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Meet King Arthur!  He is our newest member of the family.  Arthur is a four month old buck.  For pickup, it took us about 2 hours to get to our destination in Southern Indiana, from where we live in Central Kentucky.  I didn’t remember it took that long, but it is a very beautiful drive.  When we arranged the meeting we had planned on taking home a FAB torte, but the farmer brought this guy along. He was two months older than the torte, and noticeably larger.  We could definitely tell he was a boy too.  Being new at raising rabbits (as an adult) has been very educating.  I helped my grandfather when I was little with standard rex rabbits, but as an adult it’s all new to me again.  A year and a half ago we purchased a FAB, but it turned out to be a doe!  Just this week we got the pedigree changed. King Arthur is a calm and sweet guy.  I was a little worried about getting a boy, but the farmer convinced me this guys mother was his smartest and well behaved.  I do love his white fiber.  It is kind of matted up, but we will shear it soon.  We will try to capture more of our journey as we go along.  Until then, here’s a little verse.

 

Rabbit twitched his twitchety ears on a twinkling autumn day,
He could hear the North Wind whistle and he scampered off to say:
Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, we must all get fat and furry,
Not a moment to be lost, I can hear bold Jackie Frost.

Groundhog sniffed her sniffety nose on a snappy autumn day
She could smell the winter coming, and she waddled off to say:
Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, we must all get fat and furry,
Not a moment to be lost, I can smell bold Jackie Frost.

Squirrel shivered a shivery shiver on a shiv’ry autumn day
He could feel the North Wind’s fingers, and he scurried off to say:
Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, we must all get fat and furry,
Not a moment to be lost, I can feel bold Jackie Frost.

Black Bear blinked her blinkety eyes on a blust’ry autumn day
She could see the snow clouds gather, and she lumbered off to say:
Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, we must all get fat and furry,
Not a moment to be lost, I can see bold Jackie Frost.

 

 

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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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Good day!

It’s Thursday, aka Thors Day.  Thursday always feels warrior-like to me, as if we must fight our way to Friday.  All my boys slept in, so for that I am happy.  It gave me some time being awake, in silence.  Since the sun has been waking up later, I can see how our sons are following nature. Imitating.  And because of our schedule, they are going to sleep earlier as well.

Fall has been an exciting harvest.  We are harvesting with our small family-owned business. Tomorrow night is the reception for our Functional Design show in Louisville.  Here’s a link for more details. http://www.la-fs.com

Today I must stay Present.  I must honor my way through what is Now.  The animals are all fed. Our new puppy is fitting in Quite nicely.  She’s a joy really.  Ayla the Elder seems roused a bit more from her boring and sad life, since Kiva passed.  Our French Angora (FA) doe is in her hutch, that is more like a condo.  She has the life.  One side is all straw bedding.  There are two water bottles. One has a heating element for winter.  We feed her hay, pellets, sunflower seeds, banana peels, lettuce, some other varieties of fruit.  Her color is gray with black ears.  Below is a picture of her the day after we got her, from a reputable FA farmer.

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She’s much longer now and the boys call her Guinevere “Gracie.”  As often as possible we take her up to the round pen to run and hop and get some fresh air.  This past year we have learned a lot about his particular breed of rabbit, known for its fiber.  We collect it as it falls out, but also we gently clip her at the beginning of summer.  It seems about every 90 days her fiber cycles out.  Even though she has plenty of straw bedding, and the hutch is closed in, I leave her fiber alone during the coldest months.  Here are a couple external links about the history of the French Angora Rabbit.

FA history 

Angora Wikipedia 

Today we are going to meet the same farmer and look over two bucks.  We do not have any bucks or males on the property, except in the human form.  It will be an interesting discovery having a FA buck here.  I only want to come away with one today, and I really prefer a doe.  The first time we bought a FA it was supposed to be a buck, but turns out it was a doe.  She is very gentle.  I hear if they don’t breed or aren’t fixed, they can be grouchy.  So far things have been fine.

I’ll post a picture of our new FA soon.

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Hi friends!

