Waldorf Curriculum Homeschool Blog
Having tried unsucessfully to get Blogger.com to work for me, I suddenly realized that I
can easily create journalling pages linked to my site without extra help. This is a very informal
page with my personal notes as to how homeschooling is going for my family. Please feel free to email me
with comments. Learn more about my preschool curriculum by visiting the Curriculum Packages page.
Other Waldorf-inspired homeschool blogs you may want to check out include:
Natalie is 4 years, 6 months
Leah is 2 years, 10 months
Rebecca is 1 year, 8 months
September 29 - Happy Michaelmas! The people at my husband's work were having a conversation
about all the different holidays from different religions which occur around this time so he called
me and had me give a little Michaelmas spiel. Natalie and I just finished baking our bread (well, we
mixed the dough and it's rising). We did the Harvest Loaf recipe which I posted to the Group Files section
with US measurements.
To back up a bit,
yesterday morning while Becca was at music class with my mom I took N and L to the pine tree cluster to gather
pine cones. They had a great time and we filled our basket quickly. We also found two mushrooms, a dandelion,
and a tiny feather. N set the feather aside to save for a future craft project so I'll have to think of one for that.
Maybe a dreamcatcher -- we've never done one and she's at the age where that has real emotional appeal, the idea
of chasing chasing away scary dreams. N is always
reluctant to dream -- I wonder if that's why? Okay, so definitely put that on the list for next week! On the way to the pine trees we stopped the car to help a box
turtle cross the road. He was valiantly marching across Mackall Road but I was worried about him because the last time
I saw a turtle crossing that road, Sunday, there was no shoulder and no place for me to stop safely and when
I drove back up the road a few minutes later, having decided to go back and help him, he had already been smushed.
I felt so awful and I've been bothered by it for days. So yesterday we pulled over (luckily he was walking right by a cemetary and
there was a place to pull off safely) and I carried him across, then set him in the field and let the children
out of the car to look at him. He was all pulled into his shell from being carried -- they don't like
that much -- so they got to see him emerge, look around, and then march off. Leah was fascinated. For her
it worked well because her nap story was Over in the Meadow by Ezra Jack Keats,
her current favorite (maybe because I sing it to her) and there was a turtle picture in it as well.
Yesterday afternoon didn't go as well. I left at 4:30 pm to head up to the Prince George's Waldorf Study
Group meeting -- 2 hours away, but it's always been worth it to me, to meet other Waldorf people
face to face and not be so isolated -- and dropped N off at Aunt Janet's house for her first International
Folk Dance lesson. I drove right into a terrible thunderstorm and traffic was crawling. When I got
to the cafe I waited outside for half and hour and was freezing so I headed inside and sat
for another hour until I finally determined no one was coming. I would probably have left
sooner except that I wanted traffic to clear up on the Beltway. I read a little bit of Tender
is the Night so it wasn't a total loss. :-) I rarely get the chance to just sit and read. So anyway
I posted to that group that I'll probably drop out -- it's just too far away -- and maybe I'll
see if I can start one for Southern Maryland.
So last night I came home tired and disappointed and this morning we headed out to Diego's Animal Adventure.
I wanted to go to the grocery store instead, having suddenly had an emergency grocery need, but I knew
that the children deserved a kid-friendly outing so I put off my errand. However, when I got there I found
that there were no live animals, it was a collection of coloring book pages. To my horror! We
left (I just told the kids I must have taken them to the wrong place because we didn't see
any animals there and they were fine). We decided to go to the grocery store instead and I made a last minute change while on the highway to go
to WalMart. I figured we could walk around in the flower department and choose some things to
take home with us and plant, thereby rescuing the morning. But when we got there I realized
they had fish tanks!!! So Natalie bursts out with a happy, "You were right Mom. The animals
are right here!" There were lots of different kinds of fish, little frogs, and some snails.
So they gazed happily at those for a while and then we went to the garden center and picked out
some bulbs to plant. I also got 14 tiny clay pots for my Sunday School class (for just 25 cents each). When we came
home, I gave the kids lunch and put L and B down for naps. I was going to have Leah
help bake bread at first but she was picking at her lunch and acting really tired so I
put her down instead. Natalie and I did the story -- finally! I was SO happy to make
that recipe properly -- and made the dough. Then she helped me unload and load
the dishwasher, wipe down the table, and got busy sorting the clean laundry into baskets,
one for each child (one of her favorite household jobs, that and sweeping) while we
waited for the bread to rise. I'll do a Michaelmas poem as her naptime story and put her
down for a little bit while the bread bakes. Then we can take it to tea party to share
with Grammy & Papa at 3 pm.
I also have to make Colcannon so my babysitter has it to give the kids for dinner. Colcannon
and Harvest Bread make a good meal! I'm very pleased. There was no kale at WalMart, of course,
so I was starting to think that going there had misfired when I realized that there was a small
roadside stand on our way home. So we stopped and sure enough, she had some bags of kale in the back of
her truck. I got a grocery bag of kale for $2.50. Steve loves Irish food (there's a shock) and
we have a lot of potatoes from the CSA pick up this week to use up. Tomorrow will be
Eggplant Casserole and then I think we'll be all caught up on our produce overload. Tonight
is my date night with my husband (boy that makes the week really fly by, it's like "is it Friday
again???"). Tomorrow is the War of 1812 reenactment at Saint Leonard Creek and then
a historic Tavern Night, something my husband loves to go to each year. Someday I'll actually
make him a costume. Sunday is church and Sunday School and then we'll try to hit the County
September 27 - Cooking class today was a big hit. We dropped
Natalie off and when we came back there was oatmeal cookies and milk for everyone!
I took the other two for a walk around the marina and we went down several piers
and saw fish, crabs, and jellyfish. We also picked up a ton of beautiful feathers. Then
we sat and read books in the waiting room. I know there's a library somewhere in that
area -- I'll have to scout it out. Natalie had a great time and there were some really
nice moms there. This afternoon is naps and gathering pinecones for Winter decorations.
I also have to go to the Post Office. Someday I'll get to the church to start setting
up for next week's lesson. I've been having a hard time doing that in advance -- I have
piles of things here to take over but I never seem to drive by when it's open. Mostly
because my prime errand time is around 9 pm. The church is always vacant then. The only
thing I have left to do for this week's lesson is to rewatch the Watercolor Painting DVD
for painting the 3rd day of creation, find my wheatgrass kit from Nova Natural and start
the seeds soaking, and purchase 15 little clay pots so each child can take one home to see
them sprout. We'll have a greenhouse going in the classroom, too, but I realized that they
only come every 7 days so they will basically miss the miracle of new life. So we'll do
both: they can take some home and we'll plant some in school. I also need to gather
a variety of tree branches with different leaves and nuts and so on so I can lay them out in a display
and we can talk about the wide range of plants and some of the things we use them for. I always
like to overplan, because sometimes you have extra time, so a discussion like that can be short
or it can go on and on.
