aelfie: (Simpsons me)
How...what an energy drain.

The good:
Love the school.
I got "hello"s and "great to see you again!"s and hugs from various staff and faculty members
I lined up 2 more days to sub this month in kindergarten
I got to finally meet the second grade teacher (the single teacher I hadn't met last spring) (if I get a job here, he'd be Elli and Gwen's teacher)

The bad:
The commute sucks
Teacher left me NOTHING for them to do for 2 practice periods!
I forgot lunch, which then gave me massive headache, but not until after school
I broke the rocking chair (oy)
It hurts to be there.

I'm glad to add to the resume and I'm glad to have a chance to integrate myself into the community. Honestly, this is my first choice school for next fall if the librarian gig falls through. BUT I feel dreadfully inadequate to the task of being a teacher. Today, being left with a class, all by myself, really let me know, how much I don't know. I know I would be supported by a mentor...but daaaaymn...it's just so much. And an 8 year commitment to these kids to begin with!! I mean, you have to teach so much and there's so much I don't get about how I'm even supposed to attempt it!

Does every new teacher feel like this? Just. Ut.

Woot!

Oct. 2nd, 2013 06:33 am
aelfie: (new job)
Okay it's only a one day thing, but it's still exciting. I'm driving over the hill to today to sub for second grade at Santa Cruz Waldorf. The teacher is going to take main lesson and I'll be taking over afterwards. Nice thing, as that meant I got to get up at my normal time today.

Resume writer! Woot!
aelfie: (tattoo)
Why am I being all posty mcpostal?

I had my teacher look unofficially at my student teacher blog and he pointed out I was missing a few things. I'm posting as many as I can tonight while I'm still at school and won't be bothered by anyone.
aelfie: (tattoo)

I had Foundation Studies this weekend. The Art for this session was drawing.  *Groan* 

I will not say I suck at drawing. I will not say I don't get it. But I will say...I'm learning. I'm just slow.

First we tried pastels on paper. After about 2 hours of work I ended up with this.

2012-11-10 17.34.03


Then we moved onto crayon. This is about 30 minutes of work.

2012-11-10 17.33.53

Then back to pastels...about an hour.

2012-11-10 17.34.12

And lastly pencils. This is after about an hour...and it's so not finished. And I'm not sure where to go next with it to continue it...I need to finish coloring in the boat, and the sails...and I've got to fix the cliff but I don't know how...


Bonus points to people who can correctly ID the myths or stories I drew for the last three drawings.


aelfie: (Default)
This time around is so much different. Ike I dragged through kicking and screaming (sometimes literally). The girls? They are HUNGRY. They want to learn, they ask me for more lessons. "What else can we do for school today?" They've been told over and over again in the last few years, "oh, you'll learn that when you start school" or "Oh....First Graders do that" that now they are in First Grade....they want to learn. They absorb it. And they run with it. It's pretty awesome to watch.

They are loving the learning their letters so much, I almost can't wait for Math! Now that's fun stuff!
aelfie: (Default)

About a week ago, I thought I was being a Bad Homeschooling Mama.

I had no plan.

The last time I planned to teach First Grade I took an entire summer to figure out what in the heck I was going to do, and how I was going to do it. This time it's different. Elli and Gwen are not Ike. I also know a whole lot more than I did 3 years ago. Last month I ran back to homeschooling after pondering it for a week. The girls went to school on a Friday, the following Monday...they did not. I had a crutch so I could stall. I was given the first 10 days of Form Drawing and the first Math block. But after that...nothing planned. And even then, I did not want to start the first math block after that form drawing block. And Oh, I'm going to be gone for a week in the middle of October for my observation at Santa Cruz Waldorf. So what to do? Well, I fell back on advice from my Mentor Melisa. "Don't teach anything unless you are prepared to do so." Always good advice.

So this last Monday, I told the girls I wasn't ready to teach them the next block of studies. We played. I pondered. I read. We cuddled and read lots of fairy tales. We knit. I cleaned. We went to the park. I spent most of the week sick (physically, spiritually, and emotionally) and spent most of Thursday sleeping (I have such an amazing husband...let me tell you!). And on Friday afternoon I did actually do some planning. And then, AFTER all that...I got inspired. I found it. The container story and the approach I wanted to use to teach the alphabet, phonics, spelling, and the math. How I wanted to present the Fairy Tales. How to turn First Grade this time around from "Following Melisa's Plans"....to creating my own. Admittedly by stealing the best ideas from ALL of my teachers and fusing them together in a way to work for my Elli and Gwen. But, I finally found the Art. I've made it MINE.

