Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

It’s been awhile! June 20, 2010

Goodness, I apologize for the lack of posts.  Things just got very busy around here, very fast.  Jedi’s out of school for the summer and our days have been filled with almost daily field trips, some Montessori stuff (it’s awesome to have Jedi home during the days to work in the room with Monkey and Bitty Bug!), and we’ve also been working a lot on landscaping.  Honestly, that’s been taking up a huge amount of time–there’s only a small window of time during the year to do new plantings, and with a newly built house, landscaping becomes quite the task!

I do plan on starting up posting again, at least a few times a week!  We’ve been going on so many great trips and enjoying the outdoors, and it’d be nice to document those as well!  In the past few weeks, the kids have pet flamingos at the zoo, came face to face with zebras and giraffes at a safari animal conservation center, went strawberry picking, visited farmer’s markets, and went to the lake (for swimming…but they also observed minnows and shells). 

We’ve been doing quite a bit in the montessori room as well.  One of the big things we’ve been trying to work on with Monkey is colors–she has a very hard time identifying the names of the colors, but she can sort them just fine.  I’m not quite sure how to help her with this (she has some processing issues that make understanding words a bit difficult for her.  She’s always had delays in speech & language because of her selective mutism and other special needs, and verbal processing is one of the last things she’s developing).  I did get her a “colors of nature” work where she sorts various animal figures and plant figures into the primary colors.  She does pretty well with this (and Bitty Bug joined in…she hasn’t quite gotten it yet, but it’s interesting to watch her none-the-less.  She definitely doesn’t sort, but she does carefully observe each piece–more on that in a second…).  I do have to research some ideas on helping her get the names of the colors as well…three part nomenclature cards won’t quite work yet as she’s not ready for letter identification just yet.  If there are other Montessorians out there who have worked with children who have processing issues, or if you have an idea for me, please do let me know!

Back to Bitty Bug and her little things obsession.  This child *loves* tiny things.  She will pick up every rock, shell, piece of carpet fuzz, you name it.  And then she will observe every single inch of it.  It is really quite interesting to watch.  She enjoys going to the lake for this very reason…there are so many tiny little pebbles and shells for her to pick up and observe.  She definitely will have an eye for detail, that’s for sure! 

And here are a few pictures from the past few weeks…

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Seeds, rocks, and birds! May 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 9:04 am
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Monkey’s decided that this week, she wanted to spend a lot of time outdoors exploring the world. Hey, fair enough! I won’t ever argue that one. She started the week observing the seeds she planted in the pot during Earth Week. They are about 2″ tall now, and so she was very excited about that. She can’t wait to plant them in her garden plot next week.

She also went on a rock hunt, which wasn’t a very hard prospect considering we just built our house and there are still a ton of construction rocks here. 🙂 She found several big ones that she wants to paint for her garden, so we’ll probably do that next week. She also found a ton of smaller ones. We talked about sizes, colors, texture, and the different shapes. She also noticed that some of the rocks had little sparkles in it. Next week we’ll use the rocks for transferring exercises, weighing them on the scale to find which ones are heavy and which are light, counting, and using the magnifying glass.

And the last of her nature projects for the week was to color a bird feeder to hang up over her garden plot. She loved doing it, and she loved even more when the birds actually started coming to eat! Her favorite was a bright yellow finch. We’re going to have to start some bird observation journals to help with counting and colors. She loves to watch the birds!

 

Nature class day March 11, 2010

Filed under: Exploring Nature,Family updates,Field trips,Preschool — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 8:35 pm
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Two Thursdays a month, Monkey has a nature science class at our local arboretum, so in addition to our normal Montessori stuff, we went to her class as well.  The class today was about Owls.  The teacher read a couple stories about owls and then showed all the kids what is inside of an owl pellet.  They also got to pet a stuffed owl (not a stuffed toy…a real owl that was stuffed after it died.  Kind of gross, but she thought it was soft. LOL!).  Then they made an owl puppet by coloring a paper with an owl face on it, then cutting it out and gluing it to a brown paper bag.  Monkey actually did really well with this.  Usually she avoids going near any of the other kids (due to her RAD), but she really wanted some of the crayons, so she actually sat in the circle.

After the class, Monkey, Bitty Bug and I went out for a brief nature walk in the arboretum.  It’s still a bit (ok, a lot) muddy out, so we had to cut it short when the baby fell in the mud and got wet.  She insists on walking everywhere, but isn’t very steady walking in the mud.

At home, Monkey worked on several things.  I left out the paper snipping since she loved it so much.  She needs more practice in the dry pouring, but she was bored with the rice and seeds, so this time I put in some Shamrock Confetti for St. Patrick’s Day.  She thought that was pretty fun, even though she made a mess with it the first time being a little over-excited about the confetti. 🙂

For color matching and sorting, I put out some flower shaped foam pieces in spring colors.  She did this perfectly!  For tonging, I put the spring colored pom poms out for her.  I also kept out the yellow knobless cylinders, the color books, and sink vs float.  I’ve been changing the items in the sink vs float…she was very interested in the fact that a pipe cleaner crumbled into a ball will sink, but a pipe cleaner stretched out into a line will float!  Actually, Jedi came home and was amazed by that too–he said the pipe cleaner ball was so light that he thought it would float.  He tried a cotton ball, which sank too.  We decided that’s why you shouldn’t wear cotton swim suits…the cotton ball absorbed so much water that it was really heavy!

