Sunday, July 29, 2018

Summer Vacation

Well, my summer vacation is drawing to a close and as soon as my car is out of the shop we will be heading back to Illinois. Zac and I had a great month at the beach! We did tons of visits with family and friends (including his two remaining great-grandparents, one 96 and one 98), walked on the beach and played in the water and sand, picked wild raspberries, swung on the swings and slid down the slide at the playground within walking distance, played and played and played some more, cooked together, and read books.

We made play dough and a rainstick sensory bottle and Grape Juice Squares and we baked cakes and Hot Cross Buns.

We squeezed lemons and made Perfect Lemonade from scratch.

We had a dance party on the day it poured down rain (5 1/2 inches) and then went out and jumped in puddles after the rainstorm ended.

We watched chickens run around in a friend’s yard and looked for tadpoles and listened to Old Grandfather Frog say chugarum.

We hiked Laurel Loop on the American Chestnut Land Trust, visited the Annmarie Sculpture Garden and the Calvert Marine Museum, cruised on the William B. Tennyson, played at the tire playground at Calvert Cliffs State Park, and walked through the Battle Creek Cypress Swamp.

We went down to the beach on the Fourth of July and watched the fireworks displays all around the Chesapeake Bay and even had some go off right over our heads!

We went to a crab feast and Zac learned how to pick crabs.

We watched a horseshoes tournament, went to an ice cream social and a pancake breakfast and an International Potluck (not all at the same time), and ate a picnic dinner and listened to a band play at the Concert on the Green. Zac spent an earnest evening there at the Softball Field very happily filling a construction cone with dried grass, along with his friend Thaddeus. Zac also participated in his very first Community House Game this year: the Egg & Spoon Race for the 5 and under category.

And we relaxed.

I learned how to play cribbage this summer, which made me very happy. I also took my Real Script class via Zoom with Rebecca Loveless and spent the month practicing my new penmanship! I also got to sit down and actually read some of my new books. I don’t have much time to read at home!

Putting Pen to Paper:
A New Approach to Handwriting

Scientists’ Cliffs always has a big Auction every summer and this year, because the car broke down, we were here for it. I am definitely leaving with more than I brought with me, including

    two bookcases
    a terrarium
    a child size snow shovel
    a guitar for Becca
    two easels
    Ravensburger Alphabet Zoop
    Haba Socken Zocken
    a sound cannon
    a bird feeder
    a stock pot
    two loaf pans
    two spray bottles for the mud kitchen
    wall art
    a pincushion
    a box of buttons
    a Pampered Chef ceramic baking dish
    two huge pinecones
    three candleholders
    a whisk and a ladle for the mud kitchen
    two baskets
    some fabric
    a bag of old-fashioned clothespins

We got a ton of stuff and only spent $5.00!!!! If you go the next morning, all of the things which haven’t yet sold are available for free, so that’s pretty amazing. We were right up there at 9 am, looking around to see what was left over. Zac got the two things he really wanted, which were a BIG ride-on Tonka fire truck and a green child-sized John Deere wheelbarrow. He was so pleased. The Auction was the perfect wrap-up to our time here.

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Songs for Baking

Zac, age three, is by far the most musical of my four children.

My oldest two did Kindermusik, my third daughter did Music Together, and Zac has done Baby Suzuki. He loves the song Hot Cross Buns and is forever tapping things with sticks and telling me he is playing me Hot Cross Buns. Playground? Tapping the slide with a stick. Breakfast on the screen porch? Tapping the chair with a stick.

The other day when I was going through books and making notes for The 12 Professions, I found a simple recipe for Hot Cross Buns. It’s in A Child’s Seasonal Treasury on page 111. We cut the recipe in half — which will give you 8 buns — and joyfully made it. It was a lovely morning. Proof yeast, mix dry ingredients, mix remaining ingredients, knead dough, set it on the porch to rise on a pretty summer day. Have lunch and a bath. Check on the dough, see that it is doubled, punch it down, form it into rolls, and then Zac went off to have his nap while the rolls doubled, I baked them, and I made the glaze. When he wakes up, the rolls are cooled, the glaze is cooled, and he can help put the extra sweetness on top.

