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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: The Language Arts, Piano, Behavior Update


Michael Clay Thompson rocks! I’m not being paid to say this. I do not monetize this blog in that fashion. Honey, let me tell you, it is an amazing Language Arts curriculum¬†and it’s a perfect fit for Mooch.

I wouldn’t recommend it for the child who struggles with comprehension or falls behind in English, but if your kid loves literature, words, and everything that has to do with grammar, drop every thing and spend a hundred bucks on this program that has my child engrossed in Latin roots.

It covers spelling, grammar, diagramming, etymology (Latin and Greek), and poetry. I accidentally bought Grammar Town instead of Grammar Voyage, which probably would have been a better fit for her, but she loves it so much, she didn’t want me to send it back and wait for the correct one to arrive. Anyway, that’s my two cents on that.

Everything else with the eldest is going well. She’s finally gotten all of her extracurricular practice down to a science. She waits until our neighbors leave in the morning and practices drums, piano and voice. Then she starts her journaling and academics. I’m happy to see her finding self-motivation, and I’m thrilled to offer the space to work at her own pace, which is often slower and more in depth than me and her peers. She’s very analytical. I do hope she speeds up at some point, but I want her to do that on her own time as well.


This little one nailed her first commercial and her second audition. She said she was nervous on the way, which I’m not used to, because Mooch never says that. I was happy she articulated it, so we could downplay it, act natural, and make her feel secure. The pretend mommy and daddy, who auditioned with her, said she did an amazing job. She hasn’t auditioned in a long time. She just asked to do it again after this recent shoot. I guess she has caught the bug.

This past Saturday was my first time taking her to piano, because Hannibal usually goes. I was very impressed with her. She answered all the questions on the rug, while the other kids remained silent. She read C,D, and E correctly and played them with the correct fingers. I couldn’t have been more proud.

Her reading level remains about the same, but with far more mastery and interest in stories with more words on the page. She is asking a lot of science questions, like “What’s under the dirt in the middle of the earth?” and “Why do my fingers get wrinkled in the tub?” Those are areas we hope to expand on in the coming weeks. We’re currently reviewing metamorphosis. I think it’s time to move on to paper money. She has mastered the coins. I just haven’t had a chance to put the activity together. She also wants to tell time, but even though she can count by fives, I may wait until after Kwanzaa, because I plan on buying her a Hello Kitty watch. ūüėČ

Her behavior has gotten sooooo much better. Bedtime is quicker, I hear “Yes!” more than “No,” and she’s working on getting frustrated less. She is the opposite of Mooch. She processes things very quickly, and does everything at the speed of a thousand cheetahs. She can be impatient with people and even with shirts (if they don’t come off quickly enough). Fuss is just like me. I use every ounce of energy all day to be patient and calm with her, so she learns from that model. Sometimes I fail, and when I do, it’s interesting to see her model the good behavior right back at me. “Mommy, that was an inappropriate reaction. I think you should apologize, but it’s your choice.”

For photo updates on what Mooch and Fuss are doing daily, you can always click on the unschooling tab to find both of their imported Tumblr accounts.

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Tuesdays With Mooch & Fuss: The Fall Plan


Social Studies/History/Geography (This section was inspired by Mooch’s thirst for geography)

Culture: Starting with Los Angeles in great detail, we will explore each community and ethnic enclave, as well as take field trips to them and sample the food, culture, etc.  

By the second semester, we will branch out to studying California, it’s history, missions, and geography (which will tie in with the earth science curriculum)

Geography: We will cover the Los Angeles county geography, so they know their own town first, and make connections to the actual part of the world (i.e. studying China Town leads to studying China, etc). 

History: Prior to each field study, we’ll research the history of that area of Los Angeles County, and how the ethnic enclave developed.

  • China Town
  • Little Ethiopia
  • Little Tokyo
  • Hollywood
  • Little India (Artesia – I think)
  • Little Armenia
  • Little Vietnam
  • Thai Town
  • Leimert Park
  • etc.



The scientific method will be integrated into everyday circumstances.¬† When questions are posed by Mooch or Fuss, they’ll be asked to make an educated guess about the answer/outcome. We’ll then collect and compare data, and they’ll form conclusions.¬† Incorporating it into regular activities promotes lifelong learning.

