Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

First week, in review June 13, 2012

Last week was our first week back into the schoolroom.  The kids all transitioned back into the homeschooling routine really easily…thank goodness for shorter (but more frequent!) breaks than the traditional school year.  There was no summer brain drain, no problems getting them to do their work, etc.

Monkey was very excited to get started, as it was going to be her first day of kindergarten!  Although, by the end of the first day, she was very disappointed that she did not learn to read full out chapter books on the first day…she only learned 4 words. 😉

Here are some pictures from the kids’ first week.  This year, I’ll probably just try to combine a sample from all three kids into the same post.  Occasionally, I’ll pull out one specific project and do a more in-depth post later on in the week.  I will probably separate out the Five in a Row stuff too, just so that all of the books have their projects in one area.  I just learned last year that it was too difficult keeping up with a weekly post about each child’s work.

The day before we started schooling for the year, I gave Jedi a project that would require him to think. He does really well after focusing on a project, like a big lego kit. I think that kind of concentration really helps clear his mind and regulate his body and mind. Since his latest obsession is Titanic, I got him a model of the ship to put together.


He did really well! It took him just over a day, and he put it together with very little adult help!


Bug working on a “parts of an insect” puzzle.


The three kids worked on “texture painting”. Because we were also studying the United States in geography, I gave them red and blue paint. The red paint had kosher salt mixed in and the blue paint had gold glitter mixed in!


Monkey working on her first 4 reading words. She’s matching the words with the pictures.


Bug with her drawing of me. 🙂 If you look really closely, she also independently wrote (and spelled!) “mom”!


Bug looking at the insects in acrylic


Bug working on the pink tower.


In science, Monkey’s working on classifying and using senses to make observations. Here, she was sorting pictures of beans from biggest to smallest.


Bug, proud of her pink tower!


Jedi working on a texture collage….using found materials and scraps to create a collage or picture.


Bug and Monkey trying to figure out how many number rods tall they are. 🙂 Monkey is the tallest plus the smallest rod tall. Bug is the 2nd to the tallest rod tall.


Arranging the number rods longest to shortest.


Bug using various magnets to pick up iron filings and little iron pellets.


Each of the kids asked for garden beds this year so that they could garden along with me. So, I built each of the three kids a raised bed garden. They chose what to put in the gardens (they also mixed the various soil components). Bug’s here watering her garden!


Monkey using popsicle sticks to create triangles and quadrilaterals.


Bug looking at insect x-rays on her light table.


Later this week, I’ll have a post up for Monkey’s first week using Five in a Row.  I’ll also have a geography post up.



Jedi's week (or 4) in review November 23, 2011

First off, a huge happy 8th birthday to Jedi…I can’t believe that 8 years ago, Jedi was just a little tiny 6 lb 15 oz button of a baby.  Today, he is a wild, creative, spunky young man who loves Star Wars, reading, science, Mario Bros., and working with his Snap Circuits.  Happy birthday sweet baby boy…we love you!

And, since I’m like a month behind on Jedi’s posts, here’s just an overview of the major things he’s done over the past month…


In earth science, Jedi learned how most of Earth is made of water. We played a game where we tossed the globe ball back and forth, and calculated the percentage of time our right index finger was pointing to water. It turned out we only landed on land less than 30% of our throws!


In art, Jedi learned that calendars and magazines feature artwork as well. He made a calendar that counted down to his birthday.


In life science, we learned about arthropods and insects. Here, Jedi's observing the body structure of a pillbug.


Jedi also experimented with balloons to see if air takes up space and has mass.


In art, he also learned about how some artists painted on church walls and ceilings. To help reinforce the idea, we covered posterboard with plaster, and then Jedi painted a mini mural


In geography, Jedi learned about Stonehenge. I made some sand dough (clay with added sand for texture) and he recreated stonehenge. And then Bug recreated the destruction of Stonehenge when she flattened the entire thing when Jedi was at martial arts.


Observing insects in acrylic


Jedi working with the geo board


Jedi's geo board creation


Jedi also raised caterpillars to see the life cycle of a butterfly up close (this is the third time this year we've done this...he loves it so much). Unfortunately we had to travel during the last part of the life cycle so we couldn't wait until they laid new eggs.


Since we are going on vacation to central America next month, Jedi began learning about the countries we will be visiting (Mexico, Honduras, and Belize)


At our homeschool co-op, they had an "interest fair" during the end-of-the-session showcase. Jedi wanted to do a project on Mohenjo-Daro, which is one of his favorite things he learned about. Here, he's putting his posterboard together on the various things he learned.


