Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Field Trip: The Works Science & History Museum January 31, 2012

Last week, we decided to play hooky from homeschooling on Friday and meet up with a friend at The Works Science and History Museum in Newark, Ohio.  We used to go to this museum all of the time when we lived in Newark, but since we moved a ways away two years ago, we haven’t been there very often.  It’s a small museum, but the kids love it!  Usually we stay on the main level with all of the science stations, but this time, the kids also wanted to venture upstairs to the area of the museum that talks about the county’s history.

Monkey trying to balance on the skateboard.


Monkey and her new friends. 😉


Bug tossing marbles into the hole.


When the sign said to hang, Monkey had her own interpretation of it....


Bug making a car.


Racing her car.


Jedi building a car.


Bug working with magnets.


Monkey and Jedi with the snap circuits. Jedi was trying to show her how to make a fan.


Monkey and Bug decided to go to the toddler area and pretend to paint a fence.


Monkey with the glow writer.


Jedi loved the lasers!


Here, Jedi was jumping and tossing little felt circles onto the velcro strips.


Playing magnet tug of war with a friend.


Bug making the ball balance on the air stream.


Jedi and his friend trying to make the rings spin on the platform (which was spinning in the opposite direction.)


Monkey and the light table.


Jedi looking at the samples of flint.


Bug playing with the wooden boat. This was in the area about the canals in the county.


The kids loved looking at all of the artifacts from early Ohio!


A life-sized replica of an old factory.


Replica of a mastodon's foot!


Jedi's Week in Review

Filed under: Geography & Culture,Lower Elementary — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 5:27 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Here are pictures of Jedi’s week of homeschooling (after Monday’s focus on Vietnam and Tet of course).

We worked on several different painting projects last week. The first was blending tempura paint while the paint was still on the palette instead of blending it on the paper.


He decided to do a painting of Mario and some explosions.


The second painting project was blending the paint while on the paper to make a sunset.


After painting the sunset, Jedi added an entire alien invasion scene. 🙂


In science, Jedi learned about reptiles. Here, he's studying the skeleton of a venomous snake.


Studying a snake skin


Jedi was trying to compare the skin with the skeleton.


Studying basic facts about Vietnam--the language, main religion, population, type of government, etc.


In Ancient History, Jedi learned about the Philistines and made a replica of a Hearth Room.


Jedi also did his daily journaling for handwriting, as well as continued to work on vowel sounds and blends in spelling.  In math, he began learning about basic subtraction.



Montessori Monday

Montessori Monday

Last week, we primarily focused on our study of Vietnam and the Lunar New Year.  But, there were a few other activities that the girls worked on that I haven’t blogged about yet.  So, here’s the rest of the girls’ week in review!

Bug cutting her banana for breakfast one morning. She LOVES cutting her own bananas!


Monkey is really in a math sensitive period right now, and in particular, addition. So, she has asked for me to put out as many addition things as I can. Here she is making equations with numeral cards and bowls of marbles.


Close-up of her equation


Bug loved working with the penguin math set from All Things Wonderful: Bug and Monkey both used this work--Bug counted the penguins and tried to match the numeral cards with the number of penguins she had go swimming in the pond.


With Monkey, I read the story problems that were included with the math kit, and Monkey acted them out with the mini penguins and came up with the answers. She loved this!


Bug sorting objects by shape.


Monkey with the addition board


Monkey and Bug making pinch pots out of real clay


Monkey pinching the clay


The girls also did a science experiment this week to see if plants could drink water. Celery sitting in a bowl of water and blue food coloring.


They were amazed to wake up the next morning and see that the celery had "drank" the blue water!



Montessori Monday…on Wednesday January 25, 2012

Montessori Monday
Almost caught up!  A couple days late, here is the week in review for the girls!  This week, our primary focus was on ancient things–pyramids, fossils, dinosaurs, cave paintings, etc.


Monkey was working with the beads to make the pyramid.


Using a magnifying glass to look at fossils


Sorting dinosaurs


Matching fossils to the guide


Excavating replicas of fossils


Monkey and Bug excavating the fossils


Bug using tongs to carry the fossils from the bowl to the matching picture


Monkey and her sorted dinosaurs


Bug using the brush to get sand off the fossil


Using dinosaurs and sandpaper numerals to count dinosaurs


The dinosaurs on the numbers


Fingerpainting, cave style. We crumpled brown paper to resemble uneven cave walls, and then Bug used her finger to paint a design in red paint. Before she did, we looked at pictures of cave paintings in Jedi's history book.


Monkey will.not.fingerpaint. So, she was happy that I had left a brush on the easel for her.


Bug *loves* fingerpainting though. 🙂 She wanted extra stuff to paint.


Jedi's week in review

Filed under: Lower Elementary,Nature Studies — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 8:18 pm

Last week, Jedi spent most of his time working on a mineral identification project for earth science.  He had 6 minerals out of his 15-mineral kit that I wanted him to identify using several tests.  He did a really good job with doing the tests!

Using a hand lens to look at the physical characteristics of each mineral.


Using the streak test to see what color streak each mineral leaves on the streak plate.


This mineral left a grey streak.


