Homeschooling week: Bread making, modeling and block crayons

Hello everyone! I hope your week was fruitful. This week we decided to go with my gut and try something new for homeschooling. I used a story from the Wynstone Press the Autumn collection with the Autumn Story. We substituted the hedgehog in the story for a mouse and based our weekly handwork around that story.

This approach worked out really well surprisingly. I had doubts about it since in Waldorf Essentials curriculum has this continuation story which at first I thought Mr. 4 will really follow since it’s the same character that keeps showing up but like I said in my previous posts it really didn’t speak to him, hence me trying something different. I just see it as homeschooling freedom since that is part of the beauty and flexibility of homeschooling your kids.

For our handwork this week we collected acorn hats and then used beeswax to make little acorns to put into them. We used the acorns in our story set up. I also decided to try a new rhythm with our school time to see if there is more of a flow. Before we used to do circle time then the story and then our activity but this week we did the story after our activity. This approach left a little more wiggle room for playing with the material after, it seemed to work out great also while I cleaned the mess from our bread baking day. Yes mixing flour and cutting apples is a messy experience. For those that have tried it as part of their Waldorf homeschooling and keep going with baking I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Sometimes I find it takes a lot more perseverance to keep baking more than any other activity in homeschooling.

We also tried our hand at block crayons this week. I will continue to see how Mr. 4 likes this since he’s not really into the following my lead stage quite yet. He still really just wants to not make any forms that look like anything specific and I don’t want to push that on him, so we will see.

The rest of our week was spent exploring the forests and hiking trails of Cranberry Lake Preserve here in NY. The weather was beautiful and fall is always a season where you can treat each day as if it’s new because of the constant change in color all around. I will miss this part of NY when we leave here because it is honestly really beautiful to experience seasons. My sons love climbing trees and looking for great sticks and rocks. It is truly beautiful to see them connect with nature in this way. The same scenery outside looks different every day. That’s why some New Yorkers say that in fall they treat each day as their last.

That was our week of discovery and adventure. I hope you are doing well on your homeschooling journey so far.

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Homeschooling: Painting, cooking and tinkergarden

Happy Friday everyone! I hope your week was fruitful. Our week was full of some painting and then we used a recipe of our own for an apple crisp paleo style pie. For our handwork this week we made our own boats, this was a fun handwork experience and next week our plan is to set them in our local creek here on seminary ground.

This week I did tweek the story a little bit and also have to modify it next week since we somehow landed a week ahead of schedule. I started my own handwork project this week with attempting to knit a lion toy for the first time. I am using the book “Beginning knitting projects for children” because I figured I have to know how to do the project myself before I attempt to teach it to my 1st grader. I realized that I really am not a follow reading instructions person. I tend to fall into the whole visual learning style and kind of finding it difficult to even know what the book means by statements like cast on 10 rows, knit for 10 rows and then at the beginning of the next 2 rows cast on 10 stitches. Whhhaattt?? Confused already and trying to watch YouTube videos for guidance. If you happen to have a good link for a knitting video please send me a link!

The rest of our work week consisted of a birthday party. It was tinkergarden theme. For those not aware of tinkergarden activities head over and check out their website that is full of outdoor activity fun for kids. This week we made our magic potion, learned about colors and following directions and also had a magic show for the birthday boy by one of our kids here.

The weather is on our side so far. Everyone is sucking up all the sunshine and warmth while they can. I tend to find myself thinking of my own handwork ideas rather than using Waldorf Essentials curriculum stuff a lot. Most of the reason is because I am a visual learner. I also find it hard to just want to do crafty things if my boys are not that into the story. The boats were good this week but I did not see handwork for next week they would like. Maybe that’s just my experience, so that’s the only thing I have a hard time with. I hear Lavender Blue curriculum has mainly handwork for every week not really recipes. If someone has experience in that curriculum please share your thoughts with me.

Overall though that is what we did this week with the curriculum. I hope everyone’s weekend is relaxed before the costume making frenzy begins before Halloween.

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.

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.

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?

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!

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: Lent

Here are some things that I try to do different for my family during Lent. We do have books we read throughout Lent some are pictured above. 

In the Candles Glow– Great story about a girl that says prayers in front of candles. Great illustrations. You can get it through Ancient Faith Publishing.

Saint Herman of Alaska- He is one of our favorite saints and this book is a favorite for kids showing them his life and devotion to prayer. This one is from SVS press

Monk who grew in prayer- Wonderful book about the hours of the church as prayed by a monk.

Joseph and his brothers- we found this one at the monastery I believe they are on Ancient Faith Publishing also.

Orthodox kindergarten- This book is great for 2yr olds, it is a lot of simple things that the child can identity in the church and different icons also. This one is from Ancient Faith also.

We are getting Pascha Passports this year here is the link:

https://lenten-embassy.myshopify.com/collections/lenten-journey-for-the-family

It is affordable, a great teaching tool and beautiful!

Most of my teaching will come from the Good Shepherd program. Our first presentation will be on the altar and then I am mostly going to focus on Jesus’s life throughout Lent. Using the geography presentations, the Good Shepherd presentation, Annunciation, then Holy Week. More on those later. 

I just wanted to mention a thought on simplicity. With kids, less is more, some parents feel like they have to do all these things for the child to “get it” or understand the importance of Lent. I get it, because it’s important to us as well. However, sometimes choosing less activities and simpler ones can make a world of a difference in how kids progress things. In a book Religious Potential of a Child, the author has many examples of kids having that want of a connection to their Creator, with many examples of kids with no knowledge of God having that yearning. In terms of simplicity and teaching I try to think about that and think of opportunities for living discussions not only activities. 

How are you doing Lent with your kids? 

Homeschooling 

Just wanted to share our homeschooling week. We did a lot of stories and art and baking. My oldest son is getting better at baking and also measuring things. He really enjoys the stories that we read from Tell me a Story book and molding with our beeswax. These past 2 weeks we read the Polar Bear story and also the Do what you can do story from the same book. They are very simple stories but he absolutely loves them. 


Right now we have our own thing we are doing but hopefully next year we are going to do the Waldorf Essentials curriculum. Seminary life can be so hectic and the schedule for Lent is not an easy one so we are most likely going to be choosing one story a week and base our art and baking on that till the end of the semester. We still are doing our co op however I notice that it is harder to do with people that have a different philosophy about homeschooling than yourself. Mostly right now it is for the social aspect of things. Which brings me to ponder on school in general and how in the future I might just be a lot happier with a social gathering, not a co op gathering. Maybe even start a Waldorf co op? 

For the rest of our time we did a lot of playing outside with doing what boys do best. Answering the question of how dirty can we get?


Lots of building…


First signs of spring but it seems way too soon so our poems and stories range back and forth about the cold and warmer weather.


As for me a friend gave me a wonderful book to read about parenting from an Orthodox writer. I liked it a lot because it goes along with the peaceful parenting philosophy, which to me is encouraging since half the time I wonder if this whole philosophy works.


My husband is doing the March for Life in our nations capital so I get some time for myself. 


We have a Feast coming up next week for the Meeting in the Temple so I am doing the Good Shepherd presentation for that which I will post about.

Stay warm.

Blessings.