Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Toddler Tuesday February 15, 2011

 

Bitty Bug is 25 months old

For those who are linking up to Toddler Tuesday for the first time or who haven’t visited my blog before, welcome!  Feel free to comment, ask questions, and join in the conversation! 🙂

Like Monkey, Bitty Bug got out of her routine of having good work times in the school room.  Obviously, it wasn’t such a big deal to have  her not be down there–the only reason she is in the school room is because Monkey’s down there.  However, towards the end of the week, she was really getting into the work set out on the shelves. 

One of the biggest things we’re working with is trying to get Monkey to put her things back on the shelf.  If it was up to her, she’d just toss everything on the floor when she was done.  Clearly, that’s not such a grand plan. 😉   So, a lot of my time is spent going back behind Monkey and assisting her in learning how to clean up her work space and put her items back on the shelf.  I’d like to think we were making progress with that, but alas, I’m not sure we are.  In time, in time….  But in the mean time, there is a whole lot of me down on my knees (not to beg… LOL!  Just so I can be at her eye level), guiding her hands and modeling the appropriate conclusion to each activity.

When I wasn’t following behind the human tornado (and I mean that as lovingly as possible…), I did manage to snap a few pictures!

Using the dusting mitts to clean off the top of the shelves (while she doesn't like to put her work back on the shelves, she sure does like dusting!)

Bug really liked the seashell matching game. She wasn't really able to match up the pictures just yet, but she did love exploring all of the different shells and starfish.

As always, Bug *loves* to be a one man band!

Bug also liked this fishing puzzle. And much to my surprise, she was very good at putting the pieces back into the puzzle, even though there was no obvious guide, other than shape. I was really impressed at her work with the puzzle!

Her favorite work is still the beach sand box. She loves using the tongs to get the animals and the spoon to scoop the sand.

Working with the counting beads again. She's getting really good at sorting the colors and counting the beads!

Another sorting and color work. This one was a bit tricky for her because she had to line each shape up with the pegs. She eventually got all except the triangles on right!

If you did any learning activities with your toddler this week, please add the direct link to your post when linking up to Toddler Tuesday!



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Montessori Monday February 14, 2011

Monkey is 4 years old

This week, it seems like Monkey finally got back into the homeschooling routine.  She’s been a bit reluctant to come down to the schoolroom and work for the past couple weeks…we’re not sure why.  I think it’s just been a bit of a hard transition off the holidays, and then Jedi was home from school a couple days because of bad weather.  But she’s back in the swing of things this week!

Here is a review of some of the things she’s done…

A little Valentine's Day twist to the handwriting work. I have her name card out, some paper, a pencil, and added a little Valentine's Day mailbox

Working on the sandpaper letters and beginning sounds for M,A,S,O,T, and C

Using tongs to move the eggs from the basket to the pan

We're working on number recognition and counting a lot this week as well.

Doing more counting, this time with the bead bars

The bead bars and control card

matching the shape to the card

I found these cool little dusting mits awhile back, and I put them on the practical life shelf for Bug and Monkey to use

Shell matching

 

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 & 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!

 

Tot School Tuesday December 7, 2010

Tot School

Bitty Bug is 22.5 months old

Because Bitty Bug is almost 2 now, she really seems to be able to comprehend and get into the holidays.  It is so awesome to watch her fascination with the Christmas tree (and especially the train that runs around it!) and the Elf on the Shelf!  And yesterday was her first time seeing snow that she could remember (last year, she was just turning 1, and I don’t think she remembers the big blizzard from that time!).  She’s also just noticing the lights on people’s houses as we drive around in the evening.  Just seeing how big her eyes get when she sees a new holiday things is absolutely wonderful!  So of course, once I put some holiday work in the homeschool room, she naturally flocked straight to it!

Here is her December travel sensory bin for when we're waiting in waiting rooms--some white felt "snow", little penguins & snowmen, various Christmasy pom poms, gems, & pipe cleaners, and the usual assortment of scoops, chopsticks, and cups.

Also in our travelling bin...the book Everywhere Babies (which is one of her favorite books), some snowflake and igloo bocks, a polar bear and penguin Animalz toy, the white board (this always keeps her entertained for hours! She loves the white board!) and a couple wooden vehicles.

Bug was so thrilled every time she made the toy elephant "drink" the water!

Working on the animal puzzle

Using a spoon to transfer the glass beads

She loved the island landform tray--here, she's making a whale swim in it.

Playing with her beach sand tray

Bug was really intrigued by this! I demonstrated the first playdough ball "cherry" on the pie, and she did the 2nd one. I'm not sure she knows what cherry pie is (I don't even know that we've had it in years? Now I feel the need to go make a cherry pie!) but she thought it was funny!

Bug's favorite animal is an elephant, and one of her favorite things to do is bounce. So, when she came across this bouncing elephant in the basement this week, she couldn't be separated from it! She decided she was then going to bounce everywhere!

 

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.