Next week, we’ll be a bit “homeschool lite” because we’re starting the moving process!  It should take us about 2 weeks to get in the house and start unpacking enough that we can continue with school.  We will still be doing stuff of course, but probably not as much.

 

The end of last week, plus today…. March 8, 2010

Filed under: Exploring Nature,Family updates,Preschool,Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 10:52 pm
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I wasn’t able to get back in here to finish updating about last week.  I brought out playdough for Monkey to play with and she really liked that.  She also practiced spreading by spreading sunflower seed butter on rice crackers.  She *loved* this, but she seems to really love anything that involves preparing her own snacks or meals.  Monkey’s always loved cooking though!

All in all, the first week seemed to go over pretty well.  The biggest thing I learned is that Bitty Bug really wants to do everything Monkey does…not similar but toned down for toddlers–the *exact* same thing.  So for this coming week, I’ve tried to create work for Bitty Bug that are pretty much replicas of what Monkey is doing, except scaled down so that Bitty Baby can carry them.  Not really quite what she should be doing, as it skips right over what toddlers are supposed to be learning at 13 months old, but as long as she is this interested, I’m going to let her do it.

So today, Bitty Baby had very similar work set out.  The first thing Monkey wanted to do was the floating vs sinking work I put out–a dishtub of water and a bowl of small items.  Monkey put the items in the water and had to say whether they sank or floated.  She actually did really well with this!  After she correctly identified floating and sinking, I let her continue to explore the  concept.  I gave Bitty Baby a smaller tub of water with a couple bath toys in it for her to explore.  She did really well with this until she also decided that she wanted to learn about gravity…water all over the floor.  Oops.  But, she thought that was really fun too. 😉

Monkey and Bitty Baby also worked with easter colored pom poms.  Monkey worked on sorting them by color and Bitty Baby worked on transferring with a pincer grasp from one dish to another.  I was surprised about how well Monkey did with this since she seems to have a very hard time with colors.  She was able to sort them by color perfectly though. 

Monkey and Bitty Baby both worked on pouring roasted pumpkin seeds (I wanted something that was prepared to eat because I knew Bitty Baby would start eating the work….and she did).  Monkey seems to be getting bored with pouring, but she also hasn’t mastered it. She only works with it for a few minutes before putting it up.

The reading basket today had books on St Patrick’s Day.  I read them to Monkey, and was pleased that when we went to the library this afternoon, she was able to talk about the symbols of St. Patricks Day when she saw a display in the library.  She had remembered what she read!

For a craft, Monkey is working on putting shamrock stickers on a cardboard shamrock, and then coloring it with various shades of green colored pencils.

Both kids worked on the Pink Tower.  Monkey almost has mastered the initial presentation–there are only two blocks that she gets out of order.  Bitty Baby is presented with only 5 blocks at a time (every other block) and has fun stacking them up.  She doesn’t get them in size order, but she is getting better at stacking 3 or 4 of them at a time.

At the end of the work period, the girls and I went out to play.  It was an odd day where there was still snow on the ground, but it was over 50 degrees.  It’s not too often that you get to play in the snow without a coat on.  LOL!  It was nice to finally see the sun after a long winter.

(And since Jedi doesn’t get to make many appearances in the blog since he spends all day at his Montessori school and martial arts lessons, I did want to add that Jedi is doing wonderfully with reading.  He’s reading fairly long words now.  We’re so proud of the little guy because just a few months ago, he still was having trouble with sounds, and now he’s reading books!)

 

Welcome to our blog! February 28, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 5:14 pm
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Thank you for dropping by our blog!  This blog is primarily going to be about our adventures in homeschooling Montessori-style.  But, I also plan on blogging about cooking (we are egg, dairy, gluten, nut, artificial color & flavors, trans fat, and refined sugar free!), the earth (we love teaching our kids to enjoy nature and to care for it), and the fun field trips we go on with the kids.

We have three kids.  The oldest is 6 years old and has asperger’s syndrome (a form of autism).  He attends a Montessori school and is in kindergarten.  He loves doing Martial Arts (he is working towards an orange belt in mixed martial arts and is just starting out as a white belt in Tang Soo Do).  He’s a huge Star Wars fan, so for this blog, he’ll be known as Jedi. 

 Our middle child is 3 years old.  She was adopted from Vietnam in 2007.  She is our first one to be homeschooled, and she’ll be working at a preschool level (starting her first year in the 3 year Montessori Children’s House sequence).  She’s also an aspiring gymnast and is obsessed with it!  She’s been taking lessons since she was 11 months old.  For this blog, she’ll be known as Monkey. 

Our  youngest is 13 months old.  She’s a smiley curious little one, and is already running and climbing (and loves to trying to keep up with her older siblings).  In this blog, she’ll be known as Bitty Bug (LOL…probably just Bug as she gets older. 😀 ).  She’ll be doing some toddler-based Montessori activities as well.