Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Tot School Tuesday December 21, 2010

Tot School

Bitty Bug is 23 months old

This week, Bitty Bug was finally able to enjoy the snow.  I’m pretty sure this is her first winter where she can actually go out and play and enjoy the season–last year, she was still a little baby and wasn’t walking well.  This year though…she’s out digging in the snow, and sledding, and of course, having her first taste of freshly fallen snow.  That was one of the highlights of the week…she took one bite, gave an odd look because it was so cold, and then started shoveling fists full of snow into her mouth.  That girl…

Here’s a review of the week…

Bug, still enjoying the locks & keys work

Bug took all of the little gems out of the sensory bin and one by one dropped them into the clear container. She really concentrates for long periods of time when it comes to putting tiny things in containers...

Bug also loved doing the knobbed cylinders this week. She worked on these a lot, and is now really good at figuring out that she put a cylinder in the wrong compartment, even if the size difference is really small.

Bug received this Plan Toys garden for Christmas (to go with the PT dollhouse she's getting for her birthday). This is actually really good as a peg board-type activity...each little veggie fits into the little holes. It requires a good pincher grasp and good eye-hand coordination to get it just right.

Playing out in the snow. At first, she was not exactly sure how she was supposed to be walking on this slippery snow in such a puffy get-up...

Digging in the snow

Not even snow, ice, and temperatures in the 20's will keep this child off her plasma car though. She *loves* this thing and drives it around the neighborhood every chance she gets.

Off into the sunset...

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Montessori Monday December 20, 2010

Filed under: Exploring Nature,In the kitchen,Preschool — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 4:12 pm
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Jedi is 7 years 0 months old, Monkey is 3 years 10 months old, Bitty Bug is 23 months old

As we head into the week of Christmas, our time in the school room has been reduced as we replace it with more “real life” things.  That is one of the benefits of homeschooling…when holidays come around, we get to slow down a little with homeschooling, but we more than make up for it with “life school”–real life work in the kitchen, etc.  We’ve had a lot of fun this week making cookies, playing in the snow, and preparing for Christmas!

Here, Monkey is working on a shapes puzzle...when put together, all of the shapes make a house.

It's always entertaining when Jedi joins us for homeschooling. He was attempting to reinact the part of Charlie Brown Christmas where one ornament goes on the tree and bends the tree over. Unfortnately, this tree wasn't the bendy type...

Hammering golf tees into clay

Monkey giving it a shot

Working in the winter sensory bin

Helping to decorate cookies

Bug also came over to help with the cookies

Jedi working on his pan of cookies

Playing in the snow

Jedi's been waiting all year to make a snow angel!

Jedi teaching Monkey how to make snow angels

On the sled

Bug really wanted to try the sled, but then wasn't too fond of it once she got in

One of my favorite pictures of my three little ones (we were trying to take a picture for their Aunt Samantha to thank her for the Christmas gifts.) I think this is one of the few I have of all of them looking at the camera smiling at the same time!

 

Tot School–a couple more pictures October 26, 2010

Filed under: Exploring Nature,Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 9:42 am
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I forgot to add a couple of pictures to the last post.  Last week at Monkey’s homeschool co-op, The Bug Lady came in to give a presentation to the older kids.  One of the co-op teachers invited Bug to come see the presentation as well since we were just playing in the nursery.  Now, here’s where she lived up to her blog-name….she *loved* the bugs.  Loved them.  The presenter made me hold a cockroach (yeah.  ew.), and Bitty Bug was all about petting the thing.  I’m pretty sure she would have taken it home as a pet if she would have been allowed to.  And then the tarantula came out, and she got really close to it (I wouldn’t let her pet the tarantula because she’s been known to grab spiders by the legs…I really didn’t want to upset the poor tarantula by having a curious toddler amputate it. 😉 )

And then…the snake came out.  Leave it to Bitty Bug to run right up to the thing and pet it.  Clearly this child has not developed any fear of nature what-s0-ever, which is probably a good thing.  The older kids in the room squealed and shrieked and stepped back a lot, and Bug was more afraid of the other kids shrieking than she was of the actual bugs and snakes. LOL!

