Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Montessori Monday January 12, 2011

Monkey is 3 years 11 months old

This was our first week back in the schoolroom since before the holidays, and Monkey was able to jump right back into things with no problem at all!  I didn’t bring out many new works this week because I wanted her to be able to review some of the things we did over the past few months.  It’s actually kind of amazing how much she was into the basics when I took away all of the “special” holiday-themed lessons!  She didn’t seem to miss them at all (I’m not sure if I should be happy that she can easily go back to the basic works, or sad because those special lessons take so long to develop! LOL!)

Here are a few pictures from the past week (please remember that I’m no longer posting pictures of the children that make them easily identifiable due to this blog being so public.  :-/ )

We started a unit on the solar system this week. The first lesson was on the sun. Because my universe set doesn't have a sun in it, I had to make this one out of a foam craft ball.

One of the girls' new puzzles. This one sorts by color and shape! It's actually fairly difficult for all three of the kids (although Jedi obviously gets it after a little work!)

Working with the locks & keys

Working with the screwdriver boards

I found these neat sequencing cards at T@rget. There are quite a few of them in the box, with each set having 3 pieces (beginning, middle, & end)

Exploring minerals with a magnifying glass, and matching them with the control card

Reviewing the three sandpaper letters she was working on before break

Matching the geometric solids with their bases

Working with matching textures, while blindfolded!

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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.

 

Montessori Monday October 24, 2010

Monkey is 3 years 8 months old

This week, we had another batch of new work out.  Monkey is really getting into the geography work now that the sandpaper globe and landform cards are out.  She is also really loving the pre-writing work.  She likes the pin punch work a lot!  She has really good control with the stylus and is so careful making the dots!

Another fun thing we got to do this week is make vanilla extract using fresh vanilla beans!  I poured the liquor into the jars, but both girls had fun putting the beans in the jars, and then shaking the mixture!

A new thing we put out this week is the yoga basket. It has a couple yoga mats in it, as well as some laminated pictures of children doing yoga poses. Monkey will get out 4-6 cards, lay them in a row, and then do the sequence, with a couple deep breaths during each pose.

Using the land form cards and the sandpaper globe

Coloring the world map (the water is colored blue and the land is colored brown). I colored a control card and laminated it so that she had something to make the world self-correcting.

Starting to use the metal insets. She didn't want to sit up at the table to do it though, which is something she should probably work towards doing soon. But for now this was her writing pose of choice.

Monkey really liked working with the spelling toy I put down on the shelves. We've had this one for quite awhile, but it was packed up when we moved, and it took a long time for me to unpack it again! She really enjoyed working with it though, so it will stay out on the shelves for now.

The ingredients for vanilla sugar and vanilla extract (yeah, not sure there are too many homeschoolers that get to work with vodka and rum during lessons. 😉 But, the end product will be really good, I'm sure!

Bug putting the vanilla bean into the jar of sugar.

Shaking the jar.

Putting the beans into the liquor for extract.

More beans going into the jars of liquor.

 

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.

 

Tot School Tuesday September 28, 2010

      Tot School

Bitty Bug is 20.5 months old

Bitty Bug continued her fierce independent streak this week.  She’s at the stage where not only does she want to do everything herself, but when she wants something, she wants it *right now*.  Poor Monkey is usually at the brunt of that one–every time Monkey has something to play with, Bug thinks it’s so interesting that she has to take it from her then and there. 

And of course, this independent streak has lead to some not-so-fun events….  For example, ever since she’s started solids, she’s sat in a booster seat at the dining room table.  At 12 months old, we took the tray off the booster seat and pulled her up to the table.  When she’s finished, we take her out of the chair.  Sounds fine, right?  Until recently.  She decided that now, when she’s done, she will stand up and wait for someone to get her.  We tried to nip that in the bud, but it didn’t work–strapping her into the chair made it worse because then she’d pull herself out of the straps.  This week, she stood up in her chair and so I ran over to get her…but before I could get there, she’d tried to jump down herself and had fallen head first out of the chair (and I was only sitting about 10 feet away from her…it happened that quickly). 😦  It was really scary to see, but she’s ok, thank goodness.  But that was the end of the booster seat at the table thing…something that worked so well for the first two children did not work quite so well for Bug. 

So, this week, we introduced the children’s table.  Now, I will be the first to admit that the idea did not sit well with me at first.  I like everyone eating at the same table…I don’t like children segregated to their own table.  But, when the choice was between that, getting a high chair for the first time, or risking another nasty fall, we went with the children’s table idea.  In the dining room, we put a smaller table next to the regular table.  And it’s worked well!  Bug is so happy with her new table (Monkey choses to sit with her as well).  She can get up and down independently, AND she actually sits longer and eats more at her small table than she ever did at the regular table.  Preparing her environment with child-sized furniture and allowing her the choice of how long to sit at the table, and giving her the independence to get up and down increased the amount of time she actually sat.  In her booster, she’d sit for about 5 minutes, pick at a few bites, and then cry to get down.  Now, she’ll sit through an entire meal happily.  I think that a lot of the time, even the smallest kiddos cry out for some independence and choices, and when allowed to make those choices and be a bit independent, the results can be very good!  So, that was a very positive result from having a prepared environment.

