Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Montessori Monday October 4, 2011

 

Here is the weekly review of Bug and Monkey’s week in the Montessori room!

Monkey working on a sewing activity. She had to "sew" the clothes onto the teddy bear by lacing the shoelace through the holes.

I put out some fall themed play dough this week--this one is dark orange with gold glitter and cinnamon in it.

 

Bug putting the plastic fall leaf trinkets into the holes on the ice cube tray

 

Close-up of the tray

 

Bug trying to imitate the picture on the book

 

Monkey received her official diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (with an addition learning disability). As part of her autism, she has a very difficult time with naming emotions, and with emotional regulation. This week, I developed this work to help her learn the names for the emotions. I took the book "The Way I Feel" and created cards of all the feelings using pictures of real children. Then Monkey matches the card with the page while we read the book.

 

Monkey matching the cards.

 

I also made a second set of cards with those emotions that Monkey generally has difficulty with in her own life. These are kept in a basket on the main level of the house so she can choose a card to describe her feelings.

 

Monkey has a big problem with aggression and rages, so I also pulled out one of Jedi's old tubs of theraputty and put it in the feelings basket. When Monkey is feeling very angry, she can go to the basket, pull out the "angry" card and the putty (which she calls "angry putty" ) and work with the putty to help her calm down. It's a very firm putty, and stretching/pulling/twisting/hitting it seems to help her calm down.

 

The "Please Touch" table for the next couple weeks--various samples of leaves with their seeds.

 

Some more of the leaves and seeds.

 

Creating fall leaves out of coffee filters. I cut small leaf shapes out of coffee filters. Then I gave Bug & Monkey little jars of water & food coloring (one jar has yellow and one jar has orange), and some eye droppers.

 

After the leaves were dry, I taped them to some construction paper branches and hung it on our back door. I love how the sun shines through it!

 

Bug doing her new favorite thing...snipping paper.

 

A sound matching work. I put four pairs of bells from our handbell sets on a tray along with a blindfold. The kids then matched the bells by sound.

 

Bug thought it would be an awesome thing to take out all of the knobbed cylinders....

 

Monkey jumped in to help once Bug realized it wasn't the best idea to take all of the cylinders out at once and put them in one big pile...

 

Have a great week everyone!

 

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"...it has various objects that you might find in the forest--bark, acorns, bird egg, cocoon, porcupine quill, etc.

 

Dot painting...one 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 June 27, 2011

Monkey is 4 years 4 months old

 

Since this past week was the start of summer, we changed the Spring Tree to a Summer Tree.

Bug putting leaves on the tree as well.

The finished tree

Monkey practicing writing the names of animals.

Using the knobbed cylinders--this was her first time using all four at once.

Monkey was working on being able to retell a story. She is really into the princess stories right now, so she worked on a felt board of Sleeping Beauty.

Monkey is making patterns with the pattern beads.

We were talking about spiders this week, so the girls made spider web paintings. We coated a marble with white paint and then rolled it around on black paper.

Here, she was putting together the alphabet dragon. She recognized every letter and put them in order without help!

Pin punching the China puzzle piece

Making Chinese fans out of popsicle sticks and construction paper.

Monkey's final product!

 

Montessori Monday & Toddler Tuesday, a little late February 2, 2011

 Tot School

Monkey is 3 years, 11.5 months old, Bitty Bug is 24 months old

I’m a bit late posting our review this week….not only have we been really busy, but the weather’s been pretty bad so we were dealing with the weather issues as well.  But everyone’s safe, we have electricity & heat, and all’s good. 🙂

Our two main school things this week were a field trip with our homeschool group to complete a gingerbread themed unit and then our Vietnamese culture day we hosted for the homeschool group.  Those two things kept our girls quite busy!

The gingerbread unit was really fun, and was put together by our local friends, who write the blog The Attached Mama.  There were several books available that had a gingerbread theme (including my favorite, Gingerbread Baby!).  The kids also decorated a foam gingerbread boy, and of course, afterwards, they ate their own gingerbread boy!  The craft was very good for fine motor skills–both of my little ones loved designing their gingerbread boy, and then putting all of the decorations on piece by piece.

The second event was the Vietnamese culture day.  This week is Tet, or the Vietnamese New Year (which is the same day as the Chinese New Year).  Because Monkey was born in Vietnam, we decided to host a lesson on Tet, as well as bringing out our items we bought in Vietnam so that the kids can explore, experience, and use various items to help them develop an awareness and appreciation for Vietnamese culture.

Here are some pictures of our fun learning week!

Bug designing her gingerbread and putting the decorations on

Monkey putting the decorations on her gingerbread! I loved that she used a ribbon for the mouth.

Some Vietnamese dolls, laquerwear, fans, nesting dolls, and a brochure for the war prison that John McCain was held captive in.

Some of the books I had out for the kids to read.

