Monday, April 29, 2019

Planning for the Currency Block

The classic Waldorf third grade Currency Block would not contain all of these elements. We worked with some extra content towards the end because we have a mixed age group. If you would like to plan a pure 3rd grade block, remove the advanced math. Operations with decimals is 5th grade math and the Business Math block (including reading graphs) is done in sixth grade.

Monday, April 15

  • read Pelle's New Suit by Elsa Beskow, first published in 1890
  • discuss examples of how Pelle traded (trade = exchange of services) with the various townspeople who helped him after Pelle sheared his lamb in the Spring and wanted a new suit made from his lamb's wool

Tuesday, April 16

  • review Pelle's New Suit
  • read The Apple Cake by Nienke van Hichtum

  • consider how this (incredibly sweet) story is different from yesterday's (as the old woman makes a series of "swops," always with a spirit of generosity and loving kindness) and discuss the idea of trade as exchange of services and barter as trade with goods

Thursday, April 18

  • review and add the terms Trade, Barter, Goods, and Services to MLB
  • read Hans in Luck by the Brothers Grimm, discuss the problem of unequal trades (what if someone tries to trick the other person? is it still an unfair trade if the other person is completely happy with it?)
  • Button Barter activity
  • The Button Barter activity was great fun!

    I have a large collection of vintage buttons which I keep layered in a glass trifle dish and, without looking, gave a handful to each child. They then had five minutes (although they could have gone for longer) and traded with one another for buttons that they liked. I told them that each person could keep ONE button at the end. Adding in the fact that they could keep a beautiful button for real was motivating and increased the seriousness of the trading. It was authentic, they had a really good time, it didn't cost me much in buttons, and it definitely helped reinforce the concept of barter.

    Even in just five minutes time I could see the evolution of bartering. The trades became more sophisticated. The children also started to create categories depending on value, sorting their buttons into piles of those that were worth one button or worth more than one button, and setting aside buttons they wouldn't trade at any price.

Friday, April 19

  • review Hans in Luck, read What the Old Man Does is Always Right by Hans Christian Anderson
  • add The Problem of Unequal Trades to the MLB
  • discuss the California Gold Rush, the invention of blue jeans from demin tent fabric by Levi Strauss, and the price of a glass of beer as a pinch of gold dust (Which Way to the Wild West? by Steve Sheinkin)

Monday, April 22 - Foreign Money Sharing

Today was an extra-special day because I opened up the entire afternoon for families to bring in and share any foreign money which they had at home.

Glass artist Chad Goodpastor, who specializes in lampwork, opened the sharing with his collection of elaborate Millefiori coins. He showed us many intricate examples and explained that their value is based on the time, materials, and skill level of the glass artist, as well as the rarity of the chip. Each design is handcreated using threads of colored glass stacked inside a hollow tube. The design is built up painstakingly. The entire tube is heated and pulled, and then cut into slices which can never be precisely duplicated.

Anything can be used as money if both parties agree on the value of it!

All in all we looked at money, including coins and bills, from the following countries and places:

  • Domican Republic
  • Hong Kong
  • Singapore
  • Malaysia
  • Haiti (both modern Haiti and colonial French Hayti)
  • Israel & Jerusalem
  • Mexico
  • Guatemala
  • Russia
  • Norway
  • France or Switzerland (a franc of unknown origin)
  • Finland
  • Holland
  • Ancient Rome
  • Great Britain
  • Spain
  • North Ireland
  • Japan
  • Hungary

We decided that we want to look up "currency," "penny," and "dollar" in SWI.

A family also brought in an interesting piece of U.S. money to share. It was a two cent piece from 1864. The oldest coin we saw had a certificate of authenticity as being from Ancient Rome. It was part of a family collection handed down through the generations. The remaining Ancient Roman coins were donated to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

Tuesday, April 23

  • add Precious Metals to MLB
  • read The Story of Money by Betsy Maestro

  • look at U.S. money, practice counting U.S. coins by adding up all the coins in my change jar (which turned out to be $11.11)

Thursday, April 25 - Field Trip

  • practice adding decimals using the Decimal Stamp Game
  • read Ideas about Choosing by John Maher
  • visit local small business: The Neighborhood Co-op Grocery
  • practice reading graphs (bar graph, line graph, circle graph)

Friday, April 26


  • SWI investigation of < currency >, < penny >, < dollar >

    < currency > is made up of the base < curren > + the suffix < cy >. According to etymonline this word is related to both < current > and < curriculum > and comes from the Latin currere meaning flow. It first meant the flow of ideas, and later came to mean the flow of money.