Using various objects to determine the hardness of each mineral by seeing if each item could scratch the mineral. He used his fingernail, a copper penny, steel nail, piece of glass, the streak plate, and a piece of sandpaper.


Testing the luster of each mineral.


Checking to see which minerals were magnetic.


The final results of the minerals were: feldspar, magnetite, mica, pyrite, quartz crystal, and talc.

Along with mineral identification, he also did daily journaling, as usual.  He also worked on his spelling and math, as well as finished up his unit on Ancient Egypt.  Finally, he did some work on the periodic table with identifying how many energy levels each element has.



Chúc mung nam moi! Welcome to the Year of the Dragon! January 24, 2012

Filed under: Geography & Culture,Lower Elementary,Preschool Learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 6:11 pm
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I’m a bit late with my blog posts this week–I had laser surgery on my eyes late last week and my vision isn’t quite up to where it should be right now, so it’s hard to sit at the computer.  I’m hoping to catch up with all 3 posts today or tomorrow though!

Most people have heard that yesterday was “Chinese New Year” since erroneously, that’s what the vast majority of media outlets call the Lunar New Year.  What would surprise many people is that the Lunar New Year is not just “Chinese New Year”–many Asian countries celebrate the Lunar New Year!  It’s certainly not exclusive to China.  Since Monkey is Vietnamese-American, we celebrate the Lunar New Year using Vietnamese traditions.  In Vietnam, the new year is called Tet Nguyên Dán, or Tet for short.  Obviously, it’s difficult to replicate Tet without being in Vietnam, or at the very least, without having a strong background in Vietnamese culture.  But, each year, we add a little more to our family Tet celebration as the kids get older.

This year, we decided to take a day of school to learn more about Vietnamese culture and Tet, which is what we did yesterday.  Throughout the week, we’ll also focus a bit more on the country, as well as some of the Tet traditions.  Here is a review of what we did yesterday…

On Tet, trays of whole fruit are laid out--oranges are usually a big part of the tray. Also, Mut, dried and candied fruit, is usually eaten.


I pulled out some of our Vietnamese books from our home library so the kids can read them.


Jedi reading the girls the book Ten Mice for Tet


Playing some of the Vietnamese instruments


Learning the different signs of the Asian zodiac


Looking at some pictures from Vietnam


I brought out some of the lacquered items we picked up in Vietnam


The kids always love looking at the dong (Vietnamese currency)


Monkey playing with the dragonfly toy


All of the kids played B?u cua ca cop. Bau cua ca cop is a game that children and adults will play during Tet. You place bets on the game board as to which animal (or gord) will be rolled on the dice. I didn't have a game board, so I made my own from various pictures I found online.


The kids read How the Tiger Got His Stripes, a Vietnamese folktale. Then they colored a picture from the book.


Probably the thing the kids looked forward to most--lì xi. Red envelopes with "lucky money" are given to children by adults.


We decorated the dinner table with large faux cherry blossom branches.


In the Vietnamese tradition, celebrating Tet is referred to as "an Tet", or "eating Tet". Food is an important part of the Tet celebration. Here is our feast...we have some crispy spring rolls, Singapore noodles, various cakes and treats, Mut, Bánh chung, and Bánh tet chuoi. Our Bánh ch?ng and Bánh tet chuoi didn't come out like it should this year because we were missing a key ingredient--banana leaves! (By the time we figured out that we had run out, it was too late to get more...parchment paper isn't an effective solution. 😉 )


Chúc mung nam moi!!  (Happy New Year!)  An khang thinh vuong (wishing you security, good health, and prosperity!)



Montessori Monday January 16, 2012

Montessori Monday

Last week, Bitty Bug celebrated her 3rd birthday!  She’s not so bitty anymore…she’s officially ready to graduate from ‘tot school’ and now she is old enough to start the 3 year Montessori “Children’s House” cycle.  Now granted, she’s already worked on a lot of the works with Monkey, but now she’s all “official”. 😉

Here are some pictures of what the girls worked on last week.


Bug was absolutely thrilled that the easel made it's way upstairs this week! This girl loves to paint!


Bug also used the tea set to practice pouring water.


Monkey also loved painting! She wanted to paint faces.


Monkey had a BIG week in the school room last week. First, after learning the "t" sound (making her repertoire "a", "e", "s", "m", and "t"), she learned to read her first sentence--"meet Sam at mass". She was so proud of herself!


And then later this week, she started learning how to read her very first book--the "Mat" book from the Bob Books set.


Monkey working with the "5 beads" to learn counting by 5's.


Monkey went above and beyond with the beads though. While I was making lunch, I saw that she was making her own math problems (she had just watched Jedi doing math). She would write the numbers on a piece of paper, add the beads to the paper, and then answer the problem. So, I heard her saying things like "8 beads plus 1 bead equals....9 beads!" She made up a ton of math problems.


Bug working with the magneatos


Pin punching with the metal insets


The girls also worked on "heavy vs light". Using their meta & wooden scale from their toy kitchen, they tried balancing the scale by putting different toys and objects in each bowl.


The girls LOVED excavating toys out of blocks of ice. They used salt, chisels, hammers, and spoons to see if they could free the toys.


Monkey using a hammer and chisel to get the toys out.