Our Year Of Living (Beautifully) Without WalMart

Monday, June 11, 2012

Little Moonstones Nature Academy and Beautyschool...June: Week One: The Sun


 It's been awhile since I have blogged, admittedly. Been busy going to college. Doing very well, on track, working on goals and getting straight A's.... Cannot complain. 

We have been trying to get BellaLuna enrolled in a preschool, but we are too "rich" for the Head Start Fred attended and too pooooor to pay every month... So, I have been working on a home preschool "curriculum" for her. This summer we are all doing it together, She, Fred and I....and by autumn, I will be working with her more "intensively" so she gets a good start. 

I have been loosely following the Little Acorns monthly/weekly themes, and then tweaking them to make them our own.

This first week the theme was The Sun. Each day, I created things to do related to the sun. Most days follow a rhythm of :
Circle Time
Yoga
Storytime
Worksheets
Craft time
Movie Time (related to the subject) 
Lunchtime
Parktime

Each week will also have a corresponding letter of alphabet for Bella to learn. This week was S week.
I also had little packets of worksheets and coloring pages to go with each day's theme. If you'd like to see more information about this, find it here on the Pinterest Board for June.....

Little Moonstones in June

It seems like we need more time each day to do all the things I would like to do but we have to pick my husband up from work in the afternoon and it interrupts us. Pretty soon he will be getting himself home and we can perhaps do more each day.

Our Clean-up song this week was:


I have decided to share our program for others who may be interested in "homeschool" or in supplementing their children's public school program with a more nature-centric, gentle "schooling"/learning.

The first week's theme was The Sun. I split the days up so the children would learn about different facets of subjects that pertained to the sun: The Sun, Japan (Land of the Rising Sun), Icarus, 
and Native American Sun Dance.
 ( I have scheduled Friday as "errand/cleaning/appointment" Day)

for Day One: The Sun....
First we had Circle Time and read The Way To Start A Day by Byrd Baylor


This is a wonderful book and I knew as soon as I was preparing the Sun week, that it would be a perfect start to our little Natureschool. The book tells about how all different cultures and even animals have ways to start the day that honor the sun. 

We then talked about the sun, basking in the sun's rays outside. It was lovely.

Moving into the house, we did our Yoga Time. I knew it would be neat to learn The Sun Salutation, so I searched for a video to teach children the sun salutation and found this gem: 



It is called The Sun Dance by The Bari Koral Family Rock Band. It is very fun and a very good way for children to learn the sun salutation. 

It was then Storytime and so we read the book : 

It was a neat retelling of an Aesop's fable. My Fred is rather fixated on tornadoes at the moment, so he loved drawing the correlation between his more "windy" way of being and his sister's sunny disposition. It was cute. 

For Craft time we did a very simple project to start the day and made Handprint Suns. Here is Bella's....

For Movietime we watched a video retelling of the story of the sun and the wind:


 We then watched a Nova Special about the sun.....





We concluded the day by going to the park. 

Because monday was the Full Strawberry Moon, we went to the nearby Pick-Your-Own strawberry farm and picked strawberries to make strawberry shortcake. Part of what I hope to do is to "celebrate" each full moon with the children in some way. I think that is important.


Tuesday's theme was Japan (Land of the Rising Sun) 
At circle time, I brought out the globe and showed the children where japan was and we discussed some of the "social/cultural/geographical aspects of the country.

Our Circletime story was the Japanese tale of Amaterasu, the sun Goddess and her brother, Susano, the wind.  The Story of Amaterasu....


We Then Had Craft time and made Japanese Flags and learned that lots of states and countries have symbols of the sun on their flags, including the two states they've lived in, and how that showed that the sun was significant and important all over the world. 
Here is Fred's flag: (he had the idea to put it on a stick....) 

We then had a second storytime and I told them the story of The Man Who Made The Trees Blossom.
We then made thumbprint Cherry Blossom pictures...


For our movie, we watched "My Neighbor Totoro", we hadn't seen it before, and I wanted to take the chance to watch it. Gotta love summer! :)

We concluded the day with Parktime, again. It was a lovely day.

Day Three's Theme was Icarus & Phaeton.

At circletime, I read them the story of Phaeton from D'Auliaires Greek Myths....


We discussed how sometimes kids want things that aren't very good for them and how it is the adult's job to make sure they make good and safe choices for awhile. That was neat.

