Friday, August 20, 2010

This blog has been defunct for awhile now.

Rather than take it down completely, it will now remain as a link to the the Waldorf-Inspired Homeschoolers web ring, which is accessible on the side bar. If you are home schooling your child or children in a way that is influenced by Waldorf Education, I hope you will consider joining the ring and perusing the many inspiring member blogs.

Blessings to you on your home school journey!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Multiplication Clock

Robinsunne has created the most beautiful and amazing multiplication learning art I have seen yet. It's a Multiplication Clock, and it encompasses the entire multiplication table for the numbers 0-12 in a very appealing and usable way. I can't wait to make one!

Luckily, Robinsunne has so graciously posted detailed directions online HERE.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Waldorf Homeschoolers on Near Circle

Bloggers just got an amazing new tool on the block. It's called Near Circle, and it's designed to "group blogs or websites that all have something in common... to create a common reader community."

What's new in the Waldorf Homeschooling circle? You can find out here:

Extra thanks to Rebecca for setting this up!

Waldorf-Inspired Homeschoolers on Flickr!

Extra thanks to Qalballah for setting this up!

Thursday, August 30, 2007


What a summer we've had!

Plenty of ups and downs, the most notable ups being my brother's wedding, and the birth of my second niece. Another fantastic up is the new homeschool community we've found; plenty of friends for all three kids, incredible moms and lots of impromptu outings.

One of our recent outings has been great fun for all the kids involved, and it's easy to transfer to most US communities, so I thought I'd share. We're raising Monarch butterflies.
There are so many books about Monarch butterflies, that I'd be hesitant about suggesting any one. Most all of them cover metamorphosis, milkweed induced toxicity and the incredible migration that monarchs make. One, The Butterfly Book, by Kersten Hamilton offers suggestions for how to raise a caterpillar (but I've never actually read it...) In truth, this is a rather easy project. We've been successful for 3 years in a row just winging it (pun intended), and so I'll share some of what I've learned.

The first step is to learn to recognize milkweed. (check out for photos of all the different species one might encounter.) In our area the most plentiful variety is common milkweed. I've found it all over the place: inner city vacant lots, our community garden, a neighbor's front yard, roadsides and even big fields in our local park system. Don't feel like you have to get to a rural place to find milkweed. This summer, we supplied eggs for 5 families from a smallish stand growing in the corner of our local health food store's parking lot. Personally, I've found that it's easier to find monarch eggs from small urban milkweed stands. The big field we visited this year had very few eggs per plant, which meant much more searching (searching in the hot sun with insects biting everyone and the baby fussing). One common sense caution - don't cut all the milkweed from any one place.

So you've located some milkweed. Now you're going to hunt for monarch eggs or small caterpillars. Very gently turn over the milkweed leaves and search for small white domes (or little, smooth, yellow, white and black caterpillars). Here's a picture of an egg we found.

When you've located an egg or caterpillar, harvest the entire top of that milkweed plant (use a knife or pruners, and immediately get that stem into water). I've found that the milkweed wilts if it's kept in the sun, so when you get it home, don't keep it in a sunny windowsill.
If all goes well, the egg will hatch in a few days (more than five, and that egg likely won't hatch). You will notice a tiny light green caterpillar (about 2 mm), and that caterpillar will begin to eat the milkweed. The caterpillar will grow at an incredible rate, and consume great quantities of milkweed. When your first plant starts to get old, you will need to harvest another milkweed sprig (careful not to bring home more eggs unless you want them!). Use a soft paint brush to transfer the caterpillar from the old plant to the new plant.
This eating and growning will continue for 2 weeks, and the caterpillar will grow to almost 5 cm. Things to watch for:
A greyish slumpy shape next to your caterpillar - this is its old skin. Caterpillars molt just like spiders and snakes. Keep watching and you might get to see the caterpillar eat its molted skin. The caterpillar will stop eating and stay very still for a while right before molting.
Greenish blackish lumps under the milkweed. This is frass, caterpillar droppings.
Spiders. They are predators and can eat wee caterpillars. Do a spider check of your plant before bringing it indoors.

