Preschool at Home–The Sense of Hearing

Snowpocalypse 2012 3

This week has been insane for us! Mr. Mo had to go to Whistler, Canada for a meeting for work. I know, I know, it is hard to feel sorry for someone who has to go to a ski resort for a meeting. This was really bad though, as a HUGE storm rolled into the area the very day he had to leave. Fortunately, he was able to get a ride with a co-worker that is very skilled in winter driving (he is even skilled at dodging all the bad winter drivers that reside in Seattle – majorly important here). Meanwhile, however, I was home alone with all five kids and a HUGE storm rolling. Did I mention that it was HUGE? We’re talking snopocalypse 2012 here! At first it was all pretty and nice and we played in the snow, made snowmen, snow slides, snow dogs, snow angels, etc. We even tormented Gohan and Primo by throwing snowballs at their windows, since they were poopyheads and wouldn’t come out and play in the snow. Then, the snow became not so fun. It turned to ice, not sure exactly how. Everything got covered in ice, then it snowed again, then things kind of melted, then things froze again. So we had ice on top of snow on top of ice on top of snow (got that?). In Seattle, that means “snowbound”. You know how it goes, I had no desire to go anywhere, but the minute I realized that we were snowbound, the cabin fever set in and the LONGEST day of my ENTIRE life started. Then Secunda and Tertia started arguing like they were preschoolers or something. Then the power went out. Ugh! Then Mr. Mo’s co-worker somehow managed to get Mr. Mo home from Canada. Then the power came back on. Yay! Then we learned that someone had totally hacked a bunch of Mr. Mo’s internet accounts. Boo!

Caitlin and Vivi in Snow 1

We were not entirely without homeschooling during the power outage and snopocalypse. We played tons of board games, read a lot of books, and I pulled out some of the Steve Spangler science items that I keep on hand just for emergencies such as this. We made giant jelly marbles, which we soaked in water that we had colored purple with some of the color fizzers. Secunda even went so far as to experiment with poking with the marbles with toothpicks and freezing them, which Dora found fascinating.

Jelly Marbles 1

Jelly Marbles 3

Jelly Marbles 4

Jelly Marbles 5

And because we didn’t have enough snow to keep us occupied, we also made Insta-snow.


As I mentioned last week, Dora and I started studying the five senses last week. The sense of smell didn’t go over so well last week, as I mentioned in my post about smelling bottles. This week, however, the book I ordered for the smell unit arrived and thankfully that went over very well. It was a scratch-n-sniff book, which I honestly had forgot even existed. It was called Little Bunny Follows His Nose, and was originally published in 1971. According to some reviewers, they’ve removed some of the best scents, but when I read this book to Dora, you would have thought I had just shown her the secret to eternal youth or something. She thought the book was the coolest thing since sliced bread. I read that book, many, many times this week. The reason the book went over so much better than the smelling bottles is that the scents in the book are very subtle, so no headaches for either of us.

Sound Cubes

This week, we also studied the sense of hearing. All in all, it was a good unit. We worked with sound cubes, which Dora loved and was quite skilled at matching. We read the Hearing (Five Senses) (last week, we read the sense of smell book from the series, which is entitled Smell (Five Senses)). These books are written at the perfect level to introduce Dora to the senses, there is one book for each sense. She has been really engaged by each one, thus far. In addition, we read/sang My Favorite Things, which we both really loved (seriously, how could anyone not enjoy singing that song?).  The book has the lyrics, which can just be read as a poem, assuming you can resist belting out your best imitation of Julie Andrews. Each page is beautifully illustrated with gentle drawings and now is one of my favorite things.

For math we worked with the first tray of the geometric cabinet. I know, I know, all you Montessorians, the geometric cabinet is a sensorial work! In my mind, a lot of the sensorial work overlaps with math. Geometry is a math subject, so I am going to call some sensorial work “math work” for now on. And this is my domain, so I get to make the rules (ha ha! get the pun, it’s my “domain”, but it is also my “domain”, as in my web address! Aren’t I punny?). For you non-Montessorians, the geometric cabinet is a cabinet with six drawers of different shapes. The drawer we worked with was various sizes of circles and we just kind of introduced the drawer and discussed circles and Dora lined them up in order of smallest to biggest. Then we read 12 Ways to Get to 11, which is a highly reviewed book, but honestly I didn’t think it was that great. For one thing, counting to 11 gets old really fast, so I really didn’t want to do it on each two-page spread. Secondly I just found parts of it to be confusing. For instance, one two-page spread reads, “In the hen yard, five eggs, three cracking open, two beaks poking out, and one just hatched.” Which to me means that 3 out of 5 of the eggs are cracking open, two of which have a beak poking out, and one of which is hatched. Instead it means that there are five eggs, plus three cracking eggs, plus two eggs with beaks poking out, plus one just hatched egg, which equals 11 eggs in all. Anyway, the book just didn’t click with us. Dora didn’t even want to read it to begin with and I kind of had to bribe her to get her to let me read it to her.

Watercolor Painting 1

We art, Dora has been doing a lot of watercolor painting with Stockmar Watercolor Paints. I’m going to say that when these arrived, I had no idea how to mix them and there were no instructions. I did some research and really didn’t find much help on the internet. I finally just started mixing small amounts of the paints into jars of water until I achieved the desired concentration. These paints are very expensive, but as everyone will tell you, they will last forever, because you use so little of the actual paint to make a jar of paint. The jars and holder were a separate item. You could just use recycled jars or storage tubs that you already own to store your paints. You don’t throw them out every time you mix up a batch of paint, though I am unsure of how long they can be stored. I’ll try to post and update about how long we end up storing ours for. Even Secunda and Tertia have joined in on the fun with these paints. I personally have been frustrated with my inability to achieve the exact color I want by blending paints (like how hard is it to make brown?!?!), but I seem to be the only one feeling that way, so I think it is just me being a bit too OCD-ish.

Child Sized Masterpieces

Dora has also been playing with the Child-size Masterpiece cards a lot the last couple of months and is already on Level 3, Advanced!

Pike's Place Market 1

Our fieldtrip was supposed to be to go to a Seattle Symphony kids’ concert, but once Dora learned that we would be going to watch other people sing and dance, instead of other people watching her sing and dance, she wanted nothing to do with such audacity. Last week, however, we did go to Pike’s Place Market to try to smell a variety of smells. Unfortunately, the only one we really smelled was the fish market and they weren’t even throwing fish around (they are kind of famous for their fish throwing there, yep, one of Seattle’s claim to fame is that we have famous fish throwers, yep….). Honestly, I’ve never quite seen the appeal of Pike’s Place Market. It is like a giant farmer’s market, but inside. I find it kind of depressing and the parking borders on downright scary. They do have some quaint little shops, but whenever I have been there, the shops are too crowded for me to go in (we’re talking the middle of January here, so what it is like in the summer, I don’t know, maybe less crowded as everyone wants to be outside instead????). There was a used bookstore there that I really wanted to go into, but I just couldn’t get in without having to shove people aside. They had some really nice quality children’s classic books in their window though, so I gave some serious contemplation to forcing my way in, but neither Dora nor I are good in crowds.

And that, my dear readers is our week in a not-so-short synopsis. How was your week? I know a lot of other places that don’t usually get snow have been getting it, while places that usually get snow aren’t. Global warming/cooling/chaos I guess????

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Labels: Montessori, Preschool, Things To Do Around Seattle, Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff