Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

First week, in review June 13, 2012

Last week was our first week back into the schoolroom.  The kids all transitioned back into the homeschooling routine really easily…thank goodness for shorter (but more frequent!) breaks than the traditional school year.  There was no summer brain drain, no problems getting them to do their work, etc.

Monkey was very excited to get started, as it was going to be her first day of kindergarten!  Although, by the end of the first day, she was very disappointed that she did not learn to read full out chapter books on the first day…she only learned 4 words. 😉

Here are some pictures from the kids’ first week.  This year, I’ll probably just try to combine a sample from all three kids into the same post.  Occasionally, I’ll pull out one specific project and do a more in-depth post later on in the week.  I will probably separate out the Five in a Row stuff too, just so that all of the books have their projects in one area.  I just learned last year that it was too difficult keeping up with a weekly post about each child’s work.

The day before we started schooling for the year, I gave Jedi a project that would require him to think. He does really well after focusing on a project, like a big lego kit. I think that kind of concentration really helps clear his mind and regulate his body and mind. Since his latest obsession is Titanic, I got him a model of the ship to put together.

 

He did really well! It took him just over a day, and he put it together with very little adult help!

 

Bug working on a “parts of an insect” puzzle.

 

The three kids worked on “texture painting”. Because we were also studying the United States in geography, I gave them red and blue paint. The red paint had kosher salt mixed in and the blue paint had gold glitter mixed in!

 

Monkey working on her first 4 reading words. She’s matching the words with the pictures.

 

Bug with her drawing of me. 🙂 If you look really closely, she also independently wrote (and spelled!) “mom”!

 

Bug looking at the insects in acrylic

 

Bug working on the pink tower.

 

In science, Monkey’s working on classifying and using senses to make observations. Here, she was sorting pictures of beans from biggest to smallest.

 

Bug, proud of her pink tower!

 

Jedi working on a texture collage….using found materials and scraps to create a collage or picture.

 

Bug and Monkey trying to figure out how many number rods tall they are. 🙂 Monkey is the tallest plus the smallest rod tall. Bug is the 2nd to the tallest rod tall.

 

Arranging the number rods longest to shortest.

 

Bug using various magnets to pick up iron filings and little iron pellets.

 

Each of the kids asked for garden beds this year so that they could garden along with me. So, I built each of the three kids a raised bed garden. They chose what to put in the gardens (they also mixed the various soil components). Bug’s here watering her garden!

 

Monkey using popsicle sticks to create triangles and quadrilaterals.

 

Bug looking at insect x-rays on her light table.

 

Later this week, I’ll have a post up for Monkey’s first week using Five in a Row.  I’ll also have a geography post up.

 

 

Montessori Monday September 19, 2011

Bitty Bug is 2 years 8 months old.  Monkey is 4 years 7 months old

Here is a review of Bug & Monkey’s week in the Montessori room.

Bug working with her rainbow stacker

 

Bug working with a screwdriver

 

Bug building the pink tower

 

Jedi giving Monkey a geography lesson. Monkey wanted to know where Ohio, Vietnam, Russia, and Antarctica were.

 

Bug working on the natural objects & cards matching

 

Bug using toaster tongs to transfer pom poms to a mini muffin tin

 

Bug using a spoon to transfer shells from one bowl to the other

 

Pouring sand from one pitcher to the other

 

Monkey polishing shoes. To do this work, I laid out several different brushes (a soft tooth brush, a stiffer brush, and then a very stiff nail brush).

 

Bug polishing shoes. Because regular shoe polish is highly toxic, I wanted an all natural solution that is safe for skin and in case a little one accidentally got some in her mouth. I mixed 2 parts lemon juice with one part olive oil for a super safe shoe polish.

 

Pouring the water in the little bowl to rinse the dirt off the shoes. The girls *loved* the shoe polishing work. They now have some very clean looking shoes. 🙂 I think they worked on just that one work for hours!

 

The basket of geometric solids--we worked on cylinder, pyramid, and prism

 

Using toaster tongs to build a tower of cubes

 

Bug using a funnel to pour water into a small necked jar

 

Monkey using the spindle box

 

Monkey was on a big counting kick last week...here she is with the numerals & counters

 

Toddler Tuesday January 26, 2011

Tot School

Bitty Bug is 2 years old

One thing that I’ve discovered about Bug is that she apparently, like most infants and toddlers, has an amazing ability to pick up on foreign language.  In our house, our primary language is English.  However, she does have some exposure to Mandarin and Spanish via TV and some occassional videos and books in those languages.  We all also take Korean martial arts (except Bug of course) and there is a lot of counting in Korean that Bug hears.  Monkey also takes Vietnamese lessons and we listen to children’s CDs in Vietnamese.  So, maybe it shouldn’t surprise me too much when we were driving one day and Bug started counting to 10 in English, Vietnamese, Spanish, and Korean…and then she started singing along with the Vietnamese CD, with perfect tone.  It is amazing what sponges little ones are!!  It also was a good reminder to find more music CDs and videos in various languages so that Bug can continue to pick up on the tones of foreign language.  I personally was never very good at picking up another language, but I didn’t start learning until upper elementary school.  Toddlers though…they have a remarkable ability to absorb other languages like a little sponge!!  I just have to figure out what language we want to concentrate on so that we can give Bug a lot of exposure to it.  I was thinking Mandarin, because that is such a useful language to know these days, but Monkey is Vietnamese-American and I don’t want her to give up learning her birth language because she hears us learning Mandarin.  It’s a delicate balance, I think.  Although I guess it wouldn’t hurt for Monkey to learn Mandarin along with Vietnamese!

And completely unrelated to language learning, Bug also had a very busy week learning other things this week.  Here are a few pictures of what she chose to work on…

Arranging snowmen by size (Snowmen courtesy of Musings of Me)

Bug working on the Pink Tower

Bug really enjoyed looking at the vertebrate books this week as well! She kept repeating that vertebrates had backbones. And then all by herself, she came up with "dinosaurs have backbones"! I'm so proud of my smart little bug!

Building a snowman (snowman courtesy of Musings of Me)

 

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 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

 

Montessori Monday: 1st week of school! August 30, 2010

Monkey is 3 years 6 months old

While we’ve been doing some work in the Montessori room all summer, this week was our first official week.  Before this week, we were sort of testing the waters, allowing Monkey to use the basic materials in order to get her used to her new school room. 

The first week went fairly well.  Monkey stayed in the room for about 2 hours each day (before getting distracted and deciding she was done).  Unfortunately, Monkey knows the train table is right outside the school room, so she decides that she’s done with school and wants to play with the trains instead.  But for the most part, Monkey has been doing really well exploring the new work.

For zoology, Monkey just did the concrete introduction where she learned that there are 4 characteristics of animals: they need to eat, they need to drink, they need to breathe, and they need to reproduce.

In Practical Life, there was a colored rice pouring activity. Monkey did really well, and after the first time, she rarely ever spilled any!

She matched the blocks of the pink tower to the blocks on the paper.

Also in Practical Life, I put out a spooning work--here, she's spooning rubber pom poms into various cups.

For the whole hand part of Practical Life, Monkey transferred sea shells between dishes.

Monkey did a sweeping work, where she swept cloth leaves off the table into the dustpan

For botany, it was another concrete introduction presentation where she learned that plants need dirt, water, and air to live, and they reproduce with seeds. Of course, Monkey decided to mix all of it together to see if she could grow a plant too!

She did a sticker matching work, where she matched the stickers on the control card to the stickers on the small cards. The stickers differed in shape and color.

Monkey really enjoyed the things out for the butterfly life cycle. She was able to match the figures to the colored pictures, as well as figure out which stage our caterpillars were currently in.

This shape matching activity is a Melissa & Doug toy that she really enjoys playing with

For the Cubes & Cards activity, monkey matched foam cubes to the corresponding color on the paper. She did a really good job at matching all of the cubes!

Here she is, still working with the lifecycle of a butterfly figures. This time she's matching them to the uncolored sheets.

Monkey is assembling a flashlight while Bug is working with the lifecycle figures