Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I just love fall!

I recently found this beautiful fall leaf when the girls were out for our daily nature hike. It had the most beautiful heart pattern in it. I had to take some pictures because I knew the colors wouldn't last if we pressed it (They didn't we tried). It made me look for heart patterns in leaves and nature all around us for weeks after we found it. Cammy loved spotting all the heart shaped things from cracks in the pavement to different leaves and rocks. I have long been a collector of heart shaped rocks and shells that I find when I'm walking outside. I keep then in a bowl for the girls to feel. Cammy made the bowl for me. It is amazing how abundant the universally accepted symbol of love is in our everyday life. I walk past it everyday not always truly feeling the appreciation and awe I have for mother nature and her wonders. All of this reminded me of a poem I had come across called Leaves by Frank Asch. I usually start off our week with a new poem and illustration on the chalkboard every week. Cammy then copies the poem into her workbook and illustrates it herself. I shied away from this poem at first because I felt that it was a little too long for Cammy to have to copy down and illustrate. I gave her a shorter poem but read this one to her out loud this week. It is now starting to get cold once in a while as winter is almost here and the leaves are almost all gone except for a few remaining golden and ruby gems tucked in here or there.

Leaves
"My green leaves are more beautiful
than your white clouds,"
said the maple to the sky.
"That's a lie," said the sky.
"At sunset my pinks and purples
make me more beautiful than you."
The maple was angry and
for the first time being just green
made it feel blue.
"Let's ask Mother Earth for a favor,"
said the maple to the pine.
"Go ahead," said the pine tree."
"The way I am is just fine with me."
"Mother Earth," said the maple,"
"make my leaves more beautiful
than the sky at sunset."
"You will regret that request,"
said Mother Earth.
"No, I will not," said the maple.
"Believe me I can feel it in my sap."
"Then it is done, " said Mother Earth.
"Now leave me alone to take my winter nap."
Day by day the leaves of the maple
turned yellow and orange and red.
And the compliments he got
from the animals of the forest
went straight to his head.
Now the sky was jealous
and sent down a breeze
to steal the maple leaves.
"Dance with me," said the sky,
"and fall where you please."
"You are mean, " said the maple
and shook it's bare branches at the sky.
"Let it be a lesson to you," replied the sky.
"There is no one more beautiful than I."





I highly recommend this book of poetry. Our family reads from it all year long because it it organized. This is where I found this beautiful poem by Frank Asch.

Paper Chain Story


Cammy has been begging to learn how to make paper chain dolls. She still has a hard time cutting well with scissors and gets frustrated easily but is getting better. I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to help her hone her skills and tell a story at the same time. We have been engrossed with our study of Native Americans and pilgrims for the past two weeks. I came across a book by Jean Stangl titled Paper Stories. It has a lot of really cute stories to tell and paper patterns to go along with them. I chose one about Indian maidens and adapted the story to fit what we are studying a little better. Here is the story I told.

One day a young Indian girl named Pocahontas was playing in the woods near the sea shore when she saw a strange sight on the horizon of the water. There was a dark shape coming towards land. It was an English ship with strange people on board. They came to shore and immediately she wanted to meet these strangers but she thought that her father Chief Powhatan might be angry with her for this. She didn't know if these new people with their light skin and hair on their faces would hurt her so she ran through the woods as fast as she could to tell her father the chief what had seen.

Chief Powhatan was glad to see his daughter come back to the village...she told him of the new visitors by the shore with the white skin and clothes all over their bodies. Chief Powhatan told Pocahontas how brave she had been and sent several Indian scouts to check out these new people and greet them. They returned with an Englishman named John Smith. They did not speak each others language but tried to communicate the best that they could. John Smith could see that there were many Indians in the village so he asked Chief Powhatan how many children there were. The Chief said that there were many but did not know how to tell John Smith a number in his language. John Smith said do you have one child? two children? three children? All the Chief could say was we have many....so he got out a piece of animal hide and folded it up and made a few cuts. When he unfolded it to reveal how many John Smith counted out loud so that the Indian chief could learn and understand in his language.

