Tuesday, 18 March 2014

March 2014: Learning. Playing. Camping.

Monday 10th March - Sunday 16th March

I'm not sure where this week disappeared to, to be honest! It flew past in the blink of an eye. I guess a week which begins with a public holiday will do that :) 

Our week at home was lovely. We’ve been learning much, in a gentle way. We’ve had plenty of time for stories and books and outdoor play. And as to the fear so many people seem to have that homeschooled children aren’t socialised enough? Well, between our active weekends, a mid-week playdate, school on Wednesday morning, playgroup Friday morning, and Thursday's alternating between a regular catchup with friends, a natural learners co-op, or a new Waldorf playgroup that is just starting up, I am having to decline social events, just so we have some days at home! I’m sure some of this has to do with the age my two are, but still, there is no danger of isolated, unsocialised children here!

Speaking of active weekends, we finished up the week by spending a wonderful weekend away camping with 3 other families at Fortesque Bay on the beautiful Tasman Peninsula. Swims, walks along the beach, a kayak, toasting marshmallows over the campfire, tents, bikes, play, play, and more play! And the children's highlight on Saturday: a pirate birthday party complete with a hunt for buried treasure! So much fun.

We even made it back to Hobart in time on Sunday afternoon to visit the Hobart Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show, much to Mousey Brown’s delight. He spent a lovely afternoon looking at fossils and gemstones and speaking with the collectors. He met a lovely, very elderly gentleman, who spent some time showing Mousey Brown his collection and telling him stories of his adventures finding them. He  even gave him a handful of specimens to take home for his own collection! Mousey Brown was thrilled and I think his interest delighted the elderly man in turn. Healthy socialisation doesn’t only happen with those in the same age cohort! 

{ Circle Time this week }

We have continued enjoying circle time together most mornings. We have the occasional morning when the day isn’t flowing or the boys are busy with other projects, so on those days we let go of the “need" to follow a schedule and we flow with it, incorporating songs and finger plays into our daily routine instead. 

Most days though we all enjoy sitting down to Circle Time, and I love the fact it gets their ‘wriggles’ all out and then they are able to focus their attention much more on the story and activity that follows. Moving on to our main activity after story, seems like a natural progression for us. The boys are keen and ready to ‘do’.

{ Autumn Circle Time }

Opening (Action Song)
Good morning to the sun up in the sky,
Good morning to the birds as they fly on by.
Good morning to the tree so straight and tall,
Good morning to the nest where the possum rests
Good morning everyone.

* * * * * * * *

O Dandelion (Verse)
O Dandelion, yellow as gold, what do you do all day?
“I just wait here in the tall, green grass, ’till the children come to play.”
O Dandelion, yellow as gold, what do you do all night?
“I wait and wait, while the cool dew falls, and my hair grows long and white.”
And what do you do when your hair grows white, and the children come to play?
“They take me in their dimpled hands, and blow my hair away!”

* * * * * * * *

Windy (Action Song)
Like a leaf or a feather, 
in the windy, windy, weather 
We will whirl around and twirl around, 
And all fall down together.

* * * * * * * *

Go Wind, Blow! (Verse)
Go wind, blow!
Push wind, swish!
Shake things, take things,
Make things fly!
Ring things, swing things
Fling things high.

Go wind, blow.
Push wind, whee!
No wind, no
Don’t push me!

* * * * * * * *

Scarecrow (Action Song)
When all the cows were sleeping

And the sun had gone to bed

Up jumped the scarecrow

And this is what he said!

I'm a dingle, dangle scarecrow

With a flippy floppy hat

I can shake my hands like this

And shake my feet like that.

When all the hens were roosting

And the moon behind the cloud

Up jumped the scarecrow

And shouted very loud.

I'm a dingle, dangle scarecrow

When the dogs were in the kennels

And the doves were in the loft

Up jumped the scarecrow

And whispered very soft.

I'm a dingle, dangle scarecrow

* * * * * * * *

Two Little Blackbirds (Fingerplay)

Two little black birds sitting on a wall. 
One named Peter and one named Paul 
Fly away Peter. Fly away Paul
Come back Peter. Come back Paul

Two little black birds sitting on a cloud
One named quiet and one named loud
Fly away quiet. Fly away loud
Come back quiet. Come back loud

Two little black birds sitting down low
One name fast and one named slow
Fly away fast. Fly away slow
Come back fast. Come back slow.

* * * * * * * *

This is a house for a robin
(make a nest with hands)

This is a hive for a bee
(two fists together to make a hive)

This is a hole for a bunny
(thumbs and pointers on both hands to make hole)

And this is a house for me!
(Arms and hands form roof overhead) 

* * * * * * * *

Pygmy Possum (Fingerplay)
Here is a tree-hole.
(Bend fingers on one hand) 
Inside is a Possum.
(Put thumb inside fingers.) 
See she comes out
(Pop out thumb)
When Banksia blossoms. 

She stays out all summer 
In sunshine and heat. 
She hunts in the bush 
(Mimic picking and eating berries)
For berries to eat. 

When snow starts to fall. 
(fingers fluttering moving side to side)
She hurries inside
(Bend fingers of one hand)
her warm little home
And there she will hide. 
(Put thumb inside fingers.)