The table setup--a small table with a little rug underneath and two chairs. And actually, the chairs aren't really chairs--we could not find any child sized chairs during our quick trip out, but I did find these storage ottomans. These actually work very well because I can store the spare little rug, bibs, napkins, etc. in them.

Eating her taco

This basket sits in the corner (along with a picture series that shows the process of table washing). The spray bottle is filled with water, white vinegar, and lemon juice. There's a small duster and dustpan in it for crumbs, along with the spray bottle, towel, and wash cloth. Monkey and Bug are excited when they get to wash their own table after meals.

 

And a review of Bug’s other work this week:

Bug loved the Sock Monkey Jack-in-the-box. We bought this for her before she was born, and now she really loves it. Every time we put the monkey back in, she says "bye bye monkey!"

Here, Bug's transferring little glass beads with an Asian soup spoon

Bug was really good at using the tea set! She only let one of the cups overflow before she learned to stop before it gets to the top.

Bug and her daddy with the hand bells

Pouring water with creamer pitchers

Bug was using the whole hand movement to transfer the fruits and veggies between the baskets. We also worked on naming all of them. She's really good at naming the apple. 🙂

Whisking a bowl of sand

But was so excited to sprinkle the glitter on her glue (she's making the Asian dragon dance dragon that was in yesterday's Montessori Monday post)

After a long day at work, apparently it was nap time. Under a shelf. Silly child.

 

Montessori Monday September 13, 2010

Monkey is 3 years 7 months old

This was our second full week of homeschooling, and Monkey’s really starting to get into the routine of it all!  Every day she asks to go down to the homeschool room, which is fabulous!  She’s also really starting to focus on her work as well.  It’s really nice to see. 

Monkey also had a new change this week too…it was the first week of her homeschooling co-op classes.  She takes two classes with the local homeschool co-op, which gives her the experience of working in group settings with other preschool aged children and gives her an opportunity to socialize.  The classes are once a week for three hours.  One is a montessori class and one is a general preschool class.  Everyone in the classes are homeschoolers.  Monkey *really* enjoyed her classes for the first week and did wonderfully!  We’re so happy to have found our co-op, which continues all the way through high school.

And now for our week in review….

Monkey and Bitty Bug getting ready for the first day of co-op

Working on the velcro, snap, and large button dressing frames

Using a sponge to transfer water from one bowl to the other.

Sorting nature objects by color. We also worked on isolating a few colors using three part lessons to reinforce the names of the colors.

Beading wooden beads onto lanyard laces

So proud of her necklace!

Making crafts with recycled art supplies. Each of these supplies was left over from other crafts, or they are recycled objects. Monkey put some of the objects together for a new craft.

 

Montessori Monday September 6, 2010

Monkey is 3 years 7 months old

Monkey had a busy week in her homeschool room!  So I’ll just go straight to the pictures since there are so many.  But, also, stay tuned for a quasi-unit theme coming up in the next couple weeks.  Because Monkey is Vietnamese, we also celebrate Vietnamese holidays.  September 22nd is Tet Trung Thu, which is the Mid-Autumn Festival.  The Mid-Autumn festival is generally a Children’s Celebration, so for the week leading up to Tet Trung Thu, we’re going to do a lot with Vietnamese culture…including basket mask painting, lantern making, etc.  So, be on the look-out for that post in a couple weeks!  And I say it’s a quasi-unit theme because I’m going to still stick with Montessori as a way to help her learn it, so it’s not like it will be strictly themactic units.

This coming week will bring a couple new changes as well when Monkey starts her homeschool co-op classes.  She’s in a Montessori class and a general preschool class in the co-op–it meets one day a week.  She also has activities with another homeschool group this week, as well as her usual Tang Soo Do martial arts class and gymnastics class.  So, it’s one busy week for her!

And now on to this week in review…

To help with the the beginning math concept of each number corresponding to an item, Monkey worked on filling an egg carton with large pom poms

In practical life, Monkey spooned rubber pom poms into a small muffin tin

In sensorial, Monkey used Color Box 1, matching the colors. We also isolated the red one using the 3 part lesson to help reinforce the name "red" with the color. Because of Monkey's processing issues, she has difficulties naming her colors, but if I ask her to give me a particular color, she can do it.

In a practical life/geology crossover, Monkey tonged small rocks from one bowl to the other.

For language (getting ready to write), Monkey did some beading with large beads.

She was so proud of the necklace she made!

For sensorial, Monkey worked with the 1st Knobbed Cylinder Block

She also worked on the velcro dressing frame in practical life

Monkey was so excited when she finished the Cubes & Cards work this week!

Monkey worked with the brown stairs in sensorial. She is really getting proficient in self-correction! If something was in the wrong order, she was able to see the error and correct it pretty quickly.

Both girls worked with crayons and colored pencils this week

Posing for a picture after completing the pink tower

Using an eye dropper to transfer water from the pitcher to the little dish.

Using the baster to transfer water

Beading beads on pipe cleaners

Showing off her bracelet

Using the snapping dressing frame

Transferring & pouring water

In geography, Monkey worked with primitive mapping by copying a very simple map using a sand tray