Monday, February 27, 2012

Snowfriend

Pack a snowball.
Make it round.
Roll it, roll it, along the ground.
Make one big ball, and one of middle size;
Then roll a smaller ball. And a nose and eyes.
Give him a broom and a scarf of blue.
Now there's a friend to play with you!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Earth Lovin' Giveaway from Hip Mountain Mama!

We are so very excited to offer another AMAZING giveaway to all of our blog followers!

Hip Mountain Mama is offering one lucky winner a FREE Recycle Stuff and Go Bag PLUS 4 Eco Cloth Napkins!
Here's how to enter to win!

1. Be sure you are a fan of both Little Acorn Learning and Hip Mountain Mama on Facebook!

2. Sign up for the Little Acorn Learning Monthly Newsletter (Free) to receive recipes, craft tutorials, stories, poems, games and inner-work suggestions each month.
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon
Sign up for our Email Newsletter


3. Enter below in the comments section an answer to the following question:

What types of earth-loving practices do you incorporate into your home or school to make a difference and help our environment?

4. Come on Over Here on Friday, March 2nd to see if you've won! The winner will be chosen by a random number generator and announced here on our blog.

Good Luck!
xoxo

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pine Cone Jewelry

Sweet little pine cones falling from the tree,
Down,
Spiral,
Downward,
Fall on me.
Sunlight through the branches,
Breezes through my hair,
Sweet little pine cones coming from the air.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lenten Pondering

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls.

~ Mother Teresa

Pretzels for Lent

For many, Lent is a time of waiting and reflection. It is a time to ponder the word sacrifice and what it means in your life. Regardless of your spiritual beliefs or religious background, the weeks leading up to Spring can be a wonderful time of self-reflection, practicing detachment from things and letting go of old habits and beliefs that no longer suit you. When we think of sacrificing or giving something up during this time, it is important to remember that it should be a giving-up of something that has become a negative in your life. Real sacrifice during this time should give you peace and joy in return.
The girls and I follow the age old tradition of making pretzels. The pretzel has been made for over a thousand years during this time of Lent and it is thought that the shaping of the pretzel is supposed to symbolize arms being folded in prayer.
"Pretzels had their beginning around 610 A.D. somewhere in Southern France or Northern Italy. A young monk was preparing unleavened bread for Lent, the Christian period of fasting and penitence before Easter. Christians of the day prayed with their arms folded across their chests, each hand on the opposite shoulder...
It occurred to him that he could twist the leftover dough from the bread into this shape and use it as a treat for the children to recite their prayers. He named his creation 'pretiola', Latin for 'little reward'.
In the centuries following, the pretzel made its way into history books and European culture. The pretzel's form became a symbol of good luck, long life and prosperity.

Historians believe, although cannot authenticate, that the pretzel came to America by way of the Mayflower in 1620. There are stories of early settlers selling the treat to Indians, who would pay any price for them." from Snyder's of Hanover's website

Our little pretzels take many different shapes and symbols...
Mine was created from the old Celtic Trinity Symbol which can mean Spirit, Mind and Body or Father, Son and Holy Ghost among other things.
Maia created a Peace Sign :) and Brianna created the Snail which is her special symbol in her Waldorf Kindergarten.
Here is a piece I wrote for Rhythm of the Home on this time of Lent and how you can apply aspects of it to your life regardless of your religious background.

What will you let go of during this time leading into Spring?

Friday, February 17, 2012

And the Winner Is...

Congratulations to BECCA of Chocolate Eyes for winning the beautiful Multi-Colored Beeswax Candle Making Kit from A Toy Garden! The winner was chosen using a random number generator.

From Becca:

"Our Valentine's tradition is to leave a little Valentine at their place at the table in the morning. It can be a gift or sweet treat or handmade card. Something special."