Elementary Chemistry: GEE Long Beach (hands on)


  • (building simple series, parallel circuits using wires, batteries, and bulbs)
  • Electromagnets
  • Motors
  • Attract/repel

Life Science

  • Food chain

Earth science

Mostly using Montessori – 3 part cards, activities, etc. during mat time

If further interest is sparked, of course we’ll delve deeper. Otherwise, cursory knowledge is sufficient.

Earthquakes: crust, pressure, continental drift, fault line. oceanic crust, seismograph, shock waves, subduction zone, compression, earthquake, earthquake focus, epicenter, fault, plate, plate tectonics, transverse wave, tsunami

Formation: deposition, erosion, glacier, sediment, storm surge, tide, weathering, gravity, sedimentary rock, soil composition

History of the Earth: active volcano, compression, continental crust, continental drift, convection, earthquake, fossil, glacier, magma, plate tectonics

Inside the Earth: volcano, continental crust, convection, igneous rock, magma chamber, rock cycle, vent, oceanic crust, axis, core, crust, equator, inner core, mantle, outer core

Landforms: boundary, cave, crater, dome volcano, ridge, topography, volcano, map

Processes: atmosphere, climate, convection, drought, flood, front, greenhouse effect, humidity, lithosphere, water cycle

Minerals: deposition, hardness, luster, metamorphic rock, mineral, rift, sedimentary rock, stalactite, stalagmite, streak

Ecosystems and Resources: endangered species, population, classification, heredity, inherited traits, photosynthesis, community, migration, mimicry, oxygen, nonrenewable, nutrient, shelter, natural resource, pollution, succession, renewable resource, recycling, habitat, ecosystem

Living Things: fertilization, life cycle, offspring, organism, parent, sexual reproduction, spore, variation, cell

Organs: cell, organ, tissue, esophagus, large intestine, stomach, brain, lungs, small intestine

Plants: germinate, germination, nonvascular plant, pollen, pollination, transpiration, vascular plant, chlorophyll

The Energy Pyramid: herbivore, prey, food chain, energy transfer, consumer, carnivore, energy pyramid, decomposer, producer, predator

The Environment: adaptation, ecosystem, species, environment, migration, biotic, abiotic, niche, resources, camouflage


She’ll continue learning html code via myself and the website: Skillcrush. She’s completely engrossed in it!



Learning to program and develop software online, create video games, stories, music, characters.¬† It’s awesome!!


I plan to use real world math, of course — cooking (fractions – doubling or halving recipes), using multiplication to calculate the number of chairs in a restaurant while we’re dining, telling time, counting money, calculating change, etc. My teacher brain is never off.

To supplement concepts, I’ll purchase the following:

Singapore Math

You can assess your kids’ levels here (if math is their thing):

Then buy the correct books (not expensive Р1 text + 1 workbook) 

 Hands on Equations :

I will also get the iTunes app:

Hands on Equations: 



They pick the books. They read the books. 

Silent reading

Read aloud

Library time

Basic research skills

Comprehension activities for Fuss

Maintain a vocabulary journal (Mooch) – When reading jot down and look up unknown words.


Mooch keeps her own diary, which will allow her the freedom to develop her voice, vent, and write when she feels like it (not on a set schedule).

She will, however, write one piece per week (usually tying in with a field study or other area of study/interest) and take it through the revision process, which will reinforce editing, spelling, and proofreading skills. She’s interested in starting her own cooking blog when she’s a teenager, so she wants to continue to hone her writing skills.

Fuss currently journals through pictures. She draws her feelings, she paints about her day, and she designs small towns for her dolls. 

I will do dictation with her. Allowing her to tell me her stories, while I write them down.  She also has a tape recorder, which she loves.


Fluid and automatic handwriting has been proven to improve concentration and allow kids to focus on the content rather than the mechanics of writing.  Mooch will get this while journaling. Doing it separately is unnecessary. 

