Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

2nd Grade Week in Review August 7, 2011

Jedi had another really busy week with homeschooling.  It was the 6th week completed for our school year (it looks like we’ll have 8 completed weeks before our local school districts start up for the year…not bad!)  But, it’s not all books and labs this summer…Jedi gets lots of free time for playing and having fun, too…see?

Jedi working with Magnetos on a day off.


Jedi building a robotic duck from a kit


Aaaand....the duck can walk!


Making patterns with the pattern board


Art: This week in art, Jedi learned about shapes, and then the 3-dimension manifestation of shapes–forms.  For shapes, he observed a scene outside, and then drew and cut out the shapes of the objects to make a collage.  For forms, he created a 3-d paper sculpture of a zoo animal of his choice (he picked giraffe)

Working on his shapes collage--he was supposed to go outside and observe something, and then create paper shapes to represent those objects. He chose the mailbox and posts outside.


His scene


Jedi making his giraffe


Math:  In math, we worked on place values up to 1000.  We also worked on trading 10 10’s for 100 and 10 100’s for 1000.  Jedi seems to be getting this fairly easily.  Finally, we worked on adding long series of single digit numbers on the abacus.


Using the math cards to add with the abacus, and learning to change 10 10's for 100, and 10 100's for 1000.

Life Science:  It was a busy science week for us.  We worked on the muscular, heart, & circulatory systems over the past few weeks.  We reviewed those systems again, and observed them with both the human torso model and with giblets from our dinner chicken.  Jedi also watched some Bill Nye videos on human organ systems that I found in the library.  We also began learning about the digestive system.


Working with the human torso model


After taking out all of the organs, this is what he found.






We were also fortunate to have found the giblet pack inside a chicken that we rotisseried this week, so Jedi was able to observe a real heart (with it's chambers), liver, and gizzard.


We were talking about how long a human digestive track is by using a 21' long piece of yarn. On the yarn, we taped cards where he wrote his 5 favorite foods. Card 1 is at where the mouth is (3"), card 2 is the esophagus, card 3 is the stomach, card 4 is the small intestine, and card 5 is the large intestine.


Then, we counted how many times longer a digestive track is than can fit 5 Jedi's on the 21' long track, plus have a few additional inches left to go.


Watching Bill Nye videos


History: In history, we completed our unit on Ancient Mesopotamia.  Jedi took his first ever history test, and scored 16 correct out of 17!  He really enjoyed learning about Sargon and how Sargon conquered and unified Mesopotamia.


Writing: Jedi really really dislikes handwriting and spelling.  Both of those subjects are extremely challenging for him, to the point of them being frustrating for him.  This week, I came up with an assignment that made him excited to write, at least for awhile.  Homeschool Creations (http://www.homeschoolcreations?.com/StarWarspreschoolpack.htm?l) had a Star Wars preschool pack available, and in that preschool pack were Star Wars puppets.  I had Jedi cut them out, laminate them, and glue them onto popsicle sticks.  Then I had him write a script for a puppet show, and my only instructions were that he had to use every character he had puppets for, and every character had to have a minimum of two lines in the script.  Since I knew spelling would be a problem, I told him that after he wrote the script by hand, he could type it into the computer and we could work on editing in the computer (he’s still working on it…typing’s also a little difficult for him, but I’m pretty sure he hasn’t really learned typing yet).  After we’re done editing his script, he’s going to perform it for the family.


Cutting out his Star Wars puppets from http://www.homeschoolcreations?.com/StarWarspreschoolpack.htm?l


Spelling:  In Spelling, Jedi continued to work on alphabetizing the letters of the alphabet…he’s getting much faster with it now!  We also worked on the short a, short i, and short 0 sounds for three letter cvc words.


Working on making CVC words


English: In English, we worked on comprehension questions with both fiction and non-fiction short essays.  We discovered he has a very easy time comprehending fiction, but a very very difficult time comprehending non-fiction.  But he’s also a fantastic reader when it comes to fiction!  But it does show that he knows how to comprehend what he’s reading…he just needs more exposure to non-fiction!  We also worked on the “WH” question words (where, what, why, when)


English workbook


Health: In health, we talked about family rules and why families have rules (safety, health, and comfort).  I had Jedi choose one family rule, and then make a poster explaining the rule.  He chose “we can’t watch too much tv”–his poster had to show why we have the rule (for his health), and what happens if you break the rule (an unhealthy body, being too tired, etc.)


Music: In music, Jedi continued to work on his piano playing.  I haven’t showed him how to read music per say, but in his Alfred’s book, they start very simply by just reading the finger numbers.  He learned to play a couple more short songs this week.


