Monday, August 19, 2013

Homeschooling 1st Grade

So, I've been hard at work the last couple weeks working on Liam's 1st grade curriculum. Because even though I have bought 4 different curriculum, I am impossible to please and have to make my own.

Friday, July 5, 2013

1st Day Back to School - Waldorf Homeschool Kindergarten

So, I originally started writing this post back in September of 2011. I had almost completely forgot about this blog I didn't think anyone read it, and tons of stuff have been going on around here. More on that later. But I looked up organic car seat covers and my article about it was the 2nd one that came up! I was so shocked to see that there were 83 comments! I never would have expected that. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog and I hope you will find lots of interesting information. I'm going to try to write more. Although, it is a bit difficult now that we've moved way upstate to the country and don't have internet lol.

So, on the exciting things that have happened to us. My husband is now in his final year of pre-med at Stony Brook University and is very hard at work studying for his MCATs to get into medical school. We looked into moving upstate. At first we were moving to Syracuse but then we got accepted into the family dorms at Stony Brook. It was great to be out of the in-laws house and finally have our own place. We were very close to our friends from the Waldorf homeschool co-op, and there are tons of great things to do in and around Stony Brook (to the right is a picture of Liam sticking his feet in the pond at Avalon a wonderful nature park near Stony Brook). But, unfortunately living in the dorms really wasn't working for us.

So, we started looking upstate again. this time looking around Waldorf schools. We found a great Waldorf school called The Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School (GBRSS). And found a gorgeous 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house with all wood floors, with a wood oven in the playroom, right across the street from a
playground and 2 houses down from the library, way in the country and close to the GBRSS, for $500 cheaper a month then we were paying to live in the ugly dorms.

Will still had school so he couldn't move up right away. The plan was for him to transfer in the spring. So, the kids and I moved up while Will moved back in with his parents to finish his last semester. We enrolled Liam into the 4 half day Kindergarten at the GBRSS. Unfortunately, after 3 months up there Will was layed off and we had no income for 2 months. Luckily, we found another house for rent 3 houses down the block for half the rent. We moved in on Ella's 2nd birthday.

Liam has a great time at school and he made his teachers cranberry popcorn strands for Christmas presents. But unfortuneatly the school was too far away and too expensive and it seemed like our whole lives revolved around bringing Liam to school what Ella and I were going to do all day in Great Barrington (it was too far to drive back and forth) while Liam was at school and then coming home and getting ready for the next school day. The school was lovely but living in the country I felt that homeschooling would be a better option for us. So, we pulled Liam out in February.

The next month I found out I was pregnant! So, it looks like our Busy Little Green Family will be getting bigger after all. We are going to have a homebirth this time. I promise I will write a whole post about that.

Liam will be starting 1st grade this September (serious schooling) so I ought the Christopherus 1st grade curriculum and we will be doing some variation of that this upcoming school year. I will post about our process registering to homeschool, and why I choose Christopherus.

Well, that's all I have time for right now. I am going to have my first sono in a bit so I have to get ready for that. Thank you again to all the readers and I hope I can continue to provide valuable information on how to be a Busy Little Green Family.

Hey! Welcome back everyone I hope you all had a great summer.We sure did! We were outside every day rain or shine. We spent lots of time jumping in rain puddles and taking walks around the block in the rain, especially when hurricane Irene hit! We were outside in the rain and wind, Liam was filling his rain boots with water and throwing it at me! Liam had swimming lessons we had a great time going to the co-op every Wednesday and I got lots and lots of Waldorf books and homeschool supplies. I also bought a lot more woolies for the kiddos and myself.

Anyways, I feel pretty confident about the year ahead and I thought I'd let you know how our first day was :)

Way back in May I had bought some 5mm silks and acid dyes from Dharma Trading Company in the hopes of making some playsilks, streamers and headbands to sell at the fair. Well that never happened but I was left with 16 yards of this silk and fire engine red, sunflower yellow and caribbean blue dye.

I never did anything with it till a couple weeks ago when we were planning on dying silks at the homeschool co-op when I decided to make a silk mobil like the dancing fairy mobile kit nova natural sells for $25.

