Archives for May 2012

What’s In the Bible SALE!

We have continued to love our What’s in the Bible homeschool time and will be taking a bit of a summer break so I can prepare all I want to prepare to start strong in the fall.  We currently own DVDs 1 & 2 and needed to complete our collection.  I did just that a few minutes ago thanks to the awesome sale What’s in the Bible is having this weekend!  All individual DVDs are only $10.00 each and you get free shipping if you spend $15 or more!  No coupon code needed!

Moments to Remember

Moments to remember


Moments to Remember was developed as a simple way to look back on our week as homeschoolers and find photos that encompass the memories we want to remember.
The week may have been tough, there may have been more bumps than smiles, but in the end these are the moments that keep us going, the ones we need to remember.

My Dad was here for a day this past week and Ladybug LOVED her time with him! They were playing Ladybug’s version of Scrabble Alphabet Soup. Time with the grandparents is always special!IMG_6852

Stella gets herself involved with school time however she can.  Ladybug was drawing on our All About Reading board, we were working on reading family names.  After names, she was drawing and Stella really wanted to join her.IMG_6928

Moments of my kids playing together during the school day still melt my heart.  I just love that they spend all day together! IMG_6937

Want a button? Use this code, or feel free to just copy/paste the header from the top of the post!

Link up your moments to remember post below, be sure to provide a link back and be sure to use a permalink to link up your exact moments to remember blog post {not your blog home page}. Your post can be as simple as one photo, or as detailed as tons of photos and tons of words!  This linky is for homeschoolers, or families who are keeping their kiddos at home during the early years {we consider you homeschoolers too}.

When adding your link, just put your blog name for the title and choose an image from your Moments to Remember post for the thumbnail.


Calendar Connections ~ Bugs

My wonderful friend Shannon is still working with me to create the Calendar Connections cards. She is a fellow inner city missionary with me and also a homeschooler {and former school teacher}. We have a new Bug Theme Calendar set for you!

Bug Theme Calendar Connections

The facts are written at a 3-6th grade level but you will be able to water them down for younger kids. It’s a great way to involve your entire family in exploring a particular theme.

The cards fit my particular pocket chart calendar, I ordered mine from Oriental Trading but they now have the same one on Amazon!


but you could use a poster foam board and velcro to easily create your own set up. You could also use a standard pocket chart. They seem like they would fit in this calendar on Amazon but I am not certain.

I am now creating smaller sets to go along with the small pocket charts found recently in the Target $1 section. Be sure to visit this post for a tutorial of how to sew your $1 pocket chart into a calendar!

Calendar Connections Small Bugs

There is also a new sheet included to be used in a Calendar Notebook if you are using those too!

I printed my numbers on cardstock and laminated them before cutting them apart.

You can download these for FREE here!

Looking for the eBook and Premium version {prints front to back} …

Let's Explore Bugs Button

You can use most of our Calendar Connections cards for any month! We now have 12 sets to choose from, and we will still be adding more too!Calendar Connections Set 1

Montessori Minute ~ Concentration & Normalization


Maria Montessori spent decades promoting the cause of the young child and defining the field of child development for future generations. She said:

“Normalization is the single most important result of our work.”

“The first essential for the child’s development is concentration. The child who concentrates is immensely happy.”

Coming from a true genius, these are important statements. But what is Normalization; why is concentration so important, and how can exploring these concepts help parents working with their children at home?

In early childhood we develop a sense of self; and then self-control. Young children learn who they are by acquiring a set of experiences that are theirs. Then they learn how to act purposefully, control their bodies, and follow the accepted rules for behavior in the time and culture of their birth.

imageNeuroscience has shown that we are constantly bombarded with literally millions of sensory bits of information. Amazingly, the way we experience the world is actually what is left after we discard most of them. The early years of life are when we learn to focus on the sensory stimuli and behaviors that make us members of our society.

