Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

2nd grade week in review February 13, 2012

As of yesterday evening, Jedi’s completed 744 of the required 900 educational hours Ohio requires for homeschoolers (not counting his therapy hours each week, which the school district would allow us to count because it would count if he were in school.  But we don’t count it as part of our required hours.).  It’s amazing to think that “technically”, he is already almost done with 2nd grade.  Now, we still have so much we want to do this year, so we’ll ultimately end up a couple hundred over the requirement, in large part because we do full-year school.  I like that we still have a lot of wiggle room for taking breaks and time off.  Jedi’s worked really hard this year!  I’m proud of the transition he’s made, and the fact that he’s learned so much since June!

Here are some pictures of last week….

Last week, he wrote a fairly lengthy creative writing story. This week, he typed it and illustrated it!

 

He also read Dan Gutman's "Mr. Burke Has Gone Berserk" on the first day it was released--he read the entire thing in a couple hours (way to go!!) Then he wrote a book report on it. 🙂

 

Most kids have done M&M math--our kids are dairy allergic, so Valentine's day brings a good opportunity for Conversation Heart Math! I made up a 4 page packet that he worked on that involved counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, estimating, greater than/less than, and graphing.

 

We also finished our unit on birds this week. We talked about the waterproofing on a bird's feathers, and what happens when oil spills happen. Jedi took some craft feathers. The first feather, we dipped it into water and then dried it off. The feather was nice and fluffy again. The second feather was dipped into a mixture of canola oil and cocoa powder (the CP was to turn it brown). This was to simulate an oil spill. Jedi tried wiping off the oil, but the bird's feather never became clean.

 

Then he tried washing the oil covered feather in plain water to symbolize the bird trying to swim into clean water. The feather became completely mangled, which would provide little to no protection for the bird (ultimately causing it to freeze).

 

He dipped another feather into the oil, and then washed it off in a mixture of dish detergent and water. The feather didn't go back to it's initial fluffiness, but was clean enough that the bird would probably have enough protection from heat and cold.

 

All of the feathers. From left to right: Original feather, feather dipped in water, feather dipped in oil and wiped, oiled feather washed in water, and oiled feather washed in soapy water.

 

Then we watched some youtube videos on how birds are washed after oil spills.

 

Jedi also had a box of bird-related items to observe...feathers, real nests, owl pellets, and a replica of a barn owl skull.

 

A bunch of different samples of feathers.

 

Dissecting an owl pellet. Jedi LOVED finding the bones!

 

All of the bones from the owl pellet.

 

Jedi also learned about Gilgamesh and Enkidu. After learning about the story, he then created a story about an adventure they might have had. Finally, he drew a picture of what Enkidu might have looked like.

 

Jedi wanted to take advantage of the shaving cream Monkey and Bug were working with. He decided to practice some handwriting. 🙂

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Montessori Monday August 23, 2011


Monkey is 4 years 6 months old

One of the new things we had in the schoolroom this week, was a "please touch" table for objects found in nature. This week, I put out a bird theme--an owl pellet, some feathers, a replica of a barn owl skull, and some nests (one random one we found in a tree that had been abandoned, and the robin's nest that was featured a couple months back. We had to have the fence painted, so once the hatchlings left the nest, we had to remove it from the fenceline). I put some tweezers, a hand lens, and some other magnifiers in a bowl for the girls to use.

 

The nest and observation equipment

 

Owl pellet, replica of a bird egg, and feathers

 

The craft project this week was using tempura paint thickened with cornstarch. The kids then used popsicle sticks to swirl the paint. The paint is thick and doesn't dry flat to the paper, so it was nice and textured. The paint colors also didn't blend very easily, so there was a nice marbling effect.

 

Closeup of the final products

 

Scooping seashells from one bowl to the other

 

Using a sea sponge to transfer water from the round bowl to the square bowl

 

Dry pouring using seashells

 

Monkey transferring water using the sponge

 

Using the hand lens to observe the robin's nest

 

Working on her Letter A book

Using the parts of an elephant cards

Matching adult animals with their young

 

Bug & Monkey working together to make their own orange juice

 

Bye Bye Birdies…… June 25, 2011

Filed under: Nature Studies — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 3:41 am
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So, now we officially have 2 empty nests at our house.  Yep…the little baby killdeer clan and the little baby robin clan have both left the nest and are playing in the neighborhood.  And both bird families were kind enough to allow us to see their babies grow up.  Now we get to watch them run all over the yard.

Here are some pictures of the last week with the 8 babies…

The little Robins Four, the day before flying lessons.

 

Waiting for breakfast

 

Resting up for the big moment...

 

The biggest of the birds making his final preparations for takeoff...

