Since we will be making the transition to public school for first grade, I am going to continue homeschooling throughout the summer, in a very relaxed and fluid way. The emphasis is still our relationship to Nature, plenty of imaginative play, and following their lead:
And we had an epic, kid-centered camping trip to Wheeler Gorge. There were 20 kids! They are all dear friends and we've known almost all of them since they were born. There were only 10 mamas and 1 papa, so we were quite outnumbered, in the best way. The kids played in the creek, made swords out of sticks and yarn, roasted marshmallows, rode bikes, and had so much fun.
We have been spending lots of time in our garden, harvesting flowers, food, medicine, coffee, nuts and seeds, and making flower mandalas and fairy houses:
Also, the white nectarine tree in our backyard (which was a gift from two of my dear mama friends to celebrate the birth of Lyra) had so much fruit! We made pie and jam, both with vanilla bean and Maker's Mark, and sent every visitor away with a bagful of fruit. The other jam in the picture is blueberry, which we made after our second trip out to the blueberry fields:
Solstice was sweet and mellow. We celebrated with sun snacks, sun-feather headdresses, and a Solstice Feast for dinner, passing up the parade downtown this year:
So, in between all our fun I am squeezing some academics. Which, of course, are also fun. Isla is picking out her own books from the library to read, and ends up writing a good amount on her own, without any prodding from me. For math the girls are still loving the game "Shut the Box":
And they are big fans of our interactive puppet shows where they get to use manipulatives. One example of our puppet shows - "The cloud princesses got up early in the morning, just as the sun was making the walls of their bedroom rosy pink. They ran down the stairs and outside, then over to the stables where their wind ponies were waiting. 'What shall we do today?' asked the wind ponies. 'Let's go down to the forest!' the sisters laughed. They hopped on the backs of their ponies and zoomed down, down to the forest floor. Once they landed, they noticed some wild strawberries (I had scattered red and pink math jewels on our quilt) and decided to gather them. 'Adira, you pick the pink berries and I'll get the red ones,' Phaedra said. The girls put them on their silk cloth to see how many they had. Phaedra counted hers first. (Isla counts hers and finds she has six.) Then Adira counted hers. (Lyra finds she also has six.) 'Let's have a picnic in the forest!' The sisters run into the forest, find a nice clearing and sit down. But just as they are about to bite into the first berries, they hear a rustling in the trees. 'I'm so hungry!' says a little squirrel. 'Oh, come sit with us and you may share!' the girls say. They divide the berries up evenly between the three of them. Just when the three friends are about to eat, they hear a swishing above their heads. 'Oh how hungry I am!' cries a little bird. 'Come, sit and eat some berries with us!' call the girls. But now they have to divide up the berries again, being sure to be fair..."
I think you get the idea? More friends come and berries are lost and found and lots of math happens. The girls had the best time. They did eventually get to eat the berries (swap the jewels out for strawberries or raspberries if you can) and then the princesses go home to their castle in the clouds.
We are staying with our block on the Chumash, and have been reading a few books. Pictured are the ones I found on Amazon, but we also got some really great ones at the Natural History Museum:
We started listening to the unabridged version of "The Island of the Blue Dolphins" on tape in the car, and it has inspired some play:
The girls' grandfather is going to teach them how to make baskets out of the tulle that the Chumash used, and which grows out back, and line them with pitch. In the fall I hope to make acorn cakes with them. We have definitely waved goodbye to our school year rhythm in favor of the laid-back, spontaneous summertime rhythm, and it's working for now. I am starting to at least think about what our rhythm will be in the fall, since keeping any kind of predictable schedule goes against my nature and takes a Herculean effort. My heart aches a little that we can't send the girls to Waldorf, but I'm hoping we can co-create something nourishing for them at their new schools next year, and I know that the most important piece is harmony in the home, which we are totally nailing at the moment. ;)