Now, in this place, I finally feel...I'm a Waldorf Teacher.

I'm not a Mama playing at being a Teacher. I'm not a Student-Teacher in over her head, I am a Teacher.

aelfie: (Have a Nice Day)
I just got my acceptance letter from Rudolf Steiner College! I'll be off to Fair Oaks for three weeks in July! Woot!!

Now just to figure out how to pay for it....
aelfie: (Default)
Hooky:
I should have done homework tonight. I owe my Foundation Studies teacher from RSC a paper comparing and contrasting the cultures of Ancient Persia and Ancient India. As fascinating as I find this subject (and I do, its really cool!) I just couldn't bring myself to do work. I busted my butt last week in order to turn in enough assignments to pass my latest class at UCSC Extension. I got as much in as I could by the Saturday Midnight deadline. And I was satisfied, I knew I passed. I got home from church on Sunday to find an email from the instructor saying she'd give me a chance to fix an assignment I turned in at the beginning of the month. Fair enough. I revised it, and emailed it back in. This move quite probably changed my grade from a C to a B in that class. Yea. I passed. That's all I care about. So after that, I was less than willing to do more work, even if its fun work. So I've been goofing off online, downloading pictures off my camera, and searching for a crochet hat pattern.

Bypassing a FUBAR:
I teach Handwork at the children's school. I'm attempting to teach 3rd grade how to crochet. They got the basics down and we have attempted to start crocheting hats. I am not the greatest at crocheting. I know how, but this is one craft that does not really click for me. I get lost, easily. I am screwing up the pattern I found for the children to work. They are flailing, I am flailing. Time to scrap this project. I think I found a better pattern that's much more simple and less difficult to screw up. I'm going to collect all the children's handwork bags, rip out what they have done (maybe a round in most cases), and we will all start together. I've also put in an email to another parent who is awesome at crochet to see if she can come around and help me. I think I've recognized that I'm over my head early enough in this process that all is not lost.

And the fact that we have 8 days of school left is not lost on me. Ut. Next year should go better. My only defense is that I'm not a trained Handwork Teacher, I'm a mom who is very crafty and is attempting Teacher Training (Grades). That doesn't mean that I know everything I need to know. But at least I realize I'm out of my depth and am asking for help.
aelfie: (Default)
Last night was an awful lot of fun. I still can't sing music written for a Mezzo Soprano, but I can fake it well enough (amazing what happens when you drop the music an octave). When we had our dress rehearsal on Thursday we got worried. We had sold only 24 tickets! There's 100+ seats! Well, getting the word out worked because when the curtain went up it was a full house! Yea! The children did an awesome job, and I fulfilled a dream. I was a lead character in a Musical (okay, opera...whatever, I was a lead character and I sang!) I blew a few lines and completely blew the big moment (started on the wrong note) It was cool...scary, but very cool. I'd love to do it again...but my voice is dying today, so its a good thing that there's no show today.

I'm glad we did it, but I'm  also glad its over. Now the all the adults involved need to have a proper after party...we all went home and put children to bed...no party for us!
aelfie: (Default)
Our school is putting on the play Amahl and the Night Visitors as a fundraiser on December 16 at 7 PM at the Hoover Theatre in San Jose. Ike, Elli, and Gwen play sheperds and I'm playing shepherds and I'm playing the Mother.
I hope you can make it!

Here's the link to purchase tickets.
http://njerismorningglory.com/community/events/?tab=4
aelfie: (Default)
I am riding high. I taught a class today. I am offering an adult handwork class at the kids school using the idea of making things for the Nature Table at home.

It was fun! We dyed playsilks today. Messy!

First, I built a small nature table after stripping my table at home. The silks I used to cover the little table I brought were made by 3 different processes that are easily done at home.
And I even remembered to write those instructions up and give a copy to the ladies. We talked about dyeing, different methods, and mordants. We talked about autumn, the gestures, colors, food, and festivals...and then we got messy.