 

Seconds before take-off! (Which I didn't know was about to happen. And the bird ended up springing right towards me and almost landed right on me!)

 

And his big landing...right at the foot of the fencepost the nest was on. After peeking around at the kids, he decided to take off running around in the fields.

 

One of the killdeer babies running around near the raspberry bushes.

 

Mama killdeer and her baby

 

Little baby killdeer walking down the sidewalk

 

 

Toddler Tuesday June 21, 2011

Bitty Bug is 2 years 5 months old

Lately, it’s become very clear that Bug has her own very distinct personality.  She’s not one to follow the crowd, that’s for sure!  And she’s perfectly comfortable voicing her opinions, likes, dislikes, and desires.  The first one that’s pretty obvious from the pictures is clothing.  Bug will now only wear 2 things…what she calls “princess dresses” (long flowy dresses that twirl) or nothing.  And she doesn’t want to get the princess dresses dirty, so if she thinks something will be messy, she decides she’d rather wear nothing at all.  And this princess dress thing has become an obsession…she will not put anything else on.  It *must* be a dress, and that dress must be able to twirl.  Complete with silver sparkly shoes.  And at night, it *must* be a “bedtime princess dress” (nightgown).

Now, contrast that with what you see below…she might be obsessed with looking like a princess (and her favorite line is “But mama…I a princess!  I the BOSS!” said in a very matter of fact 2 year old way), but she is also one to get down in the dirt (sans the dress of course) and play with bugs.  Or paint.  Or food.

I love 2 year olds…they are full of personality, and full of contradictions!

Bug loved to work with the dot markers this week. Here, she's putting spots on the ladybug picture.

 

Playing with the birds' nests in the sensory table.

 

Bug *loved* this work...painting ladybugs on rocks.

 

Observing the butterfly display with a hand lens.

 

Bug also liked this craft (do you sense a theme...she loves crafts just like her big sister!). The jars have diluted food coloring in them. Using the eyedropper in the jars, Bug had to transfer the colored water to the coffee filter. Once she was done, we let the filter dry, and then used a black pipe cleaner to help make a butterfly.

 

The finished butterflies!

 

More dot art...

 

Observing the bugs in acrylic with the hand lens.

 

Pouring glass beads into the small dishes.

 

Montessori Monday June 20, 2011

 

Monkey is 4 years 4 months old

Monkey was really excited to get back into the school room this week.  She also seemed to gravitate towards the craft works (which, I suppose most kids would! 😉 ).  It does seem more difficult to get her to try any of the sensorial…she loves practical life, art, and writing, but really seems to avoid sensorial.  I wonder if her history of sensory processing disorder plays a roll in that?

We did a lot with ladybugs and bees this week. Here is monkey using tempura paint to make ladybug rocks.

 

I found this counting exercise at kidssoup.com. On each page is a ladybug and a number, and I had Monkey draw the number of dots on the ladybug as the number represented. To help with self correction, I drew the correct number of dots below the ladybug.

 

Lifecycle of a butterfly tray

 

Using the dot markers to decorate a butterfly

 

Ladybug puzzle

 

Life cycle of a butterfly cards

 

Making father's day cards out of collage materials

 

Pinching clothes pins onto a basket

 

Using the numerals & counters

 

Monkey with the feather she found outside

 

Playing with wax sticks (we were learning about bees, and the two main products from bees--wax & honey. That morning, they had honey on their toast too! 😉 )

 

Making a honeycomb

 

Jedi's first week of homeschooling June 18, 2011

I decided that while Jedi’s homeschooling isn’t so interesting to look at visually, I was still going to keep a blog record of what we did.  This might become helpful at the end of the year when I have to pull together a portfolio for his yearly evaluation for the school district (and it also might be helpful when I have to work with the district to create his IEP for the year).  I will throw in a few pictures for good measure though. 😉

Life Science

We learned about the difference between living & nonliving, as well as the characteristics all living things share.  Jedi also did a plot study, where he went out to study a 4’x4′ square of land.  Jedi decided to study an area of land with a recently planted evergreen tree in it, just thinking it was a tree and a small bit of grass.  However, following a little trail of fluff in the tree, he discovered a hidden empty bird’s nest!  The coolest part about the bird’s nest?  The bird who made it recycled some bubble wrap, string, landscaping fabric, and other odd pieces of trash it somehow got ahold of.  Very very creative!

Observing a tree inside of the plot

The nest he found hidden in the tree.

The odd materials on the underside of the nest.

Chemistry

In Chemistry, Jedi learned that everything is made of chemicals.  He then looked at the ingredient list on a bag of marshmellows and a bottle of dish detergent and listed the chemicals in each that he had heard of before, and those he had not.  Finally, he named chemicals that were usually safe, some that are dangerous, and some that we use on a daily basis.

