Category Archives: First Grade

A boy and his cat (and some other animals too)

If you asked me if my eldest son was intrigued by animals, I would have to say, no. He runs through zoos, racing to each animal after another, as if merely ticking them off on his imaginary list. He does not care to read about their eating habits, habitats, etc. He prefers mechanical things (trucks and bridges and fighter planes).

But, this cat of ours has worked her way into his heart. China was the first pet my hubby and I had on our own. Our first baby, so to speak. She is roughly 13-years-old and is as feisty as she was as a kitten. And, since being kicked outside due to hubby’s allergies, she has been missing all of the human interaction. And, so, she has adopted Ronan.


When he is outside, she comes running…to be petted and appreciated. And, I think that he feels the same way. He puffs up with pride and declares her, “his cat.” And, I think his love for her has opened up his appreciation for other animals as well.


This is a giraffe from Giraffe Ranch, a semi-local place that works to keep endangered species and interesting animals alive to breed. We consider this a homeschool field trip. On this particular trip you get a ride in a windowless school bus where you stop next to the giraffes and feed them a proper snack (sticks with leaves and cabbage was on the menu for that day).




In addition to the more exotic animals, the owners of this ranch also raise their own pasture-raised beef and eggs (chicken too). So, you get a nice heaping discussion on the merits of respecting your climate and utilizing your natural resources as effciently as possible.


And, naturally, these guinea pigs caught his attention. And, he has been begging for a hamster ever since. But, that was not the only “field trip” we went on this past month. We had a chance to visit The Butterfly Farm (which was much closer to us geographically).

This farm is a certified organic butterfly farm and the people who work there were wonderful about sharing their knowledge and expertise. And, for those in north Florida, I would highly recommend it as showcasing a wonderful attentiveness to the excitement and attention of the children. The owner and his “troupe” of characters presented an hour long presentation on the different aspects of butterflies (did you know they taste with their feet?). This was presented in such a way that not a single child was bored or was distracted and disruptive. The credit goes to the owner and I was very impressed with his ability to teach the kids (and adults) about butterflies in such an engaging way.



The paint sticks were dipped in sugar water to feed the butterflies.


A fabulous experience…bringing us that much closer to nature and hopefully, an appreciation and desire to conserve as much of it as possible.

Learning the Seven Continents

These maps were on my wish list for a few years now, but space, time and money never made them a reality in my home until recently. And, quite frankly, the timing is perfect. Both of my boys can use this map and they both very much enjoy this aspect of Montessori education. In the past few weeks, my hesitant reader has been reading continent names, directions, and studying flags (on his own accord).


Since he is an elementary student, he has picked this up rather fast, and so we do little activities to reinforce the words and map placement. I had him trace each continent in his notebook and write the name (two at a sitting). He also has practiced writing the direction words. Finally, I had him use the flag maps to ensure that he was reading the words and knew where each continent belonged.


For the younger set, my three-year-old likes to work with the puzzle and matches the colors on the flags to the pin map. (He insisted on working with the pin map…in that way only a three-year-old can do, so we compromised).

But, he also enjoys matching the continent three-part-cards.


He still needs help getting this started, but he typically finishes this work. And, he feels important since he is doing the “same” work as his older brother. Some homeschool concessions, indeed.

In the next month, I will introduce the five oceans and their names (including labels) and possibly discuss the hemispheres. I am not too familiar with that lesson, but it seems an appropriate time to introduce such a concept.

I find these maps to be well worth their money and household space. If anything, it helps my children to understand that they are a small piece of something much, much larger. And, if it inspires my reluctant reader to find out more…I am thrilled.

(The book of North American animals…a new addition to the North America geography folder).

First Grade…and lots of shelf work

Although we are technically a year-round kind of homeschool family, we did take a bit of a break in July and early August for vacation and some Montessori-material making. But, we’re back at it this week – officially!


We’re working on spelling – and revisiting the “wh” set of letters. My first grader is also ready to learn to “write correctly” as he says. He was never really interested, so I didn’t push much, but he wants to do it the “right” way, so I’m here to help. 🙂

(an archepalego – pronounciation here)

I finally got around to introducing landforms this year. Brown modeling clay and a small pitcher of water is bliss for this kinesthetic learner. Plus, he’s reading the small book I made about them. (Sneaky mama – with the reading).

And, this year, Calum joins us with shelf work. Lots of sorting and pouring.