Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Jedi's Week in Review January 31, 2012

Filed under: Geography & Culture,Lower Elementary — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 5:27 am
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Here are pictures of Jedi’s week of homeschooling (after Monday’s focus on Vietnam and Tet of course).

We worked on several different painting projects last week. The first was blending tempura paint while the paint was still on the palette instead of blending it on the paper.

 

He decided to do a painting of Mario and some explosions.

 

The second painting project was blending the paint while on the paper to make a sunset.

 

After painting the sunset, Jedi added an entire alien invasion scene. ūüôā

 

In science, Jedi learned about reptiles. Here, he's studying the skeleton of a venomous snake.

 

Studying a snake skin

 

Jedi was trying to compare the skin with the skeleton.

 

Studying basic facts about Vietnam--the language, main religion, population, type of government, etc.

 

In Ancient History, Jedi learned about the Philistines and made a replica of a Hearth Room.

 

Jedi also did his daily journaling for handwriting, as well as continued to work on vowel sounds and blends in spelling.  In math, he began learning about basic subtraction.

 

 

Ch√ļc mung nam moi! Welcome to the Year of the Dragon! January 24, 2012

Filed under: Geography & Culture,Lower Elementary,Preschool Learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 6:11 pm
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I’m a bit late with my blog posts this week–I had laser surgery on my eyes late last week and my vision isn’t quite up to where it should be right now, so it’s hard to sit at the computer. ¬†I’m hoping to catch up with all 3 posts today or tomorrow though!

Most people have heard that yesterday was “Chinese New Year” since¬†erroneously, that’s what the vast majority of media outlets call the Lunar New Year. ¬†What would surprise many people is that the Lunar New Year is not just “Chinese New Year”–many Asian countries celebrate the Lunar New Year! ¬†It’s certainly not exclusive to China. ¬†Since Monkey is Vietnamese-American, we celebrate the Lunar New Year using Vietnamese traditions. ¬†In Vietnam, the new year is called¬†Tet Nguy√™n D√°n, or¬†Tet for short. ¬†Obviously, it’s difficult to replicate¬†Tet without being in Vietnam, or at the very least, without having a strong background in Vietnamese culture. ¬†But, each year, we add a little more to our family¬†Tet celebration as the kids get older.

This year, we decided to take a day of school to learn more about Vietnamese culture and¬†Tet, which is what we did yesterday. ¬†Throughout the week, we’ll also focus a bit more on the country, as well as some of the¬†Tet traditions. ¬†Here is a review of what we did yesterday…

On Tet, trays of whole fruit are laid out--oranges are usually a big part of the tray. Also, Mut, dried and candied fruit, is usually eaten.

 

I pulled out some of our Vietnamese books from our home library so the kids can read them.

 

Jedi reading the girls the book Ten Mice for Tet

 

Playing some of the Vietnamese instruments

 

Learning the different signs of the Asian zodiac

 

Looking at some pictures from Vietnam

 

I brought out some of the lacquered items we picked up in Vietnam

 

The kids always love looking at the dong (Vietnamese currency)

 

Monkey playing with the dragonfly toy

 

All of the kids played B?u cua ca cop. Bau cua ca cop is a game that children and adults will play during Tet. You place bets on the game board as to which animal (or gord) will be rolled on the dice. I didn't have a game board, so I made my own from various pictures I found online.

 

The kids read How the Tiger Got His Stripes, a Vietnamese folktale. Then they colored a picture from the book.

 

Probably the thing the kids looked forward to most--lì xi. Red envelopes with "lucky money" are given to children by adults.

 

We decorated the dinner table with large faux cherry blossom branches.

