fun!

I hope you post some on Juliet's education, too. I've been reading some Janet Lansbury articles about infant education and they are great!

I also hope you sometime post about typical days with two and how you do budget your time in the classroom with nursing and other needs.

Also, thank you for the hard work you have done for the online teaching and learning community. I know you did it for your own child, but it helped us teach our children, too. I taught me how to think about using materials!

Kristi said...

Sounds like you are doing a great job tuning into the specific needs of your family. You are such an awesome mom!

Zonnah said...

I understand changing things up and going with what works for you and your child. We are doing less Montessori as well. From what I have observed personally, having worked in a Montessori school, is it is hard with one child. I think a lot of what makes it work so well is multiple ages in the same classroom.
I am glad to hear things are going well for you and can't wait to read future posts when you drop in. :-)

Jennie said...

So long as I can still get ideas from your site of all the great things you have done. I get some new idea going back over the things you have posted!!! And it keeps me wanting to create great things for my classroom. I am kinda sad but can totally understand!!! Your creativity inspires!!! Keep loving your beautiful babies!!!

karlamcurry said...

I have been leaning more towards the idea of "unschooling" my kiddos, but it seems my daughter likes some structure, which is why I decided to base our preschool on a curriculum (I just searched for free curriculums and have adapted it to suit my needs).

I try to keep it casual, but I do get overly-ambitious and feel like we have to do *everything* I prepared! There are a few trays that I put various worksheets/projects on, so that in and of itself isn't a lot of work, but coming up with materials for the week can often be overwhelming. I try to remember that it's good to be flexible; it's okay to change your mind and try something different.

My kiddos are almost 2 and 4, so while the younger one isn't doing all the "work," we involve him in art projects and such. I'm not sure how things will change as they get older or if we have any more.

Good luck as you discover what works best for you!

The girl who painted trees said...

I'm glad you found those books considering the last I remember your public library only let you sign out two books at a time. Your children are beautiful. Juliet will be blessed with all those Montessori materials.

Deb Chitwood said...

What an amazing find, Mari-Ann! As a family of book lovers, we ended up with a huge home library after homeschooling and using unit studies for so many years. I used a simplified version of the Dewey Decimal System (and organized fiction by author), which worked well for us.

We'll all miss your regular posts, but I think it's wonderful that you're putting your family first. It has to be incredibly difficult to balance family time with young children and time online. I'm happy you're finding a balance that works for you and are spending lots of time with your precious children.

And all your awesome archived posts never get old! I'll enjoy keeping up with your family whenever you have a chance to post! Deb @

Vanessa said...

Love the book find.

I'm actually happy to hear that you won't have as much time to do all you did before Juliet's arrival. It makes me believe (fleetingly) that you may in fact be normal. Maybe. ;-)

Little ones come long before friends in cyberspace. We can deal. Honestly. :-)

Healthy Mama said...

Your thrift store find is unbelievable!!!! Wow. What I learned form having a three year old and 1 year old twins is to let go sometimes. They learn a lot from each other. They learn a lot by playing. When you have more than one child it's impossible to be there and teach them as much, but it doesn't mean they are not learning. For us, the formal "learning" hour is when the babies are napping in the morning, but other than that we learn throughout the day, whenever we can. And the babies are learning as they go.

Liz said...

Hi, Mari-Ann,

Selfishly, I will miss your posts and your wonderful Montessori ideas. But I certainly understand the change in your classroom direction and in your personal life! I am the mom of a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old and as the kids have gotten older, I have found more of a need for worksheets, too. It is much easier than preparing trays for two different levels of learning!

Our solution is to have a clipboard for each child out on our shelves and one of the activities they can choose is "clipboard time." I put only 3 or 4 worksheets on it at a time and many of the worksheets use other skills, too (cutting, gluing, etc.). But I have found this to be a good way of doing some worksheets while still encouraging lots of hands-on learning. And like everything on my shelves, sometimes it gets lots of use (I'll change the worksheets every day!) and other times it is completely ignored.

I look forward to hearing more about how you work worksheets into your teaching! Best wishes!

Cynthia said...

Congrats on your new baby Mary Ann. I just recently stumbled on your blog in looking for Montessori resources for my youngest homeschoold child (3 year old). I also wanted to encourage you in doing what is best for your kids at the time in your homeschooling journey. I too believe Montessori is the best method in the preschool years and have found other methods to work in the older years. I am a mother to five blessings, and know firsthand how important it is to use what works best for each individual. Enjoy this precious time with your baby. :) The years really are short although right now the days may be very long! :)Many blessings to you!

Nicole {tired, need sleep} said...

The thing I admire most about you is how you are so totally honest with yourself and listen to your heart. I have found all of what you write about - teaching, organizing, hand-making things - very inspirational, but your love for your family and your clear vision about your priorities is the most inspiring thing of all. This is such a good reminder that mothering comes first, not blogging, not even teaching. Mothering. You are doing a beautiful job of it, Mama!

Montessori At Home! said...

Thanks for the Thrift store reminder, Mari-Ann. So many books to recycle....
So you stepped away from the computer awhile & kind of liked it - good for you! Two is a different game, but they have an awesome Mom!
Don't worry, you have created a body of work on this blog you can be exceptionally proud of - I know I find new things all the time.
We love you, Mari-Ann!

Amber said...

Amazing haul.

LOVE thrift shopping 4 books - so addictive! I got 4 great books today too ($3.50 :)

Jackie Koll said...

I have to say that it was nice to read that someone found those trays a lot of work! At first I wanted to do them 100% but as I tried putting stuff together I realized how much work/time/money it was going to be and got super discouraged. Now, I just look for fun things to do with my little boys. Also, just as an encouragment - you will get your energy back; two kids is more work (my are 14 months apart) because when one is sleeping you are still "on" with the other one but it does start to get easier and you will start to feel like yourself again :-)

whyamysmiles said...

Good for you having your priorities in line! You won't regret this precious time with you little ones. It will go by quickly, and down the road there will be more time for blogging and other things, too. All of us moms, and especially those of us who homeschool, struggle to fit it all in. Thanks for the reminder to put first things (people) first!


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