Curriculum 2017

So let’s talk curriculum 2017…

I have debated this for a really long time about which curriculum to use this year with so many options as many know. Finally got to the point of just getting the Garden of the Theotokos curriculum and planning on mixing this with Waldorf Essentials.

The Garden curriculum I like so far because it has Waldorf base, it is really hard to find a Waldorf anything with Orthodoxy and this is the best I have found. I also plan on using this:

I have finished my first peg project and this book I highly recommend for anyone that is interested in seasonal beginner projects.

We are going to be doing a 3 day plan with Waldorf Essentials and one day with the Garden with our co-op. Will keep up pictures of the adventures.

Homeschooling: Holy Week 

Here is a Holy Week activity for everyone to try. This is a good way to teach kids about the concept of past, present and future using the events from the Holy Week services.

You will need to print out all the icons for the Holy Week services and laminate them. Using a board, divide it into three sections: on the left is the future, middle is the present and the right is the past. In the beginning of the week put all the icons on the left, as each day comes put the icon of the day in the middle with your child and read the scripture that goes with the Holy Week service. 

Talk about the icon with your child, what do they see? What do they think the readings mean? Then the next day as you put a new icon in the middle simple move the old icon to the right on the past side. 

Go to as many Holy Week services with your kids as possible for them to make the connection with the readings and the icons to the church. They will recognize the shift in the regular rhythm. Also, teach them the Behold the Bridegroom hymn or the Alleluia hymns that are sung in the church for the first 4 days.

Hope your Holy Week is gearing you up for Pascha!

Handwork

Well folks I finally finished something. A washcloth. Although to expert knitters out there this may not seem like a big deal but to this newbie it is. I honestly stopped counting how many days it takes for me to finish a knitting project because I just get down thinking about it. Boredom, no time, no motivation, sleepy, lazy have all been my excuses to not finish projects. Am I the only one that finds this difficult to accomplish? Maybe handwork in our little homeschooling journey will not be our strong suit. I’d rather get dirty in the garden honestly. At the very least I did hope I was going to finish before Holy Week and did accomplish my goal. Horray!

Please share your motivation for handwork with me. Do you find it as difficult to complete one project? How do you keep doing it with small kids around that have such high needs all the time? 

Homeschooling 

We are not in California anymore…


Nothing like a snow storm here in NYC to remind us of how lucky we were in California with our weather. Our homeschooling week was interrupted by stomach sicknesses and a snow storm brought a stop to classes for my husband. We still did our story from Tell me a Story using Snowdrop on page 31. Also did out wet on wet painting and bread making since the boys couldn’t eat anything but bread. Our poem for the month is from All Around the Year by Elsa Beskow. 


Since everyone was down this week we had plenty of book time and also retold stories using our animals from the Tell me a Story book about Mr. Grienders farm. Such simple and nice stories the boys seem to respond to them.


I did use Winnie the Pooh movie when I needed to sleep, when I am sick I am not so crazy about technology. Recently my husband and I were previewing some popular kids shows that people in the community have their kids watch and we were so disappointed about the mixed messages or just crazy flashing from one scene to the next. Maybe we are getting old but what happened to quality with kids shows? Anyone else feel this way?Sigh.

The rest of the time we did get some outside time in with shoveling our car out and just having sled fun.


Have a great weekend everyone!

Blessings.

Homeschooling: Feast

Greeting everyone!

Tomorrow is a great Feast of the Presentation of our Lord into the Temple according to Orthodox tradition. I love sharing this Feast with my children and everyone because St. Simeon’s prayer can be heard every Vespers in our church:

Lord now let your servant depart in peace

According to Thy word

For my eyes have seen Your salvation 

Which Thou has prepared for all people 

A light to enlighten the Gentiles 

And the glory of Your people Israel

(Luke 2 29-32)

With my kiddos we took the pictures of our sons when they were being presented to the church after 40 days and showed them those explaining that this is also what happens during this Feast as Christ himself gets presented into the Temple. The deep tradition and history can be clearly seen with this Feast which is why I love talking about it with children. You can see their wheels turn and make connections and it’s beautiful.

We took Sculpey clay and made our own figures of

  • St. Simeon
  • Theotokos
  • St. Joseph
  • Two turtle doves 
  • Baby Jesus 

As I read the story I retold the story using the figures and left room for my oldest to reenact it on his own afterwards. Also showing them an  icon of the Feast and pointing out who is who in the icon before he sees it in church to make the connection as well.