Snow covers the ground 
(Place one hand over the other.)
Like a fluffy white rug. 
Inside Possum sleeps 
(pretend to be sleeping)
All cozy and snug.

* * * * * * * *

 Autumn (Closing Verse)
Yellow the bracken,
Golden the sheaves.
Rosy the apples,
Crimson the leaves.
Mist on the hillside,
Clouds grey and white.
Autumn, good morning!
Summer good night!

* * * * * * * *

{ Story Time this week }

We’ve continued with The Little Red House story from last week, which the boys enjoy listening to during morning tea as we cut an apple into ‘star wheels’, and now we are also picking up some stories from Waldorf Essentials Autumn curriculum. 

It’s funny when you live in the Southern Hemisphere as there is such as mismatch between the festivals of the year and the seasons. Christmas is mid-summer and Easter in Autumn, so many of the borrowed traditions from the Northern Hemisphere feel so out of place. There is nothing like singing ‘Let it snow!’ at Christmas time while spending days in the hot sun at the beach :D I have been modifying the Waldorf Essentials stories to suit our topsy-turvy year. So we are not celebrating Michelmas, like the Northern Hemisphere do in their fall, but we are focusing instead on getting ready for harvest celebrations as the Autumn Equinox is coming soon. Next week in fact! And the evenings are noticeably drawing in to give testament to the fact.  

Mousey Brown (5) has been enjoying the injection of new Autumn stories and activities, and has been working on his own 'Adventures of Mousey Brown’ series, illustrating and dictating short stories for us to write down for him. It’s a delightful activity to do together. 

{ Activities this week }

We’ve continued enjoying modelling this week - beeswax modelling almost daily, and air-dry clay modelling with a bit of extra water for a extra wonderful sensory experience. 

Mousey Brown (5) was deeply focussed on a project he wanted to do: make a pirate in a ship for our pirate party birthday weekend. 

Little Deer (3) enjoyed the sensory experience of squishing, rolling, pounding, poking and rubbing it all over his body and in his hair! Needless to say, baths were in order afterwards :D

There has been a lot of cutting and pasting crafts this week, as well as drawing with new beeswax crayons. I don't ask them to ‘do’ anything in particular when we get our art and craft supplies out. Instead I sit alongside them and work with clay or beeswax, or drawing and painting. I’ll often incorporate something from our Circle Time songs or our story in my handwork, but I like to give them the creative space to do as they wish. 
Argh me hearties! This be a pirate parrot!

Mousey Brown never fails to amaze me with his creative ideas. This week he made a wind chime from toilet paper rolls, twine and the old metal wheels of a fancy biscuit tin. We hung his chime out by the front door, and they make a lovely tinkling sound in the Autumn wind. He made ‘slippers’ from paper one morning, and a homemade ‘kaleidoscope' using a toilet roll, sticky tape, a medicine cup and colourful beads. 

His finger knitting is gaining more control and speed as he becomes more confident and his fingers ‘learn’ the rhythm.

{ In the Kitchen this week }

We always make this spicy cookie at Christmas time, but in the heat of summer, it never feels quite right eating hot, spicy ginger bread. So we make gingerbread as the weather turns cooler. It’s a lovely Autumn tradition. I have told the story of the Gingerbread Man over and over this week.

{ My Spiced Gingerbread Recipe }

3 cups plain flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
2 tablespoon ground ginger (more if you like!)
1teaspoon ground cloves
teaspoon ground allspice
teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
125 grams butter
4 tablespoons golden syrup
1 egg, lightly whisked
Dried fruit to decorate

Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius
Sift dry ingredients and rub in butter.
Warm golden syrup and add to mix.
Add lightly whisked egg and knead until smooth. 
Note: you may need to add some extra moisture if dough is too dry, 
depending on how much extra spice is added.
Roll out onto floured surface to approx. 3mm thickness.
Cut and lift carefully onto baking paper or a lightly greased tray.
Decorate if desired.
Bake at 190 for 10-15 minutes.
Cool on wire rack.

{ In the Garden this week }

The days are still warm, occasionally hot, and while we’ve had one thunderstorm this week and a tiny sprinkle of rain, the bush and garden are still so very dry. We ran out of tank water early in the week, so bought a 1/4 tankful to hopefully tide us over until it rains. Hopefully that is soon!

We continued harvesting zucchini, herbs, seed collecting, eggplant, chilli and goji berries. We thinned out tomatoes, nipping buds and removing flowers in the hope the green tomatoes will ripen before the Autumn frosts. We are water starving them a little now to hopefully encourage them to ripen.

Little Deer (3) was stung by a bee this week. A nasty surprise when he picked a yellow marigold to sprinkle the petals over me to ‘marry me’ as he likes to do :) Some cuddles and ice and a story or two later, he was bouncing around the garden again. 

{ On the Farm this week }

Our much anticipated order of 8 advanced junipers arrived this week. They are lovely, healthy looking plants covered in berries. We are happy they survived the trip from Melbourne so well, including the extended time in quarantine, and we are looking forward to planting them. We need to make more wildlife proof cages for them first.

We have also received 30 seeds from the UK and have plans to build ourselves a propagating glass house over Autumn and Winter this year. It will be interesting to see how we go with the seeds. I imagine it will be a little hit and miss. Exciting plans ahead for this Autumn!

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