Showing posts with label nature table. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nature table. Show all posts

Monday, October 7, 2013

Bringing Nature In :: Part III :: Flora and Fauna

Linking up with my friend Nicole over at Frontier Dream's KCCO this week! 

This is the third part of a series that I started writing about this past summer. The first part, about bringing nature into your child's play and playroom, is going to make its way into the Autumn/Winter edition of Rhythm of the Home Magazine - so I apologize about not being able to view it right now due to publishing rights. The second part was on bringing nature into your child's bedroom, or more specifically how we did it on our little ones' rooms (which I now- four months into the new room- can attest to its benefits!). And finally, I am on to this third part about bringing flora and fauna into your home, for your child's sake and your own. 

Our grumpy box turtle named "Toodles"
There's quite a few ways that you can bring flora and fauna in. One of the first ways we did it was by getting a few little critters. If you're like me at first you might be a bit iffy about this. I was. But any good naturalist will tell you- as well as Richard Louv who wrote "Last Child In The Woods"- that to be closer to nature you have to study and observe it. You have to have a personal connection with it. And one of the rites of passage of childhood and first connections for children come when they bring little critter indoors for a bit to watch them. They learn about them and learn to love them. That love will last them a lifetime. It will spark an interest in them the continue to grow and grow. They will start to see more fauna outdoors than before once they start bringing in critters. Now let me say that we don't allow in dangerous critters. No spiders or anything that we can't identify. No large critters. But we have adopted and released a baby bunny, a duckling, a gosling, a few baby birds- not fledglings, turtles, tadpoles, frogs, toads, lizards, and a myriad of bugs and butterflies. 

Little Ribbit- our fire bellied toad
Currently we have a plestiodon- a skink with a blue tail, a itty bitty baby snapping turtle, and our permanent store bought pet toad- who eats live crickets so we also have a few dozen of those. We also have about 10-12 wood toads in our backyard and one grumpy box turtle who meanders about in my compost. Richard Louv related in his book how some of his earliest experiences with fauna shaped his love of nature inextricably later in life. He retells a funny story about saving turtles in the spring from being run over with his family in their pick-up and then keeping them all summer long in his backyard and then releasing them. 

Another way you can bring flora and fauna into your home is by keeping a nature tray or table. We keep a Waldorf nature table that reflects our month and season in the corner of our dining room. On it I have a small tray for our favorite bits of nature we collect. But now that the kids are older and we're learning about trees and their outdoor world in much more detail, lots of nature comes into the house. I need a place to put it all so we could touch it, identify it, draw it. 

Our nature table mini tray

So I opted for an old ruined roasting pan on a low bench next to our Atelier. The kids have corners for related pieces of nature that they find and divided up on their own. They love to just sit with this tray in their lap and their field guide in their hands trying to find which nut came from which tree. Does it look a little unkempt? Is it maybe an eyesore? Possibly. But the way I see it is that there is a finite time in my life that I will have 'eyesores' about. One day my house will be clean and consequently empty. I don't mind the clutter now, especially if the kids are relishing the experience and learning about their world. I am positive it will stay with them throughout theirs lives as it did with me. (So thanks Mom and Dad for buying me safety goggles and a hammer to cracks open rocks with!)

Nuts galore

Lastly this is another big one here for us. I love to grow our own food and garden. At every house I have lived at with a yard in the past 5 years, I have kept a garden- even when I still lived in an apartment/town house complex. That equals...4 gardens (as well as string of berry bushes). Also at the one place I lived at with no yard at all, I had a window herb garden! At first I wasn't used to gardening with kids. I remember in horror when a little toddler Deirdre (my oldest who is now almost 6) pulled up a tomato plant when I was weeding- she was trying to help! Kids love to garden. The gravitate to my garden. The love to eat the food they pick- even when they usually dislike it otherwise. It's crazy really. So making gardens kid friendly is a big deal for me. It makes my life easier and the kids have tons of fun. Plus all that yummy and beautiful goodness makes its way back into your home! It's another great way to bring nature in. 