We dyed 1 yard square silks in brown, red, and orange to create the foundation for their nature tables. We hung them up and Oh! They looked beautiful! I'm sad to say I didn't think to dye a set for the school! (I may go back and do that...the brown and orange didn't come out as deep as I wanted.)

The set up was amusing. I had to bring the kids wagon to drag all the stuff I needed. I had four washbasins, the camp stove, fuel for the camp stove, my dyeing pot (a 7 quart jar canner I found at GoodWill for $5.00) (to boil water in rather than dye in), small table, nature table stuff, snack, plates, spoons (forgot a serving spoon!),box of gloves, box of playsilks, dye, 1 gallon jug of white vinegar, towels, twine, and plastic spoons. Ut! Dying takes a LOT of gear!

Oh and I am sooooo glad I brought my stove and dyeing pot, the school doesn't have access to a real stove and they have electric kettles, and it would not have been possible to heat enough water otherwise.

It was good, and nerve wracking, Njeri was very helpful by letting Gray play with the Kindergarten while I taught. Dyeing is not really an activity that can be done with the littles, but everything else we do should be.

Yea!
aelfie: (Default)
LifeWays: Done!!! Although I do not have my certificate. It will come in the mail. After class yesterday (with Suzanne Down no less) we went out to dinner to celebrate. This has been an amazing soul-feeding experience for me. And in these last few months, I've felt it isn't nearly enough. I feel like I've been given an appetizer to Waldorf Education and there is a whole lot more out there for me to experience....

Which led me to the idea of...

Teacher Training: For the last few months, I've been considering taking Waldorf Teacher Training. Considering it to the point that I have the application forms filled out and ready to mail. Its a grueling 3 year program. Every Friday night and every Saturday morning in El Sobrante for the Academic Year. Plus a four week-five full day Summer intensive. I feel a great need to do this program. I can't not imagine not doing it. That being said. Wow. That's kinda intense and bat-shit insane when you have four kids 8 and under and live 70 miles and a probable 2 hour commute away. Oh, and lets not forget the cost. Comes in around $8K a year. Which, now that I think about it is cheaper than the kids tuition.

Speaking of kids tuition....

Homeschooling: Not going forward with it. To be brutally honest. Ain't nobody happy. Except maybe Gray...'cause he's such a happy and mellow kid. But I have to say it needed to happen. Ike really needed these last two years to settle down some and come more into his own. I think he's ready for a classroom. But there is no way in hell I'd ever put him in a public school classroom. So, we have officially enrolled the big three kids at Njeri's Morning Glory, a small waldorf school. We've gotten a tuition adjustment (thank goodness!) And I've gotten a soft job offer for a new program at the school....

which leads to....

More schooling for me. I'm currently enrolled at UCSC Extension taking Early Childhood Education classes. What a mickey mouse class. I can't stand it! And its not the information I can't handle, the information is good stuff, and its actually a well written text book. Its the bullshit, waste of time, really learn nothing except regurgitation assignments. Bleh!!! I'm back to playing a game that I got tired of in Junior High School. But I can play it (and play it well) for the 24 units I need (to create the program Njeri is envisioning) and the 35 for the certificate. (Figure what the hell? If I have to take 24 I might as well take a few more classes and get the damn certificate...may come in handy someday. It is tax deductible after all.). I just hope later classes are better and less worshipping at the Grand Altar of Bullshit. That is the one thing I really valued this LifeWays year...the assignments stretched me! So for now, I'll sit in the back row and knit my way through my classes.

But where does that put Teacher Training?

On the back burner for at least one academic year. I can't do both. And to be honest, it gives me another year to improve my health, let the kids get bigger (let the girls get off my etheric, so I only have one child using that connection instead of 3.) and hopefully settle into our new rhythm of almost everyone in school.

Whew! Been busy!
aelfie: (Default)

I don't know what's up with the formatting on this...but I'm tired of fighting it.

General Anthroposophy

Rudolf Steiner Archive: http://www.rsarchive.org/Search.php
There are lots of books and articles written by Steiner. Searchable by subject, lecture series, book, etc

Rudolf Steiner Audio: http://www.rudolfsteineraudio.com/
An amazing number of Steiner’s books in MP3 format. Free! Awesome resource.

The Online Waldorf Library http://waldorflibrary.org/pg/home/home.asp
Large database of Journal articles, books and newsletters written by Waldorf Teachers, Anthro Doctors and friends of Waldorf Education. All Free!

