Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Montessori Monday February 20, 2012

Montessori Monday

It looks like Montessori Monday might soon be making a big change around here.  Monkey has decided that she wants to start doing some kindergarten-level work.  So, today, we started doing her kindergarten math lessons (from Rightstart Level A) and All About Reading Pre-1.  Right now, it’s still something Bug can participate in too, so I’ll be able to keep them in the same posts, but soon I think we’ll need a Kindergarten posting category!  Then, our Montessori stuff will then be focused on just Bug, which means it’s time to start all over at the beginning of the 3 year cycle.  It’s hard to believe that 2 years ago, we started our first homeschooling blog with Monkey’s 3 year old lessons!  Now, she’s done with a lot of the Montessori work we purchased and is ready to move on to the next step. 🙂  It’s kind of weird leaving behind Tot School with Bug and now starting Kindergarten with Monkey!

Here are some pictures from Bug and Monkey’s week in the schoolroom!


Bug and Monkey both LOVED this work. We took two chairs and some yarn to make a clothesline. Then the girls used clothespins to hang up cloth napkins.


Bug working on the screwdriver board.


Cutting paper hearts (I drew an outline on the paper and the girls cut them out, and then decorated them for Valentine's Day)


Bug is so proud of her heart!


Monkey working on some addition problems.


Her finished math problems.


Monkey and Bug decorating some chocolate oreo truffle hearts for Valentine's Day dessert.


Apparently Monkey does NOT like cutting tomatoes. The girls were helping cut various vegetables for a salad.


Jedi was helping to make a fruit salad.


Monkey wanted to do some drawing last week as well. She was making a garden picture for the ostrich sticker.


Bug LOVED playing in the pink shaving cream. For Valentine's Day, we added red food coloring to the shaving cream, making it pink.



2nd grade week in review February 13, 2012

As of yesterday evening, Jedi’s completed 744 of the required 900 educational hours Ohio requires for homeschoolers (not counting his therapy hours each week, which the school district would allow us to count because it would count if he were in school.  But we don’t count it as part of our required hours.).  It’s amazing to think that “technically”, he is already almost done with 2nd grade.  Now, we still have so much we want to do this year, so we’ll ultimately end up a couple hundred over the requirement, in large part because we do full-year school.  I like that we still have a lot of wiggle room for taking breaks and time off.  Jedi’s worked really hard this year!  I’m proud of the transition he’s made, and the fact that he’s learned so much since June!

Here are some pictures of last week….

Last week, he wrote a fairly lengthy creative writing story. This week, he typed it and illustrated it!


He also read Dan Gutman's "Mr. Burke Has Gone Berserk" on the first day it was released--he read the entire thing in a couple hours (way to go!!) Then he wrote a book report on it. 🙂


Most kids have done M&M math--our kids are dairy allergic, so Valentine's day brings a good opportunity for Conversation Heart Math! I made up a 4 page packet that he worked on that involved counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, estimating, greater than/less than, and graphing.


We also finished our unit on birds this week. We talked about the waterproofing on a bird's feathers, and what happens when oil spills happen. Jedi took some craft feathers. The first feather, we dipped it into water and then dried it off. The feather was nice and fluffy again. The second feather was dipped into a mixture of canola oil and cocoa powder (the CP was to turn it brown). This was to simulate an oil spill. Jedi tried wiping off the oil, but the bird's feather never became clean.


Then he tried washing the oil covered feather in plain water to symbolize the bird trying to swim into clean water. The feather became completely mangled, which would provide little to no protection for the bird (ultimately causing it to freeze).


He dipped another feather into the oil, and then washed it off in a mixture of dish detergent and water. The feather didn't go back to it's initial fluffiness, but was clean enough that the bird would probably have enough protection from heat and cold.


All of the feathers. From left to right: Original feather, feather dipped in water, feather dipped in oil and wiped, oiled feather washed in water, and oiled feather washed in soapy water.


Then we watched some youtube videos on how birds are washed after oil spills.


Jedi also had a box of bird-related items to observe...feathers, real nests, owl pellets, and a replica of a barn owl skull.


A bunch of different samples of feathers.


Dissecting an owl pellet. Jedi LOVED finding the bones!


All of the bones from the owl pellet.


