Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Toddler Tuesday June 28, 2011

Bitty Bug is 2 years 5 months old

 

Bug and Monkey were really into singing The Itsy Bitsy Spider last week, so I put out some sequencing cards for the song. With Monkey, she doesn't need any help, but with Bug, we sing the song and put the pictures in order at the same time.

Bug matching the plastic models of the butterfly lifecycle to the preserved species.

Bug playing with some little figurines--each figurine is wearing the traditional dress of a different culture.

Working on the latches & locks board

Since summer started this week, we changed the sensory table from the flower planting theme to a beach theme.

Bug and Monkey working with the sensory table

Working with the knobbed cylinders

Taking a break from the homeschooling room to play in the rain garden. She insists this is a swimming pool. And she insists on wearing a dress in it.

Here, Bug is working on this cone toy. It's really difficult for her, but she's finally starting to get it!

Transferring spiders from one bowl to the other. I did have tongs for this work, but she wanted to do it using a pincher grasp. And she wanted to wear the rings.

Working with the texture board.

 

Montessori Monday June 27, 2011

Monkey is 4 years 4 months old

 

Since this past week was the start of summer, we changed the Spring Tree to a Summer Tree.

Bug putting leaves on the tree as well.

The finished tree

Monkey practicing writing the names of animals.

Using the knobbed cylinders--this was her first time using all four at once.

Monkey was working on being able to retell a story. She is really into the princess stories right now, so she worked on a felt board of Sleeping Beauty.

Monkey is making patterns with the pattern beads.

We were talking about spiders this week, so the girls made spider web paintings. We coated a marble with white paint and then rolled it around on black paper.

Here, she was putting together the alphabet dragon. She recognized every letter and put them in order without help!

Pin punching the China puzzle piece

Making Chinese fans out of popsicle sticks and construction paper.

Monkey's final product!

 

2nd Grade Week in Review June 25, 2011

Here is what Jedi worked on this past week.

Life Science: This week in life science, Jedi learned about cells.  We talked about the difference between animal and plant cells, as well as learned the various parts of a cell.  He looked at various animal and plant cells under a microscope.  He also made models of animal cells and plant cells out of jello…the animal cell was jello in a round pan with a strawberry nucleus.  The plant cell was jello in a square dish with a strawberry nucleus and green grape chloroplasts.

Observing the outside of an egg

Observing the inside of an egg, and learning the parts of an egg (shell, white, yolk, blastodisc, chalaza)

Looking at plant & animal cells under the microscope

Mixing the jello

Cutting the grapes and strawberries for his science project

The final product!

Fully labeled

Earth Science: In earth science, he learned about weather changes.  Some of the weather changes Jedi learned about were humidity, storms, and temperature changes.  It seems really fitting that this week, we saw temperatures near 90, into the low 60’s, with plenty of storms and humidity!

Math: In math, Jedi did a lot of work with math equations that equal 10.  He learned to create these equations three ways: using an abacus, playing cards, and a math balance.  We also used a deck of cards from 1-9, 4 of each card, to play an adaptation of “Go Fish” where a match was considered to be two cards that add up 10.

Geography: We finished our unit on China this week.  Jedi learned about the various animals in China.  We also played with tangrams, made a Chinese fan, and made a meal of Chinese food (& ate with chopsticks!)

Playing tangrams

Working on his Animals of China report

Chinese food lunch!

World History: In World History, we discussed the first modern man, and the development of villages of people.  We talked about early houses and caves.  Jedi made a “cave painting” out of brown paper and paint.  He also learned about the fertile crescent and mapped out the fertile crescent, the surrounding seas, and the city of Jericho.

Making his cave painting

Ohio History: In Ohio History, Jedi learned about the ice age when Ohio was covered by ice.  He learned about the mastodons that used to live in Ohio, as well as the difference between a mastodon and a mammoth.  This coming week, we are going to take a field trip to see the mastodon skeleton that is on display in Columbus.

Writing: For his journaling this week, Jedi had to write a persuasive paper arguing why he should get a cell phone (he really wants one, but we won’t allow him to have one yet).  Then we worked together to edit it for spelling and punctuation.

Art: In art, he used a pencil to draw a real life scene, including details.  He chose to draw his fire bellied toads.  He also used watercolor crayons to draw an experience he had, and in particular, he needed to focus on the feelings and emotions during the experience.  He chose to draw a scene in the library where a  young child saw a spider and was scared.

Making a sketch of his frogs

Music: We continued our work with Bach this week.  I went on YouTube and found a bunch of adaptations of Bach’s music.  All three kids had ribbons and playsilks and moved to the music according to how the music made them feel.

