Sunday, September 26, 2010

Autumn Greetings

Beautiful golden season has arrived! We have been blessed with the most wonderful sunny weather lately. But the equinox was a day full of rain rain rain. Mist on the hillsides and everything. Just right for cozy feelings and autumn anticipation.

The Harvest Story by Elizabeth Reppel is one of our favorite books for this season.

Beautiful story, written in verse, tells of the earths journey through the year, with help from the farmers of course.

Amazing inspirational illustrations!

Our days have been very full. Nice visits with friends and family, enjoyed and appreciated. And then the return to our quiet days, much needed, also enjoyed and appreciated.

Next weekend we will visit our (kind of local, actually almost an hour away) Waldorf school for a Michaelmas Harvest Festival. Here is a link to the little event, which I am sharing here because it includes a special Michaelmas story which I think you might enjoy.

Many blessings to all in this beautiful new autumn season!


Sunday, September 19, 2010

random summer moments

Because it passed so quickly, I could hardly keep up. It was pretty great though.

On one of the hottest days I found her like this.

She knew how to cool down.

The necessity of doing doll laundry proved to be another good reason for water play.

She is really our summer child.

I never got a chance to tell you about their shelter making adventure.

It was pretty big!

Lots of happy wandering moments.

Lots of playing beside creeks and rivers. Sometimes like fairies hidden in the trees.

Campfire mornings.

And other good summer things. Like riding bikes.

And our sweet horses.

And our sweet Cairo.

And our friends the deer who so often visit.

Gift from the forest gnomes?

Gifts from the garden.

And this would probably be a gift from either the birds or perhaps a squirrel, because we did not plant it there, but how kind of it to greet us on so many of our summer days.

I hope you all had wonderful days on this last weekend of summer!


Friday, September 17, 2010

this moment ~ friends

~ inspired by amanda soule

There were many moments to remember, it is not often that you get to spend the day with your wonderful blog friends.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Simple Waldorf (family/homeschool) Rhythm

We began our lessons for the school year this past week. Usually we do not begin until it is officially autumn but for various reasons I knew it would be best for us to get an earlier start this year. Preparing for 4th grade has been very exciting, so many great main lessons coming up.

And Chessa is in her final kindergarten year! Special for her we had a late summer circle, singing of sunflowers and bumblebees and little seed babies seeking the warmth of Mother Earth's cloak.

This picture above is actually the very first one I took on our first day of school. Lesson time over, right back to playing.

It is starting to feel like it's been quite a while that we have been doing this homeschooling thing. Since kindergarten has always been no academics at all, just simple home life, (and this through their sixth year, 1st grade starting when they are 7 years old), this is now beginning our fourth year of Waldorf homeschooling.

(Now remember, and for those of you who don't know, I have also been working from home all of these years. (Sigh Sigh Sigh...) The sighs will perhaps make it obvious that this is not something that is by choice, but because I really must. This is usually not something I want to give my energy or thoughts to in this space, but it is kind of a part of the story, so...)

For many months now I have been working very early in the morning, starting about 6am, not all that pleasant to start the day on the computer, but oh so great to be finished by 10am and still have the whole day ahead of us!

The girls usually wake up around 7, sometimes just a bit later if Chloe stayed up late reading. (Which is so good for Chessa to get the extra sleep. We still do bedtime at around 7 o'clock, now that they are older Chloe reads in bed for quite a while, out loud until Chessa falls asleep.)

When they come upstairs in the morning they are sometimes in a sleepy mood, but usually they are ready for food and play. (Along with reading at night they are often making plans for their next day.) This is when I take a break from work, (first for some cuddling), they have breakfast at the table while I do my morning kitchen chores... wipe counters, (they actually have to wait for breakfast while I do this), dishes away, bread dough made or into the oven, beans cooking, stuff like that.

Then back to work for me, the girls get dressed, make bed, make sure their room is tidy. Sometimes another chore for them like sort or put away their laundry, wash morning dishes.

This leaves them an hour or two of early morning play time. Besides the fact that it allows me to finish my work, I think it is important for them to have this. This is what they have done just about every single day of their lives!

