Sunday, February 14, 2021

Stories & Traditions for St. Valentine's Day

Zac will be six in May so he is in what Waldorf terms "Bridge," that time between Kindergarten and First Grade. There are lots of things you can do during Bridge and I have a Bridge page on my website. But what we have decided to focus on is a Charlotte Mason-inspired Nature Study program that we can use now as his "curriculum" and then continue with in grades 1 & 2. It is called Exploring Nature with Children and is available as a PDF download for $18.00. I am keeping book and activity notes on the Nature Study page on my website. And that is where all of my Candlemas notes are.

Today is St. Valentine's Day and since it is not mentioned in Exploring Nature with Children, I am suggesting some books and activities here. It's nice to have a blog! I'm actually thinking of starting a newsletter, like Suzanne Down has, where I can let people know if I've written a new Ruzuku course. The online courses are helpful when you're preparing for a new main lesson block and I'd like to write a lot more of them. It is a very economical way to get help from a consultant for just one block and, because it's a course, you also can hear from other people who are brainstorming their lessons on the same topic as well. Plus it's all written down so you can go back to it at any time. If you'd be interested in being on the mailing list for the newsletter, send me an email.

It is nice as a family tradition to have a heart-shaped basket on the Nature table with some slips of paper beside it in the week leading up to Valentine's Day. Everyone can write thank yous and nice notes to one another on the slips of paper all throughout the week and place them in the basket. Then open them up at dinnertime on Valentine's Day and read each one aloud.

If you are doing the story of Saint Valentine in Second Grade, I suggest

Valentine Stories & Ideas for Early Childhood

Suzanne Down has written an entire book of lovely Valentine Tales :

    1 - Miss Mouse and Bitty Bunny

    2 - Grandmother February

    3 - The Little Valentine Fox

    4 - A Million Valentines

    5 - The Shepherd Boy's Flute

    6 - The Valentine Princess and the Ice Witch

    7 - The Valentine Baker of Pink

    8 - The Happy Heart

    9 - The Donkey Prince

    10 - The Prairie Dog Valentines

    11 - The Postman's Special Day

    12 - The Valentine Box

    13 - A Warm and Cozy Home

in the back she has instructions and patterns to make a Valentine Baker Finger Puppet with a wooden bead head and a wool felt body; here is mine

note: Suzanne is not shipping any of her story books right now due to COVID

But, happily, "A Million Valentines" from Suzanne's book was also printed in Tell Me a Story, edited by Louise deForest, and it's on page 98. This story goes well with feeding the birds or making heart shapes with Nature objects.

"The Happy Heart" from Valentine Tales goes well with making a sun catcher

cut a large heart out of contact paper and cover it with little pieces of torn or cut colored tissue paper; put up in the window as a sun catcher

We love chapter VI, "Uncle Wiggly's Valentine," on page 38 of Uncle Wiggly's Story Book by Howard R. Garis (Zac's current bedtime chapter book), as well as Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli and You and Me by Martine Kindermans.

Many many years ago, when the girls were quite small (2, 3, and 4), I made a heart-shaped pinata by putting newspaper strips soaked in flour/water paste over a heart-shaped balloon from the grocery store. Initially, you have to leave a space where you don't cover the balloon; this is for filling it. After I popped and removed the balloon, I filled the pinata (with 50 hearts cut out of many colors of pure wool felt) and then covered up the empty space with more paper mache.

Then I took it to storytime at the local public library. I can't imagine what the librarians thought of me, showing up unbidden at their story time with an activity for the children to do, but they kindly allowed the children to do the pinata after all of the Valentine stories were read. And each child got to take home a felt heart. When I look back it seems pushy and demanding, but at the time I just wanted to do something sweet for my girls and I thought all of the children may as well enjoy it too. I think I just really missed being a teacher!!!!!

In past years, when students were here for school in-person, we traditionally made Handmade Seed Paper Valentines with tiny thyme seeds embedded in the paper pulp. "You're in my heart all the thyme." Full instructions are here.

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

Friday, January 15, 2021

My First Lazure Project aka Selling Extra Curriculum Materials on eBay

This slow-paced background story takes place over a span of fifteen years!

Scroll down to the bottom to see the list of all my current auctions on eBay.


    January - February
    long discussion in our Yahoo group about lazure how-to & links
    (Yahoo has now closed all groups but the notes are on my website)

    I'm determined to learn lazure so that I can be a real Waldorf mom

2018 (twelve years later)

    do-it-yourself lazure kit from Charles & Karen Andrade is at my door

    ok! now I can check something off of my Waldorf bucket list!

    March - November
    I procrastinate because I'm scared I will mess it up

    in fact, for months I don't even open the box

    this turns out to be a big problem because packed in the little box the brushes are not being stored correctly and so the bristles get warped
    (they should be stored standing up on the bristles, not lying down)

    I buy Dick Bruin and Attie Lichthart's new book, Painting at School: A Handbook for Elementary and Secondary Education in Waldorf Schools and discover that it has information about lazure in it, which gets me excited again. "Rudolf Steiner's color recommendations for school buildings," pp.67-71, explains how to do the technique and gives the color schemes recommended by Steiner for the Goethe School in Hamburg (1925), the Stuttgart barracks (1922-1923), and the London school (1925).