    < penny > appears to be a base and is from OE pening which is from Old High German pfenning. Pence is a plural of penny.

    < dollar > appears to also be a base and it too comes from German. Its root is tal which is a cognate with the English dal.

  • draft and add The Story of Money to MLB


Monday, April 29

  • practice subtracting decimals using the Decimal Stamp Game
  • review the stock market, explain the $10.00 commission cost for buying and selling stocks on the HTMW website
  • meet one on one with students to enter their stock portfolio picks into the computer (they each get $50,000 in virtual money to start with)

We will continue to play the stock market game until the last day of school. Students will have the opportunity each day to meet with me during recess to check on their portfolios and make more trades if desired. HTMW keeps track of the value of their virtual portfolios in real time, creates charts and graphs of their individual data, and arranges the value of everyone's portfolio on a leaderboard. The kids are really excited about this and I think everyone will enjoy the light-hearted competition!

Tuesday, April 30

  • review the stock market, explain the concept of interest for those children who are still keeping part of their $50,000 in cash
  • meet one on one with students to check on the value of their individual portfolios and make any desired changes
  • draft and add The Stock Market to MLB
  • finish Currency MLB with numbered pages, table of contents, and front and back covers

It was so interesting to see what everyone invested in. Here is the full list of the stocks they chose: KO, DIS, GOOG, AAPL, AMZN, NFLX, FB, PLAY, APC, AEE, DE, KR, MMM, INTC, NVDA, HOG, VZ, F, WMT, GME, MIK, and HLT.

Most of my students invested conservatively and chose to keep a lot of cash on hand. One child wanted to purchase shares in a company which wasn't listed and when we looked it up, we found an article from that day -- April 29, 2019 -- which explained that Beyond Meat is about to go public. It said that they expect to offer "8.75 million shares priced at $19 to $21 each. The company would raise $183.8 million at the top of that range." How exciting, and what a great opportunity for us to actually see a company go from being private to becoming publically traded. It's fun to see it happen in real time!

Today -- April 30, 2019 -- when I went to show that article to the whole class there had been an update! The article was changed to say, "increased the size of the deal on Tuesday and raised its price range, indicating a positive investor response to the deal. The company said in a regulatory filing that it plans to offer 9.5 million shares priced at $23 to $25 each. The original plan was to offer 8.75 million shares priced at $19 to $21 each. The company would raise $228 million at the midpoint of that price range."

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

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Early Springtime Pussy Willow Circle

Kroger had beautiful long stems of pussy willows in the floral department a few weeks ago and I just couldn't resist grabbing three bunches. I kept one in a vase with no water, to dry it, and kept the other two in water so that they would stay fresh and we could plant them in the low wet areas of my yard. It would be so wonderful to have a thicket of pussy willow bushes!

We worked this week with an Early Springtime Pussy Willow Circle composed by Laurie Clark and Clair Orphanides. Waldorf Circles are made up of seasonal poetry, classic nursery rhymes, finger plays, songs, and movement games. These are combined in a logical order to create an entire story made of movement. This Circle contains classic Mother Goose rhymes and more:

  • Hey, Diddle Diddle
  • Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat, Where Have You Been?
  • Three Little Kittens
    (Music for Little People 101 Toddler Favorites volume 4)
  • Little Robin Redbreast
  • Pussy Willow
    (seasonal poem - Spring by Wynstones Press page 29)
  • Grasshoppers Three
    (traditional song - Seven Times the Sun page 72, CD track 15)

For the last few weeks of the school year we will be working with Circles for well-loved traditional fairy tales ("Sweet Porridge" and "Goldilocks").

