Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Montessori Monday December 5, 2011

 

This will be our last school related set of posts for 2011.  We start our school year in June and work through most of the summer and fall so that we can take an extended winter break.  We are actually leaving for a trip to Florida, Mexico, Honduras, and Belize–we are so excited to have the opportunity to do that!  And of course, we’ll take the holidays off school as well.  We may do a little bit between Christmas and New Years, but Jedi has 600 hours of school completed already for the year, so we’re well ahead of schedule.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we’re completely done with learning.  We started doing the Teach Your Child to Read In 100 Easy Lessons with Monkey–it seems to be working a lot better than the Montessori methods with her autism.  We do that every single day of the week, and so we’re going to continue it even while on vacation.  I also still have work on the shelves, so while we’re home, there is plenty that we can do together (I recently moved our school room up to our formal living room so that we’re not in the basement during the cold part of the year.  It’s actually nice to have the school shelves up on our main living levels because we can do even more schoolwork throughout the day.

Here are some pictures from Bug & Monkey’s week in the schoolroom.

This was Bug's favorite work of the week--decorating a mini tree!

 

She did this work for hours!

 

The girls painting

 

Monkey really enjoys working with numbers, so we pulled out this work for her.

 

Practicing her M and S writing

 

Bug working with the wooden nativity

 

The clothespins had sparkly pom poms on them. Bug used these to decorate the felt tree

 

Using tweezers to put yellow yarn (hay) into the toilet paper roll manger.

 

Adding the clothespin "baby Jesus"

 

Monkey working with the Christmas Story cards

 

Holy Family 3 part cards

 

Close-up of the cards

 

Lacing Snowman

 

Using a spoon to scoop stars from one cup to the other

 

Bug working with the Christmas Story character cards

 

Gluing pom pom decorations to the paper tree

 

Monkey working with the Teen Board

 

We also celebrated our 100th day at homeschool by making 100-piece-trailmix. Each kid put 10 pieces of 10 different foods in their snack bowl--banana slices, marshmellows, popcorn, raisins, fruit nuggets, pretzels, dried cranberries, chocolate chips, pumpkin seeds, and cereal

 

Jedi making his trail mix

 

We have 2 Christmas trees in our house--a big one that is our main tree and this little tiny tree we had one year while living in an apartment waiting for our house to be built. The kids have free reign over decorating the little tree

 

Monkey using the Fisher Price nativity

 

Montessori Monday November 1, 2011

 

Heeey, made it under the wire this week! 😉  But at least I am posting Montessori Monday on the right day this week…

This past week has been a whirlwind at our house.  Both Jedi and Monkey are in the middle of their IEP process, and so there are a lot of appointments, meetings, and evaluations going on.  Monkey had an occupational therapy evaluation this past week as part of her autism diagnosis and we learned a lot of really interesting things…a lot of it gave us some insight into some of the difficulties Monkey’s been having.  We still have a few more questions, but at least now, we’re on a good path.  It is forcing us to look ahead to next fall when Monkey starts kindergarten.  We will likely be transitioning out of the pure Montessori-based homeschooling and get into a little more structure, simply because we not only need to accurately assess where Monkey is due to some deficits and difficulties she has, but she needs a bit more structure.  So, if anyone out there has a really good kindergarten curriculum, let me know!  We need it to have a strong multi-sensory and hands-on approach (as little verbal information as possible since one of her main deficits is auditory processing).  We are also Roman Catholic, and so if the curriculum is not secular, we’d like it to at least be Catholic-friendly. 🙂  Let me know any suggestions you might have!

And on to the review of Monkey and Bitty Bug’s week!

One of Bug and Monkey's favorite works--using tweezers to pluck the kernels off of the Indian Corn

 

Using the dot markers to make orange, yellow, and red "leaves" on the coffee filter tree

 

The girls using watercolor paints

 

Matching the mineral to the card

 

I found these cute little bead sets at Mich@els. Bug and Monkey loved stringing the Halloween beads onto the elastic to make their own necklaces!

 

This clay is some black sand clay I made for Jedi to use for one of his projects. Monkey took the rest, pretended to knead it into a loaf of bread, and then practiced her cutting.

 

Bug beading her necklace

 

Montessori Monday October 18, 2010

Monkey is 3 years 8 months old

Monkey had a busy time in her homeschool room this week!  She seems to be getting into a good routine and almost every day she asks to go down and do her school work.  She usually stays in her homeschool room for 2-3 hours a day, but sometimes she’s been down there for longer than that.  Some days it’s hard to get her to want to stop for the day so we can get to an appointment!

Using the hammering shapes work--the child hammers little shapes into the cork with a wooden hammer (the nails are actually tacks)

Jedi hammering nails into a pumpkin

Monkey hammering nails into a pumpkin. She *loved* this work. The pumpkin now has 3 days worth of nails in it--she seems to come back to this work almost daily!

Sorting purple bats, white skulls, and black spiders into separate cups.

Using tongs to put a black spider into each section of the pan.

Using tweezers to get the corn off the cob and transfer it to the dish.

Using foam pumpkins and pumpkin patch pictures to count. Each patch has a different number written on it and monkey puts down the number of pumpkins written on the patch.

Using the Power of 2 cube. Monkey was *really* fast at this! She got the concept very quickly.

Putting the geometric solids on their bases. She was very interested in the fact that some shapes would fit on more than one base--for example, the pyramid can fit on the triangle base and the square base!

Putting clothespins on the rim of a basket.

