Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

We still exist! March 22, 2010

Filed under: Family updates — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 4:31 pm

We’re still on break from homeschooling as the house is still piled with boxes.  We are finally in the house though, which is great.  Unpacking’s going ok, but slowly as it naturally would with three kids 6 and under.  The kids are doing well, or as well as kids who hate change can do with change.  Jedi’s actually handling it the best…he had a few days of some pretty massive tantrums, but he’s back on track and excited to have a room to himself again…even if it looks like George Lucas’s entire Star Wars collection exploded all over the place. 😉  Monkey’s doing  ok, but her tantrums and defiance has hit epic levels this week.  Adjustment has never been her strong suit, but I think once we get her schoolroom unpacked and can get back into her routine, she’ll be ok.  Bitty Bug is actually handling it the worst, which is surprising.  She’s become very clingy and whiny, but she doesn’t really understand…she woke up in a new house with furniture she hadn’t seen (we packed it up when she was less than 6 months old).  She’s getting lots of extra cuddles though and that seems to be helping.

All of the kids love playing outside at the new house though….5 months of apartment life and they’re ready to run again. 🙂  With the exception of today (it’s cold, rainy and windy), they’ve been spending 3-5 hours outside every day.  They met the only neighbors in the subdivision (it’s a new subdivision and only one other house is there so far).  They loved playing with the new kids, which in itself was shocking…our shy little ones came out of their shell with the neighbor girls.  So, it was nice to see them running around having fun with other kids.

So, that’s our brief update…we should be back in the schoolroom sometime next week. 🙂


Nature class day March 11, 2010

Filed under: Exploring Nature,Family updates,Field trips,Preschool — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 8:35 pm
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Two Thursdays a month, Monkey has a nature science class at our local arboretum, so in addition to our normal Montessori stuff, we went to her class as well.  The class today was about Owls.  The teacher read a couple stories about owls and then showed all the kids what is inside of an owl pellet.  They also got to pet a stuffed owl (not a stuffed toy…a real owl that was stuffed after it died.  Kind of gross, but she thought it was soft. LOL!).  Then they made an owl puppet by coloring a paper with an owl face on it, then cutting it out and gluing it to a brown paper bag.  Monkey actually did really well with this.  Usually she avoids going near any of the other kids (due to her RAD), but she really wanted some of the crayons, so she actually sat in the circle.

After the class, Monkey, Bitty Bug and I went out for a brief nature walk in the arboretum.  It’s still a bit (ok, a lot) muddy out, so we had to cut it short when the baby fell in the mud and got wet.  She insists on walking everywhere, but isn’t very steady walking in the mud.

At home, Monkey worked on several things.  I left out the paper snipping since she loved it so much.  She needs more practice in the dry pouring, but she was bored with the rice and seeds, so this time I put in some Shamrock Confetti for St. Patrick’s Day.  She thought that was pretty fun, even though she made a mess with it the first time being a little over-excited about the confetti. 🙂

For color matching and sorting, I put out some flower shaped foam pieces in spring colors.  She did this perfectly!  For tonging, I put the spring colored pom poms out for her.  I also kept out the yellow knobless cylinders, the color books, and sink vs float.  I’ve been changing the items in the sink vs float…she was very interested in the fact that a pipe cleaner crumbled into a ball will sink, but a pipe cleaner stretched out into a line will float!  Actually, Jedi came home and was amazed by that too–he said the pipe cleaner ball was so light that he thought it would float.  He tried a cotton ball, which sank too.  We decided that’s why you shouldn’t wear cotton swim suits…the cotton ball absorbed so much water that it was really heavy!

Next week, we’ll be a bit “homeschool lite” because we’re starting the moving process!  It should take us about 2 weeks to get in the house and start unpacking enough that we can continue with school.  We will still be doing stuff of course, but probably not as much.


Family update–the new house! March 10, 2010

Filed under: Family updates — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 11:51 pm
Tags: ,

 A brief family update…

For the past year, we’ve been in the home building process.  Today was the final day of construction before the final inspections can begin (they still have to paint the outside, put in the driveway, steps, & sidewalk, and do the final grade but that all has to wait until the weater is constantly warmer and the ground is not so muddy.  So they’re moving ahead with the final inspections so we can move in before then. 

