Blog Archive

Something Was Missing

After Sunshine and Princess started attending school outside of our home, it was just the boys, my husband, and I at home.

I definitely had a long period of mourning.

Something was missing.

Something Was Missing

We gave our boys the option of attending school as well, but they were very clear they wanted to stay home.

The Transformation

Words can't begin to express how wonderful our time with them at home has been.

We are very thankful that Princess is given the opportunity to be around typical children at school.  She loves her autistic siblings but it was time.

We are also very excited our boys are able to experience life eight hours a day, Monday through Friday, without Reactive Attachment Disorder, PTSD and Bipolar Disorder.

The positive changes in everyone have been significant.

When it comes to learning time, it has transformed.

I had no idea how much time was spent working with the girls trying to navigate behaviors, until they weren't part of our class.

The extra attention and focus the boys have received has helped them learn three times faster than they were and given them some much needed attention.

It's been absolutely incredible.

But something was missing.

Something Missing

Over the course of just a couple of months the boys started losing their desire to push forward.

Their passion for learning started to diminish except for those topics they just happened to be obsessed with.

My husband and I could feel it to.  It was so easy to relax and just be.  We became too lax in our daily schedule.

Mind you it was what we all needed at the time.  There was a lot of healing that needed to happen, but by Christmas we could really feel things slipping.

At the end of Christmas break I just happened to be at a close friend's house.  She has four children that had been enrolled in a private school setting during the first half of the school year.

Sadly, it hadn't worked out and she was looking for a way to keep her children out of the public school system.

These four children just happen to be my boys' best friends since we've moved here.

Bulldozer constantly begs to spend as much time with them as possible.

Dinomite just loves the oldest child and for the first time ever feels like he has a real friend.

I listened to my dear friend talk about the predicament her family was in and kept thinking about it when I returned home.

The idea of inviting her children to join us for learning time would not leave my thoughts.

I mentioned it to my husband thinking he would tell me I'm insane for even thinking about taking more on, but instead he started to think about the idea in a positive light.

The more we talked about it, the more we realized this could end up being a very good thing.

Our boys would be motivated by peers in the classroom.

We would be combining Montessori preschool and elementary students.

This would be a great chance for the older kids to help the younger children.

The scenario would provide much needed social interactions for the boys during a time when we wouldn't have to worry about the girls being home.

All of the Montessori materials that I had mournfully packed away when Sunshine started her day program could be put to use again.

We decided to approach our boys about the idea.

They said they wanted to try it.

At that point we approached our friends.

Without hesitation they excitedly said they'd love to have their children join us.

And so it was.

Their first day of our class of six was Monday, January 7th.

There has never been a more perfect transition.

We LOVE having them here and they LOVE coming.

What Was Missing Is Found

The four children join us Monday through Thursday at 10 AM until 1:30 PM.

We serve breakfast and lunch here and have a fabulous uninterrupted three period block.

My boys have blossomed so much.

Our new students have brought so much joy to our home and school day.

On a more personal note, these children have healed my heart in so many different ways, as I have struggled to overcome so much emotional turmoil as a result of my girls' behaviors and all that's happened over the last year.

After the initial adjustment period my husband has found that adding four children to our day keeps us more on task.  There is a motivation that wasn't there before and that has helped routines, which is crucial to his functioning.

We have never been happier.

Meet Our New Students!

Let me introduce you to our new students!  They picked out their own online names.

King Chance

King Chance is eleven years old and lives for LEGO.  He also loves most of the things Dinomite does.  The two are peas in a pod when it comes to personality.

King Chance during our first week of school.

King Chance does extremely well with numbers and thoroughly enjoys geography but struggles in reading and writing.

Scotty

Scotty (His real name is not Scott.) just turned seven last week, sharing a birthday with his twin brother.  He is the sweetest boy and always has a smile.  Bulldozer loves Scotty and plays so well with him.

Scotty during the first week of school.

Scotty has such a desire to learn.  He works so hard and it shows.  His strength lies in language skills, especially reading.  Though he struggles with some speech issues, he pushes forward and never gives up.

Bulldog

Bulldog is also seven and is never afraid to show his personality.  Some days he's singing as he works.  Other days he's moving a mile a minute from one thing to the next .  Of course he fits in quite well here as he loves Star Wars and dinosaurs.

Bulldozer during the first week of school.

Bulldog lives for numbers, just like Bulldozer. I love to observe him deep in thought.  He is inquisitive and asks about everything, especially when it comes to science.  But, no matter how much he loves math and science, he always works hard in other subjects to make sure he stands on equal ground with his twin.  There's definitely a lot of competition going on there.