Organic Thinking: http://www.organicthinking.org/default.html
An interesting website with articles and other items on HOW to read Steiner.

Anthroposophical Society in America http://www.anthroposophy.org/
There are lots of articles and blog entries about modern Anthroposophy. There is also information about regional groups and local study groups. Our local group doesn’t seem to be too active. Also, the Society maintains a library that is free for members. You can request books and they will ship them to you. You have 3 months to return them.

Philosophy of Freedom http://www.philosophyoffreedom.com/
Study Groups, handouts, video’s…all pertaining to Steiner’s Philosophy of Freedom.

AnthroMed http://www.anthromed.org/
Anthroposophical Medicine Database. "The AnthroMed Library now has over 600 articles, documents and research papers and books."

Waldorf Education
Why Waldorf Works http://www.whywaldorfworks.org/
Front page of the Association of Waldorf Schools in North America. This website maintains pointers to Teacher Training Colleges and all the schools in North America. There is also a bookstore and this is where you can buy a subscription to Renewal Magazine, a Waldorf Education Magazine aimed for parents of children in the schools.

WECAN http://www.waldorfearlychildhood.org/
Website for the International Waldorf Early childhood association.

Millennial Child  http://www.millennialchild.com/
Website of Master Waldorf Teacher Eugene Schwartz. There is lots of good stuff on this site: articles, free podcasts, homeschooling resources, resources for Waldorf Teachers, and parents.

Waldorf Teacher http://www.waldorfteachers.com/
Job searching site for teachers, but there are lots of amazing pictures of blackboard drawings.

Straight Line and Curve http://www.straightlineandcurve.co.uk/
Poems and verses database.

Waldorf Homeschooling
A Little Garden Flower and Waldorf Essentials http://shop.beaconmama.com/main.sc
Waldorf inspired curriculum written by long time Homeschooling Mama of four (soon five) Melisa Nielsen. She also carries Sieglinde de Francesca’s Block Crayon Drawing Book and DVD as well as a Music Curriculum written for the American Penny whistle using Steiner’s indications as its basis. Melisa also offers consulting and over 50 podcasts for sale. Lastly, Melisa runs an Inner Work program aimed at Mothers. Curriculum from Pre-school through 6th grade is for sale.

Christopherus http://www.christopherushomeschool.org/home/.html
This curriculum is written by Donna Simmons, Waldorf Grad and Waldorf High School Teacher. She not only sells curriculum but consulting, forums, and podcasts on various subjects. Curriculum from pre-school through 6th grade is for sale

Live Education http://www.live-education.com/
Written by Rainbow Rosenblum and Bruce Bischof, both trained Waldorf Teachers. Basic consulting is included in the price of the curriculum. Curriculum from Kindergarten through 8th grade is for sale.

Enki http://www.enkieducation.org/index.htm
A mixture of Waldorf and Montessori curriculum, kindergarten through 3rd grade.

Earthschooling http://thebearthinstitute.memberlodge.com
This curriculum is written by a Waldorf Kindergarten teacher who is homeschooling her own children. Grades preschool through 6th grade is offered.

Seasons of Joy http://naturalfamily.50megs.com/index.html
Preschool curriculum

Little Acorn Learning http://littleacornlearning.com/
Preschool/Childcare guides.

The WaThe Waldorf Connection http://thewaldorfconnection.com
Like an online conference...you can purchase podcasts of lectures from all sorts of homeschoolers and Waldorf teachers.

Waldorf without Walls http://www.waldorfwithoutwalls.com/
Homeschooling books/curriculum written by Waldorf Teacher Barbara Dewey

Blogs

There are a LOT of Waldorf blogs out there, these are some favorites.

Parenting Passageway http://theparentingpassageway.com/
Blog written about Waldorf Parenting by a homeschooling Mama.

Wee folk art http://weefolkart.com/
LOTS of free crafting ideas and patterns. Waldorf Homeschooling Mama and Grandma.

Waldorf Reviews waldorfreviews.com
This blog is written by a Waldorf Teacher, she gives her input on books, supplies, curriculum, and toys.

Rhythm of the Home http://rhythmofthehome.com/
An online Waldorf inspired magazine, which is free and published quarterly. Covers Rhythm, festivals, crafts, homelife. 