Thank you to everyone who participated and keep visiting for upcoming giveaways from Little Acorn Learning!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Nature Study : The Hairy Woodpecker

One of our favorite things to do is watch the birds come to our feeder in winter time. Yesterday were were visited by the Hairy Woodpecker and Maia was very interested in her. We have a great little book about all of the Connecticut birds that my mother-in-law got us and it is well loved and used often!
After reading interesting facts about this beautiful bird, Maia decided to create her poem that she was working on about it. First she planned out her very first poem by listing many different describing words and then she worked on a few rough drafts until it was just right. I think it came out very sweet:
The Hairy Woodpecker
by Maia

Hairy Woodpecker in daylight,
I saw it, I saw it, black and white.
On our bird feeder, pecking seeds,
Our quiet cat sees.
Hairy Woodpecker and some bees!
Trying to study,
Feel so buzzy.
Female bird pecking on the seed,
Tastes so good it loves to feed.
Happy near the window,
Waiting for the snow,
Dogs are barking,
Watch the woodpecker go!

We have a bird chart right by the window that we made years and years ago inspired after a visit to a friend's house where she had a sweet bird chart on her refrigerator in a smaller version. Over the years we have made LOTS of tallies and seen lots of birds...
What types of birds frequent your area this time of year?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Raspberry Smoothies for Valentine's Day


Wild Raspberries
~Author Unknown
A bee came buzzing by
and told me to follow
He said, "Just look at all these berries
There's more than you can swallow."

Raspberries so swollen and ripe
Like picking candy off the vine
Buckets and buckets full
I'm so glad their mine.
I keep picking and picking
And easily off they slide
I can never get enough
Over my lips they glide
My ruby red mouth will be stained for days
The way my mouth hides the seeds
I'm totally amazed!
Oh Raspberry you're beautiful
Red nectar of the season
I think you know
You give life a reason!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Seahorses Take the Lead...

I saw them plunging through the foam,
I saw them pacing up the shore,
A thousand horses row on row
And then a thousand more,
In fear they leapt upon the land,
In fear they fled before the wind,
And prancing plunging on they raced,
The huntsman raced behind,
Today they plunged right through the foam,
Today they pranced right up the shore,
~felt horse pattern by Valarie Budyar and can be found in the Little Acorn Learning August Enrichment Guide

A thousand horses row on row,
And then a thousand more.

I have been working with Maia each day on various lessons including math, reading, writing, spelling and art. She discovered an interest in Seahorses and was surprised to find out that they are the only living creature where the male carries the young instead of the female. She is memorizing and reciting the above poem and creating seahorse books, puppets, toys and much more :)

A fun week for both of us. It's wonderful to see my girl so happy learning.

xoxo

Friday, February 10, 2012

And the Winner Is.....

Congratulations to ROJO of Our Lovely Mess for winning the Wooden Camera Giveaway from Pure Play Kids! The winner was chosen by using a Random Number Generator:

From ROJO:

"my kids love to act out two of their favorite book series: Narnia and Harry Potter. we have a lot of (stick) wands around our house and plenty of swords, daggers and bows. i'm a photographer, so this camera would be amazing to add to the mix of toys! thanks for the chance!"

Please contact us at info at littleacornlearning dot com to claim your prize!

Thank you to all who participated and check back on Valentine's Day for another SWEET giveaway!

xoxo

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Little Felt Purses

The girls were inspired by these sweet little felt purses in the Felt Wee Folk book I have so we took out our supplies and spent the afternoon together creating.
Keira decided that she wanted to do a bluebird :)
And Maia loves everything with horses so she created her own horse design for her little purse.
And look at the beautiful result. I'm very proud of my girls.
Brianna will be working with Mommy tomorrow to get her doggie purse done. She helped with the cutting today.
xoxo

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Many Ways to Learn...

After a very difficult year and my deep desire to give home education a try we decided to take Maia out of public school for the rest of this school year. She’s been crying each morning and having a horrible time in her class. Both my husband and I have been unhappy with her experience but we were not sure which route to take.

