What is Montessori? Tea pot water play!

I am trying my hand at defining some of the activities we are already doing at home. And I am initiating more of these activities according to the below (shortened by me) principles of Montessori.

I was confused by Montessori at first. But 1plus1plus1equals1 and Counting Coconuts both make it seem less intimidating, and more do-able. Many Montessori principles are ones that we are already learning at home.  I have been utilizing sensory bins, mathematics activities using manipulatives, and not pushing writing and reading before my son is ready.  “Teach teaching, not correcting.”

  1. Practical Life: Preliminary exercises: pouring, opening bottles or doors // Care of the environment: sweeping, mopping, washing // Care of the person: buttoning, zipping, brushing // Grace and courtesy: introductions, excuse mes, offering help
  2. Sensorial Work: Utilizing all senses for learning and understanding
  3. Language: Literacy is reading, writing, speaking, listening with the child’s pace
  4. Mathematics: Promoting sense of numbers through learning materials

Many of my above understanding has come from the Montessori Primary Guide.

So below can be considered practical life and sensory work as John pours water from pot to pot (note all the soaked towels!)  After about an hour, and 6 towels later, I decided to end the activity, but he wanted to keep pouring!








**I am going to slowly begin making Weekly “Tot Trays” for him with 3-6 activities per week, related to the above Montessori categories. I will start out with three on Monday and together, we will create the other three! The next Tot School post will show that he is leading the way on what should be on his trays! 

Montessori Monday

Our first experiences with Tot School printables

I have just begun using some themed printables that I have found. I have plans to use the Tot School ABCs from 1+1+1=1 soon, once my son is more interested in sitting in one place. And then I will use the Letter of the Week from Confessions of a Homeschooler when my son turns 3, along with Raising Rock Stars from 1+1+1=1 when he shows signs of more interest in writing.  But now, I want to start using some themes for the seasons as well as helping learn colors and shapes, etc.  We printed many Fall and Thanksgiving printables from 1+1+1=1 and Homeschool Creations, and my son enjoyed some of them — I think he’ll begin to understand how to sort, match, and trace as soon as he is more developmentally able and interested in not throwing everything around, and he’ll definitely enjoy them more in the years to come.

But he has come to like some color matching activities and particularly loooooved these Trucks printables!

Big Machines Tot Pack from 1+1+1=1. I had planned to make a book with these using a binding ring, but he loves lining them up and putting his own trucks on top.  This boy knows the difference between an excavator, a loader, and a bulldozer, even if his mama doesn’t!

Color Puzzles, also from 1+1+1=1.  These are meant to be puzzles, but I’ve kept them together and we used them on a tray to sort and match colorful buttons from Oriental Trading.

**If you know of any other trucks or tractors printables, please let me know! Also, if you have hints for getting a feisty little boy to sit still and not throw printables, bin items, etc, all around as if a game!**

Tot School

Some Abeka Thanksgiving Crafts

We made some simple thanksgiving crafts, thanks to our A Beka craft books.

The Native American Headband is found in the Nursery Arts and Crafts.










The Give Thanks Turkey is from Arts and Crafts with Button Bear 2s.







**Our other Fall and Thanksgiving crafts are in my Craft Links for 2 year olds.**

Letter to send to a pregnant friend regarding circumcision

Dear ______________,

I know that we talked about this topic a little the last time that you
visited, but I wanted to give you some more information for why we
chose not to circumcise our son.

I apologize, in advance, for this being such a long email!  But I hope
you read it!  This subject has become very close to my heart and I am
in no way trying to offend, but want to shed some light on a topic
that you may or may not have researched.  We decided to keep his
penis whole, the way God created him, because we realized that his
penis is part of his body, and it is not ours to alter or cut without
his consent.

Are You Fully Informed?