 
Supplies

A Child’s Dream Come True http://achildsdream.com/
Awesome place to buy books, toys, crafting supplies, and art supplies.

Paper, Scissor, Stone http://www.waldorfsupplies.com/
Another really good supply store.

Weir Crafts http://www.weirdollsandcrafts.com/
Lots of good stuff about doll making and other crafts.

 

Books

Bob and Nancy’s http://www.waldorfbooks.com/
An Anthroposophical Bookstore. If its vaguely about Waldorf or Anthroposophy…they carry it.

 Rudolf Steiner College Bookstore http://www.steinercollege.edu/store/
Up in Fair Oaks…they carry not only books, but toys, crafts, and supplies. Definitely a fun place to go shopping if you ever get up to that area of Sacramento.

Yahoo Groups
HomeschoolingWaldorf http://groups.yahoo.com/group/homeschoolingwaldorf/?yguid=61030622
This is moderated by Melisa from A little Garden Flower. All aspects of Waldorf Life, whether you homeschool or not, are open for discussion. This is a great group for anyone who wants to understand Waldorf Education or Anthroposophy. Over 1100 members including a bunch of Waldorf Teachers.

 Waldorfhomeeducators
This is moderated by Marsha Johnson, a Waldorf Teacher up in Portland. She is VERY strict about what kind of discussion is allowed. If it doesn’t apply directly to Waldorf Education, she will ask that it be taken off line. Even general questions about how to implement rhythm and basics of everyday living are verboten. However, her FILES section is filled with a TON of stuff regarding curriculum. All sorts of blocks for all different grades…all for free.

The Bearth Institute also has about 3 yahoo groups depending upon what level you join/pay for.

SF_Waldorf_Homeschoolers http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sf_waldorf_homeschoolers/?yguid=61030622
Local Homeschooling Group. Not very active, but its reaching out to local people

Waldorf Curriculum Discuss
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorfcurricdiscuss/?yguid=61030622
If you have any questions regarding the curriculums out there…this is the place to ask. You will get lots of opinions

Waldorf curriculum supplies
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorfcurriculum-supplies/?yguid=61030622
It may say curriculum…but people will also sell clothing, toys, parenting books…good stuff!

Toys
The fun section

The Ark: two stores in San Francisco, one in Berkeley

 Etsy etsy.com
Think Ebay for crafters. If you are looking for a Waldorf Doll, you will find LOTS of people selling them here. Wooden toys? Here. Handmade clothing? Handmade Toys? Beeswax Candles? Hand dyed play silks? All here. Usually small companies who don’t have a regular store. Lots of good deals…and you are usually supporting work at home moms. I buy most of my toys from people on etsy.

The Wooden Wagon thewoodenwagon.com
Importers of German made toys, candle pyramids, birthday rings, and other wooden paraphernalia. Good prices! I buy from this company if I can’t find something on Etsy.

Nova Naturals novanatural.com
Owned by a LifeWays Graduate. Good stuff too.

Three Sisters http://www.threesisterstoys.com/default.aspx
Business run by a WAHM.

Rosie Hippo rosiehippo.com      
One of the first mainstream Waldorf Toy companies…sends out paper catalogs to make it easy for Grandparents to shop.

 Magic Cabin magiccabin.com
See above.

Puppenstube http://www.thepuppenstube.com/
I just found this one! Dolls, Gnome Homes, and wooden figures…beautiful!

 

aelfie: (Default)
This keeps coming up in various discussions...and I am tired of having to keep looking all this up...so I'm putting it here under tags so I can find it!

Some mainstream materials (books)
The plug in drug by Marie Winn
Four Arguments for the elimination of Television by Jerry Mander
Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv

Articles from Waldorf Resources
TV and Childrens Minds by Dr. Susan Johnson MD
http://www.devdelay.org/newsletter/articles/html/249-tv-and-childrens-minds.html
TV and ADD by Dr. Foster Cline (creator of Love and Logic)
http://www.waldorflibrary.org/Journal_Articles/GW3305.pdf
Cries of Conscience by Nancy Forer
http://www.waldorflibrary.org/Journal_Articles/GW4009.pdf
Beyond Cognition by Eugene Schwarts (Master Waldorf Teacher)
http://www.waldorflibrary.org/Journal_Articles/GW4009.pdf
Culture of Untruth: Media and the Waldorf Student by Eugene Schwartz (audio lecture)
http://millennialchild.com/Resources/podcasts.html
aelfie: (Default)
I've been listening to the lecture series "Love and its meaning in the world". Good stuff...some of its way out there. But there's still good stuff. The 9th lecture is entitled "Faith, love, and hope: toward the 6th epoch". I'm sleepy, nursing a baby and my ears perk up at this bit towards the end of the lecture.