Life is busy!  Busier than we have ever experienced.  With our own small business and three boys time can fly if we don’t watch it.  I love living out in the country, with less distraction, because it gives me the opportunity to slow it all down and live life as quality as possible.  Slow living has gotten a little harder this year as we now have two older boys with one interest each.  Our oldest has resumed drama class, which will come with extra practices around the time of the play. Our middle guy plays violin going on 8 months.  To be a student of Ms. Amy, one has to attend group violin lessons and private individual lessons.  We are okay with this, because the group lessons are a lot of fun.  Group is only every other Monday, so that works for us.  Private lessons are weekly.  Drama is weekly. Thankfully, both of those lessons fall on the same day, so we visit my mother, nephew and niece in between drama and violin.  However, we do have to drive to two different cities to make this all happen.  It is what it is.  The people and teachers we need to see are where we have to drive.  It’s not always convenient.

As a new mother over 10 years ago we were living in Boone, NC.  I was very isolated, but kept another little boy similar to my son’s age.  Close to his first birthday we moved back to KY and found out we had our second son on the way. We were definitely isolated after the birth of Little Fox.  Country living was our choice.  I didn’t know tons of people, even though Central KY was my hometown area.  Everybody had moved, changed, had their own kids and such.  Eventually, I found out about homeschooling.  I had NEVER heard of homeschooling before then.  I am convinced my Little Fox brought with him the spiritual energy I NEEDED to figure that path was going to be ours. I did tons of research.  TOO MUCH.  I fell down a few rabbit holes with my eagerness to learn. Eventually, I got out of my head and came into my body.  I became Present.  Then, I found Waldorf. My path was aligning with my higher purpose.  I did spend time growing and learning through becoming a doula, then a death midwife for a bit and into a spiritual midwife.  As time went on though I kept purification at the forefront of living.  Purifying our space, our home, purifying my thoughts and intentions. Everything Always came back to me being a mama.  A teacher.  Our children’s first teacher.

I had a lot of doubts.  Especially when the boys became school aged, around 5. Somehow I held us. I held the space.  It felt more right and more like our path of peace to stay home with them, than it did to send them off.  I didn’t know how hard it was going to be.  I don’t think Creator intends for us to Know these things ahead of time for good reason, but to put each foot one in front of the other. This path is all about inner work.  I surrender daily!  I have days where I yell more than I should, because I didn’t get enough sleep.  Mostly I go to sleep and wake when the kid do.

I have days where I used to doubt the fact that I needed to be home teaching our boys, but not anymore. Without a doubt, and beyond the judgement of others, I know this is where I belong.  No one can teach our children better than me.  I have dedicated the last 10 years of my life to becoming the teacher I am.  Bit by bit.

We are 22 weeks into our school year.  Math has started and Norse Myths for 4th are complete!!  We have a couple more entries in the MLB (Main Lesson Book – Portfolio for each subject) to discuss, but otherwise we have heard the stories. Handwork has been woodworking and toolmaking.  Little Wolf has made knives, with wood and metal blades, axes and swords.  Every other Friday he goes with Papa Bear to the wood shop and learns so much.  Papa still works, but Little Wolf goes out with him on calls with clients and hangs around the shop.  It has been the best thing for us all.

Now, we are getting into fractions.  I have enjoyed putting the lessons on the board and Little Wolf is building his confidence up around our beginning work. We are using Key To Fractions, based on a recommendation by some other Waldorf mama’s. I know it will get harder soon, and that will challenge him, but that is a part of it.  We have finally reached a place in our schooling where we can look back and reflect.  Little Wolf can look back at his MLB’s and see how learning is a process. Bit by bit. We must build the foundation for his future, but it is done Now. Each day. Things were difficult in the beginning, because my guy is a choleric and he’s precocious.  He’s mature and immature at the same time.  He is awakened in so many ways compared to his peers, but he is still 10.  It became imperative that I must protect him.  He’s so smart, and acts like he can handle so much, but he needs me to be his sacred container.  His home.  When you parent a child that is choleric (fire-y) you must be like the earth.  I act as his container. I am earth and stone that exists around his fire-y spirit.  I get burned.  It’s hard parenting. But I hold steady and firm.  He knows it too.  No matter what we come up against he knows I love him unconditionally.  Also, the element of water is very helpful to us.  So, baths or swimming time help balance us out.

