Showing posts with label books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label books. Show all posts

Saturday, January 25, 2014

At Last!






At long last King Winter paid us a frosty visit and left us with a few inches of lovely snow. It's a rare treat here to have snow period, but as it stands (4 days later) we still have some! The temperatures here have been very frigid and windy- which is not something we are used to. However we've still made it outside everyday this week- go Waldorf and my stubbornness- even if only for a little while. On the first day it snowed, we were out for five hours total. Let's just say I am one tired Mama. 

On the school front we have been having fun with the snow and birds. We painted snowflakes and made lots of snow cream. We also made the birds some millet treats the day it snowed (because Deirdre was so worried about them). One book that we're really enjoying right now is Susan Jeffers' rendition of Robert Frost's poem "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening". It is just a beautifully illustrated book period, not to mention Frost's poem is one of my personal favorites. I am using it to introduce the kids to poetry and how to experience stillness in nature and our lives. "Be Still" is one of our seasonal verses as well, so it fits in well. We even all painted our versions of 'stillness' together. I am loving our art times all together (not just them with me hovering). 








Last weekend on our Saturday hike we got to do some birdwatching and saw a male and female pileated woodpecker! The kids were thrilled. It was a lovely hike. So beautiful and peaceful. Halfway through the hike it randomly started to snow. We all just stood there in silence with big grins on our faces. It was truly magical. 



Male

Female

Other than that we have spent lots of time indoors. Since I set up our artelier, the kids have been making ample use of it. Many afternoons, while Jonas and Brynna are napping, all Deirdre will do is quietly make art for 2 1/2 hours. This is what she did just today! I am really impressed with the doll crown and paper cut outs she's been doing. 








So all in all we've been having fun. Thank you all again for the support and continued concern and love. Your emails and messages really brighten my day! Life is good and I feel like we're in a good place despite the many gray areas looming in our future or my life. Oddly enough for me (since I am very black & white as well as a super planner) I am OK with that. Incredibly, happily, peacefully OK with it in fact. I have felt this past week very much at peace, calm, and warm. Kinda like a week long surf session. My mind keeps trying to talk me out of feeling this way, but I have just been ignoring it (which is not easy to do). I guess I also feel a bit free and empowered to deal with some of the junk in my life, grow from it, and revisit what it is I am doing and want to do. It's led to some great realizations (things I sadly died to long ago) as well as fun rabbit holes. Plus it can't hurt to take a long hard look at all the ugly bits, right? :)

Until next time!
Love & Light,

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,