Friday, March 27, 2015

March Lessons

Keeping the party spirit going over here, we decided to host a (much smaller!) tea party. The theme was "Herbs and Flowers Fairy Tea Party." The girls were renamed Lily Jasmine and Wild Rose, Jupiter was called Baby Fennel, and I went with Mama Lavender. I saved enough violet lolly pops from The Festival of Love so that every child could have one. Isla practiced writing and sounding out words by making invitations for our four guests and their siblings, and the prospect of the party offered myriad opportunities for crafts. The first things we made were pouches to hold herbal healing salves the girls had made. Papa made chalkboards out of wood slices and chalkboard paint and we decorated them with each child's name.

We started with tea and snacks:

And then we headed out back to collect some flowers, leaves and grasses for the craft:

For our craft we did some silk hammering, dyeing silk scarves with the plants we found:

It was a sweet little party which didn't require a whole lot of planning (thank goodness).

Isla has been loving reading and writing, so that has been our unofficial block this month. Because she may need to know them for school next year, we began practicing the sight words. We do this through story and game, and it has been different each time. The first day we played "Jump to the Word," which was fun and also a little wild. The next day I lined all the words up, stood Isla (who was wearing a crown already just for the heck of it) and Lyra at one end of the word line and began a simple story:

"Once, in a kingdom far from here, there were two princesses. They were so brave and so pure of heart that they were given a most important task: Get water from the fountain of youth to save the kingdom's medicine woman. She had grown very old and even her powerful medicines could not save her. It was up to the princesses to find the magical water which could make the medicine woman young again. Because the entire village depended on the medicine woman to keep them well, the princesses could not fail. Bravely, they began their journey. It was dangerous, but their mother and father had faith in them. "We know you can do it!" they called, as the princesses marched out of the palace gates. Through jungle, meadow, desert and mountain they roamed, until they came to a very narrow bridge. It was narrow and rickety, and it was the only way across the river of crocodiles!"

Then, I had Isla ask the magical sooth sayer (me…) which word she may cross to. If I said "no" she had to pick a new word, and if I said "yes" she could cross to that point on the "bridge." Lyra followed behind, but soon grew bored and wanted to lead. I let her lead a couple of times, and I just said, "You may take five steps… You may take three steps…" etc. since she isn't reading yet. After crossing the bridge a few times (it was magical and kept reappearing!) we returned to our story:

"The princesses did it! They reached the fountain of youth and got out their little glass jars. They filled the jars with the water and carefully screwed on the tops. Home they ran with the magic water. The entire kingdom was there to greet them and how they rejoiced when they saw the princesses triumphantly enter the palace gates. Quickly they hurried up the steps to the medicine woman's room. They gave her the water, and almost instantly all the grey faded from her hair, and the wrinkles left her face. She was young and healthy! 'Princesses!' she exclaimed, 'because you have saved my life, I am forever in your debt. But, I am old and do not wish to remain on this earth forever. I need to train someone to become the new medicine woman of the kingdom… Will you be my apprentices?'"

Of course my little princesses said "YES!" and I left the story there, knowing we will pick it up again when the time is right.

The next day I set the word cards out and we played a game of Twister:

And the rest of the month has been filled with indoor and outdoor fun. We grew "emerald" crystals:

We went hiking and playing in nature:

We made paper boxes:

We watched our caterpillars grow, (and became very protective of them!):

Another wonderful month, and I'm hoping for a math block for April.

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