"We have wireless installations — undreamt of by our ancestors — to transmit our thoughts all over the earth, and what good does it do us? The most trivial, unproductive thoughts are sent hither and thither, and human ingenuity has to be strained to the utmost to enable us to transport from some far distant region, by means of all kinds of perfected appliances, something for us to eat; or to travel at high speeds round the globe. But in our heads there is nothing worth sending from place to place, for our thoughts are cheerless; more-over, since we have had our present means of communication, they have become even more cheerless than when they were conveyed in the old snail-like fashion.”

Wow....could that man call it or what? Now granted it was supposed to be said by a culture about 3000 years from now...but still. I mean, how else can you explain Twitter?
aelfie: (Default)
Its that time of year again!

We start school on Monday and I thought I'd post our schedules for the month (rather than weekly. Updates should be a lot easier this year...everything is on my computer so I don't have to transcribe from a written record) Ike will be our big Second Grader and Elli & Gwen will be my Kindergarteners. Gray will just float through our days. I plan to do school once he's down for his nap and since Gray is so nice as to go down for a nap between 10 and 11, we should have our day done by lunch

First two weeks is an ease into school. We will be doing a bunch of form drawing, an intro to the penny whistle, and working on a math carpet. I'm swiping an idea from a teacher at Njeri's school. The teacher took a sheet of 11x14 paper, colored in the background and drew a very nice number starting from 1 to 36. And put them on the floor with clear contact paper. He used this for the kids to work math problems. I thought this was a cool idea. But I'm not doing that to my floor, so I got a 6'x9' piece of canvas. Ike and I will draw 12 inch squares on it, and fill each box with a number. I figure this project will take us a couple of days minimum.

Here's the plan for the rest of September )I've got more details in my daily printouts...but this gives everyone an idea of what we are working on!
aelfie: (Default)
and homeschooling...

Needless to say there's a lot of debate and discussion about what is or isn't "Waldorf". Well, more discussion than debate. One of the things that most Waldorf Homeschooling Mama's (and Papa's) tend to forget is that Steiner never meant the curriculum to be set in stone. Its supposed to be (somewhat) fluid and reflect local culture. Its also supposed to come from the teacher.

Now take the debate about recorders. And this is a debate, not a discussion. Some people insist that the instrument taught in the lower grades be a very expensive wooden recorder (less than $100.00). A pentatonic recorder would be even better. Proponents give the impression that it would be a more "purer" Waldorf. Heaven forbid you can't afford the expensive instrument and need to substitute a cheap plastic one. I'll admit the $80.00 pentatonic recorder does sound better than the $2.00 one you can find at Michaels. But I found a really nice plastic recorder for $7.00 and sounds just as nice as my $80.00 one. Either way, a family shouldn't have to decide between paying the electric bill for a month and a musical instrument. The whole point of a "blowing instrument" (not recorder, Steiner didn't specifically call for a recorder) is to strengthen the lungs, to teach the child to get some control over the breath, and teach them to play music by ear.

Recently, a Waldorf Homeschooling Mama released a music curriculum based on the American Penny Whistle and American Folk Music. Some people can't stand it. Its not "right", but the ongoing discussion on this music course brought up some interesting points. First of all, we live in America. Why shouldn't we be playing American made/traditional instruments? And using traditional American Folk Music? The recorder was probably chosen by the first school because it was what was played locally. Second, if we are homeschooling...why shouldn't we bring in more Americana into the curriculum.  For example, Second Grade is the year of Aesops Fables, Jataka Tales, and Native American Folklore. Okay, so the American element is in the Native American tales, but what about adding American Tall Tales? In Third Grade, how about a Pioneer block instead of a Farming Block,  and adding American colonalization and Revolution to Fifth Grade in addition to Greece.

