Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Still Creating Rhythm

We have been hard at work while I took a break from the blog. For valentine's day we had a visitor, my friend's daughter that I watch every other friday, Kira. Kira and Sophie made some valentines, and then we had a little party with lots of goodies we wouldn't ordinarily eat. Then, we went off to a friends house for a day of completely free play in her yard. I had some dirty and sandy, and happy children to bring home that night.

During the weekend, we focused more on family rhythm. Sophie and Eli are both loving having a family dinner every night, and Eli's manners are really falling in line. Sophie adores candlelit dinner and if we don't light the candles gets a little upset. On Saturday night we made completely homemade pizza (except I bought the sauce). Sophie learned to cut vegetables and pepperoni, and grate mozzerella cheese. Tom made the crust and Eli got his own gf/cf pizza, of course. I think it was the best pizza I ever tasted, because it was made with loving hands. It was just a lovely candlelit pizza I ever had! The kids loved having so much family togetherness and to be included in all the things we do in our life.

On Sunday, we had a nice long morning and Tom got a nap in. I took the kids out for a drive, and later we went as a family to the library and got some books to read this week. Story Time is a very important part of every day here. Sophie picked a book called Skippyjon Jones, which of course she has changed to Skippyjon Jobes!

Monday both children were home from school, and so we had a nice, easy day of TV and free play, and Eli and I had a little tummy trouble so we just relaxed all day.

Yesterday we focused on nature, and so I took the children to a local park called Cofrin Nature Park. They both got to walk in the creek and find stuff they wanted for our nature table. We have a great collection of seed pods and rocks there now. Sophie and Devin (her friend) and her mom went for a walk in the woods and explored a felled tree and it's very large root ball. Devin's mom got a very cute picture, which is in facebook now. Sophie had a lovely time, and Eli and I got some time to just play together. Later that night we had a re-focussing time with Bruce from RDI and came up with some new activities and a rhythm for that therapy for Eli. I forgot to mention that Devin's mom came over and helped me clean. Boy does the house look nice..making our rhythms easier again!

Today is Music day...we are listening to some kids CDs designed to give us ideas for dancing and finger play and just enjoying the music. It's lovely! We love Laurie Berkner, so we're listening to her "Whaddya Think of That?" CD today. If I can convince the kids, we will listen to more music after that. I also met with Eli's teacher today and got more ideas on things to do with Eli at home, and the great news that Eli is being included in much more Kindergarten time. He's doing extremely well at school!

Tomorrow we'll have baseball for Eli and an art activity for Sophie and I, and probably some cooking and food shopping too. Sophie is getting very good at identifying all the vegetables and fruits in the store now.

Here is a picture of our valentines from last week.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A little extra bit of today...Tea Party..

I turned off the TV about an hour ago and suggested that my daughter have a tea party. She got herself all dressed up, dressed up her dollies, and found all her tea things and some pretend foods and got right to it. It's absolutely adorable to see. I took some pictures of the dollies sitting around eating and drinking, too.

The best part is my son, who is autistic, and never pretend plays, is pretending to pour tea and drink it. He has a whole script, but it's still so cute!

part of waldorf education is lots of creative pretend play. Sophie went and found our one remaining noisy plastic toy and decided they needed music for their party..ugh, I hate that thing, but the kids really love it.

Here are some pictures of the tea party.

Wet on Wet Watercolor, and Porridge!

Today's rhythm was based on a very tired mommy who needed to clean and eat well! So, after some rest this morning while Sophie played, I made real scottish oatmeal for the first time, otherwise known as porridge. I convinced Sophie to take a taste (after it was covered in maple syrup and half and half) by closing her eyes and opening her mouth. She really liked it and asked for a second bite, and then her own bowl. She only ate about 3 more bites before she was done, but every time we get her to try a new food, I'm a happy mom.

After breakfast, Sophie had more free play while I got myself alive with some coffee and got dressed and what not. We had spaghetti for lunch after I cleaned the kitchen. She decided not to help me with that, which was fine. Today was a TV day because I am really worn out from being ill. I'm just glad she is eating well today.

After Eli got home, we got ready for some wet on wet watercolor painting. I had Sophie choose two colors and I chose two colors and we mixed up the color together. Then we got our sponges and paper and moved into the dining room. We wet our sponges and wet our paper. Then we got to the painting part! I never had so much fun. This time I got the wetness right on the good paper, so the colors spread and melded together wonderfully. I started by making 4 trees..they all melted together in the green part and Sophie suggested they needed sunshine so we put some breaking through the trees. I'm so pleased with it. I should mention that I'm not at all artistic so this is a new journey for ME as well as the children. Eli decided not to paint today, but I've left out paper and a watercolor strip for him if he changes his mind. Sophie made her colors spread over the page and was interested in the new colors she made with them..(she had red and yellow and then borrowed my green and brown later). She loved the way the color spread everywhere.

Tomorrow we have our babysitting job, Kira. We plan to do some more painting and also make valentines before going over to our friends house for free play.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A new direction for the blog..Waldorf Education at Home

We have begun a waldorf educational journey in our home. I am trying to bring the ideals and rhythm and creativity of waldorf education into our home and into our children's lives. I hope to make them more well-rounded and creative children. Or rather, help them to be more attuned and aware of the world around them, enjoy the natural world, the art world, and other interesting materials and textures. To leave behind the drive for academic achievement when they are still so young and enjoy their childhood while they can. To provide sensory stimulation and awareness of everyday happenings. To give them a whole life, full of rich experience.

With that in mind, I am starting our blog again, as a journal to catalog the activities and explorations we make together every day.

Before I began this, I did a lot of reading and investigation of what sorts of things a waldorf school does on a daily basis, and what waldorf educators at home are doing on a daily basis with their children. I read about the ideals of this style of education with young children. I can provide a list of my reading materials but that's not the purpose here. My purpose here is to keep track of the changes we're making in our daily lifestyle, their effect on all of us, and our joy in our work together.

Before today, we had created our nature table again next to the entertainment center. We picked a cloth that represented winter to us and decorated it with various things we found outside that appealed to us. Today we added some sweet gum seeds and I put my birthday roses on the table to share. Sophie added her dragons and a flower fairy in her bed, waiting to wake up for spring. We have some pine cones, acorns, and pine needles and sticks. I found a nice rock and we added it too. The table will grow and change until it is time to restart for spring. It seems appropriate to restart the table in spring, doesn't it? I hope that Sophie's flower fairy will awaken and grow with us!
We also created pine cone creatures which still live on the table from some felt and pine cones and wool yarn.

Tom and Sophie have been trying to make two loaves of bread on the weekends for us to share for the week. My goal is to have a snack time for Sophie and I each day that consists of a nutritious cooked whole grain, such as they do at waldorf. We have acquired oatmeal, quinoa, millet, and brown rice. I hope to make other days have a vegetable snack or a fruit snack because Sophie is more likely to try a fruit than a grain. We are moving toward whole food cooking in our house and away from all processed foods. It's a process!

Today Sophie and I ventured out to Michael's today and got some water color paper, good flat brushes, and some good watercolors. This afternoon, we waited for Eli and set up with sponges and paper and our primary colors mixed in their own cups. It was glorious but it also was a surprise for me as the children would forget to rinse their brushes and use the sponges I set out, instead mixing the colors. I'm glad I only used a bit of each color now! They thoroughly enjoyed the creation of new colors, however, so I got over myself and made my own paints for my painting. I tried to show them brush strokes and wet on wet painting and how the colors bleed and meld. They were more interested in making lots of paint on the page, which was totally fine!

I am enjoying the experiences we're having as we move into our rhythm!