Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Outdoor Hour Challenge–Ducks vs Geese September 30, 2010

Filed under: Exploring Nature — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 8:00 am
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This week’s study was on ducks vs geese.  We’ve seen both of these all summer long, so we thought this one would be an easy one to get pictures for…boy were we wrong!  Central Ohio’s having a bit of a drought and an odd weather pattern, so the geese that have been hanging around since the first signs of spring, were nowhere to be found in the past couple weeks!  We heard them overhead a few times, but we didn’t see them on the ground anywhere!  So, we had to pull in a lot of what we’ve observed over the past several months, as well as using some pictures I had taken earlier in the year to make our comparisons. 

Some ducks at the ice cream factory we visited a couple weeks ago.

Canadian Geese at the arboretum earlier this summer

Here are some of the things we discussed about the ducks and geese:

Similarities:

-Both are found near water

-Both are birds, with feathers, bills, and webbed feet

-They can exist in the same small piece of land without being aggressive

Differences:

Sound: Geese honk loudly with a higher pitched sound, ducks quack more softly and in a lower tone.  Geese tend to honk while they are flying and are pretty quiet on land, and ducks tend to quack while walking around on the land.

Appearance: Geese are black and white, while some ducks are white, some are green and grey, and some are greyish brown

Size: Geese are much larger, with longer necks and legs.  Ducks are much smaller, have a short neck compared to their body, and have short legs.

Gait: Geese do not waddle when they walk as much as ducks do

Feeding: Geese don’t stick their faces in the water much when they eat.  They walk around on the land around the water, eating out of the grass.  Ducks feed mostly in the water.

How they fly: Geese fly in a V formation higher in the sky, while ducks seem to fly quite a bit lower and not always in a formation.

Size of flock: Every time we saw the geese, they were in larger flocks, whereas we did observe ducks in pairs instead of large flocks at times

And here are a few pictures I took while we were on our nature walk trying to find more geese to watch:

Here is the retention pond the geese liked to hang out at all spring and summer. There are none to be found there in the past few weeks.

Beautiful Autumn sky

The frogs are back in our little backyard pond!

Closeup of the little guy

The smaller frog swimming around

It's hard to believe this cornfield next door to us was just bright green a couple weeks ago!

Even the corn is dried up

 

Tot School Tuesday September 28, 2010

      Tot School

Bitty Bug is 20.5 months old

Bitty Bug continued her fierce independent streak this week.  She’s at the stage where not only does she want to do everything herself, but when she wants something, she wants it *right now*.  Poor Monkey is usually at the brunt of that one–every time Monkey has something to play with, Bug thinks it’s so interesting that she has to take it from her then and there. 

And of course, this independent streak has lead to some not-so-fun events….  For example, ever since she’s started solids, she’s sat in a booster seat at the dining room table.  At 12 months old, we took the tray off the booster seat and pulled her up to the table.  When she’s finished, we take her out of the chair.  Sounds fine, right?  Until recently.  She decided that now, when she’s done, she will stand up and wait for someone to get her.  We tried to nip that in the bud, but it didn’t work–strapping her into the chair made it worse because then she’d pull herself out of the straps.  This week, she stood up in her chair and so I ran over to get her…but before I could get there, she’d tried to jump down herself and had fallen head first out of the chair (and I was only sitting about 10 feet away from her…it happened that quickly). 😦  It was really scary to see, but she’s ok, thank goodness.  But that was the end of the booster seat at the table thing…something that worked so well for the first two children did not work quite so well for Bug. 

So, this week, we introduced the children’s table.  Now, I will be the first to admit that the idea did not sit well with me at first.  I like everyone eating at the same table…I don’t like children segregated to their own table.  But, when the choice was between that, getting a high chair for the first time, or risking another nasty fall, we went with the children’s table idea.  In the dining room, we put a smaller table next to the regular table.  And it’s worked well!  Bug is so happy with her new table (Monkey choses to sit with her as well).  She can get up and down independently, AND she actually sits longer and eats more at her small table than she ever did at the regular table.  Preparing her environment with child-sized furniture and allowing her the choice of how long to sit at the table, and giving her the independence to get up and down increased the amount of time she actually sat.  In her booster, she’d sit for about 5 minutes, pick at a few bites, and then cry to get down.  Now, she’ll sit through an entire meal happily.  I think that a lot of the time, even the smallest kiddos cry out for some independence and choices, and when allowed to make those choices and be a bit independent, the results can be very good!  So, that was a very positive result from having a prepared environment.

The table setup--a small table with a little rug underneath and two chairs. And actually, the chairs aren't really chairs--we could not find any child sized chairs during our quick trip out, but I did find these storage ottomans. These actually work very well because I can store the spare little rug, bibs, napkins, etc. in them.