We continued with our Songs, Verses & Movement for classroom routines.

Circle Time

Monday, April 22

This morning I observed a new variation on play dough play unfold, as the children began rolling the circular plastic lids along the ground to see what paths they would take: straight or curved. Then they would race the lids across the room and see whose went the farthest.

Today I also set out my newest early childhood Montessori material. This material, the Third Box of Color Tablets, is for developing the sense of visual discrimination. It is tremendously visually appealing and Natalie had her hands in it as soon as I opened the box (she's 17). However, I have some steadily-increasing objections to the Montessori materials for early childhood. As I see my own students work with them, I am struck by their limitations. Montessori materials are always called a "work" and they truly are the opposite of play. Unlike the freedom of exploring -- like the play dough lids, which can become a toy in and of themself -- in a Montessori work there is just one correct way to use the material. You must get a lesson on the work and then do it in the way you have been taught.

I have consistently seen how, given the choice between a Montessori material and a Waldorf material, children are interested in the Montessori work first. It looks like there is something to do, and they want to do it. But once they see that they can do only one thing with it, the material holds their interest for only a short time. On the other hand, a Waldorf toy like a basket of silks or a basket of pine cones doesn't look like there's anything you are supposed to do with it. So for some children, this is off putting. But then when the imaginative play begin, these things are perfect because of their flexibility. Then the children are absorbed in the game and those open-ended materials now support many possible variations.

In the long term, I see that children are completely drawn into the Waldorf because of its fundamental belief that the work of the young child is play.

Outside, the main goal of the group was carrying our landscape timbers from the old path and putting them back under the magnolia tree in large piles, then finding new ways to climb into the tree and balance and swing from its branches. The timbers and the tree have been there since the first day of school... today, they were still played with in new ways. The older children are playing with the timbers in new ways too. Released from the path and back into the flow of play, the wooden pieces and some cardboard boxes are being used to construct a series of boats.

Follow the rule that a toy should be as open ended as possible (90% child and 10% toy) and the play materials can continue to expand and flow with your child's changing creativity and exploration. Our book club will read Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne over the summer and try to apply principles from it, then meet up in August to discuss.

In my Foundations study with the faculty at the Waldorf School of St. Louis we are currently reading The Kingdom of Childhood by Rudolf Steiner. I was very struck by his comments on how much curriculum for early childhood education is focused on being CLEVER, and is often very clever indeed, but that it does not often take into account the actual unfolding of child development. Instead of what we are teaching, the young child is actually taking in who we are. Think of the young child as a pure sense organism. So the question in all of this imitative stage from birth to the change of teeth is "Am I a person worth imitating?"

Tuesday, April 23

Another reflective day for me of observing play. I saw play with old favorites including blocks, musical instruments, Connectagons, the marble maze, paper and scissors (folding and cutting is still immensely popular), and the basket of silks and the Pikler Triangle.

Dr. Rudolf Steiner would say that young children are putting all of their energy into developing their will, and so you should not stop their play to say to them, "Why are you doing that?" They are working with their will forces and should not be pushed up into an academic evaluative realm. Dr. Maria Montessori would also say that a child should be allowed to choose the same work over and over if he or she wishes. We may not be able to see what learning is going on, but if a child is choosing it (even if it looks like endless repetition) then something is still drawing him or her to the material. When given freedom of choice, people don't choose to be bored. Therefore, if they are choosing something then they are still finding it interesting and so they are learning... and are to be given time to engage in it as long as they like.

I find it fascinating that the play with the Pikler (which I got from Table Manners Woodwork) is often about light and darkness. The children love to experiment with how the sheerness of our silks can create darkness -- even total blackness -- if enough of them are layered on top of one another. The play with the Pikler always revolves around two children being under it and reporting on how dark it is growing inside while two other children add silks and constantly ask about what it looks like from underneath. Then they trade places. I have seen the older children climb under the Pikler too and marvel at how dark it has become. So this play is not limited to small children!

