Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Late Montessori Monday, combined with Toddler Tuesday May 4, 2011

Monkey is 4 years 2 months old.  Bitty Bug is 2 years 3 months old.

I’m a bit late getting yesterday’s post out, and barely made today’s post in time, so here is the combined post. ūüôā ¬†I have a science experiment post coming tonight too…

Bug and Monkey making sidewalk chalk drawings on the porch

This week, we continued our unit on Asia, concentrating on Japan and India this week. One of the works I put out was this mini Japanese garden

A tea set where the girls practiced pouring water.

The book basket this week

The book we looked at about Japanese Woodblock Prints

To make our own mock woodblock prints, I carved designs into styrofoam blocks. Then the girls used a paint roller to put black tempura paint on the blocks. Next, they stamped the image onto the paper.

Some of the prints

Monkey pouring water.

The 2nd week is complete with the chick eggs!

Bug pouring water. As you can tell, it was a favorite of both girls.

Monkey working with the woodblock art.



Toddler Tuesday April 26, 2011

Filed under: Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 12:59 pm
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Bitty Bug is 2 years 3 months old

With it being Easter weekend, Bug spent most of her time in the school room transferring easter eggs. ¬†She loved that work! ¬†I already posted pictures of that last week, so it’s not included in the pictures this week. ¬†I’m pretty sure she spent hours working with those eggs–opening and closing them, matching the colors, and putting them in the egg carton. ¬†It’s amazing to watch the level of concentration and the time a toddler can spend with just simple materials! ¬† It surely goes against the stereotype that toddlers are always moving and can’t sit still.


Since it pretty much hasn't stopped raining in Central Ohio for over a week, we now become very very happy that we built our house with a huge front porch. Bug and Monkey love sitting on the porch playing with sidewalk chalk!

Bug loves transferring activities--water, rice, pom poms, it doesn't matter. Here, she's spooning rice into the smaller bowls.

She also worked with this little globe. Inside the globe are tiny little figurines representing various countries. She loved setting all the little people up!

She has no idea what the various letters are, but she enjoyed trying to match the letters to the spaces. Then I read the word to her while she pointed at the object.

She's still transferring rice!

I found this puzzle at a curriculum sale this past week and all three kids love it. You put the state in the correct spot, and it tells you the state, nickname of the state, capital, and a fact about the state.


Montessori Monday April 25, 2011

Monkey is 4 years 2 months old

Weekly theme: Asia (China, Korea, Vietnam)

New work on the shelves:

-Matching Chinese characters

-Children of Asia cards

-Asian native dress paper dolls

-Making homemade paper

-Using chopsticks

-Stamping with rubber stamps

-Putting Asian animals on the map

Figurines of children from Asia in their native dress

Children of Asia 3 part cards

Closeup of the cards

Matching Chinese characters

Native dress paper dolls

Chinese Tangrams--this was really really difficult for Monkey, but she loved trying it

Putting animals from Asia on the continent map

We learned how to say 'hello' in several Asian languanges

Using chopsticks to transfer red stars

The books in the book basket this week


Around the World–Japan March 14, 2011

Filed under: Geography & Culture — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 6:42 pm
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I have a couple posts to write in the next couple days because I fell a bit behind last week, and then by the time I had time to sit and blog, it was already close enough to work on this week’s posts.

First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with every one of my readers who is in Japan or who have family and friends there.  What an absolutely devastating week the nation of Japan has had.  Obviously, it was not the end of our month-long unit on Japan that we were anticipating.

(And I’m a little afraid for France, which will be our next unit. ¬†After our Brazil unit, there were horrible mudslides that caused many deaths, and then at the end of our Japan unit, there were earthquakes and tsunamis. ¬†Hopefully the world will calm down soon!)

To conclude our unit on Japan, the kids and I did some origami, of course! ¬†Jedi had a *ton* of fun with his Origami Yoda (the instructions were at the end of the book ‘The Case of the Origami Yoda’) –I’m pretty sure he carried it around with him everywhere for a couple weeks. ¬†Until our dog, ironically enough named Yoda, ate it. ¬†And thus, Origami Yoda’s demise came from a furry 4 legged Yoda. ¬†Go figure…

Our origami animal collection--bird, snake, elephant, crane, and fish

Bug created her own origami...she said it was a house for the elephant! LOL!

Jedi making his origami


Montessori Monday & Tot School Tuesday January 19, 2011

 Tot School

Bitty Bug is 2 years old, Monkey is 3 years 11 months old

This week was a little light on the school work, for 2 reasons.¬† The first reason is that Bitty Bug turned 2 years old this week!¬† She was very proud of it being her birthday and talked about it for weeks leading up to the big day.¬† And then, when her birthday arrived, she decided to wear a princess crown all day and tell everyone that it was her “happy birday” all day long!¬† What a sweet pea!¬† She also made it very clear to everyone that she is not a baby now…she’s a big girl.¬† And she doesn’t let you forget that! ūüėČ

There’s also another reason this week has been pretty light on the school work.¬† I was actually knee deep in paperwork, phone calls, and medical appointments all week because……

We’re expecting another little one!¬†

Kind of. LOL!¬† I’m not pregnant…but we are expecting a little one.¬† We’ve been accepted into the China Special Needs program to adopt a toddler girl with special medical¬†needs from China!¬† We should be able to finalize the adoption and go to China to bring her home around the end of this year or the beginning of next year.¬† So, needless to say, the first stages of the adoption process involves a lot of time consuming paperwork.¬† But, I managed to finish most of it last week, so schoolwork is getting back to normal now.