Jedi also learned about Gilgamesh and Enkidu. After learning about the story, he then created a story about an adventure they might have had. Finally, he drew a picture of what Enkidu might have looked like.


Jedi wanted to take advantage of the shaving cream Monkey and Bug were working with. He decided to practice some handwriting. 🙂


Montessori Monday

Montessori Monday

The girls had a busy week in the schoolroom this week.  They really loved having all of the work pink and purple for Valentine’s Day.  Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays that easily lends to a lot of collage making and other crafts, so the girls really enjoyed themselves.

It’s also becoming pretty clear that Monkey wants to move towards more of the kindergarten-level work.  She’s been spending a lot of time choosing to focus on math, for example.  She really doesn’t want to follow the the typical math sequence.  In fact, she’s demanding that we give her pages of addition problems to do with the bead rack every day.  She LOVES addition.  On her ipod, she gravitates towards the math games (Monkey Preschool Math is a good one!  It’s her favorite!).  She even found the math pages in her Hello Kitty coloring book, and independently started doing all of the math problems.  I think we may have a little math loving girl on our hands!

Here are some pictures from the girls’ week of school.

Monkey received a bunch of wooden craft kits for her birthday. I think she might have done them all in one day--most of them involved paint and glitter, so she pretty much dedicated an entire day to finishing every last one because she couldn't decide which one she liked the most. 🙂


Tonging conversation hearts into an ice cube tray.


Free writing/drawing


Collage materials for making Valentine's cards.


Making bracelets out of pipe cleaners and beads.


Bug LOVES to peel and break crayons. So much so, that we always have an abundance of broken crayons. We decided to create some heart shaped rainbow crayons. (One warning...I bought these heart-shaped trays a long time ago. I completely forgot they were not baking trays. Let's just say it's a good thing I checked on them when the crayons were melting--the pans were not heat safe. Oops!)


Monkey helping to peel crayons.


Bug happily helping prepare the crayons.


We put the trays in the oven at 250 for about 5 minutes, and then put the pans instantly outdoors (it was cold, and I actually wanted to attempt to save the pans. Thankfully, cooling them down quickly saved the pans from being destroyed. LOL!!!) Here are the final products!


Bug working with the conversation hearts.


Monkey making Valentine's cards


Lots and lots of glitter!


Pink paper snipping


Monkey working on math.


Shaving cream!!! Bug, of course, loved it. She played with it for hours. Monkey hated it. She has some pretty bad sensory issues, but she also hates feeling left out. So she voluntarily tried it. For about a minute. After that, she went and scrubbed the heck out of her hands...


Monkey's "I'm pretty sure I'm going to throw up" face. I'm not sure why she even volunteered to stick her hands in it, except that she saw Bug having fun. Now, she can't figure out what Bug loved about it...


Watercolor painting!


While Bug was using watercolors, Monkey wanted to paint on the easel with tempura paints. 🙂


Toddler Tuesday February 22, 2011

Filed under: Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 4:34 pm
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Bitty Bug is 25 months old

I don’t have much of a commentary for Toddler Tuesday because I just wrote it all on my Montessori Monday blog post.

But, I do need some help from the techy people out there…  To get the link-up posted, I use the Inlinkz website.  They have two different formats–one for self-hosted blogs and one for wordpress hosted blogs…mine is a self-hosted blog, *but* the format for that doesn’t seem to be working.  I can’t get the linkup to show up directly in the blog post.  I have to end up using the wordpress hosted format, and I don’t really like that.  So, does anyone know how to get it to show up?  It has something to do with the JavaScript settings, but as far as I can tell, those are working correctly?

Now, back to Toddler Tuesday…

Musings of Me had a fantastic Valentine's Day unit posted on her site, and as part of the unit, there was this lovely color mat. So, I found some of our foam stickers that matched the colors of the heart, and had Bug match colors. She did *very* well matching her colors! She could also name every single one of them!

 (For this unit, visit Musings of Me at !)

Also from Musings of Me's Valentine's Day unit...matching hearts by size. Bug also did really well with this too...and named the hearts "mama", "big girl", and "baby". LOL!


From 1+1+1=1, this lovebug matching game. Bug really enjoyed this work. It was a little challenging because she had to look at the details for some of them (like the heart shaped bug), but she was able to match all of them. It was really fun watching her put one in the wrong place (based on a similar detail) and then towards the end, realizing that it wasn't right and changing it all by herself!