Today we added two new plant growing experiments to our Nature table. Joining our avocado seed and sweet potato are the cut bases of bok choy and celery, each placed into a dish of water to see if they would grow new shoots and leaves. Then it was outside to the magnolia tree to hang from it as a little tree frog, march around it and guard the princess Becca (here, the tree was a castle) and, of course, be a dragon hatching from an egg. At first we thought it might be a griffin's nest but, as it turns out, the massive Nest we built of sticks last week is a perfect spot for baby dragons to be born.

Thursday, April 25

Earlier in the week I gave a dried stalk of pussy willow to each child who wanted to take one home. Today we took the ones which had been kept in water (and we even saw how a new branch and new leaves have erupted from one of the soft fuzzy catkins) and planted them in my yard. It was raining pretty hard at the time and so there was a lot of puddle jumping afterwards, plus joyful digging in the garden and making pots of mud stew. The kids in my group absolutely love the Puddle Pants and other raingear from A Toy Garden!

We also sang "I Love Catkins," track 6 from The Singing Year and read another pussy willow poem on page 31 of the Wynstones Spring book.

Having pussy willows where we play outside would be a wonderful sensory experience, along with lamb's ear, mint, and lavender. I would love to fill my yard with an abundance of sensory delights and welcome more suggestions!

Pussy Willows: Hard to Resist
Pussy Willow's Time to Shine

In indoor play, playing with my little wooden honeybees under the dining room table, and building a hive of play silks around around the table and covering the chairs, was again popular. Of course, today was also Fruit Salad day. Here was our list of group contributions this week:


We made two different dishes. The first was a cold treat based on some frozen strawberries which we macerated in a bit of sugar. Then I served the softened strawberries and their juices alongside organic vanilla yogurt. We also made a larger fruit salad with the other fruits. Both were so delicious! The older children enjoyed the dishes as well and each came to say thank you to the younger children who worked so hard preparing the food.

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

Friday, April 19, 2019

The Life Cycle of a Star

The last time I posted about Science Club was My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Noodles, so here are some updates for the month of April.

Friday, April 5

Friday, April 12

Today was exciting because the first-ever photograph of a black hole was released two days prior, on Wednesday, April 10th! The children had heard about it on the news. We reviewed gravity and touched briefly on black holes and decided to spend all of our next session, April 19th, on black holes.

Meanwhile, today we finished up our planetary artwork series with Saturn (making its amazingingly beautiful rings with glitter glue dots for the "countless particles sweeping around Saturn... chunks of 99 percent pure water ice sparkling brightly in the sunlight," as the What are Saturn's Rings Made Of? card stated) and then took a deep dive into some of the other interesting cards in the Photographic Card Deck of the Solar System.

I noted that many of the cards focused on the possibility of life elsewhere in our Solar System, particularly on the moons of the gas giants. We revisited microbes (remembering our two visits from SIU Microbiology professor Dr. Scott Hamilton-Brehm) and read Do Not Lick This Book by Idan Ben-Barak.

We read on the Where is the Solar System card that "The Sun is one of about 100 billion stars" in the Milky Way Galaxy and the Milky Way is "one of about 100 billion galaxies in the Observable Universe." I wrote the math problem 100,000,000,000 x 100,000,000,000 on the chalkboard and we calculated the answer (without scientific notation) and then read it aloud.

There are, in the Observable Universe, 10 sextillion stars.


We also added some of these photographic cards to our Solar System String as we calculated their distance from the Sun according to our own scale. The cards which we read were

  • Saturn's Rings
  • What are Saturn's Rings Made Of?
  • Genesis of the Rings
  • A Lightweight among Worlds
  • Where is the Solar System
  • The Life Plague
  • Pluto
  • Asteroid Belt
  • Eros
  • Ida
  • Itokawa
  • Jupiter and the Shoemaker Comet
  • Io
  • Io's Tides
  • Io: Pizza Moon
  • Europa
  • Europa's Hidden Ocean
  • Ganymede
  • Titan
  • Life on Titan?

Friday, April 19 - Black Hole Day

Thank you to SIU Chemistry professor Dr. Punit Kohli for letting me know about the Science Café talk on April 25th! This timing could not be better as it perfectly (and completely coincidentally) follows our Black Hole Day. Therefore, next week I highly encourage all of our students to go to this talk, and that field trip will be in lieu of our regular Science Club mtg.

