Where you can follow the many adventures of S and F as they make their way in the world.
Welcome to Wood Nymph Way! I have created this blog with two intentions: (A) keeping our family and friends, many of whom live in lands Far Far Away, up to date with what we've been doing, and (B) as a tool to document and learn from our journey as a Waldorf homeschooling family. Enjoy! And don't forget to check out my resource pages on the right!
Acorn collecting starts long before autumn at our house. As soon as those little nuggets hit the ground, they're in the kids' pockets/buckets/stroller. The two of them have been scouring the ground for "the best ones" for well over a week now. Between this and the recent obsession with building fairy houses, nature walks have become gathering sessions of huge porportions. We don't leave the house without their little tin pails. Actually, we have moved on to the big tin pails now that the children have decided the little ones no longer suffice. Our nature table is quite literally overflowing with chestnuts, maple seed pods, choke-cherries/crab apples (which have all been meticulously polished by little hands to emphasize the shiny-red-goodness), and of course, acorns, with our without their caps.
Since we are in the middle of a ridiculous heatwave, we went out early in the morning for our walk/collecting session. When we got back we hunkered down on the kitchen floor and made some felted acorns. I had a huge bag of leftover wool stuffing from the last Waldorf doll I made, and numerous small bags of colored roving left over from when I actually had time to make fairies ala Wee Folk. The kids thought this would be a fabulous project, and it actually was. F couldn't get enough of the warm soapy water, and S thought that it was great fun to watch her puffy ball of wool transform in her hands to a firm little acorn. They lasted about 45 minutes before we decided to call it quits, at which point our fingers were all significantly pruny.
We don't officially start homeschool until the day after Labor Day, and I had been hoping to save this project for during school time. But it seemed to be the right time today. And it's always good to repeat activities, especially ones that are so engaging. And besides, we need something to do with all those empty acorn caps that keep showing up...
Today is one of those beautiful, late summer days with a nice breeze and not a cloud in the sky. So we packed up a picnic lunch and headed to our local public park. We live in a city, but have a beautiful wooded park only a couple of miles away. I packed up the jogger, stuffed in the kids, and off we went.
We had lunch by the stream and water gardens, and then walked around collecting items to use to make a fairy house. (I recently purchased a Fairy House book for my kids, and my daughter, S, has been obsessed with it.) She was so excited when I told her that the little tin pails I brought with us were for collecting items for the fairies.
S & F's fairy house
Unfortunately, not every visitor to the park is very respectful, and we found a lot of flowers, water lilies, and other things that had been picked and then discarded carelessly on the ground. We collected them, along with some other nearby items, thinking we could at least use them to make something beautiful. After we completed the house and took some pictures, we left it alone for the fairies to find.
On our way out of the park, we came across a group of young teenage boys and girls who had been catching frogs and other animals in one of the ponds. My first thought was, "How wonderful to see kids out here enjoying the park, and doing something other than playing video games or sitting in front of the television." They kindly let my kids look at what they caught in their buckets, and took out a little baby snapping turtle.
It was all down hill from there. One of the boys told me how his brother catches painted turtles there and sells them to other kids. The boys then proceeded to terrify the girls by tossing tadpoles and young frogs at them. I could barely contain myself. I offered some well tempered words about releasing the animals so they wouldn't die in captivity with kids who don't know how to take care of them, and asked them to please put them back where they found them. I then ushered my kids quickly away, so they weren't upset by the way the other kids were treating the animals. It was such a shame to see how these kids, who were seemingly enjoying nature, were so far removed from it that they had no respect for the living creatures they were catching. They treated them as playthings that were there for their amusement alone.
Our city's school system is horrific, but does have a program that gets the students outside in that park for a week at a time at each grade level to study different parts of the park's ecology. Unfortunately, this is about as far as it goes. And it is evident that the majority of the city's parents have no interest in this wonderful oasis of a park, other than the baseball fields and playground. There is a wonderful book that touches on how children are becoming more and more removed from nature. I recommend it to anyone with kids, especially if you live in a city.
People always raise their eyebrows when I tell them that I lug my kids in a jogger a couple miles to the park several times a week. As a homeschooler, I consider it a luxury to take my kids out into the woods pretty much whenever we feel like it. Both of them know more names of trees, birds, animals, and bugs than most adults I know. My kids are happiest when out in the woods, and it's more than worth the effort, in so many ways.
Our much anticipated homeschool curriculum arrived today! We will be using the Live Ed. Waldorf-based curriculum as a base for planning our activities. Of course, we'll be utilizing lots of other resources as well. The kids and I are so excited! I'm going to take a week or so to flesh out our plans for our first block before we start. As of now, our first day of homeschool begins on September first!
It may seem silly to have an official first day of school for homeschooling but I am a former teacher, and my husband is in school administration, and S has really noticed the excitement that builds up to the first day of school. I didn't want her to miss out. In order to help her celebrate, we're giving her a schultute, which is a German tradition on a child's first day of school. I'd like to mention that we are not German, but it's a lovely tradition, so we're borrowing. We're filling it with traditional Waldorf school things like beeswax crayons, modeling wax, colored pencils, and maybe even a couple of little treats. Of course, we don't want F to feel left out, so he'll get a couple of little treats too.
So this is one more thing I'm taking on in addition to the usual day to day caring for the kids, keeping house, and running my business. We'll add this blog to the list as well, I suppose! As if there are enough hours in the day..... :)