Diamond

Diamond is five and treated like a queen as the only girl in the class.  There isn't anything her classmates won't do for her.  I love that she has a style and pizazz all on her own.

Diamond during her first week of school.

Diamond is so incredibly smart, yet doesn't know it.  She is always up for a challenge and though her brothers are fourteen months older than she is, she always strives to keep up with them in her studies and most often succeeds with the exception of math.

January 2019: Dinomite's school birthday celebration: A Day at Hogwarts!

And there you have it!  I can't wait to start sharing all that we've been up to and include them in our story.

Something Was Missing


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Montessori-inspired Solar System Printable Pack

Once again we're studying the planets in our classroom.  The theme never seems to get old.  Yet when it comes to finding resources beyond the names of each planet and how close they are to the sun, there are very few resources out there.

That all changes now!  Jason and I have been hard at work creating the NEW Montessori-inspired Solar System Printable Pack.

Trust me when I say it has all you could ever want or need!  It is 200 pages of incredible resources for children in preschool and elementary classrooms.

Montessori-inspired Solar System Printable Pack

Now you may be wondering how in the world we could come up with 200 pages right?

Trust me it's possible and I'll show you.  

There are a TON of resources here.  It may take you a while to go through them.  But in the end, I think you'll agree this printable pack is AMAZING and a must have for every Montessori home and classroom!

Montessori-inspired Solar System Printable Pack: Planet Do-a-Dot Pages
I just love Do-a-Dot pages.  They are so versatile.  You can use do-a-dot markers, stamps, stickers, manipulatives and more.  Add tweezers or some other type of transfer tool and this work is perfect for developing fine motor skills. 

In this bundle you receive a do-a-dot page for each one of the eight planets. 

Montessori-inspired Solar System Printable Pack: Planet Cards
Planet nomenclature cards are a must have.  We go a step further and include description cards.  But that's not all! There are nomenclature cards and description cards for thirteen planets, not just eight.  

What? Thirteen planets?  You must think we're crazy. I promise you we're not. This printable pack includes dwarf planets like Pluto and Eris too!

Montessori-inspired Solar System Printable Pack: Planet Syllable Counting Clip Cards

In case you haven't noticed syllable cards are one of my favorite things.  Why?  They help children with pronunciation and speech.  Not only do they recognize a word and a picture, but they also learn how to say everything correctly.  These are a must have when learning about the planets!

Montessori-inspired Solar System Printable Pack: Planet First Letter Sound Clip Cards

I love finding as many ways to practice letter sounds as possible.  This is why you often see first letter sound clip cards in my printable packs.  The planets printable pack is no exception!  Use clothespins, beads, stickers, stamps or whatever you choose.

Montessori-inspired Solar System Printable Pack: Planets in the Solar System

There is something about making books that intrigues some children.  The problem is each child is at a different level when it comes to their ability to write.  Hence why we offer so many choices when creating a book about the planets in the solar system.  And if your students are ready, the blank templates are definitely a fun challenge!

Montessori-inspired Solar System Printable Pack: Planet Word Strips

Word strips seem to be all the rage lately as my kiddos seem more interested in learning how to spell things correctly.  

If printing out books is too much these are the perfect alternative.  Laminate them and they can be used over and over again by students. Those who aren't quite ready to write letters on their own can use the tracing cards instead.

Montessori-inspired Solar System Printable Pack: Planets and Ordinal Numbers

A solar system printable pack would not be complete without an activity where children practice ordinal numbers as they understand the order of the planets in relation to the sun.

In our printable pack we go a step further and introduce the spelling of ordinal numbers as well.

Montessori-inspired Solar System Printable Pack: Size Comparison of Planets

It's one thing to understand how close each planet is to the sun, but yet another to understand the relative size of each planet.  This activity helps you do just that.  

There is one planet on each sheet of paper measured to show the difference in size compared to others.  There is a colored set and a black and white outline set, just in case your students want to draw and color in their own planets.

Montessori-inspired Solar System Printable Pack: Layers of the Planet and More Fun Facts!

Have you ever studied the layers of each planet?  It's absolutely fascinating and such a great introduction to chemistry for elementary students.  

Each planet has its own card.  You can create a book with them or leave them separate.  They can be used for a variety of activities, whether you're creating your own solar system using clay or play dough, or as posters for presentations.

These cards also have other fun facts on them that are so interesting to children and adults alike.

Montessori-inspired Solar System Printable Pack: Planet Weather Cards

It's no secret that Bulldozer is obsessed with weather, hence planet weather cards. I must say, weather on the planets is so interesting to learn about. When compared to earth it's unbelievable.

