Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Tot School Tuesday September 28, 2010

      Tot School

Bitty Bug is 20.5 months old

Bitty Bug continued her fierce independent streak this week.  She’s at the stage where not only does she want to do everything herself, but when she wants something, she wants it *right now*.  Poor Monkey is usually at the brunt of that one–every time Monkey has something to play with, Bug thinks it’s so interesting that she has to take it from her then and there. 

And of course, this independent streak has lead to some not-so-fun events….  For example, ever since she’s started solids, she’s sat in a booster seat at the dining room table.  At 12 months old, we took the tray off the booster seat and pulled her up to the table.  When she’s finished, we take her out of the chair.  Sounds fine, right?  Until recently.  She decided that now, when she’s done, she will stand up and wait for someone to get her.  We tried to nip that in the bud, but it didn’t work–strapping her into the chair made it worse because then she’d pull herself out of the straps.  This week, she stood up in her chair and so I ran over to get her…but before I could get there, she’d tried to jump down herself and had fallen head first out of the chair (and I was only sitting about 10 feet away from her…it happened that quickly). 😦  It was really scary to see, but she’s ok, thank goodness.  But that was the end of the booster seat at the table thing…something that worked so well for the first two children did not work quite so well for Bug. 

So, this week, we introduced the children’s table.  Now, I will be the first to admit that the idea did not sit well with me at first.  I like everyone eating at the same table…I don’t like children segregated to their own table.  But, when the choice was between that, getting a high chair for the first time, or risking another nasty fall, we went with the children’s table idea.  In the dining room, we put a smaller table next to the regular table.  And it’s worked well!  Bug is so happy with her new table (Monkey choses to sit with her as well).  She can get up and down independently, AND she actually sits longer and eats more at her small table than she ever did at the regular table.  Preparing her environment with child-sized furniture and allowing her the choice of how long to sit at the table, and giving her the independence to get up and down increased the amount of time she actually sat.  In her booster, she’d sit for about 5 minutes, pick at a few bites, and then cry to get down.  Now, she’ll sit through an entire meal happily.  I think that a lot of the time, even the smallest kiddos cry out for some independence and choices, and when allowed to make those choices and be a bit independent, the results can be very good!  So, that was a very positive result from having a prepared environment.

The table setup--a small table with a little rug underneath and two chairs. And actually, the chairs aren't really chairs--we could not find any child sized chairs during our quick trip out, but I did find these storage ottomans. These actually work very well because I can store the spare little rug, bibs, napkins, etc. in them.

Eating her taco

This basket sits in the corner (along with a picture series that shows the process of table washing). The spray bottle is filled with water, white vinegar, and lemon juice. There's a small duster and dustpan in it for crumbs, along with the spray bottle, towel, and wash cloth. Monkey and Bug are excited when they get to wash their own table after meals.

 

And a review of Bug’s other work this week:

Bug loved the Sock Monkey Jack-in-the-box. We bought this for her before she was born, and now she really loves it. Every time we put the monkey back in, she says "bye bye monkey!"

Here, Bug's transferring little glass beads with an Asian soup spoon

Bug was really good at using the tea set! She only let one of the cups overflow before she learned to stop before it gets to the top.

Bug and her daddy with the hand bells

Pouring water with creamer pitchers

Bug was using the whole hand movement to transfer the fruits and veggies between the baskets. We also worked on naming all of them. She's really good at naming the apple. 🙂

Whisking a bowl of sand

But was so excited to sprinkle the glitter on her glue (she's making the Asian dragon dance dragon that was in yesterday's Montessori Monday post)

After a long day at work, apparently it was nap time. Under a shelf. Silly child.

Advertisements
 

Montessori Monday, plus a preview of our Tet Trung Thu work September 20, 2010

Monkey is 3 years 7 months old

This week, Monkey had a busy week in her homeschooling room.  She’s really loving her time in there, and sometimes I have to just call it a day after 4+ hours even though she’s still wanting to work (I only do that for things we really need to do…like pick Jedi up from school or hit an appointment).  Quite a change from the kid who only wanted to work 15 minutes at a time a few weeks ago!

I have a lot of picftures, so I’m going to just get straight to the weekly summary, and then add a sneak preview of the Tet Trung Thu (Mid-Autumn Festival) work that Monkey will be doing this week.  It’s only about 1/3rd of the lessons for Tet Trung Thu, but it at least gives a little sneak peak before I post the summary next Monday.

Monkey sorting "clean" vs "polluted" for her ecology work

Using an eye dropper to mix colored water

Planting flower seeds. First she filled the pot with dirt, then poked a little hole, put the seed in, covered it up, and then added a little water.

Scrubbing a baby. She had to pour the water into the tub, get the baby's clothes off, wet the washcloth, put soap on the washcloth, scrub the baby, rinse the baby, dry the baby, and then put the baby's clothes back on

Using a paper punch to punch holes in a strip of paper

Using one of the sets of visual discrimination cards. She had to match pairs based on one changed facial feature on each card

In the kitchen! Monkey, Bug, & Jedi making cookies

 And a sneak peak at this current week:

Pouring sand with a Sake set, and using a Vietnamese soup spoon to transfer glass pepples

Pouring water with a tea set

Using chopsticks to transfer harvest items from one basket to another

Cutting lines to make paper lanterns (this is one of 2 different types of lanterns she'll be making this week. She's also going to make lanterns to light later in the week)

Making Vietnamese Tet Trung Thu basket masks

Getting ready to make moon cakes

 

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

 

Tot School Tuesday August 31, 2010

Tot School

Bitty Bug is 19.5 months old

Since Monkey started her official homeschooling this past week, Bitty Bug got to join in.  She loves joining in Monkey’s work time!  Even though I have specific shelves set up for Bug, she doesn’t limit herself to those shelves.  In fact, she almost always chooses to work on something I’ve set out for Monkey.  One of the interesting things is that I’ve noticed she will put her own spin on the work, making it more age appropriate for a 1 1/2 year old.  It’s interesting to watch her adapt the work herself!

Bug did several things with the shells and bowls. Here, she is pouring them from one dish to another. She also would take them one by one, inspect them, and transfer them to the other dish.

Bug is more than excited about the life cycle of a butterfly figures. She didn't quite know what to do with them, but she knew what the caterpillar and butterfly were, since we have those living in the butterfly pavillion in the kitchen. She also loved just touching and exploring the different textures. **Warning: Obviously, that egg is small and round. I was standing within a foot of Bug when she was using this, watching her very carefully. Please use your discretion when allowing children under 3 to explore small objects. *

I found a bunch of wallets at a consignment store for $1 each, so I picked out a few of them. One had a zipper, one velcro, one a buckle, and one a clasp. She loved trying to open and close each one of them.

Here, Bug is spooning the rubber pom poms into the small cups.

Bug really *really* wanted to do the pouring activity. As you can see, the first time she tried, was not a success. But, she was really surprised to see all of the rice fall out when she tried. We cleaned it up and she tried it again, and each time she spilled less and less!

 

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