Little Wolf is coming along with reading.  I had him read his latest book to me yesterday, Robin’s Country by Monica Furlong.  It’s the biggest book he has read. He’s a little slow, but I think the words are big.  And, we have had some learning difficulties early-on that slowed us down.  BUT, that is okay.  Progress is being made, day by day.  Patience happens when opportunity is provided (usually by Creator!!)

Little Fox!  I can’t say how much he has grown.  He is a playful and kind kit.  He loves violin.  He loves going to the shop with Papa.  He’s doing well in school. Great penmanship, patience and a sharp mind.  In fact, he is more in his mind than not.  But, I have worked hard to get him movement and into his body to balance that out.  He reminds me of me in many ways.  Every morning he walks the baby out to feed the French Angora rabbit.  He is SO good with the baby. Both big boys are good with Little Bear.  They feed Ayla Bear, who is now 14 years old, and our Elder dog in case you didn’t know.  Dyna the cat gets fed, then we do this all over again in the evening.  I have been doing this with the boys ever since they were 5 and 3.  Before that Papa bear or I did it on our own for the most part.  We had chickens till last year, but they were consumed by predators.  I hope to get more as soon as my husband can repair the coop.  We need to rebuild the coop yard area and work to make it safer for the chickies.  We had some design flaws to begin with, but it all worked for 5 years.  Nature happens.

Anyway, Little Fox has completed his Language Arts – Saints and Fables.  We are still talking about some of the Saints though, like Michaelmas, which is today!  We had celebration around it, learned verses, wrote in our MLB’s, made recipes, and heard the St. George and the Dragon story. Even though I had told this story before it is amazing how they hear it with new ears each year. Little Fox loved fables, and so did I as a child.  We are now focusing on math, and the four processes.  Both boys did math review during their circle time each day when we were heavily focused on Language Arts, but now Math is our Main Lesson.

Today we did several story problems. I love that we are tackling reading and math at the same time for this.  When Little Fox reviews I have him toss a bean bag with Little Wolf and they say the multiplication table.  Then, Little Fox calls out division flashcards with Little Wolf for review.  They actually love it.  I do intend to check a book out of the library, so that we can find some more math games though.  Games should be a fun way to keep the practice going.  We are not worksheet people around here.  I write and draw a lot on the board and the boys take the notes down in their practice books.  Then, the last day of the week they translate that into their MLB’s.  The lesson there is to take the notes down correctly, so I must check to see they do.  Little Fox is reading pretty well.  I am pleased.  He read all the Bob books, and a pack of Clifford books.  Now we are reading My First Little House books.  Deer in the Woods now, and The County Fair next.  All in right-timing with the season.  We have some Little Bear books and those will come next.  Little Fox is still knitting, and has to finish up a wash cloth for Grandma’s birthday soon.

Modeling beeswax has not been something we have followed through with as much.  At first it was harder to manipulate, but when our body warms the wax cool things can be made.  Both boys created St. George knights and other characters from our stories.  I am tempted to make a batch myself, but we shall see if time allows, or if it is more conducive to buy.  It is definitely expensive.  I have plenty of beeswax if I can make the time though.

We are not doing much painting at the moment.  Earlier in the year we did a block, about 8 weeks, based around medicinal plants.  We enjoyed Herb Fairy stories and then finding the plants out in our environment.  I try to point out the plants in all stages year round if possible.  We have done this with the trees as well.  Dover has great coloring books for trees, medicinal plants, mushrooms, birds, etc.  We have several of them.  In the front or back of the book there are colored examples for each plant/tree/mushroom.  I also belong to plant identification, insect identification, mushroom ID, and Arachnid Facebook groups. I learn so much daily!

Geography teachings are ongoing.  History teachings happen through stories in our Language Arts, but also through our books we read outside of “school,” as well as Geography.  Writing lessons happen within Language Arts, not separately from our stories.  When the boys hear a story they draw, then summarize it in their own words.  This is where we identify nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, punctuation, contractions, compound words and so on.