50 Reasons to Leave it Alone

First of all, I always thought that we would circumcise a son, it
seemed “weird” not to, after all, his dad and whole extended family
is circumcised.  But upon further research, we realized that
only about 32% of the United States families circumcise their sons
now, so he will be in the majority of boys, and he won’t feel
“weird” in the locker rooms.

Steep Drop in Circumcisions, New York Times

Also, only about 10% of the world’s population of men are circumcised,
and only in the cultures of Israel, South Korea, Muslim world, and
here in the US is circumcision a routine procedure for newborns.

Fact Checking Routine Circumcision

There is a ban on both male and female circumcisions in the
countries of Germany, Denmark, and Sweden, and more European countries
are also seeking a ban.

German Court Bans Circumcision

There are many reasons that we chose not to cut a part of our son’s penis
off.  First and foremost, I thought I wanted to circumcise because God
called Abraham to do so to his son Isaac.  Upon further research, and
extensive conversation with my Hebrew professor, who wrote his thesis
on Hebrew circumcision, I discovered that Abrahamic circumcision
(Milah) cuts only a small portion of the tip of the foreskin, like a
small gash.  This was a blood sacrifice, but was not foreskin
amputation (Periah) which is practiced today.  If they had practiced
entire foreskin amputation (which was introduced in Victorian timesand
is what American doctors practice today with infants), many children
would have died from blood loss or infection.

Milah v. Periah Circumcision

Motivations for “Medical” Circumcision

Today, still, in the US, about 110 boys die of circumcision surgery
every year. Also, many circumcisions can be “botched.”

Neonatal Circumcision Death Rate Higher than SIDS and Auto Accidents

Here is a thread on Baby Center for moms whose children have had to
undergo re-circumcisions and penile adhesion surgeries:

Re-Circumcision and Penile Adhesion Surgery

Of course the blood on the cross took away God’s command to cut male
penises (and the other blood sacrifice commandments of the Old
Testament.)  I wanted to make sure that I understood God’s commands
properly.  And these passages helped:

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means
anything, but faith working through love.”  Galations 5:6

“Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with
his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge
according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither
Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian,
slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.” Colossians 3:9-11

It is estimated that over 20,000 nerve endings are cut off when the
foreskin is cut.  (While female circumcision cuts only 8,000, but is
illegal in our country.)  This takes away a lot of sexual pleasure in
the future, as well as can be argued to contribute to erectile
dysfunction.  As you may know, the American Association of Pediatrics
classified male circumcision as a “cosmetic procedure” until about two
months ago when they changed their position to be neither for or
against the surgery.  They did so, in my opinion, so insurance
companies would again pay for the surgery, because insurance companies
had stopped paying for circumcisions due to their previous position.
But it is very important to note that male circumcision is not
actually endorsed by any medical or health organization in the world.

In terms of cleaning an intact penis, we have not had any difficulty.
The foreskin and penis are forged together as one (as a fingernail is
on a finger), so there is no need to retract the foreskin to clean the
penis.  (And also, our son never “sprayed” us on the changing table,
because the foreskin lays his penis down, rather than being exposed
and “up”, if that makes sense).  The foreskin and penis will come
apart naturally when child is between 9 months to 4 years.  Every
child is different.  It is actually harmful to retract the foreskin
before it is ready, because this damages the nerves.  The foreskin is
highly functional – cutting the foreskin from the penis eliminates
thousands of nerves that God created for male sensitivity and
pleasure.  During a circumcision, as you can see in the video of the
surgery, the foreskin is forcibly torn off the penis (again, as a
fingernail to a finger, but with many more nerves), and then cut.

(Also, statistics show that there are less cases of STDs in Europe, a
mostly non-circumcised area of the world, than here in the US where
circumcision rates are highest.  And there are no reputable studies
that can affirm the claim that circumcision can lessen your chances of
contracting HIV.  The campaign to circumcise adult men in Africa is

Circumcision and STDs

Intact Infant Care

Here are links to see an actual circumcision to understand the

On Dr Momma and on CIRP.

