Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Montessori Monday November 22, 2011


Yes, I realize I still have a blog post list a mile long to catch up on.  But, like most of you, this time of year is extremely busy.  As you know, we just got home from Washington DC a few weeks ago.  This weekend, we were in Kentucky visiting family, and later this week, we’ll be up near Cleveland visiting more family.  Then a couple weeks after that, we’ll be out of the country, and shortly after we return, we’ll be in Michigan visiting another set of family.  When we are home, homeschooling and the 15+ hours a week of autism therapies take over, leaving very little blogging time.  So, while part 1 of Jedi’s cake is baking in the oven (he turns 8 years old on Wednesday!), I am attempting to chip away at the ever-growing blogging list. 🙂

Here is a review of some of the things Bug and Monkey have done in the Montessori room.  Most of it is Thanksgiving themed. 🙂

Monkey and Bug gluing feathers onto a turkey


The finished product!


Matching colored buttons to turkeys of different colors


This work is good for both naming colors and fine motor--each colored feather has a space on the turkey.


I made this felt cornucopia last year and brought it back out. The girls still love taking all of the foods out and stuffing them back in!


Bug working on the 3 part sequencing cards

Bug and Monkey hammering with the cork & shapes work


And just like any other meal, Thanksgiving dinner can easily involve kids of all ages in the prepwork. Here, Bug (age 2) and Jedi (age 7) are using knives (butter knives) to cut bread cubes for stuffing.


This was Bug's favorite job--mashing the sweet potatoes! She loved doing this work and was very disappointed when it was time to stop smashing and start cooking them!


Tot School Tuesday November 29, 2010

Filed under: Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 8:13 pm
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Tot School

Bitty Bug is 22.5 months old

As you saw in yesterday’s post, Bitty Bug participated in all of the Thanksgiving prep last week, along with her big brother and sister.  She wasn’t able to use the butter knife to cut bread yet obviously, but Bug was able to scrub sweet potatoes.  She *loves* doing that job and will concentrate on it for quite a while.  She climbs right up onto the Learning Tower in front of the counter, and was scrubbing sweet potatoes right next to me while I was preparing other food.  It’s amazing to watch a toddler helping with kitchen prepwork even before age 2!  And it’s such a confidence  booster for her as well. 

I  posted most of the pictures last night, but here are a couple more that just focus on Bitty Bug.

Helping to make the decorations--she was filling the bowl with the little gourds.

Scrubbing sweet potatoes

Rinsing the potatoes off

Taking a break from the cooking to play with the pumpkin spice play dough


Montessori Monday, Thanksgiving edition November 28, 2010

Filed under: Preschool,Uncategorized — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 8:33 pm
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Jedi is 7 years 0 months old, Monkey is 3 years 9 months old, Bitty Bug is 22 months old

Most of this week’s Montessori work was done in the kitchen.  Thanksgiving’s a lot of prepwork here, especially when you’re dealing with multiple food allergies (which takes out all of the “shortcuts” like boxed stuffing…LOL!).  It was amazing how much little ones could actually do in the kitchen to help though!  Bitty Bug scrubbed sweet potatoes and arranged decorations (pictures on that tomorrow for Tot School Tuesday).  Jedi & Monkey folded napkins, crushed the cookies for the “oreo” truffles (made out of K-Toos, enjoy life chocolate chips, and tofutti cream cheese), crushed the crackers for the pie crust, and cut bread for the stuffing.  There were a couple other jobs I had for Jedi in the kitchen, but since his birthday was also this week, he was preoccupied playing with his new toys. LOL!

Playing with some play dough I made with pumpkin pie spices

Folding the napkins

Sweeping the crumbs off the table

Cutting the bread into cubes for stuffing (with a butter knife)

Crushing the crackers

Crushing the cookies

Taking a break from the Thanksgiving work...Jedi was playing the auto music on his new keyboard and the kids were having a dance party


Montessori Monday November 14, 2010

Monkey is 3 years 9 months old

It’s hard to believe that we’re already 3 months into the school year, and the winter holidays are getting closer.  On one hand, it seems like we’ve just barely gotten started, but on the other hand, Monkey’s done so much and accomplished so many things in just 3 months.  It’s amazing to see this process every day. 

