Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Week 2 in review June 21, 2012

Filed under: In the kitchen,Kindergarten,Lower Elementary,Preschool — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 9:22 am

Monkey has been working on decoding simple 3 letter words using All About Reading. Here, she’s making some rhyming ice cream cones with the new words she was learning.

Monkey continued to work on learning a new capital letter each day. When I asked her how she wanted to do her letter of the day sheet, she chose finger painting.

In history, Jedi made some whole grain porridge, based on a medieval Roman recipe.  This was his first time using the stove, and he really enjoyed it.  Now he insists he wants to cook all the time!

Bug decided to do some flower arranging all on her own. She picked some white flowers out of my flower garden, and then picked the orange flowers out of her own garden bed. Then she asked to make a centerpiece for the table, so I gave her a glass of water to arrange the flowers in. Now every day she picks new flowers and arranges them!

In health, we talked about the brain. First the kids learned some basic anatomy of the brain. Then they did a couple exercises to show how the brain works. They tried to identify objects from a mystery bag to show how the brain helps us use our senses. Here, Jedi’s attempting to brush his teeth left handed to show how the brain’s signals are different from the dominant side and the non-dominant side of the body.

One of the projects they did in art was to listen to music and move their colored pencils on the paper according to the movement of the music. Jedi chose the Star Wars theme song and needless to say, the drawings were very animated!

In math, Monkey was learning how to make 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 by adding 1-5 to 5 (so for example, 6 is 5 and 1, 7 is 5 and 2, etc.). We used the bead bars to illustrate the concept.

Unbelievably, Bug *loves* worksheets. Here she’s matching rhyming words.

Bug really loves working with her tools too! She uses the bolt boards almost every day. She’s finally able to tighten and losen the bolts now.

Bug is practicing the pincher grasp by putting clothespins on the side of the basket.

In science, Jedi learned about arthropods and insects. Here, he’s using the hand lens to observe the differences in the bodies of various insects in acrylic.


Results of the germs experiment! June 14, 2012

Filed under: Kindergarten,Lower Elementary,Preschool — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 6:43 pm

I posted Monday that we were culturing germs on petri dishes as part of our FIAR unit on Madeline.  The results are in!

All 4 of our petri dishes, about 4 days after we cultured them.

Starting on the top row–this one is the foot one. The cleanest quadrant was Monkey’s on the top, then next to it is mine, on the bottom quadrant is Jedi (who had the most colorful germs), and then Bug’s (she was on antibiotics at the time, so I’m surprised she had many at all. 🙂 )

The other top row culture is antibacterial cream vs none–as you can see, there are a couple colonies in the “dirty” side and the antibiotic side is clear.

Directly underneath that dish is the toothpaste vs no toothpaste dish–you can see a ton of little white circular colonies on the side without toothpaste, and the side with toothpaste is clear (you can see the white streaks of toothpaste though. FWIW, it’s Dora the Explorer Colgate toothpaste. 🙂 It apparently kills germs. )

The last dish is the one we had the kids touch the sample on one side before washing their hands and again after washing with soap. It looks like we need to work on their handwashing skills because both sides had quite a few colonies on them.


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. 😉  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. 🙂



First week, in review

Last week was our first week back into the schoolroom.  The kids all transitioned back into the homeschooling routine really easily…thank goodness for shorter (but more frequent!) breaks than the traditional school year.  There was no summer brain drain, no problems getting them to do their work, etc.

Monkey was very excited to get started, as it was going to be her first day of kindergarten!  Although, by the end of the first day, she was very disappointed that she did not learn to read full out chapter books on the first day…she only learned 4 words. 😉

Here are some pictures from the kids’ first week.  This year, I’ll probably just try to combine a sample from all three kids into the same post.  Occasionally, I’ll pull out one specific project and do a more in-depth post later on in the week.  I will probably separate out the Five in a Row stuff too, just so that all of the books have their projects in one area.  I just learned last year that it was too difficult keeping up with a weekly post about each child’s work.

The day before we started schooling for the year, I gave Jedi a project that would require him to think. He does really well after focusing on a project, like a big lego kit. I think that kind of concentration really helps clear his mind and regulate his body and mind. Since his latest obsession is Titanic, I got him a model of the ship to put together.


He did really well! It took him just over a day, and he put it together with very little adult help!


Bug working on a “parts of an insect” puzzle.


The three kids worked on “texture painting”. Because we were also studying the United States in geography, I gave them red and blue paint. The red paint had kosher salt mixed in and the blue paint had gold glitter mixed in!


Monkey working on her first 4 reading words. She’s matching the words with the pictures.


Bug with her drawing of me. 🙂 If you look really closely, she also independently wrote (and spelled!) “mom”!


Bug looking at the insects in acrylic


Bug working on the pink tower.


In science, Monkey’s working on classifying and using senses to make observations. Here, she was sorting pictures of beans from biggest to smallest.


Bug, proud of her pink tower!


Jedi working on a texture collage….using found materials and scraps to create a collage or picture.


Bug and Monkey trying to figure out how many number rods tall they are. 🙂 Monkey is the tallest plus the smallest rod tall. Bug is the 2nd to the tallest rod tall.


Arranging the number rods longest to shortest.


Bug using various magnets to pick up iron filings and little iron pellets.


Each of the kids asked for garden beds this year so that they could garden along with me. So, I built each of the three kids a raised bed garden. They chose what to put in the gardens (they also mixed the various soil components). Bug’s here watering her garden!