She really liked this tarantula. Which means she's officially her brother's sister. Jedi wants a pet tarantula, and I think Bug would very willingly offer to pet-sit it.

Yep, she's petting a snake. She didn't get that trait from me, I can say that with a lot of certainty. 😉 I'm glad she has such a heart for nature though--it is a wonderful trait to have. Even if it means she's constantly bringing me spiders to me with her bare hands. And she does that a lot...

 

Outdoor Hour Challenge–Autumn Leaves, plus another safari trip October 20, 2010

Filed under: Exploring Nature,Field trips — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 8:25 am
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This week’s nature study was on autumn leaves.  Of course, if you’re in central Ohio in the middle of October, there is no better nature study than that!  Not only were we able to observe the changing foliage everywhere we went, but it made for a really good trip down to The Wilds, the nature conservation safari we’ve been to multiple times this year.  This visit did not disappoint.  The animals may not have been as active as they were during other parts of the season, but there were quite a few good encounters, and of course, the beautiful scenery that just can’t be found anywhere else!

The leaves are just past peak this week in Ohio, with last week's neon orange and bright reds turning into more muted colors.

The leaves are still a beautiful orange, although some have begun to drop from the trees.

More foliage

 

And all of the rest of the pictures are from The Wilds.  Be warned, there are a lot.  But there are some foliage pictures from The Wilds mixed in, so it counts. 😉

Zebras

A zebra with a background of Ohio autumn foliage...bet you don't see that everyday!

The difference between horns and antlers--horns are permenant and hollow inside, antlers are temporary and solid.

Giraffe at sunset

Some wildflowers

More giraffes

Beautiful autumn leaves

More foliage

Another giraffe

More foliage

Rhino

Little baby rhino

White tailed deer

Gorgeous fall day!

This creepy not-so-little guy was climbing up the side of a building by the carnivore conservation center

Bitty Bug and her daddy

These trees have already dropped most of their leaves

Trumpeter Swan

Bug feeding the catfish

Camels

Autumn in Ohio

Beautiful foliage near the entrance

 

Outdoor Hour Challenge: Apples October 17, 2010

Filed under: Exploring Nature — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 7:23 pm
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This week’s nature challenge (posted a bit late) was apples.  It was a very timely challenge as our CSA share has been providing apples, and we also went and picked several bushels of apples.   For this challenge, we compared an organic Liberty Apple, picked at Charlie’s Orchard in Newark, Oh with some Golden Delicious apples, provided in our CSA share by Cherry Orchard in Athens, Oh. 

The liberty apple is a cooking apple and is the smaller red one. The golden delicious is the larger apple, and is an eating apple. Obviously, color and size are major differences. Another duifference is that the Liberty apple does have a few blemishes on it, likely do to it being organic (the golden delicious apple is from a "low spray" but not organic orchard).

The seed structure on the inside of the apple is also a difference. The golden delicious apple (top) had the seeds in separate "pods" in a pentagon shape. The Liberty aple had all of the seeds in the center, with the core being a star shape surrounded by little pinholes. I'm betting that's why it was named Liberty!

The liberty seeds were actually a little bigger and rounder than the golden delicious, which had smaller and more narrow seeds. The liberty was also a more tart apple, while the golden delicious was sweeter.

 

Tot School Tuesday October 12, 2010

Tot School

Bitty Bug is 20.5 months old

For a while this past week, we actually thought autumn might arrive.  The temperatures were nice and cool, the leaves started changing, the pumpkin farms are crowded, the fields around us began to be harvested.  And then, it got right back up to 90 degrees again.  Gotta love central Ohio!  Regardless of summer’s refusal to let go, Bug enjoyed working with a lot of autumn themed work this week.  She also loved going on walks almost every day since the weather has been so warm again…and she even decided to do a little exploring of the edge of a newly harvested field.  It’s amazing how long some empty corn cobs can entertain a toddler! 😉

Bug using our Melissa & Doug shapes puzzles.  There are about a dozen different ones, but she always goes straight for the dog one!

