Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Montessori Monday December 5, 2011

 

This will be our last school related set of posts for 2011.  We start our school year in June and work through most of the summer and fall so that we can take an extended winter break.  We are actually leaving for a trip to Florida, Mexico, Honduras, and Belize–we are so excited to have the opportunity to do that!  And of course, we’ll take the holidays off school as well.  We may do a little bit between Christmas and New Years, but Jedi has 600 hours of school completed already for the year, so we’re well ahead of schedule.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we’re completely done with learning.  We started doing the Teach Your Child to Read In 100 Easy Lessons with Monkey–it seems to be working a lot better than the Montessori methods with her autism.  We do that every single day of the week, and so we’re going to continue it even while on vacation.  I also still have work on the shelves, so while we’re home, there is plenty that we can do together (I recently moved our school room up to our formal living room so that we’re not in the basement during the cold part of the year.  It’s actually nice to have the school shelves up on our main living levels because we can do even more schoolwork throughout the day.

Here are some pictures from Bug & Monkey’s week in the schoolroom.

This was Bug's favorite work of the week--decorating a mini tree!

 

She did this work for hours!

 

The girls painting

 

Monkey really enjoys working with numbers, so we pulled out this work for her.

 

Practicing her M and S writing

 

Bug working with the wooden nativity

 

The clothespins had sparkly pom poms on them. Bug used these to decorate the felt tree

 

Using tweezers to put yellow yarn (hay) into the toilet paper roll manger.

 

Adding the clothespin "baby Jesus"

 

Monkey working with the Christmas Story cards

 

Holy Family 3 part cards

 

Close-up of the cards

 

Lacing Snowman

 

Using a spoon to scoop stars from one cup to the other

 

Bug working with the Christmas Story character cards

 

Gluing pom pom decorations to the paper tree

 

Monkey working with the Teen Board

 

We also celebrated our 100th day at homeschool by making 100-piece-trailmix. Each kid put 10 pieces of 10 different foods in their snack bowl--banana slices, marshmellows, popcorn, raisins, fruit nuggets, pretzels, dried cranberries, chocolate chips, pumpkin seeds, and cereal

 

Jedi making his trail mix

 

We have 2 Christmas trees in our house--a big one that is our main tree and this little tiny tree we had one year while living in an apartment waiting for our house to be built. The kids have free reign over decorating the little tree

 

Monkey using the Fisher Price nativity

 

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 January 24, 2011

Monkey is 3 years 11.5 months old

Monkey was back in the school room full force this week!  I’m amazed at how much Monkey attempts to do each session.  Although equally surprising is that she doesn’t choose what I thought she’d want to choose…she’s not really into the pink tower or the knobbed cylinders anymore, for example–she liked them a lot a few months ago, but as she heads closer to 4 years old, she seems to be picking work that requries more attention to smaller details–for example, she *loves* the work with the minerals.  And while she was very much into learning letter sounds and writing her name before Christmas break, now she seems to be more into the math works.  Part of me wonders if it’s just the natural learning process to skip from one thing to another and then come back to something, like writing, that they were interested in earlier.  But part of me wonders if holiday breaks make one forget what they were so interested in before break.  if so, we’ll have to fix it next year so that we’re spreading the school year out more and only taking a couple days off at a time for breaks instead of two weeks.  It also might be why children in tradition school seem to lose a bit of progress with major breaks…

Here are some pictures of what Monkey’s been working on this week….

Continuing with our unit on minerals, I made some 3 part cards witht he names of all of the minerals. For this week, I only put out the control cards so Monkey can match the mineral with the picture, but later I'll put out the other parts of the set. On the back of the 3 part cards are descriptions of each mineral, what the mineral is used for, and whether the mineral is found in Ohio.

I put out a snowman lacing work this week as well. This work is courtesy of Musings of Me (http://thoughtsofesme.blogspot.com/). She comes up with the best themed units every month...I always look forward to what she comes up with!

We also worked on learning the parts of a fish this week, as we start our work on vertebrates.

We also worked on naming some animals that are vertebrates. I got out some of our animal x-rays so that Monkey can see what the backbones on various animals look like.

Bug so graciously let us use her light table for the x-ray work, which made for a really cool science lesson!

I *love* this entire book series--we have most of the series. I brought out the books that focused on vertebrates so the girls can see the bone structure of the animals.

Bug and Monkey looking through more of the science books.

This month, we are studying the art of John Constable. I printed out a few of his works, and then printed out some coloring sheets so that Monkey can color her own versions of John Constable's paintings.

We also worked on sorting which clothing items one would wear in each season. This is especially useful for my little one who thinks she doesn't really need to wear a coat when it's 10 degrees outside!

