Thursday, February 26, 2015

February Lessons

This month was crazy! We've been applying to an touring lots of different schools, there was a lot of sickness in our house and the baby is hardly napping at all, so our little school rhythm went straight out the window. Also, we went to Disneyland! And we made it out alive. It was actually very sweet and the girls were on their very best behavior.

We made our hikes/circle time out back a weekly tradition, and got outside whenever we were all well enough to do so:

We tended our garden and cared for our chickens:

We had a bakery and made "baked goods and pastries" out of play dough, grated nutmeg and glitter:

We played "beauty salon" and I was treated to foot rubs, hair do's, and crayon pedicures:

We played at making forts and dress up:

We made butternut squash pie:

Lots of Isla-initiated practicing of writing and reading:

Our theme this month was herbal healing, and some of the books we read were "I'm a Medicine Woman, Too!" "Yana Listens" and the magical, "Tiny Wish." Our circle times were often outside, and had earth-themed songs and verses:

Good morning dear earth
Good morning dear sun
Good morning little stones
And the flowers every one
Good morning dear animals
And the birds in the trees
Good morning to you
And good morning to me.

The earth is firm beneath my feet
The sun shines bright above
And here stand I so kind and strong
All things to know and love.

Mother Earth, Mother Earth
Take the seed and give it birth
Father Sun gleam and glow
Till the roots begin to grow
Sister Rain, Sister Rain
Shed thy tears to swell the grain
Brother Wind, breathe and blow
Then the blade green will grow
Earth and Sun, Wind and Rain
Turn to gold the living grain! (The melody for this is on Lorraine Nelson Wolf's CD "Come Follow Me")

And we did songs from Maria Sangiolo's new CD:

"Farmer's Market," which of course we love to sing on our way to Farmer's Market, and "Plant a Seed," which has movements and is similar to BINGO was his name-O.

After reading "I'm a Medicine Woman, Too" I gave an assignment: draw a picture of yourself all grown up, in all your strength and wonder and surrounded by what makes you powerful. This is what Isla drew:

We threw a Valentine's Day party, which we called "The Festival of Love."

We set up different stations with kid crafts including dip-dyeing cotton doilies, wooden frame decorating (with watercolors, feathers and pressed flowers), animal mask-making, and valentine bag decorating. Some of the games we had were digging for buried treasure (glass gems hidden in our yard, for which we supplied cloth collecting bags) and "Fishing for Love" where kiddos took a wooden fishing pole (a spirit stick with twine and a clothespin on the end) and fish over a silk backdrop. Their grandfather hid behind the cloth with the basket of prizes and clipped one on to the pole.

Our prizes included "Love in a Puff" seeds, recycled pop can bracelets, lollypops with violets in them, and felt gnomes and hearts:

Love was also evident in the Great Caterpillar Rescue that happened this month. Our milkweed was completely munched by it's resident caterpillars, and every nursery in town was out of milkweed. What would happen to the five caterpillars that were left on the nubs of stem that were left on our plants?

The girls carefully collected their caterpillar friends into containers:

Then we walked down the street to deposit them on our neighbor's milkweed, but when we got there, the plants were covered with wire cages. He does this, from time to time, to allow his plants to grow back, so we didn't want to sabotage his efforts with five hungry caterpillars. Instead, we borrowed two leaves to get our tiny friends through the night. The next morning we called every nursery in town and the towns nearby. Finally we found some plants! They were at Island Seed and Feed, 30 minutes away. We raced over once they opened:

We had brought the caterpillars with us, so we popped them right on the plants. They started munching away immediately:

Another lovely spontaneous activity happened when Lyra said, "I wish I had my very own first aid kit." I had been wanting to work on sewing with the children, so we dove right in. It was a bonus that it tied right in to our previous lessons on plant medicine.

The girls filled their kits with some of the herbal salve they had made, as well as some tweezers and bandaids. I used mine to store the essential oils I use on the go:

All in all it was a great month, and I learned an important lesson about homeschooling: the kids know what they need. My lack of lesson-planning did not slow their learning. Isla's reading and writing skills took off, as did Lyra's gardening, cooking and crafting! All I did was follow their lead and offer resources once an idea hatched. I am hoping our family will have a "healthy month" next month, so I can get back to some structure and rhythm, but after this month I know that it will all work out, either way, well laid out lessons or not.

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