This toy is a really good one--you have to sort by color and number. She gets the sorting by number part really well, but usually the colors end up mixed up by the end. She loves this toy!

Putting clothes pins on the rim of a basket. At first, she had a really hard time lining up the gap in the clothespin with the rim of the basket, but after a few minutes she got it. You could tell she was so proud of herself once she did!

Using her fingers to pick up dried corn kernals and put them in the bowl. She stuck with this for a surprisingly long time. Or maybe it's not so surprising considering her love for tiny objects. LOL!

Monkey was using the geometric solids, and Bug decided that they were pretty interesting. She enjoyed trying to figure out which ones could roll.

And apparently she had time to dye her hair this week... 😉 Just kidding of course...she has been playing in the dress-up trunk a lot. Monkey and Bug spend most of their day in various costumes now.

Our autumn sensory bin--Indian corn, corn kernals, some tweezers for pulling off the corn kernals, silk leaves, corn silk, corn leaves, fall colored pipe cleaners, various scoops (and later, we added some corn cobs we found on our nature walk)

There are also some spider rings and spider toys in there too. Bug really liked the spiders. For some reason, she also loves real spiders and picks them up by the legs to carry them around. Such a sweet and curious kid!

Bug's treasures. All of these had been flung out of the nearby field during the harvest. There are some leaves, a stalk, some corn plant roots, a couple empty corncobs, and a full one. All of these went down to the sensory bin.

 

Outdoor Hour Challenge: Horses vs Dogs October 6, 2010

Filed under: Exploring Nature — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 7:36 am
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This week’s nature challenge was horses, and how they compare to another mostly-domesticated animal: dogs.  Living in the country, the kids see horses all of the time (there aren’t any horses in our neighborhood, but we see them while driving.  So of course, to get a picture for this week’s challenge, we pulled over on the side of the road and took a picture of some horses we saw while driving. LOL!)

Horses in a pasture

More horses

Similarities between dogs and horses:

-Both are mammals

-Both have tails (although a difference is that dogs have bones in their tails and horses have hair for tails)

-Both can be domesticated or wild

-Both can vary in color and markings (one difference is that dogs have more of a variability in size and appearance though, due to breeding techniques.)

-Both are herd animals and can show psychological and physiological distress when isolated for long periods of time.

-Both can be used for recreational, sport, show, therapeutic, transportation, and career-based activities.

Differences between dogs and horses:

-Horses can weigh between 840-2200 lbs, and dogs weigh between 1-100ish lbs.

-Horses have 2 ‘toed’ hoof, dogs have paws.  (However, both are for stabilization and locomotive purposes, verses other animals who can also pick up things with their feet/hands.  Both also require all four on the ground to move efficiently instead of being able to walk on just two.)

-Horses graze, and many do not have canine teeth (stallions and geldings do have 4).  Dogs generally eat meat-based foods and have teeth adapted for meat eating.

-Domesticated dogs are able to live indoors, and horses are not able to.

-Horses can sleep laying down or standing up, dogs typically sleep laying down.  Horses sleep in short intervals and only need a couple minutes to a couple hours of sleep each day.  Many dogs sleep several hours a day or more.

-Horses are prey animals, strong fight-or-flight instinct, and usually flee.  Dogs are predatory animals.

And just for comparison’s sake…here are some pictures I took earlier this year during two of our trips to The Wilds, a nature conservation safari in central Ohio.  These are other animals who, like horses, are part of the Equus genus in the Equidae family.

The Zebra, while not considered a true wild horse, is in the same genus as domesticated and wild horses, as are donkeys and mules.

Persian Onagers, native to Iran

Przewalski's Wild Horse, native to Europe and parts of Asia. They were extinct at one point, but were reintroduced to Mongolia and China in recent years. This is the only true wild horse that still remains on earth.

Przewalski's Wild Horse