Saturday, 24 May 2014

May 2014: Thank goodness for books!

Monday 12th May - Sunday 18th May

Lovely warm, blue skied Autumn days returned this week, and Jack Frost visited again, dusting a light cover of delicate white crystals overnight. We love these Autumn days!

Unfortunately though, we have our first proper cold and cough this week. Thankfully the virus was only fairly mild, though the cough unpleasant. It has meant some self-initiated quarantine time so we don’t share the bugs with others, particularly those who would be hit harder than us, but it hasn’t been all bad being quarantined. We spent much of the week curled up on the couch, in pillow nests wrapped in donnas, reading.

We still got out and about a few times using the week. We went on a lovely forest walk to Arve River with dear friends (who don’t mind chancing our bugs). It was a lovely day and the boys had a wonderful time running through the magical, ferny forest. 

After our walk, we spent most of the time trying to get a campfire lit with wet, green wood, but we did it and the rest of the afternoon was devoted to cooking sausages, drinking hot chocolates, and toasting marshmallows over the campfire.

On the weekend, we ventured out to Richmond on a warm, windy afternoon to pick walnuts with friends. At the end of the day, when the walnuts were picked, weighed and divided, the lovely older couple who own the farm were delighted to answer all of the eager questions and show the boys how the walnut harvesting machinery worked. 

The highlight of their day? Cleaning the leaves out of the harvesting machine, of course!

The week ended on another high note - the delivery of my childhood piano <3 I have missed this old friend for so many years, and I’m thrilled to have it home finally. The boys are equally thrilled too, if the sounds of the din, I mean music, coming from the living room are any sort of judge! :D 

{ Language, Literature, & Literacy }

Leaves At Play
Scamper, little leaves, about,
In the autumn sun.
I can hear the old Wind shout,
Laughing, as you run,
And I haven’t any doubt,
That he likes the fun.

So run on and have your play,
Romp with all your might.
Dance across the autumn day,
When the sun is bright.
Soon you’ll hear the old Wind say,
“Little leaves, good night!”

Our self-imposed quarantine this week (and the fact all of us felt poorly) meant reading, reading and more reading, until my completely voice gave out! A trip to the post office to pick up a parcel, saw a pile of new books come home with us (I am a sucker for the Post Office book displays!). I bought an Australian classics pack which included most of my childhood favourites, although sadly not Mulga Bill’s Bicycle. I’ll have to keep a look out for that one :) Here is a selection of some of our favourite books this week...

'Under The Harvest Moon' by Stella Gurney
'The Dog Who Belonged To No One' by Amy Hest
'Snugglepot and Cuddlepie’ by May Gibbs
‘Clancy Of The Overflow’ by AB Paterson
‘The Man From Snowy River’ by AB Paterson
Chapter Book: ‘The House on Plum Creek’ by Laura Ingalls Wilder

We continued with our daily < Waldorf Essentials > stories also. However we only did a very short Circle Time this week, as no one had the voice or the energy to sing! 

{Handwork & Artwork }

This week we used the leaves we collected on Mothers Day in our handwork and artwork. We pressed the leaves overnight to keep them flat as they began to dry out, and the following day, we made pretty wax paper window hangings with them. 

Both boys placed their leaves into position, and then ironed the wax paper sheets together all by themselves (wax sides together in case anyone isn’t familiar with this technique). They were very proud of themselves. The window hangings are very beautiful, especially when the afternoon sun shines through them. We are planning on making a lantern or light shade out of one. Perhaps a project for the coming weeks?

We used more of the leaves for beeswax crayon leaf rubbings, and then painted crayon resist watercolour over the top, using just the primary colours yellow and red. 

Little Deer (4) spent a great deal of time on this project. I told a small story to accompany the painting about Red meeting his friend Yellow in the park to play with the Autumn leaves. Mousey Brown (5) quietly observed this story and continued painting. Little Deer  revelled in the story, expanding it as he painted and joyously danced the brush across the page delighting in bringing orange into the painting.

My reading this week: ‘Painting with Children’ by Brunhild Muller

{ Numbers & Mathematics }

We have been practising a lot of skip rope this week, with Mousey Brown (5) beginning to learn to skip alone. Mousey Brown and Little Deer (4) have also been practising skip rope with me swinging the rope (the other end tied to a chair) and Little Deer in particular is very proud of himself learning a new skill. As we jump, we count. We have also practising bouncing a balloon ball between partners or bouncing the ball on our own. We have also been playing kinaesthetic counting games using the balloon ball and bean bags - tossing, bouncing, catching, counting and skip counting. 

Both boys have been saving money to buy pavement chalk (so they tell me) and almost daily, the money boxes and wallets are emptied and the coins counted and recounted. Preschool children absorb math, whether it be playing Hide and Seek or dividing up treasures or food,  and so many of our daily activities expand math skills - recognising numbers in books or out and about, woodworking with daddy and measuring length, size, weight and amount, or simply cooking and baking in which they learn measurement and weight. Preschool math concepts are experimental, play-based, hands-on, every day life skills, and they are absorbing it all. 

{In The Kitchen }

We are beginning to harvest our own sunflowers and one of our favourite snacks at this time of year is sesame toasted sunflower seeds. They are a quick, easy and delicious snack and seem to please most fussy toddlers! Rich in healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, they are a great source of VitE and B, magnesium, selenium, and copper. 

We toast them in a little sesame oil, the boys stirring them continuously until they are slightly browned and deliciously tasty, then we sprinkle a little Celtic sea-salt on top and Voila! A healthy, delicious, fast snack food. 

As well as helping me prepare dinner and snacks, the boys have been preparing a nightly fruit salad for the family for dessert. 

{Hands-on Science: In The Bush & In The Garden}

The leaves on the deciduous trees have turned and shower down with each gust of wind. The last of the apples in the surrounding orchards have been harvested, and the neighbouring cherry orchards are dressed in flaming orange. 

Winter wattles are beginning to bloom, banskia cones abundant, and Australia’s only true winter deciduous native tree, the Tasmanian Fagus, is putting on her yearly show of Autumn beauty. Fungi are everywhere. 

In the garden, we are noticing which of the late Autumn seeds have germinated and we are harvesting the last of our sunflower heads. The blueberries which were so abundant with berries this year have turned flaming red.

We also finally companion-planted our garlic, in amongst the raspberries. Garlic is a great fungicide and insecticide and helps repel raspberry leaf eating aphid as well as a few other insect pests. We planted lots and are looking forward to a bigger crop this year! We go through an amazing amount of garlic in this household! :)

What are you planting in your garden this Autumn? 
Heidi x

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