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!

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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.

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: 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.

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.