Showing posts with label circle time. Show all posts
Showing posts with label circle time. Show all posts

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Snow Play...well sorta!




 


So after my last post I tailored my monthly plans a bit. If you're new, I have written a few posts about how we 'do' our Waldorf homeschooling (I think at this point we end up being more like Waldorf unschoolers though). This year I wrote my own curriculum of sorts. You can find more about it here. While I am sure that we'll get snow at some point (we keep just missing it but not the frigid temps), I am going to stick with it this month and combine it with February's theme, winter animals. Not only does it make my life easier but there are so many rabbits holes to go down. Arctic animals, migration, hibernation vs. turgor, survival, winter fairy tales, weather, what makes it cold, ect.

Our larger science theme for Winter is birds. All Autumn we focused on trees and I am happy to say that we can walk anywhere in our neighborhood and tell you all about every tree. It's neat now that when we drive places, even though the foliage is gone- the kids can point out different trees just by their shape. By far though my kids love willow and beech trees the best. Anywho, I'll share more about birds later on but we got 2 new feeders, a guide, and window feeder, and a bird log- so we're ready! I LOVE our window feeder. Our local cardinal couple love it too, so it's nice to sit with them and eat breakfast together. They don't seem to mind us bouncing around inside either :)

So in keeping with snow, we are making our own snow today with the kits above. I also made a little sensory bin for the kids to play with and some 'snow' dough. It was a big hit today. So much so, they dragged their new fairytale cottage down to make the ice palace from "The Story of the Snow Children". Two years ago I made peg people to go along with the book, you can how to do it here. It amazes me how well they've held up and how much the kids both still love to play with them.

Our nature table and house are now fully in January mode. I continue to struggle to do chalkboard drawings though, ha! I was never good at drawing, but thankfully my audience it forgiving. Hopefully Deirdre will surpass me soon and can take over, ha!

I also on a whim got to take some really lovely photos of the kids during lunch today. Their eyes are starting to turn from blue to green (Deirdre's are already green like mine and my brother). It was a sweet surprise. On the downside, my paperwhites are beginning to die. Alas, Christmas really is over!








Until Next Time,

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,

Friday, September 20, 2013

Preparing Our Hearts for Michaelmas


 Oh Saint Michael, God's great knight...
Strong and pure and shining bright.
I'll be a knight of Michael, too...
And polish my crown to a golden hue.
I'll polish by sword so fine and bright,
And I will use it for the right.
Drive evil away, I will try
And protect those who are weaker than I.





We're beginning our transition here to our week of Michaelmas. I find it easier to spend a week on a festival rather than trying to pack it all into one day with littler ones. 

The week long anticipation build up to the actual festival day is very special to watch in the children. 
Michaelmas is a favorite festival of mine. Saint Michael holds special place in my heart. Around this time last year I was going through a very dark and rough spot. It felt as if evil were very near and present in my life. I spent much time in prayer thinking of Saint Michael and the victory that God had through him. 

Taking this week to think over all that God has done and how God can use us to fight evil, as he did through Michael, is very empowering not only for me but also the children. Yes the festival is fun. Yes play acting dragons, angels, and knights is a good time. But the message behind all of this means so much more. It seeps into their being through this fun, beauty, and repetition. Knowing God's love, his power, and that evil has already be defeated touches all of our hearts. 

It all leads well into our next big festival Martinmas and giving them a heart for others as Saint Martin had for the beggar. Michaelmas bids us to stand firm in God's victory over evil and Martinmas bids us to extend that victory in spirit to those who cannot do so for themselves. 

So needless to say, we're excited for the 29th and the coming months of other festivals!

How do you all celebrate Michaelmas? Or do you focus rather on the Harvest Moon? I'm interested to hear all your stories!

Linking up with Crafty Moms Share and Natural Suburbia and Nicole at Frontier Dreams this week! 

Until next time,

Friday, August 30, 2013

Autumn Good Morning, Summer Good Night












Yellow the bracken, golden the sheaves.
Rosy the apple, crimson the leaves.
Mist on the hillside, clouds grey and white,
Autumn good morning, summer good night.

~Our verse for September


We've been busy here the past week and half. Happily we began our school year last week. It was a bit early but we are planning on going out of town with our family next week so I wanted to have a bit of flexibility in whether we do school on vacation. 

Our circle time theme this month- which for us is September- will is apples. Stories about them, songs, verses, Johnny Appleseed, and a bit of how they grow and what they're used for. We also will overarchingly be talking about Autumn and saying goodbye to Summer. Our puppet "Squirrely" is helping us do that and is the center of many of our stories and plays about apples and Autumn.

During the 3rd week of the month we'll take a break form Apples to celebrate Michaelmas. I am so excited for it this year. Jonas is really into dragons, so I am sure he'll be rapt with attention for it all.

Later this week I will go into more detail on how our circle times flow and I use them in our daily rhythm. They really are the linchpin of my teaching. 

We use puppets a lot and books. Sometimes I read them, sometime I tell my own version of them and sometimes the kids retell their version of the story and act it out. 

I hope this finds all of you well! Thank you for all the toe love. It's healing- slowly- but I do feel much better. I also am so glad that you all liked my home school planning calender. I hope it is helpful! I will get back on in the morning to answer your questions about it. 

PS: Linking up with Linda at http://www.naturalsuburbia.com/ this week! 

Until then!
Blessings,