We came inside and had a second circle time and I read the story of Daedalus and Icarus.

We then watched the movie of Jim Henson's The Storyteller about Icarus and Daedalus. It was okay, but I am not gonna link it here, as I didn't love it.

We then had craft time and made Icarus wings by gluing tissue paper "feathers" to posterboard "wings". Silly me didn't get a picture before I sent them to recycling. But they were cool, trust me! :)

Day Four's Theme was Native American Sun Dance.

We went to the local nature preserve to spend the day in nature, as the Native Americans would've done. We had a picnic lunch at high noon (so the children would SEE and FEEL high noon, as the sun was directly above us in the middle of the sky....)

I read them the Cherokee story of the first Sun Dance....

Cherokee Myth

We then made prayer sticks with ties of the Four Directions and learned about them and then fastened onto them our "ceremonial sun dance masks" and the children did their "sun dance"...it was lovely.




We finished the day in the river, the one Fred was named for....





It was a great week. Looking forward to Week Two: Fireflies.....


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Grand Winter Break Unfuckery 2012

One of my favorite new sites is (pardon le french) Unfuck Your Habitat... http://unfuckyourhabitat.tumblr.com
It is a very very straightforward blog where the moderator motivates people to clean (unfuck) their homes (habitats) with great gusto, gifs, and quite salty (but awesome) language.
It is working for me. Something about the linguistics of Unfuckery is working for me, unlike "Clean" or "tidy" or "Flying" (ick) ever did(n't).

So, with this lovely last week of winter break before class starts back up again, I will be Unfucking a room in this Habitat each day and at the end of the week I shall have something resembling a Home again...

Today is my "day off", as it is Bastian's 13th birthday... (!!)

But yesterday, I unfucked the bedroom, and it truly needed it....
Damn the embarrassment, here goes....

(pardon the not-so-awesome photography....i was using instagram on my itouch in bad light)

Here is the left side of our side of the room.....BEFORE



That doesn't even look like a bedroom...which is quite sad, but you know how these things go.... This is Jonathan's side of the room, but the mess is all ours.... The boxes are boxes of toys and stuff that got moved there for some reason... poor Joffie, having to wake up to this and go to sleep to this every night. It has never ceased to amaze me the messes I have been able to get us all into.....

Here it is after I went through EVERYTHING, got rid of two bags of trash and a box of charity and touched, dusted, loved on, and appreciated everything else and every bit of wall, baseboard, furniture, etc. What is left is what is loved and what is cared for and it is so much better now...




Still a bit cluttered, but thoroughly loved and cared for now....And much better, I think.

Here is my corner of the room, before....

This doesn't really do justice to the amount of mess and ick that was over there. We have had down comforters for a year and I have not had much wherewithall so there were feathers all in the corners, and there was a lot of junk on and around that chair...It was just not comfy, put it that way...

Now it is quite restful and empty and sorted and feels much better....


When we first moved into the house, it was just horrible. We moved cross country and rented this house without seeing it....(yeah, won't be doing that again anytime soon...) and We were quite disappointed. Since then I have been too exhausted and poor to move...(and just wanna finish school and move to yellow springs and not move again until then) But this house has been quite a challenge. Quite a pauper's kingdom. When we first moved in and it was so distressing (we have since done some sprucing up, anyway)....The ONLY Thing that would help me feel at ease at all was to lay in bed (which at that time was an air mattress...) and say to myself "IF this house were in England, I would be thrilled..... Reason for me telling you this, is that I think that vibe comes through in this picture. It is very much a century and a half old ohio country house....

Well, the children are still in our room since there are only two...(a huge regret and Jonathan and I consider moving into the front parlor often, if only for the last year here...but we haven't yet...) And their side of the room has the potential to be really cozy and cool. The BEFORE picture betrays how much crapola was there before I started.....




And the after isn't much different... but they love it... and that is what is important, I think... The bulletin boards are going to be "Happy Boards" where they put up pictures of things that make them happy and that they are grateful for (Fred is having anger issues and I always try to talk him down by having him tell me things that make him happy and are good in his life and so that kinda the point of having them... So he remembers....



So, we shall see how long this lasts....It was edifying to do and I am glad it is done for now. It really is comforting. I am eager to do the downstairs this week. More pictures to follow.