Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Around the World–Brazil, continued January 26, 2011

Filed under: Geography & Culture — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 4:41 pm
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This month, we’re still continuing our work on studying Brazil.  All of last week’s materials are still on the culture shelf, and this week we added a few new additions:

Here are some pictures of life in various places in Brazil.  I put pictures of children & families in Brazil, houses, meals, and daily life.

I also added cards of various pieces of artwork that originated in Brazil.  I tried to choose various mediums, time periods, and subjects in choosing pieces of artwork.

Because gemstone mining is really big in Brazil, our Little Passports package this month came with an amethyst.  The kids *really* enjoyed seeing a real amethyst, and I think this was one of their favorite parts of the unit!

We also listened to the national anthem of Brazil, which the kids also enjoyed. 

Coming up this week, we are going to attempt to cook a recipe from Brazil, as well as do a craft or two.

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Toddler Tuesday

Tot School

Bitty Bug is 2 years old

One thing that I’ve discovered about Bug is that she apparently, like most infants and toddlers, has an amazing ability to pick up on foreign language.  In our house, our primary language is English.  However, she does have some exposure to Mandarin and Spanish via TV and some occassional videos and books in those languages.  We all also take Korean martial arts (except Bug of course) and there is a lot of counting in Korean that Bug hears.  Monkey also takes Vietnamese lessons and we listen to children’s CDs in Vietnamese.  So, maybe it shouldn’t surprise me too much when we were driving one day and Bug started counting to 10 in English, Vietnamese, Spanish, and Korean…and then she started singing along with the Vietnamese CD, with perfect tone.  It is amazing what sponges little ones are!!  It also was a good reminder to find more music CDs and videos in various languages so that Bug can continue to pick up on the tones of foreign language.  I personally was never very good at picking up another language, but I didn’t start learning until upper elementary school.  Toddlers though…they have a remarkable ability to absorb other languages like a little sponge!!  I just have to figure out what language we want to concentrate on so that we can give Bug a lot of exposure to it.  I was thinking Mandarin, because that is such a useful language to know these days, but Monkey is Vietnamese-American and I don’t want her to give up learning her birth language because she hears us learning Mandarin.  It’s a delicate balance, I think.  Although I guess it wouldn’t hurt for Monkey to learn Mandarin along with Vietnamese!

And completely unrelated to language learning, Bug also had a very busy week learning other things this week.  Here are a few pictures of what she chose to work on…

Arranging snowmen by size (Snowmen courtesy of Musings of Me)

Bug working on the Pink Tower

Bug really enjoyed looking at the vertebrate books this week as well! She kept repeating that vertebrates had backbones. And then all by herself, she came up with "dinosaurs have backbones"! I'm so proud of my smart little bug!

Building a snowman (snowman courtesy of Musings of Me)

 

Montessori Monday January 24, 2011

Monkey is 3 years 11.5 months old

Monkey was back in the school room full force this week!  I’m amazed at how much Monkey attempts to do each session.  Although equally surprising is that she doesn’t choose what I thought she’d want to choose…she’s not really into the pink tower or the knobbed cylinders anymore, for example–she liked them a lot a few months ago, but as she heads closer to 4 years old, she seems to be picking work that requries more attention to smaller details–for example, she *loves* the work with the minerals.  And while she was very much into learning letter sounds and writing her name before Christmas break, now she seems to be more into the math works.  Part of me wonders if it’s just the natural learning process to skip from one thing to another and then come back to something, like writing, that they were interested in earlier.  But part of me wonders if holiday breaks make one forget what they were so interested in before break.  if so, we’ll have to fix it next year so that we’re spreading the school year out more and only taking a couple days off at a time for breaks instead of two weeks.  It also might be why children in tradition school seem to lose a bit of progress with major breaks…

Here are some pictures of what Monkey’s been working on this week….

Continuing with our unit on minerals, I made some 3 part cards witht he names of all of the minerals. For this week, I only put out the control cards so Monkey can match the mineral with the picture, but later I'll put out the other parts of the set. On the back of the 3 part cards are descriptions of each mineral, what the mineral is used for, and whether the mineral is found in Ohio.

I put out a snowman lacing work this week as well. This work is courtesy of Musings of Me (http://thoughtsofesme.blogspot.com/). She comes up with the best themed units every month...I always look forward to what she comes up with!

We also worked on learning the parts of a fish this week, as we start our work on vertebrates.

We also worked on naming some animals that are vertebrates. I got out some of our animal x-rays so that Monkey can see what the backbones on various animals look like.

Bug so graciously let us use her light table for the x-ray work, which made for a really cool science lesson!

I *love* this entire book series--we have most of the series. I brought out the books that focused on vertebrates so the girls can see the bone structure of the animals.

Bug and Monkey looking through more of the science books.

This month, we are studying the art of John Constable. I printed out a few of his works, and then printed out some coloring sheets so that Monkey can color her own versions of John Constable's paintings.

We also worked on sorting which clothing items one would wear in each season. This is especially useful for my little one who thinks she doesn't really need to wear a coat when it's 10 degrees outside!

 

Montessori Monday & Tot School Tuesday January 19, 2011

 Tot School

Bitty Bug is 2 years old, Monkey is 3 years 11 months old

This week was a little light on the school work, for 2 reasons.  The first reason is that Bitty Bug turned 2 years old this week!  She was very proud of it being her birthday and talked about it for weeks leading up to the big day.  And then, when her birthday arrived, she decided to wear a princess crown all day and tell everyone that it was her “happy birday” all day long!  What a sweet pea!  She also made it very clear to everyone that she is not a baby now…she’s a big girl.  And she doesn’t let you forget that! 😉

There’s also another reason this week has been pretty light on the school work.  I was actually knee deep in paperwork, phone calls, and medical appointments all week because……

We’re expecting another little one! 