Math

Math was one of the two subjects Jedi really seemed to struggle with after leaving his Montessori school.  At the end of kindergarten, he was one of the top of his class in math.  However, at the end of 1st grade, his standardized testing done as part of his autism treatments showed that he never progressed at all in math, nor spelling…he was testing at almost the same  level a year later.  So, we are really trying to figure out what might help him here.  We started Rightstart Math, which uses the Asian way of counting (10, 10-1, 10-2, etc. (10, 11, 12), 2-10, 2-10-1, 2-10-2 (20, 21, 22).  He seemed to catch on to that way of counting.  We also discussed parallel lines, recognizing how many are in small groups of objects (1-10) without having to count, and using an abacus.

Geography

In Geography, we started a 2 week study of China.  Jedi, along with the girls, learned how to say hello & goodbye in Chinese, listened to children’s music in Mandarin, and colored the Chinese flag.  Jedi created math problems using Chinese symbols.  Finally, he created a replica of the Great Wall using mini foam building blocks.

Starting his project.

He worked for 3 straight hours, refusing to take a break! The finished Great Wall

Another view of his project

Coloring the flags

Studying what life in China is like for children.

World History

This week was just an intro week, where Jedi learned about the study of ancient history, and in particular the study of archaeology.  He learned how historians can figure out about ancient civilizations even though ways of recording history were not readily available.

Working on his History Pocket for this week

Ohio History

This week, he learned about the Ohio flag, and how it is differs from other state flags in the fact that it’s not a rectangle or square!

Writing

This week, Jedi journaled about what he’d do if he woke up and found out that he was president of the United States.  Because spelling is very difficult, we also worked a bit on editing his work.

Working hard on his journaling.

 

English

We decided to use McRuffy Press for Phonics, Reading, Language, and Spelling.  Jedi learned about prefixes, suffixes, and contractions.  He really seemed to like contractions, as well as finding the root word of words that had prefixes & suffixes.  He did seem to have a very hard time with the spelling aspect though, and we’re currently trying to do a bit more research into the most appropriate way to help him with spelling.  He was taught to spell phonetically, which would be great, except he had auditory processing & speech issues.  So, his spelling is exactly how he hears it, which sometimes is quite a ways away from the actual spelling.  While Jedi’s reading level is over the 3rd grade level, his spelling is at the early 1st grade level, which is quite frustrating for him.  Hopefully we figure something out in the next couple weeks that can help him.

Art

This, by far, was one of Jedi’s favorite subjects.  The first day, he had to sketch something that happened the day before using a graphite pencil & sketch pad.  The second art day, he created a work using watercolor crayons.  He was supposed to remember an event that he felt joyful at, and then use his imagination to find a way to color that scene so that it portrayed his excitement without words.

Using the watercolor crayons.

Music

Day 1 of music each week involves listening to and learning about a famous composer.  This week, it was Bach.  Jedi learned about Bach’s life, and listened to Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.

Day 2 of music each week involves learning some beginner piano.  This week, he learned the proper hand positioning, where middle C was on the piano, and learned a simple exercise using all of the black keys of the piano.

Working on his playing exercise.

Health

Jedi’s health curriculum is twofold.  First, we use a social stories book for children with autism on personal hygiene.  Second, we use Horizon’s health curriculum.  This week, we learned about how each person is unique, and begun work on feelings.  Because feelings, and especially recognizing the feelings of oneself and others, can be difficult for a child with autism, we are taking an extra lesson to work on this.

 

Not bad for the first week!  It was a lot of work, but Jedi was so willing to do it (honeymoon period!).  He was anxious to get to work each day, and for the most part, it was difficult to get him to quit.  We certainly are going to take advantage of this honeymoon period willingness! 😉

 

 

Toddler Tuesday April 19, 2011

Filed under: Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 1:16 pm
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Bitty Bug is 2 years 3 months old

Here are a couple pictures of Bug working in the school room this week!

Bitty Bug is still loving the craft time. She worked very hard meticulously placing feathers on her cardinal!

She also loved working in the sensory bin. She was arranging flowers in the small flower pots for quite some time!

While this work was intended to be a tonging work, Bug decided that she wanted to work on opening & closing the eggs, and matching the halves together by colors. I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised...she has been on a huge color kick lately!

Here, Bug is attempting to thread the large buttons onto the shoelaces. This was still very hard for her to do, but she did actually get the string through the button holes!

Bug was really proud of herself when she finally learned to snip paper with scissors. She concentrated very hard on this work, and was so careful to keep her fingers out of the way. She was really impressed with the power she had to change the paper from a straight piece of paper, to a paper full of little cuts.