Tip: Although you measure and pour the wet and dry ingredients together with your child, it can be helpful if you get a few quiet moments to stir them together to form the dough. So, during this time let your child draw pictures in a little bit of flour which you’ve placed on the tabletop. (I got this tip from the Waldorf School of St. Louis.) Then sprinkle the tabletop with more flour and turn out the dough for kneading and let him get his hands in it!

Songs for Baking

    Before starting to bake,
    Hot Cross Buns (of course)
    The Singing Year, track 11

    While washing hands,
    It’s Time to Put Our Aprons On
    The Singing Day, track 21

    While proofing the yeast,
    Lovely Yeast Go to Bed
    The Singing Day, track 18

    While kneading the dough the first time,
    We Roll It, We Roll It
    (verses 1 and 2 and make up more motion words while kneading)
    The Singing Day, track 19

    While kneading the dough the second time,
    We Roll It, We Roll It (all 3 verses)
    The Singing Day, track 19


Of course, you have to have graces. Zac is fond of singing Welcome to Our Table, from Let Us Form a Ring (this song is on disc 2 of their CD set). I like the poem by Alice Henderson called “The Harvest” and it’s a good fit for bread baking day. Other favorites are

The more I use Candy Verney’s books the more pleased I am with them, especially since so many Waldorf books include sheet music but NOT CDs! She does, which I love since I am someone who can’t read sheet music. She also includes men, women, and children’s voices in the songs. And she includes lots of practical recommendations for how to fold the songs into your daily living. Lately I’ve been thinking of changing around my early childhood booklist to have The Singing Day and The Singing Year at the core, along with Festivals Family and Food.

You could absolutely stop there if you just want simplicity, help with rhythms and festivals, and you have a little one who is more Preschool than Kindy…

Or add Earthways, Around the World with Finger Puppet Animals, The Breathing Circle, Movement Journeys & Circle Adventures (1&2), and A Child’s Seasonal Treasury if you want to go full-on into Circle Time. For either list, I love the book Let’s Talk, Let’s Play: Helping Children Learn How to Learn from Life by Jane Winslow Eliot and it’s available FREE as a PDF from the Online Waldorf Library. (There are lots of other great books available there as well.) And, of course, subscribe to Suzanne Down’s wonderful FREE monthly newsletter with early childhood stories!

As of 06/26/18, these prices for these packages would be

child development, daily and seasonal rhythms, festivals

child development, daily and seasonal rhythms, festivals + lots of resources for Circle Time

If you don’t already have them, you will need to get toys such as play silks, craft supplies such as wool roving and pure wool felt, and art supplies such as watercolor paints and paper, clay, modeling beeswax, and block beeswax crayons.

There are more and more Waldorf resources available online. The Online Curriculum Project is something that I started for a client in India who wanted Waldorf resources for Early Childhood and, obviously, shipping books to India is expensive! So I made her a list of things she could access via the internet. Check it out... you may find a favorite new link! Or if I've missed something, feel free to make a suggestion and I'll update the page.

This post contains affiliate links to materials I truly use for homeschooling. Qualifying purchases provide me with revenue. Thank you for your support!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Shell Seeker

I am still working on my master list of verses and movement activities for worker circles and updating my blog post about The 12 Professions. When reading through The Breathing Circle: Learning through the Movement of the Natural Breath today, several of the verses caught my eye as being a really good fit for the latest story from Suzanne Down’s early childhood puppetry newsletter. The story is The Shell Seeker and it takes place on a beach. Zac and I have been taking a break from Circle Time while on vacation but I miss it and would like to bring it back. What better topic for a beach vacation than a beach circle, and here are the verses and movement activities which jump out at me from The Breathing Circle:

    Rocks to Stones, page 84
    Swooping Gulls, page 91
    Rolling Seals, page 92
    The Mermaid’s Purse, page 103
    The Tide Comes In and the Tide Goes Out, page 104

Of course you could also have needle felted puppets while you tell the story (Suzanne makes some to go with this story) but I think the best thing to have with this story would be an enormously big beautiful shell.

