Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Tot School Tuesday November 29, 2010

Filed under: Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 8:13 pm
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Tot School

Bitty Bug is 22.5 months old

As you saw in yesterday’s post, Bitty Bug participated in all of the Thanksgiving prep last week, along with her big brother and sister.  She wasn’t able to use the butter knife to cut bread yet obviously, but Bug was able to scrub sweet potatoes.  She *loves* doing that job and will concentrate on it for quite a while.  She climbs right up onto the Learning Tower in front of the counter, and was scrubbing sweet potatoes right next to me while I was preparing other food.  It’s amazing to watch a toddler helping with kitchen prepwork even before age 2!  And it’s such a confidence  booster for her as well. 

I  posted most of the pictures last night, but here are a couple more that just focus on Bitty Bug.

Helping to make the decorations--she was filling the bowl with the little gourds.

Scrubbing sweet potatoes

Rinsing the potatoes off

Taking a break from the cooking to play with the pumpkin spice play dough


Montessori Monday, Thanksgiving edition November 28, 2010

Filed under: Preschool,Uncategorized — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 8:33 pm
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Jedi is 7 years 0 months old, Monkey is 3 years 9 months old, Bitty Bug is 22 months old

Most of this week’s Montessori work was done in the kitchen.  Thanksgiving’s a lot of prepwork here, especially when you’re dealing with multiple food allergies (which takes out all of the “shortcuts” like boxed stuffing…LOL!).  It was amazing how much little ones could actually do in the kitchen to help though!  Bitty Bug scrubbed sweet potatoes and arranged decorations (pictures on that tomorrow for Tot School Tuesday).  Jedi & Monkey folded napkins, crushed the cookies for the “oreo” truffles (made out of K-Toos, enjoy life chocolate chips, and tofutti cream cheese), crushed the crackers for the pie crust, and cut bread for the stuffing.  There were a couple other jobs I had for Jedi in the kitchen, but since his birthday was also this week, he was preoccupied playing with his new toys. LOL!

Playing with some play dough I made with pumpkin pie spices

Folding the napkins

Sweeping the crumbs off the table

Cutting the bread into cubes for stuffing (with a butter knife)

Crushing the crackers

Crushing the cookies

Taking a break from the Thanksgiving work...Jedi was playing the auto music on his new keyboard and the kids were having a dance party


Happy 7th birthday Jedi!! November 23, 2010

Filed under: Family updates — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 10:23 pm
Happy 7th birthday, Jedi!  We love you!!

Just hours after being born...6 lbs 15 oz, practically bald with long long long eyelashes

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been 7 years since the day our lives changed forever and we became parents for the first time.  In the wee hours of the morning, after 53 hours of labor, and over 3 hours of pushing, our little man made his grand appearance.  And now, he’s gone from that tiny little sprout to our spunky, hilarious, curious, and rambunctious little man!

Opening his gifts this morning

His new lego game

This is what he had asked for the past few months...he just had to have a keyboard (even though we have a piano) because his music teacher at school showed him that you can turn a keyboard into a bunch of other instruments

Monkey giving Jedi a birthday hug on the way to the lego store today

With his lego cake I made (gluten, dairy, egg, and nut free of course!)

Blowing out the candles


Montessori Monday & Tot School Tuesday November 22, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 1:07 pm

Montessori Monday and Tot School Tuesday are on break this week.  The whole family was out last week with the nasty stomach flu virus that’s zooming across central Ohio.  So, that obviously left us little time for any lessons this past week.  We’ll be back with lessons next Monday!  (And I’ll be posting Jedi’s birthday post tomorrow, as he turns *7*  years old tomorrow!)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Children of God–The Holy Family, plus some free downloads November 19, 2010

Jedi is 6.75 years old, Monkey is 3 years 9 months old, Bitty Bug is 22 months old

Our first week with our Montessori inspired religious education curriculum didn’t go quite as planned–half of us were out sick with the stomach flu all week.  So, needless to say, the room that we were supposed to unpack and set up to use didn’t get finished, and the work didn’t get set out early enough.  So, this week was a very brief introduction and next week we’ll hopefully have the room set up to start really working (right in time for Advent!). 

Our first week was on the Holy Family, in preparation for the Advent lessons on the birth of Jesus.  Here are a few pictures of what we did get to do (for some reason, Jedi isn’t in the pictures.  He did get to work in the room, but I guess I didn’t have the camera on hand when he was in there. )

The few shelves I was able to put work on this week. The Holy Family won't always be on that shelf--I'll be putting it in a more easily accessible location once I get the rest of the shelves put together. 🙂

One of the two puzzles I downloaded this week from I downloaded one of the Magi finding the star, and one of the Magi traveling to see the newborn Jesus

The book basket for this week

The sequencing cards for the Prayer Before Meals I created (I'll post a link to download them at the end of this post)

The sequencing cards for the Hail Mary I created (I'll post a link to download them at the end of this post)

I downloaded these from and laminated them. I also added some popsicle sticks so that they can build a little nativity scene (but Bug much preferred to just name what the figures were and then count the sticks. LOL!)

Bug playing with the nativity figures

The 3 part cards I created for the Holy Family story

Bug exploring some stones and a wooden cross

She really really wanted to count all of the objects. She did really well with this, counting up to 15 with only a little help!