Eating her taco

This basket sits in the corner (along with a picture series that shows the process of table washing). The spray bottle is filled with water, white vinegar, and lemon juice. There's a small duster and dustpan in it for crumbs, along with the spray bottle, towel, and wash cloth. Monkey and Bug are excited when they get to wash their own table after meals.

 

And a review of Bug’s other work this week:

Bug loved the Sock Monkey Jack-in-the-box. We bought this for her before she was born, and now she really loves it. Every time we put the monkey back in, she says "bye bye monkey!"

Here, Bug's transferring little glass beads with an Asian soup spoon

Bug was really good at using the tea set! She only let one of the cups overflow before she learned to stop before it gets to the top.

Bug and her daddy with the hand bells

Pouring water with creamer pitchers

Bug was using the whole hand movement to transfer the fruits and veggies between the baskets. We also worked on naming all of them. She's really good at naming the apple. 🙂

Whisking a bowl of sand

But was so excited to sprinkle the glitter on her glue (she's making the Asian dragon dance dragon that was in yesterday's Montessori Monday post)

After a long day at work, apparently it was nap time. Under a shelf. Silly child.

 

Montessori Monday September 26, 2010

Monkey is 3  years 7 months old

Monkey had a fantastic time in her Montessori room this week.  I’m thinking it had a lot to do with the heavy focus on Vietnamese culture, and specifically Tet Trung Thu, that captured her interest.  She loves learning about her birth culture, and to have it highlighted in her homeschooling just drew her in.  We also added a new computer program we just bought called Let’s Learn Vietnamese by VNI, and now she is really interested in learning the Vietnamese language as well.  It’s a really difficult language to learn, but she’s always been fascinated with her Xuan Mai videos and her Vietnamese music CDs, so I think she’ll pick up on at least some of it rather easily.

And there are a ton of pictures for this week….

Looking at the inspiration book for the basket mask craft

This was the selection of books we used to learn about the Harvest festival traditions

Monkey painting her mask

Cutting on the lines to make paper lanterns

Whisking sand

Pouring water using a teapot

Using chopsticks to transfer wooden harvest veggies from one basket to the other

Working with a compass to determine which direction is north.

Looking through the Asian continent box

Still looking at the continent box

Working with the geometric solids. This was her first introduction to them, so she was feeling the surface and shape of each solid and then figuring out which ones roll

Using a sake set to pour sand

"Numerals and Fish". Monkey took a basket of cards and separated numerals from fish. This is to help her learn to recognize what a numeral is by using something really obvious (she knows what a fish is and knows when something is not a fish)

Scrubbing a rock

Making a dragon dance puppet

Monkey's so pleased with her puppet!

The second type of lantern. This one actually held a mini flashlight. Tissue paper is glued over the shaped holes, and monkey poked more holes using a paper punch

Monkey gluing her tissue paper

Jedi was home sick this week, and he decided to join us one day. Here, he's making a noisemaker out of beads.

Putting together her alphabet dragon

 

Field Trip Friday: Apple Picking

Filed under: Field trips,Preschool,Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 4:33 pm
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This week, we managed to have some 90 degree days, and some 60 degree days.  That can only mean one thing…it’s Autumn and time for apple picking!  We actually went twice this past week…once with just the girls as a part of a homeschool group field trip, and once this weekend with Jedi now that he was feeling a bit better.

Listening to the lecture by the farmer. He was talking about the Liberty apple and the parts of the apple. He also talked a bit about grafting the new apple species at his orchard.

Into the orchard....

Apples

The trees were really really full!

My two little ones picking apples

Monkey reaching high

Bug running with the apple she snuck a taste of

My two cuties

Helping to make the apple cider

The final step of making the cider

The delicious cider the kids made

Bug on the way home, sleeping with her snack

Jedi, joining in on day 2

 

Catching Up part 1….Tet Trung Thu!

Filed under: Family updates,In the kitchen,Preschool,Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 4:09 pm
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I have two posts to catch up on today….Field Trip Friday and Tet Trung Thu.  I’ll start with Tet Trung Thu…

Tet Trung Thu and the Chinese Autumn Moon festival fall on the same day.  Tet Trung Thu is the Vietnamese Harvest Moon Festival.  It’s actually a day to celebrate children, who have to show great patience during the harvest season while the parents work.  Typically, during Tet Trung Thu, Vietnamese children are given small gifts, they make lanterns and march in a parade with them, they can make masks out of baskets and other material, and they eat mooncakes.   Obviously, that is a very overly-simplified summary of the holiday. 😉 

We don’t have a local Tet Trung Thu festival in our part of Ohio, so we celebrated at home.  Jedi was sick all last week, so we also had to account for the fact that one of the three kiddos was resting most of the week.