Jedi then made some clay bricks and glued them to a diagram to illustrate the ruins of the city


Jedi at the interest fair with his project--ruins, the posterboard, and his 2 reports he wrote and typed (one on what Mohenjo-Daro was, and one about what he thinks happened to the city)


Jedi's new obsession--Snap Circuits. Well, not new--he's had them since he was 4. But over the past month, he's been working with them non-stop--even inventing new creations that weren't in the manual!


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 April 12, 2011

Monkey is 4 years 2 months old

This past week, we ended up doing several different nature studies as our main focus–we hit owls, birds, and insects!  Monkey loves learning about nature, so she really is drawn to nature-based activities.  Although, halfway through the “grosser” parts of the lessons, she decides to pretend things are a bit too gross.  She had me fooled thinking she wouldn’t touch the owl pellets, since she was walking around the room saying “I’m *not* touching owl puke!” over and over again.  Until I looked over and she was totally engrossed in dissecting her pellet and trying to match the bones to her bone chart!

Here are a few pictures from this week’s lessons…

Sorting animal cards into "feathers" or "fur", depending on their external body covering

Birds of Ohio 3 part cards

Close-up of the Birds of Ohio 3 part cards

Using the shoe tying puzzle

We added a bird and a nest to our spring tree!

Sorting birds into "birds that primarily walk on land", "birds that fly", and "birds that go in the water"

Working with the sandpaper letters

Feathers of various birds

Our Birds of Ohio and Owls of Ohio guidebook, and the Owls of Ohio soundtrack, all from our Department of Natural Resources

We also dissected owl pellets this week, and tried to figure out what animal the owls ate.

The replica of an owl's skull I had the kids observe

A couple of the books on the reading shelves for the insect unit

Insect X-Rays and matching cards

Lifecycle of a Bee and various insects in acrylic


Outdoor Hour Challenge: Our own backyard September 19, 2010

Filed under: Exploring Nature — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 7:02 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

This week’s nature challenge was to spend time exploring your own backyard.  Now, most people might think “eh, what nature is there in suburbia?  Well, besides mice.”  But, the kids and I spent about an hour just looking at the various bits of nature in our very own suburbian backyard.

We were having some nasty weather last week, with tornadoes hitting central Ohio. But after it was all over, this was left behind...

Caterpillar vs Spider. The caterpillar lost.

Some wildflowers

More wildflowers

The view from the backyard

As summer turns to autumn, our Queen Anne's Lace is turning to seed

More wildflowers

This little guy was building webs in the blackberry bushes

Another bunch of wildflowers

Just a couple months ago, these were tall, green, and full of the juiciest blackberries

Some purple berries on some really tall bushes--these are on the other side of the fence from us, but there are a whole lot of them in one grouping. And the plants are tall!

Some more plants seeding

More things from the neighbor's yard. These seeds look all nice and fluffy. But, once they spread, they make thorny plants right in our lawn. So these aren't my favorite.

A big spider--it's really pretty

Birds flying over the farm down the street

Some flowers in the front garden

More flowers in the garden

Fuzzy little caterpillar

More grass seeding

Jedi holding a toad

Closeup of the toad

View from the front yard--a million birds always come to eat the seeds, bugs, and grass

The nature explorers...Jedi (almost 7), Monkey (3 1/2), and Bitty Bug (20 months) And me. But you're not getting my age. 😉

Goofy children

My baby bug


Outdoor Hour Challenge…Grasshoppers August 27, 2010

Filed under: Exploring Nature — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 9:35 am
Tags: , , , ,

This week, we got up close and personal with grasshoppers.  Actually, maybe they got up close and personal with us–it seemed like everywhere we turned this week, there were a few hopping around us.  Every evening, we’d always find a bunch of smaller grasshoppers on our front porch–they were always about an inch in length, grass green, with a red patch on the back legs.

But then we’d also get these big ones…

We were driving the other day and this not-so-little guy hitched a ride on our car. He rode on our windshield until we could pull over and study him!

He was a big one too...about 3" long. And apparently pretty good at holding on to the windshield of a moving car! The kids all loved watching him, until he hopped away--straight onto a windshield of another parked car!

This was another 2 1/2-3" long grasshopper I found while I was weeding the garden. He let us hold him on a blade of grass for his photo session...

Once we were done, we let him down. At first, he only hopped about 12" away. But then we watched him leap about 10" at a time! It's amazing how far something with such tiny legs can jump!


And not grasshopper related, but an update on our butterflies!

Earlier this week, the caterpillars formed their chrysalids. As of this morning, a couple of them had turned dark black, which means they will be emerging within the next 24 hours!