Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Geography–USA June 13, 2012

Last week, we began our North America continent study. ¬†We decided to start with the United States, since clearly that would be a familiar topic for the kids. ūüėČ ¬†As part of our study, the kids planned an entire meal with foods common in the United States, and then they had to help prepare that meal.

Bug and Monkey chopping vegetables and preparing the salad.

 

Jedi flipping the corn on the cob & hamburgers on the grill.

 

The meal they chose–hamburgers, pickles, corn on the cob, applesauce, and vegetable salad.

 

And of course, one mustn’t forget dessert! Jedi chose to make Boston Cream Pie since he was born in Massachusetts. He did a really good job and only needed a little help!

 

The final result of Jedi’s cake baking! Not bad for 8 years old and only having minimal help! It was delicious…I think this kid has a future in the kitchen. ūüôā

 

 

Montessori Monday March 5, 2012

Montessori Monday

Apparently I’m a week behind. ūüôā ¬†It¬†occurred¬†to me on Friday that I never published my posts from last week. ¬†So, I’ll just combine them this week.

Monkey had a really busy week last week…in addition to schoolwork, she also switched to a new gym for gymnastics and had to to try-outs to find out what class she will be in. ¬†She also tested for her next Tang Soo Do belt! ¬†Monkey did very well at both–she’s such an athlete!

Monkey practicing at home for her tryouts.

 

Doing some bar work during her tryouts

 

Monkey at her Tang Soo Do belt test.

 

Here are some pictures of Bug and Monkey’s time in the school room the past few weeks!

For Mardi Gras, we brought out all the mess and dazzle we could. ūüôā The girls making purple, yellow, and green collages with glitter, feathers, and confetti.

 

Bug's collage

 

Monkey's collage

 

Monkey so happy to get to play with the glitter!

 

The kids also observed the first week of Lent. Here, Bug's looking at a picture from the Children's Catholic Bible about Jesus and the crown of thorns. Then, using some clay and toothpicks, she's making a replica of the crown of thorns.

 

We also started Operation Rice Bowl with the kids. Last week was Madagascar.

 

On Friday, we make a meal from the country we learned about. This is Vary amin'anana --a dish native to Madagascar.

 

Everyone in the family also wrote out their Lenten promises.

 

We also started the pre-k level of All About Reading. Here, the girls are making letter A's with wiki sticks.

 

Bug chatting with the zebra from the All About Reading kit

 

Painting blueberries on the letter B beehive.

 

Bug practicing her beading.

 

Using vegetables and tempura paint to stamp pictures and shapes.

 

Monkey also wanted to learn how to load the dishwasher. She decided she really likes this job!

 

Bug also decided she wanted to work with duplos this week (all the kids did a lot of work with legos after their schoolwork was done.) This is her first creation--an airplane!

 

Bug watercolor painting.

 

Jedi's Week in Review January 31, 2012

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

 

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.

 

 

Ch√ļc 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 Nguy√™n D√°n, 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, B√°nh chung, and B√°nh tet chuoi. Our B√°nh ch?ng and B√°nh 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. ūüėČ )

 

Ch√ļc mung nam moi!! ¬†(Happy New Year!) ¬†An khang thinh vuong (wishing you security, good health, and prosperity!)

 

 

Jedi's week in review January 16, 2012

For art, Jedi learned about Michelangelo. To learn about sculpting, Jedi carved a face in an apple. After treating it with salt and lemon juice, we let it sit for the week. We have another week to go before it's fully dehydrated. After that, Jedi will use his new "shrunken head" to create a sculpture of a person (I'm pretty sure he said he wanted to do Darth Maul.)

 

One of Jedi's greatest school moments last week--he is adding 4 digit numbers! For those that remember, when Jedi left his private school, we had him tested by his psychologist to see where he was academically. For math, he was at the early kindergarten level and couldn't even add single digit numbers. Now, after just 6 months of homeschooling, he's on target for 2nd grade, adding 4 digit numbers!

 

In geography, we continued our 2 week unit on the United States. Jedi read about the lifestyle of children in various parts of the United States--he was amazed to see how different children live, even in our own country!

 

In science, Jedi was learning about amphibians. The first part of the week, he learned about the life cycle of the frog, and how the metamorphosis process differs from that of the butterfly.

 

Close-up of the models he used to observe the differences.

 

Jedi worked on making a metamorphosis wheel, with complete metamorphosis on one side (butterfly) and incomplete metamorphosis on the other side (frog).

 

For the second part of the week, Jedi learned that amphibians can hear even without ears. We tried a few different experiments to learn how animals like salamanders can hear with their legs. First, we used a slinky to demonstrate how sound waves compress and expand as they move. Then, we showed how sound travels better in some substances than through the air (by lightly tapping on a table and having the other person attempt to hear the tapping through the air, and then by putting his head down on the table...we repeated the experiment on the floor as well.)

