Thursday, January 29, 2015

Three Snow Bear's: Fully Loaded Lesson

 Three Snow Bears

Today was a fully loaded lesson as one thing led to another and we covered several subjects without intending to.
We picked The Three Snow Bears, by Jan Brett (author of "The Mitten") out of our winter books pile. 
I had hoped to fit a little math lesson in (measurement exploration and it just so happened, the Three Bears was a relevant fit.

We placed three pieces of painters tape on the floor and proceeded to measure ourselves, to determine how we ranked in size (body awareness).

 Measure Me!

Baby C is always so happy when we do activities that she can participate in!

It wasn't long before I could step aside and watch O as she sought out several other objects (and a baby sister) to measure. We used a 12" ruler to emphasize how numbers play a role in measurements (math), but she was quite happy just to compare by sight, after marking lengths.
 Daddy's Elementary Ruler
 Baby C's Toothbrush
 Sophie the Giraffe

The lesson easily shifted into our Daily Doodle prompt (art); draw using only circles.
We opted for the stacking rings to trace, as we further explored comparing sizes.

My intent was to create bears from the circles made, but O had other plans.

She cut out her largest circle (practical life skills), coloured it orange, called it the 'sun' and pasted it to paper before asking me to hang it on the Gallery Wall.

 The Sun

This segued into another (art) project I had lined up; needle prick typography
I lightly sketched the letter 'B' (language) onto a piece of paper. 
We placed a hand towel underneath and tied a thread with needle around O's wrist (I've learned from previous sewing efforts that needles are easily lost unless they are attached to us!) O went to work pricking paper to create letters of the alphabet. Fine motor (early writing skills) in action!
 The results look lovely in the window, back-faced by a flashlight, or as a medium for Light Table Activities.

I found these gorgeous examples of needle-prick art in a paper art book.
This could extend into another math lesson, but we were pooped by this point!

We ended our morning of hard work, with some Teddy Graham's (food) courtesy of Fork and Beans experimenting with the ingredients, since we don't use almond meal and didn't have coconut flour (science)!

Completely by coincidence (since we started the day with the Snow Bears), when we were visiting The Kids Should See This at the end of the day, we came across an old film from The National Film Board of Canada, about how to build an igloo (geography, architecture & seasons).
O was feeling very sorry for the nomads and offered to pay for a hotel room!
She was especially distraught that they had to stay in their coats 'indoors'.

Parenting Pick: Caldecott Medal Books

 A love of reading and appreciation of literature is my main education goal as a home schooling family.

As an avid writer, reader (and home schooling mom), when a list of award-winning book titles arrives in my inbox, local librarians cringe. Thanks to current technology, I can place a hold on books without going to the library, meaning some poor soul (to whom I owe a big hug) has to locate and shelve a heavy load each week!
We often randomly select from the shelves, but I lose sleep over the books that are waiting in a stack with my name on them.

"Chasing the Caldecott" was the title of the email from Playful Learning this morning.
Awarded picture books dated back to 1940's. Drool!!

Our local library is tops. 
They carry current titles from the latest authors (Jon Klassen, Mac Barnett, Oliver Jeffers, Julia Donaldson), classics from my childhood and some old goodies from the likes of Leo Leonni, Maurice Sendak, Ezra Jack Keats, Anita and Arnold Lobel.
I have read about new titles I'm interested in, one word to the librarian, and she has it on order to arrive in a few short weeks. They are passionate about offering free lit. We use our borrowed books to determine if they make the cut, before adding them to our growing wish list!

However, the library cannot house everything.
From the Caldecott list, there were a load of not-so-well-known authors whose works cannot be borrowed here in town. 
We own sheer brilliance written by Byrd Baylor, The Funny Little Woman (Arlene Mosel), Umbrella (Taro Yashima) thanks to second-hand bookstores who understand the value in buying these books. 
They made the list and won't be leaving our home library for years to come.

Cultural Literacy. In scouring home schooling books, I came across an excellent resource, that listed more resources within. The Lifetime Learning Companion, by Jean and Donn Reed
Essentially, this home schooling duo has done all the homework. The book not only outlines their home schooling philosophy, (which strongly supports John Holts view of child-led learning being the most effective education) but lists loads of books that they have loved along the way.
In addition to buying their book to use as a resource, we bought another book they touted, The New First Dictionary of Cultural Literacy as a quick reference to world events, religion, history, literature and more. This is a fabulous book to offer little snippets of topics that could be further explored.

20th Century Children's Treasury. I picked up this book years ago, second-hand. It is by far the best book on our shelves, for children. I'm guilty for being a fan of treasuries, but this one introduces stories throughout a span of recent history that are absolutely tops. When I had to choose a few books before shipping the rest from China to Canada, this one was at the top of my list. It's not surprising most are Caldecott winners.
It's worth it's weight in gold.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Waldorf Calendar (& Birthday Ring)

Hello, Lee Valley!

First, hubby brought home the catalogue.
Then he took me to our local shop!
I came out with a giant paper bag of wooden treats, like a kid in a candy store!

These wooden peg people (@ $0.33piece) completed our Waldorf Calendar; a succession of holes housing peg people which represent months of the year.
We could get fancy and dress the 'gnomes' in felt capes with colours that symbolize changing seasons, but for now, our pegs are plain.

This is the same Waldorf Birthday Ring that we use to celebrate with beeswax candles.

Daily Doodle: Art Die

Art Die

I'm a burning fool, trying to find more things to use my wood burner on!
Art die allow me some practice time, while providing O with more options to choose from!
While I was busy burning, she was busy with early handwriting skills.