It feels like we’re finally making headway on the colors thing.  She’s been able to match them for months, but because of her processing issues, she has such a hard time naming colors.  She’s finally getting a couple of them, which is huge!  And once she got those, it seemed like she was then ready for so much more–for starting to learn her letters and numbers, etc.  She’s been so interested in those the past couple weeks.

Monkey also did really well with her Vietnamese lessons this week.  She learned the words for ‘baby’, ‘mama’, ‘daddy’, ‘hi’, ‘goodbye’, ‘fish’, ‘ball’, and ‘swim’.  She also learned the first couple lines of a song.  She was pretty shy for her tutor, but on the way home, she started repeating the words.  This week, I made her 3 part cards of the words she learned–that way she learns to read the words in Vietnamese (and it also helps me to remember the words as well. LOL!)

Here are some pictures from this week…

Sorting feathers by color

Using the hammering work to hammer shapes into the piece of cork

This was really really cool! The Olivia book was sitting next to her, and she decided to find letters to match the word Olivia and hammer them in. We were all really impressed by this!

Working with the geometric cabinet, drawer 1. Here she's tracing the outside, and then she traces the inset before matching them together.

This was something I came up with after seeing a printable on I printed the turkey color card from that site, then I laminated it. Monkey puts a colored button on each turkey (green buttons on the green turkeys, brown buttons on the brown turkeys, etc.) Then she counted the number of buttons for each color.


Learning how to set a table. I printed off a template for setting a table from the Martha Stewart site, and then taped it to the lid of the box that held the table setting work. She used that as a guide for setting the items on her work table.

Sorting items into "living" and "non-living". We talked about how living things eat/need nutrients and/or water, grow, and reproduce. For the rest of the week, every time we were in the car, she'd ask if various things she could see out the window were living or non-living, so I'd ask her if they ate, grew, and reproduced. She thought that was a pretty fun question game to play during car trips this week.

Polishing silver. I made a silver polish out of baking soda and water, so that it was completely non-toxic (Bitty Bug wanted to work with it too, so I had to make it completely non-toxic so that she wouldn't get sick if she tried licking it or something). I also set out a dish to hold the polish, a tooth brush, a soft sponge, and a wash cloth. She's polishing the goblets from my husband and my wedding (almost 8 years ago--we've never gotten around to polishing them!)

The 3 part cards I made after Monkey's weekly Vietnamese lesson with her tutor.


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Montessori Monday November 8, 2010

Monkey is 3 years 9 months old

This week, we took a few days off to rest, enjoy the remaining days of early fall, and get some new work ready to go.  Towards the end of the week however, we were back in full swing!  This week, I added quite a few new Thanksgiving and Autumn themed work to transition us away from Halloeween and into the holiday season.  Monkey has also really really shown a strong interest in learning to write, so we are starting the sandpaper letters and and a few activities to bring her more to writing actual letters than shapes (she seems to be getting bored of tracing insets because what she really wants to do is write words.  However, she’s not really at the point of sounding out words at all…)

Another big addition for the week…today is Monkey’s first day of Vietnamese language lessons!  Since she was born in Vietnam, she is still showing a huge interest in Vietnamese culture–food, music, activities, and language.  We found a local college student who is from Hanoi who will be tutoring Monkey starting today!

Here are some pictures from this week’s lessons:

Monkey drew a line from one end of our driveway all the way down to the street. So, as long as we had this nice line, we practiced "walking the line" exercises!

Working with the Animals and their Families cards. Here, she’s sorting out “mother”, “father”, and “baby” for ducks, lions, bears, and sheep.


This work was something we downloaded and adapted from I printed the turkey, put the pieces of the body & tail together, laminated it, and then laminated each of the individual feather pieces. Using the picher grasp, Monkey put each color in a spot on the turkey’s tail.
We started working on color box 2 now. Monkey was excited to see more than 3 color options! LOL!

Working with the sandpaper numbers. As an added concrete lesson due to Monkey's processing issues, I put 1 red plastic leaf and 2 yellow plastic leaves out for her to count and match to the numbers.


Working more on her world map

Sandpaper letters (these aren't real sandpaper letters, but we already had these on hand from when we were teaching Jedi his letters. These have a rough texture for the letters just like sandpaper letters). We worked on M, A, and S (along with "motorcycle", "apple", and "star" for concrete reinforcement of the phonetic sounds)

Grating a bar of soap (apple fit with the seasonal theme too! 😉 )


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