Friday, December 31, 2021

Project: Get These Open Tabs Off My Phone!

Wow. I keep hitting 500 open windows on my phone and I've finally decided I need to move these links somewhere else. Like to here. I have been suffering from near-crippling anxiety about COVID for the past two years and I spend way too much time reading the news. Of course it started, way back in February 2020, because I run a school and had to stay informed in order to make decisions for my program, but it morphed into doomscrolling.

This long long amount of time spent in worry also has made me feel like I have to save a bunch of articles because I think they're really important. Whether they are or not I have no ability to tell, because it isn't in the past yet so I don't have any distance or clarity. But what I'd really like is for the only open tabs on my phone to be the recipes I'm planning to make.

Searching for the recipes in my open tabs and having to scroll through so much doom and gloom to get there has become really problematic for me. So this de-clutter is part of my mental health time over the Winter Break. I'm putting these here to clean out my phone but so that I don't lose them. Just in case they really did need to be saved for posterity!

The earlier COVID articles I saved are here: Coronavirus News Then & Now.

Anxiety About COVID
note to self: do some of these go on the 7th grade Microbiology page?

Anxiety About Trump
note to self: do some of these go on the 8th grade U.S. Presidents page?

And In Other News...







Language Arts


History & Geography

Education, General


Conferences & Workshops

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Handwork Teacher Training - Ideas for Final Project

A quick post to serve as a place for me to brainstorm...

I am halfway through my Waldorf Handwork Teacher Training, the Applied Arts Program Cycle 11 at the Fiber Craft Studio at Sunbridge Institute. I'm extremely proud to be part of this well-established and very highly regarded program! It is a four year part-time residential program. The first year you study the Handwork for grades 1 & 2, the second year grades 3 & 4, the third year grades 5 & 6, and the fourth year grades 7 & 8. I will graduate in the Summer of 2023. Midway through the program you're supposed to start thinking about your Final Project. It should be something in Handwork that you've never tackled before (our training also includes Woodworking and Clay, since Handwork teachers are sometimes called upon to teach those things as well). I have SO MANY ideas running through my head! I think the best thing to do is to just give myself a place to write them down (this post) and then see over time what really speaks to me.

Here goes:

  • making silk marionettes (a possible 7th grade project... 7th grade is a year in Waldorf Handwork where nothing is settled as far as a firm recommendation, and so you always hear teachers asking one another, "what do you do in 7th grade?")
  • charcoal burning in lengths of copper pipe (grade 7 Chemistry)
  • caning chairs (I've always wanted to learn this too, and it would allow me to repair all of my vintage chairs!)
  • basket weaving
  • weaving a wattle fence
  • soapstone carving
  • bookbinding
  • wet felted slippers
  • growing cotton and/or flax in my yard, taking the plant from seed to usable fiber and then making something with it (the 3rd grade curriculum)

  • building a bread oven out of cob (this would also be grade 3 of course)
  • macramé (another possibility for 7th grade, with the Age of Exploration)
  • net tying (I have always wanted to learn this and it goes with Norse Mythology in 4th grade)
  • Knot Tying Curriculum for Public School Children

    I also want to learn much more about how to explain tying different knots to children. I am director of Summer Camps at the local Environmental Center and last year we had a terrible time trying to teach the children how to tie any knots at all. Many of them cannot even tie their shoes at age 9. I'd love to figure out a knot tying curriculum so that those children can be successful.

    This is something that would be practical and useful for me right away, since we have made this as a camp goal this summer. Each week I would like the children to master one knot. It would be nice to take the time to sit down and figure out what those would be for each age group, how to explain and demonstrate them, and to master them myself.

  • For anyone who would like to respond to this question, if you could learn how to do anything in the Practical Arts, what skill would you like to learn?

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

    Saturday, December 25, 2021

    All Creation Waits

    We've done lots of different kinds of Advent Calendars over the years:

  • Mary's Path of Stars from All Year Round
  • a pocket Advent calendar with 24 white crocheted snowflake ornaments, and we hang one on the tree each day
  • a wrapped Advent calendar where I wrap 24 Christmas/Winter picture books and put them in a basket, and we unwrap and read one each night
  • And, of course, we have some of the style I had when I was a little girl, which is a paper Advent calendar with its little windows to open. Years ago for my girls I got the book Christmas Roses: Legends for Advent by Selma Lagerlof, and we have the paper Advent calendar that goes along with it.

