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!

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