She worked diligently on a series of light blue 'x''s before starting on lines and dots.
The die is just the right dimensions for her to hold in one hand (just shy of 2x2") while she uses the other to write.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Vegan Bites: Blueberry 'Pie'

Oh She Glows, lists 22 vegan snacks on the upcoming link.
We scrolled down to Blueberry Pie Chia Pudding
O likes a variety of foods, but none of them mixed together.
Once the oat squares and blueberry pie mix were served separately, they got her attention!

 Basic Oat Squares

Vegan Bites: Carrot Ginger Soup

Super Soup!
Oh She Glows rarely disappoints. This soup was no exception.
Both O and Baby C could not get enough of the chunky carrots just prior to puree.
(Once pureed, they wanted nothing to do with it! Note to me: next time leave the carrots whole!)

We changed up a few items as follows:
~omit onion
~add extra 2T ginger juice
~add pinch of turmeric, cinnamon, cumin and a heaping spoon of oregano
~omit apple (but did try to cut the earthy soup with half applesauce upon serving. Also yummy!!)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Felting Fingerpuppets

As I was gathering supplies for a felt project, O & Baby C were busy putting new uses to our 'felt washing' bin and lid! I turned around to begin felting with them, when I realized they had made a slide in the kitchen!

 100% Wool

Once I brought out the colourful roving wool, their slide game turned into project curiosity!
Definitely use 100% wool for this project. We picked these up at the Guelph Trillium Waldorf School for $3/skein.

If you have ever successfully ruined a wool sweater by washing it, you'll be a champ at felting!
I've attempted beautiful felt balls before, meant for sewing a garland, but today we opted for felting fingerpuppets as seen on 'Whip Up'
You can unravel and rip off pieces to begin winding around your finger.

O was keen to pretend she was a hospital patient receiving a finger cast!
Our water likely needed to be warmer and soapier, but after multiple dips and squeezes, you could notice the wool felting together.

The key is to agitate the wool, so if you have a washboard, you can use it to rub the wool against.

Baby C even stayed still long enough to have her own finger cast, before attempting to eat it!

Felt Playmat. WIth the help of a bamboo sushi mat, you can begin your own Woodland Playmat. 

Mushrooms. These are sweet, but require extra agitation with felting needles

Seed Selectors: Edible Landscaping 2015

Last April was a bit whirlwind with the international move and all.
Hubby was heartbroken, we didn't have enough time to prep a proper summer garden, as apparently, planning is to begin in wintertime!

It's a new year and the seed catalogs have been rolling in.
We've set aside a Garden Journal, to indicate which seeds we've used/liked and idea's for the coming year.
Our mini gardeners have started their seed selection!
I caught them today, circling their choices and gabbing back and forth about 'fowlers' (flowers) and fruits!
 Edible Landscaping

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bug Hunter's: Butterfly Conservatory Program

We LOVE Bugs!

We've returned with bells on to the second semester of the Butterfly Conservatory Home School Program.
Once monthly, they offer an amazing 2-hour program for all ages at a great price.

Today my hands were too tied up to take many pictures. 
We were dressing and undressing children for the outdoor portion of the class, where we took a Field Trip, literally, into the forest to look for where bugs go in the winter. We all located Galls where insects make temporary homes on plant life. One family found a Tiger Moth whose body produces glycerol that works as 'antifreeze' allowing them to survive cold temperatures

The facilitator talked about the different ways insects can survive in the cold weather: 
1) hibernation ('torpor'), 
2) eggs/larvae/pupa-chrysalis ('diapause' or a long term state of suspension), 
3) migration (Monarch's headed to Mexico) 
4) and the antifreeze method; producing extra sugars to survive the outdoors

O was actually soaking in all this information and gave us a detailed private class at dinnertime! 
(Most of the above, I had to look up!)

The class is so well done, as it caters to various ages from Baby C all the way up to attending grandparents. There are active portions, listening periods, questioning opportunities, field observation, conservatory observation and hands-on activities. Likely the best $8 we spend on education each month.

Exploration Station: Scale & Measurement

 Bit's & Pieces

For the New Year, we've planned to incorporate Exploration Stations into our weekly learning opportunities.
We kicked off with a Math Station by presenting O with this tray of bits and pieces.
Over the week, we will re-introduce this tray, so today it was important that I allow her to truly explore without much interruption on my part.

As I went about making lunch, I put the new items on display.
She was immediately drawn to these mysterious tools.
Without a word from me about the bits & pieces, she had the scale put together in minutes and was beginning to add the weights.

She had classed them according to their sizes by giving them names like, Daddy, Mommy and Baby.
(I think there was a "Nurse" in there too.)

I was stunned to see how determined she was to get the scale balanced and work out the methods for doing so.
At this point I stepped in and asked questions.
"How do you get the scale to balance?"
"Which side is heavier?"
"How do you know when it's level?"
She was the 'expert' and I was the interested student learning about measurement!

When Baby C woke up, she had her turn.
She hummed a little tune while placing the weights in their base stations before adding them to the scale over and over again;)
She had a very different method for creating balance, by just tugging on the side that needed help!

"I See Two Mom's"

O learned to cross her eyes today;)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Soap Floats: Ghost Mud

Toilet Paper Tub

Happy Hooligans hosted this fun sensory activity titled, Ghost Mud
Since we don't own a microwave, we opted to grate the Ivory bar, which turned out to be a tactile experience on it's own.

The lovely little shavings were curly and creamy white.
Mixed with water, a big goopy mess, O couldn't wait to get into!

We added the toilet paper and mixed manually.
It was an extremely good work-out for the hands.
Maybe a good activity when emotional energy needs to be released!

O wanted to roll hers like a pancake, making food for her restaurant.

I tried a 'squeeze' technique; squishing the contents through my fingers and working from there to sculpt.