I cut the silk into 5-1/2 x 5-1/2 squares and then dyed them Red, Red-Orange, Orange, Yellow-Orange, Yellow, Yellow-Green, Green, Blue-Green, Blue, Blue-Violet, Violet and Red-Violet.

Then I went to Joann and picked up some 100% wool batting, 100% wool cream colored yarn and because I couldn't find any regular wooden rings so I used an embroidery hoop. I had a 40% off coupon and the yarn was buy one get one 1/2 off.

Here are the silks I dyed I think the colored came out pretty well. I dyed everything that had yellow in it yellow first. Which is blue green, green, yellow green, yellow, yellow orange, orange, and red orange.

Next I dyed everything that was red but not yellow: red, red violet, violet, and blue violet. This way I wasn't "yellowing" the red. Then I put into the red dye the red orange, and orange and quickly dipped the yellow orange in. I think I should have left the red orange in the red a little longer because it looks almost the same color as the orange

Finally blue, first I dyed the blue then I took it out and put in the blue green, green and quickly dipped the yellow green. Then I took out the green and later the blue green. Then, I had to make a new little batch of blue dye, because the dye had turned green, and I dyed the blue violet, violet, and red violet.

Phew! Finally time to start actually making the mobile!

It was pretty simple just a bit tedious. But, Liam enjoyed it and he played with each fairy for a little while after he had finished.

Liam put a small ball of wool inside each square, and then tied a piece of wool yarn around it to make each fairy.

Then we tied two pieces of yarn folded in half to the inside of the embroidery hoop and then tied a small loop knot on top to hang it up. Here Liam is making sure that it will hang straight.

Then, I threaded the yarn, tied a knot in the bottom of the yarn and pushed it up through the bottom of the "fairies" through the wool and out through the top of the fairies head. 

Next, I tied the fairy onto the embroidery hoop. 

After the first fairy I hung up the mobile so I could make sure they were evenly spaced. 

Hurrah! Here is the finished mobile. I love it is is absolutely beautiful and very magical looking.

Took it out side for better light but it was pretty windy. Liam loved watching the fairies dance in the wind. 

So, we've had this mobile for about 2 years and 3 moves. And it is starting to look a bit shabby. Ella loved pulling the fairies off the mobile when she was about 18 months old, and Liam used them to make puppet shows. So, I will have to redo it. I think I will probably tie the fairies back on to the hoop with fishing line or something like that. The yarn I had just ripped way too easily. If you try this project good luck! The silk is still beautiful and I think it was worth it.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Easter - North Star Toys

Now I know Easter was a while ago but I never got a chance to talk about what I bought the Easter Bunny brought for Liam and Ella. I'm part of this Waldorf homeschool curriculum supplies yahoo group. Where I can buy used curriculum and other "waldorfy" things used from other waldorf homeschool moms. It's great! I've gotten a ton of stuff from them it's better than going to Savers.

Well I posted a list of things I would like to buy for Liam and Ella's Waldorf homeschooling adventure and one of the things I posted that I wanted to buy was wooden cars, trucks and planes. Well someone got back to me saying, "Perhaps you are looking for something bigger, but if you are interested in the "Little Rollie Vehicles" by North Start Toys then I have some to offer."  Are they super cute or what! 

I had to buy them even though I knew Liam might think "these are so tiny, and so not colorful and so not detailed." Still I figured if he didn't like them baby Ella would play with them and maybe with more Waldorf exposure Liam would get over his love of cars that go "voom" for him. 

She also had a paddle boat and a pull duck.

They are beautiful, gorgeous unfinished wood. I was in love. Now, here's the best part: North Star Sells the vehicles set for $45, I got it for $25; they sell the duck for $26, I got it for $16; They sell the paddle boat for $20, I got it for $12. Ahh I love a great deal. I and I love these wooden toys. 

After having them for a month now I can tell you Liam absolutely adores the paddle boat, it goes in the bath and the kiddie pool and anywhere there is water. He's not so excited about the wooden vehicles. He plays with them when he makes a city out of pine cones and beach rocks then, he drives them around the city he made. Ella loves them though! She doesn't roll them yet but she loves them rolling on her :) and she loves chewing on them. 

