Weekly Report 12.10.10

This review is either reeeeeeaaally early or reeeeeeeaaaally late, depending on how you look at it. 😉  Anyway, we are finishing up this week and preparing for Winter Break.  The Peeps have really enjoyed this Native American block.  They wanted to continue right through to break, so that’s what we did.  Tomorrow is our last “official” day of the semester, but we’re planning on finishing up some things –not doing anything new.  So it’s safe to say were done and show some examples of the last part of the block:

We learned about Native American moons and created our own calendars.  Each month we marked the full moons with their names, and drew a picture to illustrate:

March- The Full Sap Moon

January- The Full Wolf Moon

We learned about the Iroqouis tribe as we spent the last couple of weeks reading and illustrating tales from The Boy Who Lived With Bears and Other Iroquois tales.

"The Boy Who Lived With Bears" (and copywork page)

Two Native American Poems (copywork)


"How Birds Got Their Feathers"

Peep #2

Peep #1

A book report from Peep #2 on the novel Birchbark House, and one from Peep #1 on the book Black Elk’s Vision.  Also some Eastern Woodland tribal designs that they copied from my chalkboard drawing.  We used these symbols to make a Pequot game called “Hub-bub”:

MLB snapshot


My Chalkboard Drawing (sorry for the poor quality!)

Sawing the chips for Hub-bub

Peep #1's Turn

The Finished Game!

This game is actually fun– the Peeps have played it several times since we made it.  I think it will get a lot of use!

We read a story about corn– “How Corn Came to Be” (Earthschooling) and had a corresponding form drawing lesson:

We also tried our hands at making simple tools like the ones we’d seen at the museum:

Simple Tools

And finally, we ended our block with making basic dream catchers!

Dream Catchers

Peep #2 was learning about square roots in her Math lesson this week, and I came up with this idea to help her remember.  It worked!

Square "Roots"

This would have been a great tie-in to the Botany Block!

More math for Peep #2 (Peep #1 continued with his Saxon):

Tanagrams- she created the design with her pieces and copied.

Geometry Lesson

And finally– since we’re spending so much time on verb tenses for grammar and it can be a little dry, I had them create “verb tense suns” to help them practice the infinitive form and various tenses.  Here’s an example:

Verb "Suns"

That’s about it!  Since we are off until January, I won’t be posting weekly reports, but I do plan to post now and then on the different crafty things we’re working on for the holidays.  Hope everyone is enjoying this wonderful time of year!

Two Week Review, 11.19.10

Busy couple of weeks!  Our little cat Luna came home with a broken leg a couple of weeks ago and that has been taking up a lot of our time.  We’re also nursing a sick hen… when it rains, it pours!  But here’s a little taste of what we’ve been up to in our Native American block:

Still reading lots of stories and making illustrations:

Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back

Should be, "The First StrawberrIES"!

The turtle activity didn’t come out as I’d hoped.  The crumpled paper is supposed to give the illusion of water.  To me it just looks like, well… crumpled paper!

We also read about Sitting Bull:

Sitting Bull

And explored the world of Navajo blankets in conjunction with their weaving projects.  Peep #1 sketched out a design he’d like to try.  A bit advanced at the moment, but he’ll get there! 😉

Navajo Blanket Design

We’ve been reading/listening to Native American poetry:

From Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back

More Poems...


And for copywork writing about different culture areas:

Native Americans in the Northwest

Learned more about sage and its healing properties:

Sacred Sage

The Peeps also made wrapped feathers for smudging.  Plenty of chicken feathers in the hen house to choose from!  The ends were wrapped in leather cord:

Wrapped Feathers

We discovered the meaning of many of our local landmarks (streets, rivers, towns, etc) and learned a few words in the Pequot language.

Peep #2's Sun and Moon

Pumpkins and other squash were vital to Native American culture in our area (along with beans and corn), so Peep  #2 used pastels to draw a whimsical pumpkin patch in her art class this week:

Pumpkin Patch

On Thursday we went on a field trip to our local Native American Museum.  This is one of the best museums we’ve been to!  They have an entire Pequot village exhibit you can walk through and see every aspect of daily life while you listen to the audio guide (hand held) describe and explain each scene.  Unfortunately no photos were allowed inside the museum.  But we took a couple outside and from the observation tower.

Pequot Museum

On Friday we rose early to see the morning star, then read an Iroquois tale called “So Son Do Wah and the Morning Star”.  We discussed Venus as the morning and evening star,

Peep #1's Morning Star Illustration

We’ve also been listening to Native American music (drumming chants and flute primarily) whenever we’re in the car or doing quiet work and especially when they’re weaving.

