Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

April 23, 2010 April 23, 2010

Filed under: Preschool,Saving the Earth,Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 8:45 pm

I have a little catching up to do–yesterday was so busy that I didn’t get to post.  I do want to mention one thing…with wordpress I get to see the search terms people use to find me.  I sometimes check it because this is a new blog and I want to see how people are finding me.  I had to laugh because one of the search terms people used was “montessori with monkey”.  LOL…so this probably wasn’t quite what they were looking for–our Monkey is the human gymnastics-obsessed type of monkey. 😉

Yesterday was Earth Day, so we worked a lot outside starting the process of moving the new dirt to the gardens (when our house was built, a lot of the dirt was torn up, so to get things started and growing again, we had to have some new dirt brought in).  Monkey also worked on planting seeds.  She was thrilled today to wake up and notice that some of her seeds from earlier this week were already growing!

We also set up some recycling bins and talked about recycling.  Monkey didn’t seem to quite grasp the concept of what happens when you recycle, so I’m going to have to think more about what we can do.  For those that are working with younger kids…how do you work on this concept with the 1-3 year old crowd?  She understands about reusing things, but, the concept of taking something to the recycling center and having *them* reuse the things was a bit over Monkey’s head.

In the Montessori room, Monkey and Bitty Bug worked on the same things as earlier this week, plus we brought out a second set of knobbed cylinders and the yellow knobless cylinders.  Monkey loves working with the knobless cylinders, which surprises me because she doesn’t like the pink tower.  Yet, with the knobless cylinders, she builds them up in a tower like the pink tower.  Go figure! 

Bitty Bug decided to try her hand at the knobbed cylinders too–they weren’t set out for her, but I wasn’t going to discourage her from trying.  She actually did quite well.  It’s interesting to see the difference between the two kids.  Monkey is 3 years old and when she works with it, she takes out all of the cylinders, lines them up, and then puts them back in one by one.  Bug will take only 2 out at a time, and then tries to fit them back in place.  Both girls were very good at seeing when the cylinder didn’t fit in the opening and self-correcting.

Both girls were really attracted to the puzzles again.  I think I need to pull out a couple of out toddler puzzles.  I wasn’t expecting the girls to even notice the puzzles (I had them in the case on the top shelf), and not only did they notice, but it held their attention for a long time.  They are way too advanced for Bug, so I’ll have to figure out where the toddler puzzles are at (we haven’t finished unpacking the house yet) and see if she wants to try those.

Both girls tried beading large wooden beads as well.  Bug didn’t really understand the concept but Monkey did.  She only was able to get a couple beads on before she gave up though.  The eye-hand coordination was really difficult for her, but she definitely was on the right track with them.


April 21, 2010 April 21, 2010

Filed under: Family updates,Preschool,Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 9:48 pm
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Today was a busy day for us!  First off, a big congratulations to Jedi, who had a belt test in one of his two martial arts classes.  He did awesome!  Now he’s a white belt with yellow stripe.

In the montessori room today, it was Monkey and Bitty Bug.  Most of what was in the room today was the same as Monday.  I did put a second set of knobbed cylinders out, as well as a basket of nature-themed items with some magnifying glass.  Monkey really enjoyed the nature basket–I had some grass seeds, tree seeds, grass, dirt, dandilions, and a few other things I found around the  yard.  Bitty Bug enjoyed looking at these too.  I also brought out the color box 1 and both girls were practicing matching the colors.  Monkey is great at matching colors but can’t name them, so we were working on naming the colors as well.  Because of her processing issues, she has a very hard time remembering them.

Both girls decided they wanted to explore the musical instrument cabinet and the animal/insect puzzles today as well.  The instruments were a big hit and both girls were really into them. 

I did notice that Monkey is not willingly choosing the pink tower.  I am keeping it out for her for when she chooses it, but for now, she’s really into exploring the nature basket, sink/float, magnets, and knobbed cylinders.

I did put a bunch of toddler things out for Bug, which Monkey also decided to play with as well.  Both girls really liked the wooden rainbow–Monkey even tried to make a tower out of it!