One school-related parenting dilemma that's going on right now is the inappropriate touching/drugs/
thing. My MIL told me that kids learn 95% of what they know -- in their entire lives -- before
they turn 5. So I'm trying to make sure I hit all the bases. We do take good care of your body
a lot with nutrition but I've never done the "don't get in a car with strangers" thing. Or
stop, drop, and roll. Or say no to drugs. I'm wondering if I need to cover those things
before Natalie turns five, just to make sure she's formed clear opinions about them early. Steve
thinks she's too young to talk about fires in the house and evacuting safely and it will jsut
give her another thing to be afraid of. So I have to give that some thought. I know in the traditional
schools, the firemen come in all dressed in their garb (which can be scary, and some small
children run and hide from the "monster" and therefore perish) to show the children not to
be afraid. I wonder if there are programs like that at the firehouse which homeschoolers can attend?
Another thing which is going on -- not related to school at all, but hey -- is the question of whether to have another baby. I passed
a car dealership today which has a 12 passenger van for $6000. My husband hates that little
sparkle in my eye, but I guess I'm just programmed that way. There was a little baby girl
named Brooklyn at Natalie's class and I just wanted to eat her up, she was so cute! Right now,
I appear to have a melancholic (Natalie), a sanguine (Leah -- I think she'll still be sanguine,
even after she outgrows the toddler years -- she's always been a completely joyous
child but a real space cadet) and a phlegmatic (Rebecca, although she's still
too young to tell for sure). That means no choleric. What about a high energy little boy?
Or better yet, twins! Because being the only boy would be no fun. I was reading somewhere, I think
it was Eric Fairman or maybe Eugene Schwartz, and he was saying that he had a class once with no
cholerics and it was going great until they got to memorizing the multiplication tables. The
melancholics were like why bother. The sanguines go too distracted. The plegmatics refused
to even get started. And he's thinking, oh, I wish I had a choleric because they would just
charge right in. Give some momentum to the group. Anyway, it will be interesting parenting
the bunch I've got, and I love them to pieces, but still I think about it. Everytime
I start to get organized and on top of my housework and start to have some leisure time again, I think
this isn't so bad. Three kids in three years isn't as hard when they start to get older. And
I'm at the point now where I'm practically twiddling my thumbs during naptime, having cut
back on the business, and I rearranged my kitchen cabinets yesterday which just
goes to show you how completely bored I was. (Or how much I'm nesting.) They all can walk
in a row and hold hands so I'm not doing the stroller thing anymore. I know
that you can't have kids ad infinitum, just because you like babies, but I have
heard that 3 is a bad number. And I REALLY believe that kids from big families grow
up really well grounded. I had a friend who was the middle child of 9. You learn
early on that the world does not revolve around you so hey, you get over it early. And you
seem to have less difficulty as a teenager, maybe due to that. I read a book called
Satellite Sisters' Uncommon Senses,
which I absolutely loved, these sisters writing about the lessons that you learn by just being alive. They are
from a big family and it was full of all these warm anecdotes that really got you thinking
bit families are the way to do. Oh well. I just want my kids to grow up really
balanced, happy, and confident.
* * * * *
I was thinking in the shower (nothing like taking a shower every day to make
you feel like you are finally on top of things!) that Leah is really so different
from Natalie! I mean, there is almost 2 years between them, so it's not really
that surprising, but still it amazes me how much they learn. And so quickly! When
I was walking with Leah and Rebecca today and saw the first feather on the ground, I pointed
to it with my foot and said look Leah. What is that? And she said, Lavender! (Which
surprised me, but I can see the resemblance.) And I said, no it's a feather from a bird. And then
when we kept finding them she said, look there are more feathers for the bird to eat. So she
didn't understand. I mean, how can you understand that a bird has feathers all over it
until you've seen multiple birds up close? So that was OK, age appropriate. But still
surprised me, until I remembered how old she was, because I am so used to Natalie,
and doing so many activities with Natalie, and she is in such a different place. I mean,
Natalie would go on and on about how birds have feathers and wings to fly and how
they give themselves baths and we set out millet for the birds to eat and so on and so on...
I guess I'm just suddenly realizing that I spend time with N alone and with the three as a group
but not so much with L alone and B alone to get to know
them and to enjoy the stages that they're in. So that's something I need to think about. I gave
them each separate activities with this recent rash of signing everyone
up for classes, but my mom is doing Becca's music class and Steve's
mom is doing Leah's gym class. One, because I want them to be involved
and to enjoy their grandkids and two, because I feel better asking someone to babysit
one child than multiple children. The kids should have strong bonds with people
other than me, and that's good, but I am not the one doing the activities with them is
what I'm saying. So I guess that's a downside. There are only so many hours in a day! Right
now I have all the kids on the same daily schedule except that Natalie needs less sleep so she gets
school while the other two are down and then a shorter nap. I used to have a really complicated
staggered schedule where everyone got independent playtime and then blocks of time playing with
every combination of sisters, for maximum socialization, but when they don't sleep all at the same
time I don't get lunch or a shower. The real problem, actually, was that we couldn't do activities
like tea party or going to a storytime or puppet show because all throughout the day it was someone's
naptime. So I took out Becca's second nap, although she'd probably like to have it back -- and this
was a BIG thing because I was a fiend about my kids getting enough sleep when I was a new mom
and a major sleep scheduler -- and pushed them all into the same schedule so we could have more
family time all together. Like doing the Artsfest, or the County Fair. But now I'm seeing
that they are being lumped together as a group too much... so I guess it's time to make another change!
And here I've come full circle from chirping about having another baby to moaning about how
parenting is so exhausting... Nothing every stays the same, your kids seem to hit new stages practically
ever week and so you are constantly having to make changes. It's such a big challenge.
Fun, for sure. But super-challenging.
September 26 - So, what's new? Sunday School is going well. Natalie's cooking
class begins tomorrow -- I hope it's not cancelled! I haven't told
her Aunt Janet will be her dance teacher; I'm saving that as a surprise for Thursday. Friday
is Diego's Animal Adventure (I'll have to try to find out in advance what some of
the animals are so I can have my picture book collection ready). Saturday is the War of 1812
reenactment, tons of old-fashioned fun and historical stuff, and Sunday we'll be
going to the Calvert County Fair. For school this week? Well, I'm taking it easy
lately and just enjoying Natalie and taking things as they come. We went to the farm
today for our CSA food pickup and the girls loved playing in the sand "box" they have there.
It's really a HUGE tractor tire that they laid flat and filled with sand and added
some digging tools. The girls played for a long time. Monday I took Leah and Rebecca to the playground
while Natalie stayed home and hung out with her Papa. I have to remember that the other kids need
special time too; it's so easy to concentrate on what Natalie wants because I work so hard on
giving her "school." She has announced a wishlist of toys. Materialistic? I hope not. Maybe
she's just telling me she is bored with her current lot. Since they all have to be child-safe for
a 20 month old, they are not that challenging and I want to get her some more grown up things. She asked
for some toy cars, a red wagon to pull, and a doll stroller. I found something I think she'll love
(she's on a big construction equipment, farm equipment, and emergency vehicle kick right now) which
is this beautiful Dump
Truck from Rosie Hippo's. I think I'll make that my homeschool purchase for this week. I've been working
on getting them some more fun housekeeping stuff but I can see that she might want to move to something
new. She's been playing housekeeping for 2 years. Not that she doesn't still enjoy it... but
variety is the spice of life. The 1 year old and 2 year old are full-fledged into the pretending to cook
thing. It is so adorable to watch them play together. I have given them their clay pots which we
made a several recent workshops (they are just air-dryed clay, not kiln-baked, so they
are fragile) and so far, so good. Everyone is being careful with them.
