Monday, August 13, 2012

A quick update.

Hello Readers,

What a month July has been and we are already half way through August. It has been a month where not much has happened early learning wise. I have started a few things but due to flu season really kicking in this household we have spent most of the month in front of the TV while my eldest daughter and I recovered from the flu and infections.

What a bummer but we have done some spelling, our map of Africa is coming along and her writing is improving each time she practices (when she practices) and my youngest dd's reading is getting better all the time and she often asks for her words (as she calls it or her ipad)  and is picking up books and pointing out words. It is so exciting to see this happen.

Our 1000 book challenge is now well and truly behind due to sickness I have lost a lot of motivation. I will however need to start picking this up and reading more. Agh I can't believe I let this happen. Never mind they are both still getting read to its just going to take a lot of reading to catch up,

Well checking out now,


Friday, July 20, 2012

More Montessori in the house

Hello Readers,

Well my big girl is now off to  Montessori school 4 1/2 days a week which now leaves just my little girl and I to do things together.

I am missing my big girl. It is a big adjustment for me (not for her) and this week I have felt a little lost with out her around all the time.

But in saying that this week I have seen my little girl take on some more independence and at 19months she buttered her rice crackers. Got the rice crackers and the butter off the shelf and a butter knife and off she went.

It never ceases to amaze me what our children are capable of when we provide the environment for them. Here are some photos.

Don't be afraid to let your kids try few things. They don't have to be perfect it at it and yes it does get a bit messy but the reward is that they are proud of themselves for being a 'big kid'. It give the something to do and it frees you up to do other things with them. Hope this inspires you.


Friday, July 13, 2012

1000 book challenge

Well it was a mammoth effort last month, I was 85 books behind but I read and read and read to come back and be 30 books in front. Sometimes I would read up to17 books in one day to catch up. But I am determined to meet this challenge head on.

It has been a quiet month this month on the reading front this month as I have had all 4 wisdom teeth out and it has been a little hard to talk. So reading aloud has been a little hard.

Well better get back to it.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

More Montessoring up the house

Hello Readers,

As you know I'm doing each room up bit by bit to help both my girls become more independent around the home. I am currently working on the kitchen area and I can almost say that I am done.

I have finally switched over the plastic cutlery and crockery to the real stuff and I did this for about $12AUD by buying old glass bowls and glasses from op shops. So hooray for someones old stuff.

The girls love it and feel very special having their real crockery and I don't care if it gets smashed because I can replace it for about $2.

I have found that there are a lot of places on line that sell the personnel care products for huge $$$$. I don't think that making your home Montessori friendly has to be expensive. It just has to be the right size materials at the right height so it can work for your child.

I am always surprised by how my girls react to the changes I make and how much more responsible and happy they seem to act. My youngest DD now drinks from a glass no problems and refuses to drink from  sippy cup. She even attempts to poor her own drinks and wants to spread butter on her own toast and she is all of 18months.

So enough about my kids here are some photos for you to see what I have done.

Their own cutlery. Miss A has blue and Miss S has pink. It is their size and the different colours help stop fights. I found the cutlery at General Trader for $14.95 AUD

I found the glasses for 50 cents each the bowls for $1.50ea, the glass jug for $4.50 and the glass serving tray fro $2.50 at a local op shop
Separate trays one for cleaning and one for some food preparation. I set the food on up with rice crackers and a separate container for butter. Both of my girls love being able to fix their own snack.
Their own little table in the kitchen in which to prepare their own snacks.

Friday, June 8, 2012

My 1000 book challenge

Hello Readers,

Well it is time to get back into the swing of things. I am majorly behind on the reading. I blame my 18month old daughter who I am sure has my husband and I in spy training for all the sleep deprivation she has been putting us through!!! :{

I have so far read 413 books and by the end of this month I need to hit the 500 mark so I have a bit of reading aloud to do.