Our Black Hole activities and explorations included a review of density as well as a look at the life cycle of a star.

Thursday, April 25 - Science Café Field Trip

Black hole tales from the edge of space and time

Free event hosted by The Science Center of Southern Illinois
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

The Rhythms of Easter

Easter is a unique holiday because it is celebrated on the morning of the first Sunday after the first Full Moon occurring on or after the Vernal Equinox.

It not only, in the Christian faith, honors the rhythms of birth and death but by being held when it is it honors the rhythms of the cycle of the Sun (Vernal Equinox), the cycle of the Moon (Full Moon), the cycle of the Week (Sunday), and the cycle of Day and Night (morning).

All week long we worked with some of the symbols of this Spring holiday.

The idea of rebirth is alluded to in the Easter Egg Hunt. The Easter Hare or bunny rabbit, the eggs, the newly green garden, and the sunrise time of the hunt are all symbols of fertility and new life. The Early Childhood group had special stories and projects; the older children also eagerly joined in to the crafts and had some extra ones of their own which were a bit more difficult.

If you want your child's projects to be a surprise, please wait to read this.

Circle Time

We continued with our Songs, Verses & Movement for classroom routines for the Early Childhood students.

Monday, April 15


Our Early Childhood students started their morning by looking at a Red-Breasted Nuthatch nest which a child brought in to share. We talked about the shape of the nest and its important job in holding the eggs and then baby birds. Then two different parents found broken robin's eggs in my yard: one by the front door and one by the back door! The one by the back door was very clearly from a bird which had hatched just this morning, so that was exciting to see. Chad helped the children gather sticks in the yard and they began a great big collaborative nest building art/sculpture/play project. I got this idea for A Nest for Kids from Tinkergarten. It was a huge hit and they intend to continue to add to it day by day. (As an aside, this is a great way to get all of the sticks picked up in your yard before you mow.)

Back inside, we had our morning play time (the big interest was in carding colorful wool and blending colors) and then read The Golden Egg Book by Margaret Wise Brown.

We started our Natural Egg Dyeing (Earthways, page 132) with onion skins during snack and then looked at the color of the eggs after the children came back in from their second round of outside play time.

When we looked at the beautiful color of our eggs, we also looked at some interesting chicken eggs which another child brought in to share. One was enormous and the family suspected it was a double-yolker. We cracked it open to see. It wasn't. The other was a tiny egg from a young chicken who had just begun to lay and the family suspected it had no yolk. We cracked it open to see and, indeed, it had no yolk! That was a big surprise to many.


Other projects for today included starting bowls of torn paper and water for papermaking (blue, green, yellow, orange, and red) and two Easter activities from All Year Round. These were afternoon choices for the older children. For our more difficult "Onion skin dye" project, we used the instructions on page 65, which called for us to wrap the eggs closely in layers of scraps of onion skin, then place the bundle in the toe of cut-up panty hose, then twist the stocking tightly closed and fasted it with a twist-tie. These were then boiled for 10 minutes. When we took off the twist-tie, the stocking, and the onion skin pieces, we found wonderful intricate swirly designs on the eggs!

For the "Magic tufty cones," which the children took home for their Nature tables and want to be a surprise for their families, I will only say that these take a lot of water (so you want a deep dish). You will also need a collection of largish pine cones. The book suggests using grass seed for this project but the germination of Granddaddy's grass seed has been erratic so I decided to go through my box of seed packets to find some sort of a substitute. It was actually quite nice to sit down and take the time to sort through my seeds. I threw away things which were a decade old, separated flowers and herbs from veggies, set aside the things I want to plant this year, and alphabetized the rest. For our "Magic Mix," we combined the contents of 14 seed packets, including dill, basil, lettuces, radicchio, kale, spinach, arugula, and leeks.