 

To demonstrate how sound moves, we also did to experiments with the metal pan. First, we filled it with water, and then added single drops to the center to show the waves radiating out. Then we dumped the water out, flipped the pan over, and added salt to the pan. When we tapped on the pan, Jedi was able to see how the salt bounced and moved.

 

Jedi filled out the map of the United States, trying to name all 50 states. (He can't do it without looking at a map yet, obviously, but it was good practice for him to be able to take information from the big map and transfer it to the smaller map)

 

Jedi also learned more about the Washington Monument as part of his lesson on the geography of the United States. Since he visited the Washington Monument in October, it was good to re-visit the information he learned about it in October.

 

We also continued our work on ancient Egypt. Since the girls did a work where they excavated small toys out of a block of ice, Jedi wanted to do it too. So, we put some sand and the Egyptian figurines in a block of ice and Jedi worked on being an archaeologist, excavating the artifacts. Yes, the real mummies weren't buried in ice, but it was still a fun work.

 

After everything was excavated.

 

We had our first winter storm this year last week, and the kids really enjoyed school by the fireplace!

 

Montessori Monday January 9, 2012

Montessori Monday
 

It’s a pretty big week for Miss Bitty Bug–in a week, she turns 3…officially out of “tot school” and into the preschool age. ¬†I can’t believe my little Bug is no longer able to do the Tot School blog hop! ¬†And in just under a month, Monkey turns 5–almost kindergarten aged! ¬†It’s an exciting time for the girls…but now mama’s missing the itty bitty stage–all my itty bitties are now big kids!

The girls enjoyed their first week back to the school room! ¬†Here is their week in review….

The locks and keys work was put back on the shelves--both girls still love this work!

 

I used cotton balls to look like snowballs. Monkey loved using the tongs for this work, but Bug really just wanted to use her hands.

 

Bug got this for Christmas, so we put it on the work shelves. She loves this puzzle!

 

I brought back on the flag popsicle sticks puzzle as part of our World Geography unit on the United States

 

Bug making a torn paper collage. She loves tearing paper and gluing, so this was a big hit!

 

Bug using measuring cups and lentils to learn about volume.

 

Monkey working with the beads

 

Bug loved this work--using white tempura paint and glitter to fingerpaint a snowy scene

 

She was really getting into her fingerpainting!

 

Monkey? She HATES anything that gets her hands messy. She gave it a valiant effort, but hated every second of it. I'm not sure why she even chose it knowing how aversive it is to her, but she did. I think she really just wanted to get to the glitter part. ūüôā

 

I did this work with Bug--gingerbread and gumdrop counting (this was from Musing of Me's kit from last winter)

Monkey with her 100 chain!

 

Bug playing with the figurines on the geography shelf

 

 

 

Vacation Recap #5: Costa Maya, Mexico December 23, 2011

Costa Maya was the final port of call for the ship. ¬†And, I’m pretty sure that Costa Maya was also the favorite port of everyone in our family. ¬†It had such a rich culture, beautiful beaches, a fun shopping experience, and a wonderful tour guide! ¬†We couldn’t have asked for a better way to end the trip!

 

Our ship, the Carnival Dream, at sunrise in Costa Maya

 

We were in port by 7 AM (which was only 6 AM in Mexico) so we got to see the sun rise

 

The water was a bit rough though

 

The cruise port

 

Bug by the fountain

 

Beautiful morning!

 

We found a huge lookout tower and decided to climb it to get a good look at the surrounding city

 

It was a tall staircase!

 

My three little goofballs!

 

Feeding a baby tiger--he was there as part of a fundraising effort to raise money for a wildlife preserve/rescue

 

Isn't he precious?

 

Mexican flag waiving in the breeze

 

Once we were done exploring the port, we got on the tour bus for a tour of the city and an afternoon at the beach. Here is one of the several roadside restaurants we found.

 

Some little cottages

 

We stopped off at a small fishing village for exploring and shopping

 

Some of the handpainted items inside the main shopping area

 

One of the local restaurants

 

A building being constructed....we decided not to get too close. ūüėČ

Some brightly colored blankets

 

After some shopping, the kids decided to hit the first of two beaches we visited

 

She's always happiest at the beach

 

Jedi and Monkey

 

The water calmed down a bit after the morning waves

 

Daddy with his baby girl

 

The kids were having so much fun!

 

After a bit of time on the beach, we boarded the tour bus to head to a private resort for some snacks and more beach time. Here, the water was a bit rougher, but the kids had fun chasing the waves

 

Digging a giant hole

 

The waves were getting pretty high

 

Bug decided to go pick up some shells....

 

...then quickly changed her mind

 

She did find a coconut she was pretty proud of

 

Afterwards, we headed back to the port

 

The kids loved this guy

 

 

Together, they decided to stage this. Everyone around us was cracking up laughing

 

Bug wanted a doll from every port--from bottom to top it is the doll from Belize, Cozumel, Honduras, and Costa Maya...and then a very happy Bug.