Now there is a challenge!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Geography: Starting on Africa

Hello Readers,

Well Miss S and I have made a start on Africa. I must say that I am a little overwhelmed by the sheer amount of countries but we have made a start on it. My goal is to have it completed by her birthday in August.

Here are some photos: For the map please go to

Placing Algeria on the map

Picking out the next country

Deciding where it will be placed on the wall

Placing Angola on the map

Happy Teaching

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ye old Pudding Paints

Hi readers,

This is an oldie but a goodie. My daughter has been on my back about finger painting and I didn't want to go and buy any so I made them with some vanilla instant pudding and food dye a wola, finger paints  done cheaply.

What you need
1. 1 packet of instant pudding
2. Milk
3.Food dye
4 Paper

Follow instructions on packet, separate pudding into ramekins or container of some kind and food colouring put in fridge to set. Listen to children bug you for 15minutes while pudding sets

Then have fun

Here are some photos

Sunday, May 6, 2012

learning about the Human Body

Hi Readers,

For a while now I have been teaching my eldest and (some what my youngest) about the Human Body with this great DVD called Human Biology by PeterWeatherall. Which goes through many of the body's system and has a great catchy song that accompanies each body system, but to help my youngest really fathom the Human Body I wanted to give her some more 'hands on' experience to really understand how we work.

Don't worry I didn't take her to the local morgue or anything like that. I did however, find a great book with some age appropriate experiments to do and it was a bargain price of $5 woo hoo and really who can pass up a bargain???  
Mini scientist My Body by Lisa Burke

So here is the first one I did with her,  BODY DETECTIVES

What you will need.

1. A big sheet of Butcher paper
2. Colour construction paper (lots of different colours depending on how many organs you want to do0
3. A black texta for drawing the organs and labelling them
4. Scissors
5. Double sided sticky tape or glue or blue tak (depending on if you want to take the organs on and off to do the project over and over again)

Draw around your child's body and stick up on wall
Draw and cut out major organs. Clearly mine are not to scale. My heart is way too big and so is the brain but in this the object is to 'understand' where the organs are in the human body. I chose 6. Miss S corrected me that the intestines were 'Actually the large intestine Mum' This has been corrected.

'The Body' ended up falling down so we did the activity on the floor Here she is ready to stick on the lungs

Lungs are on
Heart on. Yes she did need a little help knowing exactly where to stick the heart. She knew roughly but she kept putting the heart more to the right. I got her to put her hand on her chest to feel her heart be beating. I said your hand is slightly to your left so your heart in the picture needs to be slightly to the left.
Stomach on.

Brain now going on no help needed with this one. Even Miss A watched and tried to 'help' much to the disgust of her older sister

Liver on. As you can see it is slightly over sized but I had to help with this one and explain where it went. She had a slight idea but we have not really talked much about the Liver and its many functions yet.

Large Intestine going on she knew all about this one she even lines it up so 'poster S' could poop.

Finished Product and a happy girl. Although I am aware it is not Anatomically correct.

 I really enjoyed doing this project with her. I found out that she actually knows quite a bit about the human body she even spoke about the 'chyme' that her stomach makes, which she learnt from watching the Peter Weatherall DVD and knew a lot about the digestive system and the importance of poop. Which made me laugh. We now have this hanging up on our wall!!

We then watched some of the Human Biology DVD again. It is divided up into segments so we watched the digestive system, Respiratory System, Nervous System and Circulatory system to back up what we have learnt.

If I was to do this again I would add the Oesophagus, Pancreas and the Gall Bladder just to make it more interesting and last a bit longer as an activity.

I hope you enjoyed this blog and find this a great activity to do for the cold winter days ahead or if you are in the Northern Hemisphere an activity to do when you are inside because it is too hot.

