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Archive for the ‘Celebration’ Category

It has been five full moons since we started 5th and 3rd grades. There is so much to recapture.

In fifth grade we began with stories from Africa, then Egypt. Little Eagle read the book Maia of Thebes, his largest book ever. Then, we covered the main gods and goddess’ in Greek Myths and the boys listened to some audio stories, which speak a lot about the demi gods and other characters. We have spent this whole time reviewing 4th grade math on a daily basis, with a few problems to keep our minds sharp. During what used to be Circle time when Little Eagle was younger, we now replace with math review, form drawing, music and daily reading. We are also pushing through with fractions.

My resources for 5th include Waldorf Essentials as our mainstay, D’Aulaires Greek Myths book, Key to Fractions and a cheap 4th grade math book, from which I pull daily review.  Monday’s we try to paint nature, and I usually allow the boys to choose their subject. Whatever inspires them. I am working on a Master List of resources, but it will take some time to organize. I hope to make separate posts covering the different aspects of the grades and subjects as well as time goes on.

Soon, we will start our block on Botany and the teachings will be more specific in the study of plant wisdom, but this has always been important to us. We have covered some, but not all of the Herb Fairy stories. Also, Little Eagle began ukulele in the spring, as he was gifted his own concert size uke and lessons at the local folk school. As part of movement for 5th grade, I set up a corner dedicated to yoga and provided a reader on meditation 101, which satisfies the Movement portion of 5th grade, as well as exploring the spiritual practice of the body. Last week, both big boys began and are alternating a yoga/hoop/dance/chant class. They will have wood shop most of the day, then end by going to the movement class.

We are on break at the moment, after Lammas, cleaning and organizing the house, and going to visit with family in from Germany. And now every mama I know has her calendar out planning away till the end of the year, if not beyond. We are also back at church, and getting the kids settled in to some great little circles. Little Bear is starting a circle time called Little Acorns, that my lovely friend Mrs. Elle will be leading. It is based on the Little Acorn Learning curriculum, and will be housed at our church. We are so excited all our friends 2-5 years old will be in the group. Little Bear also started the pre-k class at church on Sunday’s, which is Montessori based worship. They have a lovely rhythm with story that includes wood figures and felt, then an activity and feast. It is very similar to Circle Time in the Waldorf tradition.

When 5th grade starts back we still have so much to cover through the end of November. Hinduism and the creation story, Buddhism and the four noble truths and eight fold path. Then, we will cover Ancient Persia and Zarathustra, which is modern-day Iran. Within this scope of time we will also cover freehand geometry, which will be a jumping off point for using tools like the compass and protractor.

3rd grade feels easier compared to 5th, which makes sense. Most people looking outside of the Waldorf tradition believe that the curriculum is bogus, because one does not start the child with letters and numbers formally till age 7, in first grade. The curriculum and more importantly lifestyle does look different for each family, since we are all unique, but at the same time we are all working with the whole child. Movement-the body, the brain, and the emotions are all intertwined. They are forms of intelligence that grow at varying rates and all need attention and meditation on the parent/teachers part. The child may be stronger in the brain/mental aspect, so drawing the child into their body is a good way to balance out. During the first 7 years of life, the physical body is the focus. Ages 7-14 focus on the emotional life. 14-21 draw the child into their mental/thinking life. This curriculum is intensive. It’s a work of art. Inner work on my part is vital on a daily basis.

So, 3rd grade we have been using Jakob Streit’s book, And Then There Was Light for the Old Testament. A couple of years ago we used Pearl S. Buck’s, Story Bible. I really like it, but thought this year we could use the other resources I already owned. We are using Jewish Festivals, A Family Treasury, to cover Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Hanukkah this fall and winter, as well as book suggestions from the Jewish Library and Chabad dot org.

We are also looking more at multiplication and divide, plus multiple digit addition and subtraction with carrying and borrowing. I do use an inexpensive workbook to pull from our daily review for math. Circular calendars continue to be used to measure time and I just gifted Little Fox a new watch to work on measuring time. It is a basic black Timex watch with velcro strap. Little Fox is continuing with Suzuki violin. We switched to fiddle/Suzuki and a different teacher during the summer, but after giving it a shot, we found Little Fox flowed better with his original teacher. Little Fox is about to get his turn at Movement class this week. They are borrowing my hula hoop at the moment, which is too big, but I am going to allow them to make their own hoop soon with cool duct tape to wrap it.

