Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pumpkins, Owls, and Bats, Oh My!

A wise old owl lived in an Oak
The more he saw the less he spoke
The less he spoke, the more he heard
Why can't we be more like that wise old bird? 



Our October Nature Table- or as we do it- our nature shelf




Jonas' Mums are in full bloom


Happy October dear friends! I feel like an old record repeating myself but time really does fly. I am so thankful that I did my homeschooling planning a season at a time or I wouldn't know what to do with myself now that its' October. Just like with each month we have a big monthly theme and then a monthly animal- or two- and a quarterly nature theme.



This month our big theme is PUMPKINS! We'll be reading pumpkin stories, doing pumpkin crafts, and my favorite- baking up a storm with our pumpkins. We also will be learning about owls and bats. With Halloween as our big festival this month I thought it was only appropriate to talk about bats too!

We also are continuing on with our nature theme of trees and their leaves. So far we've identified all the trees in our neighborhood except for one. Ugh. Identifying trees can be tough. But so worth it. The kids now when we're driving around point out different trees that they recognize. But we aren't just learning the tree's names, we learn about the trees themselves. Like what animals like to eat beech nuts or what kinds of trees make good squirrel homes, or even what kinds of tree made the table we eat on? Or even, why are trees important? I swear we end up talking about trees and nature more than our theme most days, but that's a good thing I think! We read Gerda Muller's "Around the Oak" as a good anchor point to our tree learning.

Jonas is really into sharks right now

I have had a few questions posted from time to time on the blog about books and reading in relation to Waldorf. It also is the most common question I get emailed about. Part of the way we homeschool is by using books. I think that there is a lot of confusion surrounding when Waldorf formally teaches reading and the use of books before that age. I personally don't have a problem with having books around. We have a separate reading area where we keep all of our books, except for a select few (maybe 7) that I display in the playroom. That way, they are not overwhelmed by books and it doesn't impede their play, which is their most important 'work' at this age- before 7.

Our wise old owl and monthly books
I do however read lots of books to the kids during the day, especially around our seasonal themes. During circle time I only read a page from our current month from Elsa Beskow's "Around the Year" and from Gerda Muller's Seasonal books, with no words. I usually have the kids take turns telling their own stories about Muller's book to us in circle time. The rest of the time we sing our monthly songs, and say our verses. Once I week I read our monthly book, which is "Pumpkin Moonshine" for October. Then the rest of the week I tell different stories or do a puppet play based on our monthly book.
Our Gerda Muller Autumn book that the kids take turns reading to one another during circle time- It has no words. Next to it is a copy of our Autumn verse we're memorizing. I also knit up two new apples with Deirdre from the article we wrote together here for Rhythm of the Home magazine last year. 

It's simple and it works for us. At bedtime I usually read one or two stories and then end with a long made up story about "David the Gnome" which I have been telling nightly for over 3 years now- WOW! The I end with a song and prayers.

I am not sure if that answers any questions, but it does at least explain how we do school and circle time with books. I highly recommend "The Read Aloud Handbook" by Jim Trelease. It is not a Waldorf book but it is a very solid piece of good research and convicting stories about reading out loud to your kids and why it matters all the way up to high school. He also supports not formally teaching reading until age 6/7 or later. So he is indeed liked minded.



How do you or don't you use books at home? What are you doing this October? I'd love to know! 

PS: I am linking up with Linda at Natural Suburbia  Nicole S at Frontier Dreams, and Carrie at Crafty Moms Share. These are also some of my favorite blogs so hop over for a look! 

Love and Light,

8 comments:

  1. I love your nature table shelf! We read books in our waldorf-inspired homeschool too, but even more than books we do stories. My daughter loves to me to make up stories which is fun and something I do daily! She also loves me to make up songs and loves to join in making up her own songs too. Every week I also prepare by learning a new story from our curriculum and tell her the story. I would say that is by far one of my favorite things about our waldorf curriculum, the simple act of telling stories! Today we read some autumn stories from the book "Tell me a story, stories from the waldorf early childhood association of north america" and we also love the Tiptoes lightly books, it is so fun to read about her adventures with Pine Cone and Pepper Pot. Have you read those books? by Reg Dawn. I found them on Amazon.

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    1. Thank you for sharing Heather, what great ideas! Please keep in touch! We do lots of stories here too :) I actually just wrote an article for Rhythm of the Home about storytelling. I bet you two have lots of fun. I am sure she'll carry those memories with her all her life! I haven't read "tell me a story" I will have to check it out. The kids are getting the Reg Down books this Xmas!!

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  2. Love all your October decorations, and your nature table shelf!!

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  3. Books are a big part of things here, the starting point for a lot of conversations and the place we turn when we want to know something new. Another great Gerda Muller book is "A Year Around the Great Oak."

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    1. Thanks impossible way- what's your name, ha I feel weird calling your this??! We've chatted on my other post about apple butter :) I love you blog! Stunning photos. And you're expecting! I had lots and lots of prodromal labor with Brynna. Many hugs. I hope your little one gets here soon. One day we'll have to meet up since we're both in VA!

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  4. I am absolutely in awe of your beautiful craftings, and simply inspired to do these beautiful activities with my own children. Thank you for sharing your life and wisdom with us all, I look forward to what you will share with us in the future.

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    1. Lacie, why thank you so much for your heartfelt comment! It made my day, truly! Please feel free to share with me too what you all are up to!

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