*This story can be simplified or changed to suit whatever your needs and is a great way to teach basic counting skills. We had a lot of fun afterward reading and singing along to a book we have called One Little , Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims by B.G. Hennessy


This is how you make it:

The first thing you need to do is get two pieces of paper that are about 6" x 20" for each character you want to cut out. We used brown paper grocery bags and just cut them at the glued seam and trimmed them to the size we wanted. I use them for a lot of our craft projects: they are thick and strong enough to take paint and best of all they are free. Fold the paper into 2" accordion folds and trace or draw half of a figure for the character you want in your story. We drew a Native American girl (Pocahontas) and a pilgrim boy for our story plot. Make sure the arms go all the way to the edge of the fold. Cammy had a hard time understanding why this was necessary at first until I showed her what would happen if you cut the edge of the fold all the way off ...all the figures fall apart. Make sure you cut the feather and fringe lines on the Native American girl. As you tell the story cut the figures out and at the end slowly unfold and have the children help you count along.



Cammy drew and cut out the pilgrim boy and colored all of the figures when we were through telling the story.

The paper grocery bags are stiff enough that they can even stand up on their own when you cut the figures out. We pretended the Indian girls were dancing around a fire.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Snack time





We have been having a lot of fun lately with snack time. I have been letting Cammy prepare snacks for everyone in old ice cube trays. She loves it! I usually let her choose what to put in them for the day with a few suggestions. She usually makes one with goldfish and raisins, one with pretzels and mustard, one with cut up bananas. Other good options we have tried recently are carrots and celery with ranch to dip at the ends and animal crackers with yogurt.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mushroom houses


Take a look at these mushroom houses that we found under the weeping willow tree in our front yard. How cute is that...little windows for the fairies. We have had lots of fun this fall taking walks and photographing mushrooms. When it rains here they seem to pop up within an afternoon. It amazes me how fast mushrooms can spore and populate a nice moist yard. We live near a lake and a saltwater marsh and there are always mushrooms to be found near them both. We take care to never eat any of them and we always wash our hands if we have handled any of them. We have yet to check out a book about mushrooms from the local library but it will have to be on our next visit.
Wow! Look at this nice big mushroom cap. What could we do with it?

Cammy being the fierce defender of the fairies has made it into an umbrella to keep the fairies dry. Apparently it also doubles as a magic staff of mushroom power....her imagination is limitless.


Cammy thought these mushrooms looked like hamburger buns.

I don't know much about mushrooms....but this was one of the only ones we found that had a frilly skirt under it. Hence the need for us to get to the library to check this out...after we wash our hands.
These were some of the nastiest looking mushrooms we have found to date. Someone had apparently stepped on them before we came by and they looked like rotting meat. Yuck!

And here is a closeup of one of the mushrooms with a view.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

We had a "fairy"ly good weekend indeed

Gillie Du, I think his name was....made quite an impression on Karma this weekend. He is the yuckiest fairy of them all because he picks and eats his boogers....he showed us (really did)! She has been picking her nose ever since.
He wasn't the only strange site we encountered jugglers and acrobats with swords, knives, chainsaws and fire....and oh yeah a few balls too.
This guy was amazing.
The tree man caught me offguard. I thought it was a sculpture and was about to touch it when it hugged some people right in front of me.
Cammy got to see "Mother Goose"
There were amazing artwork and crafts to see.
We had a great time at the renaissance festival. Cammy especially loved the fairy that befriended her and gave her a magic pebble. Cammy in turn gave the fairy some of the treasure that she later got from the pirates that we saw. Upon returning home she has been drawing more fairies than ever...I don't have enough paper to keep up with her need to draw sometimes. I have taken to getting our groceries in the paper bags just so that I have some kind of extra paper for art around the house. We just cut them open and turn them inside out so that you don't see the logo and voila you have a giant piece of paper to draw on and they take paint well too.
Last night we watched the new Tinkerbell movie....Cammy had earned a well deserved treat. Today she was busy trying to catch a fairy and getting quite frustrated in the process. She just couldn't understand why no fairies would come to her. She said it was obvious that she was a nice girl. I pointed out that standing in the driveway with a jar and a piece of rope to trip the fairies and trap them might not be the most welcoming sight for a fairy and that they tended to shy away from big people things anyway.....at which point she stormed off in her own little furious six year old way. Later she came out with a plan to make amends and apparently it was the water fairies birthday and she would be quite upset if Cammy didn't have a tea party with her or give her a gift. I was very busy trying to load the pottery into the kiln so she took it upon herself to mix up a fairy dust concoction as a gift. Five minutes later with lots of glitter and moonsand on the studio floor she was pleased to display a bowl full of fairydust to give to the water fairy. Who knows....maybe the water fairy will come and give her a goodnight kiss and leave a present under her pillow.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Where did our rhythm go?

