Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

2nd grade week in review March 5, 2012

In addition to Monkey’s busy week in sports, Jedi had a big week too!  We traveled to the World Tang Soo Do Association’s Region 22 Championships in Dubois, Pennsylvania recently with our Tang Soo Do school.  Jedi and I both competed.  Jedi won the silver medal for his age/rank division in open handed forms, and the bronze medal in sparring!

Jedi & I at the competition

 

Our medals and belts with the official championship shirt.

 

Jedi was also having a rough week and we’re still not quite sure what went on.  During his co-op, he had a major meltdown, resulting in him running away from the class and having a meltdown in a closet.  During the Tang Soo Do competition, he also had another meltdown.  And then in his religious education class, he had to leave after having another meltdown.  It’s been a really long time since Jedi’s had such a high intensity level of difficulty due to his autism within such a short period of time.  He seems to have shaken whatever it was and had a really good week after it.  But it’s always a reminder that no matter how much progress he seems to be making, there are still those days, weeks, or months where we can’t figure out what we need to do to get him on the right path.

Right now, spelling is one of his major sources of difficulty.  He seemed to be doing ok with All About Spelling, and each lesson, he gets almost all of the words right.  But we noticed that after that lesson was over, he retained under 10% of what he was taught.  His spelling is still on the level of a kindergartner, even after all of the work we’ve done.  He’s in the process of officially having a dyslexia diagnosis tacked on to his autism diagnosis (they tend to go hand-in-hand).  While he is an excellent reader, he has a lot of trouble with handwriting and spelling, and tends to reverse numbers in math.  We do have several things coming up that should be helpful–we are in the process of securing a tutor that specializes in these issues with special needs child.  He is also in the process of getting funding for an ipad 3 and wireless keyboard that will allow him to type everything and use a spell check/word processor to reduce his anxiety and frustration with writing assignments.  He will, of course, continue to have to write and to practice his areas of deficit, but he also needs to be able to move on to his level in the other subjects, and the spelling/handwriting issues tend to hold him back.

Anyhow…  Here are some pictures from Jedi’s last two weeks in the schoolroom.  He’s done much more than this, but I don’t often have the camera with me. 🙂

Last Monday, we celebrated John Glenn's orbit around the earth. We watched the live twitter feed that Ohio State University was hosting. This allowed Jedi to see the timing of each part of the orbit. OSU provided audio, video, pictures, and news articles in the feed! We also watched When We Left Earth, which is a wonderful documentary on the history of space travel.

 

Some of the audio recordings we listened to.

 

Jedi using the ink and brayer on foam to create a space-themed print. After spreading ink on the foam, he put a piece of paper on it to transfer the image.

 

The final product!

 

Reading about the Persians

 

Making a print with tempura paint and vegetables

 

His vegetable painting!

 

Learning the parts of a flower

 

Dissecting a flower

 

We found these wonderful dry erase books. Jedi wanted to learn cursive writing (it seems somewhat easier than printing for him) and loves working with these books!

 

Finally getting to use a calculator--he's wanted to learn how to use one all year! After we practiced making change, he got to use a calculator to check his work.

 

Watching animated videos on how to type knots. One of his assignments this past week in his co-op nature survival class is knot tying.

 

Jedi has a really really really hard time with watercolor painting. If the colors blend, he melts down about it (food can not blend, paint can not blend...it's just the way he thinks). So, we got him to try it again this week, and that took a lot of effort for him. He was practicing a cloud-making technique where you painted the blue, and then blotted it with a dry paper towel to make clouds.

 

Working on his subtraction table.

 

Doing some simple subtraction facts.

 

In science, Jedi learned how to float an egg using a whole lot of salt in some water. This also lead to a discussion about the Dead Sea. Jedi now wants to take a field trip there...not sure that's in the lesson plans. 😉

 

 

 

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Montessori Monday

Montessori Monday

Apparently I’m a week behind. 🙂  It occurred to me on Friday that I never published my posts from last week.  So, I’ll just combine them this week.

