Tuesday, September 29, 2009

first day of home learning!!

Hurray! We had our first official lessons of the 2009-2010 home learning year!

I felt a little weird starting at the end of September instead of the beginning, but we had so much fun! I have a good feeling about our lesson work for this year. Clover is doing fourth grade work, and the boys are doing more Kindergarten this year. It is very typical for Waldorf students to stay in Kindergarten for a couple of years instead of advancing to first grade after only one year of K.

So, I am planning on taking a much more purist Waldorf approach this year. We are doing blocks of study instead of mixed subjects, and the boys will be waiting to start on reading skills until next year.

Clover's first block is on Norse Myths. We are doing some fraction review in the afternoons because I don't feel that we need to devote an entire block to that. Her fraction skills are really good.

This morning, (after morning Circle time and yoga) I told the creation story from Norse mythology. The boys listened as well, and were intrigued by all of the interesting parts of the story. Clover loved it. She is always ready for new stories! While we worked on her spelling lesson, the boys cut paper and colored. Willow stapled some pages together and I helped him with "writing a book" and Indigo made a beautiful book of colored pages.

The Kindergarten story for the week is Stone Soup. My kids have heard it before, but the best part of all for them was when I pulled out my special Soup Stone and offered to help make our own pot of stone soup. We put it into the boiling water, threw in some diced tomatoes, garlic, potatoes, carrots, garbanzo and black beans, and chicken broth. They all helped with cutting the vegetables and sprinkling spices. After an hour of outdoor play, we came inside, ate our (delicious) soup, and laughed like crazy when little Nova got the stone. He was so surprised!!!

Clover's fraction work this afternoon involved one of her favorite activities - baking. We harvested butternut squash from our garden about a little over a month ago, so we still have plenty sitting around waiting to be used. Clover made butternut squash muffins. Yum! They were so good, and fraction skills were used throughout the entire process. And they were delicious with dinner! Hurray! Eat your math!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

homeward bound...

The rest of our trip was blessedly easy (if traveling with four kids who are really, really ready to be home can be called easy). We had no bus breakdowns, and the driving became more relaxed since our only destination was home. Those last two days on the road were pretty stress free.

We had a monarch butterfly come to live in our little succulents garden (in the bus window) and we saw an amazing rainbow. We counted our blessings when we finally pulled into our driveway, walked into our house, hugged our dogs, and slept in our very own beds.

So.... back to real life! Hurray!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

St. Louis, Missouri

Our last big (unplanned!) stop was in St. Louis. I shouldn't say that it was completely unplanned. We wanted to stop and see the arch, eat some dinner, and get on the road again. However, the bus had other plans. We parked by the river where the bus refused to crank up again until the next day.

So, we ended up eating dinner and staying in a hotel. The next day we rode up the teeny tiny elevator pod to the top of the arch. Needless to say, the kids loved it. They kept screaming: "this thing is even bigger than the General Sherman (sequoia tree)!!!!!"


Kansas was amazingly uneventful. We breezed right through there in one day! We did get to stop and eat at a really good microbrewery in Topeka. This is one of my favorite traveling pictures of Indigo:

Colorado (part 2)

Our very favorite place to visit was Boulder, CO. There were beautiful bike trails, fun places to go, good food & health food stores, and (best of all) good friends to visit. Clover's pen pal Laurel lives in Boulder with her Mom and Dad and little sister Ella. They are all so sweet! It was amazing to see the girls so grown up (we haven't seen them in years!) and to finally meet wonderful, sweet Sarah Kate. And, ofcourse, it was good to hug Rob after such a long time of only phone calls and emails.

We were lucky enough to be there for Ella's 7th birthday party! What a beautiful girl she is growing up to be!

SarahKate is a henna tattoo artist, so we all had fun getting tattoos from her. Nova and I got matching acorns on our hands!

We were all so sad to leave!! Clover and Laurel had so much fun together! Willow and Ella got to be very close friends, and Willow even plans to write letters to her now! And I felt so lucky to get to know Sarah Kate. I can't believe that I didn't get a good picture of Rob, but we did take a big family picture with Sarah Kate's camera, so when I get a copy of that, I will post it!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Colorado (stop 1)

We made it through Nevada and Utah without bus trouble. Hurray! Everyone felt a little crazy by the time we made it to Colorado, but it was so worth the drive!!! Colorado was my favorite state of all of the ones that we visited! We stayed with Tim's cousin Ryan and his beautiful wife Allyson and their sweet little son Duke. We all fell so in love with that little punkin head. I have about a million pictures of him!!! Here are a few...

We spent most of our visit on the beautiful back porch. The view was amazing. We watched little boats sail down the river, and all sorts of birds flew around singing pretty songs. Ryan let the kids borrow binoculars, so they spent some time looking for wild animals on the distant mountains!

Thanks for letting us stay, Allyson and Ryan!! We love y'all!!!!!!


Our bus broke down right outside of Alta, CA. We made it to a gas station, and a wonderful Angel of a man stopped and helped change the fuel filter (again). We ended up staying with his family that night. The Mama of the family made a huge pot of vegetable soup and bread, and let us take showers and do laundry. We camped in their (huge) front yard and played with the eight new puppies that their lab had given birth to...

My heart is still filled with gratitude for this family's kindness.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

San Francisco

We stayed at a campground by the Pacific Ocean in San Francisco. The weather was so foggy and chilly the entire time. I loved going to sleep to the sound of waves crashing. Night time was basically the only time that we spent at the campground. It was fun to explore the city!

The most fun part of the whole trip was the Power to the Peaceful festival in Golden Gate Park. We danced and jumped and played like crazy!! I love to see Michael Franti perform.

There were lots of interesting people to meet. Tim had some bubbles, and we attracted a little crowd of kids to play with.

There were all sorts of interesting shops to check out. Clover loved this Russian shop full of weird stuff like all kinds of different candies and some strange dried-up fish that were displayed in cardboard boxes. She tried to read a sign advertising fruit.

The tiny restaurant where we ate sushi was so delicious! Nova got a complimentary bowl of soup, and he was so happy about that!