Homeschooling: Sugar cookies, modeling and apples

Happy Fall everyone! We definitely felt it this week in the weather change when it started to finally be in the 60’s here in NY. Our week was filled with many adventures. We are taking advantage of our last year here in seminary and went apple picking for the first time. It felt really nice to create those memories with the family and the days could not have been better for that event. Now the question is… what am I supposed to do with all these apples?

For our projects this week in handwork we did a lot of modeling. Here on campus they had an event that gave us an opportunity to model even more. I see myself really needing to control my own wants over my kids to try to see them accomplish something with the clay. This is my biggest struggle since I tend to want to see a result as if it accomplishes a check mark off my own to do list in homeschooling. Gradually though I am learning to let go. This weeks recipe called for sugar cookies, which we made and has lots of fun putting them into animal shapes that went with the forest party theme in the story of Waldorf Essentials. I am noticing that Mr. 4 is not really that interested in the story content maybe because I myself am not enthusiastic when telling it. I am still thinking weather or not to continue with the same story or move to something he would be enthusiastic about, like using a story from the “Tell me a Story” Waldorf book that has many children’s stories in it. If anyone has struggled with this, I would love to hear how you handled it.

It was my turn to teach co-op this week and this was our last week with the days of the week. For Saturday, I focused on the story of St. Theodore and his koliva dream. I had the children use playsilks and do a short play of the story which they really enjoyed. I had a fun time being a kid myself and playing along with the story to inspire them to act out their part. I love seeing little kids eyes light up as the imagination expands. It’s almost like seeing something magical. We finished off with a craft of koliva for Saturday, with an explanation of why it’s sweet and how it is used to pray for the departed.

There was a lot of self work on my part this week with teaching and homeschooling and events so I had to dive inwards a lot. This time of year with the leafs changing and falling down I am reminded of winter coming and that inward work that goes with seasons.

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Homeschooling: Painting, baking and storytelling

This week in homeschooling was a bit rough for us I must admit. It was hard to get my kiddos into the Woody, Hazel and Lil Pip story and also we did not have things we can dye together for handwork. I love the story and was looking forward to this part but it did not really speak to Mr. 4 at this time. We had an extra day of school this week cause my hubby is out of town so we decided to redeem the whole week by shortening the story and acting it out instead of reading it. We also used a different recipe this week since we had so much bread left over from last week. We made banana and blueberry bread, paleo style, since my husband needs to have a diet change due to his energy levels being so low. For our extra school day we ended up having a second day of baking and just doing cookies which worked out wonderful with the party at the end of the story. What to do but adjust. This is why homeschooling is great.

Overall, it was one of those… mama is going to be a better mama if we do less type of week. This NY strange fall weather, too much going on in community, added to stress energy for myself and my kids. In times like these I like to brush it off and just move on. No use in feeling guilty for not accomplishing certain tasks or not having enthusiastic boys for circle time. It is easy to do here in seminary, since majority of moms homeschool and the other half have their kids in public school. Different learning styles are always discussed and sticking to my own gut has been exhausting on its own.

For our Russian, we are moving on slowly but surely. The boys are getting it and I am happy to have them speaking it a little. Below is my awesome artistic abilities of stick figures. I am learning that consistency is key when teaching a foreign language.

Finally, for our tinkergarden activity we presented a sheet the kiddos can tinker with after reading the book “Not a Stick”. This was a beautiful experience, seeing the kids have so much fun and their imaginations just go with making a sheet into a dragon, fort, a popcorn maker, just to name a few things. I really enjoyed watching them.

At the end of it all, with weather still in the 80’s for now (eekk what will winter bring?!) all we can do is enjoy the sun and run barefoot through the grass still and on occasion even put our feet up.

Hope your own homeschooling journey was a success this week. I would love to hear about it.

