North America Unit with Free Printables

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Another unit FINALLY complete.  I admit, I've been in a bit of a funk, when it comes to printables and unit studies.  Over the past two weeks I've been working my way out, but have come to realize a few things.  I am human.  There are only 24 hours in a day.  Adding Sunshine and tot units to my load has definitely taken it's toll.  When blogging became a career choice, rather than a hobby, my time for making printables decreased.  This has not been fun.  My desire to make printables and unit studies has also decreased because I'm so wrapped up in the process of blogging.  Ugh.  Jason used to help me A LOT when coming up with activity ideas and printable creations.  Now that he's working full time, he's not able to do so as often.  This leaves even more for me to do, or leaves me waiting on him to finish unit studies.

Right around the same time I hit my all time low in regards to creating printables, I wrote the boys' quarterly reports for our school district.  They're doing well, but not as well as I had hoped.  I realized that some of my fabulously and beautifully designed printables, (that took me hours to create), were not helping the kiddos, (Bulldozer in particular) learn what needed to be learned. Sure the kiddos could complete the activity with controls, but nothing was sinking in past that.  Printables that have worked in the past, no longer seem to be doing the trick.  Printable and activity ideas that worked for Dinomite are not working at all for Bulldozer.  The thought of creating units that fit everyone's needs has become completely overwhelming.

Over the past two weeks, I've realized making changes is necessary, but it's going to take time.  It will take a lot of trial and error to figure out exactly what will work for Bulldozer, while at the same time continuing to provide what Dinomite needs.  Thank goodness I don't have to write reports on Princess yet, although she's way above where she's supposed to be at, so I'm not as concerned. Bulldozer on the other hand is delayed... a lot.  I've taken this into account when planning out his school year, but still, I don't see him making the progress he needs to yet.  There are so many concepts he doesn't understand and it's my responsibility to figure out a way to present them so he does.  No pressure there right?

In my darkest self doubting moments, I even wondered why I'm trying to do this.  Homeschooling four special needs kiddos?  I'm nuts!  I've gotta be!  And trying to pull it off using Montessori methods and principles, with only homemade materials...    I don't have a degree in Montessori Education.  I learn through the example of others, online training, and fabulous posts written by professionals, but that's all I've got.  I kept looking around my small learning time room, with not enough shelves, not enough activities, and chaos all over the floor as I try to take down one unit and prepare another.  Even the color of the room bothers me.  After all, it wasn't supposed to be a learning time room.  The room was designed and prepared to be my private music studio where I would practice and teach private lessons.  It's funny how life has changed so much.

When unit studies haven't been ready on time, I've been using workbooks, writing journals, and old morning work routines to ensure the kiddos are still learning the material they need to learn each month.  Of course, experiencing 3 weeks of of sickness last quarter didn't help us any. I'm hoping they'll remain healthy for the rest of the year!  This past week, I took a lot of time asking the kiddos what their favorite parts about learning time are, what their least favorite parts are, what types of activities they prefer, and which types they don't like.  I even asked them why they complain so much about learning time in general, as that's become a thing this year.  All three kiddos said the activities are too hard.  Good to know.

I have snapped out of my funk.  A dear friend is going through an extremely difficult time with the school district in regards to her special needs son.  Just listening to all that she's going through and all the stress and worry, helps me remember why I chose to homeschool Dinomite in the first place.  I was talking to another friend on the phone and she was relaying a story about her child in school.  The experience happened a third time while waiting at the allergist office after getting my shots.  Each story helped remind me why I'm homeschooling each one of my children.

I've ordered two new sets of shelves that should come in next week.  I'll now have enough shelving for the three older kiddos plus Sunshine.  Now to find more trays!  Jason and I are about to purchase our first real Montessori Materials.  I still can't decide if I'm going to purchase them all at once, or if I'm going to do a little at a time, but this should help to cut down the process of designing so many new activities and printables each week.  Mind you, there will still be plenty that I'll share for you to enjoy, but I'll be able to relax a little and not have so much to do.  I'm hoping the hands on materials will be just what Bulldozer needs.  Here's hoping it all works out as planned in my head.  Lol.

Now moving on to our North America Unit!

Language:
North America Country & Flag Match Up
The kiddos will match up country cards with flag cards.  Bulldozer really enjoys memory games. I've designed this to be used as such, requiring him to read the words on the cards to identify the matches.

Source:  I created the printable for this activity as part of my North America Activity Printable Pack 1.  For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of the post.

North America Country First Letter Sound Cards
The kiddos will mark the correct first letter of each country using glass beads.  A set of flag cards will be provided as a control if needed.

Source:  I created the printable for this activity as part of my North America Activity Printable Pack 1.  For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of the post.

North America Country Syllable Cards
The kiddos will practice pronouncing each country name, counting syllables as they go, marking the correct number of syllables using glass beads.

Source:  I created the printable for this activity as part of my North America Activity Printable Pack 1.  For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of the post.

Math:
Writing Numbers Practice
I've noticed Princess and Bulldozer are forgetting how to write some of their numbers, so I thought I'd bring out these practice cards to review.  The kiddos will write the numbers on each of the cards provided.

Source:  The free cards for this activity can be found at Homeschool Creations.

Math:
Decimal Place Activity
The kiddos will practice making numbers all the way up to 9,999, remembering ones, tens, hundreds, and thousands place values in the set up of their numbers, and also the pronouncing of the numbers.

 Source:  The free printable for this activity can be found at Montessori Print Shop.

Addition Wheel & Clothespin Activity
The kiddos will practice their math facts, marking their answers with the correctly numbered clothespins.  Glass beads have been provided as counters if needed.  When asked about favorite activities, Princess mentioned this one.  She'll be delighted I pulled it out and put it back on the shelves.