Even though it was a light week, we still did do a lot of learning.¬† Here are some pictures from this week…

Monkey added a couple planets to her solar system lessons this week. In addition to the Sun, we also have Mercury and Venus out. I have the 3 part cards, a model of each planet, and a few easy reader science books on space in the astronomy basket.

Bug hammering golf tees into clay

Bug really enjoyed exploring the musical instrument cabinet this week as well!

Two weeks ago, we started exploring minerals with monkey. This week, we continued the minerals exploration by grinding salt with a mortar & pestle in order to show that some minerals are not as hard as they look! In the process, she also learned that some minerals are edible. ūüėČ

Bug using small tongs to move foam snowflakes from one dish to the other

Practice with cutting jagged lines

Bug trying to match the place setting pictures with the real objects.

Bug and Monkey working with the island, lake, and isthmus landform trays


Around the World–Brazil! January 12, 2011

Filed under: Geography & Culture — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 4:44 am
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Last month, we subscribed to a neat service called Little Passports (  With Little Passports, the children get mail representing a different country every month (including information, pictures, and a souvenire).  This month, the children will be getting a package about Brazil!

We wanted to use Little Passports in conjunction with our culture & geography work, so each month, we’ll be doing a home unit¬†based on the next package from Little Passports.¬† Each month, we will learn about:

-The geography & landmarks of the country

-The currency of the country

-The clothing, people, and jobs in the country

-The food (including cooking a meal from the country)

-The animals & plants

-The music, art, & literature

But it doesn’t come all at once of course!¬† Gotta pace yourself. ūüėȬ† This week, I put out the South American puzzle, some 3 part cards on animals, plants, and landmarks, some instruments, books from our home library and our city’s library, and little animal figurines.

Monkey working on the puzzle and Jedi working on some 3 part cards

Jedi was really proud that he noticed that the Amazon River on the puzzle matched his card!

Some tamborines, maracas, and drums

Some animals that are found in the rainforests, rivers, and oceans near Brazil

The flag of Brazil, and some currency (Brazilian Real) I printed off Google Images

Some landmarks in Brazil

Animals and plants of Brazil

Monkey working on the puzzle


Montessori Monday December 5, 2010

Monkey is 3 years 10 months old

This week, Monkey jumped right back into things after a couple light weeks due to the holidays and illness.  She was really happy to get back into things as well!  I had quite a few new holiday-themed work out this week too.

Monkey and Jedi opening the day's door on the Lego advent calender. We don't usually do the themed ones, but Jedi is really into legos, and we couldn't resist having a new lego creation to build every day in December!

Using a spoon to transfer red, green, clear, and blue glass beads

Trying to feel which baric tablet is heavier and which one is lighter

Exploring the thermic tablets and sorting them by material

I put out three different types of boards that use screwdrivers. Monkey really loved working with these!

Another of the boards

Sorting Christmas buttons by color

Using the fraction skittles. She had actually used these in her homeschool co-op class, so she went straight to it.

This was a new work that I just purchased. Every numeral tablet is broken into a puzzle where the number of pieces equals the numeral in the tablet. This work is really interesting, but the first thing monkey did was tip the entire thing over without knowing what was inside. So, we spent a good hour putting all the pieces back together! Jedi tipped it over too on another day (nope, my kids don't wait for help with anything! LOL!) and even he found it really challenging, and he's 7. This might be something that goes back in storage for another year or two...we'll see if monkey wants to work with it this week, and if not, I'll put it up until she's a bit older.

Working with the spindle rods. Monkey really really was interested in these this week, so we worked on them a lot!

Working with the peg board

Monkey loves mixing colored water into new colors! She did this one a lot.

I also introduced the landform trays this week. Or rather, one landform tray. We worked on "island" this week. She loved making the fish go in the water and the animals on the land!

Decorating the mini Christmas tree. She loved this one too! She actually didn't want to take it apart again, but Bug wanted to work with it too, so we couldn't keep the mini tree decorated. It was a very popular work with the girls.

A clothes pin work. I glued shimmery foam balls to the end of clothes pins, and then cut a Christmas tree shape out of green felt. In order to decorate the tree, Monkey had to practice opening and closing the clothespins.

The December sensory bin...white felt strips, red/green/white pom poms, foam snowflakes, little penguin and snowman figurines, some clear red/green/clear "gems", red/green/gold pipe cleaners, and some more of the shimmery foam balls.