Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog


Little Helper in the Kitchen

I have a little helper in the kitchen.  If I’m in the kitchen, he’s in the kitchen.  Sometimes it makes me feel like my head is going to explode but then I take a deep breath and let the messes unfold.  B’s (27 months) favorite kitchen activity is washing dishes and emptying the dishwasher.  This week he took to peeling carrots!  I almost stopped him but then he started doing a good job so I let him go.  I kept a watchful eye on him but he was very careful.  You can see the serious look of concentration.  We also made pizza dough and homemade pizza.  He enjoyed working with the pizza dough and sprinkling pieces of veggies and cheese on top.  He also dumped an entire jar of parsley on the pizza but otherwise it turned out great.  Some other tasks in the kitchen he has liked in the past include sifting flour, cutting bananas, and making toast or bagels in the toaster.  I’m glad my little Montessori-toddler insists on working in kitchen!  Helps keep me honest.  😉

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Phonics and Science with Your Toddler


Half way through the third week of June.  B (almost 27 months) and I have been enjoying new activities together.  As described in my last two posts, I’m striving for a balance between structure and exploration type learning.  The free-form exploration type learning seems to be winning out.  For example, we are working on basic phonics and early reading.  I am following a simple phonics book called “First Reader” by Phyllis Schlafly.  You can find it on Amazon.  We used this book first as another tool for learning letters and now we are working on putting two letters together.  The first exercise is placing “M” in front on the vowels.  B thinks it’s fun and seems excited to read.  The fun went to a whole new level when I added wooden tile letters and let him take “MA” on a ride in his excavator.  He wanted to do it with all the vowels and made the sounds on his own without me asking.    You can see some of the pictures of this activity below.

In my first picture B is chasing bubbles.  We played with small and big bubbles at school and made tornados in soda bottles filled with colored water.  You just spin the bottle around really fast and it makes a tornado in the water.  We are having fun with simple science projects such as these this summer.  We have also transferred water between cups in a straw like a hummingbird would sip nectar from a flower.  Yesterday we picked a maple leaf and placed it in a glass of water with red food coloring.  We are now watching the food dye transfer into the leaf.  B also likes to discuss how water moves from the sky, into the ground, and up into trees.  I think he gets it.  Maybe.

You can see some other Montessori inspired shelf work ideas below.  Also, I am doing a video each week and posting it on my YouTube account.  You should be able to find them simply by searching for Adrienne Gilman on YouTube but here is a link anyway to my last video.


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Curriculum vs. Unschooling for Homeschools

As my little toddler (26 months) grows, I am becoming more and more interested in education systems and philosophies.  The latest one I am researching is called “unschooling.”  I won’t try to explain it because I am still learning about it.  I will say that is has my full attention at the moment and I am eager to learn more.  Have you heard of it?  Here are some resources I found so far:  1.) ; 2) public vs. homeschooling Youtube video; and several interesting blogs including an Unschooling Life and Racheous on deschooling.

These ideas made me rethink my last post about a Summer Curriculum and opened me up to a more flexible learning approach.  I kept my Shelf Work Chart and Weekly and Daily Goals because I like structure but I’m not as concerned whether everything gets accomplished.  Maybe it will go soon.  I like the idea of letting my child lead and following what he is interested in learning.  It’s less stressful to consider myself a resource rather than instructor.  I still work very hard to make an appealing, attractive work/play room with rotating, learning activities.  I also found after 1.5 weeks that the Shelf Work Chart is helpful for me to see what things we do regularly and what we tend to skip.  I can easily see that art and science do not get done often and that we consistently read books everyday.  This is helpful for planning the next day activities.  As I said, I am still learning all about different teaching methods.  I have decided, however, that “curriculum” is probably not the word I want to use from now on.  What do you think?  What do you think about unschooling?  Do you prefer a curriculum?

Although summer may not have started for you next or you may actually be going to fall (the other side of the world folks), our summer started the first week of June.  After about 1.5 weeks, here are some shapshots on what we have been up to.  We found a snake at the back door – yikes!  B knows alot about snakes now.  We have started learning about states, planets, and world monuments.  B really likes our planets poster.  We have been working on phonics.  We started with vowels and are now on “m” and linking vowels with “m”.  He can now read “ma”, “me”, “mi”, “mo”, “mu” and “mi”.  He seems really excited to be reading.  We are working on numbers 11-20 and B has started saying these numbers aloud.  B really loves all the practical life skills activities like scooping beans, pouring water, and sifting flour.  We went to our first children’s play and B loved it!  We also road on the lightrail for the first time.  We joined our library book club and start vacation bible school next week.  We have been swimming or biking or walking almost every night.  Next week, I want to play more in the woods near us (as opposed to parks) except I get poison ivy easily.  I also want to learn more about unschooling and how I can integrate those ideas into our home.

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Summer Curriculum for Toddlers

I count about 9 week, including this week, before August.  My 2-year old (26 months) toddler attending a Montessori school 3 days a week and summer session started this week.  This inspired me to create a Summer Curriculum and see just how much we could accomplish this summer.  I love lists and charts!  I created a list of my summer goals for B and places for us to visit.  I also created a chart for weekly shelf work activities and weekly goals.

Do you have summer goals for your kids or yourself?  Read a certain number of books?  Learn to swim?  Camps?  Tutoring?  Below are some pictures of my goal sheets, shelf work, and art projects for this week.  Our theme this week is Ocean/Water.  We picked out ocean books from the library, made ocean bags (plastic bag filled with corn syrup, pipe cleaner fish, and other colorful objects), and made waves by rolling marbles through paint in a box.  I also copied my list of goals for my 2-year old, places to visit, theme for the weeks, and art projects.  Enjoy!

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Summer Goals for Boaz

–   Potty Trained

–   Count to 20

–   Practice writing

–   Build vocabulary

–   Join book club at library

–   Attend weekly bible school

–   Start geography and science

–   Make nature table

–   Weekly art projects

–   Get ready for baby










Places to Visit


–   Lazy 5 Ranch M-Sat 9-1hr before sunset and Sunday 1 –“”

–   Transportation Museum – Tue – Sat 9-5, Sun 1-5

–   NASCAR Hall of Fame – 10-6 everyday

–   River Jam @ Whitewater Thurs and Sat 7-10

–   Hiking/biking in mountains

–   Ride lightrail

Summer Themes

–   Ocean/Water, Farms, Transportation, Babies, World, Weather, Insects, Food, July 4th














Art Projects

–   Painting w/food

–   Paint w/marbles

–   Paint w/q-tips

–   Make flag – glues parts together

–   Night and Day Sheet – sticker for moon, sun, clouds, stars

–   4 Seasons sheet

–   Story stones