Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Montessori Monday November 1, 2010

Monkey is 3 years 8 months old

This week, Monkey’s concentration was a bit short…but part of me thinks it’s because she knew the Halloween party was coming up and she was excited.  Instead of our usual 3 hour blocks in the school room, we were only down there for 2 hours at a time this week because she was losing focus and wanted to do other things that weren’t in the school room.  However, she did do a lot of good work during her shorter periods.  One thing that I’m noticing is that she’s starting to develop a huge interest in writing…especially her name.  She doesn’t have any letter recognition yet, but I think we’re going to start moving forward with more pre-writing and writing things while she has this interest. 

T@rget has a fantastic stock of wooden Montessori-inspired toys in their dollar spot this week. One of them is this cool counting snail. It's very similar to our alphabet dragon!

Another of our finds is this animal matching box.

The third find was these lacing shapes.

And our 4th and final find was this beading set!

Monkey is still working a lot on her colors. She's still having problems naming them, but is able to match them really well. I found this awesome set on 1+1+1=1--it has the color, word, and objects to match.

Monkey loves to do the knobless cylinder extensions. Right now, she matches them up right on the cards, but soon, we're going to be moving towards making the extension next to the card.

We've also been working on sequencing and patterning. One thing I've noticed is that when the pattern is something like "object a, object b, object c, object a, object b, ____ _____ _____", she will but a, b, and c in order for the 3 blanks instead of C, A, B like it should be. So, I think she's getting the concept, but soon I think she'll get the part about continuing where the pattern leaves off.

Monkey's also been big on writing her name. She has been trying to write her namem everywhere lately, even though she doesn't have any sort of letter recognition yet. So, I printed and laminated a card with her first name on it--she does really well copying the name card.

Making a horizontal pattern with the pink tower, and then building the tower vertically.

We started working with just a few shapes from the geometric cabinet. I had her take out the piece, trace the outline, trace the piece, and then put the piece back in the outline.

Monkey and Bug were making spiders for the Halloween party. To do this, we cut an egg carton into 12 pieces. Then I punched 8 holes into each piece. I cut black pipe cleaners in half, and then Monkey threaded the pipe cleaner throw one hole and then through the whole on the opposite face of the carton piece. We did that with 4 pipe cleaners, to make 8 legs.

Using a spatula to flip various lids. She started out using her hands and I casually mentioned that it's like flipping hamburgers in a pan. She then stopped using her hand...she said she didn't want her fingers burnt. LOL!

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Tot School Tuesday, plus Montessori-To-Go October 18, 2010

Filed under: Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 8:34 pm
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Tot School

Bitty Bug is 21 months old

Poor Bitty Bug hasn’t felt well recently…as you might remember, she has Selective IgA Deficiency, and from October through April, she’s pretty much sick every 2 weeks on the dot.  This week, she had her first illness in quite a while…nothing bad–just a little cold.  However, a cold for her is worse than a cold for most people, and as a result, we haven’t gotten too many pictures of her this week.  She’s still wanting to do her tot school activities, but she just looks too miserable to have pictures taken.   She is still the same spunky Bug though…she’s so used to being sick half the year that it very rarely ever slows her down anymore.   But, we did get a couple of her this week…

Bug was rather amused by the spider work. She used both the tongs and her fingers to transfer the little plastic spiders into the muffin tin. She was very interested in the spiders, as she loves to pick up real spiders!

Bug loved coloring her haunted house with the markers. (She calls it a "ha-house". 😉 )

Perhaps Bug is actually part monkey... She frequently scales the fridge. Not quite sure why she does it, but she does. She's quite the goofball!

 

The next few pictures are of the Montessori-To-Go box I made Bug.  Because her brother and sister are both special needs children, we have a weekly therapy session that takes about 4 hours–the first hour is Monkey’s appointment and the  rest of the time involves a couple appointments for Jedi.  Poor Bug spends a lot of that time in the waiting room looking fairly bored.  There are other kids who are in the waiting room for part of the time she’s there, but they’re all quite a bit older than her and she doesn’t really understand what they’re playing.  So, I decided to make her a traveling tot school to keep her entertained.  It’s a bit big for carrying around to restaurants and brief appointments obviously, but it has to keep her busy for a good 3-4 hours at a time.  (Of course, I have smaller pouches in there that can easily be taken out for restaurant trips or anyplace a large box isn’t practical!).  The kit only weights about 4-5 lbs though, so it’s not really too heavy to carry.