 

In the Vietnamese tradition, celebrating Tet is referred to as "an Tet", or "eating Tet". Food is an important part of the Tet celebration. Here is our feast...we have some crispy spring rolls, Singapore noodles, various cakes and treats, Mut, B√°nh chung, and B√°nh tet chuoi. Our B√°nh ch?ng and B√°nh tet chuoi didn't come out like it should this year because we were missing a key ingredient--banana leaves! (By the time we figured out that we had run out, it was too late to get more...parchment paper isn't an effective solution. ūüėČ )

 

Ch√ļc mung nam moi!! ¬†(Happy New Year!) ¬†An khang thinh vuong (wishing you security, good health, and prosperity!)

 

 

Tet Trung Thu September 14, 2011

Monday, September 12th, was the Vietnamese holiday Tet Trung Thu, which is also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival. ¬†Because Monkey is Vietnamese, we try to honor as many of the Vietnamese holidays as possible. ¬†We also try to take that opportunity to teach her a little more about her birth culture. ¬†Here’s how our family celebrated Tet Trung Thu this year….

 

Because of gluten, dairy, nut, and egg allergies, we can't order our mooncakes, and I have to adapt recipes to fit. But, here is my attempt at mooncakes this year. ūüôā

 

The inside....it's tofutti cream cheese and then a cocoa powder & date paste. We ate them by the light of the harvest moon.

 

The kids making their papier mache masks (children in Vietnam wear special masks on Tet Trung Thu)

 

The masks waiting to dry

 

After the papier mache dried, the kids painted their masks with tempura paint.

 

The final products!

 

Making and decorating lanterns

 

Jedi doing a little woodworking and making a small wooden dragon

 

Jedi & Monkey with their dragons

 

Getting ready to have our own little parade around the neighborhood by moonlight

 

Bug, complete with some maracas (not sure why they grabbed those, but they were fun to have along!) and a princess costume (which is completely and utterly Bug at her finest...always in a princess dress.)

 

The beautiful harvest moon

 

Processing around the cul-de-sac

 

My cute little girls...

 

Learning on Vacation July 13, 2011

As you all know, last week, we were not in the school room. ¬†We took a week off of all schooling to attend the Catalyst Foundation’s Vietnamese Culture Camp in New York. ¬†Since Monkey is adopted from Vietnam, we decided that it would be good to attend the camp and meet others who were also adopted from Vietnam. ¬†We had a wonderful time, and are so thankful to have the opportunity to meet some wonderful new friends, and the awesome counselors who have become excellent role models for our little one.

But just because we weren’t in the school room, that doesn’t mean the kids didn’t spend the week learning!

They did nature studies.... Creeking at the waterfall we found during a hike up one of the mountains in the Catskills of New York.

 

They played games with the other kids....

 

They learned to speak some Vietnamese (numbers, animals, basic greetings) along with learning some of the legends and myths from Vietnam.

 

They made a lot of new friends from all over the world!

 

They learned to cook Vietnamese Salad Rolls & Vietnamese Bun Cha.

 

Bug enjoyed destroying her salad roll. ūüėČ

 

They participated in a culture show where they had to get on stage and say some words in Vietnamese.

 

They made some new friends and had a lot of fun with them!

 

All three kids had fun at culture camp with new friends.

 

After Culture Camp, we drove from New York to New Jersey for a brief American History lesson. They got to see the early stages of one of the 9/11 memorials.

 

They also got to see the New York city skyline

 

...and learned about what happened on September 11th and why the United States was looking for Osama bin Laden.

 

They all got to ride a ferry to Liberty Island

 

...and were able to see Ellis Island. We talked about what it means to be an American Citizen. This was an important lesson for our family, considering one of our children immigrated to the United States.

 

Finally, the kids were able to visit the Statue of Liberty.

 

It was a beautiful day...perfect for teaching the kids about the gift of freedom!