The weather is starting to
change so it will be time for some Fall Fun soon. I'll have to start reading the paper and finding
all the hayrides and pumpkin mazes and scarecrow making and so on. Time to start making Christmas
presents, too. If we're giving all the grandparents handprint stepping stones I'd rather do that
now than in the freezing cold winter months. You have
to do it outside because of the concrete. The pansies the children planted in the yard are
doing beautifully. Perhaps we can add some mums soon. I have all that hay from the bales we used
as play equipment over the summer... it might be time for a mum/pumpkin/scarecrow festive decoration for the front
lawn. Pumpkins will soon be in the you-pick list for the CSA so we can really go wild. I love
doing decorations but sometimes you add up the cost and it's like why am I doing this again????
When I went shoe shopping a few days ago I parked near a little piece of grass with pine trees
in it and the median strip was just filled with pinecones. I'm sure if we went to pick them
the grounds people would actually be grateful, since I'm sure they are a hassle when they mow. And
I would look like an idiot, bending over a patch of grass in a strip mall parking lot with a big
basket, picking up pine cones. But I'm thinking to myself, if I leave these here, and then pay $20
for bags of pinecones at Michael's in December, I'm going to kick myself. You know? We can do
so many pretty decorations and ornaments with pine cones. Maybe I will go out there and make
a fool of myself after all. ;-)
There. I've added it to my planner. 3 pm tomorrow: pick up pine cones at Peebles.
Isn't life grand? Salley Mavor says that her sons always are embarrased by her because
she's constantly bending down and picking up acorn caps (she's the author of Felt Wee Folk).
I guess being like Salley Mavor is not a bad thing. And the kids will get a kick out
of it. I probably won't be able to do any gathering, actually, since I'll have to keep an eye on
them and make sure they stay on the grass.
I can just see them -- they will have a blast! We can take a big
basket and they will all bring the pine cones they find and put them in. Natalie will
run and talk the whole time "Mom, did you notice I found another pine cone?" Leah
will trip and fall constantly (she's very easily distracted, and sooo
clumsy) but have such a good time and laugh and sing. Rebecca will be silent
and concentrate on getting the pine cone into her hand properly and then
into the basket successfully. She has a very cute determined little waddle.
as I make safety the top priority, I think it will be fine. It's
not a busy time of day for the shops and this bit of grass is back in the back of the lot. It is so nice to find a little bit of Nature
someplace where you're not expecting it!
September 22 - Last night I tried out a new babysitter. She was wonderful. Natalie
took to her like a duck takes to water, which was nice to see. I stayed around doing housework
for the two hours. Worth the money -- I got a lot done. I'll keep staying home for the first
four or five weeks until she's comfortable taking care of all three kids on their own. Feeding
them dinner and putting them to bed is hard to juggle. She's only a high school senior. But
by the beginning of November, I hope to take the Monday 6 to 8 pm slot and use it to drive
up to the church and do my S.S. prep for the following week. Today we are buying more paintbrushes
and watercolor paper because my class increased in size. We already got more smocks and I've
ordered more main lesson books so that's good. I have to grab my copy of All Year Round
from the S.S. classroom so that I can type up the Harvest Loaf story. I won't be able
to bake the loaf in class because we only have 40 minutes so I'll do the story and mixing the
ingredients but I'll send a copy of it home with the kids in case they want to try it. After
naps we're heading out to the American Chestnut Land Trust to gather conkers. That should be a lot
of fun! Then tea party at 3 pm and my MIL is coming by tonight with pizza to give the kids dinner
and put them to bed while Steve and I have our date night. Tomorrow my husband and I are (finally)
writing our wills so we have an appointment with a lawyer. Sunday is church, taking Natalie
shoe shopping, and dinner at Aunt Janet's house. I am SOOO excited because last night when I was
talking to Janet on the phone, telling her about how awful Natalie's dance class was and why
we had decided to pull her out of it, she offered to teach Natalie international folk dancing.
So they'll get together for a little class time and to have dinner together Thursday nights. I think
that is so wonderful! She loves Janet -- and Janet is such a warm person, she's delightful, and
very enthusiastic. She'll make a great dance teacher -- and it's nice to save the $64 and
take advantage of the talents of family members. That is what homeschooling is all about!
September 21 - Today we had a lovely morning planting pansies. They are only 98 cents each
at Wal-Mart. Nice sized pots, too. I mention this only so that people who hesitate about Waldorf, thinking
that they have to live near Waldorf-y stores, can see that you can really do these activities anywhere.
Check out craft stores right now for supplies of gourds -- you can do gourd projects all throughout the year.
Yesterday I planted some shrubs but the kids helped me today with the flowers. I dug the hole and took
the plant out of the pot and placed it. They each had a large oyster shell (a very old-fashioned digging
tool. I had saved all the shells from the last time my husband ordered a large seafood platter at a restaurant
and we have some amazing oyster shells to use as spades. They are literally the length of my foot!) and
helped to scoop the dirt back around the plant and pat it down firmly. Natalie and I also tied some sprays
of millet to the fallen tree out back to make a bird feeder. She and I spent some time together
in our new school area (the construction project looks like it will take a while so I set
up a corner in our bedroom -- a good reason to clean the bedroom, my husband nearly fell
over in surprise -- to be a school area) stringing beads and coloring. It is really a tiny
little area but I'll describe it. Between our two bedroom windows I have a small bookcase. Top shelf:
three dried ears of Indian corn and two ceramic mushrooms. The angel candleholder (from Nova Natural)
and a pair of beeswax candles from the Renaissance festival. Second shelf: a basket with a skein
of yarn and Natalie's knitting Nancy, my copy of Toymaking with Children, and our
child's hand carders (from A Child's Dream Come True). That's our handwork shelf. Third shelf is
art. Beeswax crayons. A pad of paper and some twig colored pencils (from A Toy Garden). Modeling beeswax (Artemis).
Watercolor pencils. Clay. Fourth shelf is games. To the left is a small stool covered with a
silver silk (from Natural Earth Family Farm) and a pumpkin on top, surrounded with several
small orange silks in different shades (from Fairy Cove). Next to that is Natalie's autumn
art picture we made when she was little. Green paint at the bottom, blue paint at the top, and
a selection of Autumn leaves glued on so they look like they are falling from the sky. It is so
cute. She made it when she was 2. To the right of the bookcase is a large wooden bowl of wool
which we got raw (donated by a WC member -- thank you!) and washed it until it was clean. This
is the wool for us to card. It's a really cute area. If I have a chance to put some pictures
up, I will. If you don't think you have enough space for school... don't worry. It can
be done very simply and easily. The next project
from Toymaking with Children I have flagged to do is the Pop-up puppet on page 138.