Homeschool: Dragon bread, swords and modeling

Hello fellow homeschooling moms out there. Happy Friday! I hope you had a great week! Just wanted to share with you what we did this week in our homeschooling journey. We had an exciting week with sword making and dragon bread. We also used clay as a project instead of beeswax for now since it is softer. I wanted to see where Mr. 4 was at in terms of trying to actually mold something together so for now I think we are going to still be using clay. This weeks story involved a dragon so I finished up my peg doll and used it as a prop. We also made swords together for handwork just by using sticks and old yard to tie the two. Overall, I am seeing that it is very VERY messy cooking with multiple kids. Makes me wonder about how homeschooling multiple children will be. Also, for circle time the younger ones want to be involved but it is hard with interruptions. Does anyone else have this problem? Sigh.

Here is the dragon bread recipe we used from the Waldorf Snack Book:

2 cups of very warm water

Large tablespoon of honey

1 tbls of yeast

Around 5 cups of flour or more until the dough is not sticky (a mix of wheat and white is what the book uses)

1 tsp salt

Now the thing about this recipe is that it made a lot of bread. Yes we shaped it into a dragon and it was great fun but now we have to eat it all. Both my husband and I are not bread eating people so we have to serve this bread as a snack everyday pretty much to not have it go to waste. We are using jelly and honey for the snack and next week we are supposed to make more buns. We will see how it goes.

There was another tinkergarden activity this week and it was about spreading happiness :o) The kids all found treasures around our building from nature such as acorns and sticks, then they got to decorate them any way they wanted and hide them for others to find. It was a lot of fun making happy faces on acorns and working together to find places to hide them. It was also fun afterwards when the treasures were hidden and the kids were playing, seeing random discoveries from other kids.

It has been such nice weather here in NY lately, it still feels like summer (I am not complaining). Some of the women here in the community got together for an evening of bonfire fun. It was so warm that night we had iced apple cider! Was a nice break for this mama here reminding me to relax and let go and enjoy the night sometimes. Motherhood can be so mundane and hard at times and we find ourselves stuck in autopilot. Just taking a break from a bedtime routine with kids, taking my shoes off and walking in the grass, watching the fire dance, looking at the moon, staying in the moment, has been my self care lately. It is worth it. We forget so much about ourselves.

Hope you had a blessed week!

Homeschooling week

Happy Friday! Hope your homeschooling journey was a success this week. We had a great time this week baking and making crowns that goes with our story. I wanted to share the recipe with you this week since we substituted it with the one in the curriculum.

Carrot raisin bread

Dry ingredients:

1 1/2 cup flour

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 salt

1 cup sugar

Wet ingredients:

3 eggs

3 tbs molasses

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup oil (I used olive oil)

1/4 cup pineapple

1 cup raisins

1 cup shredded carrots

3/4 cup walnuts

Preheat oven 350 F and prepare bread pans. Mix all the dry ingredients together and set aside then mix wet ingredients in a different bowl. Combine the mix from 2 bowls into one. Spread the mix evenly between two bread pans and put in oven to cook for 60 min, use a toothpick to test the middle. Your kitchen will smell so nice! This was a winner with all the boys (husband included) although cooking is a messy process it is worth it to see the excitement on the boys faces after it is done cooking and they taste their creation.

For our co-op the kids continued to learn days of the week with Tuesday for St. John the Baptist.

Oh forerunner oh baptizer

Holy St. John, pray for us

You lived in the wilderness

You baptized the master

Help us follow him too

Help us follow him too

Holy St. John pray for us

That is the song we taught the children and they made a beautiful Tuesday page with a river and the Holy Spirit coming down.

Handwork

This week we made leaf crown and they boys loved it. We also flew our kites from last week since the breeze cooperated with us. It was so much fun to them running around with crowns pretending to be kings of the forest and flying their kites. For my handwork I am working on a dragon peg doll for next weeks story and have it almost done.

This week with friends we did a tinkergarden activity with balancing gnomes and the children had to figure out how to use a stick to balance the gnomes on the other side. It was lots of creativity, working together, and critical thinking involved. This builds good social skills for the kids and I enjoyed seeing all the kids actually working together and not fighting battle against each other. You can also do tinkergarden activities with your kids or group they have a website http://www.tinkergarden.com for ideas and their philosophy.