Fuss enjoys practicing letters in a grid on actual paper.¬† She doesn’t really care for chalk unless it’s outdoors.¬† I may try a dry erase board. As long as she doesn’t try this again:

 Critical Thinking

Mooch has an interest in argument structure, rhetorical devices,  and critical thinking, so I will use my old college text book to teach her: 

  • Smokescreen/Red Herring
  • The Subjectivist Fallacy
  • Appeal to Popularity
  • Scare Tactics
  • Wishful Thinking
  • Appeal to Pity
  • Apple Polishing
  • Appeal to Anger
  • Straw Man
  • False Dilemma
  • Slippery Slope
  • Etc.
  • She’ll also learn to diagram an argument.


Materials will be made available — pencils, paper, clay, paint, etc. There will be plenty of free time to explore. If a specific interest arises, I can delve deeper to offer technique (i.e drawing faces, cartoon eyeballs, graffiti, etc.)

There will also be art workshops provided by Brianna Rhodes for a fee.

Foreign Language

Mooch says she wants to try French.  GEE offers it on Mondays at 2:45pm in Long Beach.  They also offer Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish, and Italian. FYI.  

Fuss is really progressing in Spanish.  I will continue to do circle time in Spanish, read books, play songs in the car, and find more opportunities for immersion. She is also part of a Spanish Meetup group.


  • Poetry (Writing and Reciting): Curriculum designed by Hannibal but Implemented by Myshell
  • Children’s Book Club: Facilitated by Mrs. Wheeler and myself
  • Public Speaking – Guest Teacher or take the Friday “Speakers League” @ GEE in Long Beach
  • Mental Math – Guest Teacher
  • Hands-on Science – California Science Center – Once per month (Ages 10-12) and (5-6) Nothing there for Fuss yet (she’s 3, so science at home)


  • African Dance for Homeschoolers (Mooch)
  • Capoeira for Homeschoolers (Mooch)
  • Art for Homeschoolers (Both)
  • Ballet (Ballet)
  • Gymnastics (Fuss)


  • LaBrea Tar Pits¬†(For Mooch)
  • Aquarium of the Pacific (For Fuss)
  • China Town¬†¬†
  • Little Ethiopia¬†
  • Little Tokyo
  • Hollywood
  • Little India (Artesia – I think)
  • Little Armenia¬†
  • Little Vietnam¬†
  • Thai Town
  • Leimert Park¬†
  • San Juan Capistrano (For Mooch)¬†


  • We will choose the best park between L.A. and LBC (we’re co-homeschooling with another family in Long Beach)


  • Visit hospice centers in hospitals
  • Visit nursing homes – play board games and speak to/listen to the elders
  • Trash pick up LA
  • Trash pick up LBC


Engrade: attendance, curriculum, notes, grades (if that’s your thing)¬†


Internet Public Library


Fun Brain

Kinder Site

Make a Dollar

News & Current Events for Kids 

Biz Kids (Economics)



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Team Tabu Updates: Finding Joy in Movement

Fuss is testing Mooch at every turn. She’s also trying out some of the hitting she learned at the daycare while Mooch and I were overseas. I’ve been working on tools for Mooch to use to redirect her sister, get her to express her feelings another way, and divert her sisters attention. Sometimes it works. A lot of the time it doesn’t.

Pretending to be innocent

At the annual swap that Mooch’s school holds each year, she got something really awesome for her sister. The fact that she even thought of her sister when free stuff was involved is indicative of her character. Mooch is sweet. Well, after her sister hit her once every day for the past week, she decided to withhold the Melissa and Doug Pizza Party set that she got for her. When Fuss’ behavior towards her sister turns around, Mooch will give her the treat.

Since babysitting funds are in short supply, Hannibal and I have opted to go out separately a lot of the time. I took Mooch to see Fela while he put Fuss to bed. I went to Wives Club while he took the girls to ballet. Gosh, I went out a lot last weekend. I think it’s his turn this weekend. He has a lot of deadlines coming up, so he’d probably prefer to write.

Me and Mooch at Fela

I’ve confirmed that we are moving again, so that’s exciting, because I have no idea where we’re going. I started packing today. For some reason, when you’re having sex twice per day, none of the dumb shit bothers you. I’m joyful and hopeful and going with the flow.

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Tuesdays with Mooch & Fuss: Coping

Mooch and Fuss’ techniques for dealing with stress and frustration.

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