Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sky Scarf


At long last, e's lace yarn is wound and ready. Did you know there is such a thing as a yarn winder? Yes, of course you do. Somehow I didn't. Ah well, it's on my wish list now! And do you know how thin and tangley lace yarn is? Whew. I had no idea. So finally, finally, e can begin her sky scarf! She plans to do seed stitch. I don't think I've ever done seed stitch. She's on a roll!


Monday, August 25, 2014


What have we done this past week or two? Knocked down a few walls, tie-dyed everything we could get our hands on, painted, sewed, knit, played with Legos, supervised a yard sale and an overnight at the gym...whew! As far as school, here's the latest:
This girl of mine can pearl! But what cat is complete without a mousie friend? This morning she whipped up a mouse. On her own.
e has been watching and learning from E's lessons, much to E's annoyance. "Wait three years," he tells her. "This is my task." Ha.
This is e's actual lesson, from Where the Mountain Meets the Moon:
(A brown wet-on-wet watercolor, then brown crayons. Everything is brown in Minli's village.)
(Notice arm placement changes between these two pages? Progress!)
This story has so much to offer. I'm pretty sure this will become an annual autumn read, just as Kringle has become our Christmas classic.
A review of forms. Never, ever would I do more than one form a week if these were new! Reviewing running forms is quite calming; if only the paper was longer! The one below is a favorite, thus earning itself its own page.
Man and Animal. First, the mouse. Always sensing, always reacting, much like our nervous system.
Next, the lion. Rhythmic like our respiratory and circulatory systems.
Love, love, love. We are coming up on my favorite season: autumn! The air is cooler this week, it's not as humid. e found green acorns at the botanical gardens yesterday. Fall is near. E is already dreaming of the meatloaf dragon we have planned for Michaelmas. Whoever gave me that idea, thank you! e, on the other hand, is dreaming of snicker doodle dragon cookies. We have the best sugar cookie recipe. The other day C made the kids 'way-better-than-Oreos' cookies out of snicker doodles (using the sugar cookie as the basic recipe) and whipped coconut cream, frozen. Yum.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Presentation and Watercolor and Beeswax

E has taught me, yet again, that how I present a lesson is everything. It makes or breaks the hour, day, and sometimes even week. It affects how E feels about himself, me, our relationship, homeschooling, and the information itself. Whew. No pressure, right?

The other day I got a bit too...wordy. I announced what we would be doing, rather than just doing it. He balked. He didn't want to model; beeswax is slimy, stiff, and smelly. No way was he going to touch it.


I thought it over and realized what I had done. The next day, I tried again. I warmed some modeling wax while he loaded the dishwasher. When he finished, I handed him half the wax. I started modeling a mouse nose, exclaiming over how pointy it was. And here's the tail...does this look like a tail? He immediately joined in. We modeled our mice while standing in the kitchen. Ten minutes later he's happily rolling his mouse back into a ball and turning on the computer for math.


e is a bit the same way. If I announce what we will be doing or begin with candle and song, she doesn't get into it. There's no excitement. If I just get it out and start doing it, I get an immediate audience. I wonder if that is a product of my roundabout leading I've been doing all these years with E? Hmmm.

I just mixed our watercolors for the year! This is the best part of each new school year- bright colors, all in a row. The kids sat around watching me. We all have a thing for rainbows.

After adding water, I just let it sit. It turns into beautiful, colorful, wet watercolor paint! We can take from the top for a wash, or brush the bottom for deep, vibrant color.


Our modeling beeswax made its traditional appearance at a band concert this past week.


When the kids were little, I'd bring 3 small blobs of wax to band concerts. With a musician daddy, there were plenty of concerts! I'd hand one to each child as soon as the show began. They'd roll it, shape it, flatten it, and then trade it for the (warmer) one I was working with. I'd push and pull the colder one, warming it up for the next trade. It was endlessly entertaining for them. They felt as if they had my attention and their hands were busy.


This time, for the first time ever, nobody handed me a ball of cold beeswax to warm. I saw mice, goldfish, turtles, bears, balls, ships, guinea pigs, pyramids, cubes, snakes, knots, and more. For two hours. I modeled my own ball over and over, but nobody traded me. It was wonderful and sad all at the same time.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

The First Week

We started school this week. Slowly, bit by bit.

First on E's list was to tie up loose ends in last year's main lesson book. We cut his Norse Mythology watercolors to fit his MLB and glued them in. He wrote examples for each of the four types of sentences. We called it finished.

Then we began his Man and Animal block. He requested big MLBs this year, 32cm by 38cm. Lots of room, no need to write teeny! He enjoyed filling the page with his upside down star person. Notice the difference between mine and his. His lesson book always shows his personality!


The head is round like the sun. It sends and receives information. The trunk rises and falls as we breathe, waxing and waning as the moon. The limbs are like stars. They radiate out to help others.

I am trying out a new assignment book idea. I write two lines of a poem for him to copy, his main lesson topic, maybe a picture, his other daily tasks (room tidy/brush teeth, chores, math, and spelling), and a sentence to correct. Three pages a week. If it doesn't all get finished on the mornings I've set aside, he can go back to it himself later. He likes that he can look ahead (assuming, of course, that I've kept it up) and I like that it gives him practice reading cursive. ;)

I bought handwriting books from Meadowsweet Naturals this year. We don't use lined paper, so E was never quite solid on letter placement. I thought this might clear it up without the harsh lines of notebook paper. The first day I wrote the poetry in his book for him to copy, pointing out which letters dip their tails and which raise their hands. He took to it immediately; Day 2 I let him copy straight from the notebook. His handwriting is beautiful!


Then we watched a mouse on YouTube. Notice how nervous, how twitchy, how alert he seems! Darting this way and that, running fast. E sketched a little practice mouse.


e also received a handwriting book. I'm not sure it is right for her this early. We shall see.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon! I am so excited to read this book for her! I just know she will love it. We have done most of her school this week in the waiting room at E's PT appointment. The paint boards fit exactly right over the arms of the chairs. Everyone listens in on the story and then marvels at e's pictures. They ask if this is really school, telling her how lucky she is. Except the few who are against homeschooling... but there will always be those. Each to his own.


This afternoon we had extra time, so e begged me to continue her story. After I read, we 'found' goldfish inside our lumps of modeling beeswax by pinching and pulling and smoothing. Magic!

Form drawing is one of the most meditative parts of our day. Over and over and over the form is drawn, the colors blending and changing with each layer.

Whether it is first grade or fifth, the magic and wonder and feelings of connectedness with the earth never fade. I am very thankful to have found Waldorf...and even more grateful that E is allowing himself to enjoy it!


Friday, August 1, 2014

Last Minute Planning

This is my mess. Well, one of my many messes. I'm planning for the school year that begins on Monday!

Man and Animal is up first for E. Animal as specialist. The mouse, ever sensing, always reacting, much like our heads. The eagle, who soars like our thoughts. The lion, rhythmic and constant, as our hearts beat and our lungs breathe. The cow, quietly munching, like our digestive system. This block has a very Native American feel to it, so I know E is going to enjoy it quite a bit.


For e is Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. A beautiful story full of a talking goldfish, a brave little girl, peaches, and dragons. Kindness and bravery conquers all. e will also be starting a sky scarf project! The kit came today, and the alpaca yarn is incredibly soft and fine. It will feel so good to knit with.


I'm trying out a new.... assignment book, for lack of a better word. More on that later. ;)