Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How the Leaves Came Down

I’ll tell you how the leaves came down:

The great Tree to his children said,

"You're getting sleepy, Yellow and Brown,

Yes, very sleepy, little Red.”

"Ah!" begged each silly, pouting leaf,

"Let us a little longer stay;

Dear Father Tree, behold our grief!

We do not want to go away."

So, just for one more merry day

To the great Tree the leaflets clung,

Frolicked and danced and had their way

Upon the autumn breezes swung.

"Perhaps the great Tree will forget

And let us stay until the spring,

If we all beg and coax and fret."

But the great Tree did no such thing.

He smiled to hear their whispering.

"Come, children all, to bed with care.”

He shook his head, and far and wide,

Down sped the leaflets through the air.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

First Sunday of Advent

In Waldorf Homes many people follow Rudolf Steiner’s teaching on celebrating the four kingdoms separately each week:

Week One begins with honoring the mineral kingdom by placing stones, shells, bone fossils, crystals, etc. on the wreath. Invite your family to choose their favorites from their collections or found in nature and place on wreath.

“The first light of Advent, it is the light of stone.
Stones we find in seashells, crystals, and even our bones.”
~ Rudolf Steiner (adapted)

Today my family and I will spend our time decorating our home, our tree and lighting the first candle on our Advent wreath at dinner time.

How will you spend your day?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks

For the hay and the corn and the wheat that is reaped,
For the labor well done, and the barns that are heaped,
For the sun and the dew and the sweet honeycomb,
For the rose and the song and the harvest brought home.

My sweet Junior Girl Scout troop making special turkeys and cards for people who receive Meals on Wheels in our community. My oldest daughter volunteers her time and delivers meals in our town to homes and will bring these along the day before Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Martinmas Celebration

This Martinmas we were blessed to have one of our little daycare children come visit for the evening. Her mommy and daddy were celebrating a special anniversary so she came to enjoy crafting, dinner and a lantern walk with our family.
The children all made their own special lanterns to later fill with light on this dark and windy night.
Simple glass jars with tissue paper modge-podged on :)
We made the holders for our lanterns out of hangers. Here they are drying while we eat our dinner.
We put a little candle in our lantern and outside we went. The children were SO excited to sing our lantern songs and go for a walk with their lights.

I go outside with my lantern,
my lantern goes with me
Above the stars are shining bright,
down here on Earth shine we.
The cock does crow, the cat meows,
la bimmel, la bammel, la boom.
‘Neath heaven’s dome till we go home,
la bimmel, la bammel, la boom.

I go outside with my lantern,
my lantern goes with me
Above the stars are shining bright,
down here on Earth shine we.
So shine your light through the still dark night,
la bimmel, la bammel, la boom
‘Neath heaven’s dome till we go home,
la bimmel la bammel, la boom.
Merry Martinmas from Little Acorn Learning.

Woodland Indians Field Trip

Today the girls and I had an absolutely wonderful day. Do you ever just have one of those? We met some homeschooling friends at New Pond Farm in Redding, CT for a Woodland Indians Field Trip. It was such a great program. Brianna has been doing school at home but this day, Maia and Keira also happened to be home from school so they got to come along.
The photos are a bit out of order but as you can see the girls got to experience and learn so much. They learned more today in two hours than they do in a full week of social studies classes at school and I mean that. And the best part is that they will retain this information because they are interested in it and got to experience it hands-on... they didn't have to memorize the names of the Indian shelters for a test over and over - they got to go inside a Longhouse firsthand and then they got to see a Wigwam and ask questions. They will never forget the names of those shelters because they were taught about it in a way that speaks to their soul.
The program had a wonderful teacher who showed the children EVERYTHING about the Woodland Indians that lived in our area. It is so sad to me to be sitting in the middle of the forest where these beautiful people once populated and realize they are all gone.
New Pond Farm is such a wonderful little place and so close to our home. Maia loves stopping and saying hello to the animals.
Inside the children learned about the three most important crops for the native people. Squash, Corn and Beans which they call the Three Sisters. We saw how the Native Americans would grow these three things together.
We also were able to see the different tools the Woodland Indians created and how they evolved over time.
We learned that the men hunted while the woman took care of the crops and children. Animal skins were so important for warmth during the cold winters in Connecticut which we learned first hand last week with six nights without power!

Outside the children were able to try out some of the tools and explore the land.
There was a fire waiting for us and the children enjoyed popcorn Native American style in the Longhouse.
We learned how the people cooked their food and how they used wooden bowls with hot stones from the fire to make their soup warm all day. We wondered if they didn't mind the ash that went into the pot.
The instructor passed out delicious corn bread with maple syrup and told us that Indians discovered maple syrup and would grind the corn to bake bread.

Keira and Maia enjoyed a simple hoop game made of sticks and twigs.
Brianna LOVED using the tool to get the corn off of the cob in order to grind it later. Socialization will never be a concern of mine regarding homeschooling. These children have the time to be, to make friends, to explore.... to truly discover the world they are in. In school, my children have only a few minutes of lunch and recess and must hurry from class to class in the upper grades. If anything, I think they are the ones who are not getting enough socialization.
The tool is actually animal teeth attached to a jaw bone. The Native Americans did not waste a thing... there was no garbage. If we could only go back to a time like that...
Seeds and raisins were passed around for the children to enjoy.
They learned so much. And so did I. What I learned is that these homeschooling mothers are true pioneers in the name of education. I have such a deep respect for their courage to go against the norm and give their children an education that is based on freedom of learning. I'm not sure where the path will lead my children but I do know that I want more for them than standardized tests and the stress that has come along with No Child Left Behind.
And no matter where our path leads us long-term, I will always be inspired by the homeschooling movement in our country and around the world and I intend to continue to support it in my work through Little Acorn Learning in every way possible.

The Year They Cancelled Halloween

Well this year we did all of the things we usually do to prepare for Halloween ...
We carved the pumpkins and baked pumpkin seeds. We even painted a few pumpkins.

But we weren't really prepared for a White Halloween :)
And BOY did it snow... it snowed so hard... and so much...

That our power went out as well as 80% of our town - power lines and trees fell down everywhere.... so they cancelled trick or treating...
A friend of ours lives in a very old farm house and invited us over for hotel-style trick or treating. Behind each door of their home, an adult stood with a bowl of candy and the children went door to door.
It was wonderful and sweet... and we were so grateful to have something to do with the children on such a special day without traditional trick or treating allowed in our neighborhood. Then we were invited to some other friends who live in a neighboring town where trick or treating WASN'T cancelled... SCORE!
We hit their place next! Two times the fun! Could it get better than that?
Well actually it got worse.... we didn't just lose power for one night - we lost it for SIX entire nights. After the third evening, the coldness really set in. The house was freezing... so cold that all of our fish died. We had no source of heat except our fireplace so we found every single blanket we could in our home, moved three mattresses into the family room and the six of us plus two dogs and our cat lived that way for a week. It wasn't easy... but it really taught us a lesson or two about how very lucky we are. We soon realized what was truly a 'need' and a 'want' in our lives.... to the extent that we even spoke about the fact that we really didn't NEED a four bedroom home. It was a luxury that we are more grateful for now... but we could live in one room and we proved it that week.
At the end of the week when our power returned, our town put together a Trunk or Treat for the children so they could dress up and enjoy the holiday... soooooo...
Round THREE of trick or treating took place for our girls....
So much for cancelling Halloween - we got triple the candy!