As many of you know, I have a love/hate relationship with public schooling in general. There are many good things and programs offered in the schools. Yet, the intense pressure, the standardized testing, the lack of creativity in the classroom and the over-crowded classrooms... well you get it. And as I have worked with so many homeschoolers over the years, I have come to realize what an amazing experience it can be for children. They are not sitting at their kitchen counter all day with their mother... they are exploring the world and being exposed to many different people and places.
At first, I was thinking up a way to bring Maia over to the Waldorf School but the commute, the tuition and the amount of work I would have to do to make it happen are just really too much to commit to right now in our lives. That's not to say we will not go that route down the road. My little one is still attending their three day Kindergarten program and thriving there.

And, there are some wonderful local educational programs that Maia can be a part of now including cooperatives and drop-off programs with tutors teaching science, math and language. One in particular I am very interested has a class of approximately 7 students (perfect for Maia) and runs 4 hours in length each day that they meet. While not Waldorf school, it will be a nice bridge for us as we transition out of public school and search for a better fit for our family, giving her a classroom experience and taking some of the pressure off of me as we begin. And on the days that she is home I plan on incorporating waldorf educational methods.
This year we've had a hard time figuring out the best educational choices for our girls. While my older daughters are "getting through" school, public school was a complete disaster for my youngest daughter Brianna which is why we switched her to the Waldorf school.
Then, Maia's experience at school became so miserable for her that she began crying each morning not wanting to go to class. She was getting lost in the shuffle of the large crowd... often having to stay in for recess because of a large group of misbehaving children or sit through countless lectures on good behavior when she was already behaving. She asked if she could bring books in from home because her reading bin was empty as she already read all of the books at her level.
So I had to ask myself... is this really what is good for my child? Just because it is what "everyone" is doing? Is this healthy socialization and an ideal educational experience. At this time my answer is no. It may work again for us in the future but right now it is not.

I know well-meaning family members and friends may worry and question our decision and have concerns about things like "socialization". I do not look forward to being questioned and having to justify our choices. But when I visited my child for lunch one day, I couldn't believe the "socialization" I was exposing her to. I left there knowing in my heart that this was not the right fit for my child. I think often we do not even realize what our children's school environment is truly like and just assume it is fine.
So all I can hope is that family and friends will support me as a parent, regardless of their opinions, knowing that I will always be very involved in ensuring that my girls are getting a good education regardless of the approach. And I hope they know that our choices are not done to isolate or over-protect our children. Quite the opposite, we are working hard to find learning and social environments in which they will thrive and have the freedom to be their true selves.

Maia will now be able to follow her interests deeply in writing, art and science. She can join groups (and there are SO many here) and choose who she wishes to spend more time with. She can leave home as often as she likes to go to events, classes and programs. She will be able to foster a deeper relationship with her sisters.

And it may not be forever. I'm not sure how long it will be. For now, we are just finishing up this year at home. It was definitely the better alternative. I guess we will do it as long as it is working for both myself and the girls.

I am open to public school if that is what my girls want and need. My fifth grader and my senior are both currently in public school and as long as they are happy and learning that's all that really matters to us.

Wish us luck!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Wooden Camera Giveaway!!!

A Warm February Welcome to Little Acorn Learning's newest Sponsor, Pure Play Kids!

February's Featured Sponsor
Pure Play Kids
Pure Play Kids offers one of the web's largest selections of kid-powered (battery-free, TV-free), creative playthings. Pure Play Kids focuses on creativity, safety and natural materials, and the vast majority of its toys are made in America. Remember, play is the work of the child!
Pure Play Kids welcomes Little Acorn friends with 15% savings. Just use checkout code ACORN15!

One lucky winner will win our exclusive Pure Play Kids' Camera by entering our giveaway at Little Acorn Learning!

Just leave a comment below telling us what your child likes to play with the most! The winner will be randomly chosen on February 10th and the camera will be shipped to you directly!
Pure Play Camera
Good Luck!