Form drawing continues and has gotten harder and more complex.  4th grade knot drawings are very cool.  Our most recent forms have been the serpent and crow. 2nd grade forms are running forms at the moment, and Little Fox is improving his skills.  I have proved that Form Drawing has strengthened their brain and eye muscles.  This year at the eye doctor we were informed my oldest is completely recovered from a convergence issue.  The doctor could not tell he had any issues at all. Knitting is another remedy, but Little Wolf has had less patience for knitting.  He loves drawing and other crossing midline activities though! And when given the opportunity he is not ashamed to tell others he can knit.

Waldorf is great because of the depth through which each subject is taught.  This education is very dimensional.  I look online at other curriculums and it all seems so boring.  So flat.  Without spirit.  Without feeling at all really.  Our education is so infused with art that feeds the soul.  I know my boys do not know any other way of learning, but I sure hope they appreciate it.  I know I do.

Lastly, the time came to receive a new puppy.  This is something Papa Bear and I had to meditate on.  For a long while after Kiva died I was going through a process where I just didn’t want any new animals.  I didn’t want the responsibility, or the heartbreak.  Then, one day in August I just felt it was time. Occasionally I would do an internet search.  Finally, I found our potential pup. We knew it would be “right” if she was available, but not for two weeks after we found her. We were going to travel out-of-town and needed the two weeks to prepare. Thankfully, she was held for us.  We had to provide pictures of our home area and living conditions, which I had never had to do before. And, it was an unusual circumstance when we picked her up, but we have slowly found over the last couple weeks that she is indeed a perfect fit for us.  Eva Two Socks.  That’s her name.  She’s black like Ayla, but thinner like Kiva had been.  She just went to the vet today and all is well.  The boys have been very active with her training. We outlined our expectations beforehand.  She is potty trained! She is sweet!  And when we aren’t looking, her and Ayla play.  Ayla is getting her chance as an Alpha after all these years.

Gratitude and Blessings to you and yours this Harvest season!

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March has come in like a lion with a huge snowstorm bringing more than a foot of snow, and now the spring thaw has begun 10 days into the month.  Rain has been pouring down all day, the yard is flooded as the earth cannot swallow up the water fast enough.

We put a new bird feeder up on the outside of our living room window, during the snow storm.  It has been such a treat to watch woodpeckers, cardinals, blue jays and all the pretty birds that cohabitate in our yard, but a little more up close and personal.  We have always been avid bird watchers, journaling about what we see, blogging about what we observe and pondering over their cycle with the seasons.

Little Eagle has a big birthday coming up.  He is hitting the double digits.  We were so inspired by our bird friends that we decided to make bird seed ornaments as birthday favors.  Little Eagle will give them out to friends at church, and cousins. We are not having a formal birthday party with his friends this year, because he had a big one last year.  We decided as a family that each child gets to rotate having a big party.  Each child gets a big party once every two years, until Cedar is older, then it will be every three years to include him.  The amount of money, planning and time is taken into account, otherwise we gather as a family.

I got a recipe for bird seed ornaments off of Pinterest.  There are many more recipes to choose from, if this one doesn’t suit you.

3/4 cup flour
1 pack of gelatin
3 tbsp corn syrup
1/2 cup water
4 cups of bird seed

Make sure you spray the cookie cutters with cooking spray.  This is imperative. I did a test batch and basically ruined the shapes, because they did not pop out of the cutter easily.  Then I laid them out on wax paper on a cookie sheet.  The recipe makes about 8 ornaments.  So far I have made 17 successful ornaments. The rest I will use here at the house.

Mixing up bird seed for ornaments

When it was all mixed together I packed a handfull into the cutter and pressed from both sides filling it all in.  Then I placed it on the wax paper and pressed the top down.  With the test batch I used a straw to make holes in the ornaments for string, but decided not to do that with the other batches.  I will take embroider floss or hemp and just wrap them to hang.
ornament molds and curing
Here is a picture of the ornaments curing.  The shamrock is delicate and won’t make it, so I added it to our home stash.  The Easter egg, bunny, butterfly, flower and star works out.  If you are in a pinch use ball jar lids!

