A Year of Montessori Learning: September

SEPTEMBER
We got an early start on fall this year, simply by hopping on a plane and heading north to Alaska for 10 days. It was in the low 50’s the whole time we were there, rainy and cold, and we got the welcome opportunity to break out our flannel collection. Though traveling with a toddler isn’t always the relaxing experience one associates with vacation, we decided to refer to it as an “adventure” instead, and adventure it was indeed! You can read more about our time in Alaska here and here.

Flying back home to insanely smoky skies and 100 degree temps was a bit of a shock, but we’ve slowly been working our way towards fall around here and I am happy as can be. September brought lots of changes in Emmett, he’s just at that age, but the biggest of all was the explosion of language. That kid talks all day every day! And boy does he have a lot to say. He says 4-5 new words every single day and I can hardly keep up with him as he sprints around the house and climbs everything in sight. We’ve taken to heading outside in the afternoons so he can burn off all of that toddler energy and explore the wonders of our farmyard. He’s just the best.

Theme: 
Math- Math is probably the last topic I would voluntarily pick to focus on; it’s definitely not my favorite. But at this young of an age, learning numbers and practicing counting is about all it entails and it was actually really fun watching Emmett learn over the course of the month. He’s sharp as a tack that one. It’s so fun watching how proud and confident he is when he figures out what new words (and numbers) mean and gets to use them in his everyday life. We really enjoyed reading counting books, playing with the items on his shelf and just practicing counting throughout the day. We also did a bunch of fun projects together and I’m so looking forward to doing more and more as his skills increase and we approach the indoor season.

Books:
Nothing makes me happier than pulling seasonal books out of the drawer in the bottom of Emmett’s closet. Dusting them off after a year’s hiatus and diving back in to their festive pages. Pulling out our stack of fall books, and happily picking a few out at the library made me so happy. And crave something pumpkin flavored. But that’s another story. We also picked out a few number books, and grabbed the ones we already had in our collection to round out the month’s theme. I posted some of my favorite fall books on the blog a couple weeks ago, but Wonderfall was hands down Emmett’s fave. I’ve read that book at least 50 times now. Don’t think I’ll be sad to see it go. But it’s a good one! What are your favorite fall books? Do tell!

Library: Numbers Everywhere. Wonderfall. Christopher Counting. September. Animal Numbers. Leaves. Let it Fall. Numbers. Butterfly Counting.

Our Collection: Numbers, Colors, Shapes. Fletcher and the Falling Leaves. Autumn. Apples and Pumpkins. Let’s Count Oregon. Hibernation Station. Fall.

I didn’t include it in the photos because it’s in Emmett’s room and he’s asleep, but this Counting Cars book has been read every single day since it arrived. At the beginning of the month he wasn’t even counting things, just watching as you pointed out cars and animals and people, but just a few weeks later and he’s counting, naming things on every page and without fail, snickering at that silly old weiner dog stretched between two sides of a race car. This book was worth every cent!

Adventures:
Being that we started out the month in Alaska, I bet you can guess we had some adventures. In our time up there we managed to pack it in. We saw moose and bears at the Nature Conservancy, went through a giant tunnel, visited the Aquatic Life center on the coast, cast our fly lines in the Kenai River, hiked to Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park and enjoyed throwing rocks at Summit Lake Lodge. We even got to go to the Alaska State Fair, where Emmett fed animals, watched the lumberjack show, drove tractors and ate enough fair food to fill up an adult. Just a few weeks later we had our fill of greasy goodness again at the Mt. Angel Oktoberfest, stuffing our faces with onion rings and delicious Dairy Women milkshakes. No wonder my jeans are tight. Other than that, we’ve had some pretty quiet days at home, just happy to pull on our rubber boots and troll around the yard when the need for adventure strikes.

Projects:
September meant we started up Whole Family Rhythms again, a simple curriculum for mamas with small kiddos at home. WFR includes a weekly theme and story, adds a little structure to our week, and most days, gives us a fun project to do together. I love its simple, seasonal focus and how easy it is to accomplish most days. We used it last year and it’s been even more fun this year since Emmett is much more able to participate in the activities. We’re using the Autumn Guide currently. I highly recommend them.

This last month, we made homemade play doh, hand-dyed playsilks (which Emmett is still LOVING), broke in our sidewalk chalk, made apple chips, tried finger painting and colored a few fall-themed coloring pages. I really enjoyed doing projects with my little buddy this month and think I’ll be putting a nice set of watercolors and colored pencils on his Christmas list. He’s quite the little artist!

Shelves/Toys:
I didn’t want to take the Math theme too far, since Emmett is still super young, but I thought it would be fun to have a few number/counting-centric activities on his shelves. We borrowed these counting bears from my SIL, and though he didn’t spend much time counting them, they really helped with colors! He can say Green, Blue and Purple. We also spent a lot of time lining up these foam numbers on the couch and saying the name of each one. So far, his favorites are Two, Four, Five and Nine. Sometimes you’ll get a Three in there, if you’re lucky. I’ve been so impressed with his memory of all the new colors and numbers he’s learned the past few weeks. Kids are amazing! I also had his lacing beads on his shelves, though he mostly liked pulling them around the house and watching them bounce along behind him.

Two of his very favorite shelf items were the colored water work and the bean work. I bought a small package of pipets, put a drop of food coloring in each of the small mason jars and added a mini-muffin tin. Though there were plenty of spills (as you can see) and a few drinking episodes, he LOVED this work. As with the water work, the bean work was a pretty messy set-up. Anyone with OCD might not want to try these two activities, but my kiddo was captivated. Though we had to sweep the beans up over and over again, he really loved this work. He actually really liked cleaning them up too.

Playlist:
Though I wasn’t sure I’d be able to fill out a playlist about math, it seems there’s a whole lot of music out there with numbers in the name! I also added Taylor’s cousin Jeff’s entire album to the playlist because something about it always screams fall to me, and I just love listening to it in general. His new record comes out October 13 and we can’t wait!

September | Math

October is shaping up to be a mostly slow month, with a few highlights here and there, and we are pretty pumped to dive in to our next theme…Biology! Give me all the plant and animal books.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, yes I skipped August. Yes I still plan to do a YOML post, but I’ve got to get my act together. Montessori Spaces was a tough theme.

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