Friday, August 28, 2009

1st Grade - Letters A, E, I, O & Numbers 1, 2

We are thoroughly enjoying experiencing 1st grade homelearning as a family this year! Wilson is our sweet 1st grader.

We get asked frequently, "So, what do you with Wilson when you homeschool?". Here is a breakdown of the basics that we've been doing the first two weeks of school, using the Earthschooling curriculum as a guide. Letters are introduced in a 3-day rhythm. We are reviewing one number per week.

Week 1
Day 1
Circle Time: Sing "Angels Watching Over Me" ("A"), lyre
Letter A: A Story, LMNOP Card Verse/Movement
Number 1: 5 Senses (taste one apple, see one leaf, feel and guess one item in the box, hear one bird, smell one essential oil)

Day 2
Letter A: Singing, "A"corn Watercolor with Verse, Project (mixing and baking Squash Bread)
Number 1: Math Gnomes (each gnome has 1, practice add/subt/mult/div with gems)
Form Drawing (All form drawing comes from the Write Approach book)
Gymnastics Class

Day 3
Letter A: Writing (air, chalkboard, window crayons, colored pencils in MLB), Search for items that have "A" in them
Letter E: E Story, LMNOP Card Verse/Movement

Number 1: Scooping pearls with a shell, one at a time while felted mermaid watches

Day 4
Letter E: Singing/lyre "Farmer in the Dell" ("E"), Tr"ee" Watercolor with Verse, Dream Tea Project (lemon balm leaves and strawberries)
Number 1: Writing (chalkboard, MLB), Singing "The Ants Go Marching 1 by 1"
Form Drawing

Day 5
Circle Time: Sing/lyre "Good Morning Dear Earth" ("A, E, I, O")
Letter E: Writing, Search for items that have "E" in them, Draw faces on hard-boiled "E"ggs and do egg hunts.
Nature Counting wood blocks, one at a time
Foreign Language: Numbers in Spanish

Week 2
Fairy Tale of the Week: Briar Rose (Mommy tells story and acts it out. Throughout the week, Wilson retells story. Older children write a "persuasive essay" in their MLB's regarding the tale.)

Day 1
Circle Time: Sing/Lyre "Good Morning Dear Earth", Bean bag counting, Circle Time Song, Meditation
Letter I: I Story, LMNOP Card Verse/Movement
Number 2: 5 Senses

Day 2
Letter I: Singing/lyre "Michael Row Your Boat" ("I"), "I"cicle Watercolor with Verse, Project (mixing and baking Indian corn bread)
Number 2: Math Gnomes (2 jewels each, practice add/subt/mult/div)
Form Drawing
Handwork: Spinning Yarn

Gymnastics Class

Day 3
Letter I: Writing, Search for items that have "I" in them
Letter O: O Story, LMNOP Card Verse/Movement
Number 2: Play kitchen (cutting wood food into "2" pieces and serving "2" plates of food)
Music: Piano

Day 4
Letter O: Singing, "O"range Watercolor with Verse, Project (cut and sew a Frog bean bag)
Number 2: Writing (chalk, window crayons, colored pencils), Singing "The Ants Go Marching 2 by 2"
Form Drawing
Handwork: Spinning Yarn

Day 5
Circle Time: Sing/lyre "Michael Row Your Boat" ("I, O"), count by 2's throwing bean bags
Letter O: Writing, Search for items that have "O" in them in the garden
Foreign Language: Counting in Spanish

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Syrendell Workshop for Parents and Toddlers

Thinking, feeling, and willing. Head, heart, and hands. The balance of the human spirit. We strive for this in our inner lives. Steiner believes the thirst for knowledge is what gives humankind the boundless freedom to seek truths and to lift ourselves into higher planes of consciousness. This thirsting for knowledge can only be quenched with willful action. Perhaps this is the role of the educator. Knowledge is meant to be shared and teaching others is a way of willful action.

We feel blessed to have had the opportunities to learn from wonderful teachers who gave us skills we ourselves enjoy, and can share with others. Parents to their children. Friends to friends. Teacher to student. Through each individual soul the thread of knowledge weaves. As Steiner points out in his book Philosophy of Freedom, "In so far as we think, we are the all-one being that pervades everything."

Education connects us and enlives us. Everyday, we model for our children, and impart in our children what we know - and we likewise learn things from them as well! The thread of knowledge remains unbroken, and to expand it we are also compelled to share with other families what has been given to us.

We are hosting through Syrendell Academy a workshop for parents in beautiful Fair Oaks on September 20, 2009. We have just a few spaces left. It will be a day of cooperative learning, the synergy of willfulness. Painting, fiber crafting, a nature hunt, music, verses, and playing. Visit the Syrendell Academy website for info on Creative Family in the Dell: A Workshop for Parents and Toddlers. If you know anyone in the area who may be interested in attending, please let them know, and we will be happy to receive them!