To make tags I used a unique paint brush and made a pretty design on watercolor paper, both sides.  Next I cut out shapes, punched holes and wrote “Little Eagle turns 10!”  This will slide right on the string to hang them.

This craft takes a little planning and doing, very little money and it is a great sensory experience packing the cookie cutters with bird seed.  You get to take a sneek peak early, because this mama has to plan with all the busyness of spring. Enjoy.

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Hi friends and family!  We made it to the Maple Syrup Festival.  The first day was a bit icy, slushy and a little muddy, but all in all fun.  We always break out long johns and mud or snow boots and go with it.  February is known for its cabin fever frenzy in the homschool world, so we embrace this little festival as a means for breaking free from the fever.  Aside from a couple big jugs of Maple Syrup (grade A and B), as gifts from The Gramps, we took home this lovely log slice, with a maple leaf branded on the side.  It makes a beautiful addition to our seasonal nature table.

Woodburned Maple LeafUpon arriving at the festival our boys were all excited about perusing the tents and buildings, so they could wonder over any knives that fit their budget.  They left with a few treasures in their pockets, spent with saved money.  After we shopped for a bit we headed to the main syrup processing building, where we ate lunch. Thankfully, there was a large table open for all of us, four adults, and three children. Any child under 5 eats pancakes or waffles free, so Little Bear gobbled up his fair share.  Here is the view from our table below.

IMG_6030It was so nice seeing familiar faces. Parents, Grandparents and little ones.  We cross cut sawed the log above. There were hatchets to throw.  Maybe we missed it before, but they had a fantastic old-fashioned merry go round, made of one large log, upright in the middle, seats and ropes.  Two young men pushed the children sitting in the seats, as the rope twisted around and round the middle upright log. Then, as they were let go, the seats whirled gracefully around.  Amish people gave rides on their lovely wagons and beautiful horses. Homemade wine samples. Woven rugs for sale.  Hand thrown pottery.  Teas and coffees.  And a little music with fiddles, banjos and guitars.  Plenty to do!

color books and activity booksJust before we left I noticed books were 75% off, so for $1 a piece I bought each of my big boys a coloring book and activity book.  Little Fox loves doing mazes, and brain gym games, as well as coloring, so this was perfect.  Little Eagle, the oldest said he wasn’t interested in them, so I will just save them for Little Bear in a few years.  The website www.lmsugarbush.com has curriculum for homeschoolers, so check out the link. Here is a link to free coloring pages.

We plan to use our syrup wisely this year, so that we don’t run out months in advance.  Do you think we will use up a gallon?  It is definitely possible if we cook with it And eat it on pancakes and waffles.  Thanks for joining me here on my blog. I want to leave you with a picture of my husband and I.  It is special for me to get a picture with him, as we both work so hard and take care of the kids, so getting in a picture together is rare.  Mwah Papa Bear!

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It is very hard to believe that we are coming to a close with Waldorf Third Grade curriculum, The Old Testament, Form Drawing, Math and reviewing the four processes, especially making sure we know multiplication and then divide really well.  Jewish Festivals.  Farmer Boy, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Building and woodworking.  Choir and a chance to perform for church. Movement, always movement.  Crafting, some sewing and knitting. And acquiring fluency with reading, as well as cursive.

Waldorf is an interesting and inspiring curriculum to follow.  I have learned before Waldorf that Spirit is in the mundane, but Waldorf and the rhythm required helped my will to solidify this aspect.  I do read some Rudolph Steiner and respect his writings, but I also utilize my G-d given intuition to guide our children, when it comes to what I am to teach them.  As a teacher I must guard my words and the mediations of my heart, as it says in Psalms 19:14, for it is our children that will inherit the earth.

As a parent I must guard our children’s senses.  There are actually 12 senses. Touch, life, self-movement, balance, smell, taste, vision, temperature, hearing, language, the conceptual and the ego senses.  Some of these senses are inner and some are outer.