Kind of. LOL!  I’m not pregnant…but we are expecting a little one.  We’ve been accepted into the China Special Needs program to adopt a toddler girl with special medical needs from China!  We should be able to finalize the adoption and go to China to bring her home around the end of this year or the beginning of next year.  So, needless to say, the first stages of the adoption process involves a lot of time consuming paperwork.  But, I managed to finish most of it last week, so schoolwork is getting back to normal now.

Even though it was a light week, we still did do a lot of learning.  Here are some pictures from this week…

Monkey added a couple planets to her solar system lessons this week. In addition to the Sun, we also have Mercury and Venus out. I have the 3 part cards, a model of each planet, and a few easy reader science books on space in the astronomy basket.

Bug hammering golf tees into clay

Bug really enjoyed exploring the musical instrument cabinet this week as well!

Two weeks ago, we started exploring minerals with monkey. This week, we continued the minerals exploration by grinding salt with a mortar & pestle in order to show that some minerals are not as hard as they look! In the process, she also learned that some minerals are edible. 😉

Bug using small tongs to move foam snowflakes from one dish to the other

Practice with cutting jagged lines

Bug trying to match the place setting pictures with the real objects.

Bug and Monkey working with the island, lake, and isthmus landform trays

 

Tot School Tuesday January 12, 2011

Filed under: Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 4:59 am
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Tot School

Bitty Bug is 23.5 months old

I can’t believe this is my last Tot School post of Bug’s 1 year old year…she’ll be 2 years old later this week!  I can hardly believe it’s true (already!  Her last year of Tot School starts in a couple days…wow…).  It seems like just yesterday, she was a tiny little baby, born a month early, and struggling to even stay awake.  Now, she rarely sleeps, and she’s always running around exploring!

Here are some of the things Bug’s been working on this past week!

Bug loves these little puzzles--they're really great for traveling with, and they are just perfect for little hands! Bug loves to name all of the animals as she's putting the pieces in as well.

Working with her sequencing beads. She's getting really good at matching the colors!

Spooning the little glass stones

Working with one of the little puzzles I found in T@rget's dollar aisle

These are cute little figurines--they're called Friendship Club. Inside of the globe are a bunch of small figures representing people from every continent.

I found these figurines for the culture boxes, but Bug decided she wanted to match them to the figures on the back of the package.

Working with the animal puzzle. This puzzle was a lot harder than it looks...I'm really surprised that there was no good control of error that would help little ones be successful at this. I ended up taking a permenant marker and tracing the outline of all the pieces onto the tray to sort of help her out a bit.

 

Around the World–Brazil!

Filed under: Geography & Culture — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 4:44 am
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Last month, we subscribed to a neat service called Little Passports (http://littlepassports.com/).  With Little Passports, the children get mail representing a different country every month (including information, pictures, and a souvenire).  This month, the children will be getting a package about Brazil!

We wanted to use Little Passports in conjunction with our culture & geography work, so each month, we’ll be doing a home unit based on the next package from Little Passports.  Each month, we will learn about:

-The geography & landmarks of the country

-The currency of the country

-The clothing, people, and jobs in the country

-The food (including cooking a meal from the country)

-The animals & plants

-The music, art, & literature

But it doesn’t come all at once of course!  Gotta pace yourself. 😉  This week, I put out the South American puzzle, some 3 part cards on animals, plants, and landmarks, some instruments, books from our home library and our city’s library, and little animal figurines.

Monkey working on the puzzle and Jedi working on some 3 part cards

Jedi was really proud that he noticed that the Amazon River on the puzzle matched his card!

Some tamborines, maracas, and drums

Some animals that are found in the rainforests, rivers, and oceans near Brazil

The flag of Brazil, and some currency (Brazilian Real) I printed off Google Images

Some landmarks in Brazil

Animals and plants of Brazil

Monkey working on the puzzle

 

Montessori Monday

Monkey is 3 years 11 months old

This was our first week back in the schoolroom since before the holidays, and Monkey was able to jump right back into things with no problem at all!  I didn’t bring out many new works this week because I wanted her to be able to review some of the things we did over the past few months.  It’s actually kind of amazing how much she was into the basics when I took away all of the “special” holiday-themed lessons!  She didn’t seem to miss them at all (I’m not sure if I should be happy that she can easily go back to the basic works, or sad because those special lessons take so long to develop! LOL!)

Here are a few pictures from the past week (please remember that I’m no longer posting pictures of the children that make them easily identifiable due to this blog being so public.  :-/ )

We started a unit on the solar system this week. The first lesson was on the sun. Because my universe set doesn't have a sun in it, I had to make this one out of a foam craft ball.

One of the girls' new puzzles. This one sorts by color and shape! It's actually fairly difficult for all three of the kids (although Jedi obviously gets it after a little work!)

Working with the locks & keys

Working with the screwdriver boards

I found these neat sequencing cards at T@rget. There are quite a few of them in the box, with each set having 3 pieces (beginning, middle, & end)

Exploring minerals with a magnifying glass, and matching them with the control card

Reviewing the three sandpaper letters she was working on before break

Matching the geometric solids with their bases

Working with matching textures, while blindfolded!