Tuesday, April 16


This morning we blended our five colors of pulp, added carrot seeds, and made beautifully colored homemade seed paper eggs. These are plantable paper, and I hope you get some carrots! We read one of my absolute favorite books for this time of year, The Bunny Who Found Easter by Charlotte Zolotow. I like the original 1959 version with illustrations by Betty Peterson.

Lastly, we dyed eggs with shaving cream. This couldn't be simpler! Unlike our natural dye recipes, where the eggs are cooked in the dye, you need to begin with hardcooked eggs. Just cook the desired number of eggs and let them cool, place an inch of shaving cream in a Pyrex casserole dish, squeeze splotches of food coloring on top of the shaving cream, and swirl the color around with a bamboo skewer. Roll each egg from one end of the dish to the other and place it (with colorful shaving cream still on it) on a paper towel. Let stand for about five minutes, then use more paper towels to take the shaving cream off. Voila! A beautifully dyed egg. Some are subtly colored all over, but if you have the food coloring strong enough and don't let the colors mix into each other too much, you will have a marbelized effect.

Yes, this will dye your child's hands a bit. But it is very simple and smells great. Then you can play with the leftover shaving cream in the bathtub!


  • "Natural Egg Dyeing: Red Cabbage" from Earthways, page 132

My older group was very excited to make shaving cream eggs and homemade plantable seed paper eggs as well this afternoon. In addition, I gave them a more challenging natural dye project. This involved red cabbage leaves. You wrap the uncooked egg tightly in red cabbage leaves and use rubber bands to hold the bundle of leaves in place. Boil for ten minutes. LET COOL. I burned my fingers a bit from the steam which was still coming out from under the cabbage leaves as I unwrapped them. Even if the outer leaf is cool to the touch there can still be steam trapped farther down. These make a pale color which turns a stronger blue when they are left to dry out in the air. Speckles and splatters of cabbage juice from neighboring eggs as they are unwrapped can also make a design. Leaving the eggs on a nest of hot cooked red cabbage leaves adds even more color. Subtle... but pretty.

Thursday, April 18


This morning I cut Easter baskets from paper lunch bags (a trick my mom showed me when I was little) and the children decorated them. They also puched gift tags out of paint chips. Martha Stewart has the largest paint chips and the prettiest colors. We liked Bay Leaf, Myrtle Blossom, Bluebird, Grape Jelly Bean, Violet Aster, Rosewater, and Pink Sea Salt.

After our first story and a wonderful Fruit Salad (with pear, grapes, banana, and plum) we went outside and climbed the mulch pile and carried mulch in the little wheelbarrow and little red wagon. Then it started raining harder and so we came inside for a second Easter tale, the wonderful (and ground-breaking for its time) story of The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes.


Easter baskets from paper bags was also the project for the afternoon, except that the older group of students had to do their own measuring and cutting. This was challenging for some but great practice in using a ruler.

Friday, April 19


The older children made two different kinds of cards with moving pictures as their final Easter projects. They were a bit complicated to make but they are so beautiful! Baskets are packed with homemade projects and our wonderful dyed eggs. I hope all of the families enjoy this weekend. Happy Spring!

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

Monday, April 15, 2019

Finishing Up Tall Tales & U.S. Geography

Coming to the end of this block, we spent time in the American Southwest and Northwest. Our complete list of tall characters included Captain Kidd, John Henry, Mike Fink and Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett, Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyan, Febold Feboldson, Kemp Morgan, Pecos Bill and Slewfoot Sue, and Finn MacCool. Which one was your child's favorite?

Monday, April 8

  • recall Febold Feboldson, read sections from Febold Feboldson: Tall Tales from the Great Plains compiled by Paul Beath

      mosquitoes, pp.17-18
      redwood trees, p.19
      Peruvian moulting goldfish, pp.27-28
      Kansas-Nebraska state line (Paul Bunyan), pp.28-29
      tornado, pp.34-35
      folding and unfolding house, pp.36-37
      fog, pp.38-40
      popcorn ball, pp.40-42
      rattlesnake cleft tongue, pp.44-45
      sea horses, pp.46-47
      Pecos Bill, p.51
      cactus (Arabella), pp.80-81

    The class so enjoyed Febold Feboldson -- especially the story about him hypnotizing the frogs -- and loved the dry Swedish sense of humor. It was a good contrast with some of our other tall tale heroes, where the storyteller drew a lot of attention to the exaggeration.

