Archive for home school

Tuesdays With Mooch & Fuss: The Power of Ten

Last week, Fuss focused on the number ten. We didn’t do it in a Sesame Street “Let’s count to ten” fashion, because that would have made us both fall into a math-induced coma. In a rich conceptual way, we explored addends that equal ten (2+8, 4+6, 9+1, 5+5, etc.). We also reviewed counting by tens, counting to ten in Spanish, and playing with tens in money. She spotted tens everywhere — the air conditioner, the clock, the oven timer.

Making Tens on the Montessori Addition Strip Board

Adding up to Ten

Art in Tens

In Language Arts, Fuss is learning about possessive pronouns, possessive proper nouns, and when to use apostrophes. Science-wise, she’s been interested in why and how water boils, how fish know when to stop eating, and how long it takes cars to slow down from various speeds.

Mooch reviewed expository writing last week. She wrote a paper on parents being some of the most tired people. There were three revisions and one typed final. She is loving Saxon math more than Singapore but is starting to feel like it repeats a lot. I think she needs the repeating. We’ll see how it pans out. Singapore moved much more quickly, it was at least challenging. Now she feels like she learned all the stuff she’s doing now last year. To stave off boredom, I purchased an Algebra curriculum on the side. It should be here next week.

Mooch decided to randomly make a doll this week

Mooch learning to draw manga characters in her free time

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Tuesdays With Mooch & Fuss: Spanish Role Play

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Tuesdays With Mooch & Fuss: Decade Dioramas (1960s)

Last week, a question Mooch had about Weight Watchers sparked a full on study of the sixties. The decade is rich with international history as well, but we always start at “home” to see what was going on here at the time. We decided to dive in with an art project to keep the toddler interested. Creating dioramas allowed us to cover a broad range of topics from sports to segregation. Fuss seemed to be most interested in pop culture, including clothing, hairstyles, musicals and dolls.

The girls learned about Jim Crow, The Shirelles, Mary Poppins, Muhammad Ali, John F. Kennedy, and more. The chit chat that took place over a simple afternoon of cutting and pasting was unbelievable. I’m certain that it created a lasting memory.

This was just the beginning. As a result, we’ll be watching Panther, Mary Poppins, Soul Train, and clips of The Beach Boys and The Shirelles. Also on our list is a read aloud of James and the Giant Peach, which was published in 1961 (Mooch has already read it, of course, but she doesn’t mind hearing it again). We’re going to look for Lobo (the first comic book featuring an African-American lead), and we’re going to memorize some Amiri Baraka. I’m sure all of this will spin off into many more conversations and active learning. I’m excited to share it all with you.

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Tuesdays With Mooch & Fuss: Teaching Toddlers To Cut With Scissors


Stickers (feel free to choose a theme that corresponds to the season or lesson plan)

Paper (construction paper is easier for them to cut, but any paper works)


Preschool Scissors

Small lightweight bowl or cup

A toddler (roughly age 2-5)

Wide Masking Tape

Set Up:

Place a strip of masking tape on the floor (if you don’t have hardwood floors, do it in the kitchen)

Cut the paper into 1 1/2 inch wide strips (it’s not an exact science) the long way

Draw lines 1 1/2 apart on each strip

Place a fun sticker in between each set of parallel lines

Put strips and scissors on a tray with a small lightweight bowl or cup

STEP ONE (Exploring Scissors):

Get the toddler (Well, invite them over nicely)

Pick up the scissors and explain that they can hurt someone really badly

Touch the tip gently

Let the child touch the tip

Tell them it’s sharp

Show them how to put their fingers in, and let them practice opening and closing

STEP TWO (Walking with Scissors):

YOU carry the scissors, holding the blade end in your fist

Explain to your toddler that this is the way we carry scissors

Walk your toddler to the masking tape, while noting aloud how carefully you’re carrying the scissors

When you get to the tape ask “Do you think you can carry the scissors like I did, while walking on this piece of tape?”

Let the child do it, and give them a simple “Great job” or high five

STEP THREE (Cutting):

Let the child practice carrying the scissors carefully back to the table or mat

Take one of the strips and cut off a square
Note how you open the scissors, place the strip in side and close the scissors completely

Place the fallen square into the little cup/bowl

Do it once more, asking the child what you should do first

If they don’t remember, help them by saying, “Open”

Ask the next step

If they don’t remember, help them by saying, “Close”

Ask the next step

They should respond, “Put it in the cup!” or they may point to the cup (depending on age and language skills)

Hand your child the scissors and let them try

Don’t pressure, yell, or rush. Be patient. Younger children may need more opening and closing practice. If they are frustrated, you may guide them with your hand around theirs or transition to another activity and try again another day.

They should only complete one or two strips each time they do the activity. Don’t ask them to finish cutting all the strips you made (you don’t want to have to make new sticker strips everyday). They should stop the second they’re tired.

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Tuesdays With Mooch & Fuss: Homeschool Today

  • A conversation with Mooch about true forgiveness, trust, and grudges
  • Gymnastics for Fuss
  • A piano lesson for Mooch
  • Our weekly trip to the Culver City Farmer’s Market
  • An overview of seasonal fruits
  • A study of the digestive process for Fuss, replete with a story, worksheet and episode of Magic School Bus
  • Circle Time in English and Spanish
  • An episode of Word Girl
  • Making pizza with Fuss

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