Here are some pictures of the house, as well as some of the kids playing at the house today….


March 10, 2010

Filed under: Preschool,Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 11:38 pm

I have no idea what to title these posts…I guess the date works as well as anything else.

Anyhow….  You’ll notice for most of the pictures, Monkey is wearing pajamas.  She’s so excited to get started with school that she runs from the bed to the school area without even getting dressed. 🙂

Yesterday was our short Tuesday.  She had a few things that were repeated from the last time.  I also added a spoon activity.  I knew that her and Bitty Bug would try to eat it, so it’s puffed rice cereal.  It lasted several hours but right before dinner, both of them decided to eat it.  This was in addition to the bread slicing work I had out.  Apparently Monkey enjoys eating her work. 😉

Today, I brought out the yellow knobless cylinders.  I was busy nursing Bitty Bug when Monkey found them, so I hadn’t shown her how to use it.  The first thing she did was build it like the pink tower…and she did it perfectly!  We used the YKCs to make a long snake too.  She had a little trouble getting it in the right order, but we walked our fingers up the line like steps, so it was easy for her to figure it out after that.  We also practiced counting with them as well.

After that, she moved to the brown ladder and did it absolutely correctly this time.  I think going from the YKCs to the brown ladder helped her figure out that the brown ladder was doing essentially the same thing!

Her favorite thing of the day was paper snipping.  She *loved* that…she loved that far more than anything we’ve done.  Apparently she’s got a high pain tolerance too because she snipped the skin off the tips of two fingers and didn’t even notice.  Yikes….  But, she did have a lot of fun doing the snipping.


Lesson plans for this week March 8, 2010

Filed under: Preschool — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 10:56 pm

Here is the plan for this week…the dates are when each work is going to be introduced.  Most of the older works are still out as well, although I do rotate out the craft items and books.

Floating/Sinking  Monday

Care of Plants Monday remove Tuesday

Pouring seeds Monday

Pink Tower Monday

St Patricks day art and books  Monday

Sorting Pom Poms  Monday

Spooning seeds  Tuesday

Snipping paper  Wednesday

Yellow knobless cylinders Wednesday

Brown Stairs  Thursday

Color Matching  Thursday

Folding Cloth  Friday


The end of last week, plus today….

Filed under: Exploring Nature,Family updates,Preschool,Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 10:52 pm

I wasn’t able to get back in here to finish updating about last week.  I brought out playdough for Monkey to play with and she really liked that.  She also practiced spreading by spreading sunflower seed butter on rice crackers.  She *loved* this, but she seems to really love anything that involves preparing her own snacks or meals.  Monkey’s always loved cooking though!

All in all, the first week seemed to go over pretty well.  The biggest thing I learned is that Bitty Bug really wants to do everything Monkey does…not similar but toned down for toddlers–the *exact* same thing.  So for this coming week, I’ve tried to create work for Bitty Bug that are pretty much replicas of what Monkey is doing, except scaled down so that Bitty Baby can carry them.  Not really quite what she should be doing, as it skips right over what toddlers are supposed to be learning at 13 months old, but as long as she is this interested, I’m going to let her do it.

So today, Bitty Baby had very similar work set out.  The first thing Monkey wanted to do was the floating vs sinking work I put out–a dishtub of water and a bowl of small items.  Monkey put the items in the water and had to say whether they sank or floated.  She actually did really well with this!  After she correctly identified floating and sinking, I let her continue to explore the  concept.  I gave Bitty Baby a smaller tub of water with a couple bath toys in it for her to explore.  She did really well with this until she also decided that she wanted to learn about gravity…water all over the floor.  Oops.  But, she thought that was really fun too. 😉

Monkey and Bitty Baby also worked with easter colored pom poms.  Monkey worked on sorting them by color and Bitty Baby worked on transferring with a pincer grasp from one dish to another.  I was surprised about how well Monkey did with this since she seems to have a very hard time with colors.  She was able to sort them by color perfectly though. 

Monkey and Bitty Baby both worked on pouring roasted pumpkin seeds (I wanted something that was prepared to eat because I knew Bitty Baby would start eating the work….and she did).  Monkey seems to be getting bored with pouring, but she also hasn’t mastered it. She only works with it for a few minutes before putting it up.

