Tuesday, April 24, 2012

'Television' by Roald Dahl

My sister sent this to me this morning from one of the Waldorf schools in her area and I just had to share it here...now I should also be honest and admit that my girls do watch videos on occassion.  I have turned that ugly black box on now and again to get a rest, but do I see a difference when they watch too much?  You bettcha!  So this is kind of a gentle reminder to me to power through and always limit it.  And as a Roald Dahl fan, I appreciate his talents that much more :)

The most important thing we've learned, So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set --

Or better still, just don't install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we've been,
We've watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone's place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they're hypnotised by it,
Until they're absolutely drunk
With all that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don't climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink --
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?

-Roald Dahl
My reader, Laney, who is often found buried in a book...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Christine Natale's "Fairy Tales" is available on PDF now!

People who have read my blog know that I'm a huge fan of Christine Natale.  She wrote, IMHO, the BEST Waldorf stories for celebrating the St. Nicholas festival and was kind enough to share them, along with much of her other work for free.  Not very many people do something like that and it shows that for Christine, it's all about the children and helping moms and dads, grandmas, grandpas, teachers, and caregivers to have access to the tools to nourish these little ones who are so lacking stories to enahance their beings.  So I wanted to put this out there and give a shout out to Christine.   She has some wonderful original stories that she wrote for her Waldorf classes.  We have used them in our homeschool and my twins loved them (as did I). 

To contact Christine to see about other offers or specials she has, her email is: Golden3000997@cs.com

Friday, April 13, 2012

Free Stories & Thoughts on Grade 3

A reader had written to me asking what Grade 3 stories we were doing and so I am attempting to find some free stories that pertain to this year which have been helpful for us.  I am not someone who does well reading online, so I usually purchase the books (used if possible - borrowed from the library is best), but I have found that many of the fables or snippets from folktales or fairytales have been perfect from these free online sites.  The best one pertaining to stories used in Waldorf homes is from www.mainlesson.com

So far, what we've found is that Grade 3 centers so much on the 9 year change (and I am beginning to experience it now with one of my twins, just as they turned 9 a month or so ago).  So the Bible stories from the Old Testament are key and most of the time, can be woven in nicely into the other subjects.  So much else of Grade 3 - with measurements of every sort seems to put us outside the 'traditional' classroom: experimenting with grains, farming, gardening, constructing basic dwellings, weaving together, baking, etc.  It's just a really fun year!

As usual, we are going through and reading lots of books together.  I will link a few of the ones we've like the best below:

Hurlbut's Story of the Bible 

The Red Indian Fairy Book (a nice tie-in to Native dwellings)

The Wind in the Willows (found Toad to be a great 9 year change character for children to relate to - he means well, but has bouts of selfishness where he is concerned with his own ego and takes to fibbing when it serves him well.  He is left feeling very much alone, though his friends continue to flock to his aid.)

The Secret Garden (this is a WONDERFUL book about a little girl who begins alone, hardened and cast out of her home due to circumstances.  She comes to live with her uncle in England and blossoms through the promise of the Secret Garden.  It is leading us into our gardening block now.)

The Jungle Book (works well for basic dwelling and survival skills.)

here is the Grade 3 list from Mainlesson.com
here is a link to Project Gutenberg who offers free quality books online

In Grade 3, you can also tackle cursive, turn your handwork into weaving projects that are practical and useful in everyday life (pot holders, place mats, purses or sacks for boys to carry things in, maybe even a book bag for those library trips), money, telling time, and we started spelling this year, too!

Some of the books we have read or are set to read (aside from Wind in the Willows and Secret Garden) are the following:

The Cat Who Went to Heaven
Mr. Popper's Penguins
Farmer Boy and the Little House Series
The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking
The Dragon of Two Hearts (from the Dragon Boy series)
Patter~Paws the Fox and Other Stories
Trumpets of Happiness and Other Stories

There is a wonderful post (one of many) on Carrie's blog The Parenting Passageway and she posted an extensive reading list here.  Her blog is a wealth of knowledge that transcends across the board - not just to the waldorf circle!

This isn't nearly as much as I would like to share, but I hope it helps stir your thoughts just a bit as you plan out your 3rd Grade year.  I always find myself getting antsy to start that planning in the spring for the next grade, forgetting that we still have lots of time left until the year's end!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Making an Easter Tree

Today, the girls and I wanted to make an Easter Tree to celebrate the upcoming holiday. We wanted to create something natural for our table, that would represent life, and also be somewhat shaped like a cross. I thumbed through my Easter Craft Book and found just what we were hoping for, though we wanted something a little more organic looking, so we headed outside to find some branches or vines and thought that our Apple Blossoms would be perfect...

Cut some off and headed inside...

What you will need:
1. branches or vines and scissors to cut them
2. dowel rods and/or bamboo skewers or sticks even - one long one (dowel rod) and then three skewers long, medium, and short on the top
3. twisties, pipecleaners, or florist tape to secure the vines to the rod and skewers
4. a pot and some dirt or sand (rocks to help secure your tree)
5. decorations (felted eggs, real eggs, flowers, or whatever you want to decorate with)

We started with wire, but had to abandon it for something easier to manipulate.  The wire cut right through our vine.  So we used what we had on hand - green twisties and green pipecleaners. 

We laid the dowel rod in the center and then attached the longest skewer and worked our way up the rod, placing the medium one in the center and the shortest one near the top.  We cut the vines to fit and then attached them to the rod and skewers, going up the dowel rod first.

We then headed outside, held it in the pot and placed small rocks inside to help hold it upright before we filled it with potting soil.

Once it was all filled (we had placed ours in a small round pot and then in a large rectangular 'pot'), we brought it inside and filled in the ground level with the remaining apple blossoms.  Because this is a succulent, we should be able to keep it going with spritzes of water and hopefully it will rejenerate, as well!

 Finally, the girls added some hanging eggs that their Gramy had sent to them last year, though you can wetfelt eggs to add with strings, or decorate in any way you want!  And voila!  You have an Easter Tree :)

 I have some other posts on preparing for the Easter season if you click on the "Easter" link.  Enjoy and I'd love to see your Easter Tree if you have or will make one!  If anyone emails a photo and/or link to your blog, I'd love to put up your photos to share!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Giveaway: And the Playscape Winner Is...


Elizabeth of Heartfelt Homemaking has 3 lovely daughters and is a dedicated homeschooler, mother, and homemaker!

Congratulations, Elizabeth! My daughter, Laney, pulled your name from the bin and I'll be emailing you to get your address so we can send you the playscape! Hope your daughters enjoy it as much as my girls love theirs :)

Thank you to all who entered! I wish I could give one away to everyone!!!!