Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Montessori Monday November 1, 2011


Heeey, made it under the wire this week! 😉  But at least I am posting Montessori Monday on the right day this week…

This past week has been a whirlwind at our house.  Both Jedi and Monkey are in the middle of their IEP process, and so there are a lot of appointments, meetings, and evaluations going on.  Monkey had an occupational therapy evaluation this past week as part of her autism diagnosis and we learned a lot of really interesting things…a lot of it gave us some insight into some of the difficulties Monkey’s been having.  We still have a few more questions, but at least now, we’re on a good path.  It is forcing us to look ahead to next fall when Monkey starts kindergarten.  We will likely be transitioning out of the pure Montessori-based homeschooling and get into a little more structure, simply because we not only need to accurately assess where Monkey is due to some deficits and difficulties she has, but she needs a bit more structure.  So, if anyone out there has a really good kindergarten curriculum, let me know!  We need it to have a strong multi-sensory and hands-on approach (as little verbal information as possible since one of her main deficits is auditory processing).  We are also Roman Catholic, and so if the curriculum is not secular, we’d like it to at least be Catholic-friendly. 🙂  Let me know any suggestions you might have!

And on to the review of Monkey and Bitty Bug’s week!

One of Bug and Monkey's favorite works--using tweezers to pluck the kernels off of the Indian Corn


Using the dot markers to make orange, yellow, and red "leaves" on the coffee filter tree


The girls using watercolor paints


Matching the mineral to the card


I found these cute little bead sets at Mich@els. Bug and Monkey loved stringing the Halloween beads onto the elastic to make their own necklaces!


This clay is some black sand clay I made for Jedi to use for one of his projects. Monkey took the rest, pretended to knead it into a loaf of bread, and then practiced her cutting.


Bug beading her necklace


2nd Grade Week in Review October 1, 2011

Or rather, 2 weeks in review… 😉  Here is what Jedi’s been working on for the past two weeks:


Art:  Jedi learned about two different types of art the past few weeks.  The first was about artwork on streets.  Since art on streets tends to be in statue form, both projects Jedi made during that unit used clay.  The first was a clay sculpture of an animal–this project emphasized pulling the clay to form limbs instead of creating limbs separately and trying to stick them onto the sculpture.  The second clay project was a face in clay.  Jedi also learned about mosaics and chose to do a mosaic of Darth Vader’s face.

Jedi working with clay


Jedi's mosaic


Making a face with clay.


Life Science: Jedi finished his unit on mollusks by exploring various shells that were formerly used by mollusks.  He identified the shells and labelled them with the animal that used to possess the shell.  We also observed a slug that was found on one of the kids’ outdoor toys. Then he moved on to studying echinoderms.  He learned that echinoderms can be divided into fives and practiced that by taking a banana peel that was split into fives and creating the shapes of echinoderms.  He also studied real life preserved echinoderms.  We also watched several videos on sea cucumbers and their ability to regenerate their digestive system.

Identifying the type of mollusk each shell belonged to.

Making a sea star out of a banana peel. He also made the shape of a sea urchin and a sea cucumber.


Studying various echinoderms.


Chemistry:  In chemistry, we continued our work with the periodic table  Jedi learned the abbreviations for several elements matched the element with what the element is used for and with the element’s symbol.  Since one of those elements was sulfur, I pulled out a piece of sulfur from the mineral kit and let him smell it as well.

Working on his element matching.


Ancient History: In Ancient History, Jedi finished his unit on Ancient India by learning about the lost city of Mohenjo-Daro.  We used the Indus Valley page on BBC ( to explore more about the artifacts found at Mohenjo-Daro’s site.  We then moved on to learn about stone monuments and why civilizations create large monuments.

Viewing pictures of the buildings in Mohenjo-Daro


Reading about monuments


Math:  In math, Jedi began adding two numbers where each number is a two digit number.  We also learned that Jedi will reverse numbers even if he says them correctly–for example, I will ask him to write 62 + 48, and he will repeat it and write it, but then add it as 26 + 84.  So, we’ve began to use symbols under numbers to help him keep things straight–we use an X under the 10’s place numbers and a _ under the one’s place numbers.  This seems be helping Jedi a lot because he doesn’t reverse his numbers as much when there are symbols helping him know what to add.  Jedi also started learning about Roman Numerals.  Of course, he had a head start because he remembered how to write numbers 1-6 from the Star Wars titles!

Jedi writing his Roman Numerals


Spelling/English: In spelling, Jedi learned about open and closed vowels, and has now finished level 1 of All About Spelling!  He was very excited to move on to level 2 this past week (although level 2 starts with a very quick review of the important concepts from level 1. 🙂 )  He also has been continuing with his daily journaling, still turning each journal entry into a game show script.  He decided to do this all on his own, and by doing so, he’s gone from writing a single sentence for each journal prompt to writing multiple pages.

Geography: In Geography, Jedi worked on his unit on South Korea.  One of his favorite things was using the internet to do research on the animals of South Korea.  He especially enjoyed researching a bat found in South Korea because the first page that popped up in the search engine was a page where it showed the bat’s resemblance to Yoda. LOL!  I’ll post more on that unit later this week. 🙂

Jedi researching animals from South Korea


Using the globe to map out South Korea.


