Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Natural Dye

We have a ton of beautiful sunflowers in our yard. They came up voluntarily, apparantly from wild seeds washed in through the irrigation.

No, really, I mean a ton! Enough for a whole sunflower forest, complete with secret tunnel...and that's not even showing the huge sunflower plants that have grown up in my garden and various other places in the yard.

So...Michaelmas is coming, and we have been charmed by the idea of dying our own golden capes. Trouble is, we don't have any marigolds. Hmmm. Would sunflowers work? We decided to experiment. We started with a whole bunch of whole sunflower heads...

which resulted in this lovely yellow-green, but not really what we were going for.

Then we tried sunflower petals mixed with Mexican Bird of Paradise blossoms and buds.

The pot looked beautiful, the water was kind of murkey, but turned a lovely orangy-pink when I stirred in a sprinkle of citric acid. But when we added the wool, it just didn't seem to be holding the color. We boiled for quite a while, but it just turned out light beige....hmm...

Finally we decided to try just sunflower petals. Just the petals! Nothing else! So tons more flowers were picked. This time we decided to put in a silk scarf too. It was looking very promising, I added a little sprinkle of Tumeric for some intensity....

Now that is color!!! Wow! I couldn't believe how bright it turned out! Now, I don't know how much is sunflowers and how much the Tumeric, but I had a whole pot of sunflower petals and maybe a 1/4 tsp. of tumeric, if that. Anyway, the result is definitely sunflower yellow!

Here are the results, left to right: Sunflower petals and tumeric; onion skins (I only had a tiny bit, so we just did one little pot. It turned out a gorgeous golden color!); sunflower petals and Mexican bird of paradise; sunflower heads.
All the wool and silk was pre-boiled in half water and half white vinegar with a teaspoon of alum added for color fastness. We pre-boiled for one hour, at the same time pre-boiling the flowers for one hour. Then we strained off most of the petals and added the rinsed wool and silk. We then boiled this mixture for about another hour. With the onion skins, though, I just added the pre-boiled wool into the pot with a handful of onion skins and boiled the whole thing for about 45 minutes.
We are thinking that this weekend for our Michaelmas capes, we will do the sunflower petals and tumeric with a few onion skins added for a deeper yellow...All 5 kids demanded to be a part of it! I didn't think the older 3 would want yellow silk capes, but I thought wrong! They still love dress-up!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Grade 3/4, Math Block week 2

Not a lot to talk about this week. We are really working on memorizing those multiplication tables, so it was more skip counting to marching and singing, writing them out, etc...

Robin made this fun tool that makes different patterns for the different numbers. Above is the 3's. He sanded the wood and pounded the nails all on his own. I wrote the numbers.

We are working on 2's, 3's and 4's right now. We discovered that the threes can be sung to Frere Jacques. Memorizing the times tables is tedious work though, no matter what you do. They just have to be memorized. Even when the concepts are understood, it really just comes down to memorization. So, we try to make it as fun as we can!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Grade One, J & B

Letters J & B
Waldorf Alphabet Book
A Journey Through Waldorf First Grade
Oak Meadow Kindergarten

The Water of Life - Grimm (a prince brings his father a JUG of the water of life)
Flora Flutterbye - Sieglinde de Francesca (Kit'N'Tales)
Hummy Bee - Sieglinde de Francesca (Kit'N'Tales)

Make clay jug
Make jam
Make bee and butterfly from Kit'N'Tales
Bake bagles

We actually spent most of the week last week on J. I was under the weather with a bad cold and just couldn't seem to focus on academics. We told the story of "The Water of Life" and illustrated the jug and fountain in our MLBs. We made strawberry jam, but I couldn't find clay I liked so we didn't make our jugs. We did have tons of fun dying silk and wool with flowers from our yard - more about that in another post! We also spent a lot of time with our goats and our new neighbor- a little calf named Sassy...

We did all of B on Monday of this week. Well, actually, we were talking about B all weekend as we observed the bees in our garden, thought of all the B words we could think of, baked bread, and talked about butterflies. Elsa was very ready for the two stories on Monday, and was very happy to finally enter her picture in her MLB.

The highlight of our B lesson was making a little Hummy Bee using our sunflower dyed wool and the instructions in Sigi's Hummy Bee story. So cute!!! Elsa loves her little bee and has been taking very good care of her.
We also started the butterfly from Sigi's Flora Flutterbye story (downloads free on the Kit'N'Tales website!) But this morning Elsa discovered that her wings needed a little more color so she had to repaint them. We will finish that one before bed tonight.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Grade 3/4, Math Block week 1

Robin is working on a 3 week math block. We started out working on his times tables and did lots of fun activities to continue memorizing them.
These multiplication clocks were very fun to do. I had Robin draw the circles freehand (also covering form drawing for the week!), then he figured out the numbers and I wrote them. We colored them together and hung them on the wall.
We also did tons of skip-counting in circle time, and marching while skip-counting. He made a multiplication table and filled in the blocks for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, and 12.

Grade One, H & D

Letters H & D

Waldorf Alphabet Book
A Journey Through Waldorf Homeschooling Grade One
Oak Meadow Kindergarten

The Hut in the Forest - Grimm
The Twelve Dancing Princesses - Grimm
Fairy Houses, Everywhere - Barry & Tracy Kane

Make a fairy house

Last May on a visit to Grandaddy & Gramie's cabin, Elsa picked up all these rocks. We were on a little hike, and she saw so many pretty rocks. I told her she should only pick up what she could carry herself and she ended up with her whole skirt full! We brought them home, and she has used them for all kinds of creative play.

To go with our lesson about H and Houses, Elsa built a fairy house. She was so excited to use her rocks from the mountains to make a house for the fairies.