After roughly two weeks your caterpillar will get restless. Up until now all it wanted to do was eat milkeed, but now it wants to travel to find an appropriate spot to form a chrysalis. It is advisable to have created a caterpillar proof habitat before now. This year I got clever and made such a habitat (in years past we've had caterpillars exploring the lighting fixtures). It was quite inexpensive. I purchased one large embroidery hoop and 2 yards of tulle. We already had clothespins and wooden slats from our blinds. A hot glue gun and an extra set of hands was all I needed to put it together.

You might notice your caterpillar bobbing it's head around a spot for a while. It's forming and adhesive "button" of silk from which to hang. When it hangs, it will form a "J" shape, and you will know that the chrysalis will come soon.

I'm always amazed by the beauty of the chrysalis - this photo does not do it justice. Sometimes I wonder if we value gold so much because of how beautifully it's used in nature. The caterpillar stays in the chrysalis for roughly 2 weeks. I've read somewhere that it's body actually liquifies and re-forms, which is miraculous to consider. After 2 weeks, the chrysalis will split, and the butterfly will emerge, damp and crumpled. Once it starts to fly around, you can feed it sugar water on a cottonball, or a piece of watermelon. Falcon is endlessly amazed by how they can roll and unroll their proboscis. We've always set ours free - It's great to watch them soar away.

Friday, June 22, 2007


In Waldorf schools they do this "movement thing" called Eurthymy. Have you ever wondered what it looked like?

Yeah, me too.

And then I found some Eurthymy videos over at YouTube. Hooray for YouTube! I feel like I've stepped into the light.

See also: Eurythmy over at Wikipedia.

Math - Odd and Even Gnomes

Oooh, that last math post inspired me. Of course we haven't even introduced ourselves. I'm Aleisha, mother to Nightowl (7) and Bearcub (2) for more about us check out our record at Leap of Faith. But onto math....

For our last math block of first grade we needed to cover odd and even as well as Roman Numerals. As luck would have it it Nightowl had absorbed Roman Numberals 1-20 via reading the Old Mother West Wind chapter books by Thornton Burgess (great Waldorfy books - btw). Scratch that off the list. We'll probably need to review next year but oh, how I love when the subjects overlap.

Now, whenever I mention math or anything math related Nightowl immediately begins chanting about Gnomes. She simply adores the little math Gnomes. So much that every math task needs to be Gnome related. I did no planning for this, but keeping the Gnome-love in mind started drawing a picture of the Gnome Divide on my large chalk board. Then I made up a story:

In the land of the Gnomes is a great jewelled forest - a dark and quiet place that has piles of jewels hidden everywhere. One day the king benevolent King Equals learned of this forest in a dream. Now King Equals just happened to be in need of jewels so that he could purchase supplies to build more houses for the creatures of his kingdom. He went to the forest to look at the jewels. Just as hew was about to gather a pile of jewels a great bird flew down.

"Be careful kind King," said the bird. "These jewels are enchanted. Only piles of even numbers of jewels can be taken from this place. If you take an odd numbered pile they will simply disappear."

So, King Equals headed home deep in thought. He needed a Gnome who could search the great jewelled forest and bring back "even" piles - whatever that meant. Back at the castle he called on Divide and explained the problem. "What does even and odd mean?" asked the King.

Divide explained to the King that "even" means the pile can be divided into two piles with the same(equal) number in them. He explained that "odd" means you cannot divided the piles equally.

The King was a little confused so he asked if Divide would please go to the forest and collect the even piles. Divide was more than happy to and so he did.*

*I though I had a photo of this drawing but I seem to have lost it. Sorry I can't share.

After illustrating this story on the chalkboard I went outside and hid several piles of "jewels" around the back yard. Then I sent Nightowl with her collecting basket to pretend to be Divide. Whenever she found a pile she sat down and attempted to divide up the piles. This was fun. We played this for a while and then began dividing other things into odds and even.

The next day we discussed the story again. Then I brought out the 100-Board, which is a Montessori manipulative that I like. We looked for number patterns of odd and even. Nightowl learned that evens end with 2,4,6,8,0 and odds end with 1,3,5,7,9. Then we had a little game of "Guess which number?" where I called out random numbers and she classified them according to odd or even.

Overall, it worked pretty well.
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