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,

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, December 9, 2013

The Second Week of Advent :: Plant Kingdom


The second week of Advent is the light of plants-
Plants that reach up to the sun and breezes that dance. 









This holiday season is just chugging along. The days are long gone in my life when it seemed like Christmas took FOREVER to get here. Now it is a blink and then BAM... it's New Years already! Maybe after my children leave home, it will slow back down- but probably not! I don't mind really. I just am trying to be more intentional about slowing down and being engaged with the kids versus doing lots of 'things' and becoming harried. My children really amplify my joy during this season. My days with them are brighter and being able to see the world with new eyes as they do is oh so precious. 

This week in order to celebrate the plant kingdom, we're decking the halls with our greenery and planting plants!(You can read more about how Waldorf schools and families celebrate the Advent season here and here). We planted paperwhites and amaryllis yesterday, and we also hung up our fresh wreath, mistletoe, and pine roping. It actually smells like Christmas. We've already have a multitude of plants books to read this week since we spent the Autumn studying trees. Mainly I am going to focus on evergreens and tell them the story of how and why we started celebrating with Christmas trees. 

Lastly, yesterday also happened to be Deirdre's 6th birthday. Since last December she has requested a Fox party. So fox party it was. It rained, so we had to have the party indoors but boy was it fun. I will post more on that later. Our dear friends the Luptons gifted Deirdre their game Wildcraft. I have wanted to get this game for a long time but the cost held me back. We're all so excited to play it this week and it will fit in perfectly with our plant kingdom theme, so thank you!!

I hope this find you all well. Thank you for all the well wishes. I am feeling much better physically and emotionally. Your love and support warms my heart!









Love & Light,

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The First Week of Advent :: Geode Ornaments








We're really enjoying our first week of Advent here. I think the kids are going to become rock enthusiasts, which would be fine by me! When I was a tad older than Deirdre, I LOVED rocks. My adopted uncle was a geologist and he gave me safety google and a rock hammer for my birthday. I then set about breaking open any and every rock I could find, as well as toting my collection everywhere. Let's just say I am loving this week too!

Today to keep with our Advent theme (the first week is the mineral kingdom) we broke open a geode- and learned about them too. It was fun to ask the kids what they thought might be inside and to have them guess how geodes were made.

After we broke it open we also read about them in our library book. We got three big pieces and a bunch of small ones from our geode. We used two smaller pieces to make geode ornaments for our tree. I tried to keep in simple so we used our Jolly markers to color two wood disks and then glued the geode on. Then I drilled a hole for ribbon on the top of each disk and viola- onto the tree each one went.

In preparation for next week, the plant kingdom, we added some more greenery to the house from our woods. I even finished decorating and Deirdre helped me set out Oma's Noel collection. It really feels like Christmas now.







Love & Light,

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Transitions and Advent


Our advent set-up with the advent spiral Pam and I made!


"The first light of Advent is the light of stone–.
Stones that live in crystals, seashells, and bones.
The second light of Advent is the light of plants–
Plants that reach up to the sun and in the breezes dance.
The third light of Advent is the light of beasts–
All await the birth, from the greatest and in least.
The fourth light of Advent is the light of humankind–
The light of hope that we may learn to love and understand."

I was so sad to take down the geese I made!

But happy to make our pinecone garland with the leftover fair trade ribbon yarn I got from craft night!

We're full on into December over here. Out with our Pilgrims and turkeys and in with our December theme of Advent. I swear November flew by. Things have been a bit heavy here lately and I have been struggling to find stillness.  I am hoping to be more intentional about that during our Advent season. If you all could be sending thoughts and prayers my way to help me do this, I'd greatly appreciate it! 

I shared with a few few folks, who asked me how I could do "advent" as our theme all December long, that Advent in the Waldorf tradition is celebrated a bit differently. Each week has a theme and focuses on a different earthly kingdom. The neat about that is that it makes Advent accessible to people of all faiths and depending on the faith that you practice, or don't, you can tailor it to what is more or less important to your family.  





This week for stones we're going to be learning about stones, fossils, gems, and crystals. I plan on wet felting some stones and soaps for gifts with the kids and we have a nice advent song and stories that emphasize our faith and stones from the Winter Wystones book here:

Hush-a-bye, hush-a-bye, holy night,

angels have brought the Child of Light:

All mankind shall gently bear Him;

all the beasts shall nestle near Him,

all the flowers shall adore Him,

all the stones shall kneel before Him,

all the world shall worship Him,

cherubim and seraphim.


We also departed a bit from tradition this year. Saint Nicholas came early! This year he was bringing them their new nativity and I thought it would work better with what we had planned to have him come on the first day of Advent, versus the 6th. Forgive me German friends!  The kids were nonetheless excited and didn't notice him coming sooner :) 



The horse was messy this year!



I think that about covers what we're up to for now. We've got lots of crafts planned and fun outings that I am excited to share with you. 

PS: I am linking up with my lovely friend Nicole at Frontier Dreams this week as well as Linda at Natural Suburbia

Love and Light,