Montessori-inspired Solar System Printable Pack: Planet Moon Cards

Bulldozer is all about learning fun facts, which include how many moons surround each planet. Mind you these cards reflect the known moons in 2019.  But still, how crazy is it to think about having 79 moons in the sky?

Montessori-inspired Solar System Printable Pack: Sorting Moons by Planet

It's not enough to have just one moon activity in our printable pack.  In this activity students are introduced to the most well known moons through a choice of nomenclature cards and/or description cards.  

These cards can be sorted by planet or introduced with each planet as a learning activity.

Montessori-inspired Solar System Printable Pack: Planets by Type Sorting Activity

In case you didn't know there are three types of planets in our solar system: terrestrial planets, gas giants, and dwarf planets.

In this activity students are able to sort planets by type using the cards provided.  (They include a control.)

Montessori-inspired Solar System Printable Pack: Terrestrial Planet Land Features

Terrestrial planets are those with soil and solid surfaces.  When learning about our world we make a point to learn about land and water forms.  Why not do the same for other planets?

In this activity students will learn about a variety of landforms among the planets.  They will also learn very specific vocabulary used to talk about other planets besides our own.

Montessori-inspired Solar System Printable Pack: The Planets by Gustav Holst

As mentioned before my kiddos love music.  I couldn't resist including this music to our shelves for the kids to listen to.  Dinomite has listened to it so many times.  He just loves it.

Another way to use this music is to have children draw each planet while listening to their section.  The music does such a great job setting the right atmosphere.

Montessori-inspired Solar System Printable Pack: Asteroid, Comet, and Meteor Sort

It can be really hard to know if what you're seeing is an asteroid, comet or meteor.  This activity breaks these three terms down into the simplest form so your students know which is which.

When doing this activity I printed out two copies of the chart with text, cut one into pieces and had them place the boxes under the appropriate title.

Montessori-inspired Solar System Printable Pack: My Place in the Universe

This activity is so much fun!  On each circle a student draws a picture of the specific place mentioned.  Once finished the circles are put together one on top of the other from biggest to smallest to show where a child is in this universe.

Montessori-inspired Solar System Printable Pack: Universe Vocabulary

There are so many new words that come up when studying about the solar system.  We've done our best to turn them into a vocabulary activity that the kids can enjoy.  We hope you think so too.  Print out two copies of each card.  Keep one set together.  Cut the other set up on the line between the pictures and words for an additional challenge.

Montessori-inspired Solar System Printable Pack: Intro to Chemistry Cards

Dinomite is at that age where he's intrigued by the chemistry associated with the study of the solar system.  These cards are especially helpful for him so he understands what he's learning and reading.

Once again these cards come in nomenclature form and also picture and description cards.

Montessori-inspired Solar System Printable Pack: Astronomy Outlines

Last but not least there are outlines that can be used with this unit and other astronomy units.  Whether you're practicing cutting skills, pin poking or whatever they work fabulously.

Now have I given you enough reasons to want the Montessori-inspired Solar System Printable Pack?

I hope so, but if not I'm excited to share with you some other amazing news.

Now through Tuesday, March 19th you can purchase the Montessori-inspired Solar System Printable Pack as part of the NEW Montessori-inspired Astronomy Bundle for 75% OFF!

Montessori-inspired Astronomy Bundle

This bundle includes printable packs about the sun, moon, stars and the solar system.  That's over 400 pages of printables all dedicated to astronomy.  

Trust me when I say they're all fantastic and well worth it!
Montessori-inspired Stars Printable PackMontessori-inspired Sun Printable PackMontessori-inspired Moon Printable Pack

If that wasn't enough the Montessori-inspired Astronomy Bundle includes a bonus! Check out the Montessori-inspired Space Exploration Printable Pack.  

This pack includes nomenclature and description style cards about famous astronomers along with fabulous cards that include vehicles used on space and more!

Montessori-inspired Space Exploration Printable Pack

The Montessori-inspired Astronomy Bundle is so worth considering.  

Just think about it.  You're receiving over $60 in materials for only $14.99.

If you're thinking about purchasing this bundle, don't wait!  

Get your Montessori-inspired Astronomy Bundle today!


Happy astronomy studies!


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Montessori-inspired Sun Printable Pack

My kiddos are obsessed with studying astronomy right now. They can not get enough!  Jason and I have been creating so many printables and activities to keep up with their constant need for more.

When it comes to studying the sun, Jason and I struggled to find resources for our classroom. As a result we decided to create our own.

We can say without a doubt that the NEW Montessori-inspired Sun Printable Pack is the best resource out there!