Finally fished up our fall banner, too.  I really love the way this came out!  We’re going to do one for Yule as well.

Autumn Banner

This coming week is a short one for school, so I will probably combine it with next week’s report.   Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate!

Weekly Review 11.5.10

It was a lighter-than-usual week.  On Tuesday we took the day off as Peep #2 spent the day with her best friend who was celebrating her 12th birthday.  They went to the movies, out to lunch, for ice cream, and then enjoyed visiting before we had to rush home for karate.  Then, on Thursday, another of Peep #2’s friend’s mom needed help with child care so we had her for the day.  We did do a little work that morning though, and in the afternoon they had their monthly class on Ecosystems at our local nature center (science!).

Anyway, this week we started a new 3-week block on Native American culture.  I’m really excited about this block, though at the same time it’s a little overwhelming- there is SO much out there!  I’m taking a deep breath and trying to keep in mind the whole-to-parts philosophy of Waldorf educators.  We’ll learn about Native Americans by focusing on their stories, myths and legends, while also touching on the more specific aspects of daily life.  To that end, I’ve compiled a bunch of resources that I’ve found from book and internet sources.  Here’s a picture of some of the books we’ll be using:

Some of the Resources We're Using

In addition, we will be drawing on activities from these websites:  Native Tech, Teacher’s First, and this neat site.

We’ll be learning about Native Americans in a more general sense at first, and then during the second or third (and possibly fourth) weeks will focus on our local Native culture, which is fortunately rich in resources.  So, this week we did some map work concentrating on the overall picture of different tribes in the U.S. (I want to cover Mexico and Canada separately).


Map of Basic Classifications

Slightly More Detailed Map They Copied Into Their Books

Peep #2's Work in Progress

We compared different Native American dwellings, and spent a lot of time reading and illustrating stories and myths, for example, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky and Coyote and the Magic Words:

Coyote and the Magic Words

The Woman Who Fell From the Sky

Native American Dwellings

Some of the stories I chose are geared for children a little younger than my Peeps, but I decided to include them anyway for their simple  message and especially for the beautiful illustrations.  Conversely books like this one may be a tad advanced for Peep #2, but it’s good to have them stretch their minds a bit!

For activities we bought a loom from Magic Cabin and learned how to weave.  However, I didn’t anticipate needing two, so while Peep #2 got started on her tapestry, Peep #1 learned how to make a loom from cardboard.

Working the Loom

Warping a Cardboard Loom

The cardboard loom is definitely trickier to work than the “real” one; I may have to see if I can find another at one of the second hand stores.

We learned about Native American ceremonies and used a smudge stick.  The smudge stick itself wasn’t new to the Peeps as I make and use my own.  And last year, we experienced an authentic Native American burial ceremony when the husband of an acquaintance passed away.  It was very moving.  Smudging was a part of that ceremony too, and now we did some ourselves.

Using a Smudge Stick

Next week we’ll learn more about the herb sage, and it’s importance to many Native Americans.

We read some Native American poetry and for a copywork exercise they copied out one of the poems:

Tewa Poem & Story Narration (Osage)

(And yeah, we had a minor catastrophe and had to rip out a page here LOL  Unfortunately the glue from the maps made the pages really bumpy for writing and applying background color.)

Meanwhile, for Math they continued with Saxon 8 and Oak Meadow 5.  Peep #2 also created her own crossword puzzle in an activity from Real World Math, and since her OM lesson this week was about bar graphing, I had her make one of her Halloween candy!

Candy Bar Graph

Making a Crossword Puzzle

That’s all folks.  Have a good week!

Weekly Review 10.29.10

This week we did a mini-block on the Salem Witch Trails.  The Peeps have been curious about it but we haven’t really delved into it much.  I figured we would explore it in high school, but since they were interested I decided to give them an age-appropriate introduction to the topic.  That was challenging!  I did find a couple of good books aimed toward younger kids:  Witchcraft in Salem Village and Witch Hunt: It Happened in Salem Village.  (In addition they read The Witch of Blackbird Pond–we are still working on that).  We focused more on the concepts of conformity, prejudice,  problems with the trials from a legal standpoint (logic), and colonial life.  They each wrote a report on what they’d learned and for a project we kept it light– they each started their own herbal tomes that they will continue to work on through out the year, and we cooked some traditional colonial fare.  Here are a few excerpts of the week:

Peep #1's Map

Colonial Life and a Vintage Map of Salem

Peep #2's Main Lesson Book and Herbal "Grimoire"

Peep #2's Report

And here is a sample from their herbals:



We also made the traditional colonial dish, “Pompion” (stewed pumpkin).  It was really good!