Happy Teaching

Monday, April 30, 2012

1000 book challenge

Hello readers,

Month 4 is downand I am 20 books ahead of where I need to be. I have been reading to the girls sometimes up to six books a day. I actually needed to be ahead as I knew we were going away this month and I didn't want to end up playing catchup at the end of the month in case we did not read while we were away. (Much harder to read to your kids while they are court up in what the other children are doing)

This is a good spot to be in, even though hardly any reading got done while we were away I still managed to end up in front for the month. I just need to keep up the momentum, (which is alot harder than it seems somedays I just don't want to read to them) I can hear you all gasp!!! :) but I understand the importance of it so I keep doing it and I also have some impending surgery coming up and I may not be able to read to them for a week or two so I need to be ahead.

It is alot of fun and my local library is being more than supportive. I borrow approximately 120 books a month a get through most of them.

I hope this inspires you to read more to your kids. I just needed a challenge to keep me motivated. I was reading to my kids but not consistently this has helped me to read to them daily and share some quiet time with them. I don't expect them to sit on my lap but just to listen while they play. Sometimes they come over and sometimes they don't but as long as they listen that's all that matters.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Modern Parenting: Tricks Tips and Traps by Steve Hughes.

Hi Readers,

This talk was sent to me by a friend of mine and it is very good. When you have a spare hour and half (Yes it is long) but well worth the listen. It really challenges our modern day parenting of praise and looks at some 'old school parenting' techniques and argues why some of these are better for our children's mental health and well being. It is Steve Hughes (bio from his website)

Steven J. Hughes, PhD, LP, ABPdN is a board-certified pediatric neuropsychologist who specializes in assessment and treatment planning for persons who have problems with attention, concentration, organization, planning, and related executive functions. He also consults with organizations about educational program evaluation, and speaks to groups around the world about developmental education, neurocognitive disorders, parenting, and other topics of interest to parents and educators.
Dr. Hughes serves as Chair of the Association Montessori Internationale Global Research Committee. You can see more of his talks at

So here is the link to the talk enjoy and let it challenge some of the ways we think about parenting

Happy Teaching


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cultural immersion

Hello Readers,

Today my husband and I took our children to the rotary art show which was held at one of the local school. I love taking my eldest to these things as now she is starting to have opinions of her own about what she likes and what she does not like.

As we walked through the show she would point to paintings and say "I like this painting" What do you like about it? "I like the purple colours Mummy" That's nice what else do you like? "I like the painting that looks like water."

It is so nice to be able to do things with her now where she is forming opinions of her own and what she likes and does not like. She even sat down and took in all the paintings. I wish I could have taken some photos but it was not allowed.

It was a great trip out for us to do and a way of showing Miss S some art and culture in her day. Miss A well.... She whinged the whole time because my husband wouldn't let her walk.... because walking means running with Miss A.

Happy Teaching

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

LanguageMom my review

Hello Readers,

Its been awhile since I have done a review of any kind so i thought I would do a review on Language Mom My girls and I have been doing this for 5 weeks now and really enjoying ourselves my youngest who is 16months will hold out two fingers and say deux while my eldest 3.5 is trying really hard to say all the french words with perfect accent.

Language Mom is a french program aimed at 3-5 year old and I would also say 30 year old parents to who also want to learn french. It is a weekly curriculum sent to your inbox which has instructions to follow and videos to watch. You then practice each video and print out the worksheets that go with it.

I print out the worksheets and laminate them and stick them up around the bath tub where I can practice my french with the girls while they are getting clean.

It is early days yet but so far both the girls are really enjoying it and getting a huge amount out of the curriculum, they are not bored and the eldest asks for her lessons. this is a 6 month curriculum and well worth the price tag as it is so affordable for so many parents.

Happy  Teaching


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fostering Independence: Montessori around the house part 2

Hello Readers,

About 18 months ago my Husband and I had the interior fit out of our wardrobes updated. At the time we did them so we could help our then just 2 year old foster her own independence but at the time it was just too early and a few times I came into her bedroom with all the clothes strewn all over the floor and many fashion parades later and too many times I had to refold the clothes again and again. I just ended up putting the clothes up high where she could not reach them.