One of the big reasons some decide to circumcise is that they want the
baby to look like their Dad.  _________, if you ever want to talk to _________
about this, I know he would be very open and happy to give his
opinion.  It came down to the fact that baby penises don’t look like
adult penises anyway, whether intact or circumcised, and when he is
old enough to “look like Dad,” they won’t be comparing penises
anyways, because that would just be strange.  (Or I like to use this
analogy: my husband’s ears are attached and our son’s are lobed, like mine,
but we aren’t going to cut his ears to look like his father’s, so why
would we cut his penis.)

I want to say that, whatever you choose, of course, you don’t have to
defend your decision to me or anybody.  However, I wanted to write
because I thought we would always circumcise, but once I began talking
to a couple people about it and researching circumcision, we realized
that we have the power to give our son this choice over his body.  And if
he chooses to do so, he can when he is 18 years old.  I just wanted to
make sure I knew everything before we made a very informed decision.

(However, adult circumcision can be very traumatizing to men who have
it done because all those mature nerve endings are severed.  Ben
Affleck, the actor, is a man who was circumcised in his twenties and
he has spoken out against circumcision and about the huge differences
between being uncircumcised and circumcised.  His infant son, Samuel,
is uncircumcised.  There are many famous men, actors, politicians who
are not circumcised, too.  Will Smith, Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling,
Heath Ledger, Denzel Washington, James Dean, etc.)

Intact v. Circumcised Penis Sensitivity

Ben Affleck on The Daily Show

Famous Intact Men

I will not ask you what you decided or follow-up to this email; I want
to respect your choices as parents as much as possible.  But please
let me or _______ know if you would like to talk about this further.

Thank you for reading this.

I love you three!,
Amy (with _______ and our son)

Wildflower Ramblings

Is America Exceptional?

If you have twenty minutes.  Read “Is America Exceptional?” by Norman Podhoretz, published in Imprimis, a Publication of Hillsdale College, October 2012, Volume 41, Number 10.

Here is an excerpt:

ONCE UPON A TIME, hardly anyone dissented from the idea that, for better or worse, the United States of America was different from all other nations. This is not surprising, since the attributes that made it different were vividly evident from the day of its birth. Let me say a few words about three of them in particular.

First of all, unlike all other nations past or present, this one accepted as a self-evident truth that all men are created equal. What this meant was that its Founders aimed to create a society in which, for the first time in the history of the world, the individual’s fate would be determined not by who his father was, but by his own freely chosen pursuit of his own ambitions. In other words, America was to be something new under the sun: a society in which hereditary status and class distinctions would be erased, leaving individuals free to act and to be judged on their merits alone. There remained, of course, the two atavistic contradictions of slavery and the position of women; but so intolerable did these contradictions ultimately prove that they had to be resolved—even if, as in the case of the former, it took the bloodiest war the nation has ever fought.

Secondly, in all other countries membership or citizenship was a matter of birth, of blood, of lineage, of rootedness in the soil. Thus, foreigners who were admitted for one reason or another could never become full-fledged members of the society. But America was the incarnation of an idea, and therefore no such factors came into play. To become a full-fledged American, it was only necessary to pledge allegiance to the new Republic and to the principles for which it stood.

Thirdly, in all other nations, the rights, if any, enjoyed by their citizens were conferred by human agencies: kings and princes and occasionally parliaments. As such, these rights amounted to privileges that could be revoked at will by the same human agencies. In America, by contrast, the citizen’s rights were declared from the beginning to have come from God and to be “inalienable”—that is, immune to legitimate revocation. ….

Lego farm animal matching game

I found this adorable idea at I Can Teach My Child (I love this site!!).  Click on the link and then download the .pdf and print in color.  Cut out the little animals, cut them in half and tape them onto some Legos.  My son loves matching and mis-matching the animals.  He is 26 months and now finally really starting to enjoy Lego play!