 

Montessori Monday September 26, 2010

Monkey is 3  years 7 months old

Monkey had a fantastic time in her Montessori room this week.¬† I’m thinking it had a lot to do with the heavy focus on Vietnamese culture, and specifically Tet Trung Thu, that captured her interest.¬† She loves learning about her birth culture, and to have it highlighted in her homeschooling just drew her in.¬† We also added a new computer program we just bought called Let’s Learn Vietnamese by VNI, and now she is really interested in learning the Vietnamese language as well.¬† It’s a really difficult language to learn, but she’s always been fascinated with her Xuan Mai videos and her Vietnamese music CDs, so I think she’ll pick up on at least some of it rather easily.

And there are a ton of pictures for this week….

Looking at the inspiration book for the basket mask craft

This was the selection of books we used to learn about the Harvest festival traditions

Monkey painting her mask

Cutting on the lines to make paper lanterns

Whisking sand

Pouring water using a teapot

Using chopsticks to transfer wooden harvest veggies from one basket to the other

Working with a compass to determine which direction is north.

Looking through the Asian continent box

Still looking at the continent box

Working with the geometric solids. This was her first introduction to them, so she was feeling the surface and shape of each solid and then figuring out which ones roll

Using a sake set to pour sand

"Numerals and Fish". Monkey took a basket of cards and separated numerals from fish. This is to help her learn to recognize what a numeral is by using something really obvious (she knows what a fish is and knows when something is not a fish)

Scrubbing a rock

Making a dragon dance puppet

Monkey's so pleased with her puppet!

The second type of lantern. This one actually held a mini flashlight. Tissue paper is glued over the shaped holes, and monkey poked more holes using a paper punch

Monkey gluing her tissue paper

Jedi was home sick this week, and he decided to join us one day. Here, he's making a noisemaker out of beads.

Putting together her alphabet dragon

 

Catching Up part 1….Tet Trung Thu!

Filed under: Family updates,In the kitchen,Preschool,Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 4:09 pm
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I have two posts to catch up on today….Field Trip Friday and Tet Trung Thu.¬† I’ll start with Tet Trung Thu…

Tet Trung Thu and the Chinese Autumn Moon festival fall on the same day.¬† Tet Trung Thu is the Vietnamese Harvest Moon Festival.¬† It’s actually a day to celebrate children, who have to show great patience during the harvest season while the parents work.¬† Typically, during Tet Trung Thu, Vietnamese children are given small gifts, they make lanterns and march in a parade with them, they can make masks out of baskets and other material, and they eat mooncakes.¬†¬† Obviously, that is a very overly-simplified summary of the holiday. ūüėȬ†

We don’t have a local Tet Trung Thu festival in our part of Ohio, so we celebrated at home.¬† Jedi was sick all last week, so we also had to account for the fact that one of the three kiddos was resting most of the week.

Since we have quite a few allergies, we couldn't order mooncakes and had to make them ourselves. Traditionally, Vietnamese mooncakes have a salted egg yolk in the center to represent the moon. Since we are egg-allergic, I used a ball of tofutti dairy free cream cheese as the center. Surrounding the cream cheese, I wrapped some sweet red bean paste.

The pastry dough is then wrapped around the ball of red bean paste/cream cheese. I then put the entire ball in the mould, and pressed it into the square shape.

This is what the mooncakes looked like after baking

 

This one was still hot when I cut it open. The other ones, we let sit for 24 hours, and the filling was a lot less goey that way.

What's a little baking without also licking the bowl. Monkey and Bitty Big cleaning up the bowl. ūüėÄ

Aaand, since the dough is like 50% sugar, they really enjoyed it. LOL!

Here is the big pile of things Monkey worked on during her school week for Tet Trung Thu (I'll post pictures of her working on it for Montessori Monday). There are two different types of lanterns, some basket masks, and some dragon puppets (my examples and her work are both in there). There's also our Vietnamese Sing & Learn book/CD that we listened to (there is a song for Tet Trung Thu on it)

Everyone out (in their PJ's... ūüėČ ) with their lanterns and our lion puppet having a little parade around the neighborhood. Since we're the only ones that live in the neighborhood at the moment, they could be as loud as they wanted! They liked that!

 

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