Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Montessori Monday February 28, 2011



Monkey is 4 years 0 months old

Last week was another busy week for Monkey.  Homeschool co-op classes started back up this week, and she was really looking forward to them.  (And I am teaching a class there this session on preschool nature studies!)  It was also a good week for a lot of indoors work, as the weather turned cold and icy again.

In order to “celebrate” President’s Day, we brought out a lot of coin work.  Monkey didn’t really understand the fact that the presidents were on the coins, but she did love all of the coin work!

Polishing pennies using vinegar & salt. Both Bug and Monkey really enjoyed this work...I'm pretty sure Monkey spent a good hour polishing pennies in one sitting!

Monkey polishing the pennies

Sorting the coins into different denominations (penny, nickel, dime, quarter)

Book on the presidents

Monkey working with the spindle boxes

Using the small peg board

Animal tracks card for Animal Tracks Bingo

One of (?) of homeschooling--getting to have cool display cases full of stuff hanging in your house that most people would find fairly objectionable as decoration... LOL! Yes, we were learning about scat and tracks this week. And yes, that is *exactly* what it looks like. But no, I did not go out and find those myself...I actually bought it from a science store. LOL!

Animal tracks rubbing plates

Rubber track replicas. We used a small sand bin to make animal tracks in

Animal tracks book

Scat & Tracks field guide


Toddler Tuesday February 22, 2011

Filed under: Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 4:34 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Bitty Bug is 25 months old

I don’t have much of a commentary for Toddler Tuesday because I just wrote it all on my Montessori Monday blog post.

But, I do need some help from the techy people out there…  To get the link-up posted, I use the Inlinkz website.  They have two different formats–one for self-hosted blogs and one for wordpress hosted blogs…mine is a self-hosted blog, *but* the format for that doesn’t seem to be working.  I can’t get the linkup to show up directly in the blog post.  I have to end up using the wordpress hosted format, and I don’t really like that.  So, does anyone know how to get it to show up?  It has something to do with the JavaScript settings, but as far as I can tell, those are working correctly?

Now, back to Toddler Tuesday…

Musings of Me had a fantastic Valentine's Day unit posted on her site, and as part of the unit, there was this lovely color mat. So, I found some of our foam stickers that matched the colors of the heart, and had Bug match colors. She did *very* well matching her colors! She could also name every single one of them!

 (For this unit, visit Musings of Me at !)

Also from Musings of Me's Valentine's Day unit...matching hearts by size. Bug also did really well with this too...and named the hearts "mama", "big girl", and "baby". LOL!


From 1+1+1=1, this lovebug matching game. Bug really enjoyed this work. It was a little challenging because she had to look at the details for some of them (like the heart shaped bug), but she was able to match all of them. It was really fun watching her put one in the wrong place (based on a similar detail) and then towards the end, realizing that it wasn't right and changing it all by herself!

 (For this printout, visit !)

Looking at a book on mixing colors

Riding her plasma car in the driveway. Bug *loves loves loves* her plasma car (she rides on it like a riding toy and not like the plasma car is supposed to be ridden like, but she really loves it!). It's her go-to activity every time she gets to play outside.

If you did any Toddler learning activities with your tot this week, feel free to link up here! 🙂


Montessori Monday (A day late)

Monkey is 4 years 0 months old

Last week was a fun week around here.  Not only was it Valentine’s Day week (so lots of pink and red and glittery heart crafts & activities), but Ohio finally got a peek at spring.  It was lovely weather, between 50-65 all week long.  There was lots of time to go out and play, take walks, and enjoy the outdoor world.  Of course, that came to a screeching halt this week, with new ice storms, but really, when you get a week of spring weather in mid-February, you can’t complain.  😉  It just has us all looking forward to when spring is finally here!

Both Monkey and Bug did a lot of great work in the schoolroom too, but I tried not to interrupt them by taking too many pictures.  So, both Montessori Monday and Toddler Tuesday will be a little sparce on pictures this week–just what I could get without interrupting their concentration.

