Gleaning, Cleaning, and Celebrating!

The week flew by!  Monday, we caught up from the fun-filled weekend.  School included reading and easing back into the swing of things after a week off.  Tuesday morning, everyone jumped right back into their normal routines, which was nice.  However Wednesday, I rocked their world by waking up and saying, “No school books today.  We are going gleaning!”

Sawyer picking green beans

Sawyer picking green beans

We have never gleaned before, but I  recently heard of an opportunity that we could join.  We met up with a group of about 12 people at Barbee Farms in Concord, NC.  We pulled into the farm and immediately jumped onto a tractor to take us out to the fields.  On this particular day, the group gleaned the green bean field.  The weather was absolutely perfect.  Clear skies with a gentle breeze.  As this was our fist time, we were not sure what to expect.  Well, it is fairly simple.   The tractor brings you to a field.  You hop off and start picking.  We were spoiled because with gleaning, we got to pull the whole plant out of the ground to pick the beans.  It gave me a major appreciation for all of the workers who pick our veggies throughout the year!  They have a laborious job!  At the end of two hours, all of the beans and people jumped back on the tractor and back to the parking lot.  Here, the beans were distributed to various people who deliver the beans to different organizations and neighborhoods such as loaves and fishes, the battered women’s shelter, and local soup kitchens.

I highly recommend the experience if you ever have the opportunity.  The Society of St. Andrew organizes gleaning groups all over the country.  Not only are you helping your community, you also meet amazing and wonderful people.  The kids learned about different crops, rotating crops, the importance of honey bees on the farm and so much more!

Today, we were back to school. They were extremely productive and motivated to work today.  I am not sure if that was due to the excitement of yesterday or the fact that they had their Muddy Boots Club at Latta Plantation today.  Either way, it was a terrific way to end a terrific week!

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Picture Blog

Three weeks of festivals!

Halloween, Martinmas (in addition to a birthday!) and Diwali!

The Beauty of Light

My previous post spoke about when the lightbulb goes on for the kids.  Last week, I had my “aha” moment.  I began planning my school year in the summer.  Two holidays I wanted to incorporate into the year were Halloween and Diwali (two of my kids favorite holidays).  As you know, then I also decided to follow a Waldorf Homeschool Curriculum.  In my mind, I thought, “Will I have time to teach Halloween and Diwali in addition to this curriculum?”  Well not only can I teach these two holidays, they fit into the curriculum perfectly.  The Waldorf curriculum celebrates Martinmas and the Festival of Lanterns.  Halloween, Martinmas, and Diwali-all teach about good versus evil and use light as the symbol.  Thus, we have three weeks of celebrating light!

Last week, we began our investigation of light with the history of Halloween.  The kids learned about how the dead are believed to walk the earth on the last day of October (this tradition also fit well with the Norse myths that Sims is studying).  The kids made their jack-o-lanterns to scare away the dead and they dressed up to trick or treat.  This week, they are researching the science behind light and the properties of light.  They are also making lanterns in preparation for Martinmas.

Along the way, the kids are making all of the connections which make learning so much fun.  We are listening to “The Magician’s Nephew” and light seems to be a theme throughout the book, from the presence of it to the lack of it.  The kids noticed the theme right away.  They have also been discussing the moon, the stars and the sun a lot.  Today, they realized (they have always been told this but it clicked today) exactly how the moon reflects light and that it does not illuminate itself.

You will hear more about light in the next post, I am sure.  For now, Happy Halloween and Happy Martinmas-and one of my favorite sayings:

May the light in me, honor the light in you.