Concentration and focusing attention are essential in this process. Attention is a powerful force. It focuses the human will and concentrates mental energy like a laser. Until a child learns to focus her attention, her mind is a fluctuating field of sensory inputs, emotions, random thoughts, desires, impulses, and dreams. Attention is the force that, when brought under the control of will, allows all that activity to organize itself.

As with almost everything else, the first six years of life are the most powerful time for developing concentration and attention. Whatever is done during these years becomes fundamental to a child’s brain and personality. After that it’s icing on the cake.

imageMontessori put her observations of children into practice by giving them special materials she designed, like the Knobbed Cylinders, Pink Tower, Red Rods, Brown Stair, and other Sensorial materials. Almost immediately, she knew she had hit on something important. Very young children started working with these materials with a level of concentration and extended attention span that had not been seen in children before. Two year olds used the materials with total concentration for extended periods, even when Montessori purposely created distractions in the environment.
Photo: The Education of Ours

Montessori believed that children are born with a strong inner drive to learn; and an internal guidance system that leads them to the experiences they need to fully develop. Since the children took to her materials so readily, she assumed the materials were filling a developmental need. She kept creating more; and then designed the Prepared Environment to hold them all and give children a special place to use them. The rest is history.

You can follow Montessori’s lead at home and help your child develop concentration and attention. Since young children are designed to need concrete, hands-on experiences, this means providing materials and activities appropriate to your child’s age and interests. Here is a good guideline:

Provide different materials and experiences, always looking for those that attract and hold your child’s attention.

Let your child use these as often as he likes, with opportunities for uninterrupted repetition.

When your child masters an activity or skill, provide something a bit more challenging or complex.

When your child gradually learns to focus attention and concentrate, you should see positive changes in her behavior. Young children who learn to concentrate become happier and more satisfied with life. This is what Montessori called Normalization. She identified these characteristics of a normalized child:

Love of work




imageEarly learning materials and life experiences that attract and hold your child’s attention are the key to Normalization. Watch for what your child really gets into and make it available. When your child’s interests change, and they will, go with the flow. This is where low shelves that display a variety of materials can be valuable. They allow a child to choose based on his interests on any given day. It will become apparent when a material has outlived its usefulness and you can switch it out for something your child is currently into.

With enough opportunities to learn to concentrate with focused attention, your child’s ability to learn anything will soar. This is why children in Montessori schools typically learn to read, write, use numbers, and understand scientific concepts early on. A child who learns to concentrate is not only happier; he is much better prepared for life.  Photo: The Education of Ours

For more on these topics, check out these resources:

John Bowman is the author of Montessori At Home! and Help Your Preschooler Build a Better Brain.
[email protected].

© 2012 John Bowman, Montessori At Home!

My thanks to John for writing this extensive article for us here at 1+1+1=1! I invite you to ask him any questions you may have in the comments below and he can hopefully answer them for you. If you have an article you hope he will write for us in the future, please let us know in the comments also! Be sure to let him know if this article was helpful-we all love encouragement, right?


You can also visit his new amazing website to read even more!

Did you miss earlier Montessori Minute Posts?

Check out our feature on Totally Tots, where Jodi is blogging her experiences while using Montessori At Home! with her young tots!


Magnetic Gems

We have magnetic pom poms and we use them all of the time!  IMG_5697

I am not sure why it never occurred to me to make other objects magnetic for the same reason!  As soon as the idea hit me, I grabbed our glue gun, some gems, and some magnetic circles.



Within minutes I had magnetic gems!IMG_6726


I made her 5 of each color we had, I hope to find other colors when I head back to Walmart, Michaels, or Dollar Tree—or another similar store that carries the little gems!IMG_6730


Yet another simple way to work on fine motor skills, and a new open ended toy for learning fun.  She has lined them up on our cookie sheet countless times already!IMG_6750

Aside from open ended playing, I hope to use these with our dot fun sheets, and other dot sheets found around the web.  We have also made letters and words with them. You’ll be seeing our new gem magnets in our Tot School posts for sure!

What else have you turned into mini magnets besides pom poms and gems?  I made Ladybug a marble magnet and she didn’t like it and told me not to make any more!