Being gone for two weeks has really disoriented me. The kids seem to be readjusting better than I am thankfully. We have been back for almost two weeks and I still haven't quite gotten back into the solid rhythm we had working so well for us before we left for the mountains. I think part of it is that I really didn't get a good dose of nature when we were there. It rained nonstop the entire time we were there.....so no hikes in the woods or up mountain trails or dips into mountain streams. I usually get so invigorated and renewed by a trip to the mountains but not so this time. I left feeling unfulfilled and kind of empty. Then we had a craft show the next weekend on the road where it rained and sales were lousy. We made enough money to get home which I am thankful for but I am still a little bummed. I haven't had a show that slow in years. So.....getting back into my groove in the pottery studio has been difficult.
I have had a hard time getting myself really focused on Cammy's school lessons as well but we are trudging forward. I have made it really fun and loose this past week with a lot of imaginative play thrown in. We built the time machine last week and took it on our first adventure this week. Monday, Cammy launched from headquarters and went back in time to the Medieval/Renaissance period in history. We chose this time period because I am teaching a workshop in Charlotte later this month and we will be going to the Renaissance festival.
We have been doing some work with telling time and with calendars and so it was a nice fit to build the time machine. The other neighborhood kids have been congregating on the porch to play with the time machine as well.
I must give credit to the many Waldorf homeschool bloggers who I pulled bits and pieces of stories and ideas from to create our adventures from but I do not always know how to insert a link....gotta get some tech help from my hubster when he gets back home.
For the first stage of our adventure Cammy took her time machine back to the Renaissance period and ended up in the castle of the benevolent King Equals who was quite distressed because the Dragon of Numeria was very angry with him because he had not been invited to the last royal ball. The dragon had locked the gates to the land of Numeria until someone brave enough and clever enough to solve his math riddles could unlock the tweleve locks. We have had a jolly good time pretending to be a host of characters this week. My husband stood in as King Equals being quite dramatic and begging Cammy to help him decipher the dragons riddles. I was the royal servant (kitchen cook, maid, messenger, etc,) and the demanding Queen. Cammy was herself ....although she did have to change into proper attire for the time period for the Queen did not approve of a lady of the court wearing pants. Cammy had a blast. I as the royal servant showing her the lay of the royal land upon the request of the King and Queen was quite fascinated with the odd trinkets she brought with her in her time machine. Cammy thought it was so funny that I didn't know what all these modern technological things were and she was delighted every time she had to explain to me what something was or how they did thing now versus how they made things in the Renaissance. I was most fascinated by her iron horse which she called a bicycle that she rode on in the streets( apparently she brought everything in the house including the kitchen stove with her in her time machine...she said she had a shrink/enlarger machine on board).
I (the kitchen cook ) enlisted Cammy's help in determining how to cut the cake or in our case brownies up so that everyone invited would get an even sized piece; for the great King Equals always wants everything to come out even and fair for everyone. We traced the pan onto a big sheet of manilla paper and cut it out and then folded it in halves until we had an adequate number of pieces for everyone who was invited. This was a good lesson in doubles and fractions.
I did not have our beloved math gnomes ready for the adventure yet so word has been sent via paper origami cranes for them to come and help their dear friend King Equals and Cammy with her training before she goes up against the math dragon. We started some of her physical and mental training even though the gnomes are not here to oversee everything yet. I made bean bags with numbers up to twenty on them for the girls. On one side there is an even number and on the other an odd number. We played games on the castle stairs like even or odd or greater than or less than where I tossed out bean bags at random and if it was even she jumped up one step or if it was odd she had to jump down a step. For Greater than or less than she got to jump forward if it was greater than or down if it was less than the previous number, etc. We also did some double digit addition this week and Cammy picked up on it with no problem and took to writing her own problems on the board and solving them. I also challenged Cammy to see how many blocks it would take to build the castle stairs. This involved adding multiple single digit numbers. She also got to build some nice block towers in the process for Karma Kong to knock down. All in all we had a royal good time.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Building a time machine