Montessori Monday September 6, 2011

Bitty Bug is 2 years 8 months old.  Monkey is 4 years 7 months old.

Here is the weekly review of the work Bug & Monkey did in the Montessori room.

Monkey painting her dinosaur poster.


Bug enjoying pitting cherries. She *loved* how messy this job was!


Bug doing dot art for "B is for Butterflies"


Bug using the metal insets to color a rectangle


Bug chose to draw the lifecycle of the butterfly


Bug snipping paper


Lifecycle of a Butterfly work on the "Please Touch" table


Some butterflies for the kids to observe


The "please touch" table for the next couple weeks (there are also butterflies under glass for them to observe). On our main level, we raised some butterflies from caterpillars, so the kids also witnessed the life cycle in person.


Paper snipping work


Small button dressing frame


Monkey and Bug working with clay


Sand pouring


Balancing glass marbles on golf tees


Matching boxes with lids


Monkey mixing colors in the test tubes using an eye dropper.




Toddler Tuesday August 10, 2011

Tot School

Bitty Bug is 2 years 7 months old

Just a random picture of Bug to start out with--she's always trying to make her dresses twirl


Bug looking at the Forest in a Box pieces


Putting together a puzzle of a cow


Bug and Jedi looking at a porcupine quill


Using food coloring & water and an eye dropper to make designs in a coffee filter


Pouring glass beads from one pitcher to the other


Some flowers I made out of pipe cleaners for Bug to put in the holes of the spice jar


Bug hammering golf tees into clay


Working with clay


Scooping rice from the big bowl to the smaller bowls


Stacking bead blocks


Working with the tool blocks



Montessori Monday August 9, 2011

Monkey is 4 years 6 months old

This week has been a rather interesting week for Monkey, primarily outside of the schoolroom.  As you might remember, Monkey has been diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder with Selective Mutism.  As you also might remember, we had noticed several cognitive difficulties popping up that were making learning difficult for her.  Well, this past week, we took her back to her former therapist (who happens to be Jedi’s autism therapist), and he has decided to have her assessed for an autism spectrum disorder as well.  If she does have a form of ASD, we would not be surprised, given how similar symptoms of RAD are to ASD.  What does make it surprising is that Monkey will not only have the exact same allergies as the other kids, but will also have the same developmental issues…keeping in mind, Monkey is not biologically related to our other children, this is quite interesting (and somewhat concerning…).  Anyhow, these evaluations should take several weeks, but hopefully we’ll have a better idea of how to help Monkey soon.

In the mean time, we’re doing a lot of trial and error with her.  Since Jedi has autism, we do have several resources under our belt to help academically, socially, and emotionally–it’s just a matter of pinning down what the exact issues are.

And on to what you really came to see….Monkey’s week in review.

Monkey looking at the "forest in a box" has various objects that you might find in the forest--bark, acorns, bird egg, cocoon, porcupine quill, etc.


Dot of her favorite activities!


Working on the alphabet puzzle


Working with the knobbed cylinder


Monkey begged to use clay this week, so I brought out the new tub. She *loved* it!


Zoo animal-themed pom poms for 1 to 1 transferring


Summer themed tonging exercise--moving the bugs/flowers/lizards from the fish tray to the vase


Monkey using the spoon to scoop rice


Working with the binomal cube--Monkey can do this really quickly now! We'll be bringing out the trinomial cube this week as a result.


Working with the tonging activity


Montessori in the kitchen...Bug washing tomatoes and Monkey cutting them up to make tomato sauce


Monkey cutting the tomatoes


Bug washing the tomatoes


As always, comments are welcome, either here or on our facebook page.  Let me know you’re reading along!


Montessori Monday April 18, 2011

Monkey is 4 years 2 months old

This week, there are a lot of pictures to post, so I’ll just let those tell the story, instead of coming up with an opening commentary.  I will say that our unit last week was ‘eggs’…and it’s amazing what 2 egg-allergic kids can still learn about eggs without ever touching an egg. LOL!

As part of the oil spill project we did last week, I also put out various shells and sea life pieces for the kids to explore.

Working with the metal insets

As part of the egg unit, we wanted to learn about hatching chicken eggs. However, it probably isn't the best idea to raise a chicken egg in our basement or keep a chicken outside in our suburban backyard (that has coyotes and deed restrictions against keeping chickens!). So, this is the next best thing we could has a different egg you break open for every day of the 22 day cycle of a chicken egg. Each day, you see what's going on inside the egg.

The box for the Chick Life Cycle kit in case anyone out there wants to learn about chickens but can't really raise them in their backyard!

The chart I have on our white board to show the kids when we should expect our egg to "hatch"

Tonging easter eggs into a carton

Parts of an egg 3 part cards

Putting red and black feathers on a black line drawing of the cardinal (Ohio's state bird)

Some of the books we used this week

Decorating paper easter eggs to hang on the spring tree

Putting the eggs on the tree

Egg on the tree

Tonging the eggs

The girls also made egg shaped jello jigglers (and of course, Monkey hated them because she doesn't eat anything squishy. Oops.)

Mixing the water and mix

Pouring the mix

Cleaning the spill

Making a red clay bowl with white eggs

Bug decided to stack all her eggs up into one big tower

Monkey wanted her eggs all different sizes

All of the bowls of eggs, waiting to go to the oven to harden