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Archive for the ‘Handwork’ Category

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Here’s a peak at what we got into the first couple weeks of February. Making candles came first right at Candlemas. Candlemas is the time of year where we make as many candles as possible and bless them for the year. There is something special about this ritual that is like no other. We have alway Loved to use beeswax candles, lighting them for school and during meals. It never gets old. This year we made little votive candles with xoxo’s, hearts, cupid hearts with arrows, and even one with a bunny. Red, pink and white. It really was the first time that I have cut out shapes and letters from pressed beeswax to decorate the outside of the candles. So, even after years of homeschooling and living within the realm of Waldorf — I still found something new to do.

Next up I began embroidering the little heart pouch pictured above. I have found one of my favorite types of handwork is indeed embroidery. My grandmother taught me around the ages of 7-9 years old. I would sit and embroider little birds and flowers on hankerchiefs and pillow cases, while we watched Little House on the Prairie. I will always hold those memories dear.

Lastly, we made our little gnome couple. It was the first time I had made a peg person with hair, so again each year and each season I am spiraling forward and creating dimension in the handwork I do. There’s something comforting about that. Knowing each day, and each season that what I do not accomplish or get done, I can always work towards the next year.

Well, my time as Happy Hedgehog Brand Rep has come to an end. The three months went by pretty quickly, and it I am so blessed to have had the opportunity. Thank you for following along on my posts here and on IG.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours. I love celebrating love and gratitude. It doesn’t matter if society dedicates one day, as the commercial holiday. Love is definitely meant to be celebrated.

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August paid off with planning, and our rest, travel and play enriched us enough to focus daily on our tasks for the past month and a half. We began our new school year, as year rounders back in April. So when September hit, we were beginning the final stretch after a break. I make sure we are learning with in and out breaths, developing the best process for our heads, hearts and hands. That is how we came naturally to schooling this way. Intuition, meditation, prayer, focus, intent, manifestation.

Deepening our painting skills, we have learned a bit about Botany, with the Charles Kovac book. Geography skills have been expanded through music lessons, stories, and real life experience. I have learned more about the Old Testament stories by taking them in to my Soul and teaching, which has in turn helped me to become a more multi-dimensional teacher. It helps that I used one set of resources the first time I taught 3rd, and another set of resources this second time around. Waldorf Essentials has always been my lamp post though! 5th grade has taken us to Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and into the lap of Buddha. Teaching 3rd and 5th at the same time has its teacher incentives, when subjects become intermingled. In other words, I have begun to deepen my own personal web of life. Everything is interrelated.

Our handwork rhythm has deepened and that makes me proud. Needle Point (with yarn) and Embroider (with thread/floss) has enriched our Souls using our Hands. Freehand Geometry is taking shape through a few Waldorf resources and I am having fun presenting the sacredness of the universe through Math, to my little learner. I intend to join the embroidering world and math in the next cycle of my teaching. I have a great recommendation for a book assisting with this, on my IG account. Also, please take a look at my personal embroider work project, which is stitch by stitch prayers for the Standing Rock Reservation against the Dakota Access Pipeline #nodapl  –  It is a pattern by @cozyblue, called Full Circle. This can be found #WIP style on IG.

Another one of my little learners will play in his 5th Suzuki violin recital in a couple weeks, And he is blossoming in our Cooking Class. So many good things. My littlest learner is unfolding beautifully in our Waldorfy prek circle, at my home church. The Circle Time was taken on by our Children’s Minister, in which we are so grateful. Once a week for an hour and a half we get together with 5/6 other families to sing, sign, hear stories, do crafts, move, shake and laugh. We come as we are, 2 to 4 years of age, at the moment. So many good things are evolving for the Wolf Pack, and Eagle Tree Homeschool. Teaching 3 age levels at the same time is a challenge, but with self care, time management, organization and Love as the centerpiece, it can be done.

If you are interested in speaking with me about my experience with Waldorf Essentials, I am now a (TFW) Thinking, Feeling, Willing Leader. Please comment below or contact me healingoneself@gmail.com. TFW is a blessing and gives you access to organized, essential mama lessons. Not only will Melisa hold your hand, if you are willing to do the inner work, but I will be nearby local, in Kentucky. It helps to have community.

Follow me over on IG @nurturing_spirit  for daily Waldorfy goodness.

If I have already referred you to Melisa and WE and you would like to be added to my secret Facebook group, just message me. I will add you. I plan to post videos, links to songs I sing for Circle Time or the Seasons and personal wisdom on homeschooling, mothering, marriage, and being self-employed (see www.coydogstudios.com and on IG @coydog~studios).

I also have a secret Facebook group for Handwork, if you wish to message me, I will add you there as well.

I have also organized homeschooling resources and other lifestyle pursuits over on Pinterest.

We have been using Waldorf Essentials curriculum for a number of years. I have taught both Kindy through Third twice, as well as Fourth and Fifth once through. I have had the honor to hold space for the preschool years three times, with my three sons, ages 11, 9 and now 3. Join me, if you wish and I will do my best to guide you as I can. Life is a journey, and we can take it day by day together.

 

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I solemnly swear to create, teach and heal.

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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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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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The irony is we haven’t officially begun Fourth Grade, until Easter.  We school year round and begin anew with the Spring.  But leave it to my oldest child to speed ahead and be inspired.  As we wrapped up the Third Grade year with review and making sure our Main Lessons Books were looking good, I would talk with Little Eagle about Norse Myths and the Vikings.  He knew I was studying and preparing to teach him.  I did tell him that upon meditation I would like for him to spend some time in the wood shop with dad creating tools.  I knew he was interested in tool-making, so it makes sense to gear it toward the Vikings and Norse Mythology, right!

Little did I know my husband also thought it was time that one boy came with him, on a weekday.  Each week the older two boys will take turns in the shop on a business day.  This means they will get to spend time one-on-one making things. They may also run errands with Papa to one of our many clients, or interior designers. Otherwise, it is a chance to spend time with dad in the shop creating.

The first project Little Eagle did was an upcycled knife, with a wooden handle. He did the research and wood burned a Viking style W on the handle.  The wood is purple heart, with a grapeseed oil finish, and a wood plug holding the metal and wood together.  He also put together a killer Viking axe, all wood.  I had to wait until the next day to see it, because he left it at the shop overnight, so the glue could dry.  Here it is.  I think Fourth Grade might be A LITTLE fun.  I’ll keep you informed.

Viking Axe

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