Scraping Out the Pumpkin Seeds

Chopping Up the Pumpkin After Roasting

I should have taken a photo of the finished dish, but alas…

For Language Arts/Writing, in addition to a couple more Unjournaling exercises, we continued learning about verb tenses.  This week it was the Present Perfect:

I don’t normally post pictures of their Saxon/Oak Meadow math work… they really don’t make the most exciting photos!  But I thought I’d throw one in this week.  Also, Peep #1 had a Saxon investigation on Compass Drawing, so it seemed like a good time to give him this and have him do one of the pjojects:

A Saxon Math Lesson

Compass Drawing Exercise

Meanwhile, more Land of Pome for Peep #2:

Land of Pome Mazes

She also made a few multiplication flash cards to help reinforce her tables, using blank index cards and watercolor paint.  We focused on the ones she has the most problem with:

Multiplication Flash Cards in Watercolor 🙂

For handwork, we did a little more sewing (Peep #1 sewed up a hole in his pillowcase, Peep #2 sewed a face on the monkey she knit).  The unicorns are still in progress!

Peep #2's "Lily"

We also started making our own autumn banner as described here:

Autumn Banner, Step One!

We’ll continue with the next step (painting) next week.  It was a busy week in general… on Monday we went to a corn maze, and on Friday to a Spooky Pumpkin Walk.  Both were a lot of fun and really got us into the Halloween spirit!

Lost in the Maze...

Enjoying Some Post-Maze Ice Cream!

Spooky Pumpkin Walk

Alien Invasion!




...and more pumpkins!

Recycled Milk-Jug Skeletons-- I love this idea!

And that’s it for now.  Hope everyone has a safe Halloween!

Weekly Report 10.22.10

It was a good week, despite two really light school days.  On Wednesday the weather was so beautiful… warm and sunny.  We have so few left before the cold weather sets in, so I set the Peeps free in the afternoon to play outside!  Thursday we spent the day at my sister’s visiting.  I did bring a few things for them to do, but mostly they just enjoyed visiting with their aunt and grandparents.  🙂

That said, we did finish up their two current blocks.  Peep #1 did the last four Egyptian god/dess pages.  Here are a couple of those (sorry for the blurry photos this week; I had to use my camera phone!):



He did a little tie in to math with learning about how the Egyptians used the length of fingers, palm, and forearm as a tool for measuring:


Another math sheet.  He learned about different polygons in Saxon this week, and I had him do a page to help reinforce it.  Some of them were challenging for him to draw, so I pan to have him repeat this exercise next week.


Peep #2 finished up her Botany block– for now.  We’ll do another week or two in the spring.  Here are some examples of her work this week:


Copywork: "Trees", and more Conifers

We are learning about different herbs and their medicinal qualities (this will extend past the Botany block), so she did a page on Lavender.  The second page shows the spore prints we did for mushrooms last week.  She also did a sun print of a fern leaf which was so pretty, but by the next day it had faded away.  We must have done something wrong!

Bye Bye Botany (for now!)

Another example from the Land of Pome math activities:

Pick up Pennies

A painting lesson on symetry:


And we also read about the origin of numbers and counting in The History of Counting.  We made our own Sumerian counting beads out of baked clay:

Sumerian Counting

Sumerian Counting Beads

I’ve been wanting to teach the Peeps to sew for a long time, so this week for handwork we made bean bags.  I was surprised at how quickly they took to it– especially Peep #1.  His stitches were so neat and straight!  He keeps surprising me with this stuff!

Sewing 101

Bean Bags!

Peep #2 and I finished the first side/half of our knitted unicorn.  I’ll update that photo on the Needles page later today.  For art we worked on some water color painting, blowing the colors around with straws to see what we got:

Painting with Straws!

Spridery, Ghostly Prints, Just in Time for Halloween

We also played around with our beeswax block crayons, working on a lesson from Coloring with Block Crayons.  In this one, the goal was to draw the sky at different times of the day using different colors for the sky (i.e. yellow for dawn, purple for evening):

The Changing Sky- Peep #2

Peep #1's Changing Sky

That’s it for this week.  Til next time!