It intrigues me to the point that I dropped one of my original blocks (Trickster Tales) and changed it to American Tall Tales. We will study George Washington and the Cherry tree, Molly Pitcher, John Henry, and (probably) Johnny Appleseed. One of the Mama's had a good point. We need to make the curriculum our own.
aelfie: (Default)
I took July off from school stuff. Okay, mostly. I read a few picture books for next year, looked at a few poetry books...but mostly I didn't read anything "heavy" for the month. I started that up again on Sunday. I've gotten 2 books on my "read before starting school" stack done. I've started a third and have a few Steiner lectures to read in the next couple of days. (The first two books were for Ike, the next few are for the girls.) Whew! Lots of reading...but duh, its what I do.

Simultaneously, I've been, for lack of a better word...nesting.

Ike, Elli and Gwen have been at camp this week. I've had a solid 1.5-2 hours during the day when my energy is greatest to "do stuff". I have scrubbed my house. My bathroom is spotless, the kids bathroom was spotless until this evening when someone left the bathroom open and let Gray in. I have thrown out, swept, vacuumed, mopped. I've even painted.

On Monday I scrubbed down the dining room wall with a car sponge and water and vinegar.  That wall takes a beating. The scrubbing took off about 90% of the crap, stains, marks, hand prints, and food dribbles all over it. Getting up all the built up chalk on the chalkboard took about 4 scrubbings with fresh water. Then I pulled out the paint for the main wall color on our blackboard wall and touched up some black scuff marks, pencil marks, dings, etc. Today while Gray was sleeping I pulled out the painters tape and taped off the chalkboard. This evening once all the kids were asleep I put another later of chalkboard paint on the chalkboard. Since its a smoother than normal wall surface, its still really irregular...so the tops of the bumps had lost the paint and my board was covered with little cream colored spreckles. It shouldn't happen this year as I learned a trick from a Waldorf Teacher that those micro-fiber cleaning cloths remove about 99% of the colored chalk without having to wash the board. This makes me happy!

I've been ordering supplies, printing off calendars, searching for books, and basically lining up all my ducks.

I think we are going to have a great year.
aelfie: (Default)
A few months ago Elli comes up to me while I'm knitting and says

"Mommy! I wanna do that thing you do with the pointy thing"

I think about this.

"Do you mean you want to knit baby?"

"NO! The other thing. With the circle thing"

*lightbulb* I had been working on Gray's Christmas stocking a few weeks prior.

"You want to do some stitching?" " YES!" "Okay baby, I'll have something for you tomorrow"

I went to my stitching stash, pulled out this cheap evenweave I picked up years ago for doodle cloth, whack off a good size square, put it in a 5 in hoop. Grab some red #3 pearl cotton and use my water soluble marker to draw a small snowflake pattern.  The next day we sit down together in my rocking chair and "stitch" my hand over hers and talking her through the process. She lost interest about halfway through and I put it away.

She finally remembered it again about 2 weeks ago. We pulled it out and finished it. Yea Elli!

Ike and Gwen then decide they want to stitch. First, we make a trip to Michaels so everyone can pick out their own embroidery hoop (I only have 1) Everyone picks a different color, so there will be NO arguments about whose hoop is whose. A couple of nights ago I whack off some more fabric and load the hoops.

This afternoon, we sit down while Gray is napping and stitch! Ike is sitting on the kitchen table and working pretty independently. He understands the push from the bottom, pull from the top thing. He only needed the occasional "What do I do now Mommy?" instruction. His independence was actually really useful, as Gwen needed her needle re-threaded after every pull. He was kind enough to help her. This allowed me to divide my attention between the two girls. Elli didn't need me to guide her hands anymore, but she did need me to point out exactly where she needed to go. Gwen, touching a needle for the first time, needed my hands to guide her.  Helping all three through this process was actually pretty intense. But I have to admit, pretty cool.

And I have to admit, I was VERY happy to hear Gray wake up when he did. After an hour I was wiped!

Both Ike and Gwen finished their snowflakes, and Elli got a good start on her next ornament a Christmas tree in 3 colors using backstitch. Ike also started his tree too. He kept stitching for awhile in my room after Gray woke up.

I am really liking how much Ike is enjoying handwork. He gets very calm and centered and (YES!!!!) focused. The only downside I could possibly see is that someday some other friend might make some disparaging comments.

I also need to come up with some more projects for them to work on...must do research. =)

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