Source: The free printable for this activity can be found at Montessori for Everyone.

Culture & Science:
Parts of An Eagle Book Activity
The kiddos will learn the body parts of an eagle, using the cards provided, and create their own book.  The red crayon they'll use to color in the body parts, is missing from the photo. My apologies.

 Source:  The printable for this activity can be found at Montessori Nature.

North America Map Coloring Activity
The kiddos will color in their own map of North America using the Montessori colors and the control provided.

Source:  The printable for this activity can be found at Montessori Nature.

50 North America Animal Cards
As requested by Dinomite, Jason has put together 50 animal cards of North America.  There are very few if any from the United States, as he's already made 50 animal cards of the United States of America in a previous unit.  Feel free to use both sets for a total of 100 animal cards!  Dinomite mentioned his favorite learning time activities are those that involve animal cards.

50 Animals of the United States of America
Source:  Jason created the printable for this activity as part of my North America Activity Printable Pack 1.  For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of the post.  For the second set of 50 Animal Cards of the United States of America, created by me, click HERE.

Music:

The kiddos continue with their piano lessons, along with the activity below and listening to many composers from North America.

Musical Instruments of North America
The kiddos will match up the musical instruments, most likely playing a memory game to do so.  This worked very well for our South America Unit.  Bulldozer mentioned his favorite activities, besides sensory bins, water activities, and invitations to play are matching cards, that he can play memory with.

Source: The printable for this activity can be found at Montessori Nature.

Visual Arts:
Artists and Artwork from North America
The kiddos will study the artwork of artists from North America using the cards provided.  For additional cards with artists from the United States of America, I have added cards created and used in a previous unit.

Artists and Artwork from the United States of America
Source:  Jason created the printable for this activity as part of my North America Activity Printable Pack 1.  For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of the post.  For the second set of artist and artwork cards, created by Jason, click HERE.

How to Draw an Eagle
Dinomite and Princess always do so well with drawing activities.  Hopefully Bulldozer will start to enjoy them soon.  The kiddos will practice drawing an eagle using the step by step cards provided.

Source:  The step by step drawing instructions for this activity can be found at How to Draw Animals.

Practical Life/Sensorial:  
Rubber Band Activity
I've been noticing lately that the kiddos, Princess in particular, are lacking finger strength.  When I saw this idea on one of my favorite blogs, I couldn't resist adding it to our shelves.  The kiddos will practice putting rubber bands around the block provided.  They can choose to put on as many as they'd like, as long as they take them off when they're finished.

Source:  This activity was inspired by one I saw at To the Lesson!.

North America Flag Pin Poking Activity
This is my favorite activity on our shelves right now.  The kiddos will use tacks to create flags of North America. I've only included country flags that are possible to create using push pins.  A control has been provided for them.  If you are interested in using this activity idea, and can't seem to find all of the colored tacks needed for flags, paint them.  Any type of enamel paint (used for glass etc.) will work beautifully.  I wish I would have known this before going to five different stores, looking for the right colored tacks.  Lol.  It would have saved me a lot of time and money!  I ended up having to paint my black tacks.

Source:  I created the printable for this activity as part of my North America Activity Printable Pack 1.  For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of the post.

For those of you interested in the North America Activity Printable, click on the link below!


If you are looking for more North America activity ideas, especially those about the United States of America, feel free to check out my activities and printables in the posts below!

An All American Summer Unit w/ Free Printables
Lastly, if you are looking for other North America printables to supplement the activities and printables I've shown here, please consider purchasing Trillium Montessori's 7 Continent A-Z Bundle.  I am an affiliate of Trillium Montessori and receive 50% of every sale.  The money earned from the sale of this bundle is used to bring you more fabulous activities, printables and units!  Thank you so much in advance to those who decide to make this amazing purchase.  It's so worth it!


I'm uncertain of what you can expect for our next unit study.  Part of me wants to go back and cover units we missed in September about the body, when another part of me wants to simply have a fun Harry Potter themed Halloween Unit and start fresh next month.

If you notice any errors in the printables, please feel free to send me a kind personal message on facebook or through my e-mail:  renaemarienae@gmail.com.  I will fix them as soon as possible!

4 comments:

  1. I was touched by this post. So many thoughts passed through my mind as I "listened" to your struggles. I want to tell you that you are doing a great job--with impossible circumstances. You have a heart for your kids that no classroom teacher would have. You work so hard to ascertain each of your child's personal goals, and you provide AMAZING materials. You reflect on their progress--so many teachers miss the reflection piece. And I had no idea you weren't Montessori trained, you are so on-point. Take a breath, take a break, and trust your kids to God. You have them for this time, but they are borrowed from God. Don't overlook how special they already are, and how God's timing is never wrong-and that includes their education. Keep listening to them, coming alongside them as they learn, and you won't go wrong. You're a super-mom! Hugs!

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  2. It's funny where the life can lead us sometimes. With the limited time and recourses, you are doing such an awesome job!
    For your kids, and for so many more families! Thank you so much for being you, and for all the wonderful ideas and activities! I'd love to send you some blog love and to nominate this blog with the Liebster Award!

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  3. these are so fantastic!! you and your husband work so hard to give so much to your beautiful children! thank you for sharing!

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  4. I am not, generally speaking, a "blog reader". It's not that I don't enjoy them, I just simply don't take the time very often. I was told about your website/blog by a friend and I felt strongly about commenting on this post. I was very inspired by your honesty about the 'hard parts' of home educating. The discouragements you described really resonated. Equally meaningful, your "back to work" attitude was so encouraging as you talked about the changes you made to aspects of school that didn't work out so great and gained a refreshed outlook about your choices and goals for your children. Thank you for your thoughts and for the great printables. I hope this year is full of hope and inspiration.

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