Monkey working with the nativity scene

Looking at pictures in the Children's Bible

Working with the 3 part cards

Bug looking at the Holy Family figurine. She kept saying "mama, daddy, baby" and pointing to each person in the figurine

If you want any of the sets of sequencing and 3 part cards that I created for this week’s lessons, here they are for downloading.  Please do not sell or redistribute these (you can blog about them and show pictures of your children using them of course, but I would appreciate a link back. 🙂 )

The Hail Mary sequencing cards–

The Holy Family 3 part cards–

Jesus’ birth 3 part cards–

Prayer before Meals sequencing cards–


Tot School Tuesday November 16, 2010

Filed under: Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 9:58 am
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Tot School

Bitty Bug is 22 months old

This week, Bug was really into digging.  She spent a lot of time outdoors digging in the yard and in the sandbox.  So, we decided to take out a little sandbox work for her to do inside too–she loved it!   Clearly Bug is having some beach withdrawals now that the weather is getting cooler. LOL!
Here are a few pictures from this week:

Bug attempting to go bowling in our driveway. She didn't quite get the concept of *rolling* the ball though. LOL!

I got this idea from Family Fun magazine. This was a pretty huge project for me. I know it doesn't look like much, but I am *not* a sewer. At all. I can bake from here to eternity but I I have a sewing machine that I think I've turned on once in 5 years because I can't make it work. So, to make these little fruits and veggies was a pretty big deal. LOL! I made them out of felt, and instead of using cotton balls on the inside like the instructions said, I just used some old outgrown torn up clothing as the stuffing. Bug really likes her felt Horn of Plenty. She takes the food out, names it, and then puts it back in. 🙂

Stuffing the veggies into the Horn of Plenty

A new work I set out for Bug...a little sand box with shells, sea stars, and other beach/ocean wildlife. There are tongs and spoons in the bin for her to dig and remove the objects.

Working with the mini sandbox

As you might remember from yesterday's post, Monkey had a silver polishing work out. Bug was really really really interested in it. Because the polish was just baking soda & water, I let her try it. I'm glad I did--you can tell from the picture how high her level of concentration was. She really enjoyed watching the goblet become shiny, and she enjoyed the process of polishing it with a toothbrush.

Our November “waiting room” activity bin–there are silk leaves, real pumpkins & gourds, and some wooden fruit & veggies.

The rest of the "waiting room" activity bag for November. Some finger puppets, the white board to draw on, clothespins and cups, a book on puppies & kittens, and a lacing activity.


Montessori Monday November 14, 2010

Monkey is 3 years 9 months old

It’s hard to believe that we’re already 3 months into the school year, and the winter holidays are getting closer.  On one hand, it seems like we’ve just barely gotten started, but on the other hand, Monkey’s done so much and accomplished so many things in just 3 months.  It’s amazing to see this process every day. 

It feels like we’re finally making headway on the colors thing.  She’s been able to match them for months, but because of her processing issues, she has such a hard time naming colors.  She’s finally getting a couple of them, which is huge!  And once she got those, it seemed like she was then ready for so much more–for starting to learn her letters and numbers, etc.  She’s been so interested in those the past couple weeks.

Monkey also did really well with her Vietnamese lessons this week.  She learned the words for ‘baby’, ‘mama’, ‘daddy’, ‘hi’, ‘goodbye’, ‘fish’, ‘ball’, and ‘swim’.  She also learned the first couple lines of a song.  She was pretty shy for her tutor, but on the way home, she started repeating the words.  This week, I made her 3 part cards of the words she learned–that way she learns to read the words in Vietnamese (and it also helps me to remember the words as well. LOL!)

Here are some pictures from this week…

Sorting feathers by color

Using the hammering work to hammer shapes into the piece of cork

This was really really cool! The Olivia book was sitting next to her, and she decided to find letters to match the word Olivia and hammer them in. We were all really impressed by this!

Working with the geometric cabinet, drawer 1. Here she's tracing the outside, and then she traces the inset before matching them together.

This was something I came up with after seeing a printable on I printed the turkey color card from that site, then I laminated it. Monkey puts a colored button on each turkey (green buttons on the green turkeys, brown buttons on the brown turkeys, etc.) Then she counted the number of buttons for each color.


Learning how to set a table. I printed off a template for setting a table from the Martha Stewart site, and then taped it to the lid of the box that held the table setting work. She used that as a guide for setting the items on her work table.

Sorting items into "living" and "non-living". We talked about how living things eat/need nutrients and/or water, grow, and reproduce. For the rest of the week, every time we were in the car, she'd ask if various things she could see out the window were living or non-living, so I'd ask her if they ate, grew, and reproduced. She thought that was a pretty fun question game to play during car trips this week.

Polishing silver. I made a silver polish out of baking soda and water, so that it was completely non-toxic (Bitty Bug wanted to work with it too, so I had to make it completely non-toxic so that she wouldn't get sick if she tried licking it or something). I also set out a dish to hold the polish, a tooth brush, a soft sponge, and a wash cloth. She's polishing the goblets from my husband and my wedding (almost 8 years ago--we've never gotten around to polishing them!)

The 3 part cards I made after Monkey's weekly Vietnamese lesson with her tutor.


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