She wrote a little note to the fairies, and sure enough, they wrote back! They thanked her for the beautiful house, and obviously they danced all night as there was fairy dust sprinkled everywhere!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Talk Like a Pirate Day!

This is for you, Fawndear!

Talk Like A Pirate Day countdown banner

September Circle Time

Candle Verse:
When everything is quiet, the light fairies come,
Bringing light and warmth, from the stars and sun.

Opening Verses:
Morning has come, night is away
We rise with the sun to welcome the day.

I can be as tall as a tall, tall tree.
I can be as small as a small, small seed.

German Songs:
Kommt ein Vogel Gefloegen
Haeschen in der Grube

Fun songs:
The Little Rabbit (little cabin in the wood)
It's Autumn Time

Activity song:
Oh, Oh, Oh, (the Dwarves March in a Row)

Math Practice:
Skip counting by 3's - marching, bean bag toss, clapping, song (tune of "Frere Jacques")

Seasonal Story:
"September" from "A Time To Keep" by Tasha Tudor or "All Year Round" by Elsa Beskow
"Christopher's Harvest Time"
"The Apple Cake"
"Our Apple Tree"

Recorder Practice

Closing Verse:
Here is a spark from Father Sun's light,
To keep in our hearts so warm and bright.

Grade 3/4, Week Three

Culture: Southwest
Resources: Keepers of the Night
A Journey Through Waldorf Homeschooling Grade Three

"Creation of the Moon" (Navajo/Dine) Keepers of the Night

Southwest Culture (drawing of Hogan)

"The Boy Who Became a God" (Navajo)

The Origin of Summer and Winter"" (Acoma/Laguna) A Journey Through Waldorf Homeschooling Grade Three
Since we live in the Southwest, this culture is very near and dear to us. We were able to find many resources locally through friends and family. Above you see Elsa picking the seeds out of cotton bolls. We picked the cotton at a nearby farm.
Gramie has tons of experience with southwest cooking, so invited the kids over for a cooking day. She helped them roast chilis and make delicious lamb-stuffed chilis.

Stuffing the chilis.

They were a little spicy for the kids, but Robin and Elsa enjoyed eating the lamb filling with cornmeal pancakes. Yum! Thanks Gramie!!

My sister lives in Gallup, NM and has Southwest Indian culture all around her. She sent me the recipe for Navajo fry bead and beans which we made one night for dinner. So simple, but soooo good! She also sent the recipe for really amazing Zuni bread and a lamb stew. The bread and stew turned out so good!! Thanks, Hanne!!

Grade One, Week Three

Letters W & C

Waldorf Alphabet Book
A Journey Through Waldorf Homeschooling Grade One
Oak Meadow Kindergarten

Stories: The Fisherman and His Wife - Grimm
Eartha the Earthworm - Oak Meadow Kindergarten Syllabus
The Poor Miller's Boy and the Cat - Grimm
Pussy Willow - Sieglinde De Francesca

Activities: Make and observe waves in water
Dig for worms
Bake croissants
Sew the cat from Pussy Willow

Ok, so I did try another chalkboard drawing, but this was the last one! As it turned out, Elsa had a very difficult time doing a wave form. She was frustrated and didn't want to draw this picture, although she had great fun playing with waves in water and observing them in our irrigation that day! Fortunately I had the backup W story about a little worm, so the next day....

This is what we came up with. Elsa was so much happier!

We didn't get around to making our croissants, and we didn't get to sew our cat, but Elsa did love the cat stories.
Her cousin came over and did the lesson with us which was very fun, and the girls colored lots of cats! They also played for a long time with the little Ostheimer kitties.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Grade 3/4, Week Two

Plains Indian Cultures

Info about Plains Indians: "Kirsten's World" by American Girl

Stories: Iktomi and the Ducks, Iktomi's Blanket, and Iktomi and the Muskrat, all taken from Oak Meadow Indian Legends.
Activities: Make a paper saddlebag in the style of the Plains cultures
Set up tipi!

Iktomi and the Ducks (Lakota)

Iktomi's Blanket (Lakota)

Iktomi and the Muskrat (Lakota)

Eastern Woodland canoes, and Plains saddlebag.

Our Tipi! We made this when Robin was a baby. What fun to see it still in use!

Grade One, Week Two

Letters of the week S & T
Stories: "The Seven Swans" by Grimm
"The Three Little Men of the Forest" by Grimm
"Magic in the Garden" Oak Meadow Kindergarten Fairy Tales
Form Drawing - Spiral

I should mention that we have the "Waldorf Alphabet Book" by Famke Zonneveld. It has beautiful pictures for each letter and Elsa has fun looking for all the things that begin with the letter.

Chalkboard drawing for S

Elsa's MLB entry for S

More chalkboard for S and spirals. Elsa had fun copying the snail's name from "The Story of the Root Children" by Sibylle von Olfers.

Of course, our bread had to be made into cute little snail buns! She did them all by herself!

My MLB for T
I decided to stop doing the letters on the chalkboard as I want it to be a place to inspire both children. So now our chalkboard has the date on it decorated with seasonal pictures.

Elsa's MLB for T. Although she liked the story of the "Three Little Men in the Forest", she really thought it was a dumb one for T! She did not see the connection with the letter, and didn't see why the little men would be standing in a T shape. I scrambled around and found the story from the Oak Meadow Kindergarten which is about plum trees in a little garden. Elsa loved it, and had no problem making a tree for T! That's the fun of homeschooling, we can decide what stories will most inspire our children for a particular subject.

Coincidentally, Friday of this week was Tasha Tudor's birthday! Perfect for wrapping up T. We celebrated by baking Becky's Birthday Cake from Tasha Tudor's Cookbook and reading some of her stories.