PE: Jedi did 3 hours of Tang Soo Do this week

Health: In health, we read social stories about taking showers and washing hair.  We also worked on acting out various emotions.

Sewing his puppet that we use during health to act out various scenarios

English: In English, we discussed how to make contractions, as well as how to add the suffix ‘ing’.

Spelling: We decided to add a new spelling curriculum in order to help Jedi overcome his difficulties in this area.  We began All About Spelling.  This week, we went through all of the letter sounds in the alphabet to see which one he was able to make the pure sound for.  Jedi had already mastered most of them, which I expected, but we did find 10 or so that he had difficulty with.  This week, we will begin reviewing the ones he needs more help with.

Jedi decided that he wanted to go in the garden and taste every herb too

29 hours complete out of 900 required hours

 

Bye Bye Birdies……

Filed under: Nature Studies — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 3:41 am
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So, now we officially have 2 empty nests at our house.  Yep…the little baby killdeer clan and the little baby robin clan have both left the nest and are playing in the neighborhood.  And both bird families were kind enough to allow us to see their babies grow up.  Now we get to watch them run all over the yard.

Here are some pictures of the last week with the 8 babies…

The little Robins Four, the day before flying lessons.

 

Waiting for breakfast

 

Resting up for the big moment...

 

The biggest of the birds making his final preparations for takeoff...

 

Seconds before take-off! (Which I didn't know was about to happen. And the bird ended up springing right towards me and almost landed right on me!)

 

And his big landing...right at the foot of the fencepost the nest was on. After peeking around at the kids, he decided to take off running around in the fields.

 

One of the killdeer babies running around near the raspberry bushes.

 

Mama killdeer and her baby

 

Little baby killdeer walking down the sidewalk

 

 

Toddler Tuesday June 21, 2011

Bitty Bug is 2 years 5 months old

Lately, it’s become very clear that Bug has her own very distinct personality.  She’s not one to follow the crowd, that’s for sure!  And she’s perfectly comfortable voicing her opinions, likes, dislikes, and desires.  The first one that’s pretty obvious from the pictures is clothing.  Bug will now only wear 2 things…what she calls “princess dresses” (long flowy dresses that twirl) or nothing.  And she doesn’t want to get the princess dresses dirty, so if she thinks something will be messy, she decides she’d rather wear nothing at all.  And this princess dress thing has become an obsession…she will not put anything else on.  It *must* be a dress, and that dress must be able to twirl.  Complete with silver sparkly shoes.  And at night, it *must* be a “bedtime princess dress” (nightgown).

Now, contrast that with what you see below…she might be obsessed with looking like a princess (and her favorite line is “But mama…I a princess!  I the BOSS!” said in a very matter of fact 2 year old way), but she is also one to get down in the dirt (sans the dress of course) and play with bugs.  Or paint.  Or food.

I love 2 year olds…they are full of personality, and full of contradictions!

Bug loved to work with the dot markers this week. Here, she's putting spots on the ladybug picture.

 

Playing with the birds' nests in the sensory table.

 

Bug *loved* this work...painting ladybugs on rocks.

 

Observing the butterfly display with a hand lens.

 

Bug also liked this craft (do you sense a theme...she loves crafts just like her big sister!). The jars have diluted food coloring in them. Using the eyedropper in the jars, Bug had to transfer the colored water to the coffee filter. Once she was done, we let the filter dry, and then used a black pipe cleaner to help make a butterfly.

 

The finished butterflies!

 

More dot art...

 

Observing the bugs in acrylic with the hand lens.

 

Pouring glass beads into the small dishes.

 

Montessori Monday June 20, 2011

 

Monkey is 4 years 4 months old

Monkey was really excited to get back into the school room this week.  She also seemed to gravitate towards the craft works (which, I suppose most kids would! 😉 ).  It does seem more difficult to get her to try any of the sensorial…she loves practical life, art, and writing, but really seems to avoid sensorial.  I wonder if her history of sensory processing disorder plays a roll in that?

We did a lot with ladybugs and bees this week. Here is monkey using tempura paint to make ladybug rocks.

 

I found this counting exercise at kidssoup.com. On each page is a ladybug and a number, and I had Monkey draw the number of dots on the ladybug as the number represented. To help with self correction, I drew the correct number of dots below the ladybug.

 

Lifecycle of a butterfly tray

 

Using the dot markers to decorate a butterfly

 

Ladybug puzzle

 

Life cycle of a butterfly cards

 

Making father's day cards out of collage materials

 

Pinching clothes pins onto a basket

 

Using the numerals & counters

 

Monkey with the feather she found outside

 

Playing with wax sticks (we were learning about bees, and the two main products from bees--wax & honey. That morning, they had honey on their toast too! 😉 )

 

Making a honeycomb

 

Some new bird babies!

