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March | 2014 | Atomic Bee Ranch

Monthly Archives: March 2014

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A New Daily Rhythm

As I noted in my last post I’m working on creating a better daily rhythm. At this point I feel like I have a handle on the breathing in and out rhythm of the day. Now I want some anchor points in the day and week (laundry on Friday, cleaning on Thursday, and the like). Cam is also trying to involve herself in some of my activities so I need to find ways she can help and include them in the schedule.

There are two aspects to a written agenda and to-do list, though, that I am trying very hard to resist. The first is becoming a slave to the clock and the second is becoming a slave to the to-do list. I would like to have a schedule that allows extra time if we’re having fun, not one that requires we shut things down to get on to the next thing on the list. I also feel myself getting too tied to the to-do lists I’ve been creating. I need to write down what needs to be done becauseI forget, but it can really drive me to forget to do other things like connect with Cam.

So, I’m going for a few words that will guide our days and the idea that at the beginning of each day I can reflect on what needs to be done, when I will do those things, and what our daily words will look like (i.e. bike on driveway for “go outside”).

Daily Rhythm

Thinking About Family Vision

Between my reflection posts, reading about Waldorf education, and the feeling of freshness and renewal of springtime I’ve been thinking a lot about reexamining our daily routine and our approach to the week. Sometimes I feel like I can get hung up on crossing off the to-do list and that we get in a rut. I was pleased to see someone else must have been thinking along similar lines, because one of the Waldorf blogs I follow, Lavender’s Blue Homeschool, started a series this month on creating a Waldorf-inspired home preschool. It’s really gotten me thinking in a helpful way.

Per the first post in the series, I am working on creating a vision for our family. The post suggests making a vision board or artistic representation, writing a formal mission statement or even simply a journal post. Nothing so formal or artistic for me, but since my blog is rather like a journal I thought I would share it here.

I think I like this idea so much not because I feel like we’re floundering or don’t have direction, but because I think it will help guide our decisions about our homeschooling, how we teach Cam and what we teach her. It will help develop our family traditions and rituals and it can serve as a guide when we need to make decisions about what to do as a family.

I want our family to be:

  • warm
  • calm
  • curious
  • creative
  • grateful
  • aware
  • compassionate
  • gracious

We appreciate:

  • that there is time for everything
  • nourishment (for body and soul)
  • what we have, not what we want
  • natural beauty
  • connection (with each other and the world)

Reflection: 2014/4

Number Rods.jpgCreating: I finished the number rods for Cam and am quite pleased with how they turned out. Now it’s time to present them.

Reflecting: I’m examining our daily rhythm. We need to be outside more and Cam is beginning to be more capable of helping with chores and meal prep and she really wants to be involved. I need to capitalize on that!

Growing: The seeds we planted a few weeks ago have pushed up through the soil. We also are adding to our flock and bought a couple more chicks.

Grateful: The weather has turned beautiful and being outside is now a joy.

For Your Bookshelf: Gardening Books

For Your Bookshelf Banner

Where we live Spring is most definitely here. It’s actually a little early this year, but I am so itchy to get into the garden that it doesn’t matter to me. In honor of gardening that you may be doing or are planning to do in the next month or two, I pulled together a selection of books about gardens and gardening.

Garden Books

The Carrot Seed by Crockett Johnson: A classic that is both about the patience that gardening takes and about believing in yourself even when no one else does. I loved this book as a child and now my daughter is enjoying it. The simple, repetitive text would make it a great early reader.

My Garden by Kevin Henkes: What kid wouldn’t want this little girl’s garden full of chocolate bunnies, a jelly bean bush and plants that grow keys and shells. The imagination in this book is just so wonderful. I also think it encourages kids to look beyond your basic vegetable and flower gardens and see the garden as some where potentially magical.

One Small Square: Backyard by Donald Silver: This book is full of amazing details about what is in our backyards and it shows it to you by going through a square foot layer by layer. I know it isn’t techincally about a garden, but many of the same elements and ideas apply to our garden, including animals, soil, and natural cycles. This is actually one in an expansive series. They are all well done and I highly recommend checking any of them out.

Ruby Red Shoes by Kate Knapp: Okay this one isn’t strictly about gardening, but Ruby does garden and spends a good amount of time in her garden. Plus she has chickens. I absolutely love the illustrations in this book. They are so whimsical and compliment the gentle story about Ruby and her grandmother so well.

These are some of my favorites, but I’m there are many more. Are there any title you would add to this list?

Activity in the Hive: March 2014

Just last week I cleaned up our classroom and bedroom shelves and replaced some of the toys and activities that have been out for awhile. Cam also started showing some interest in a few new activities and concepts, so it was time to put some things out to encourage that.

Now, I am not big on long posts that show every last activity that is on our shelves (other bloggers do a much better and more interesting job of it than I do), I did think, for the sake of Reggio-style documentation, I would start sharing some of the things we are doing with a little explanation and reflection thrown in.

Play-Doh: For a long time Cam wouldn’t touch the stuff. Then all of a sudden one day she saw it on the shelf and asked to play with it. She has been busy with it ever since. We got some little number cutters for her and I pulled out some various baking supplies, such as crust punches and gelatin molds, that she likes to push and cut with.

20140302-140645.jpgABCs & 123s: I’m going to sound like a total pushy mom, but I have two columns of shelves dedicated to giving Cam letters and number to explore and work with. I am a big proponent of saving anything that looks like “academic” work until she is much older, but Cam suddenly started showing interest and awareness of both letters, numbers and desire to read. She actually points at words and asks about them and can recognize one or two (most consistently “bird”). While I am not pushing her to learn the alphabet or to read, I did think she needed the tools to if she was interested. On the 123 shelf are number cards, counters, a scale, a calculator, a measuring tape, wooden numbers, number tiles, magnetic numbers and an Arabic counting activity. On the ABC shelf are an alphabet puzzle, sight word cards that have pictures with the word printed along it, magnetic letters, ¬†and a couple other things that escape me. I also made three bins of books: alphabet books, counting books, and early readers.

20140302-140712.jpgConstruction Equipment: Cam loves her “scoop dumps”. She points them out when we’re out an about. She wants to go up and see them. She was super excited to watch the dump truck the other weekend when we ordered bark. We found a Bruder truck at the thrift shop and a pack of tiny trucks at Target. I put those with her construction equipment books and some cards I found online in a basket for her to play with.

Puzzles: These are still a hit so I have a ton of them out. I did, however, consolidate them a bit to make room for other things.

Reflection: 2014/3

Reading: In my quest for knowledge about as many of the alternative educational philosophies I am reading Waldorf Education: A Family Guide. Waldorf is not my first choice for academic instruction, but I am keeping an open mind while reading about it and have found that many of the foundational principles and overarching philosophies are things I agree with.

Playing: Cam’s imaginative play is really taking off as are her language skills. I can’t help but wonder if the two are connected. She “goes to work”, bathes her animal buddies, even travels to Monterey. As someone with very fond memories of all the imaginative play games I had growing up, it excites me to see her playing this way.

Making: I have a number of projects going right now that I need to focus more on finishing up. Cam should have a tool belt soon, a peg counting box, tactile letters, and number rods.