This is the box when everything's stashed away in it. It's just a regular plastic box--a little bigger than a plastic shoebox, but one can use a plastic shoebox too. The size is due to the fact it will double as a sensory bin.

How everything looks with the lid open. On the bottom is a white board, then a bag of sensory materials (this time it's assorted beans & lentils), one pouch for sensory bin items and another pouch for small Montessori activities, and a book. The purple pouch contains several activities, and it's easy enough to grab for shorter waits.

Another view of everything that was stashed in the box.

The sensory bin. This time it's autumn themed, with lentils, plastic acorns, silk leaves, spiders, chopsticks, a little shovel, some scoops & tongs, a spoon, etc.

The other activities--a white board so she can color without using a ton of paper--she likes to only put a mark or two on each paper. There is also a set of buttons/shoelace to thread, some clothes pins to put on the rim of some sorting cups, and some cubes to sort by color.

 

Montessori Monday

Monkey is 3 years 8 months old

Monkey had a busy time in her homeschool room this week!  She seems to be getting into a good routine and almost every day she asks to go down and do her school work.  She usually stays in her homeschool room for 2-3 hours a day, but sometimes she’s been down there for longer than that.  Some days it’s hard to get her to want to stop for the day so we can get to an appointment!

Using the hammering shapes work--the child hammers little shapes into the cork with a wooden hammer (the nails are actually tacks)

Jedi hammering nails into a pumpkin

Monkey hammering nails into a pumpkin. She *loved* this work. The pumpkin now has 3 days worth of nails in it--she seems to come back to this work almost daily!

Sorting purple bats, white skulls, and black spiders into separate cups.

Using tongs to put a black spider into each section of the pan.

Using tweezers to get the corn off the cob and transfer it to the dish.

Using foam pumpkins and pumpkin patch pictures to count. Each patch has a different number written on it and monkey puts down the number of pumpkins written on the patch.

Using the Power of 2 cube. Monkey was *really* fast at this! She got the concept very quickly.

Putting the geometric solids on their bases. She was very interested in the fact that some shapes would fit on more than one base--for example, the pyramid can fit on the triangle base and the square base!

Putting clothespins on the rim of a basket.

Jedi & Monkey painting haunted houses in preparation for their Halloween party

This is a cross between ecology and tonging. The blue paper represents water and the green paper represents land. The little flower pot is a "trash can". I put a bunch of small pieces of foil and paper on top of the "land" and "water" and monkey used the tongs to clean up all of the "litter".

Using the Parts of a Tree puzzle and comparing it to the 3 part cards.

Using the world map continent pieces to do pin punching. She easily took the stylus and put "dots" on the paper around the perimeter of the continent.

 

Tot School Tuesday September 28, 2010

      Tot School

Bitty Bug is 20.5 months old

Bitty Bug continued her fierce independent streak this week.  She’s at the stage where not only does she want to do everything herself, but when she wants something, she wants it *right now*.  Poor Monkey is usually at the brunt of that one–every time Monkey has something to play with, Bug thinks it’s so interesting that she has to take it from her then and there. 

And of course, this independent streak has lead to some not-so-fun events….  For example, ever since she’s started solids, she’s sat in a booster seat at the dining room table.  At 12 months old, we took the tray off the booster seat and pulled her up to the table.  When she’s finished, we take her out of the chair.  Sounds fine, right?  Until recently.  She decided that now, when she’s done, she will stand up and wait for someone to get her.  We tried to nip that in the bud, but it didn’t work–strapping her into the chair made it worse because then she’d pull herself out of the straps.  This week, she stood up in her chair and so I ran over to get her…but before I could get there, she’d tried to jump down herself and had fallen head first out of the chair (and I was only sitting about 10 feet away from her…it happened that quickly). 😦  It was really scary to see, but she’s ok, thank goodness.  But that was the end of the booster seat at the table thing…something that worked so well for the first two children did not work quite so well for Bug. 