That's right, we are building a time machine. Inspired by our recent trip to the mountains to visit Nana. We had a great time despite the rain. Cammy enjoyed it......especially watching Nana's cable TV (it was verrrry rainy). She got to watch a show called Time Warp Trio and got interested in time travel. The whole way back from the mountains she was rapping about everything and talking about what she would do if she was a kid in Time Warp Trio. Karma was so entertained she didn't cry once......for five hours in a car!!
We started our project today. After a few review lessons today we went on a scavenger hunt for materials to make our time machine with. We got a great big box from a local heating and air place. It was big enough for Cammy to kneel in ( I secretly wish it was bigger so I could get in too). To make it a little bigger we taped a sturdy banana box to the top and cut out a hole for Cammy's head. I keep a box of odd sculpture stuff like cd spindles, bottle caps, broken toy parts etc. in the garage because you never know when you are going to need spare parts for a time machine.
We are going to the Renaissance festival in Charlotte, NC at the end of the month. I have to teach a workshop for the Red Hat society and the girls and I will be topping the trip off with the festival. I have been to one in Sarasota, FL and it was great. Cammy is going to love it. I wanted to work the subject of the Renaissance into her lessons but it felt like an awkward leap from our current studies but the time machine solves that. Now instead of feeling like an awkward leap we are simply jumping back in time with our new time machine. That's all!
Cammy has been building great block towers and asking about Leonardo Da Vinci, so I guess it's a good fit right now anyway. To start the time machine journey off right we rented Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and made some popcorn. After taking a few test spins through the centuries and encountering dinosaurs and dragons Cammy decided she wanted to work on "What do you call it mom....the outside of the space shuttle....you know the part that keeps it from burning up? The musilage?" "The fuselage," I say(while I'm thinking how does she know this stuff?...because she reads a dictionary for fun in the car). So we got out the tin foil and some glue sticks and duct tape and got part of the box covered in a protective shell. She also wanted some rocket boosters so we taped on some cardboard tubes and now we are turbo charged. Since Cammy is the captain she said that apparently if you don't have security clearance to operate the time machine you will go straight up into space and the computers will go all wacky.
It must have been meant to be because I found a great book for a quarter entitled The Time Traveller Book of Knights and Castles by Judy Hindley.


Also on our last trip to the library Cammy checked out the book Ms. Frizzle's Adventures Medieval Castle by Joanna Cole.


We already had the book Castle by David Macaulay.


