Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

2nd Grade Week in Review July 22, 2011

Yes, I realize it’s not yet the end of the week, but Fridays are usually light days for school–mainly just wrap-ups.  Since tomorrow will be another day of business and travel, I thought I’d get this post done early…then Montessori Monday & Toddler Tuesday can be written ahead of time and posted on the right day.


This week we decided to start using a 12 box workbox system for Jedi. He seems to love the organization, and he loves being able to see exactly what he has to do and how many things he has left to do. Each box has a number and a subject--when he's done with each box, he moves the number card over to that chart that's hanging from the wall. The boxes alternate between subjects that are more difficult or not as fun for Jedi with things he really enjoys or quick fun assignments.


Science:  In Life Science this week, Jedi learned about the circulatory & the respiratory system.  The first lab involved him using corn syrup, red hots, white beans, & lentils to represent the parts of blood (corn syrup was plasma, red hots were red blood cells, white beans were white blood cells, and lentils were platelets).  He was able to see that blood is not smooth red liquid and instead is composed of many parts.

For the second lab, we took a long cardboard tube to represent a giant’s trachea.  Then we drew pictures of a nose for the top of the trachea, lungs and heart for the bottom of the trachea, and a foot  below the organs to represent the body using energy.  Jedi then started at the nose and carried red pieces (oxygenated blood) of paper to the lungs, to the heart, and then to the foot.  At the foot, he exchanged the oxygenated blood for carbon dioxide (since the exercising giant used up the oxygen), carried it back to the lungs, heart, and out the nose, exchanging it for another red piece.  Jedi *loved* this full body lab!

Filling out the hypotheses sheet for his life science lab.


Mixing his "blood"


Jedi's model of human blood.



The giant's respiratory system.


In Chemistry, Jedi learned that everything was made of atoms and that atoms were very small.  To illustrate this, we filled a balloon with water, one with cinnamon, one with lemon extract, and one with peppermint extract.  Jedi smelled each balloon and found out that cinnamon, lemon, and peppermint all have atoms small enough to fit through the holes of the balloon and were able to be smelled.

Jedi making his hypotheses before his chemistry lab.


The girls smelling the balloons.

Music: Jedi learned about Haydn & his “Surprise Symphony”.  Jedi really enjoyed listening to the symphony and trying to relax during it (if you haven’t heard it, go listen to it!  Haydn attempted to remedy the fact that people were sleeping during his slower movements!).  Jedi also continued his piano lessons.

Practicing one of his new songs.

Geography: This week, we learned about our neighbors to the north, Canada.  During this study, Jedi watched a 30 minute video of Inuit life in Northern Canada–he was very interested in the fact that the Inuit family built igloos in the video!

Watching the video


History: Jedi continued to learn about Ancient Mesopotamia.  He worked on his History Pocket and did several other hands on activities this week…making a Mesopotamian house out of Legos & writing a comic strip about the early life of Sargon.

Working on his History Pocket. Here, he is making a small ship going down the Euphrates River.


Trying to copy the Mesopotamian Floor Plan


The finished house!


Writing his comic strip. I had him choose one thing in his history chapter to draw, and he drew the abandonment and adoption of Sargon.


Spelling: Jedi worked on learning to alphabetize letters.  He already knew how to do it, but it takes almost 10 minutes to order the entire alphabet.  He continued to practice doing it more quickly.  He also learned to differentiate between consonants and vowels.  Finally, we worked on him writing the letter after I dictated the sound of that letter (so the reverse of what we’ve been working on).

Alphabetizing his letter tiles.


English: This week, Jedi learned about homophones and synonyms.

Math:  We worked on naming place values from the abacus, 100-bead tiles, & 1000 bead cubes.

Naming place values out to the 1000s place.


Art: This week, Jedi used soft pastels to create a work that he later matted for display.  He also used watercolor crayons to paint an experience that he had.

Using soft pastels


US History: Continuing his learning on the Statue of Liberty, Jedi designed and then created a clay sculpture of the Statue of Liberty…next week when the clay is dry, he’ll paint it.

Working on his sculpture.

His finished sculpture.


Health: This week, Jedi worked on finding various ways to resolve conflict.  He used his puppet that he sewed to act out various conflicts and brainstorm ways to work through the conflict without violences.