Monkey had a really busy week last week…in addition to schoolwork, she also switched to a new gym for gymnastics and had to to try-outs to find out what class she will be in.  She also tested for her next Tang Soo Do belt!  Monkey did very well at both–she’s such an athlete!

Monkey practicing at home for her tryouts.

 

Doing some bar work during her tryouts

 

Monkey at her Tang Soo Do belt test.

 

Here are some pictures of Bug and Monkey’s time in the school room the past few weeks!

For Mardi Gras, we brought out all the mess and dazzle we could. 🙂 The girls making purple, yellow, and green collages with glitter, feathers, and confetti.

 

Bug's collage

 

Monkey's collage

 

Monkey so happy to get to play with the glitter!

 

The kids also observed the first week of Lent. Here, Bug's looking at a picture from the Children's Catholic Bible about Jesus and the crown of thorns. Then, using some clay and toothpicks, she's making a replica of the crown of thorns.

 

We also started Operation Rice Bowl with the kids. Last week was Madagascar.

 

On Friday, we make a meal from the country we learned about. This is Vary amin'anana --a dish native to Madagascar.

 

Everyone in the family also wrote out their Lenten promises.

 

We also started the pre-k level of All About Reading. Here, the girls are making letter A's with wiki sticks.

 

Bug chatting with the zebra from the All About Reading kit

 

Painting blueberries on the letter B beehive.

 

Bug practicing her beading.

 

Using vegetables and tempura paint to stamp pictures and shapes.

 

Monkey also wanted to learn how to load the dishwasher. She decided she really likes this job!

 

Bug also decided she wanted to work with duplos this week (all the kids did a lot of work with legos after their schoolwork was done.) This is her first creation--an airplane!

 

Bug watercolor painting.

 

Jedi's Tang Soo Do promotion August 9, 2011

Filed under: Lower Elementary — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 3:22 am
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Jedi had his Tang Soo Do test for green belt this weekend (an his promotion to green belt from orange belt tonight!).  He did such a great job!

Doing a side kick during forms

 

High block

 

Low chops during forms

 

Stomp kick to break the board

 

Being promoted to green belt!

 

Montessori Monday July 18, 2011

Monkey is 4 years 5 months old

This was a week where we started to evaluate whether Montessori is truly right for Monkey.  While it does seem to be working very well for the non-academic subjects, it’s becoming more and more clear that she’s getting frustrated with the more academic areas.  Monkey has a few special needs that make it difficult for her, and recently we’ve started to notice that those issues also make things more difficult academically.  Earlier in the year, you might have remembered the difficulties we had with Monkey learning colors.  We’re also seeing the same difficulties arise in learning letters and letter sounds.  We have been working on the same couple letter sounds for a year, and she still hasn’t made the connection (and can’t name the letter either).  She’s getting very frustrated because she wants to read, but after a year of trying to learn letter sounds, she can’t name any.  For example, she’s been working on A for a long time.  And even 2 minutes after the lesson, she still can’t tell you what sound A makes, or a word that begins with A, or recognize the letter A even if that is the only letter we’ve worked on that day.  We’ve even tried Starfall, and after watching the whole letter A presentation, she still couldn’t name the song.  We are in the process of having these issues evaluated (we’re not jumping the gun…she has known speech, language, sensory, social, and behavior issues.  If a typical 4 1/2 year old couldn’t recognize the letter A, we wouldn’t be concerned (although a 4 year old who still couldn’t recognize it even after being given lessons in several different ways on it would raise red flags to me).  But knowing her history and the difficulty we’ve had, it’s something we have to get evaluated to know how to proceed).  So, over the next couple weeks, we will be trying different things to see if there is something that might help her.

Monkey working with the pressure cylinders and Bug working with the smelling bottles.

 

Monkey working with the power of 2 cube...she loves this cube!

 

Working with the Geo Board. Monkey loves making shapes with the geo board!

 

Using the summer sensory bin.

 

It was also a special week for Bug…she tested for her white belt with orange stripe at Tang Soo Do!

Awesome roundhouse kick!

 

Flying front kick!

 

She passed!