Working with the sandpaper numbers. To help her with self-correction, I made each group of objects a different color so that she could easily see what each numeral stood for. Sometimes she has trouble with skipping over numbers, so this seemed to help her. (She is having problems with recognition of each number though...we're working on that!)

Valentine's Day 3 part cards from Musings of Me.

Matching & folding socks basket in practical life

Parts of a Turtle puzzle

And of course, enjoying the beautiful weather outside!


Around the world: Japan February 15, 2011

Filed under: Geography & Culture — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 3:01 pm

After a month of studying the beautiful country of Brazil, we are now starting a month-long unit on another beautiful country, clear across the world in Japan.  As we wait on our package from Little Passports, we began our introduction to Japan by looking at various pictures, exploring replicas of Japanese currency, reading books, and woring on some coloring sheets.  As the month progresses, we’ll be doing some origami, cooking some traditional Japanese food, and listening to traditional music.  It should be a fun unit!

On a completely unrelated note (well, kind of unrelated)…when I was searching the library databases for books about Japan and origami, I found a book called “The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda”.  Of course, I picked it up for Jedi.  What better book for a child with asperger’s who loves Star Wars than a book about a child with asperger’s that makes an origami Yoda that can tell the future.  So, if there are any other elementary school kids out there that love Star Wars, but you don’t want to get yet another purely Star Wars book, this one’s a funny one. 🙂

Here are some pictures of what is on the culture shelf this week:

The books on the culture shelf this week

A copy of the Japanese flag, with a sheet for the kids to color

A copy of a map of Japan, with the landmarks marked, and a map coloring sheet for the kids. I also have the continent map puzzle of Asia out for the kids to work on.

Landmark and culture cards

Animals native to Japan

Art & musical instruments

Currency (not real...I just printed it off google and laminated it)

A couple random things...a postcard from a friend in Japan that we received in a swap, a picture, and a brochure (the brochure we got on our layover in Japan on the way to Vietnam 3 years ago...I have no idea what that says!)


Toddler Tuesday


Bitty Bug is 25 months old

For those who are linking up to Toddler Tuesday for the first time or who haven’t visited my blog before, welcome!  Feel free to comment, ask questions, and join in the conversation! 🙂

Like Monkey, Bitty Bug got out of her routine of having good work times in the school room.  Obviously, it wasn’t such a big deal to have  her not be down there–the only reason she is in the school room is because Monkey’s down there.  However, towards the end of the week, she was really getting into the work set out on the shelves. 

One of the biggest things we’re working with is trying to get Monkey to put her things back on the shelf.  If it was up to her, she’d just toss everything on the floor when she was done.  Clearly, that’s not such a grand plan. 😉   So, a lot of my time is spent going back behind Monkey and assisting her in learning how to clean up her work space and put her items back on the shelf.  I’d like to think we were making progress with that, but alas, I’m not sure we are.  In time, in time….  But in the mean time, there is a whole lot of me down on my knees (not to beg… LOL!  Just so I can be at her eye level), guiding her hands and modeling the appropriate conclusion to each activity.

When I wasn’t following behind the human tornado (and I mean that as lovingly as possible…), I did manage to snap a few pictures!

Using the dusting mitts to clean off the top of the shelves (while she doesn't like to put her work back on the shelves, she sure does like dusting!)

Bug really liked the seashell matching game. She wasn't really able to match up the pictures just yet, but she did love exploring all of the different shells and starfish.

As always, Bug *loves* to be a one man band!

Bug also liked this fishing puzzle. And much to my surprise, she was very good at putting the pieces back into the puzzle, even though there was no obvious guide, other than shape. I was really impressed at her work with the puzzle!

Her favorite work is still the beach sand box. She loves using the tongs to get the animals and the spoon to scoop the sand.

Working with the counting beads again. She's getting really good at sorting the colors and counting the beads!

Another sorting and color work. This one was a bit tricky for her because she had to line each shape up with the pegs. She eventually got all except the triangles on right!