Day One
do Rocks to Stones verse to introduce story

tell story

Day Two
do Rocks to Stones verse to introduce story

begin story, stop after first sentence of paragraph two to say, "sometimes she would see Swooping Gulls"

do Swooping Gulls verse, then continue story to end

Day Three
do Rocks to Stones verse to introduce story

begin story, stop after first sentence of paragraph two to say, "sometimes she would see Swooping Gulls"

do Swooping Gulls verse

say, "sometimes she would see Rolling Seals"

do Rolling Seals verse, then continue story to end

Day Four
do Rocks to Stones verse to introduce story

begin story, stop after first sentence of paragraph two to say, "sometimes she would see Swooping Gulls"

do Swooping Gulls verse

say, "sometimes she would see Rolling Seals"

do Rolling Seals verse

say, "she would watch the tides go in and out"

do The Tide Comes In and the Tide Goes Out, then continue story to end

This post contains affiliate links to materials I truly use for homeschooling. Qualifying purchases provide me with revenue. Thank you for your support!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Housebuilding Camp Planning Notes

I'm getting really excited about my next camp, which is based on the Waldorf 3rd grade Housebuilding block!

We are using some of the wonderful Montessori materials from Waseca Biomes, which specializes in Geography materials.

I am particularly thinking about their Biomes of the World Map (which is canvas and rolls up and stores in a bag) and the Biome Continent Cards. You can use these three part cards in so many ways, but one of the things I’ve always wanted to do but never done is to pull the cards for one biome across all continents and lay them out and compare them side by side. Their cards are great for research and feature animals (one invertebrate, one fish, one amphibian, one reptile, one bird, one mammal) and one plant from every biome on every continent PLUS how the indigenous peoples of that biome met their fundamental needs (food, shelter, clothing, transportation, etc.)

So in this camp we will do a combination of things. We will read books and we will do a MLB of our favorite kinds of shelters around the world. We will make models of different kinds of houses and gradually create a museum. We will also examine the Shelter cards one biome at a time and lay them out and display them on the correct continents on the Biomes of the World Map as one of our exhibits at the Expo / Museum Walk. What a wonderful visual!

The biomes list simply takes us through the set of 8 in order. (I would also like to make biome maps of the different continents using the Map Legend Stamp and the new Continent Stencils from Waseca Biomes!) The book list follows the biomes list by going further into a few key examples of housebuilding in each biome (as well as covering a variety of other houses each time), and also sparks the projects which go along with each biome.

I’d love other suggestions so if you think of something, let me know! All of my Linear Measurement & Housebuilding notes are organized on my website.


    Monday - desert, grasslands

    Tuesday - temperate forest, tropical forest

    Wednesday - wetland, mountains

    Thursday - polar regions, ocean

    Friday - final project day, field trip, Expo / Museum Walk


This variety of books gives us so many examples of illustration styles. It would be great if we could add illustrations to the MLB that were in the style of the book that inspired them! It would so fun to take a black & white photo of our attempts at a sugar cube igloo (which is hard because the blocks are the wrong shape... important for kids to learn) and we would have time to develop it and put it in the book before Friday afternoon when kids go home.

Note: There are lots of other field trip possibilities for a topic like this and originally I was thinking about a morning field trip each day (yurt, tiny house, straw bale house, etc.) but I think spending our time in model making and creating a museum will be more fun. I can always recommend several field trips to families as a great way to follow up on camp!

This post contains affiliate links to materials I truly use for homeschooling. Qualifying purchases provide me with revenue. Thank you for your support!