What was your highs and lows on your journey this week?

Homeschooling week

This week in our homeschooling journey day after day we had unpredictable circumstances. We started off strong with lessons and co-op going smooth but then the store ran out of eggs… all eggs… what store does that? Sigh…NYC. Therefore we could not prepare a recipe this week. Thankfully, this week was the Exaltation of the Cross feast in the Orthodox Church so we just did two days of painting instead.

I tied in the Waldorf Essentials core story of super Sam with the feast, this is sort of a Waldorf approach with tying stories together that seems to work with younger children. We did make kites together as part of our handwork this week as this was part of the WE story but there was no wind (of course) to test them out. Painting was messy. Like I said, nothing was working with us this week.

Part of the co-op was their work on Monday and how it represents the angels for the church. They learned a song:

Oh holy angels and archangels

Mighty brave and strong

We ask that you please pray for us

As we sing this song

They made their own angel craft and put it in their school book.

My handwork this week was a peg doll of St. George since he will be part of our story next week.

I am working on my stitching, this is still very much a learning process for me. I never knew how to do any of this stuff before discovering Waldorf. Now I see the handwork makes a difference.

Our Russian studies have been going as well. Consistency is key with foreign language. My husband does not speak Russian so dialogue is hard to have in front of the boys, so I have to to an actual curriculum for them and be consistent. We use our chalk board for stick figures of things we learned so they see it all day and we repeat it often throughout the day.

Hope your week in homeschooling journey was good. Blessed weekend to all.

Exaltation of the Cross

Orthodox Christians celebrate the cross 3 times a year and tomorrow is one of those times. For our feast lesson we used the Garden of the Theotokos curriculum and made our own wooden crosses.

Added circle time song:

Before thy cross we bow down in worship oh master

And thy holy resurrection, we glorify.

For the lesson we talked about the resurrection icon and how the cross is really not a bad thing. I related the demons to bad guys and Hades to jail to make more of an image for them. We looked at the icon together and saw how Christ is pulling people out of this jail place and they are holding onto him to get out.

Since during the service we see red for the cross we changed our cloth to red and then made wooden crosses to process with while we sing our song for the cross. The wooden crosses are super easy to make. All you need is wooden dowels from your local craft store, hot glue them together and then paint them.

We also used string to tie the middle part together since it was a fun handwork thing for the boys to do. We chose red for the color and tried to mix it with orange for fall colors but it mainly just turned to red. This was a fun process and I will share with you how we tied it into our school story from the Waldorf Essentials curriculum later this week.

DIY fall mobile

Part of our handwork this week was making a fall mobile and I thought I’d share with you this easy way to do this craft.

What you need:

  • Colorful leaves (we collected ours on our nature walks)
  • A stick
  • Ribbon
  • String (we used floss)
  • Pine cones
  • Beeswax

How to do it:

  1. Melt the beeswax
  2. Lay all the leaves in wax paper or aluminum foil
  3. Once beeswax is melted dip each leaf and lay them back down to dry (this preserves the leaves)
  4. Get string ready
  5. Tie each leaf on as you’d like finishing with a pine cone on the bottom for weight
  6. Tie another string on top of the stick one end to each side
  7. Find a great place to display your craft!

This was fun to do with kids because they got to pick the stick and leaves and pine cones so everyday was a treasure hunt looking for our items when we went outdoors. Next weeks handwork kites!

Homeschool

This week we started with the Waldorf Essentials curriculum and so far we really like it. I have to compile the teaching days into 2 days so we do our craft one day and baking day another. The reason why we do this is because of our co-op that takes a day and just schedules that work best for our family. We did bake the recipe that was suggested with peach cookies and it was a great big mess in the kitchen alright with kids trying to mix and touch every ingredient. Overall I enjoyed it and am seeing that my boys enjoy lessons as well if I hold the space and try not to just check something off the list.

Our co-op started the unit 1 study of the days of the week from the Garden of the Theotokos curriculum. We started with Sunday and since that is the day we go to church we put a chalice and a diskos on our page. We also talked about how God took 7 days to make everything and tried to talk to the kids about what their dads and moms do that is work and resting on the holy day. I mixed in circle time from the WE curriculum along with other finger plays and action rhymes my kids have enjoyed.