I know I'm a baaad Montessori mother, when I had the opportunity to teach her but in my defence I was about 34 weeks pregnant at the time and too huge and tired to repeat myself.

So now that my youngest is 16 months and my eldest is 3.5 years old it is time to help the eldest take a little more responsibility and to help her grow as a person. As I keep making the changes I can't believe how much she has rised to the occasion and surprised me at how happy she is to be a responsible young girl.

So here is what I have done....

I have taken photographs of the clothes in each draw and stuck them (with blue tack) to each picture so she knows where each article of clothing belongs to put it away and where to get it out when she wants to get dressed. I have also put the clothes she access the most on the bottom two draws and clothes she accesses the least at the top. This is because of her height and I want to make the process of getting dressed  and putting clothes away as easy as possible.

My husband added a door handle at her height so she can open and close the wardrobe by her self

More pictures so she knows where her coats/jackets and shoes belong

A low hanger has been added so she can reach to hang up her jackets and dresses by herself as  well as put them away.
Do I still have issues with her putting things away? Yes I do she still is 3 and will still throw things in the wardrobe,but now I just bring her back and make her do it. She is getting to a stage where you can talk to her about doing the right thing and taking care of her possessions and more importantly she wants to be a big girl as when she was two while she wanted to do things for herself the ability to reason with her was just not there.

Happy teaching.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Geography Part 2 Africa

Hi Readers,

I have now had Africa blown up to A0 size and tonight finished cutting out ALLLL of the countries. There are sooo many.

My eldest daughter is looking forward to starting Africa. We will focus on Algeria tomorrow as a start. This is going to take a loong time to complete but never mind the fun is in the journey.

Happy teaching.


Fostering Independance, Montessori around the house.

Hi Readers,

We have recently been away and while I was away I got to curl up with a few Montessori books I had been waiting to read. It was a good reminder as to what Montessori Philosophy is all about and it was the kick in the butt that I needed to put my Daughter and my relationship back on track.

Montessori advocates to 'Follow the Child' and watch and observe and then act on those observations. My Daughter has been wanting more independence for a very long time and I have been fighting it. Insisting that I should still be doing 'Everything' making her lunch. helping her to get dressed, picking everything she wears, not allowing her to get involved because there would be mess etc etc. You get the idea and we have been fighting ever since until the other day when I finally had the 'AHA' Moment when I watched her do something for her self and proudly turn to me and say 'Mummy I can do it all by myself'.  I had to let go of the baby I had so desperately wanted to hold on to and welcome a little person who needed to do things on her own to grow her own self esteem and self confidence in herself.

So to help foster this independence I have been slowly 'Montessoring' up each room of the house to 'Help her help herself"

So I have begun with the kitchen as this is where she probably needs to be independent the most.

In the pantry I have given her a shelf for her to prepare her breakfast and I have bought containers in which she can manage to pour breakfast herself.

Two breakfast cereals to choose from.(Rice Bubbles and Weetbix) The biggest container has a cup in it to help her pour her cereal. For Christmas I purchased her a child's scale, sifter and apple peeler.
I also have an old urn I found from around the house for water so she can pour her own drinks. I also have plates, bowls and cups. While they are plastic they will do for now as I slowly replace everything with real cutlery and crockery. They are still helping her become independent.   

I have also given her a a shelf in the fridge with already prepared fruit and vegetable that she can help herself to whenever she feels like it.

 Making an afternoon snack

Preparing her plate
Packing up her food and putting it away.

So as you can see you don't have to do much to allow your child to be independent. I am focusing on one room at a time and buying things bit by bit so it is not a huge financial hit to me and using what I already have around the house to help her become independent.

Just implementing these changes has allowed her to become a much happier girl in the last couple of days. By allowing her to be independent I have noticed that she is more responsible, more willing to help me do 'chores' and has taken on her new responsibilities with enjoyment and happiness and she is calmer.