  • rough draft summary and illustration, add Febold Feboldson to MLB
  • use pp.15-16 of States and Capitals to take notes on the states and capitals of the Southwest Region (7 states)
  • read Kemp Morgan, the Hero of the Oil Fields: A Tale Told by the Oil Drillers of Oklahoma and Texas from Olive Beaupre Miller's book of Heroes, Outlaws & Funny Fellows of American Popular Tales

Tuesday, April 9

  • review Kemp Morgan, look at vintage photos of oil derricks and gushers, look at clips of film footage from Giant (1956 film with Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, and James Dean; rated G) of James Dean discovering oil and the fields full of oil pumpjacks moving in unison
  • rough draft summary and illustration, add Kemp Morgan to MLB
  • read Pecos Bill, the Cowboy: A Tall Tale of Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado as Told by American Cowboys from Olive Beaupre Miller's Heroes, Outlaws & Funny Fellows of American Popular Tales
  • listen to "Whoo-Pee Ti Yi Yo" from This Is The Way We Wash-a-Day by Mary Thienes-Schunemann, track #3

Thursday, April 11

Friday, April 12

  • recall Finn MacCool, read Finn MacCool, the Greatest of Civil Engineers: A Tale of the Grand Canyon of Arizona as Told by Irish Work Gangs and Civil Engineers from Olive Beaupre Miller's book of Heroes, Outlaws & Funny Fellows of American Popular Tales
  • rough draft summary and illustration, add Finn MacCool to MLB
  • use pp.15-16 of States and Capitals to take notes on the states and capitals of the Northwest Region (3 states)
  • read Paul Bunyan Goes West: A Tall Tale of North Dakota, Oregon, and Washington from Olive Beaupre Miller's book to finish the block

Monday, April 15

Today the children finished up their American Tall Tales main lesson books. This means that they numbered the pages, wrote the table of contents, and decorated the front and back covers of their books. They also had some additional time to work on completing ongoing U.S. Geography activities.

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

Crockpot Dyed Wool Instructions & Photos

Dyeing wool in a crockpot is one of my favorite dyeing activities. It is super kid-friendly, since they don't get too close to the heat. Since you want to use your crockpot again for food later, it doesn't use harsh chemicals. It uses materials you are likely to already have in your kitchen (like a crockpot, a knife, and a cutting board). It takes hardly any time to set up. And it is fun!

Click on any photo to enlarge it.  I hope my description makes you feel confident to try this.  Let me know the results of your own experimenting!

one crockpot per color
clean white wool
white vinegar
cutting board & knife
piece of clean cotton fabric (optional)

we started by carding our clean washed wool

then we made the labels for our crockpots
I wrote the words and the children added pictures

pencil grip before my correction

pencil grip after my correction

we chose to dye our wool with
Turmeric Root

Dandelion Blossoms

and Frozen Blueberries

put in a generous amount of the white wool into your crockpot
and put your dyestuff right on top of it

then add water until the crockpot is nearly full
and add a generous glug of white vinegar

making the labels was very fun!

so that we wouldn't get Blueberry skins in our wool,
I wrapped our berries in a piece of clean cotton cloth

I tied the bundle up very tight

I wish, in retrospect, that I had done this with the
Dandelion Blossoms as well, since they disintegrated

plug the crockpots in
turn them to Low for 10 or 12 hours
and then turn them off and leave them to cool overnight

you can also use powdered turmeric from your spice cabinet
but definitely wrap it in cloth to make a bundle or your
wool will be very gritty; the root was easier to deal with 

with Beetroot

Dandelion Blossoms
made an earthy green-brown

the Dandelion water was clear

Turmeric Root made a strong sunny golden yellow

the Turmeric water was also clear

Frozen Blueberries
made a deep rich purple

the Blueberry water was a surprising cherry red color
and we saw that the Blueberries dyed the cotton cloth purple as well

the berries have clearly lost some of their color to the wool