Monkey using popsicle sticks to create triangles and quadrilaterals.


Bug looking at insect x-rays on her light table.


Later this week, I’ll have a post up for Monkey’s first week using Five in a Row.  I’ll also have a geography post up.



2012-2013 Curriculum Choices! April 21, 2012

Filed under: Kindergarten,Lower Elementary,Preschool — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 8:06 pm

Our 2011-2012 school year is quickly winding down–this coming week is our last full week of school before the kids take a break until the first week of June.  As the year is winding down, I’m starting to gather next year’s curriculum supplies.  Tonight, I finished with the last few choices!  It looks like next year will look like the following:

Preschool–Bitty Bug

-Continue with New Child Montessori .  This is primarily what we used for Monkey, and now Bitty Bug will start 2 years of preschool with it.

All About Reading, Pre-1 (Both Bug and Monkey are currently working through it, so they’ll finish it up this year.)

Art for the Montessori Classroom

-A geography & culture curriculum I’m writing.


Five in a Row

Rightstart Math Level A

-A science curriculum I’m writing that incorporates all of the state standards (I could not find a solid science curriculum appropriate for Jedi and Monkey that had real solid science and a lot of hands-on activities, other than the one Jedi did this past year…and he finished all 3 levels in one year!)

-The above mentioned geography & culture curriculum.

All About Reading–Pre-1 and then Level 1 (once she starts Level 1, she’ll also do All About Spelling Level 1 )

Kindergarten Electives, as we have time for them

Art for the Montessori Classroom

Rosetta Stone, Vietnamese, along with some Vietnamese videos, books, & children’s songs

-Confession of a Homeschooler’s “World’s Greatest Artists

-Some beginning piano

-Confession of a Homeschooler’s “Road Trip USA

Third Grade–Jedi

Rightstart Math Level D

-The above mentioned science curriculum.

-The above mentioned geography & culture curriculum.

All About Spelling Level 3, and working with his intervention specialist

History Odyssey, Level 1 Middle Ages

Voyages in English, 3rd grade

Daily Warm Ups–Language Skills

Electives, as we have time for them

Art for the Montessori Classroom

Rosetta Stone, Vietnamese or Spanish, depending on which one he wants to learn

-Confession of a Homeschooler’s “World’s Greatest Artists

-Some beginning piano

-Confession of a Homeschooler’s “Road Trip USA


The kids will also all continue with their PSR (Catholic religious education) and Homeschool Co-Op classes.  Jedi will continue with Tang Soo Do three times a week and Monkey will be doing pre-competitive gymnastics (as well as Tang Soo Do if she still has time.  She also said she wants to do cheerleading, swimming, and girl scouts.  LOL!!  Not sure she’ll have time for all of that though. 😉 )

We also have some really awesome field trips lined up for next year too!


It sounds like it will be another busy year. 🙂


Montessori Monday December 20, 2010

Filed under: Exploring Nature,In the kitchen,Preschool — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 4:12 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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!


Montessori Monday December 13, 2010

Jedi is 7 years 0 months old, Monkey is 3 years 10 months old, Bitty Bug is 22.5 months old

Last week was one of those incredibly busy weeks, as those early weeks in December tend to be.  We had holiday visitors over this weekend, Tang Soo Do belt testing for Jedi and me (Monkey is doing her belt testing on Wednesday), and some sharp winter weather has hit Ohio hard. 

Jedi was home from school today because of the winter weather (you might remember that Jedi isn’t homeschooled at this current point, as it is not the best arrangement for him.  Sometime in the future he might be though!  He does attend an awesome Montessori school though).  So, Jedi decided he wanted to come join us today, even though the work is geared towards preschool and toddler…he took the work and made his own extensions though!  It’s nice when he’s home and decides to work with the girls because he gives the unique experience of the only person in the house who has actually completed the first three year cycle of Montessori work!

Here are some pictures from this past week:

I put out a keys and locks work this week.  I tried to find 4 different colored locks with matching keys because I had originally intended for Bug to work with this.  But Monkey loved it a lot!

Jedi working with the Lake and Island landform trays

With one of the continent boxes

Monkey also decided to work with the continent boxes

Transferring foam snowflakes with tongs

Monkey and Bug sorting seeds (I have sunflower and pumpkin seeds, mung beans, and white beans on the tray)

Using the winter matching cards

Musings of Me has this darling large gingerbread figure on her site, and I printed it, cut it out, laminated it, and punched holes around the perimeter of it to make a Christmas lacing work. Here's the link to her whole gingerbread curriculum:

This is another wonderful work from Musings of Me--Christmas shapes! Monkey would take a card that had a Christmas object on it, and then use various shapes to replicate the picture.

Can you tell I've been busy with my printer and laminator this week? I also downloaded Musings of Me's holiday patterning cards. Monkey still has a bit of a hard time with patterns, but she really enjoys trying them.

And the gingerbread counting work (can you guess where I got it from? I think here is a good place to say THANK YOU to Musings of Me for putting up an awesome free gingerbread themed Montessori unit! Monkey worked with it a ton this week (and Jedi's currently lacing the large gingerbread as I'm typing this!)

Using the Melissa & Doug bead sequencing set. I really really like this work. It makes Monkey think, a lot--especially since there is no set pattern. She really has to look at the card and concentrate on finding the right shape and color.