So, this week, we introduced the children’s table.  Now, I will be the first to admit that the idea did not sit well with me at first.  I like everyone eating at the same table…I don’t like children segregated to their own table.  But, when the choice was between that, getting a high chair for the first time, or risking another nasty fall, we went with the children’s table idea.  In the dining room, we put a smaller table next to the regular table.  And it’s worked well!  Bug is so happy with her new table (Monkey choses to sit with her as well).  She can get up and down independently, AND she actually sits longer and eats more at her small table than she ever did at the regular table.  Preparing her environment with child-sized furniture and allowing her the choice of how long to sit at the table, and giving her the independence to get up and down increased the amount of time she actually sat.  In her booster, she’d sit for about 5 minutes, pick at a few bites, and then cry to get down.  Now, she’ll sit through an entire meal happily.  I think that a lot of the time, even the smallest kiddos cry out for some independence and choices, and when allowed to make those choices and be a bit independent, the results can be very good!  So, that was a very positive result from having a prepared environment.

The table setup--a small table with a little rug underneath and two chairs. And actually, the chairs aren't really chairs--we could not find any child sized chairs during our quick trip out, but I did find these storage ottomans. These actually work very well because I can store the spare little rug, bibs, napkins, etc. in them.

Eating her taco

This basket sits in the corner (along with a picture series that shows the process of table washing). The spray bottle is filled with water, white vinegar, and lemon juice. There's a small duster and dustpan in it for crumbs, along with the spray bottle, towel, and wash cloth. Monkey and Bug are excited when they get to wash their own table after meals.

 

And a review of Bug’s other work this week:

Bug loved the Sock Monkey Jack-in-the-box. We bought this for her before she was born, and now she really loves it. Every time we put the monkey back in, she says "bye bye monkey!"

Here, Bug's transferring little glass beads with an Asian soup spoon

Bug was really good at using the tea set! She only let one of the cups overflow before she learned to stop before it gets to the top.

Bug and her daddy with the hand bells

Pouring water with creamer pitchers

Bug was using the whole hand movement to transfer the fruits and veggies between the baskets. We also worked on naming all of them. She's really good at naming the apple. 🙂

Whisking a bowl of sand

But was so excited to sprinkle the glitter on her glue (she's making the Asian dragon dance dragon that was in yesterday's Montessori Monday post)

After a long day at work, apparently it was nap time. Under a shelf. Silly child.

 

Montessori Monday September 26, 2010

Monkey is 3  years 7 months old

Monkey had a fantastic time in her Montessori room this week.  I’m thinking it had a lot to do with the heavy focus on Vietnamese culture, and specifically Tet Trung Thu, that captured her interest.  She loves learning about her birth culture, and to have it highlighted in her homeschooling just drew her in.  We also added a new computer program we just bought called Let’s Learn Vietnamese by VNI, and now she is really interested in learning the Vietnamese language as well.  It’s a really difficult language to learn, but she’s always been fascinated with her Xuan Mai videos and her Vietnamese music CDs, so I think she’ll pick up on at least some of it rather easily.

And there are a ton of pictures for this week….

Looking at the inspiration book for the basket mask craft

This was the selection of books we used to learn about the Harvest festival traditions

Monkey painting her mask

Cutting on the lines to make paper lanterns

Whisking sand

Pouring water using a teapot

Using chopsticks to transfer wooden harvest veggies from one basket to the other

Working with a compass to determine which direction is north.

Looking through the Asian continent box

Still looking at the continent box

Working with the geometric solids. This was her first introduction to them, so she was feeling the surface and shape of each solid and then figuring out which ones roll

Using a sake set to pour sand

"Numerals and Fish". Monkey took a basket of cards and separated numerals from fish. This is to help her learn to recognize what a numeral is by using something really obvious (she knows what a fish is and knows when something is not a fish)

Scrubbing a rock

Making a dragon dance puppet

Monkey's so pleased with her puppet!