We start back to school September 6th, after my 14 year wedding anniversary and 39th birthday. September is my favorite month, and fall is my favorite season. To end the month, we will have a Michaelmas celebration with our private co-op group at my house. We have decided on the Waldorf Essentials story of Super Sam and the dragon, with an obstacle course for the kids. We have asked everyone to make a loaf of bread, that will become a large dragons body, with roving as fire coming from the dragons mouth. I have a large stash of fabric and notions gifted to me, so I plan to share the bounty that day as well. Instead of buying more plastic drawers and cramming stuff in, it is easier to share with friends the abundance, and have nice easier to open drawers with everything organized.

My prayers are with you and your harvest as autumn approaches. The sun has given us Light, our bodies have stretched and grown, and the time for learning and introspection nears.

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Our Little Bear bundled up and walked a big circuit today.  This is one of the first times he hasn’t had to be pulled, pushed or carried.  A new season of movement! A season of feeling his feet on the land and looking up at the sky, the trees, and the winged ones in new awareness.

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Soon we will hear the story of The Festival of Stones, by Reg Downs, and its winter stone magic.  If mama wants to sing around the house, while washing dishes, or folding laundry, here is a recording to go by.  Include drums if you have them!

It is winter, but here in Kentucky we have only had a light dusting of snow and mild temperatures so far.  My duty is to Remember my Self through the seasons. In winter, all the energy goes inward. Into the roots of the trees, into the stones and bones of the earth.  Stones are our libraries of the past.  Pick one up and see if it has a message or story for you.  If you listen, or keep it on your altar long enough, you might pick up some of it’s wisdom and healing intention.  Are you drawn to any particular stones right now?  Do you have a mantra for this winter season?

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Children are brilliant.  I must preface with that, because as a teacher and parent I receive most of my inspiration from two sources.  Children and nature.  Aside from mySelf, those are two direct links with the divine.  Right now is the planning and dreaming phase of the cycle.  I get a little conversational with our children right now about what is to come. They need the preparation.  They need the warm up to understanding and learning.  It’s a gentle lifting of the veil one might say.

In 5th grade, we are going to learn some ancient cultures and forms of spirituality, which in my macro view expands tolerance, consciousness, compassion, and brings greater understanding of what has happened, mistakes by humanity and all. These bits of character seed into the next generation that will be coming into maturity to steward the planet. What Will they do? How Will they be? What will they eventually leave here for posterity?

The form on the window is the symbol for the sacral chakra.  It’s my inspiration at the moment. After conversating with my 10 year old earlier this week, he walked over to the window and blew his hot breath, drawing the symbol for the throat chakra.  In that moment, I was reminded of my delicate blessed position. My job is big, and it spans time and space.  I am in gratitude, and deep down I know I better get up everyday and work hard.  This planning, this dreaming, this assisstance to help Awaken these beautiful souls is an honor.  This, this is part of my process.  My art.  Life is art and ceremony, and in all seriousness and humor we must dance and weave.

So this morning I will do the sacred dance, in our home, inside of myself, and in my notebooks.  I need to Be more than I need to Know.  Now is when that Knowing churns within me, a turbine of hoped for grace rising into manifestation. My heart is a filter.  My voice is a filter. They are tools. Last and most importantly, my hands.  My hands are my tools for Loving, Teaching and Giving. What Will I do?

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Winter.  Rounding out the year.  I have a moment to sit, still myself, and breathe the deepest breath of the year.  We can even loosen up a little bit.  The time I have had since Christmas has been busy, like most, but I am also taking the time to reorganize, dust, purge, and slowly open my eyes up to a new time for us next year.  But first I want to re-cap the past couple months as we finished entering our stories and teachings into our Main Lesson Books for Fourth and Second.

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We did a lot of nature scavenging, and I had dirty floors constantly.  Such is life, and the season in which I am in.