We are going to the library tomorrow to see what else we can find.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"What Catches the Eye Inspires the Hand"




"What catches the eye inspires the hand." (unknown)

This is a quote that I came across somewhere many years ago and it has had a profound impact on my approach and level of perception in daily life. We are in a chaotic whirlwind right now, trying to get ready for a trip and a big fall show. I have to be in my friend's wedding this weekend and then the very next weekend we have our biggest show and sale of the year Festival in the Park in Charlotte, NC. So that means we are going to be out of town for more than a week. I have been working late into the night lately trying to get enough pottery made for the show and to fill all the orders for the galleries and shops. I didn't even really try to start school off this week because we are leaving mid week. The flow and routine are definitely interrupted this week. So I cleared off the chalkboard last night and drew this picture and quote. I introduced some cursive writing to Cammy last week and she loved it and has been trying to read it wherever we see it so I wrote the quote in cursive. It made her so proud that she could read the cursive writing. The eye is a very powerful symbol in a lot of my art. In this picture the eye contains a heart for the pupil symbolizing the love that I have for all that I see around me good or bad, ugly or beautiful we have something to gain from it all. Around the eye I subtly introduced the roman numerals (Cammy has come across them several times recently and asked what they stand for and seems to understand some simple addition concepts with them) we are also working with time. Inside the eye I drew the mountains because that is where we are going on our journey. Under the eye I traced my husband's hands and mine as trees of knowledge losing their leaves for the upcoming fall. Cammy is really interested in finding purple leaves and wants to prove that a fall leaf can be purple. We did end up doing schooly stuff this week we always do around here sometimes without even trying. Monday we watched the nature documentary Earth by Disney.We also went on a nature walk each day.....it has become a very good habit. Cammy insisted on checking on the crab apple tree up the street (she thinks the apples are going to be ready every day we visit it). I find that if I don't come up with an assignment for Cammy she becomes bored easily and asks if she can do at least three workbook pages. She is so hungry for knowledge. I only hope that I can help to teach her to observe and to keep her eyes and heart open to what every encounter or experience has to offer as inspiration. No matter how insignificant something seems at the time it can lead the mind or the hands to broader matters like a chain reaction. I often find that when I am in the studio and I am supposed to be making a specific soap dish the images of my day will inspire my hands to work in a different direction. I see this tendency in Cammy as well. She can become so excited about something and spout off these grand project ideas that are often out of reach in their entirety but I try to find something to pull from that is attainable and that we can make happen or try to do. I try to let her row her own boat to a certain extent and go with the currents of her creative mind. So far it has taught me a lot about the development of ideas and how to help them grow into fruition. I am loving homeschooling so far.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Grand Procession of Peculiar Pets and People

This past weekend was the parade that we had been awaiting for weeks. The Grand Procession of Peculiar Pets and People. Cammy and Karma and I all marched in the parade in full costume. In the weeks leading up to the parade several costume making parties were hosted around the city to encourage people to come out and get creative making their own peculiar pet costumes. All the materials were donated and supplied and people were encouraged to donate anything they might not want for others to use. A local artist here in Wilmington, NC named Dixon Settler was one of the lead coordinators of the event which took place on the same day as the Arts and Antiques walk downtown. It was a busy day for us....I was set up at the festival selling my pottery, my husband Mark had to play music on the kids stage for a while and we marched in the parade. Whew! But it was a whole lot of fun!!! The image above was the giant dragon kite that led the procession. It took at least six people to carry the kite through the street. What followed was quite a site.


There were pets of all kinds...cute and adorable butterflies.
Unidentified creatures from who knows where.

Jellyfish on stilts.
Menacing furry infants

Bald bunnies!
Sweaty suspicious looking ducks

This little elephant was my favorite (besides my daughter) how cute is this!
Dragonflies on stilts eating giant worms


Here is Cammy in her cheetah costume that she made herself.....by the end of the parade she was saying that her face was melting off.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Second Week

Second Week in review: OK! so here it is Monday night and I am just now finishing my week in review. I never really knew we would be doing so much learning everyday around here. It's at times chaotic, occasionally peaceful (when Karma is napping), often entertaining especially on days when Dad is home, always full of creativity here at the Muddy Schoolhouse. This was one of the weekends when my husband Mark goes out of town to sell my pottery at several shows. That means I'm playing catch up for a few days. I don't get much time in the studio when he's gone. Karma is a goat....she will put anything in her mouth. There is hardly a day that we don't have to rescue something from her mouth....so the studio is off limits to the baby for now. I started writing this sometime last week and couldn't find the time to finish it until tonight.