Touch, is the internal response to contact with the outside world. Life, this sense is the internal feeling of well-being and being alive. Movement is being inwardly aware of the way the body parts move in relationship to each other. Balance, this sense orients us to the world with respect to up, down, right and left. Smell is the sense that allows one to come with the outside world via odors carried by the air.  Taste is a deeper connection with the outside world in which flavors are directly sampled.  Sight is the sense that takes in the exterior images of the outside world.  Warmth, with this sense we are directly aware of the warmth of another body.  Hearing, this sense can tell us more about the inner structure of an object than sight. When an object resonates, we learn about its deep structure from the sound we hear.  Speech.  The sense of speech, word or tone, which is the hearing that involves meaningful words.  Thought refers to the deeper sense of entering the being speaking through their words.  Ego, this is the sense of ego or I, which enables us to turn our thinking towards the being of another and behold their I, their unique individuality directly.

Here are two links to provide you with deeper learning.  I used the chart in the first link to bring you the 12 senses in an organized manner.

http://www.waldorfhomeschoolers.com/twelve-senses

http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/06/22/the-twelve-senses/

To remain aware of all these senses within oneself, as well as meditating on these senses for our children takes a lot of work.  It takes my inner work and time management.  This past week was a long and hard week.  At the beginning of the week our beloved pet friend, Kiva, who was almost 17 years old, dropped her robe. She ran across the rainbow bridge and I could see her smiling, looking back and running hard and fast to the pasture in the sky.  We have dealt with that grief of burying a friend this week and honoring her the best way we know how.

One of our children also began violin this week.  We had choir, Cub Scouts and the children went with Papa Bear to the wood shop.  I am always preaching balance at home, so much so it probably gets on everyone’s nerves when I have to say “no” often, so that we do not overdo.

Well, this week we overdid.  My middle guy woke up this morning with the responsibility of going to an early church service and having to speak a short passage, the Cub Scout Promise.  He had the passage down, but to culminate the week his front two middle teeth fell out last night.  What changes this child has seen recently! And this child needed more sleep to process all that he has seen, heard, felt and sensed this week.  I was not able to bring this balance to him and this morning he was showing it.  I felt so bad for him as he was so tired, but had to keep his responsibility to his Pack and Den.  It was my responsibility, and his dads to protect him.  I promise to do better next time that we have such a hard and long week.  Children are half our size, four or five times younger and cannot endure what we adults endure.  We all must remember this as parents.  It is okay to learn, stretch ourselves and grow, but we have limits and boundaries for a reason.

Farmer Boy, by Laura Ingalls Wilder has been one perfect book to help us in the 9 year change process.  Almanzo provided some insight to the changes one sees in our child throughout the year, and the growth, will and responsibility that ensues.  My oldest has really come a long, long way this solar cycle.  We vision these changes for our child, we assist, but the work is truly up to them.  I could not be more proud of Eagle Boy.  He has grown with his building skills, skills I have always seen within him, and spends some time with dad at the wood shop, one to one and a half days a week on average.  I can’t say how Good this is for him to be with a masculine authority figure enough.

At the start of the year we had chickens and a tom turkey, as well as a female turkey on a clutch.  By the end of fall all was lost, so we will be starting over this spring.  We do still have and love our French Angora bunny.  She has a lovely bunny condo near our basement, packed with straw for warmth.  We feed her timothy hay, pellet food, applewood sticks and pine cones, sunflower seeds, banana peels and plenty of water.  We have also collected some of her hair, and plan to do something with it, but no ideas as of yet.  It seems as though bun bun will be on a cycle of 90 days with shearing.  We welcome her up in our kitchen most days to hop around and visit.  And we purchased a nice round pen for outside days and plenty of hop time.  Occasionally, I allow Eagle Boy to walk her around on a bunny leash, which is a sight.

Jewish Festivals and Judaism was a large portion of the teachings this year as well. The Old Testament is the Christian Model and perspective of the Hebrew people. However, the Jewish people themselves follow The 5 Books of Moses, also known as the Torah.  Nevi’im, which is the book of the Prophets, and the remaining writings are known as the Ketuvim.  When asked to sum up the essence of Torah, Rabbi Hillel famously responds, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary. Now go and study (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 31a).”  The Golden Rule is at heart a Universal Ethic.  Here is a link to take you into a further study of the many faiths and their way of speaking the Golden Rule, Living Reciprocity.  We did not delve into the Hebrew Bible, but we know there is a difference between the Christian model of the Old Testament though.  And that is a start.