The second type of lantern. This one actually held a mini flashlight. Tissue paper is glued over the shaped holes, and monkey poked more holes using a paper punch

Monkey gluing her tissue paper

Jedi was home sick this week, and he decided to join us one day. Here, he's making a noisemaker out of beads.

Putting together her alphabet dragon

 

Montessori Monday September 13, 2010

Monkey is 3 years 7 months old

This was our second full week of homeschooling, and Monkey’s really starting to get into the routine of it all!  Every day she asks to go down to the homeschool room, which is fabulous!  She’s also really starting to focus on her work as well.  It’s really nice to see. 

Monkey also had a new change this week too…it was the first week of her homeschooling co-op classes.  She takes two classes with the local homeschool co-op, which gives her the experience of working in group settings with other preschool aged children and gives her an opportunity to socialize.  The classes are once a week for three hours.  One is a montessori class and one is a general preschool class.  Everyone in the classes are homeschoolers.  Monkey *really* enjoyed her classes for the first week and did wonderfully!  We’re so happy to have found our co-op, which continues all the way through high school.

And now for our week in review….

Monkey and Bitty Bug getting ready for the first day of co-op

Working on the velcro, snap, and large button dressing frames

Using a sponge to transfer water from one bowl to the other.

Sorting nature objects by color. We also worked on isolating a few colors using three part lessons to reinforce the names of the colors.

Beading wooden beads onto lanyard laces

So proud of her necklace!

Making crafts with recycled art supplies. Each of these supplies was left over from other crafts, or they are recycled objects. Monkey put some of the objects together for a new craft.

 

Montessori Monday September 6, 2010

Monkey is 3 years 7 months old

Monkey had a busy week in her homeschool room!  So I’ll just go straight to the pictures since there are so many.  But, also, stay tuned for a quasi-unit theme coming up in the next couple weeks.  Because Monkey is Vietnamese, we also celebrate Vietnamese holidays.  September 22nd is Tet Trung Thu, which is the Mid-Autumn Festival.  The Mid-Autumn festival is generally a Children’s Celebration, so for the week leading up to Tet Trung Thu, we’re going to do a lot with Vietnamese culture…including basket mask painting, lantern making, etc.  So, be on the look-out for that post in a couple weeks!  And I say it’s a quasi-unit theme because I’m going to still stick with Montessori as a way to help her learn it, so it’s not like it will be strictly themactic units.

This coming week will bring a couple new changes as well when Monkey starts her homeschool co-op classes.  She’s in a Montessori class and a general preschool class in the co-op–it meets one day a week.  She also has activities with another homeschool group this week, as well as her usual Tang Soo Do martial arts class and gymnastics class.  So, it’s one busy week for her!

And now on to this week in review…

To help with the the beginning math concept of each number corresponding to an item, Monkey worked on filling an egg carton with large pom poms

In practical life, Monkey spooned rubber pom poms into a small muffin tin

In sensorial, Monkey used Color Box 1, matching the colors. We also isolated the red one using the 3 part lesson to help reinforce the name "red" with the color. Because of Monkey's processing issues, she has difficulties naming her colors, but if I ask her to give me a particular color, she can do it.

In a practical life/geology crossover, Monkey tonged small rocks from one bowl to the other.

For language (getting ready to write), Monkey did some beading with large beads.

She was so proud of the necklace she made!

For sensorial, Monkey worked with the 1st Knobbed Cylinder Block

She also worked on the velcro dressing frame in practical life

Monkey was so excited when she finished the Cubes & Cards work this week!

Monkey worked with the brown stairs in sensorial. She is really getting proficient in self-correction! If something was in the wrong order, she was able to see the error and correct it pretty quickly.

Both girls worked with crayons and colored pencils this week

Posing for a picture after completing the pink tower

Using an eye dropper to transfer water from the pitcher to the little dish.

Using the baster to transfer water

Beading beads on pipe cleaners

Showing off her bracelet

Using the snapping dressing frame

Transferring & pouring water

In geography, Monkey worked with primitive mapping by copying a very simple map using a sand tray