Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ball painting and muscadine grapes

Today in the country we stopped by our old house or rather our old garden, where some three years ago I planted an abundance of edible landscaping as well as medicinal plants. We planted a few muscadine grapes, which grow really well in this area, and for all the time we lived there picked only a hand full of grapes. Today when we came by we found the vines filled with the deep purple grapes and the children eagerly dropped their already gathered buckeyes (which Keenan quickly picked up again and stuffed in his pockets) and proceeded to pick a bag full of these sweet tart grapes. I could hardly believe the abundance. I hope to save a few seeds and take them with me, and plant new vines when we once again settle in a home of our own.
At the homeschooling class we played with balls, paint and canvas. I have already done a post similar to this here, but thought I would share again as it was such a success with the group.
We started with a big piece of parachute material for the children to get the idea and feeling in their bodies as to how to move the balls around the canvas. We did it wildly and softly, and the children LOVED it, there was lots of laughter, a great way to begin the project I thought
Cardboard was already taped to the canvases, and the children themselves added paint. We used a wide variety of balls, golf balls, tennis balls and bouncy balls. The ones with texture on the outside created especially wonderful designs. The secret I found was to know when to stop, although each and every canvas turned out amazingly beautiful. The children loved it and worked really well together. These beautiful pieces will be offered for a donation at an up coming Heritage fair (the neighboring county from here) in support of the coop.

We always finish the day with a picnic in the park outside, and a great tradition of this coop, is that each time everyone bring clothes, books and really anything that they no longer need or fit and we all trade, rather you take what you need. Today there was loads of apples, boxes of clothes and shoes as well as books. It is so wonderful to see how everything wanders around between the children and adults a like, and to see things you no longer need be of use to someone else, frugal living at its best.
~Happy evening to you~

Monday, September 27, 2010

A weather chart tree

Today we made a weather chart. The idea is that we each day add a leaf in a different color depending on the weather outside. Blue for rain, yellow for sunny, white for snow and deep orange for cloudy days.
As we were making it,  I kept thinking; here we are making a tree where we will be adding a leaf each day when outside the leafs are falling one by one and before we know it will all be gone. Yes well this is a weather chart I told myself, so that we at the end of a year can tell what kind of weather we have been having, bring awareness to the different variations and rhythms of the outside weather, and perhaps make other observations.
We started by drawing a large "naked" tree on some brown packing paper
while I cut it out, Kaleena made leaf rubbings by placing the leaf under a piece of paper and rubbing with her block crayons over it, they are so pretty and I thought it might be nice to make a pretty arrangement and perhaps frame some of these in old wooden frames, a project for another time..
we made a bunch for the four different types of weather
taped our tree to the wall
and Kaleena added the first leaf to the tree, a blue one given the rain outside
~a peaceful evening to you~

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The beauty that surrounds us

Today was a true autumn day, rainy, windy and temperatures in the 60ties, it was delicious.
These are a few images from our day
~a good evening to you~

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Michaelmas celebration

Today we celebrated Michaelmas with the local Waldorf community.
Michaelmas is named for Saint Michael, one of the four archangels, he is the angle of courage, the angle of the fight against evil. This celebration, as I understand it, invites us to take courage for the long dark winter ahead from saint Michael. I must confess that while I have for years now celebrated many of the festivals significant to the seasons and certain holidays especially in the Waldorf tradition, this was my first Michaelmas, so for a more in depth explanation of this wonderful celebration please look here
It was indeed a lovely celebration with every attention to detail
There were beautiful crafts for the children to do, weaving a fairy loom 
and making wet felted comet balls
 what really got my children, truly all the children, very engaged was the apple cider pressing. Everyone helped, first a few then everyone, and it was wonderful to see how quickly they got a system down. One would put the apples into the water, then many hands would wash them and put them into the dry tub. Once enough apples were cleaned, the children took turns adding the apples into the press, where they were first crushed by one the arm power of one of the children. Once the bucket underneath was full with the crushed apples, a lid was fixed to the bucket (and here I run out of proper vocabulary for this) and with  the help of a dasher of sort (?) and a horizontal cross bar, pressed by the children walking around the bucket pushing the bar (hope that made sense:)) And finally drinking the freshly pressed juice. It was wonderful the entire process, all we needed to complete the experience was to have just returned from the tree picking the apples ourselves 

Then came story time, a puppet show about Saint Michael and the dragon, it was made even more special by all the children following "mother nature", hand in hand, through a little forrest path to a shelter where the scene was set up for the play. The show was beautifully played and the children sat fully engaged  
with the story. Once the puppet story was finished and while singing a song together everyone helped move the benches to the side to make room for a big circle, if a thunderstorm had not just descended upon the roofs of the shelter we would have surely done the circle outside. We all learned two simple verses about St Michael which we all sang together, I had chills it was so beautiful. And as a completion, a dragon appeared which was then defeated by the courageous St Michael.
Then we shared a potluck dinner of yummy foods, while the rain drummed on the roof, and of course the children so full of excitement all ran into the rain, splashing in puddles running and jumping. It was a joy to behold. What childhood is all about.
I give thanks to all the beautiful families who helped put this wonderful celebration together. 
It was a lovely to participate.
It was lovely, truly lovely. Arranged with true intention, and this was felt by the children.
My favorite parts about Waldorf has always been the attention to natural beauty, to nature, to simplicity, the attention to the whole (be that a person or a process) and not least the reverence given to the task at hand, this festival represented all of those things, and I feel this goes a long way to help our children grow into sincere and caring adults, with a true connection to nature and world around them.

~thanks for coming by, and a beautiful rest of the weekend to you~