April 19, 2010 April 19, 2010

Filed under: Preschool,Saving the Earth — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 9:03 pm


Today was an awfully busy day to get back into the homeschooling groove.  It was our monthly La Leche League meeting, so Monkey got to hang out with a bunch of other preschool aged kids during the meeting, which she enjoyed.  Before getting into the Montessori room, we also did a bit with our vermicomposting.  We have had a worm bin for a couple years now, and today I let all three children help harvest the compost.  It was really neat because there were tons of little worm eggs in the compost and some new hatchlings, so the kids were able to see the eggs, the tiny baby worms, and the full grown worms.  They also got to see the black partially digested compost in the worm bellies in some of the more transluscent worms.  And it came full circle when they got to see the compost made from the food prep scraps go into our garden which will be used to grow more food.  A great lesson for right before Earth Day!

In the Montessori room, Bitty Bug didn’t join us today because she was hanging out upstairs washing dishes with her daddy.  But, Jedi joined us as his school was over by the time we got a chance to go down.  That was really good for Monkey as Jedi knows how to do most of the work, so she got the experience of having an older child work with her on learning the new work. 

Monkey’s favorite new work was the seed planting.  I found these tiny pots in the T&rget dollar aisle–they were little clay pots with a dirt pellet and flower seeds.  So, I picked up a bunch of them for the kids so they can learn about growing seeds (although they also helped me with my 5 trays of seed starts for the garden…but this is something that is just for them.  The kids will have their own butterfly/bird flower garden that we’ll start next month, and they can transplant their new seedlings into those gardens). 

Monkey also enjoyed the knobbed cylinders and did really well with self-correction using this work.  She would instantly see that a cylinder was too small for the hole she put them in, and she would fix it right away.  This is pretty big for Monkey who usually gets frustrated and angry when things don’t happen the way she thinks they should.  This time though, she was very calm and laughed about her mistake and then instantly corrected it.

She worked on the paper snipping again today, and really liked it.  I did have it in the sensory bin, but she decided that she wanted to do it on a tray at the table.  When I let her know that was fine, she sat and worked with the scissors for quite a while.

I also introduced a small set of magnets and some paperclips.  Monkey worked with this for quite a while too.  She enjoyed making a magnet “run away” from another magnet by putting similar poles together.  She didn’t quite get the idea of picking the paperclips up with the magnets because she was so interested in making a tower with the magnets.  She was really catching on to the idea that if you put the two red or the two silver sides of magnets together, they will repel (she said “they’re wiggling around!”) and that if she wanted her tower to stay up, she had to get the poles in a certain way.

I also put out sink vs float, pouring (we used wooden Haba pasta since our Montessori room is in the basement…I don’t want to keep food down here.  We’ll do the beans/rice when we do pouring exercises in the kitchen!)  I also had out the pink tower, which she didn’t chose to work with today.

The other new work I put out was exploring the sandpaper globe.  She didn’t stick with this for long, but I didn’t expect her to either–a globe is a pretty abstract concept for a 3 year old.  But she did get excited when I pointed out Ohio and Vietnam on the globe!

I attached some pictures of the day, plus some pictures of the Montessori room all set up.


Lesson plans for week of April 18 April 18, 2010

Filed under: Preschool — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 7:50 pm

As usual, the date I put a new work under is the day I introduce it…I leave it out for as many days as Monkey needs it out for.


Seed planting, Pink tower, Sandpaper globe, Magnets, Sink vs Float, Pouring Beans, Set 1 of Knobbed Cylinders 

Sensory table: Paper & scissors for paper snipping


Same as Monday (Tuesdays are always short days for us)


Nature table with magnifying glass and spring nature items, Color box 1, Tonging pom poms


Threading large beads, Sorting recycling (Glass, Paper/Cardboard, Plastic), Yellow cylinders


Exploring drums


We’re back on Monday! April 15, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 9:40 am

The school room is finally unpacked and so I’m taking the rest of the week to finish unpacking other rooms and doing some lesson planning. The plan is to have Monkey in the school room on Monday morning.

I’m also starting a Montessori training course next month as well–it’s a year long course but covers all of the Montessori things from ages 2-6…so perfect for my younger two! I’m looking forward to seeing what the course has to offer!

Anyhow, stay tuned for next week…we’ll be back! (Actually, we’ve still been doing things on our official hiatus…we went to a geological museum, a farm, and a science class on turtles. So, it’s been a lot of field trips while our lives have been packed in boxes! 🙂 )