They are really great quality and knowing that they are totally worth the price North Star is asking or them. I plan on buying more from them in the future. especially their wooden camera!

Now, I never wanted to write any bad reviews but I have to be honest. Last year for Easter I bought Liam a little red sail boat from Nova Natural. It is very poor quality. The sail is very clumsily stitched it doesn't look neat or finished or even "artsy" it just looks lazy. It is attached to the front of the boat merely by a  piece of elastic cord poked through the sail (no eyelet or hole just randomly poked through the cloth). Also, the wood wasn't good so the first time it got wet (as sailboats do) the front cracked! It didn't break but it has a big crack in the front of it! Besides it had a little piece of wood filler in the front as if whoever made it made a mistake cutting and filled in the hole. I paid $15 for it plus $8 S&H I would have much rather spend $20 on the excellent quality boat I just bought. That being said. Nova Natural is still the only place to get Michael Engleberger's wood carved figures (much more beautiful then Ostheimer, in my opinion)

Anyway, on Easter we hid them around my mother's house and instead of an Easter egg hunt we had a little wooden toys hunt. 

Where are those sneaky Easter presents? 
 Found one in the microwave! (I found the microwave at Savers for $5)
 What is that horse doing on the stove! Silly horse!
Liam's paddle boat and Ella's duck were hidden n the bath tub.
It spins! Awesome!

 Ella is enjoying her duck already :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Breast Milk Baby is Awesome!

The Breast Milk Baby is Awesome!

I love this doll. All the dolls in the store come with a plastic baby bottle. What is that teaching our kids? Bottle feeding is normal. It's a little prcey but I think the idea is wonderful. Liam sometimes tries to breastfeed his stuffed animals lol (he'll learn soon enough). I'd love to get this for Ella when she is older and wants to practice taking care of a baby.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

World Science Festival

Last year my mom went to The World Science Festival but I was pregnant and trying to not be put on bedrest so I didn't go. This year though we are definately going!

There are a lot of really interesting events this year like:

It’s the thought of your childhood home. It’s that comforting aroma you can still smell ten years later. It’s the way you define yourself. It’s your memory. Where is memory stored? How do we recall? Why do we forget? We’ll shine a light on these and many other questions about memory from a molecular, psychological, and emotional perspective. Discover how your long-term memories can be naturally twisted, tweaked, and changed. Understand how memories of the past can also help us peer into the future. And explore the bumpy road even a youthful mind sometimes travels when experiencing déjà vu, succumbing to suggestibility, or having a “senior” moment. 

We spend a third of our lives asleep. Every organism on Earth—from rats to dolphins to fruit flies to microorganisms—relies on sleep for its survival, yet science is still wrestling with a fundamental question: Why does sleep exist? During Shakespeare and Cervantes’ time, sleep was likened to death, with body and mind falling into a deep stillness before resurrecting each new day. In reality, sleep is a flurry of action. Trillions of neurons light up. The endocrine system kicks into overdrive. The bloodstream is flooded with a potent cocktail of critically vital hormones. Such vibrant activity begs the question: Where do we go when we go to sleep? Based on new sleep research, there are tantalizing signposts. Join us in exploring this slumbering journey. We’ll delve into the one-eyed, half-brained sleep of some animals; eavesdrop on dreams to understand their cognitive significance; and investigate extreme and bizarre sleeping behaviors like “sleep sex” and “sleep violence.” 

In recent years, machines have grown increasingly capable of listening, communicating, and learning—transforming the way they collaborate with us, and significantly impacting our economy, health, and daily routines.  Who, or what, are these thinking machines? As we teach them to become more sophisticated, how will they complement our lives?  What will separate their ways of thinking from ours? And what happens when these machines understand data, concepts, and behaviors too big or impenetrable for humans to grasp? Join us in a discussion that will have you thinking twice about artificial intelligence.

Some of the events are free and some of them you need a ticket for. Check out the website to see all 11 events.

