Festivals / Holidays               Thoughts On Parenting               Fun Things To Make               The Great Outdoors               Creative Learning

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Preserve the Nature Table

This time of year, many of us begin to consider how to alter our nature table to reflect the change of seasons.  Throughout our many season of having a nature table, we tend to take several days to move our nature table from one season to the next.  This summer, our table was filled with treasures collected from our Pennsylvania back yard, to the squares of Savannah, to Florida's Blue Spring State Park.  (It is amazing how much a 3 year old little boy can fit into his, and my, pockets!)

Now as we begin to transition to a fall nature table, the pebbles, twigs, shells, etc. need to move.  Usually we put them in a basket to look over and toss out the items we will not need for the next season, but this time we decided to preserve some of the special bits and pieces in a plaster of paris keepsake.

It's easy.  All you need is a small amount of powdered plaster of paris, water, paper bowl, and nature's treasures.

In the paper bowl, mix 1 cup of plaster of paris with 1/2 cup of water.
(An adult needs to begin the process as the powder is bad to breathe in.)  

Let the mixture set for about 1 minute then set in your treasures,
 pressing them just hard enough for them to be part way in the plaster.

After an hour your keepsake should slide out of the plate and
ready for your family to enjoy remembering the fun of the past season.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Looking to Days Ahead

Our home is still abuzz with summer fun, but I am looking toward autumn with excitement as we begin our homeschool adventure.  As my friends find out we have decided to homeschool our second grade son, they usually have  two questions: "Why?" and "How are you going to do it?" 

To the first, I explain that our good-natured, fun-loving son is waaayy too stimulated in the public school classroom and we want to take time to teach him skills that will help him learn to focus.  (My husband is a behavior therapist and will be a big help in achieving this goal.)  To the second question, I start off by saying that we are going to use the Charlotte Mason philosophy and incorporate Waldorf techniques.  At that point, most people just stare at me and blink, not having a clue what I am talking about.

To sum it up:

Charlotte Mason (1842-1923) was a British educator who created an education method based on the ideas that education has three aspects:  A child's home is a powerful learning environment that can be used to teach the whole child, the importance of instilling proper character and behavioral habits, and that we should encourage the child to love learning as a lifestyle, not just during study time, by presenting education as living thought not simply rote facts.  Some of the unique aspects to Mason education that drew me in include the variety of subjects taught, short lessons, narration, using living books, copywork, nature walks, keeping a nature notebook, hand crafts, and habit forming.  

While there are many things I like about the Mason method, I simply cannot let go of some wonderful aspects of Waldorf education such as chalkboard drawings, fairytales, festivals, wet-on-wet painting, math gnomes, and main lesson books.  I look forward to  incorporating them into our Mason education.

So in September, we will shift from carefree summer fun to creating a daily rhythm that includes homeschooling our 7 year old, and a encouraging a nurturing environment for our 4 year old.  I look forward to writing about the how-to aspects, my rambling thoughts, and our many adventures. Stay tuned, more is to come.

In the meantime, I have a big summer party to plan and am drawing deep from Naturally Fun Parties for Kids and will include a few ideas of my own.

My Sons, My Students.
Little bodies with big characters!

The contents of this blog, including text, original photos and ideas are the sole property of the author. If you intend to use my text or images, please link back to this blog and give credit to How the Sun Rose. Please do not republish an entire post or post photos of my family. A notification email would be greatly appreciated too!