Yesterday we also had a very enjoyable family trip to the thrift store in town
run by Catholic Charities. You can fill a paper bag with clothes for just $17. I went
looking for men's button front shirts to use as art smocks (something they did at the
BCNES program last week -- buttons go in the back. Brilliant idea and cheap. I tried
making some out of old towels for my own children, but it took so long to hem the terrycloth
and it was a huge hassle. In fact, one of the snippy older women standing next to me
in the clothing aisle made a comment to me about how I could make my own. People can
be so obnoxious. I almost snapped at her, like "Do you know how many things I make
from scratch. When was the last time you carded wool?" But whatever. That's life. Do
you know I had someone make a nasty comment to me the last time I got a frozen pie? The cashier
pointed to my dessert stash and said to the woman in front of me, "Doesn't that look good?" and
she said "Not really. I'm going home to make a cheesecake... from scratch." Obnoxious!!!) and got enough for each kid
in my Sunday School class plus one for myself for what worked out to a dollar each.
The same price as the tacky ones from the dollar store I was provided with and much nicer.
They had good brands. I now have to figure out what to do with the plastic ones the S.S.
superintendant gave to me. I'll probably pass them down the preschool Sunday School
class. I did, after all, give that teacher all the free crayons which came with the smocks.
Yuck. It was nice of the school to get me smocks for painting but these were sleeveless so they didn't
(I felt) provide enough coverage. When I planned all these painting activities
I neglected to realize that my kids will, by definition, all be in their Sunday best.
Next week is week 3 of the program -- if you're following along check out the notes. I am
SO excited about this lesson. We'll be doing Michaelmas so I'll shortly
post all the Michaelmas ideas I've gathered. I'd like to add a page to the site with different
holiday ideas and a resource list.
September 19 - Today was a nature program called "Muddy Fun." I thought it was going
to be wading in the river catching salamanders and so on. But instead we dug clay out of the riverbank
(rather, the instructor did) and examined it, then made pinch pots. My kids just did pinch pots
at another workshop but it was still good follow-up because they got to see exactly where clay comes
from. In fact, the teacher began by taking a dried hunk of clay she had found down at the river and grinding
it with a large rock in a wooden bowl until it was powder, then added some water to bring it to the
proper consistency. So when she took the kids down to the river, I think that was what they thought
they were going to do. But she wouldn't let them. She gave them pieces of clay to hold
and Natalie carried hers carefully all the way back to the nature center thinking she was going
to use it to make her pot but when we got there, Ranger Jackie had all the kids drop the clay
they were holding and gave them balls of commercially-prepared clay instead. I can understand
that it's easier that way, it gives a nicer final project, but I still think she could have made
it more authentic by having them actually use the clay they found in order to make their pots.
Anyway, I don't like to get on here and just complain about other teachers. It was a nice program
and the kids really enjoyed it. I had to pull Natalie out of her dance class last night because
it was just so terrible. Not counting the fact that the instructor was 20 minutes late and combined the last 15
minutes of the class with her 6-9 year old poms class. She forgot her music and didn't have
the names of the children who were supposed to be in the class. She kicked out all the adults and then moved
the kids to a part of the room where we couldn't watch through the door -- a fact that
made one of the dads really irate. She called us all back in to help with the shoe change (off
with the tap shoes, on with the ballet shoes) and Natalie was crying because she fell doing one of the steps
and the teacher didn't even tell me why she was crying, I had to find it out from one of the other kids. Then
the overlap with another class was just unacceptable. She had kids and parents wandering in and out, it was a zoo.
For 64 dollars I expect a teacher who is prepared and on time. So I talked with the other two moms,
one of who was looking pretty upset, and said I'd like to take my child out of this class but I know
if I do she'll have to cancel it (only 2 girls would be left) so I don't want to do anything that's unfair
to your child. And one of the other moms said, we're taking our daughter out too, don't worry about it.
So Natalie, who was really looking forward to dance class will be out of luck this season. Actually,
she's about to move up a shoe size so this gives me a chance to get her shoes that will fit and to
find a better teacher. Natalie's cooking class, her one remaining class, got pushed
back a week because they are trying to find more kids in order to have enough to run the class. That's pretty
standard with the Parks & Rec classes here. Rebecca's was pushed back in order to find more kids. And nearly
every program I've signed them up for, with the exception of the nature center ones, is cancelled due to the fact
that MY kids are the only one's in it! Not that we can't do a teddy bear picnic on our own... perfecly successfully.
Oops, I'm complaining again. Steve told me that there was a e-How article (apparently, they feature an "article of the day" on the website)
about how to convince yourself not to start a blog. And it says, read any blog of your choice on the internet
for two weeks. And at the end of it, if you want to scream, you'll have figured out why the internet
doesn't need yet another useless blog. So I'll try to keep it more on track.
Book swap time! My new picks:
I'm leading up to a few things here. Halloween, of course, something we've never done before but I'm considering for this year. Annmarie Gardens
holds a daytime Halloween trick-or-treat at the park which is quite safe and we've been invited to a big Halloween hayride as well. So
I guess I'll give that some thought. Also, Natalie needs to focus her "mommy" attention away from her sisters and on to
her dolls -- she actually has a doll which she named Baby -- and I just got her a child-size doll sling
so I'm hoping that that, combined with a book about babies, will get her headed in that direction. I also bought
some wooden eggs (part of a Bella Luna order) for the play kitchen which should go well with all the bowls and plates that have
been made from clay recently. I'd rather have them use them in the play kitchen than have them just sit on a shelf. One, they made
them so they have every right to them. Two, what better way to teach them that they are fragile. And, three, if they
break we can add water and resculpt them. So no harm done. I think Natalie will enjoy a book about snow; she's very excited
about winter. And the clay book is a good connection with what we did today. It talks about old old clay pots made
by people long ago and how you can find remnants of them which, if you listen carefully, will talk to you about their lives and
all that they have seen. I have a piece of an old Native American clay pot from my travels to New Mexico -- I'm not sure where it
* * * * *
Yesterday Becca ate some cherry pie pocket pastries from the store and broke out in welts all over her face, each place
the pie filling touched her skin. So I'm going to write down the ingredients list before I throw out the packaging
so I can try to figure out what she might be allergic to.
unbleached enriched wheat flour (niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin and folic acid)
partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (soybean & cottonseed)
modified food starch (corn)
potassium sorbate (as a preservative)
It also says "Contains: wheat, soy, milk, and manufactured on shared equipment with tree nuts."