 (For this printout, visit !)

Looking at a book on mixing colors

Riding her plasma car in the driveway. Bug *loves loves loves* her plasma car (she rides on it like a riding toy and not like the plasma car is supposed to be ridden like, but she really loves it!). It's her go-to activity every time she gets to play outside.

If you did any Toddler learning activities with your tot this week, feel free to link up here! 🙂


Montessori Monday (A day late)

Monkey is 4 years 0 months old

Last week was a fun week around here.  Not only was it Valentine’s Day week (so lots of pink and red and glittery heart crafts & activities), but Ohio finally got a peek at spring.  It was lovely weather, between 50-65 all week long.  There was lots of time to go out and play, take walks, and enjoy the outdoor world.  Of course, that came to a screeching halt this week, with new ice storms, but really, when you get a week of spring weather in mid-February, you can’t complain.  😉  It just has us all looking forward to when spring is finally here!

Both Monkey and Bug did a lot of great work in the schoolroom too, but I tried not to interrupt them by taking too many pictures.  So, both Montessori Monday and Toddler Tuesday will be a little sparce on pictures this week–just what I could get without interrupting their concentration.

Working with the sandpaper numbers. To help her with self-correction, I made each group of objects a different color so that she could easily see what each numeral stood for. Sometimes she has trouble with skipping over numbers, so this seemed to help her. (She is having problems with recognition of each number though...we're working on that!)

Valentine's Day 3 part cards from Musings of Me.

Matching & folding socks basket in practical life

Parts of a Turtle puzzle

And of course, enjoying the beautiful weather outside!


Montessori Monday February 14, 2011

Monkey is 4 years old

This week, it seems like Monkey finally got back into the homeschooling routine.  She’s been a bit reluctant to come down to the schoolroom and work for the past couple weeks…we’re not sure why.  I think it’s just been a bit of a hard transition off the holidays, and then Jedi was home from school a couple days because of bad weather.  But she’s back in the swing of things this week!

Here is a review of some of the things she’s done…

A little Valentine's Day twist to the handwriting work. I have her name card out, some paper, a pencil, and added a little Valentine's Day mailbox

Working on the sandpaper letters and beginning sounds for M,A,S,O,T, and C

Using tongs to move the eggs from the basket to the pan

We're working on number recognition and counting a lot this week as well.

Doing more counting, this time with the bead bars

The bead bars and control card

matching the shape to the card

I found these cool little dusting mits awhile back, and I put them on the practical life shelf for Bug and Monkey to use

Shell matching


Making Valentines….Montessori Style

Filed under: Preschool Learning,Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 3:27 am
Tags: ,

3 kids + a ton of craft supplies = a whole lot of Valentines.  And a whole lot of sparkly stickery gluey mess. 😉

Craft time for the kids...and a whole lot of pretty pink messy fun.

This bought me at least an hour of calm and peace. 🙂


Montessori Monday/Toddler Tuesday February 8, 2011

 Tot School

Bitty Bug is 24 months old, Monkey is 4 years 0 months old

First off, the big news of the week is Monkey turned 4 years old this past week!  I can’t believe she’s already 4 years old…three was a pretty big year for her.  It was the year she started finally speaking, and she’s also grown so much…socially, emotionally, and physically.  She’s so proud to be a “big girl”!

I am doing another combined post this week because last week was another busy week outside of the school room.  Actually, the school room was being used as a storage room for a few days as we were rearranging furniture in various rooms so we could open up our office and turn it into a nursery for our future little one.  In the process, we decided to finally remove the temporary shelving we had in there (we had large metal shelves in there because I had them on hand).  This week we replaced them all with smaller bookshelves, which both look nicer and are easier for Bug & Monkey to work with!  I love them, and they were only $15 a piece at W*lmart (which is a store I don’t often shop at, but for such a big project, I needed a lot of shelves). 

Our new and improved school room!

The rest of the room (that one corner is going to have some book shelves over there for their books...we just don't have them up yet)

The shoe tying puzzle I put on the shelves this week

A Valentine's Day spooning exercise--red & white glass beads and heart shaped ice cube tray

Stars & tongs

Dry pouring glass beads and dishes

Bug working with the screwdriver work

Pin punching with the geometric cabinet