Monday:I have a mild cold right now and am feeling like laying back down but I don't want to throw everyones rhythm off this early in the newly established routine....it's going beautifully. It was rainy this morning so we couldn't go for our morning walk around the triangle.
We baked homemade biscuits this morning. It took a good amount of measuring practice and we discussed the fractions associated with 1 cup and all the different ways to get to 1 cup. After breakfast we read our new poem on the chalkboard about the Fuzzy Wuzzy Caterpillar and Cammy copied it down into her journal. I got out the rubber stampers and she created a picture doing Ed Emberly style fingerprint caterpillars along with all sorts of other rubber stamp additions. We worked on geography in the Maps Globes and Graphs workbook. Worked on mapping with just shapes and colors to keep it simple. Worked on making a calendar for the start of the new month on Tuesday. Talked about capitalization rules for months and days and did a worksheet. Did some work on ABC order and also sequencing events and numbers.


Tuesday:
I had to go to town this morning to get some clay and glazes for the upcoming shows and orders. So school was on the road today. I quizzed Cammy on her spelling words from last week just out of curiosity. I did not test her last week. She has always been a strong speller ...probably better than me, Ha! She got all the words right except for one of the challenge words: neighborhood. Whenever I am in Wilmington I always have to stop at this thrift store called The Rescue Mission. Most of the time they have lots of toys and books and sometimes good kids clothes. It's the kind of thrift store where you go up with a pile of stuff and the guy says just gimme a buck mam. Gotta love it! I always walk away with a bag full of books for the kids. Cammy paid and practiced counting out her change to the man. We got back in time for me to still get to work in the studio.

Wednesday:
We walked the block this morning and talked about drawing a map of the block or in our case triangle. We counted houses and observed which side of the street they were on. Cammy drew a map of the triangle when we got back. We read The Secret Shortcut by Mark Teague because our triangle has a secret shortcut through the woods. Cammy hesitated to include the shortcut on the map because she didn't want anyone else to know about the path. Worked in our People and Places workbook in the chapter about neighborhoods. I had Cammy do a review page about finding things on calendars and she did a workbook page about whether or not to capitalize the names of the seasons.
We ate caterpillar snacks made of grapes(cut in half), raisins, pretzels, bananas, cheerios, puffs and honey.Mark did some music and movement with the girls when he got home from work. I could hear them on the baby monitor from the studio, I just wish I could have seen them.

Thursday:
It was a very nice cool morning. One of the first of many to come in fall. I can't wait. Cammy needed to get out some energy and I needed a good walk with Karma so we visited Jubilie today. Cammy rode her bike all the way there. Her confidence is building slowly. She fell right when we got to their driveway but didn't cry a bit. She was so proud of herself. On our way back we discovered that an army of fuzzy caterpillars had consumed half the grape vine overnight. So we started a caterpillar poem book when we got back. Cammy wrote a poem with one line for each letter of the word caterpillar. We did a little grid based mapping math work today. Cammy became a card carrying member of the library in town today. She was so happy:).She was only allowed to check out three books on her first visit. I was allowed to check out 24 books because I was already a member. She kept handing me books because she didn't want to waste her three....hers had to be the most special books of all that she found. She did great! She was choosing books on her own about what we are studying right now.