So there you go. And all you perfect mommies who make all your children's food from scratch
are probably saying it serves me right for not giving her something that's all natural. :-( I guess
that's true. For some reason, I didn't get my September issue of Everyday Food (which is what helps
me have the energy to cook from scrach --- the recipes are really simple and usually super-cheap)
so I've been doing a lot of convenience food without even realizing it. I really hate to cook. You know,
when I was little I just assumed I'd be a good housewife. My mom made it look so easy. It's been a real
shock to discover that I hate to cook and can't keep a houseplant alive to save my life.
September 17 - Yesterday and today were both superb days. Yesterday we spent the whole day (10 am to 4 pm) at
Artsfest. We went first as a family, then went home and had lunch, and then Natalie and I went back while the other two
took their naps. I got a skein of hand-spun yarn N picked out, from the Calvert Spinners and Weavers fiber arts guild,
to make Natalie a new hat and scarf this year. She asked me... I thought it was a nice idea. And so much
fun to look through the yarn! Another fiber artist had beautiful dry felted pictures (which I took some pictures of,
to inspire me as I try to create some for our school room) and also sold ounces of beautiful curly wool locks -- I'm
not sure what kind of sheep -- so perfect for gnome beards. I snatched up two ounces. She also had dry felted a plain
solid white sheep and then attached some of the curls so it so it really was fluffy. So cute! I fell in love
with a woman who had art glass earrings but I had only homeschool and decorating money to spend, none for me. She'll be
at another event around here the first weekend in October, so I may splurge then. For the nature table I got a pair
of ceramic mushrooms (so cute) and for the house I got six small handleless mugs for the children. We listened to live music,
and walked around to look at everything over and over. They also had art activities for kids (free). Natalie and Leah
each painted a small gourd. I also took them to see a stonecarving demonstration but I don't
think it really made much of an impression. Oh well. I thought it was neat! It rained off and on but nothing too terrible. Natalie even wore her
rain boots the second time so she could splash in puddles and had a great time! She played with some of the other children (the first
time she's ever done the "see you later, Mom" thing and run off). They were right next to me, of course, I mean I could see them.
But she still felt like she was really heading towards independence. It was a level of confidence I hadn't seen
from her before, so that was good. Maybe Sunday School is helping in that regard.
Today I taught the best Sunday School lesson. It was amazing. I just felt completely on top of my game
and the kids were SO into it. To see them them all silent and focused, painting their papers yellow (sounds like a simple task
but they all took it seriously, no one goofed off) starting with a plain piece
of paper -- the void -- and then a circle in the middle of the page -- the first point of light -- and then
extending it outwards in a clockwise spiral. I really felt like it touched them. You reach this age group
through the heart. They're ready for academic work so it sometimes can be misleading, you think you are moving
from "hands" to "head" but really it is "heart". I played
Dubussy's "Reverie" and it was spectacular. Fit the moment
perfectly and was that great blend of tender and triumphant. I came home so excited, it was like I was walking on air. It's good
for me to be out in the real world and teaching. I like SS because I don't get so exhausted. Teaching every day in the
public schools I felt so burned out, too tired to reach my own high expectations, and jaded. Here I get seven days
in between each lesson to refresh and feel recharged. I love getting to my classroom an hour early to prepare for
the lesson. Wonder how long that will last. ;-) I added another CD to my room which might be fun for later,
it's sound effects from movies. I need rushing water and chirping birds for other stages in the Seven Days of Creation lessons.
If anyone has suggestions for good nature recordings like this, please let me know. Next week is the firmament so we'll
also being talking about Archangel Michael and Michaelmas -- so I'd love to have suggestions for this too. I know
very little about the Michael story. On the one hand, I wonder if I am completely qualified to teach Bible study since
I haven't been going to church for several years and, although I've read the Bible, there are
large chunks of it that I don't really know. But on the other hand, I feel eminently qualified because I don't know
these stories well and have to study them, thereby coming up with the same questions the kids probably have about the material.
I really have to think about it a lot. I do a LOT of planning to make sure I've thought it all through and I know in my heart
what the story is about, so I'm not just assuming "oh, I know this so I'm sure it will be fine" -- the downfall of a new teacher.
The curriculum is organized just the way I would want to learn about the Bible (the way I am learning about it, actually), by
progressing at the beginning and working my way through. Only I'm reading every book and they are only reading chapters.
I hope I inspire them to spend more time reading it, though. Having them learn a "teaser" verse and then having
us discuss the story more each week might get them to start thinking ahead and saying, I wonder what happens in this story?
The classroom is getting really cute, too. I'm so happy with it. I made the job chart out of a gift bag I found at WalMart. It's plain white with lots
of large colorful dots on it. Each dot is a job and the clothespins hang on the outside touching their dot. I got a coordinating
small gift bag, striped, for the Out of the Room sign. We have a whole pile of new candles (we made rolled beeswax candles last week.
I was trying to establish myself as the artsy person so I have
less resistance from the boys later when I start to teach them knit, they'll just be
resigned to their fate. And to emphasize that all our crafts have a purpose, no junk you'll make and then take
home and immediately throw away) and a row of paintings drying on trays. It is really starting to have a nice look to it. I
left the room deliberately barren in the beginning and I told them that the color in a classroom comes from the children. If I have
it all completely done before they get there, what are they supposed to contribute? Next week when
they come in, I'll have hung their paintings of the First Day of Creation on the bulletin board. The aluminum can collection is progressing
nicely. We haven't done any tallies or graphing. Instead it morphed into a chart where people set weekly goals and then write down
how many they brought in as they unload the cans into the bin. Next week we can add together all the cans brought this week and make
our first point in the line graph (the weekly one). We will do our first bar of the bar graph at the end of the month. I had
expected to call more attention to the cans but having the children independently record their totals next to their goals is good.
And I needed plenty of time to teach them how the painting would go. We have to distribute materials, pack up, and walk out to a
separate hall of the building where there's no carpet, and sit on the floor and paint. There's a sink there too, so it's a nice
spot, but it's still a bit of upheaval to pack up and travel so I wanted to do it slowly and carefully and set the expectations. And
they were little angels. We read The Dreamer
when we got back. It all went perfectly. In fact, I got two new kids in my class this week. I
think it's going to be really popular. I have to move the tables around to provide
for more seating. They are encouraged to bring guests -- and I want them too -- I just
need to make more room. The only problem I have is with money. Our annual budget for
each Sunday School class is $120.00. That's ten dollars per child for the whole year. Not enough!!!
I guess I'll have to bust in on a meeting of the budget committee and make a presentation. I mean,
yes, I'm buying expensive things and donating a lot of it (paint, main lesson books, beeswax crayons,
modeling beeswax, knitting needles, wool yarn) because I want very high end things so it's my responsibility
to help pay for it. But still... $10 per child for the year is ridiculously low. That's three dollars
per quarter. That's a dollar a month. I may have to keep
my mouth shut as the new kid on the block for this year. Politics, politics. But I hope not. I hope there's something I can do.
Put that on the to-do list. Maybe because I have the largest class (most others have 4-6 children and I have twelve and
am destined to get more) I can use that as my platform for my campaign.