Since we have quite a few allergies, we couldn't order mooncakes and had to make them ourselves. Traditionally, Vietnamese mooncakes have a salted egg yolk in the center to represent the moon. Since we are egg-allergic, I used a ball of tofutti dairy free cream cheese as the center. Surrounding the cream cheese, I wrapped some sweet red bean paste.

The pastry dough is then wrapped around the ball of red bean paste/cream cheese. I then put the entire ball in the mould, and pressed it into the square shape.

This is what the mooncakes looked like after baking

 

This one was still hot when I cut it open. The other ones, we let sit for 24 hours, and the filling was a lot less goey that way.

What's a little baking without also licking the bowl. Monkey and Bitty Big cleaning up the bowl. 😀

Aaand, since the dough is like 50% sugar, they really enjoyed it. LOL!

Here is the big pile of things Monkey worked on during her school week for Tet Trung Thu (I'll post pictures of her working on it for Montessori Monday). There are two different types of lanterns, some basket masks, and some dragon puppets (my examples and her work are both in there). There's also our Vietnamese Sing & Learn book/CD that we listened to (there is a song for Tet Trung Thu on it)

Everyone out (in their PJ's... 😉 ) with their lanterns and our lion puppet having a little parade around the neighborhood. Since we're the only ones that live in the neighborhood at the moment, they could be as loud as they wanted! They liked that!

 

Tot School Tuesday September 20, 2010

Tot School

Bitty Bug is 20 months old

Bitty Bug continued to attempt to do everything Monkey did this week, as usual.  Only now she’s starting to get even more verbal and persistant about it.  Things did not work out well the day she wanted to try the eyedroppers and colored water and it was not an option for her.  Little Miss decided that she was going to be very vocal about her disappointment.  But, things changed when I brought out the scrubbing baby work.  I don’t think Bug could have been happier with the world at that point.  Give this child some water, a bar of soap, and a doll and you just found a way to entertain her for a very long time.  Apparently she loves to scrub things.  I might have to put that talent to good use one day… 😉

I tossed the extra sand from Monkey's primitive map drawing work into the sensory bin. Bug had a blast making animals hide in it!

Bug also wanted to explore the use of glue sticks this week. The purple color of the glue stick sort of made it hard for her to realize that it's not a marker. She never did figure out that she needed to actually stick something to it. LOL! But, she had fun running the glue stick over paper and making designs with it.

Playing with the clock puzzle. She liked turning the arms far more than she liked putting the pieces into the correct holes though!

Scrubbing one of her baby dolls

While Monkey was planting seeds, Bug was using the little shovel to scoop dirt and transfer it into various containers. She thought this was a fun work (although it was a bit messy of course!)

Using a funnel to transfer sand between the bottle and the pitcher

Using the knobbed cylinder block #1. She actually did pretty well with getting all of the cylinders back in the correct place

Bug also helped us to make cookies this week. Or rather, she stole the cookie dough while the rest of us were mixing and had a little feast. She really loved her job the most!

 

Montessori Monday, plus a preview of our Tet Trung Thu work

Monkey is 3 years 7 months old

This week, Monkey had a busy week in her homeschooling room.  She’s really loving her time in there, and sometimes I have to just call it a day after 4+ hours even though she’s still wanting to work (I only do that for things we really need to do…like pick Jedi up from school or hit an appointment).  Quite a change from the kid who only wanted to work 15 minutes at a time a few weeks ago!

I have a lot of picftures, so I’m going to just get straight to the weekly summary, and then add a sneak preview of the Tet Trung Thu (Mid-Autumn Festival) work that Monkey will be doing this week.  It’s only about 1/3rd of the lessons for Tet Trung Thu, but it at least gives a little sneak peak before I post the summary next Monday.

Monkey sorting "clean" vs "polluted" for her ecology work

Using an eye dropper to mix colored water

Planting flower seeds. First she filled the pot with dirt, then poked a little hole, put the seed in, covered it up, and then added a little water.

Scrubbing a baby. She had to pour the water into the tub, get the baby's clothes off, wet the washcloth, put soap on the washcloth, scrub the baby, rinse the baby, dry the baby, and then put the baby's clothes back on

Using a paper punch to punch holes in a strip of paper

Using one of the sets of visual discrimination cards. She had to match pairs based on one changed facial feature on each card

In the kitchen! Monkey, Bug, & Jedi making cookies

 And a sneak peak at this current week:

Pouring sand with a Sake set, and using a Vietnamese soup spoon to transfer glass pepples

Pouring water with a tea set

Using chopsticks to transfer harvest items from one basket to another

Cutting lines to make paper lanterns (this is one of 2 different types of lanterns she'll be making this week. She's also going to make lanterns to light later in the week)

Making Vietnamese Tet Trung Thu basket masks

Getting ready to make moon cakes