The Montessori-inspired Sun Printable Pack (30 pages) is designed to be used in Montessori preschool and elementary classrooms, but can be used for non Montessori settings, especially the home.

If you have a child who's obsessed with astronomy as ours are, this is a must have!

Just take a look at all that's included!

Sun Do-a-Dot Printable
Montessori-inspired Sun Printable Pack: Sun Do-a-Dot Printable

Whether you're using yellow pom poms, beads, do-a-dot markers, erasers, stamps, or stickers, this printable is a fabulous way to practice fine motor skills.  This activity requires so much concentration and hand-eye coordination for little ones.

Montessori-inspired Sun Printable Pack: Layers of the Sun Activity

Most children learn the layers of the Earth, but how many learn the layers of the sun?  These printables are the perfect resources to help your child learn all there is to know.

You can use the diagram on it's own with clay or play dough and have loads of fun creating a three dimensional model of the sun.

If your child loves to read or write, he can use the fill-in-the-blank diagram to label the sun.

For those ready for more advanced work and are great readers add in the description cards.

Montessori-inspired Sun Printable Pack: The Solar Eclipse

A solar eclipse is a very fascinating event that happens around the world more than we think.  These printables are the perfect resources to help your child learn the facts.

You can use the chart alone and have children create a model using materials at home or in the classroom.

For those who are practicing sequencing skills or want to understand a step-by-step process of how a solar eclipse occurs the sequencing sheets are great!  Children can draw their own sequence, or print out two copies of the control, cut one set out, and they can place them in the correct squares.

Montessori-inspired Sun Printable Pack: Solar Eclipse Art Cards

My kiddos are big into art and music right now. Whenever I stumble across art work that goes along with one of our themes of study, I can't resist adding them to our shelves.  Put a magnifying glass with these images and the kiddos go crazy!

I love these art pieces in particular because they all vary so much and show how solar eclipses are a big part of our history.

Montessori-inspired Sun Printable Pack: Sun Vocabulary Cards

There is so much to learn about the sun! It is absolutely fascinating, especially when you take a closer look.  These vocabulary cards come in nomenclature form for little ones, and picture and description form for older children.   The descriptions are great for parents and teachers too.

What is a sunspot?

Is the sun always perfectly round?

How are the northern lights related to the sun?

All of these questions are answered on these cards.

Montessori-inspired Sun Printable Pack: Sun Benefits and Sun Dangers

A unit about the sun wouldn't be complete without talking about how it benefits us and how dangerous it can be.  Benefits and dangers can be introduced separately through various lessons and then can be combined. This is the perfect sorting activity for little ones that will encourage so much conversation.

Montessori-inspired Sun Printable Pack: Sun Safety Cards

It's one thing to talk about the dangers of the sun, but yet another to understand what you can do to protect yourself.  These adorable cards come in nomenclature form along with picture and description style.  They can be used how you'd like.  Picture cards can be paired up with fun practical life activities or can be used with the danger cards.  It's completely up to you!

Montessori-inspired Sun Printable Pack: A Trip Around the Sun Montessori Birthday Celebration

One of my favorite Montessori birthday traditions is the trip around the sun.  A beautiful set up is placed on the floor in the home or classroom.  The birthday boy or girl holds a globe and makes a trip around the sun for every year old he or she is.  With each trip, emphasis is put on special memories or accomplishments from the year.

This printable provides you with everything you need to create your own set up.  It goes a step further and includes images of the Earth as it orbits around the sun for every month of the year.  A control chart is provided so you can see how it works.

This is such a fabulous way to teach how the Earth orbits around the sun, even when it's not someones birthday!

As you can see the Montessori-inspired Sun Printable Pack is an incredible resource.  There's something for everyone here.

The Montessori-inspired Sun Printable Pack is part of the NEW Montessori-inspired Astronomy Bundle available now through Tuesday, March 19th at an incredible 75% OFF!

Montessori-inspired Astronomy Bundle

The Montessori-inspired Astronomy Bundle includes 400+ pages of printables about the sun, moon, stars, and solar system.

Montessori-inspired Moon Printablre Pack Montessori-inspired Solar System Printable PackMontessori-inspired Star Printable Pack

It even comes with a bonus that introduces space exploration in the form of nomenclature cards along with picture and description cards.

Montessori-inspired Space Exploration Printable Pack

Just think about it, you're receiving over $60 work of printables for only $14.99.

These printables will last years depending on the age of your child. And if your child is already elementary age, just think of how many months you can spend learning astronomy with all that's included here!

It includes EVERYTHING you need!