September 14 - Art in the Park was cancelled today due to rain. So I went out to the grocery
store (my husband is working the late shift so I got a little errand time) and, lo and behold, found
some great stuff in the Pet aisle that we can do for school today instead. I got a rawhide bone
for the dog, a bag of dried millet sprays that we can hang outside for the wild birds, and a grow-it-yourself
cat grass kit. They are all organic seeds and it's barley, wheat, and some other things that
I can't remember now. But Natalie and I will have fun doing the kit together and she can watch the seeds
sprout and then see the cats enjoy munching on them. It's also a nice way to spread out the homeschool
expense, by sneaking some into your grocery budget! To make the dog bone more "school-y" I can talk
to Natalie about how Toby doesn't get to brush his teeth but he still needs to keep them clean and chewing
is a way to do that. Today is Leah's second day of gym class with Grandma. Apparently last week
she absolutely loved it! There are only about five or six kids in the class with two teachers, which is GREAT. She
loved the trampoline and the forward rolls and exploring all the equipment. She's a pro at jumping. We all
already know that. I have a terrible time trying to figure out if I should yell at her for jumping on the bed. Yes,
she'll break the bed (and has already) but she obviously is filling some kind of need. On the other hand, I
can't allow my kids to destroy the furniture. So the question is how to help her fill that need in a better way. Penni Sparks says
what if no action is really wrong, it just needs to happen in a more appropriate time and place. I hope gym
class does that for Leah!
* * * * *
Natalie and I had a great evening. We set up the farmyard scene with the wooden barn and fences and some silks
and our knitted animal collection. She played with it for a long time. For some reason, she hadn't liked the silks
much before and I always ended up taking them away because she would just chew on them (I guess this is related to sucking
her thumb) but she "got" what they were for in this scene and not only made little fields and ponds but also went
on to play dress up with the remaining silks which isn't usual for her. So I really felt like she'd had a good time.
She also asked for her gnomes to add to the scene so that was nice. I read in Toymaking with Children that around
the age of 5, children like to make extremely detailed scenes and will spend hours setting them up -- so much so
that sometimes all the time is spent in set up and nothing ever gets played out or enacted in the scene. I think
that's great. I'm excited about that stage of imaginative play for her, to see her really
intensly get involved in it, since it's something she has struggled
with in the past. We also took the dog for a walk after it got dark. She got to put her rainboots on and jump in the puddles and hold
the flashlight and shine it all around and watch the raindrops fall in the beam of light, which is always something
I enjoyed from my childhood. Then we had some carrot cake, read our story, and I tucked her in. It was nice.
September 12 - Long time away from the computer! Still been sick and school has been postponed
but today we're getting back into the swing of things. We'll be going to a nature program called "Fairy Rings
and Toadstools" this morning. Three books come immediately to mind for this topic.
The first is I Am a Bunny (good
for Leah's age, so that will be her naptime story following the program) and the second is Thumbelina by H.C. Anderson -- try to find
a version which has not rewritten the original text -- which I'll read to Natalie for nap. Finally, there's Children of the Forest
by Elsa Beskow just in case they forget, although I don't see how they can, to tell the children that you must never eat any foods
from the forest unless a grown-up has taught you they are safe. This is a lesson brought home in the book.
In the afternoon we'll be going up to do our farm pick up with Janet. I'll make the weekly menu based on what we
bring home and hopefully pick some good recipes Natalie can help with this week.
* * * * *
This morning's program was wonderful! Miss Tania was new to me -- and she did an excellent job. I'm so happy to find a naturalist
who I like. First she had the room set up in centers and the kids got 20 minutes of free play and exploration. Natalie and Leah headed
straight for the art table and made mushroom print pictures. She had big smocks for them so they wouldn't get paint on their clothes. Becca
played with the blocks. Then N and L did the animal puppets while Becca looked at the books, and finally all three kids ended up in the dirt box, digging and pouring dirt back and
forth to their hearts' content. We got together in a circle and sang a mushroom song and then headed out for our Nature walk. One
of the stations had been a selection of different types of (edible) mushrooms but my kids skipped that one so I wasn't sure
if they'd know what to look for. But we walked around all different areas. We started with a dry hilltop and then she talked
about how mushrooms eat water and dead leaves (from the song) so what area should we search in next? And we got down to the bald
cypress swamp and there were so many! We also saw a tree frog that looked just like a dead leaf; it was amazing. Natalie found and pointed
out some of the mushrooms so I was proud of her. In fact, she was the one who found the bright red ones. We saw all
different colors and kinds. The naturalist also pointed out other kinds of fungus growing on different fallen
logs and tree trunks and talked about how the mushrooms were helping turn the trees back into dirt (she was teaching
the term "decomposer" to some of the older kids) which is great for us because
we have that big fallen tree in the back yard with tons of different fungi growing on it. The next time I take Natalie out
into the yard we can do our own mushroom hunt. We had lots in the grass from all the rain but Steve mowed the lawn yesterday so those
are gone now. But the fungi on the dead trees we have plenty of and it helps me talk to Natalie about what happens to the trees
in our yard that fell down. This goes along
with some of the books I've been reading to Natalie and can be a nice bridge into learning more about trees this autumn. Different
kinds of trees, the parts of a tree, tree life cycle, etc.
I really liked the books Miss Tania had set out in her book pile and I think I'll probably buy all of them.
The three titles I wrote down were
So, for follow-up, N is getting Children of the Forest for her nap (since we didn't talk about how not all mushrooms
are safe to eat) and then sometime in the future we'll walk around our own yard and look for mushrooms and other fungi. Also, I want
to find a copy of the song "Way down yonder in the pawpaw patch" since we found some pawpaw trees on our walk and
also picked up some of the fruit and talked about it. I can take Natalie to look for more pawpaws (there are a lot that grow
my parents' house) and I know there's a recipe for pawpaw pie that one of my neighbors has -- he's into trying
to cook the authentic foods from this region -- and maybe we can even try that!
Another follow-up could be to take a selection of the fruits and vegetables we get from the farm
today (we're already planning on heading up there so that would be easy) and do prints with those, since N enjoyed doing the mushroom ones this morning. This is super easy -- just tempera paint, a brush (to help spread the paint
evenly on whatever you're using to make the print), and a piece of paper. A smock is good too. :-) We could
even perhaps make my mother's birthday cards this way. Her birthday is Thursday. Tomorrow's plan is to pick
crabapples and make her some crabapple jelly (we tried this last year also) so maybe we can use some extra apples
to make prints to decorate her cards. To do something like this -- make a final project using an art technique -- takes
it from art (process driven) to handwork (product driven) so it's good to have plenty of practice beforehand. Maybe
we can do fruit and vegetable prints all week and then the card on Friday as our handwork project and wrap and deliver her gift then. You can
also decorate the wrapping paper with fruit and vegetable prints. This is a good project for younger children (like Leah and Becca) because
it's a large surface -- and then
maybe N can do the card. A smaller surface requires more coordination. Plus if you use too much paint, or
any liquid, on a card it gets all wrinkly and hard to write on so it takes an experienced hand. I'm excited about this! I love having teaching ideas that won't
cost any extra money. Not that spending money on your kids is a bad thing but sometimes you want to think up a project
and be able to do it, without having to either waste an afternoon strapping kids into car seats and driving to craft stores,
or getting a babysitter so you can go run errands. We already have blank cardstock and blank
wrapping paper on hand. And, of course, we have paint! In fact, I buy only white craft wrapping paper. It's cheap, sturdy,
and can be used for any occasion depending on how you decorate it. I love painting and rubber stamps. It's a nice
way to give a gift that personal touch.
