Lucie! Lucie! Lucie!


Last Monday, Lucie was climbing on the back of a chair and took quite the tumble into our piano.  Sometimes I'm not sure if a wound needs stitches or not, but this time..... it was more than clear.  In fact, it might be the first time I've actually freaked out a little bit.   (Ok, more than a little bit....I was totally shrieking at Tim to get upstairs RIGHT NOW!)  Tim and I both drove Lucie to the ER and left the kids together until our friend Leigh could come over and get them.  When we left Logan was sitting in the middle of the floor with his prayer box with chaos going on around him.  Leigh later told me that he wouldn't leave with her without his prayer sweet that one!

If you are a social media follower you probably saw part of this story somewhere.  I ran into several friends this weekend, however, that had only seen one part of the story so I thought I would share the whole saga beginning to end.

Core Montessori: Miniature Environments

Miniature Environments Title 

What is a miniature environment?

The miniature environment is one of the most powerful and versatile tools of the Montessori language program.  A miniature environment can literally be any themed set of materials.  The most common children's house environment is the farm, in fact I've met people who know Montessori who never knew there was more to it than that.  There is usually a defined playing area (table, floor rug/mat), lots of accessories, and labels (a combination of blank and prewritten).

With non readers, this activity is used to build an extensive vocabulary.  For early readers and writers, this is an opportunity for basic encoding (writing) and decoding (reading) practice.  For older students, the miniature environment provides more advanced writing practice and again builds a sophisticated technical vocabulary about a topic.  Writing practice can be factual or fictional as the child develops their imagination in the early elementary years.

Christina Rossetti


 A few weeks ago, a friend stopped by to pick my brain about "going deep" in our studies.  If there is one thing the Montessori method does extremely well it is to dig deep into the corners of a subject and expose new information even for the guide.  My friend was looking for tips on how to add depth to her curriculum when there are so many things that she wants to cover each year and was facing a broad range of students.

This has been a struggle for me in implementing what I consider to be the full Montessori curriculum.  Realistically I just can't do it properly for everyone, so instead I take bits and pieces from the Classical, Charlotte Mason, and Unit Study approaches and use Montessori philosophy and techniques to make it work.

Here is one example of a way we go deep using this approach.

Announcing the Work & Play Homeschool Newsletter!

Newsletter Announcement

You asked.  

I answered!

Starting this month, I will be sending weekly homeschooling information and encouragement in a newsletter format. This is a result of feedback from YOU my readers, that are keeping up with our blog primarily for homeschool (Montessori and otherwise) news.  Now you won't need to check in here (although we'd love to still have you) or weed through non homeschooling posts on social media. 

The newsletter will include summary links to any relevant homeschooling posts, new product releases, updates on the Montessori Quick Start Guide, and more. You never know, there might be a freebie or two involved in the future!  Sign up below or any time using the box in the right sidebar.

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Email Format

You may notice that I removed the option to sign up for all posts via email.  Not many people use that option so I removed the sign up to avoid confusion.  If you already subscribe to posts via email, don't worry they won't stop coming, but you may want to consider the newsletter as well as it will contain distinctly different information.

August 2016 In Review


Why am I always so shocked when it comes time to write another monthly review?  As always it doesn't seem possible that we are here again.  August is our big birthday month!  Kylee is now 8, Lucie is 4, Aidan is 13 (THIRTEEN), and this year marks 9 years since Kenna came into our lives.


Back to School Try-It Giveaway- NOW ENDED

This giveaway is now ended!  Congrats to Angie S. for your Facebook visit, you win the $10 voucher and Meredith D., also for your Facebook visit, you win the $5 voucher.  Happy Back to School!


Have you ever wondered just what the deal is with the Work and Play Teachers Pay Teachers store products I'm always talking about?  Have you thought it would be nice to have something from the store but didn't want to spend the money or set up an account just for the free stuff?

Well today is your lucky day!

In celebration of back to school, I am giving away the products of your choice.  Enter to win either a $10 or $5 credit to use on digital products from the store.  

Giveaway opens at midnight on August 30th and will run through September 6th.   
Winners will be announced here and on the Facebook page on September 7th.  
Open to anyone with a valid email address.

Remember to enter your activities directly on the rafflecopter!  If you leave comments, share, likes, etc but don't click on the rafflecopter your entries won't count.  Don't forget!!!

Good luck!

Just Enough Info & The Zelie Group

IMG_1061 So a group of Catholic ladies started a blogging mini-network called the Zelie Group to support each other in their vocations as Catholic mamas.  They have a weekly blog link up to get to know each other better and I thought- hey, why not?  I think that as a long time blogger, sometimes I forget that readers come and go and maybe don't know much about me and my blogging personality.

Which *I think* is pretty close to the real thing...maybe some of my long time readers and friends can chime in on that..or maybe I'm super terrifying and they'd never want to admit I'm actually completely crazy.....

Anyway, moving on, I thought I would join their little introductions link up and share a little more about the *me* behind all the crazy adventures this family has.  The theme this week is books... which I'll be pretty clear I love and talk about a lot here.  Less so in person, but I'm working on that actually.