Then of course they get hungry again, and they know that after morning snack is when we will have our lesson time. We try to start our lesson by 10 o'clock.

I left our plans for the first week fairly vague, which is odd considering that until nearly the last minute I was obsessing over planning , rhythm, etc... I have the basics of our main lesson blocks all laid out though.

Our first block is local geography. We started with a map/floor plan of the room we were in, our main living space. The next day she drew the floor plan of our house sitting on our lot.

We decided to start with these drawings on a chalkboard.

The last map we did for the week was the route from our rural neighborhood into town. Two lane winding county road, about 20 miles/30 minutes to town, we have been driving down this road for more than a decade. It was fun to imagine it and try to draw it. The corner with the donkeys, the apple tree next to the old stone chimney, crossing the river, and then crossing the next river. Feeling so grateful for all of our rivers!

Sometimes Chessa watches.

Most often she sits at the other end of the table working on her own drawings.

(The girls have had the Lyra colored pencils since they were very little, they were our vegan crayon alternative, since there wasn't a vegan crayon alternative. We got our first beeswax crayons when Chloe began 1st grade.)

I seem to think we should have a more defined rhythm... baking day, painting day, modeling day... I wonder if I should be scheduling specific handwork time into our days. And I seem to want it all to be written out on a pretty colored chart I can hang on the wall.

I know our children benefit from rhythm. What I am learning though is that I need to be more trusting of our own home rhythm. We have been living this life together for a pretty long time now. We live a very home centered life. We bake, we create, we read, we sing, we celebrate the season and the beautiful world around us. We do this every single day.

So, back to that first day. We finished our lesson and the girls played outside until lunch time. They brought in some snap peas from the garden to have with their hummus.

We often read together after lunch, it allows for some quiet time. (We sometimes read aloud together several times a day, always at least once.) In our story they were baking a special bread. Ah ha, I had been considering making Monday be our baking day. (You know, on that imaginary chart.) The thing is, we bake almost every day. Still though, perhaps a baking day where we make something a little extra special.

So we baked crackers. This has been on our list of things to make for a very long time. Glad we finally did! I know we will now be baking them often.

(Actually I baked crackers a couple times about 10 years ago. I remember people laughed at me. It's a different world today. Kind of...)

Later in the day Chloe decided to start a new knitting project. Handwork in the afternoon. Perfect. There is rarely a day here that needle, thread, and fabric are not picked up.

Chessa was making a spinning wheel. Oh the things that these girls create out of wool, beeswax, and tree blocks!

And acorn caps. And sticks. And stones and pine cones...

The next morning found the girls busy with wool again, twisting the fiber into yarn and then running outside to find some plants to dye it with.

Other nice moments from the week were a walk around our small neighborhood lake and a Thurday afternoon in the kitchen with Chloe. She made dinner all by herself, I was just the kitchen helper/dish washer.

And this is much of how our week went. And this is much of how our life goes.

I do think I need to make an extra effort for the painting day though...


Thursday, September 2, 2010

seasons, rhythm, learning, life...

Oh September, surely one of the most loved months of all. The end of this summer, which has passed so very quickly.

August though, I am starting to figure out quite a bit about August... such an intense month, change sometimes seems forced upon you. There were some challenging days, it begins to feel like just so much... and then I remember that it is just August. Fiery summer, sulphery dragon...

Welcome the season of Michaelmas! Oh thank goodness. We are challenged to find the balance, we have no choice to but to be strong. And the beautiful world around us offers so much inspiration. It feels so good!

Hmm, now, I wrote the title of this post before I began writing, a few of the things that have been most in my mind...

We began our homeschool year this past week. It went very well, the first day was absolutely great! I have a few random pictures to share soon along with more about what we are working on. I know I keep mentioning 4th grade, but there is a little Kindergarten child too!

As always I have been putting a lot of thought into the rhythm of our days. Almost like I have been searching for it, wondering if we really have one, I think I am beginning to see the answer more clearly.

I'm sorry that almost everything I have to say right now is so brief and followed by a "I will tell you more about that later..."

But really, there is so much I do want to share here, and I will, and I thank you for coming here to visit with me.

Wishing you many days of peace as we anticipate the beautiful coming season!