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Here’s our collection of nature to send to our Nature Pal in California.  We dipped some nature in beeswax, painted a wood apple, made beeswax tea lights, and sent a little mouse finger puppet along.  We also had a bird seed gift wrapped as a pumpkin to give too.

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The light of day began to dim, and so we made our lanterns and walked with friends.

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Music filled our ears, as Little Fox, Second Grade, practiced and accomplished his semester recital.

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We warmed our hands with handwork.  Little Eagle, 4th grade, sewed mama a little needle book. This was a craft from September Happy Hedgehog.  I try to pace our handwork, so it stays enjoyable.

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Little Fox begged to make outfits for our Lantern Carriers.

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There was nothing more enjoyable than getting out into the woods with my family for a weekend. We visited Natural Bridge State Park and Red River Gorge, Geological Area.  My buzzword for the year was Connect, and there is no better place than nature.

We are currently alternating rest with work.  I have begun to tackle that urge to clear and clean, organize, and dream.  We are having an unusual late fall and early winter, with lots of rain and warm days.  I can’t help but appreciate how mild the season has been, which can be a help to us this year.  No snow yet.

Here comes 2016!!

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Mousekin’s Golden House

In the woods there are many small trees, and many tall trees that reach to grow tall in the deep shade. There are low growing bushes with berries and seeds that pop and roll about the forest floor. Beneath them all are tiny paths that only mice can see. One moonlit night, Mousekin followed one of those paths to one of his homes in a hollow log. Right in the middle of that very small path, Mousekin saw something that Someone had thrown away when Halloween was over. He hid behind a log, perhaps it was dangerous! Mousekin had never see a jack o’ lantern in all his mouse days. He wriggled his nose furiously at the strange smell. He was so excited that he drummed his tiny paw on the hollow log. Mousekin was so excited about the pumpkin that he did not watch for danger with his bright shoe-button eyes. Nor did he turn his shoe button ears to the wind to listen for birds, for owls and hawks and other creatures who wait to catch a white foot mouse. Suddenly as Mousekin took a second turn around the smiling face, a hungry owl swooped toward him. But before the bird could even blink his eyes, Mousekin jumped straight into the jack o’ lanterns mouth. Once inside he looked about. He was in a beautiful golden room! Just the right size for a little mouse. From one of the top windows in his room, Mousekin could see the owl sulking in an evergreen tree. The first rays Of the morning sun shone in behind the owl. Night was over and it was time for Mousekin to go to sleep. Mousekin felt safe inside the Sturdy walls of his golden house. He did not even waken until evening when the katydids began to argue. “Katydid, Katydid!” After he stretched and Cleaned his white undercoat, he began to explore his new home, scurrying in one window and out another. Now Mousekin was alert to all the Sounds of the woods when evening came. He heard a rustle in the bayberry bush, and a soft step on the dry leaves. He knew it was… the cat. Just as the cat was about to spring, Mousekin dove into the pumpkin and began to houseclean. Out of all the windows he threw bits of candle and pumpkin seeds. The cat jumped! But not for Mousekin! He jumped straight up and then he ran as fast as he could to get away from the big, round face with the terrible teeth. The cat would never take that path through the woods again! The days grew shorter and the nights longer. Mousekin worked each night to fill his house with things to keep him warm and comfortable in his new home. He split grasses with his razor sharp teeth, and wove the long slender threads around and around. He made many trips through the woods to find soft things to line his nest. Little feathers dropped by a bird in flight, thistle down and milkweed that grew in the clearing. While Mousekin was busy gnawing and nibbling, and doing all the things that mice do, he still found time to watch the animals that passed by his golden house. One very chilly evening, a box turtle plodded by. He never looked up or down, but moved like a toy being pulled to a pond at the edge of the wood to some tangled tree root beneath the ground where he would sleep away the winter months. But when the Turtle reached the jack o’ lantern, he stopped in his tracks, and he streeeetched his neck to see if what he saw was true. Just then, Mousekin popped his head out of one of his windows. And then… The box turtle lost no time in turning around and heading once again for the tangled root beneath the ground near the pond at edge of the wood. Most of the birds had gone to warmer lands, only the feeble bird was left in the thistle. The wind blew hard now, and scooping up piles of hundreds of leaves and scattering them about like brightly winged birds. One day, the freebie called to Mousekin, “come south with me, come right away! Your house will never do. The wind will blow, the snow will snow, and chill you through and through!” The little mouse whistled a high and soft “goodbye!” He would not leave his golden house. A chipmunk hurried by, his mouth so full of nuts he Could hardly speak! “Come with me, beneath the ground, that house will never do. The wind will blow, the snow will snow and chill you through and through!” Mousekin scrambled up his golden house and slipped through a tiny opening at the top. He slid down the feathery stairway to the warm, soft lining below. Mousekin curled up, tucked his tiny feet behind him, wrapped his loooong tail around some milkweed down and pulled it closely around him, and fell fast asleep. Little by little, and bit by bit, something began to happen to the jack o’lantern. It began to close its eyes in the frosty air. It shut its mouth against the cold wind. The next day, the gray sky opened, and great white flakes fell upon the sleeping pumpkin. Inside, Mousekin was curled up into a tiny fur ball. He was safe, and warm, and fast asleep in his golden house.

