Showing posts with label waldorf. Show all posts
Showing posts with label waldorf. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Winter Down Time








 





The little ones and I have been enjoying some down time this January. I and half of my department are on furlough from Colonial Williamsburg- so we get some more time together!! That time has been spent crafting, playing, and day tripping. Last weekend we were lucky enough to go the Baltimore aquarium. It was so lovely. By far our favorite things were the Dolphins and jellyfish. As always Jonas adored the Sharks. 

This extra free time has also allowed to use our new Christmas art supplies and the shadow puppet theater that the elves brought. Shadow puppets have been a favorite for years now. The plays that the kids come up with are riotous. They never cease to make me laugh. 

All and all we're loving January, despite not being the biggest fan of the cold and recovering from the flu that we all got right before Christmas. Hopefully we'll squeeze in more day trips before the furlough is over. Regardless I am treasuring our time together. I am continually awed by the blessings that my children are and filled with such immense gratitude for the life we've carved out here for ourselves. 



Thursday, December 4, 2014

Saint Nicholas' Day



Nicholas, St. Nicholas, come to us today, Ride upon your white horse from far, far away. Bring us golden treasure, Fill our hearts with love, Ready for the Christ Child coming from above. Nicholas, St. Nicholas, come to us today, Ride upon your white horse from far, far away.


Good Day Friends! 

Saint Nicholas just finished visiting our house today. Addy, our advent gnome, has been helping us the past 2 days to get ready for him. On the 2nd day of advent we made cookies for him and his white horse. On the 3rd day we made letters for him as well as prepared our shoes for him and set them outside. 

I know that the 6th is traditionally Saint Nicholas' feast day, but the children will be with their father on the 6th and they were worried he would miss their house since they weren't home. I informed them to fear not, that he'd come a few days early this year. 

This year Saint Nicholas brought them all their oranges, gold coins, and sweets. They also got a small wooden pet toy set- a kitty, a rabbit, and a dog. Each pet came with a little food dish and house. Their pets are going to live in their farm house. 

Here are our celebrations from years past:
2012:
I did not blog it but here are our photos of it! 



So here are some photos of our past few days and advent fun. Most of our fun times are had at night after I get off work, so apologize for the poor photos. But that is the reality for the full time working mom gig I suppose. I don't mind however. Life is good. It is calm and seeped in love. Now more than ever I get to focus on quality versus quantity. And the few hours we have work and school free each day are definitely quality ridden. I just cannot get over how amazing keeping our Waldorf rhythm has been through this life transition. I am just a blessed lady. 

As we adjust and slow down more and more, I am able to add back in things into our lives that we had to set to the side. One of those things being more planned craft time. Most of our craft time has been free form based around our artelier using loose parts. I'd like to bring back our water color day, our wax day, and our bread day- after work. I also have more time with the children on the weekends, so I want to plan more day trips. 

But for now, this is beautiful and bright. 

May the patron saint of sailors and children shine God's love and light upon you! 


Day 2
Cookie baking! Sometimes I don't have time to change our of my colonial clothes before we do craft and dinner time! 
Day 3
Writing letters

Finding their shoes filled!

They we're so excited!! 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Gray January Adventures



Winter comes with ice and snow
Covers over the seeds below
Stark the trees and cold the air
King Winter rules the land, beware!
-Betty Jones from "A Child's Seasonal Treasury"

This one is getting adventurous. She wants to be leader.

Picking out the perfect picnic spot!

"Please Mommy take a picture of us and then show me!"

On their animal hunt...

My big strong boy who is refusing to let me cut his hair!

Jonas helped Brynna climb up. She was thrilled. 

Story time!!

Firstly, THANK YOU. All of you. From the blog, to facebook, to email, to even pinterest- thank you. The love you've injected into my life since my last post, before and after, continues to just BLOW me away. In some of my darker moments, I feigned from sharing because I feared judgment and that no one would care. You all have proved this wrong over and over again. I really need to stop over thinking the impulses of my heart and learn to share freely more. You all have given me a lot more courage to do so, so once again thank you...

Now on to the happy stuff :) 

So far this year, we've had no snow. Some ice and cold temperatures, but there has also been many unseasonably warm days. Two weeks ago I actually broke out my favorite summer dress because it was in the 70s. Regardless, it's a bit chiller now and my body is full on into hibernation and soup mode.

We're back from our holiday break and onto our January. This month our theme is snow and our book is Ollie's Ski Trip. However, like last year, focusing on snow is proving hard when there is none. This week were also studying stars in honor of Epiphany. Ultimately though, I think I am going to blend in snow with winter animals, because we keep finding lots of them- or at least evidence of them. I never thought wide open fields would have so many little critters in them!

Today we took a filed trip back to the kids' new favorite place, the Yorktown battlefield earthworks. I explained to them what earthworks were, why they were there, ect... but the kids call this place their 'earth playground' and are fairly convinced that dwarves made the hills and the holes we see all over are the entrances to their mines. Ha! Needless to say I haven't pushed it.

So off we went. We had a picnic and then circle time. We read the Mitten and brought along the mitten Jonas and I made (he surprisingly really likes to sew). Then we hid the animals all over the hills and took turns finding them. Lastly, and this is my favorite part, we went on an adventure. And boy was it an adventure today.

Look what we found in the woods!!! 



Bits of nature we found. I take photos and then we all look it up later in our books or on the "puter" as Jonas calls it. 

Needless to say the kids were overjoyed. I have no idea who built it. The kids added to it and we played with that little shelter for over an hour. I could not get them to leave. They wanted to camp there. I was tempted to at least let them nap there. But then we meandered about some more and saw neat bits of nature. By the end of our adventure all of our pockets were full of moss, rocks, twigs, and leaves.

I could just go on and on about what I 'taught' today or what they 'learned' but the more and more I think about it, the more and more I believe that's not really the point. I don't think that's the point of Waldorf anymore either- but then again I never thought that was the point anyway (which is why I was so drawn to it). This process, this journey, that all of us are on together- myself included- is the goal. I'm sure I could wax eloquent more on that, but I will leave you all here with this photo. I am not sure why it warms my heart so, but oh it does.


Love & Light,

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,