The reading basket today had books on St Patrick’s Day.  I read them to Monkey, and was pleased that when we went to the library this afternoon, she was able to talk about the symbols of St. Patricks Day when she saw a display in the library.  She had remembered what she read!

For a craft, Monkey is working on putting shamrock stickers on a cardboard shamrock, and then coloring it with various shades of green colored pencils.

Both kids worked on the Pink Tower.  Monkey almost has mastered the initial presentation–there are only two blocks that she gets out of order.  Bitty Baby is presented with only 5 blocks at a time (every other block) and has fun stacking them up.  She doesn’t get them in size order, but she is getting better at stacking 3 or 4 of them at a time.

At the end of the work period, the girls and I went out to play.  It was an odd day where there was still snow on the ground, but it was over 50 degrees.  It’s not too often that you get to play in the snow without a coat on.  LOL!  It was nice to finally see the sun after a long winter.

(And since Jedi doesn’t get to make many appearances in the blog since he spends all day at his Montessori school and martial arts lessons, I did want to add that Jedi is doing wonderfully with reading.  He’s reading fairly long words now.  We’re so proud of the little guy because just a few months ago, he still was having trouble with sounds, and now he’s reading books!)


Field trip day! March 4, 2010

Filed under: Field trips — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 12:05 am

Today was a busy day for Monkey.  I put out a whole line of work for her, plus we took a field trip with a local homeschooling group to the arboretum to watch maple syrup being made.  Bitty Bug came with us, and I think that probably made the experience not as good as it could have been for Monkey.  First, Monkey and Bitty Bug were the youngest two kids and second, it was freezing cold!  Monkey was fine with the cold and in fact, she just really wanted to play in the snow, but it was hard for her to concentrate on what the tour leader was saying since the tour leader was teaching at a 2-3rd grade level and not a preschool one.  I went through the stations with Monkey and repeated what the leader had said, but only in words a preschooler would know.  She seemed to understand that a lot better.  However, Bitty Bug was throwing a huge fit the entire time.  She wanted to get down and play and run the opposite way of the group–ever since she’s learned to run, she’s wanted to do it everywhere.  When I didn’t let her continue to run away (we’re in the middle of the woods at this point), she started throwing a tantrum.  It was well after nap time, so we had to leave before the end of the tour.  Monkey was a bit disappointed that she wouldn’t get to taste the fresh made syrup because we left early, but Bitty Bug’s tantrums were kind of disruptive to the other kids.  For what we were able to see, it was interesting though.  I think we want to try more field trips in contained areas though, like museums, where Bitty Bug can have fun too. 🙂

As for work in the Montessori area, I kept out the cotton ball transfer work, the pumpkin seed pouring work, the Pink Tower, the Brown Stairs, and the reading basket with maple syrup books in it.  I also added a work where Monkey could sort foam pieces by shape (I used winter-themed shapes), a letter A made out of construction paper with some pictures of things that start with A so she can make an A collage, and a setup with a small loaf of bread, a knife, cutting board, plate, dairy free butter, strawberry preserves, and two spreaders so she could prepare her breakfast. 

Monkey *loved* the idea of preparing her own breakfast.  She ran to the table and started doing this right away.  She had a little difficulty cutting the bread, but for the most part, she did fairly well.  By the end, she had just cut most of the way through and then ripped the last little bit off.  She did well spreading the toppings on the bread, but had trouble with the fact that you have to split the toppings–if you used all the butter for one piece of bread, there wasn’t any left for the other slices.  She ended up having one slice with butter, one with jelly, and one plain.  LOL!

The “A” collage was an ok experience for her.  I want her to have a letter collage for each letter of the alphabet by the end, but she’s really having a hard time with letter recognition and sounds, so I’m not sure how much she got out of it.  She enjoyed taping the pictures to the letter A though.  We just have to keep going over what all the pictures are so that she figures out that Asparagus, Alphabet, Apple, Art, and Arm start with the “a” or “ah” sounds.

She was excited to see the pouring and transferring wor still there and worked with both of them for a little while.  She also attempted the pink tower today too.  She was able to get the first four blocks in the correct order, but then mixed up the smaller ones.  After the tower fell over because it wasn’t balanced, she started to put the blocks in the right order.  That self-correcting aspect of the work was really useful today!

She did not choose the brown stairs or reading basket today.