I hope this inspires you to do more around your house. I have been so afraid to let go for so long and now that I finally have she has surprised me in so many ways.

Happy teaching


Monday, April 2, 2012

Bath tub language fun

Hi readers,

I just thought I would share something with you who are a little time poor and are wanting to find more ways to fit some early learning activities in. I have started using bath time as a way to add some language learning in.

I have joined up to language mom ( to teach my kids french. Each week you get a french lesson to practice with your children and each lesson comes with a study sheet. I have printed each one off, laminated it and stuck it to the wall that the bathtub is on. When we are in the bath I ask the girls in french to touche la girafe or touch le lion. We watch the videos also while they are in the tub and make games up to play with them.

I find this a great way to have a lot of fun with them and we are all learning a language together and it is fun. You don't have to teach your kids a language but you could use that time any way you want. Maybe you would like to teach addition or subtraction or colours. Whatever takes your fancy but there is some extra time there in the bathtub to spend with your kids teaching them.

Happy Teaching


Sunday, April 1, 2012

1000 book challenge update

Hi readers

My 1000 book challenge is going well. I have been reading to the girls like a Trojan for the month of March. We are going away this month and since we will be away I was worried I may not hit my daily goal of 3 books. So last month I doubled what I needed to read to to them and now I am way ahead for April and have a little bit of le-way for the week we are away.

I am thoroughly enjoying this challenge. I am reading so many different things to them. Articles, books that are for older children, anything I can get my hands on. I tend to read to them while they play and are in the bath. I find bath time the best they are really relaxed and enjoy hearing the stories while they splash about.

Happy reading,


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Postcard exchange (Pen Pals)

Recently on the Brillkids forum there has been much talk on teaching our children geography. It seems we all want our children to be aware of the world around  them and we seem more and more aware of the 'global village' we are now living in. So one of the parents started a postcard exchange which I quickly joined and yesterday we received our first postcard from Madrid in Spain.

This made my daughter feel very excited about her new friend. We read the postcard together and then we opened up the Atlas (We don't have a globe yet) to a map of the world and I showed her where Spain and Madrid were on the map and how far away her new friend lives. Although I did explain that her new friend lived a long way away this didn't stop Miss S from asking if she could come over and play. :)

This little postcard exchange is really quite exciting and has had my DD asking all sorts of questions about the 1st country we have received a postcard from. It has opened us up to looking at maps and borrowing books from the library about her new friend's country. We even have some Spanish to translate which is quite an exciting prospect to also learn another language along the way.

 I hope as my dd gets older and her penmanship improves she will soon be writing the postcards herself and maybe the postcards will turn into letters and a friendship will be forged over the years. I look forward to receiving more postcards and learning about more countries with my dd along the way.

This is also a great way to teach the kids tolerance of different cultures. Yes we may do things differently or have different religions but we can all still be friends and put our differences aside.

What a wonderful world we live in!!!!! :)

Happy Teaching

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A life lesson given to us by children.

Hi readers,

Today I took my little ones off to the park again to let off some steam in the hope both would have an afternoon sleep. (One did the other didn't humpf) but today the kids gave me a lesson and not the other way around.

I know there is an old saying 'That kids can be so cruel.' in some instances that is true but what I also see is that children can be kind and full of compassion.

At the park today my eldest dd comes across another little girl who she had never met her before and 5 minutes later off they running together hand in hand like they were old friends. Then the little girl gets called over by her mother to have a biscuit (cookie). She grabs the biscuit, comes back to my dd and breaks it in half and gives her the other half of the biscuit without being told to share. The kindness shared in that moment was really touching and the other girl's mother commented to me that we could all learn something from that kindness. I agreed.

They then find another little girl to play with and before you know it they are playing ring-a-ring-a-rosy. The girls did not care about how each other looked, or what race they were, they are blind to all that stuff. The kids just wanted someone to play with.