Jedi & Monkey painting haunted houses in preparation for their Halloween party

This is a cross between ecology and tonging. The blue paper represents water and the green paper represents land. The little flower pot is a "trash can". I put a bunch of small pieces of foil and paper on top of the "land" and "water" and monkey used the tongs to clean up all of the "litter".

Using the Parts of a Tree puzzle and comparing it to the 3 part cards.

Using the world map continent pieces to do pin punching. She easily took the stylus and put "dots" on the paper around the perimeter of the continent.

 

Tot School Tuesday October 12, 2010

Tot School

Bitty Bug is 20.5 months old

For a while this past week, we actually thought autumn might arrive.  The temperatures were nice and cool, the leaves started changing, the pumpkin farms are crowded, the fields around us began to be harvested.  And then, it got right back up to 90 degrees again.  Gotta love central Ohio!  Regardless of summer’s refusal to let go, Bug enjoyed working with a lot of autumn themed work this week.  She also loved going on walks almost every day since the weather has been so warm again…and she even decided to do a little exploring of the edge of a newly harvested field.  It’s amazing how long some empty corn cobs can entertain a toddler! 😉

Bug using our Melissa & Doug shapes puzzles.  There are about a dozen different ones, but she always goes straight for the dog one!

This toy is a really good one--you have to sort by color and number. She gets the sorting by number part really well, but usually the colors end up mixed up by the end. She loves this toy!

Putting clothes pins on the rim of a basket. At first, she had a really hard time lining up the gap in the clothespin with the rim of the basket, but after a few minutes she got it. You could tell she was so proud of herself once she did!

Using her fingers to pick up dried corn kernals and put them in the bowl. She stuck with this for a surprisingly long time. Or maybe it's not so surprising considering her love for tiny objects. LOL!

Monkey was using the geometric solids, and Bug decided that they were pretty interesting. She enjoyed trying to figure out which ones could roll.

And apparently she had time to dye her hair this week... 😉 Just kidding of course...she has been playing in the dress-up trunk a lot. Monkey and Bug spend most of their day in various costumes now.

Our autumn sensory bin--Indian corn, corn kernals, some tweezers for pulling off the corn kernals, silk leaves, corn silk, corn leaves, fall colored pipe cleaners, various scoops (and later, we added some corn cobs we found on our nature walk)

There are also some spider rings and spider toys in there too. Bug really liked the spiders. For some reason, she also loves real spiders and picks them up by the legs to carry them around. Such a sweet and curious kid!

Bug's treasures. All of these had been flung out of the nearby field during the harvest. There are some leaves, a stalk, some corn plant roots, a couple empty corncobs, and a full one. All of these went down to the sensory bin.

 

Montessori Monday, plus a few more homemade works October 11, 2010

Monkey is 3 years 8 months old

Last week, we weren’t in the homeschooling room very much at all, due to a very busy week.  However, that doesn’t mean Monkey wasn’t learning! 

Here, Monkey's using tweezers to transfer silk leaves from one basket to another.  I'm pretty sure this leaf is flying away in the picture.

Monkey is sorting pictures into "Land", "Water", and "Air"

Building a tower with the yellow knobless cylinders

Jedi decided to do a little work over the weekend too--he's using the hammering work. There are little tacks that are used to hammer the shapes to the cork.

It was also a big week for Monkey out of the school room. She has been doing gymnastics since she could walk--she started at 11 months old and has never stopped. She *loves* it and has a natural talent for it. The first day she walked out on the mats, she went right to the preschool bar, pulled herself up, and then tucked her toes up on the bar. She has gone to 3 different gyms and all 3 of her coaches says that she has a natural talent. We recently started at a new gym (last month), and after a month, they have recommended that she leaves the preschool class, skips the advanced preschool, and go straight to the pre-competative team. She won't be competing this young, but it's for the advanced children who will likely start competing within a couple years. The class is twice as long (an hour long) and it teaches a lot of skills that are too advanced for the typical 3-4 year old class. We're so proud of Monkey!!

Here is the geometric board I made this weekend. I basically found a finished piece of wood at our local craft store, and hammered a bunch of nails into it (not all the way through--you don't want the ends poking out the bottom). Then the children can take rubber bands and stretch them around the nails to form shapes.

Monkey working with the geometric board.

One of the new works coming out this week. I printed out 11 copies of a picture of pumpkin vines. Then I wrote a number from 0-10 on each one. Then the child counts out enough foam pumpkins so that the number of pumpkins in the patch matches the number written on the side.

 

Montessori Monday October 4, 2010

Monkey is 3 years 8 months old

This week, Monkey started her venture into beginning reading.  She’s nowhere near ready to actually start reading, but we introduced 3 part cards.  With 3 part cards, she had to match words (without actually being able to read what it said).  She was very fast with this–should could match words just by looking at them for a second!  It was really impressive to watch!

Sorting plastic autumn leaves by color.

Sorting little models of squash into "big" and "little".

Here, Monkey is using tweezers to put one small bead into every dent on the snail tray. She kept saying it was too hard, but she did it perfectly every time!

Close-up of the tweezer work.

Building a tower with the red knobless cylinders.

Monkey's first try with the 3 part cards. This set had "tree", "flower", "vine", "grass", and "leaf" in it.

Matching the 3 part cards for parts of an apple tree.

Monkey was learning sequencing with this work. One set of cards was seed-sprout-flower and the other set was mixing-baking-decorated cake.

More work with the compass. This week, she added south, east, and west to her repitoire.