September 7 - For everyone who thinks my life is perfect and I always do all these gazillion things I list in my
planbook, take heart. That
hardly ever happens! :-) I did sign everyone up for their classes and Leah and Grandma started gym class today BUT Tuesday I got sick so
no Webs of Steel program, no trip to Quiet Waters Park on Wednesday and no making a birthday present for Tommy today. I am
currently without a voice. So how many of the things I wanted to do this week did I do? None of them! I have the schoolroom all set up (and Steve has been working nights down there trying to finish up the walls,
he brought [abducted, practically] my father over last night to frame it in and a co-worked tonight to do drywall) but we've not spent
a minute in it. I even went out in the rain late at night Monday night to buy ingredients for a special snack for the first day of school
but, since it hasn't happened yet, that was all for naught. Monday was Labor Day and we actually did a really fun end-of-summer family campfire
and roasted marshmallows and sang songs. The kids hate marshmallows so they all got thrown away -- I guess it's because they don't
get many sweets -- but the hokey pokey and the wheels on the bus were big hits. Diego's Animal Adventure for tomorrow was cancelled
so, provided I'm feeling better, we can do our first day of school then. If not, then hey. It can wait. Natalie is so excited to start
Sunday School and I talked to the pediatrician about it today and we decided we would do it. She's very shy and takes a long time to warm
up to new people (stares at the ground, refuses to talk) and has very few friends from being home all the time, so I think it would be
good for her provided we can do it in a way that won't cause her to feel abandoned and stressed. She asked to be signed up... but that
doesn't mean she knows exactly what it entails, naturally. I took her today to see her classroom. I'll be teaching so I am going to have
Steve drop her off, and then he can stay if he feels he needs to stay. I was worried about the early academics thing, of course, but short
of calling the teacher and home and personally quizzing her about the program -- not very respectful, and guaranteed to cause bad
blood between me and my new coworkers -- there's not much I can do but wait and see what kinds of projects they do. I LOVE Waldorf
but one of the problems is that sometimes I feel like no activity is good enough for my child and my high standards. That kind
of snobbery I do not want to pass on to my kids! It will be a positive social experience for her and she's dying to have
some new experiences. Both she and I (and she and her sisters)
do need some time away from each other. By the way, my kids were written up in the local paper for the pottery workshop so that was cool.
Now if I can only find the perfect present for Tommy, my cup will runneth over.
September 4 - The pinch pot workshop Saturday went very well. My two children were the only ones who attended
so I think their pictures will be in the local paper. That would be fun! Yesterday
the children helped their father clean up debris from the yard and watched him cut up trees with a chainsaw. I think the final tally
was that six trees came down. The big one that fell took others with it. After that I took them to the playground where Natalie
made a new friend. His name is Ben, he's 5 1/2 years old, and lives right down the street from my mother. His parents are both artists,
so that's awesome. I hope we see more of them. This evening we will have a little family campfire with our firepit and roast
marshmallows. I'm glad that autumn is coming. It's my favorite season of the year. When I was
little, I always knew I'd get married in autumn; I love it so much. And I did, too -- October.
Tomorrow is the great sign-up day as I pop my
kids into activities.
The ones I am hoping for:
Natalie - dance - Mondays 5:45 to 6:30 pm
"Preschool Movement" @ SCC
Natalie - cooking - Wednesdays 10:30 to 11:15 am
"Kids in the Kitchen" @ NECC
Leah - gymnastics - Thursdays 5:15 to 6 pm
"Rollers" @ MHCC (with Betty)
Rebecca - music - Thursdays 10:15 to 10:45 am
"Family Music for Toddlers" @ SCC (with Mom)
I also have a looong list of fun things I saw in the paper that I want us to attend so here is my schedule:
2 - Pinch Pot workshop @ JPP
4 - roast marshmallows
5 - Webs of Steel @ Kings Landing
6 - Quiet Waters Park
7 - make birthday present for Tommy (?)
8 - Deigo's Animal Adventure @ SCC
9 - Lizards and Lattes @ Flag Ponds
10 - Tree ID @ BCNES
11 - pick crabapples, make crabapple jelly for Gram
12 - Fairy Rings and Toadstools @ BCNES
13 - The Best Dog Essay Contest @ SCC
14 - Art in the Park! @ Cove Point Park
15 - Pizza and a Program: Spiders @ BCNES
16 - Artsfest
17 - Artsfest
19 - Muddy Fun @ Kings Landing
20 - Teddy Bear Picnic
22 - Little Hands, Big Creations @ SCC
24 - Rennaisance Festival
26 - Spatter @ NECC
30 - War of 1812 Reeneactment & Tavern Night @ JPP
First things first, I think we'll be doing school activities based on Woody, Hazel and Little Pip by Elsa Beskow. I'm such
a nincompoop -- my husband is building a dividing wall separating the schoolroom from the playroom (taking one big room and making
it two parts) and I've been fussing and saying that I can't do school until it's done. But the stupid thing is that all the work
is being done in the part of the room that will now be the playroom and the schoolroom side is perfectly fine. There is no
construction going on in it at all. So I think that tomorrow will be our first day of school for this year. And Sunday will be Natalie's
first day of Sunday School, if we decide to put her in it. Still wondering about that one. Anyway, planning school activities
for Natalie is one of my favorite things to do and I'm glad to be back in it.
We had lots of
branches fall on the ground due to the storm and I realized (had never noticed this before) that we had several kinds of oak trees around us -- with different leaves and different shapes of acorns. I'd like
to get a Nature table going on our schoolroom with those and we can read The Tremendous Tree Book and do some more
leaf comparisons. We did this last year and I taught Natalie several trees (magnolia, pine tree, sweet gum, and holly) but we
live in a slightly different area now so it's worth doing again. I'd like to do some acorn or acorn cap projects with her. Also, it's
time to pick crab apples and try our crab apple jelly recipe again (this is in one of the September preschool newsletters from last year)
since we didn't get enough apples last time. It takes a LOT of apples to make the needed amount of juice and you can't press on the apples or your
jelly will be cloudy. My mother's birthday is September 14th so that was our gift idea for her.
Also, today I start making Christmas presents. I'm beginning with a pair of felted fireman hats for my nephews. The pattern is Firefighter Hat
on page 21 of New Knits on the Block. This will be my first time using circular needles, as well as wet felting something knitted, so I
hope it all turns out well! See my knitting blog pages for more specific notes on this and other knitting projects I do. You can find
them under "Learning to Knit" in the Curriculum Resources page for First Grade.