My husband, the artist that he is, drew a wonderful chalkboard drawing of the icon and we will have it as our story for the rest of the week. 


This is all part of the Catechism of the Good Shepherd program which teaches kids about the church using the Montessori method. 

Enjoy this Feast tomorrow!

Blessings.

Theophany

Tomorrow is the great Feast of Theophany aka our Lords baptism. I really enjoy homeschooling don’t get me wrong but with my husband still gone on Mt Athos and the weather being so cold, we have not done much of anything but survive. So here it is my attempt for my kids to understand the Feast tomorrow.

  1. Sing the Troparion of the Feast.
  2. Make doves to hang from our lamp.
  3. Process with the Feast icon around the house and put it on our school space.

We will most likely also have a pretend blessing the house activity before the priest comes to bless the house. The boys really like to bless the house with paintbrushes and water. 



Tadddaaa! 

One week left

Well this week took us by surprise. It turned cold on us here with snow and more snow on the way. Our weekly walk to the library almost turned into a disaster with everyone almost frozen when we got there. 

We went over the letter G today with a story about the Golden Goose modified a little. 


These are the books I use for my drawing, poem and letters inspiration.


We painted as well with mixing blue and red together. We mainly use primary colors so when the colors mix and make a new color it’s a nice discovery.



With the snow storm coming and the weather getting colder we did end up exploring our local nature center where they set up really nice displays for the school groups that come as they learn about life back in the day. We got to play around with the shelter they build and the animal skins before the school groups took over. 


Also said hi to the chickens…


Some beautiful views as we took our hike.


The rest of the week consisted of us attending a co op Christmas play and making our own beeswax molding clay which was a nice experiment. We melted the left over beeswax then added coconut oil and lanolin and a red crayon for color. Came out good but I ended up ordering the real deal to see the difference.


Loving the cold right now because we focus on family time more and stories and games and warm tea.


Blessings to all.

First week round up

This week was a cold one. King winter has definitely come. Our addition to circle time is this finger play because it’s cold but no snow yet. We will add another once there’s snow on the ground:

Now that king winter has come to stay

All the trees are bare

Little birds must fly away

To find their food elsewhere 

Little seeds lie hidden

In the quiet dark earth 

Waiting till they’re bidden 

To rise above the earth

We focused on a letter B this week with my own story for the boys about a bear that wants to pray and he searches the forest for an animal that knows how to pray. He sees a beaver and the beaver cannot pray and he sees a butterfly but the butterfly cannot pray either. They hear of a monk that lives deep in the forest that prays all day. So the bear goes and finds the monk.

This is a shortened version of course of St. Seraphim of Sorov that is a beloved saint in the Orthodox Church but this is from the bears side of the story. 


I am still working on my artwork.

We also made our friends presents this week for St. Nicholas feast day on Tuesday. Our original idea with salt dough backfired because there was not enough room to fill with beeswax but in the end we ended up making a bear and a letter B then painted them blue and used them as ornaments for the tree. Our friends got cookies and a regular tall beeswax candle we made.






We also finished up the week with walking the letter B and braving the cold days with daily outside time.



I have noticed that the boys need to have games when we go outside because it’s cold so taking walks and playing I spy works for us. These stumps we are hoping to transfer to our house and use them as play things for the boys. 

Our random acts of kindness this week included; listening to someone, giving a hug, and giving something to someone else.

More ordinations this weekend for us in seminary. Then off to Mt. Athos goes my husband for 2 weeks! After Christmas of course. 

Blessings to all.

End of week

Wrapping up our week here we made our first attempt at melting beeswax and making candles 



Made a pretty good first candle. My oldest is going to be making these for his friends for Christmas presents. 

We also lit the first two candles of our salt dough advent spiral that one is also working out well. It is accompanied by the random acts of kindness for each day of advent the boys and I try to practice each day.


I myself am working on my handwork, trying to do it Russian style with a YouTube tutorial my mom send me. So far I have made a wash cloth, a scrubby and keep failing at a scarf…


Did turn this one into a bunny that we use for our counting, tossing it back and forth during circle time and counting to 10 in English and Russian.


For the rest of the time we explored nature on our hike before it started raining on us and finished up our J activities with jugs we painted.


We have two friends being ordained over the next two Sundays, one to deaconate and the other who is a 3rd year student here in seminary to the priesthood. Axios axios to both! 

Never stops.

Peace