    In 2019, my friend and fellow Handwork teacher, Barbara Albert, recommended Gayle Boss's book All Creation Waits: The Advent Mystery of New Beginnings. I was so glad she did. I love this book! Because it has so much Nature Study-type information in it, I thought it would be best for 2nd grade, so I was planning on waiting and doing it with Zac at that time.

    Then, in 2020, I was talking with my friend Julie about All Creation Waits and she gave me the best idea. She said that her children were gifted a copy of this book from a grandmother along with an enormous box of ornaments, one for each animal in the book. The grandmother had spent a lot of time and money curating this wonderful collection of ornaments. What an extraordinary gift! I love the idea of reading a chapter each night and adding that animal to the tree. I have never slowly decorated our Christmas tree throughout the month of December, and I think it would be so joyful.

    So now my current plan is to inventory our collection of animal ornaments when we take down the tree and put them all away, and see what animals I have. For any that I don't, I can work on needle felting them during the course of 2022. When December comes, we will be ready to read the book and marvel at each of these wonderful creatures and how it adapts to the cold and darkness, waiting patiently for the warmth and light to return.

    Here is the list:

    Day 1 - Painted Turtle - from Etsy shop ForageWorkshop

    Day 2 - Muskrat

    Day 3 - Black Bear - from Etsy shop Luckydogstudio

    Day 4 - Chickadee

    Day 5 - Whitetail Deer

    Day 6 - Honey Bee

    Day 7 - Chipmunk - from Etsy shop LeaAlanHandcrafted

    Day 8 - Cottontail

    Day 9 - Common Loon - from Amazon

    Day 10 - Wood Frog - from Zazzle

    Day 11 - Raccoon - from Etsy shop OrnamentallyYouEtsy

    Day 12 - Little Brown Bat - from Touchstone Pottery

    Day 13 - Opossum

    Day 14 - Wild Turkey - from Etsy shop Ornaments4Orphans

    Day 15 - Common Garter Snake

    Day 16 - Woodchuck - from Etsy shop SweetLibertyBelle

    Day 17 - Striped Skunk

    Day 18 - Porcupine - from Amazon

    Day 19 - Common Eastern Firefly - from Etsy shop ShainaMichael

    Day 20 - Meadow Vole

    Day 21 - Eastern Fox Squirrel - from Etsy shop MartaDalloul

    Day 22 - Red Fox

    Day 23 - Northern Cardinal

    Day 24 - Lake Trout - from Etsy shop EmpirePewter
    this is a pin but I can easily pin it to something to make it an ornament... and I was so glad to finally find a lake trout!!!

    It would be really nice to get 24 matching white gift boxes to store them in.

    5 inches x 5 inches x 3.5 inches

    If you've used this book with your family, I'd love for you to share your child's favorite of these stories, or how you have done more to learn about or celebrate the animals. Merry Christmas, everyone!

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

    Thursday, December 16, 2021

    James Rumford, My New Favorite Author

    I have been a really big fan of Steve Jenkins for quite a long time but I've found a new favorite author: James Rumford. I am now completely obsessed with his books!

    I started several years ago with Rain School (Aug 4, 2018) and then Silent Music: A Story of Baghdad (Sep 29, 2018). I didn't realize for a long time that they were by the same author. The first title I use for the Housebuilding block in Waldorf; the second I use for the Montessori Fourth Great Lesson, which is the Story of Written Language. I love that it's about how beautiful Arabic calligraphy is. When I was preparing to teach Ancient Egypt again I got Seeker of Knowledge: The Man Who Deciphered Egyptian Hieroglyphs. When I was reading that earlier this week I discovered that he lives in Honolulu. Since I was talking with someone in Hawai'i at the time I said, maybe you'll meet him someday at an Author Talk at the library! How fun would that be?

    And I thought about Rain School and Silent Music and Seeker of Knowledge, and how much I like all three of them and how different they are, and I thought, I wonder what else James Rumford wrote?

    So I began to look into it and WOW! This guy is the coolest.

    Here are the titles I'm planning to get. I'm not including the books in Latin. Or the books he wrote on how to learn Chadian Arabic and Kinyarwandan. Really!

    And, yes, is a thing. Maybe my class can write to him!

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