Filed under: Nature Studies — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 12:11 pm
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Our killdeer babies that have taken up residence in the veggie garden have finally hatched!  These little guys have been incubating for just about a month.  The differences between the killdeer babies and the robin babies are amazing.  The robin babies are still fairly helpless, even at a week old.  They’re also still pretty naked.  The killdeer babies came out fully feathered, and at a couple hours old, they were moving around the garden.  Today, they are running from garden bed to garden bed!  The kids got to learn the difference between precocial birds (birds that hatch fully feathered and able to hunt for food) and altricial birds (birds that hatch naked and are fairly helpless).  The longer incubation period of the killdeer happens so that these little ones are born ready to go (which is probably a good thing since killdeer tend to lay their eggs in the worst places…gravel beds, gardens, lawns, even dirt roads!)

Just an hour or so after hatching...their feathers are all still wet.

All snuggled together...

Mama bird watching over her babies.

Later yesterday, they had moved from over by the parsley to over by the mint.

Still all snuggled together as one unit though.

They are all dried off and fluffy though!

At 24 hours old, they were all in separate parts of the garden today. This little guy was running from garden bed to garden bed!

Seriously, he is the cutest little thing ever!

Hanging out in the potato plants (and it looks like mama bird's dragging the wood chips over there now. We don't have wood chips in the garden, but she managed to find some and plop them in various locations around the garden for her babies.)

And in the robin’s nest…

Day 6:

Still sleeping away. They are starting to look more and more like adult birds though!

The wing bones are getting really defined!

Day 7:

I can't believe how fast they are growing now! There is hardly any room in the nest to move.

 

Day 8:

They seem to overflow the nest now! This one's the oldest one, and he looks so much like an adult bird. I'm sure he'll start getting ready for flying practice soon!

 

Jedi's first week of homeschooling June 18, 2011

I decided that while Jedi’s homeschooling isn’t so interesting to look at visually, I was still going to keep a blog record of what we did.  This might become helpful at the end of the year when I have to pull together a portfolio for his yearly evaluation for the school district (and it also might be helpful when I have to work with the district to create his IEP for the year).  I will throw in a few pictures for good measure though. 😉

Life Science

We learned about the difference between living & nonliving, as well as the characteristics all living things share.  Jedi also did a plot study, where he went out to study a 4’x4′ square of land.  Jedi decided to study an area of land with a recently planted evergreen tree in it, just thinking it was a tree and a small bit of grass.  However, following a little trail of fluff in the tree, he discovered a hidden empty bird’s nest!  The coolest part about the bird’s nest?  The bird who made it recycled some bubble wrap, string, landscaping fabric, and other odd pieces of trash it somehow got ahold of.  Very very creative!

Observing a tree inside of the plot

The nest he found hidden in the tree.

The odd materials on the underside of the nest.

Chemistry

In Chemistry, Jedi learned that everything is made of chemicals.  He then looked at the ingredient list on a bag of marshmellows and a bottle of dish detergent and listed the chemicals in each that he had heard of before, and those he had not.  Finally, he named chemicals that were usually safe, some that are dangerous, and some that we use on a daily basis.

Math

Math was one of the two subjects Jedi really seemed to struggle with after leaving his Montessori school.  At the end of kindergarten, he was one of the top of his class in math.  However, at the end of 1st grade, his standardized testing done as part of his autism treatments showed that he never progressed at all in math, nor spelling…he was testing at almost the same  level a year later.  So, we are really trying to figure out what might help him here.  We started Rightstart Math, which uses the Asian way of counting (10, 10-1, 10-2, etc. (10, 11, 12), 2-10, 2-10-1, 2-10-2 (20, 21, 22).  He seemed to catch on to that way of counting.  We also discussed parallel lines, recognizing how many are in small groups of objects (1-10) without having to count, and using an abacus.

Geography

In Geography, we started a 2 week study of China.  Jedi, along with the girls, learned how to say hello & goodbye in Chinese, listened to children’s music in Mandarin, and colored the Chinese flag.  Jedi created math problems using Chinese symbols.  Finally, he created a replica of the Great Wall using mini foam building blocks.

Starting his project.

He worked for 3 straight hours, refusing to take a break! The finished Great Wall

Another view of his project

Coloring the flags

Studying what life in China is like for children.

World History

This week was just an intro week, where Jedi learned about the study of ancient history, and in particular the study of archaeology.  He learned how historians can figure out about ancient civilizations even though ways of recording history were not readily available.