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Song:
Mousekin the little mouse, lived in a golden house
Mousekin found a jack o’lantern by a tree.
He thought, “this could be a house for me.”
It kept him safe from an owl and a cat.
And he lived very happily after that.
Mousekin the little mouse, lived in a golden house
Winter was coming, the leaves were falling down
The turtle made a winter home under the ground
The bird told Mousekin his house would never do
And chipmunk said the wind would chill him through and through
Mousekin the little mouse, lived in a golden house
Mousekin crawled inside his golden house
Jack o’lantern closed his eyes and closed his mouth
Then winter came and the snow was deep.
And Mousekin was safe and sound asleep.
Mousekin the little mouse, lived a golden house.

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A friend of mine translated this story for me from the you tube video.  If you are going to watch the Mousekin story, then skip to minute 2:12.  All the children had a blast.  The party schedule was Play + Eat, Story + Painting a pumpkin, and Cake + Gratitude.  It was a big party for a little 2 year old, but most of the people who came were from our homeschool group, and then grandparents.  I didn’t give him a special party for his first birthday, or really a Blessingway, so I put extra energy into this sweet party.  All kids went home with a homemade paper bag, decorated with pumpkins and gourds, a tiny bottle of bubbles, a mouse finger puppet, a pumpkin made out of tissue paper and floral tape (filled with birdseed for a bird blessing), and their painted pumpkin (small gourds technically).  We had a lot of food set out and it all just made me So happy to serve and feel the Abundance of the fall season.  We have worked so hard over the past 3 years.  It felt important to have a Harvest party, centered around honoring Cedar.  We were extra grateful for gorgeous fall weather.  Pictured below are chalkboard drawings by Raysun Frost.

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Here’s a lovely picture at the end of the day.  My sweet boy taking a ride in his wagon, with a friend.

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Handwork on Planning Day (Saturday) was inspired by a really slow internet connection.  I was supposed to be watching and absorbing awesomeness from Robyn and Brian Wolfe on Waldorfish. I checked out the replay on Form Drawing and Temperaments, but because of my rural connection and the overcast rainy weather it took a REALLY long time to watch.  But, I was committed.  While I waited for my computer to load, like the olden days I picked up a project.  A couple weeks ago I had decided to pull together an Autumn Fairy.  Right away I felt I had made the head too small, and wasn’t happy with the colors.  I had to take a break and order more orange roving before moving forward.  Doing and being is done in layers over here, and time does not exist.  But here we are, October 2015.  I’m nostalgic about the past, I have good feelings about the future, and here I Am Now.  Working bit by bit.  Learning.  Grounding into the moment, so that we all don’t slip away with our thoughts.  We are holding down the Home this week as Papa Bear prepares for a Design Show next weekend. AND, our third born son turns 2!  Not only is it Harvest Season, but it is also the season of changing leaves and falling leaves.  What will we let fall away…

So, I followed the Happy Hedgehog post demonstrating the Spring fairy.  Fairy making is enjoyable. They don’t take overly long, and the result is a pleasing, unique energy.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me here.

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