This week we have the Feast of Nativity of the Theotokos and used our peg dolls I made to retell the story. The cloth was switched to blue and the icon of the feast was put up. This was a great hit because the whole day we roll played the story, with either using the peg dolls or just acting out the story.

That was our homeschooling wrap up. Blessed Feast everyone!

Homeschooling: Our Week

Greetings everyone!

I don’t know about where you live but NY is starting to feel a little bit like fall is knocking on our door.

This week in homeschooling we didn’t do a whole lot. I wanted to start next week officially but started going over the story of Moses with Mr.4. We played a lot and hung out with friends mostly trying to get adjusted to the new routine with my husband gone in school. I have been taking walks with the boys early in the morning to get their crazy energy out before I attempted to do a story or any sort of school. Boys have a lot of energy ( or are those just mine?)

Here is our circle time songs now:

Come into the garden children and plant yourselves in a neat little row

Burrow down in a sweet little hollow in the fresh cool earth here below

All is dark and quiet and still the angels gather around

Mother Mary and all the saints are waiting to hear our soft sound

Lord Jesus Chris have mercy on us

Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on us

Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on us today

My cross

This is the way I make my cross

One two three (thumb, forefinger tall finger)

Three fingers come together and the other two lie down

“Father” is my forehead for He is over all

“Son” is near my head while I stand straight and tall

“Holy Spirit ” shoulder shoulder

Then my cross is made

I can always take it with me while I work or rest or play

We also do some counting ones from a Waldorf book “Joyful Movement”

These are going to slightly change when we incorporate Waldorf Essentials next week.

Here is our classroom:

I always notice that the boys really gravitate towards nature things like building with pine cones or running in dirt or making mud. This simple analogy just shows the beauty of Waldorf education and how it goes with development of a child. Also, it shows that kids do not need a lot to be happy.

My handwork:

We have a feast coming up in the church for the Nativity of Theotokos. I prepared peg dolls to retell the story next week and we will switch the cloth on our place of prayer to blue for the Theotokos. This is my first big feast attempt but I really enjoyed the process as well as the end result. St. George and the dragon are my next project later in the month.

Hope you’ve had a great week as well! How are your homeschooling plans going? Have you started?

Homeschooling: Start

Come into the garden Children…

Our first week of homeschooling started this week. We are starting the Garden of the Theotokos curriculum from Anaphora press and will be using Waldorf Essentials as our main curriculum later in September.

We started lesson 1 that was supposed to start on September 1st but I felt like this is a good intro to schooling and could be done flexible according to homeschooling schedules. It was all about talking to the child about a special place where we are going to talk to Jesus and learn about the Saints and the great Feasts of the church. Surprisingly Mr.4 responded really well to the lesson and the songs. Above is the picture of our space.

Since we are doing the unit studies with our co-op I do not have to worry about scheduling that in so our next lesson is about Moses and the ark of the covenant. In order to prep for this lesson I have to tell the story of Mosses, which is kind of long if people know it, so I decided to break it up into small lessons throughout the week leading to the feast day of Moses. I am using a variety of children’s bibles for that and just keeping it really simple.

Then it’s Russian… ugh. My struggles with teaching Russian has always been ongoing. How will they ever learn! This year I am just doing a curriculum I found that has drawn out stick figures for the words and I do one page at a time for the words. This way I track the lessons and words and can also repeat the lessons beforehand. We will see how this goes.

My crafts:

Decided my hand at candle making this week and also made an altar for a little church play for quiet time. No, dipping a ballon in wax is not an easy process. So I found that dipping the balloon in wax first then dipping it in water speeded up the process. Also I noticed that I had to stick the shells on way later in the process. Oh well, I learn from mistakes.

And there above is the miniature altar I made for my kiddos to play with. Mr.4 really loved watching these crafts. Work with your hands. I try to show them that.

Hope your week was blessed.