Misc: Since we went creeking and found crawfish recently, I decided to do some tie-ins this week.  I found Jedi three worksheets.  One practiced graphing, as it was a story about three people using crawfish as fishing bait.  Jedi was supposed to graph the number of crawfish each person used.  The second sheet was one where he was supposed to write three facts about crawfish. The third sheet was one where he worked on a crawfish food chain and food web.

Working on his crawfish graph


2nd Grade Week in Review July 22, 2011

Yes, I realize it’s not yet the end of the week, but Fridays are usually light days for school–mainly just wrap-ups.  Since tomorrow will be another day of business and travel, I thought I’d get this post done early…then Montessori Monday & Toddler Tuesday can be written ahead of time and posted on the right day.


This week we decided to start using a 12 box workbox system for Jedi. He seems to love the organization, and he loves being able to see exactly what he has to do and how many things he has left to do. Each box has a number and a subject--when he's done with each box, he moves the number card over to that chart that's hanging from the wall. The boxes alternate between subjects that are more difficult or not as fun for Jedi with things he really enjoys or quick fun assignments.


Science:  In Life Science this week, Jedi learned about the circulatory & the respiratory system.  The first lab involved him using corn syrup, red hots, white beans, & lentils to represent the parts of blood (corn syrup was plasma, red hots were red blood cells, white beans were white blood cells, and lentils were platelets).  He was able to see that blood is not smooth red liquid and instead is composed of many parts.

For the second lab, we took a long cardboard tube to represent a giant’s trachea.  Then we drew pictures of a nose for the top of the trachea, lungs and heart for the bottom of the trachea, and a foot  below the organs to represent the body using energy.  Jedi then started at the nose and carried red pieces (oxygenated blood) of paper to the lungs, to the heart, and then to the foot.  At the foot, he exchanged the oxygenated blood for carbon dioxide (since the exercising giant used up the oxygen), carried it back to the lungs, heart, and out the nose, exchanging it for another red piece.  Jedi *loved* this full body lab!

Filling out the hypotheses sheet for his life science lab.


Mixing his "blood"


Jedi's model of human blood.



The giant's respiratory system.


In Chemistry, Jedi learned that everything was made of atoms and that atoms were very small.  To illustrate this, we filled a balloon with water, one with cinnamon, one with lemon extract, and one with peppermint extract.  Jedi smelled each balloon and found out that cinnamon, lemon, and peppermint all have atoms small enough to fit through the holes of the balloon and were able to be smelled.

Jedi making his hypotheses before his chemistry lab.


The girls smelling the balloons.

Music: Jedi learned about Haydn & his “Surprise Symphony”.  Jedi really enjoyed listening to the symphony and trying to relax during it (if you haven’t heard it, go listen to it!  Haydn attempted to remedy the fact that people were sleeping during his slower movements!).  Jedi also continued his piano lessons.

Practicing one of his new songs.

Geography: This week, we learned about our neighbors to the north, Canada.  During this study, Jedi watched a 30 minute video of Inuit life in Northern Canada–he was very interested in the fact that the Inuit family built igloos in the video!

Watching the video


History: Jedi continued to learn about Ancient Mesopotamia.  He worked on his History Pocket and did several other hands on activities this week…making a Mesopotamian house out of Legos & writing a comic strip about the early life of Sargon.

Working on his History Pocket. Here, he is making a small ship going down the Euphrates River.


Trying to copy the Mesopotamian Floor Plan


The finished house!


Writing his comic strip. I had him choose one thing in his history chapter to draw, and he drew the abandonment and adoption of Sargon.


Spelling: Jedi worked on learning to alphabetize letters.  He already knew how to do it, but it takes almost 10 minutes to order the entire alphabet.  He continued to practice doing it more quickly.  He also learned to differentiate between consonants and vowels.  Finally, we worked on him writing the letter after I dictated the sound of that letter (so the reverse of what we’ve been working on).

Alphabetizing his letter tiles.


English: This week, Jedi learned about homophones and synonyms.

Math:  We worked on naming place values from the abacus, 100-bead tiles, & 1000 bead cubes.

Naming place values out to the 1000s place.


Art: This week, Jedi used soft pastels to create a work that he later matted for display.  He also used watercolor crayons to paint an experience that he had.

Using soft pastels


US History: Continuing his learning on the Statue of Liberty, Jedi designed and then created a clay sculpture of the Statue of Liberty…next week when the clay is dry, he’ll paint it.

Working on his sculpture.

His finished sculpture.


Health: This week, Jedi worked on finding various ways to resolve conflict.  He used his puppet that he sewed to act out various conflicts and brainstorm ways to work through the conflict without violences.