Friday:Ok! We are missing my husband Mark already but are trying to forge ahead on schedule.
We tried to go for a bike ride again today....Cammy's confidence of yesterday is completely gone. Before we could even get around the curve she was scared stiff, crying and unable to get off her bike. We had to walk it back to the house. Where did it go( the confidence of yesterday)? She pulled herself right out of her downward spiral by turning on the funny Cammy and rapped about her baby sister Karma the whole way home.
"Karma is my sister yeah that's her name and saying goo goo gaa gaa that's her game and it's gonna put her in the hall of fame. Yeah Karma is my sister and that's a tongue twister. " That was all I could remember...it changes every time she sings it for someone. She said on the way home that she wanted to be a rapper now and could someone be a rapper and a teacher. "Of course! Look at Daddy."
I recently brought down all of the play scarves from Cammy's dress up basket in her closet to a large basket in the living room. They have been the center of many hours of play as of late.So when we got back to the house I decided it was the right time to do some fun yoga I had been planning. Earlier this week we read Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar. We have been talking about the life cycle of the butterfly this week. We got out the colored mats when we got back. I had asked Cammy to curl up like an egg on the green mat.She went straight for the yellow mat wanting to be on a bright sunny flower instead. So I took the leaf and we sat curled like caterpillar eggs and rested. Then we hatched and stretched out on our bellies and became caterpillars wiggling across the floor eating our way through leaves and flowers (scarves and pillows). Then we wrapped ourselves up in scarves (Cammy folded herself up in the mat like a burrito) like we were forming a cocoon. Three weeks later (three long breaths later ) we unfurled our beautiful butterfly wings (scarves). I want to help Cammy plan a butterfly play to perform for her relatives and maybe the daycare up the street or the schools that Mark teaches at each week. I would like her to do this yoga as part of the performance while I read The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
We talked about symmetry vs. asymmetry today and Cammy colored a symmetrical butterfly. While she colored her butterfly I read the See How They Grow Butterfly book. All this talk of symmetry led me to my book The Reasons For The Seasons published by Little Brown Books. It has a lesson about feathers and symmetry. We examined our vulture or hawk feather closely and tried to figure out what part of the bird it fell from. We think it is from the mid wing area because of it's rounded tip. I let this lead us into a form drawing lesson that I just hadn't found the right time to introduce until now. We talked about how to use a feather for a quill pen and cut the tip off at an angle and got out the india ink and a small glass jar and I let Cammy do her form drawing lesson with her newly crafted quill pen. As she experimented with the forms she gravitated toward drawing bunny faces focusing on the circle. But upon closer examination she managed to design her bunny faces to incorporate all three of the forms we had just learned although she only talked about the circle. Cammy wanted to know more about writing with quill pens so we talked about the history of writing. let this lead us into a form drawing lesson that I just hadn't found the right time to introduce until now. Cammy really struggles with keeping her handwriting under control. I am really loving the way Waldorf introduces forms and letters and I wish Cammy had been introduced to it that way. However she was not....but I can certainly take the time now to reinforce what she does know with a deeper understanding of the forms that inhabit our world and our writing. Today was the first time I tried form drawing with Cammy. I introduced a circle : refering to the circle as symbolic of a hug or embrace, of a sense of being united like a community around you, of a the earth round and big, of being like an eyeball, etc. I also took the time to reference all of the letters that required the use of this form. This excited Cammy and she started shouting them out faster than I could write them on the chalkboard. I know I probably should have stopped at this one form for the day but I went ahead and taught her the other two that have been on the board since last week when we started this adventure. The others were a plus sign: symbolic of a crossroads or a compass since we are studying mapping and geography. The arrow was the last sign that I introduced. It was again introduced because of our unit study topic. Later in the day I referenced a book called Letterbox which is about the history of writing. Cammy was fascinated with this topic and that they used to write in clay and she laughed and said "What if? Mom- our whole table was covered in clay and we had to do our schoolwork and it got stuck in the clay?" All I could do for a minute was laugh. When we went back outside later in the day I showed her how to write with burnt sticks that had turned to charcoal. She loved this drawing for almost an hour....all the forms we had been working on.
We rented a movie today for our weekend without Dad. Cammy picked out Around The World in 80 Days with Jackie Chan saying it to the lady at checkout "We are studying about geography at home because my mom teaches me, we homeschool"

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The revenge of the caterpillars

OK! So the word must have gotten out that we ate caterpillars yesterday (grape and raisin ones) because when we went outside today a whole army of fuzzy little caterpillars were devouring my grapevine leaf by leaf. Justice served up caterpillar style.