    Painting at School

    by Dick Bruin & Attie Lichthart

    I finally decide to move Zac out of his bedroom and lazure it
    (this is a safe project because it's the smallest room in the house; also it's my Winter Break so I have two weeks off from teaching and I'm confident I can get it done)

    Thursday, December 27
    patch hole in wall

    Saturday, December 28
    sand patch, wash walls, tape around windows, doors, and trim


    for the month of January
    prime Zac's walls and the black marker scribbles... over and over

    lazure must be done on a background of ABSOLUTELY PURE white

    I'm frustrated because I'm not getting it done very swiftly and, meanwhile, Zac has no bedroom

    Thursday, January 31
    ultimately I take off painter's tape and just move Zac back into his pure white bedroom

    February - August
    Zac, who is three years old, writes on the walls of his primed pure white bedroom, so we paint it Orchid House (from Valspar) and turn it into the Science Room for our homeschool co-op, Little Bluestem. I move Zac into my bedroom so that I can monitor him. When he stops writing on the walls of rooms, he can have his own bedroom again!

    One day while I'm teaching, Zac (still three years old) gets into the lazure supplies, because I left them out in the hallway, and opens the little bottles. Much of the paint ends up on the floor and is wasted.

    Sunday, September 1
    I decide that a bedroom, even a tiny one, is too ambitious of a project since I'm apparently terrified of lazure. I go looking for something smaller. I choose the one odd partial wall in our downstairs stairwell. This will be easy to get to and needs painting anyway, since it is currently covered with muddy fingerprints.


    Monday, January 4
    I decide that I am probably never going to lazure anything, so I add the paint (which is almost exactly like Stockmar concentrated watercolor paint) to the art room shelves and I put the brushes away in the attic. Just on the off chance that I will want them someday...

So, much of my life goes like this. I collect things eagerly -- like any other teacher and homeschooling mom -- and then there is a large discrepancy between what I own and what I actually use. Yet, many of the things I have would be useful to someone else! Lazure brushes are expensive and beautiful. They are not ever going in the trash. I feel the same way about the rest of my curriculum things, but there's a lot I don't use that I either bought, or someone donated to me, or I got several copies of it from back when the Lending Library was going strong (I have lots of duplicate books).

And therefore my New Year's Resolution is to spend January and February deep cleaning and organizing ALL of my teaching things and selling on eBay what I do not need. This includes my Library, all of my file cabinets, and my Art Room, Handwork Room, and Science Room.

It's a big job but COVID is the perfect time to do it. And, since I fall in the category of people who buy everything online that they possibly can, only pick up their groceries at the curb, and have not seen their family or had a haircut since last February, I will be shipping everything USPS Priority Mail in Flat Rate Shipping boxes that do not need to be weighed.

I can pack it all up neatly and carefully, pay for the shipping and schedule a pickup online, and set it out on my doorstep. Easy!

So my plan is to NOT write any blog posts until this job is done and to use this post as a place to update what I have listed on eBay in case anyone is interested in any of the auctions. I will put things together into lots, bundles, and kits, so even if you get a book you'll get a few bonus things with it that may be useful for a lesson. I will keep this list strictly up to date and if I know where something came from -- and it's still available -- I'll include the link to it. That way if you miss out on an auction you still know where to find it. And if I change my mind later and want to buy it again, I can! Enjoy!

My goal is to tidy & organize for 3 hours a day and list 3 auctions a day.
I used to be able to sell things on my Yahoo group but time marches on...


As of March 1st, our homeschool co-op is resuming in-person school in our Outdoor Classroom. I have spent more time than I expected preparing for that transition and less time sorting through my rooms of teaching things... however, I will commit to posting new listings on eBay each Saturday. Please check back and see if there's something new that interests you! I'll keep this blog post always up to date.

Early Childhood

Auction #294031977707


    Making Peg Dolls

    by Margaret Bloom
    plus The Gigantic Turnip by Aleksei Tolstoy, needle felted turnip, large felting sponge (8" x 10" x 2"), 2 felting needles, 3 packs of Ashford wool purchased from A Child's Dream: Corriedale Sliver Rainbow Brights, Corriedale Sliver Pastels, English Leicester Rainbow Brights

First Grade

First Grade and Higher

Auction #294035486402

Auction #293977071429

Auction #293997545685

Auction #294034374139

Second Grade

Auction #294003018511

Third Grade

Auction #294035444871

Auction #294032955782

Auction #294033025012

Auction #294031823685

Auction #294031822089

Auction #294031778419

    A New Coat for Anna

    by Harrier Ziefert
    plus wool batting dyed with blueberries, four colors of wool roving, a drop spindle, alpaca/silk fiber, and a bag of raw wool for washing

Fourth Grade

Fifth Grade

Auction #294035022073

Sixth Grade

Auction #294033734583

Auction #294026414081

Seventh Grade


    Older Than the Stars

    by Karen C. Fox
    plus "Parts of the Atom" nomenclature, "First 20 Elements" three part cards, molecule kit, and assorted element cards for board games and classroom activities

Eighth Grade

Auction #294026136309

High School


As of March 1st, our homeschool co-op is resuming in-person school in our Outdoor Classroom. I have spent more time than I expected preparing for that transition and less time sorting through my rooms of teaching things... however, I will commit to posting new listings on eBay each Saturday. Please check back and see if there's something new that interests you! I'll keep this blog post always up to date.

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