September 2 - Yesterday the storm kicked up more and more and we lost at least one really large tree. It fell from
right outside our bathroom window, through the woods, and across the street, blocking access to the house. So Steve will be out this
morning cutting it up with a chainsaw. It's a blessing, actually, because I had really wanted some tree trunk pieces for our
new playroom (tree stumps are in nearly every Waldorf preschool, as tables) and we knew we needed to find one that
was being freshly cut down so that it wasn't decaying or full of insects or anything. This tree, as far as we
know, was perfectly healthy, just a victim of the winds. So I'm excited about that! I've told Steve to save 5 or 6 two foot high
chunks of the trunk and especially the base, which has a nice little nook carved into it like a gnome home. Actually, when I told
Natalie the bunny story a few weeks ago (about the bunny which couldn't fall asleep at night, and she told me that it was because
she was afraid a storm might come and a tree would fall on the house), I had been planning to show her THAT tree trunk and its
little nook and to tell her that maybe the bunny lived there. I'm glad I didn't now!!! Because that would definitely have
reinforced her fear that her house might fall down any day now.
The kids are also going to a pottery (pinch pot) workshop this afternoon with their dad from 1 to 4 pm.
Yesterday I had actually already been making some plans about the fallen log thing, because I knew at least one tree would fall,
and Natalie has been so scared of them. I thought I'd gather some ideas for talking about trees falling in a positive way.
Now, not only can we talk about how the tree that fell gave us a gift in the way of new playroom furniture,
and read A Log's Life,
I have found a nearby park (Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis MD) which has a sculpture area devoted to shapes carved from fallen logs. I think
that will be really neat to check out! While reading the Bay Weekly and the Calvert County Parks & Recreation Fall Program Guide, I have
made a massive list of possible activities to take the children to. Yes, we have a ton of top-quality art and handwork supplies here,
and I have a gazillion books with project ideas. But the kids also need to get out there and meet some other people. I think this
is always a concern for homeschooling families. I am planning on signing Natalie up for dance again, Leah for gymnastics, and Becca for music. My
mom is going to take Becca to hers, so she can have the one-on-one attention (instead of a distracted adult), and my MIL is doing the same for Leah. Don't be
afraid to get other family members involved in school! I can't take all three kids to a baby music class which requires the adult to participate in
the activities with the baby... and instead of asking someone to babysit the other two kids so I can do the class with Rebecca, I came upon
the bright idea of having the grandparents be the people who attend the class. And boy did Steve's mom love that idea! She was so honored
to be asked. It was really sweet. Natalie is old enough
that she doesn't need the parent to stay, so I can drop her off (hopefully) and that way she is getting her special activity without the other two
trying to butt in. There is also a cooking class and, later in the fall, a golf class, both of which I think she would love. Variety
is the spice of life! And the golf class meets on Saturdays which means Steve can take her and that would be their special time.
I know that organized sports are not recommended for this age in Waldorf but I work really hard to find classes that are actually just about creativity
and having fun (I don't do dance classes which have a performance at the end which means a routine you have to learn) and they do want to
learn new things. You don't have the stagnate until the age of 7! It's mostly the idea that you don't want them to be competitive, and thinking of themselves
and one versus the other. Dance is a group thing. And golf is about waiting your turn. As far as I know... I've put them in several things and pulled
them early (like storytime) because it was beyond my comfort level. Some things are just too academic, even when you don't think they will be.
But mostly (because I usually talk about classes and they never happen, due to not having
a large glut of money around sign-up time), I wrote down a TON of fun fall events. Like hayrides, nature programs, art activities, coat and
book drives, pumpkin carving, a wall of thanks, nature programs, and more nature programs. A lot of them sound surprisingly good. (Not to be a snob.
But there are so many kids events that say right out in front that your children will be watching videos. At least they're honest...) There's is also
a woman doing fairy tea parties where you dress up in costume. We have to go to that!!! There is also Artsfest coming up at this time
of year, as well as the Renaissance Festival. Not to mention making Christmas presents -- which begins (at least for me) right
about now. I think we'll have no problem finding things to do! So now my excuse of not having a schoolroom can get thrown
right out the window and we'll just head out in the car for our activities, at least for a while. This sort of "whirlwind pace"
s something I've never been able to try before -- overscheduling my kids, it's the American way (ha ha) -- because
I've always had a baby who was on a nap schedule or I've been pregnant and tired. Now all my kids can walk and they all nap at the same time (11:30 am - 2:30 pm).
Life is suddenly much easier! I'm also trying to spend more time with my kids and off the computer. So physically leaving the house
is a good way to achieve that. I also found, for free, a group of moms who meet at Cove Point Park and push their strollers for 1-3 miles and
chat. Sounds like a workout. No doubt one could argue that, in addition to my children needing new friends, I could do with some of my own. Another
concern for homeschooling moms, who can tend to become isolated. I'm sure my husband would be thrilled if I found someone else to talk instead of him. :-)
* * * * *
The kids are going nuts with boredom because of being stuck in two small bedrooms for their playspace (Steve is trying to build the wall downstairs)
so I think we need a pile of new books! Book swap choices:
While finding the links to these books, I found a Listmania List called "Books to Read to Your Dolls", which
is really cute, so I thought I'd share it. Mirabelle, by Astrid Lindgren, is one of
the books on my wishlist. Amazon doesn't seem to offer it new but it really looks like a book
worth tracking down. That would be a fun book to add to the Spring
newsletter topics about seeds.
September 1 - A cold, wet, and rainy day. It's not usually like this around here; in Maryland last September it was
in the 80's. Even into October. I actually have long pants on and a sweater. Today we will stay indoors and play and possibly visit
my grandfather if he's feeling up to it. I had purchased a bunch of new games for the children but they haven't arrived yet
so I'm not sure how we'll fill up the time.
Over the past few days, since we got back from vacation, I realized how much the children are missing out on by not having older kids
to play with. Not having any kids to play with, actually. The one little friend Natalie made at church is starting kindergarten this
year at the public school so I doubt we'll see her much. On the farm there was Sam, a wonderful 3rd grader, who Natalie
really looked up to. Anyway, I know they are not getting some of the basic "kid" things to do so over the past few days I have
- how to play hide-and-go-seek,
- how to run a race, and
- how to roll down a hill
We also drank from the old pump down at the ball field, another classic childhood experience. I gotta get these kids some friends!
This weekend Steve is bringing a friend from work to help build the wall that will create a playroom and a separate
schoolroom downstairs. I cannot wait for this! I have so many books by my bedside with flagged pages of fun
stuff I want to do once we have a dedicated space for school and the things can come out of storage. I have been making some
new toys to while away the time. Some of the Magic Cabin knitted animal kits, and, yesterday, I finished the knit horse (the pattern in Toymaking with Children).
Natalie loves the horse. They are pretending to give it a bath right now, using one of the empty drawers under her bed for the tub and her blanket for the
towel. They've been playing haircut a lot too. Pretend, of course. At least... so far. :-)