Looking deeper into the Jewish festivals we used many books suggested by our local Jewish Community Center.  Also the book Jewish Festivals, by Drucker and Patz.  I also found my private online Waldorf community of Jewish people and non-Jewish people extremely helpful in schooling me on the facts and the emotions these festivals bring to family life.  I am grateful to have the opportunity to learn and study deeper many faiths and to bring these faiths to our children, so that we may have tolerance, understanding and compassion for our fellow brothers and sisters.

Form drawing has been a very pleasant element in our schooling for several years and I continue to use Christopherus Form Drawing and Waldorf Essentials to aid us in crossing the midline and bringing focus to our week.  Especially on Monday’s!! After speaking with our eye doctor two years ago and recently again this year, Form Drawing has really helped to strengthen the eyes and help with convergence. We are proof!

Reading!  I knew that we had some work to do this past year with reading, but we buckled down and got to it.  Daily reading is so important.  Taking the time to snuggle up and practice is really a pursuit of the will, especially if your child does not come to it easily.  I loved reading A LOT, so I had to have patience with my older guy who loves reading too, but only in his own time and only what he wants to read.  I did really want to nurture and respect his coming to reading in his own time, but I could also tell as a part of his will development, he needed me to help him stay focused.  Sanguine and choleric in nature, we needed that impressed into our rhythm.  I did allow him to read what he wanted, but occasionally we ran out of books that he liked and had to just read what we had on the shelf.  Although in Fourth Grade I intend to go to the library a little more with him and learn some Library Science, researching skills and the checking out of books that will enable him to continue strengthening his fluency, as well as comprehension and book reports.

Cursive has finally taken a front seat with Eagle Boy’s summaries and slows him down a bit, which is needed for his soul development.  Verses, and summaries for the Old Testament stories and Jewish Festival teachings have held priority the last half of Third Grade with cursive.  He proudly enters these into his Main Lesson Book.

Movement never leaves our sphere for learning.  The boys take hikes regularly, jumping on the trampoline, and having a lot of fun building in our backyard. We have a lot of wood that Papa Bear could not use or store at his new wood shop, so the boys have had a daily access to Some tools and this wood. Papa Bear made a small structure on a large fallen limb from Grandfather Tree, as a fort.  The boys also have access to fire building with permission. Over time Eagle Boy has collected knives as tools, not toys, and this has been a huge teaching in itself.  One aspect to this past cycle that really turned us upside down was getting sick several times in late fall and early winter.  For about 2 months we were pretty down and out, and have had to make up some schooling recently, so that everyone can be prepared for this next cycle.  But we enjoy learning, so it is okay.  Although, this down time really got us out of our rhythm of Movement, in comparison to our normal routines.  We are slowly bouncing back and are very grateful for our health.

Lastly, almost one year ago our family began attending my childhood church. I felt the call home and it was perfect timing with our Old Testament studies. Our boys have flourished in many ways.  They have made good friends and have come to love going to Wednesday night fellowship, eating with friends and doing crafts relating to the liturgical calendar (which is circular, not linear!)  I am pleased with this and Eagle Boy will be attending, by his own accord, a Baptism class beginning next Sunday.  Baptism will be at Easter service which will bring us full circle, as that is the first service we attended last year, where he saw his friends doused with holy water.  I love that our church sends a small bottle of this water home with the child as well. Eagle Boy initiated this process on his own, so I feel it is good timing and an excellent ceremony to end one season of his life and begin anew.

Winter is my time for planning and dreaming and we look forward to learning more in Fourth Grade about Norse Myths, Viking life, Geography and Mapmaking, Math, Reading, more Form Drawing, Grammar, Cursive, Archery, Land Management, Tool-making, and whatever Great Mystery brings us.

Hopefully, in my next post I will explore First Grade coming to a close for Little Fox and all the exciting changes and growth happening for him.  Thanks for reading this post and keeping up with us.  Now, we must take the rest of the day to rest and prepare ourselves for another week.

Here’s my Pinterest board for Third Grade if you need any extra links or visual inspiration!

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