Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Two Reviews: Montessori at Home and Brilliant Minds CD

I want to give two brief reviews of these products.  When I thought I would be keeping the Brilliant Minds Cd (due to the ordering mix-up), I popped it in to look at it.  I want to tell you that I was quite impressed with the material on it.  Dr. Meredith gives you a sequence of lessons (suggested)-very helpful to those just getting started with Montessori.  I also liked the fact that there were varying levels of the activities.  So you would do the bead stair (introduction to the numbers 1-9) but there were like 3 different levels of the worksheet activity/lesson.  The first one provided lots of support with the beads being outlined in color so that the child knew the correct color to use and the numerals were written in yellow to provide proper formation for the child to write them.  This progresses into a worksheet that is in grayscale with no numeral guides for the child to demonstrate independence.  I have been reading about the importance of repetition for every child (in the next review) so I loved this approach.  One thing that I did not realize when I first looked at the website is that you will eventually need to order 2 CD's.  At first I was under the impression that all the lessons were on 1 CD but I confirmed by looking at the one in the Beginning Kit that there is a seperate CD for each level.  So if you have a young child just starting to do homeschooling (ages 2-5), I would get the Beginning Math kit.  If you have a more advanced child or older child who has good number sense already, get the Advanced kit.  If I did not already have lots of other material, I would use the beginning kit for the beginning of school in my first grade class and then move into the advanced level.  Since I am getting the advanced kit for my son this summer, I plan to use it after Christmas in my first grade class.

My other review today is a real bargain!  I found out about Montessori at Home through the 1+1+1=1 blog.  This book is written by John Bowman.  How I wish I had found this 3 years ago when I first started this journey!  Anyway for $10 you get 2 downloads, a digital copy of the book and a set of "activity sheets"-which are really downloads of templates to make your own materials.  I love how this book is an easy read.  You can start at any section and zip through it quite easily and then come back later and read another section without any loss of understanding.  I really appreciated his explanation of the need for repetition in the brain development of young children.  I also found a cool lesson idea for teaching routines at the beginning of the year (or your homeschool journey) where he suggests starting every day by asking the children, "Would you please get out a rug and make a work area?" 
I highly recommend this resource for anyone who is starting their Montessori journey or needs resources to tweak their current program!
You can get the book at
Along with the book you get a newsletter delivered monthly to your email box with other ideas!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Much Happier Teacher-Mom!

After posting yesterday about the response I recieved from Jason @Brilliant Minds Montessori, I went back to the ordering section of the site and attempted the order process again.  I selected the Advanced Kit and went into the paypal check-out.  Sure enough, on the paypal invoice it stated only Brilliant Minds Math Kit not Advanced Math kit.  So, I sent another email.  I had previously emailed them that I was unhappy with the decision that I had to pay full price for the disk being as the error was not on my end.  I asked about  a possible discounted price.  Well, the squeaky wheel does get the grease.  Jason responded later that he checked the website and confirmed the error in the ordering process!  He also stated that they will exchange the entire kit for me and are allowing me to keep the sandpaper numbers (I had expressed interest in purchasing these seperately.) to cover the shipping cost to return the kit!
I am a much happier teacher-mom today!  I'm going to get the kit I need with only about aweek wait time!
I have heard horror stories from many teachers and moms regarding customer service from Montessori resellers.  So I'm giving Brilliant Minds Montessori a thumbs up! 
As I stated earlier, their kits are a great value.  I had considered buying the CD only and ordering the materials that I did not have from another Montessori vendor.  That was going to cost more than the kit minus the cost of the cd and I would not have had the lesson and extension ideas. The resource CD (a $60 value) include all the directions and worksheet and extension ideas for the materials plus Bonus lessons for money, measuring, telling time and more.  Another thing I really like is they offer sample lessons and extensions on their website.  So if you are needing math materials or lesson ideas, I encourage you to check out their site! 
Now Dr. Meredith McCurdy I wish you would create more kits like these! 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Waiting Again!

I was hoping to be reporting on the Advanced Montessori Kit from Brilliant Minds Montessori but, nope!  I am waiting again. Here's what happened...
I went to the website and ordered my kit.  At some point, I remember checking to be sure the right kit showed up-it didn't!  So I selected the Advanced Kit again.  Then, after waiting for it to arrive, what do I receive but the Beginning Kit.  So I emailed Jason@Brilliantmindsmontessori and explained the problem with the order (on Friday).  I got a reply this morning (Tuesday) and even though the problem occured on their website, this is all they will do:  I can return the kit and they will refund my money upon receipt minus the cost of the disk (they say it is non-refundable).  I understand the reason for doing this, but the error was on their website not mine!  So there is no way that I can reorder the kit until my next payday and I worry what if this happens again!  I can't afford another $60 disk that I don't need! 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Math Kit has arrived!

The Brilliant Minds Math kit has arrived at my school!  I am chomping at the bit to get my hands on it, but alas I am in the final stages of preparing for Bible School next week.  I will get to pick up the kit tomorrow and hopefully will have a few minutes to delve into it.