Working on his History Pocket for this week

Ohio History

This week, he learned about the Ohio flag, and how it is differs from other state flags in the fact that it’s not a rectangle or square!

Writing

This week, Jedi journaled about what he’d do if he woke up and found out that he was president of the United States.  Because spelling is very difficult, we also worked a bit on editing his work.

Working hard on his journaling.

 

English

We decided to use McRuffy Press for Phonics, Reading, Language, and Spelling.  Jedi learned about prefixes, suffixes, and contractions.  He really seemed to like contractions, as well as finding the root word of words that had prefixes & suffixes.  He did seem to have a very hard time with the spelling aspect though, and we’re currently trying to do a bit more research into the most appropriate way to help him with spelling.  He was taught to spell phonetically, which would be great, except he had auditory processing & speech issues.  So, his spelling is exactly how he hears it, which sometimes is quite a ways away from the actual spelling.  While Jedi’s reading level is over the 3rd grade level, his spelling is at the early 1st grade level, which is quite frustrating for him.  Hopefully we figure something out in the next couple weeks that can help him.

Art

This, by far, was one of Jedi’s favorite subjects.  The first day, he had to sketch something that happened the day before using a graphite pencil & sketch pad.  The second art day, he created a work using watercolor crayons.  He was supposed to remember an event that he felt joyful at, and then use his imagination to find a way to color that scene so that it portrayed his excitement without words.

Using the watercolor crayons.

Music

Day 1 of music each week involves listening to and learning about a famous composer.  This week, it was Bach.  Jedi learned about Bach’s life, and listened to Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.

Day 2 of music each week involves learning some beginner piano.  This week, he learned the proper hand positioning, where middle C was on the piano, and learned a simple exercise using all of the black keys of the piano.

Working on his playing exercise.

Health

Jedi’s health curriculum is twofold.  First, we use a social stories book for children with autism on personal hygiene.  Second, we use Horizon’s health curriculum.  This week, we learned about how each person is unique, and begun work on feelings.  Because feelings, and especially recognizing the feelings of oneself and others, can be difficult for a child with autism, we are taking an extra lesson to work on this.

 

Not bad for the first week!  It was a lot of work, but Jedi was so willing to do it (honeymoon period!).  He was anxious to get to work each day, and for the most part, it was difficult to get him to quit.  We certainly are going to take advantage of this honeymoon period willingness! 😉

 

 

Baby Birds, week 1

Filed under: Nature Studies — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 2:16 am
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So far, mama bird has been letting the kids and I look at her babies every day this week.  She doesn’t seem at all stressed, and just sits on a nearby post and watches us or goes off and catches a few worms and then comes back to feed her babies after we’ve taken a quick peek.  It’s amazing how big the babies are getting and how much they are changing!

Day 2:

Three little ones, just a day old

Waiting for food

Stretching their bodies

Day 3:

And baby #4 is born!

The older babies are starting to get some fluffy feathers

Sleepy babies!

Day 4:

The little ones are starting to fill the nest a bit more now!

Getting a little fuzzier!

Two interesting things...first, you can see the bone structure in the wings starting to form. Second, you can see the fecal sac--mama bird either eats it, or carries it off like a trash bag, depending on the age of the baby. This helps keep the nest clean.

Day 5:

The little guys are really getting bigger! There's a lot less room in the nest today.

 

Two brand new babies! June 13, 2011

Filed under: Nature Studies — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 3:23 am
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No, not those babies. 😉

A couple weeks ago, I posted pictures of the killdeer nest in our garden.  Well, about 5 feet away from the killdeer nest, a robin built a nest on a fence post!  So, we’ve been able to watch both bird families tend to their eggs.  This morning, I went out to the garden and got quite the surprise…2 brand new baby robins!  They had just been born a couple hours before!  (And by the end of the day, baby #3 was starting to poke through the shell!)

Right now, mama bird is used to the kids and I around the gardens, so she doesn’t freak out.  She actually just sits by and quietly watches us, even as I lift the kids up to see the nest…we can get within inches of the birds and she doesn’t seem to mind right now.  So, as long as mama bird doesn’t mind, I can continue to get pictures.  The second she starts feeling threatened or bothered, we’ll stop…we saw daddy bird attack 2 other birds who flew into the airspace above the nest, so we don’t want to mess with them. 😉

Here are pictures of our newest little hatchlings!

About 2 weeks ago, the 4th egg was laid in the nest. Mama bird laid 1 egg in the nest each day for 4 days.

Early this morning, these two little sweeties hatched!

Look how cute! I think he's hungry!

The siblings snuggling up for a nap.

Bird #3 making his way out of the egg. This was after dinner tonight, so I suspect he has hatched now that it's been a couple hours.