A conical hat and picture book (as well as the photograph of the red bridge that we always have hanging there)

Water puppets

The book Ten Mice for Tet, which is a cute little story about Tet.

Vietnamese currency (Dong)

Some music CDs I had playing in the background

Some postcards and photos of Hanoi

Some Ao Dais (traditional Vietnamese formal clothing)

Some musical instruments I had out for the kids to try

The dragon craft I had out for the kids to do.

The "Lucky Money" red envelopes and some fans the kids took home

Summer Rolls for the kids to eat (I also made some Pho Ga for the kids to have for lunch...Pho Ga is Vietnamese chicken noodle soup)

And just a random picture of Bug working with the knobbed cylinders

 

Tot School Tuesday December 21, 2010

Tot School

Bitty Bug is 23 months old

This week, Bitty Bug was finally able to enjoy the snow.  I’m pretty sure this is her first winter where she can actually go out and play and enjoy the season–last year, she was still a little baby and wasn’t walking well.  This year though…she’s out digging in the snow, and sledding, and of course, having her first taste of freshly fallen snow.  That was one of the highlights of the week…she took one bite, gave an odd look because it was so cold, and then started shoveling fists full of snow into her mouth.  That girl…

Here’s a review of the week…

Bug, still enjoying the locks & keys work

Bug took all of the little gems out of the sensory bin and one by one dropped them into the clear container. She really concentrates for long periods of time when it comes to putting tiny things in containers...

Bug also loved doing the knobbed cylinders this week. She worked on these a lot, and is now really good at figuring out that she put a cylinder in the wrong compartment, even if the size difference is really small.

Bug received this Plan Toys garden for Christmas (to go with the PT dollhouse she's getting for her birthday). This is actually really good as a peg board-type activity...each little veggie fits into the little holes. It requires a good pincher grasp and good eye-hand coordination to get it just right.

Playing out in the snow. At first, she was not exactly sure how she was supposed to be walking on this slippery snow in such a puffy get-up...

Digging in the snow

Not even snow, ice, and temperatures in the 20's will keep this child off her plasma car though. She *loves* this thing and drives it around the neighborhood every chance she gets.

Off into the sunset...

 

Montessori Monday, plus a few more homemade works October 11, 2010

Monkey is 3 years 8 months old

Last week, we weren’t in the homeschooling room very much at all, due to a very busy week.  However, that doesn’t mean Monkey wasn’t learning! 

Here, Monkey's using tweezers to transfer silk leaves from one basket to another.  I'm pretty sure this leaf is flying away in the picture.

Monkey is sorting pictures into "Land", "Water", and "Air"

Building a tower with the yellow knobless cylinders

Jedi decided to do a little work over the weekend too--he's using the hammering work. There are little tacks that are used to hammer the shapes to the cork.

It was also a big week for Monkey out of the school room. She has been doing gymnastics since she could walk--she started at 11 months old and has never stopped. She *loves* it and has a natural talent for it. The first day she walked out on the mats, she went right to the preschool bar, pulled herself up, and then tucked her toes up on the bar. She has gone to 3 different gyms and all 3 of her coaches says that she has a natural talent. We recently started at a new gym (last month), and after a month, they have recommended that she leaves the preschool class, skips the advanced preschool, and go straight to the pre-competative team. She won't be competing this young, but it's for the advanced children who will likely start competing within a couple years. The class is twice as long (an hour long) and it teaches a lot of skills that are too advanced for the typical 3-4 year old class. We're so proud of Monkey!!

Here is the geometric board I made this weekend. I basically found a finished piece of wood at our local craft store, and hammered a bunch of nails into it (not all the way through--you don't want the ends poking out the bottom). Then the children can take rubber bands and stretch them around the nails to form shapes.

Monkey working with the geometric board.

One of the new works coming out this week. I printed out 11 copies of a picture of pumpkin vines. Then I wrote a number from 0-10 on each one. Then the child counts out enough foam pumpkins so that the number of pumpkins in the patch matches the number written on the side.

 

Montessori Monday October 4, 2010

Monkey is 3 years 8 months old

This week, Monkey started her venture into beginning reading.  She’s nowhere near ready to actually start reading, but we introduced 3 part cards.  With 3 part cards, she had to match words (without actually being able to read what it said).  She was very fast with this–should could match words just by looking at them for a second!  It was really impressive to watch!

Sorting plastic autumn leaves by color.

Sorting little models of squash into "big" and "little".

Here, Monkey is using tweezers to put one small bead into every dent on the snail tray. She kept saying it was too hard, but she did it perfectly every time!

Close-up of the tweezer work.

Building a tower with the red knobless cylinders.

Monkey's first try with the 3 part cards. This set had "tree", "flower", "vine", "grass", and "leaf" in it.

Matching the 3 part cards for parts of an apple tree.

Monkey was learning sequencing with this work. One set of cards was seed-sprout-flower and the other set was mixing-baking-decorated cake.

More work with the compass. This week, she added south, east, and west to her repitoire.