We are going to the Youth & Family Street Fair on Sunday June 5th. It's free and I know my little scientist would love it.
The Washington Square Park area will be transformed into a science wonderland when the World Science Festival Youth and Family Street Fair returns to New York City on Sunday, June 5, 2011.  This year’s extravaganza will feature a non-stop program of interactive exhibits, experiments, games, and shows designed to entertain and inspire.  Join us for a full day of free family fun!  Performances and exhibits will include Dancing Mad Scientist Jeffrey Vinokur; Franklin Institute’s Traveling Scientists; Central Park Zoo’s Wild Life Theater; Characters from the Jim Henson Company’s Dinosaur Train and Sid the Science Kid television shows; American Museum of Natural History’s Moveable Museum—Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries; Lynn Brunelle’s Pop Bottle Science and Camp Out Experiments; The Science of Ping Pong; New York City/ New Jersey FIRST Robotics; What Lies Beneath: Science of Underwater Exploration; The Smell Lab: Test your smell IQ; The CSI Experience; and much more.

I hope to see you there!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ella has the Chicken Pox!

Ella has her first illness, and honestly, it's not too bad. I don't know where she got it from but Ella has the chicken pox.

On Friday she had a little red bump on the bridge of her nose which everyone thought was a pimple. Saturday she had a couple red bumps in her diaper area which I thought was just diaper rash. Then Sunday morning there were a ton more bumps in her diaper area, all down her leg, creeping up her back and in her neck. We weren't sure what it was, but we guessed chicken pox.

I called the doctor and he asked if her was cranky and had a fever. Not really. Ella is such a good baby. He said he didn't think it was chicken pox. We made an appointment for Monday morning anyway.

On Monday a different doctor looked at her and kept asking if we fed her something. Nope, just breastmilk. If we changed her laundry detergent. Nope, we've always used either Seventh Generation Free & Clear or ECOS Free & Clear. If we put clothes on her without washing them. Nope, we always wash her clothes in either 7th Gen or ecos and all her clothes are either organic cotton or organic wool. She said it didn't look like chicken pox to her and she would give us a prescription for Benadryl, and said we could bring her to the dermatologist if we wanted.

We asked for a second opinion. Ella's regualar doctor came in and said, "could be chicken pox." The woman doctor said, "but it's not presenting like chicken pox. Chicken pox usually appears on the torso." The doctor said have you been around anyoe who has gotten the chicken pox vaccine lately? That's right people. If you give your child the chicken pox vaccine your child could be contageous and give another child chicken pox! Worse your child can give someone shingles which is extremely painful and causes three times as many deaths as chicken pox! Check out Harmony Health and Wellness for some more disturbing information. The chicken pox vaccine puts other people at risk, such as 5 month old babies. Ridiculous, luckily it wasn't even that bad.

I told the doctor, I wanted it documented that she has had the chicken pox so it won't be a problem when I don't want to vaccinate her later. So they wrote me a referral to go to a clinic. Poor baby Ella had her blood drawn for the test.

On Tuesday she started to get really cranky and her little red bumped started to become big puss filed bumps. Yuck. I really didn'y want to give her benadryl so we gave her an oatmeal bath instead.

It made her a lot happier, and she was able to take along nap :)

So, I have no idea where Ella got the chicken pox from. but thankfully she is finally getting over it. But this visit is making me think that doctors are pretty useless for all their "training" and high cost. It seems all the pediatrician does is look at her height, weight and head circumference and ask if she is developing well which is would know just by reading What to Expect: the First Year. If there are any problems their either prescribe something or tell us to go to the hospital or a specialist. I'm getting a little annoyed.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

imagine childhood giveaway

One of my favorite blogs imagine childhood is having an amazing Earth Day giveaway. They are giving away 1 Organic Cotton Backpack, 1 Sturdy Metal Compass, 1 Set Nature Study Cards and 1 Wooden LED Flashlight. I've never even seen or heard of a wooden flashlight! I know Liam would love this explorer set. Good Luck!

I found the wooden flaslights: imagine childhood sells them for $47