Get your Montessori-inspired Astronomy Bundle today before it's too late!

Once Tuesday, March 19th has passed you will need to purchase all printables packs in this bundle separately at full price.

I'm so glad we can help make your astronomy studies complete!
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What Happens at School Stays at School

In August both Princess and Sunshine were enrolled in school outside of our home.  Sunshine attends a special needs day program.  Princess is attending our local public elementary school.

To say this has been a huge transition for our family is quite an understatement.

There have been many strong emotions expressed over the past few months. 

The phrase, "What happens at school stays at school," has been a life saver.

What Happens at School Stays At School

The Decision

There were definite reasons we didn't send our girls to school prior to this school year.

Reactive Attachment Disorder was number one on our list.  We wanted to work on attachment at home as long as we could.

We were concerned that school outside the home would bring more behaviors and trauma. 

But then we met those who would be working with our girls.

All of our fears were put to rest.

We have an amazing village for our girls.

I can't say enough about the girls' teachers and how wonderful they've been at communicating with us, no matter what situations arise.

The Transition

Communication is great, however it does not change behaviors that occur while at school. 

Nor does it change the strong emotions the girls have when they arrive home from school.

The transition can be extremely difficult for everyone, especially when Mom and Dad open up book bags and read daily reports.

Some days are good.  Other days not so much.

No matter which emotions the girls are feeling, their first hour home sets the tone for the rest of the night.

More importantly my husband's and my reaction to everything can salvage or completely ruin whatever shot we have left at a peaceful evening with our girls before bed.

Our Philosophy

This is why we've adopted the philosophy, "What happens at school stays at school."

It all started when Sunshine came home upset almost every day due to the behaviors of other children in her classroom and how they directly affected her.

Then there were the days she really struggled and was so upset at how she had behaved and treated others.

I noticed very quickly that I had to teach her that it's okay to have a bad day at school and a good day at home.  The return home from school is a fresh new start.

It took a lot of work but after a couple of months she finally understood.  She could repeat the phrase I repeated every single day.

"What happens at school stays at school."

As we communicated with her teachers, they began to help us reinforce this philosophy.  They even went as far as thanking us repeatedly for feeling the way we did, explaining that many of Sunshine's classmates are punished at home for behaviors at school.

My response...

I want to enjoy the time I have with Sunshine. 

Teachers are already giving consequences at school.  There's no need to make my life more difficult at home by giving out more.

The Choice

Princess' experience at school has been a little bit different.

As notes from teachers and reports from bus drivers have come home, my husband and I have had a choice to make.

We can be frustrated and upset.

We can lecture.

We can give consequences.

We can make Princess' life miserable until she decides to follow directions.

Or we can:

1. Lay out the natural consequences that may occur if the behaviors continue.

2. Give her a choice as to how she wants to behave.

3. Trust the consequences her teachers are giving at school

4. Let it be so we can enjoy our night.

In other words,

"What happens at school stays at school."

This has been by far the best philosophy for our family as our girls attend school outside of our home.

It has eliminated so many battles.

Our relationship with our girls has become stronger.

They feel comfortable communicating anything and everything, knowing that home is a safe space to do so.

We are able to enjoy the little time we have with them at home each evening, no matter what has happened during the day.

The Process

We are all for leaving the cares and worries of the day at school, but we know there are some days the girls need to vent.

If the girls have a desire to work through strong emotions related to what has happened during their day at school, we always make sure they know we're available to do that.

Some days they come home pretty upset.

Sunshine loves to talk about others' behaviors and decisions made in her classroom she disagrees with. 

We are very quick to ask her if she's talked to her teachers about her feelings and then remind her that what happens at school stays at school

She needs to talk to her teachers about that stuff.  We weren't there.

Princess can become very upset about social mishaps she experiences which can throw off the rest of her day.

We're able to remind her that what happens at school stays at school and that she can relax at home with her family, with no need to worry about things like that.

The Grades

This philosophy carries over to grades too. 

Confession:  I could care less what grades my daughters bring home from school.  

If Princess decides she's not going to do her homework or even bring it home for that matter,  that's a choice she's making.

If Sunshine works as hard as she can and only manages a 75% on an assignment, oh well.

What happens at school stays at school.

Grades do not define my children at home.

Final Thoughts

Looking back on my life, I never thought I'd even consider parenting this way.  Doing well in school was everything to me.  

So much has changed though.

Parenting children with Reactive Attachment Disorder and other special needs has changed me.

I always want my children to know that no matter what happens at school, good or bad, it doesn't define them.  

What happens at school stays at school.

There is so much more to life.

What Happens at School Stays at School

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