 

Montessori Monday December 13, 2010

Jedi is 7 years 0 months old, Monkey is 3 years 10 months old, Bitty Bug is 22.5 months old

Last week was one of those incredibly busy weeks, as those early weeks in December tend to be.  We had holiday visitors over this weekend, Tang Soo Do belt testing for Jedi and me (Monkey is doing her belt testing on Wednesday), and some sharp winter weather has hit Ohio hard. 

Jedi was home from school today because of the winter weather (you might remember that Jedi isn’t homeschooled at this current point, as it is not the best arrangement for him.  Sometime in the future he might be though!  He does attend an awesome Montessori school though).  So, Jedi decided he wanted to come join us today, even though the work is geared towards preschool and toddler…he took the work and made his own extensions though!  It’s nice when he’s home and decides to work with the girls because he gives the unique experience of the only person in the house who has actually completed the first three year cycle of Montessori work!

Here are some pictures from this past week:

I put out a keys and locks work this week.  I tried to find 4 different colored locks with matching keys because I had originally intended for Bug to work with this.  But Monkey loved it a lot!

Jedi working with the Lake and Island landform trays

With one of the continent boxes

Monkey also decided to work with the continent boxes

Transferring foam snowflakes with tongs

Monkey and Bug sorting seeds (I have sunflower and pumpkin seeds, mung beans, and white beans on the tray)

Using the winter matching cards

Musings of Me has this darling large gingerbread figure on her site, and I printed it, cut it out, laminated it, and punched holes around the perimeter of it to make a Christmas lacing work. Here's the link to her whole gingerbread curriculum: http://thoughtsofesme.blogspot.com/2010/11/gingerbread.html

This is another wonderful work from Musings of Me--Christmas shapes! Monkey would take a card that had a Christmas object on it, and then use various shapes to replicate the picture.

Can you tell I've been busy with my printer and laminator this week? I also downloaded Musings of Me's holiday patterning cards. Monkey still has a bit of a hard time with patterns, but she really enjoys trying them.

And the gingerbread counting work (can you guess where I got it from? I think here is a good place to say THANK YOU to Musings of Me for putting up an awesome free gingerbread themed Montessori unit! Monkey worked with it a ton this week (and Jedi's currently lacing the large gingerbread as I'm typing this!)

Using the Melissa & Doug bead sequencing set. I really really like this work. It makes Monkey think, a lot--especially since there is no set pattern. She really has to look at the card and concentrate on finding the right shape and color.

 

Montessori Monday November 1, 2010

Monkey is 3 years 8 months old

This week, Monkey’s concentration was a bit short…but part of me thinks it’s because she knew the Halloween party was coming up and she was excited.  Instead of our usual 3 hour blocks in the school room, we were only down there for 2 hours at a time this week because she was losing focus and wanted to do other things that weren’t in the school room.  However, she did do a lot of good work during her shorter periods.  One thing that I’m noticing is that she’s starting to develop a huge interest in writing…especially her name.  She doesn’t have any letter recognition yet, but I think we’re going to start moving forward with more pre-writing and writing things while she has this interest. 

T@rget has a fantastic stock of wooden Montessori-inspired toys in their dollar spot this week. One of them is this cool counting snail. It's very similar to our alphabet dragon!

Another of our finds is this animal matching box.

The third find was these lacing shapes.

And our 4th and final find was this beading set!

Monkey is still working a lot on her colors. She's still having problems naming them, but is able to match them really well. I found this awesome set on 1+1+1=1--it has the color, word, and objects to match.

Monkey loves to do the knobless cylinder extensions. Right now, she matches them up right on the cards, but soon, we're going to be moving towards making the extension next to the card.

We've also been working on sequencing and patterning. One thing I've noticed is that when the pattern is something like "object a, object b, object c, object a, object b, ____ _____ _____", she will but a, b, and c in order for the 3 blanks instead of C, A, B like it should be. So, I think she's getting the concept, but soon I think she'll get the part about continuing where the pattern leaves off.

Monkey's also been big on writing her name. She has been trying to write her namem everywhere lately, even though she doesn't have any sort of letter recognition yet. So, I printed and laminated a card with her first name on it--she does really well copying the name card.

Making a horizontal pattern with the pink tower, and then building the tower vertically.

We started working with just a few shapes from the geometric cabinet. I had her take out the piece, trace the outline, trace the piece, and then put the piece back in the outline.

Monkey and Bug were making spiders for the Halloween party. To do this, we cut an egg carton into 12 pieces. Then I punched 8 holes into each piece. I cut black pipe cleaners in half, and then Monkey threaded the pipe cleaner throw one hole and then through the whole on the opposite face of the carton piece. We did that with 4 pipe cleaners, to make 8 legs.

Using a spatula to flip various lids. She started out using her hands and I casually mentioned that it's like flipping hamburgers in a pan. She then stopped using her hand...she said she didn't want her fingers burnt. LOL!