Children are sometimes the ones to teach us if we are open to it. Sometimes we are so busy imparting lessons on to our children that we miss the opportunity for them to teach us. Today observing the moment take place between two children who had never met each other before was wonderful. It reminds me that there really is good in the world.

Happy Teaching


Friday, March 9, 2012

The geography map is finished

Hi readers,

The geography map of South America  is now finally finished.  We had a great time putting it together and learning about the flora and fauna of these wonderful countries. Miss S has enjoyed it so much that we have borrowed books from the library about the different countries and are going to do some of the activities. She was also very proud of her accomplishment and took it to school for show and tell.

The things my daughter learnt.
  • She learnt how to read a legend and understand what a legend means on a map.
  • She learnt to recognise each country's different flag.
  • You can ask 'Where is Bolivia' and she can find it within a couple seconds
  • By colouring in each individual country she was able to find where the country went on the map by working out the shape. (Like a jigsaw puzzle)
  • We learnt about the native animals of South America
  • It has had her asking to learn more about individual countries. For example we were at the library and she found a book on Bolivia and asked to borrow it.
  • It has deepend my interest in this mysterious continent and I have borrowed books about the Incas and I am now reading it aloud to my girls as they play. 

It has been really fun to do and even if you don't do anything on the scale I have done just remember your library is a great resource and just reading to your children will open a whole world of culture to them.

Sticking on Guyana the last country we did

All stuck on

Colouring in the legend. I taught her that she had to colour in the box the same colour as the country so people could find it on the map

All done

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

All about spelling

Hi Readers,

Recently I made a purchase from the Institute for the excellence in writing to teach my eldest dd how to write,(Primary Arts of Language) in this pack also came a program to help teach your child how to spell. So far my dd and I have just completed lesson 6 and my dd is absolutely loving it.

All about spelling is a spelling program was created by Marie Rippel and what I really love about this program is a great hands on approach for kids (who may or may not be able to write) it really encourages you to use many ways to make spelling fun and as tactile as possible and it also encourages you to be flexible. You know your child the best  so find out what works and stick with it.

What I love is the no pressure approach which is especially important for teaching young children and the key is 'Don't worry about completing each lesson every day or worry about getting behind the goal is mastery of the key concepts.'

We go over a few of the concepts every day and play games like "what 3 sounds does this letter make" and I show her the letter 'a'. We play lots of games and use lots of mediums to convey the key concepts

I have to also say from my standpoint I just open it up to the lesson I'm working on get out the materials I need and just get started. Which is great for me as I don't have a huge amount of time to be preparing materials.

So I must share this with you. It is a great little program and well worth it if you want to teach your kids how to spell.

So I will summarise in dot points the pros and cons

  • Each step laid out in a book with lots of hints and tips
  • Flexible approach no lesson has to be mastered in a day take the time your child needs (I have broken 1 lesson down into 3 small lessons.
  • Its fun
  • All the materials you need are include in the pack
  • A certificate for the child once they have completed the course
  • A progress chart so your child can tick off or colour in each lesson
  • A chart to colour in all the letter sounds once you master them
  • I did spend a lot of time prepping the materials BUT I laminated all the cards which you don't have to do which is time consuming in itself and I magnetised each of the individual letter tiles myself as they don't come magnetised. It is up to you if you wish to magnetise the letter tiles and laminate the cards which you don't have to do. I just did this for longevity of the materials
  • Wish it came with a few more progress charts, sound charts and certificate would be great to be used with subsequent children.

Here are some photos of my DD miss S doing some spelling

As you can see some of the tiles letters on a magnetic white board, we use these quite a bit. You can also see Miss S likes to practice writing as well. Just completed her first 'spelling test' she got 10/10
This is some Montessori moveable alphabet I have (Not included in all about spelling) but just another way to teach spelling

I like to use soft toys to help teach this is 'spelling dog' he likes to help find letters.

'Spelling Dog' helping to find the letter 'd'
Needing a little coaxing to find the letter 'd'

Spelling the word 'sad' of course this can only be done in heels :)