Currently we're only growing broccoli and cabbage- as well as our herbs. The kids each have their own special garden in a box, all to themselves since it's part of their school work. They water it, weed it, prune it. and decorate it. I have my big garden with the bulk of our plants in it. But it is also kid friendly. I have a path through it that is wide to they can walk on it and not be too caught up in stepping on something. I use hay mulch in the garden so they can clearly see what's a plant or a weed. They can sit in it and explore- or just relax. Right now they have been using it to hunt for trolls. They think trolls like cabbage :)

I hope this gives you a few good ideas on how to bring more nature into your home. I cannot recommend Richard Louv's book enough. It's another one of those game changer books for me. It's right up there with Rahima Baldwin Dancy's, "You Are Your Child's First Teacher". Go read it! 

How do you already bring nature in? What critters do you have? How do you garden with the kids? I'd love to you, so please share! 

Also if you could please be thinking about my family and praying for us over the next few weeks, I'd be very grateful. A lot of changes are have happened at Craig's work and it's effected us quite a bit. So many things are uncertain. We all could use lots of wisdom, strength, and provision. 

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,

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, June 14, 2013

World Oceans Week



We have been enjoying our weekly theme here over the past few days. My children are dolphin and shark enthusiasts. For Deirdre's fifth birthday this year she requested a dolphin party. My son Jonas soon after, of his own volition, decided next to trains, sharks are the coolest thing around. They have a pet dolphin and shark names 'bubbles' and 'toothy'. Most nights, along with their David the Gnome story, they ask me to make up one about the adventures Bubbles and Toothy go on together. It is really quite adorable. 

So for World Ocean's Week, we decided to focus on the oceans and their favorite friends, dolphins and sharks. Our local Living Museum has baby dogfish sharks at it, as well as bay touch tanks and aquariums. We headed there on Monday to explore, have circle time in their new learning garden, and eat lunch. 

Then we headed home and did our first pre-planned sensory play. At our home we do lots of sensory play every week with beeswax, play dough, our outdoor mud and sand tables, ect. I have been seeing lots online about sensory bins and thought I'd give it a try this week. So here is ours with a Waldorf twist- as well as our weekly nature table. 

During circle time we've been enjoying our summer rhyme and board book. Our book of the month for June is The Curious Fish by Elsa Beskow, which matches perfectly with our summer and ocean theme. This week we also are acting out and reading The Owl and the Pussycat By Edward Lear and Jan Brett. This edition in particular was one of my only books as a young child, so it's near and dear to my heart :) I added some picture of the books we use below if you'd like to find them yourself!





We're continuing to use our water blocks as our circle time props as well as our blue play silks and different ocean figures- like our Ostheimer mermaid and dolphin or wooden sharks. 

Enjoy and I hope you all have a lovely week celebrating the ocean!

Until next time, 
Love & Light
Nicole
















Thursday, March 1, 2012

March and Fleeting Time






March has entered our home with a bang and a blast of balmy spring weather. I found myself today actually wearing capri pants and sandals! I'd be lying however if I said that I was ready for March as well as Spring. 

Last night I found myself taking down the last remnants of our winter school room decor and adding what spring items I had to our nature table. I usually try to be prepared when it comes to school (by crafting ahead of time) but March really creeped up on me. Thankfully our lessons are pre-planned out for this whole month and most of next until baby comes. 

Now that we're in March, my mind has flown into panic mode a bit. Baby Kleemann #3 is due in April and this month signals my last full month before their arrival. Granted there is a possibility that this little one will take their time and come in May, which is totally fine by me, but I'd rather be ready considering my other two children came 2 and 3 weeks early (at a healthy 8 pounds give or take each). 

Really though I am 'ready' to meet this one when they decide to arrive. But the nesting part of my brain wants to have the baby's clothes sorted before then. I am guessing (note my sarcasm here) that with three children once the baby comes, I won't have loads of time to be sorting baby clothes then. :) 

So here I am blogging, excited about the baby and March, yet also wanting a bit more time to get things in order before then. Come six weeks from now, when I am really uncomfortably pregnant, remind me I wished for extra time!

Until then, 
Nicole 

PS: Enjoy the two little creations I managed to sneak in below. A rainbow spring bunting and felt bunny- both courtesy of pinterest!