Sunday, August 23, 2009


There's been a lot of crocheting going on this week!

Joey crocheted a "walker cozy" for her great-grandmother's walker. It can tie around any of the poles or handles to make it look pretty and unique.

Mommy finished up a custom order of fingerless gloves and a hat for a customer. The pattern (it's easy!) is available in our Etsy shop and our fiber arts webstore.

Mommy is teaching a Tunisian Crochet workshop at Babetta's Yarn Cafe in Fair Oaks, CA on 9/13/09 from 11-2. She loves teaching classes!

The boys are busy spinning and knitting....more to come on their knitting projects!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Our First Day of "School"!

Our homelearning year officially started on Monday. Here are some of the things that we did....

We started the day with a bike ride by the American River....

Next, it was time for a treasure hunt! First, the kids followed clues around the house and yard.

Then, the kids were each given a math problem which lead them to a "treasure". Ricky and Joey each received wood knitting needles, and Wilson received a snail...each one with their name woodburned by Daddy.

Circle Time included our Circle Time song (see our first blog posts for the song), Daddy's Good Day verse, and Mommy reading an individual verse to each child.

Wilson was introduced to the letter "A" through a Romanian tale, a verse from LMNOP with movements, and singing with Mommy. We sang "The Ants Go Marching" and looked for ants in the yard. We will be doing a 3-day rhythm for each vowel, and then move into the consonants. We are using the Earthschooling curriculum this year (it's wonderful--more to come on how we use it).

We did form drawing, using the "Write Approach" book 1 as our guide.

Daddy started Joey and Ricky on a woodworking project. They made plans to build a small sandbox for Wilson.
Joey and Ricky designed and drew the first pages of their Main Lesson Books for the year.
Ricky had clarinet lesson and Joey had jazz dance class. We all had "vruit" (beets, carrots, apples, kale through the juicer, mixed with orange juice) in the afternoon.
We ended the day playing with cousins, picking tomatoes from the garden, and then "camping out" on the back deck overnight! A memorable first day at Syrendell.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Snail Give-Away!

Visit Rick's blog for a chance to receive a syrendell snail!

(Click on the image below to take you directly to the blogpost.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hankering for a Yarn!

Mommy is featured in Hankering for a Yarn! Here is the link:

Noreen Crone-Findlay runs this wonderful site, and you can sign up for her free newsletter if you love all things fiber arts-related. She is an amazing fiber artist! We love our spoolknitters that she makes. :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Summer Projects

Some of our Summer projects...

Handspun Yarns

Ricky's "Nitrogen" Yarn

Joey's "Lavender Fields" Yarn

Joey's watercolor -- an Autumn tree.

Ricky's rune cards in progress (more on this project to come).

Wilson's Hungry Caterpillar out of a paper towel tube.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Our Spiral Path

There's just something about spirals...beautiful, geometric, artistic, mathematical, magical, mesmerizing....

This past year, we studied "phi", the Golden ratio, phyllotaxis, and spirals. Now, we see spirals, leaf patterns, shells....

We built a labyrinth at our old house (great homeschooling project!), but we don't quite have enough space at our new house for a labyrinth.
Labyrinth at our old house
So, instead, we have built a spiral! Daddy and the kids carved out a path in the vines, spiraling towards the fountain near Rabbie and Navy's cage. We collected rocks from the river and the yard to line the spiral. Mommy planted some wildflower seeds in the dirt areas and they are starting to sprout!

The spiral may be seen from the deck and from Joey's room. It's a meditative reminder to us whenever we see it.

Where do you see spirals?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Count on Nature

At Syrendell, we are surrounded by the artistry of nature. The bounty of the garden vegetables glisten in the sun like jewels, the beauty of flowers smile like ballerinas on a stage, and even the humble ivy twist about like Celtic knots in the shade of trees. With the branches of felled trees, among abandoned heaps of clippings, in a quiet corner of the yard, one may think the artistry of nature had run its course. But no!

Revived by Syrendell, the tree branch is awakened and revitalized as homelearning counting and imagination blocks!

Daddy cut the branches, sanded their edges and rough parts of the bark, and some sets he finished with beeswax, others without (he seems to prefer to leave them unfinished to see the natural patina of the wood). In sets of twelve, with diameters averaging one and a half inches, with lengths between one inch to about three inches, they make excellent counting blocks, just the perfect number to learn basic operations. Mommy dyed a circle-shaped muslin fabric with onion skins, Joey sewed the edges, and Ricky and Wilson did a simple single crochet as a tie, and voila! A handy pouch to carry the wood blocks in. And with some imagination, both the fabric and the tie can serve so many other uses.

Nature continues to inspire us, feed us, protect us. We honor it by sustaining its vital force through the appreciation of all it can offer us and teach us.