If you did any learning activities with your toddler this week, please add the direct link to your post when linking up to Toddler Tuesday!


A note on Toddler Tuesday February 14, 2011

Filed under: Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 4:32 pm

I just wanted to make a quick announcement for those wondering about Toddler Tuesday.  Since One Hook Wonder is not hosting the link-up anymore, they have given Barefoot in Suburbia permission to begin hosting it.  So, starting tomorrow, the Toddler Tuesday link-up will be hosted here. 🙂  Hope to see you all here!


Montessori Monday

Monkey is 4 years old

This week, it seems like Monkey finally got back into the homeschooling routine.  She’s been a bit reluctant to come down to the schoolroom and work for the past couple weeks…we’re not sure why.  I think it’s just been a bit of a hard transition off the holidays, and then Jedi was home from school a couple days because of bad weather.  But she’s back in the swing of things this week!

Here is a review of some of the things she’s done…

A little Valentine's Day twist to the handwriting work. I have her name card out, some paper, a pencil, and added a little Valentine's Day mailbox

Working on the sandpaper letters and beginning sounds for M,A,S,O,T, and C

Using tongs to move the eggs from the basket to the pan

We're working on number recognition and counting a lot this week as well.

Doing more counting, this time with the bead bars

The bead bars and control card

matching the shape to the card

I found these cool little dusting mits awhile back, and I put them on the practical life shelf for Bug and Monkey to use

Shell matching


Making Valentines….Montessori Style

Filed under: Preschool Learning,Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 3:27 am
Tags: ,

3 kids + a ton of craft supplies = a whole lot of Valentines.  And a whole lot of sparkly stickery gluey mess. 😉

Craft time for the kids...and a whole lot of pretty pink messy fun.

This bought me at least an hour of calm and peace. 🙂


Montessori Monday/Toddler Tuesday February 8, 2011

 Tot School

Bitty Bug is 24 months old, Monkey is 4 years 0 months old

First off, the big news of the week is Monkey turned 4 years old this past week!  I can’t believe she’s already 4 years old…three was a pretty big year for her.  It was the year she started finally speaking, and she’s also grown so much…socially, emotionally, and physically.  She’s so proud to be a “big girl”!

I am doing another combined post this week because last week was another busy week outside of the school room.  Actually, the school room was being used as a storage room for a few days as we were rearranging furniture in various rooms so we could open up our office and turn it into a nursery for our future little one.  In the process, we decided to finally remove the temporary shelving we had in there (we had large metal shelves in there because I had them on hand).  This week we replaced them all with smaller bookshelves, which both look nicer and are easier for Bug & Monkey to work with!  I love them, and they were only $15 a piece at W*lmart (which is a store I don’t often shop at, but for such a big project, I needed a lot of shelves). 

Our new and improved school room!

The rest of the room (that one corner is going to have some book shelves over there for their books...we just don't have them up yet)

The shoe tying puzzle I put on the shelves this week

A Valentine's Day spooning exercise--red & white glass beads and heart shaped ice cube tray

Stars & tongs

Dry pouring glass beads and dishes

Bug working with the screwdriver work

Pin punching with the geometric cabinet


Around the World, Brazil February 2, 2011

Filed under: Geography & Culture — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 1:15 pm
Tags: ,

This was our last week on our month long Brazil unit (coming up….Japan!).  The kids loved this week because it was the week of the crafts.  Next month, I’ll have to figure out more crafts and have a new one out this week, because obviously crafting is a fun way to learn about everything for little ones!

The map of Brazil that the kids colored

Carnival de Rio is one of the major celebrations in Brazil (very similar to New Orleans' Mardi Gras). And of course, sparkly over-the-top headwear is a pretty big occurance during Carnival. So, for their monthly craft, the kids glued feathers and sequins onto paper Carnival hats!

Look how careful and meticulous Bug and Monkey were about their feathers! (Jedi also made a hat too, but he didn't start making his until later that day, when the camera was already put away)