Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

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! 😉

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. 😉

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

 

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!

 

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 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 November 8, 2010

Monkey is 3 years 9 months old

This week, we took a few days off to rest, enjoy the remaining days of early fall, and get some new work ready to go.  Towards the end of the week however, we were back in full swing!  This week, I added quite a few new Thanksgiving and Autumn themed work to transition us away from Halloeween and into the holiday season.  Monkey has also really really shown a strong interest in learning to write, so we are starting the sandpaper letters and and a few activities to bring her more to writing actual letters than shapes (she seems to be getting bored of tracing insets because what she really wants to do is write words.  However, she’s not really at the point of sounding out words at all…)

Another big addition for the week…today is Monkey’s first day of Vietnamese language lessons!  Since she was born in Vietnam, she is still showing a huge interest in Vietnamese culture–food, music, activities, and language.  We found a local college student who is from Hanoi who will be tutoring Monkey starting today!

Here are some pictures from this week’s lessons:

Monkey drew a line from one end of our driveway all the way down to the street. So, as long as we had this nice line, we practiced "walking the line" exercises!

Working with the Animals and their Families cards. Here, she’s sorting out “mother”, “father”, and “baby” for ducks, lions, bears, and sheep.

 

This work was something we downloaded and adapted from http://www.dltk-holidays.com. I printed the turkey, put the pieces of the body & tail together, laminated it, and then laminated each of the individual feather pieces. Using the picher grasp, Monkey put each color in a spot on the turkey’s tail.
We started working on color box 2 now. Monkey was excited to see more than 3 color options! LOL!

Working with the sandpaper numbers. As an added concrete lesson due to Monkey's processing issues, I put 1 red plastic leaf and 2 yellow plastic leaves out for her to count and match to the numbers.

 

Working more on her world map

Sandpaper letters (these aren't real sandpaper letters, but we already had these on hand from when we were teaching Jedi his letters. These have a rough texture for the letters just like sandpaper letters). We worked on M, A, and S (along with "motorcycle", "apple", and "star" for concrete reinforcement of the phonetic sounds)

Grating a bar of soap (apple cinnamon...it fit with the seasonal theme too! 😉 )

 
 
 

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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!

 

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.