Cammy thinks that the boys and the girls must be different colors...honestly I'm not sure. We are going to have to look this one up. Good thing we went to the library today and checked out every book I could find on butterflies and other creepy crawly insects.
Funny thing is this little guy looks just like he jumped right off the chalkboard inside...same stripes and everything.
Since the caterpillars seem to be dominating the scene we made a caterpillar poem book today. I had Cammy cut eleven large circles (about the size of a CD) in all different colors of construction paper, one for each letter of the word caterpillar. Then she wrote one line starting with each letter of the word caterpillar.
C-Caterpillars are cute.
A- A caterpillar is always eating leaves.
T-They turn into butterflies.
E-Evan is the name of my pet caterpillar.
R-Rose is my pet butterfly.
P-Pet butterflies are fun.
I-I love butterflies.
L-Love is what I have for butterflies.
L-Larvae is what a baby caterpillar is called.
A- A butterfly is pretty.
R-Rose is a pink butterfly.

It took her quite a while to work her way through this project and she did not have enough spirit left to copy the poem onto the circles. She still struggles quite a bit with her handwriting. I am wanting to introduce the Waldorf form drawing into lessons to help her get a better grasp on forming letters but don't quite know how to integrate it smoothly. I can usually wing things but I feel like I need a book on this one.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

We ate caterpillars today!

At the start of the week I was at a loss as to what to put on the chalkboard this week but then I found this little poem in one of our Kindermuzik handouts. It has fit with our continuing study of butterflies. So keeping with our theme we found a really cute snack recipe idea in the very same handout "A Garden Flower"


Yes it's true, we ate caterpillars today but not the kind you usually think of. These caterpillars were the snack creation of Cammy herself. I set her to task on making grape and raisin caterpillars for our snack today and she went to town....full creative license. She used bananas, grapes, raisins, pretzels, goldfish, honey and puffs to create her edible caterpillars. She loved it and so did Karma and I. Yum!!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Costume Party

Today I took the day off from working in the pottery studio which is almost always where you will find me If I can get in there. I decided a little cultural adventure was long overdue. I packed up the girls along with a laundry bag stuffed with old tights, fuzzy bath mats and any odd piece of clothing or fabric I didn't need anymore. We also packed up a laundry basket full of sculpture materials like broken toys, cardboard tubes and anything else odd. Why did we need such provisions....for "The Parade of Peculiar Pets" costume making street party of course. Karma was a big help...Ha! Lucky I knew the people in charge and they were friendly artists...they just laughed and let her at it. She is at this stage where she wants to help so badly. It's been great for clean up time at home but here it was chaos unleashed. She wanted to paint and draw and use the hot glue gun...yikes

Wouldn't you know it Karma headed straight for the wigs. She has also been wearing anything she can as a hat like a bowl lately.
If you have read my blog before you would know that this family has a proclivity to play dress up with wigs. This one is definitely one of the best pics yet.
Cammy however did not want anything to do with this wig!

Cammy jumped right on the stuff she wanted to use to make her costume. She saw some cheetah printed fuzzy fabric and instantly started making a cheetah mask to go with it. She did it all herself. Along with being an author she says she wants to be a fashion designer. She spends hours drawing dresses. Just today she asked me "If I design like two paper dolls with maybe four dresses to go with each of them and box them up could I sell them at your art show for five dollars?" Absolutely! I said.

Look at this beautiful Indonesian eagle kite. Cammy is so excited they said she could fly this one in the parade.
This enormous dragon kite is going to lead the parade procession and spans at least 15 feet wide and I have no idea how long?.
It was by far the most impressive and massive kite I have ever seen. Gorgeous!

Then there is me, a snail. It still needs a little work. There was no wire for the antennae but you get the overall concept at least. I just rolled up Karma's old crib bumper since we weren't using it and voila a snail shell. I actually let one of the local newspapers take a picture of me like this....oh well all you can do is laugh!
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