Natural Fibers-the Fabrics of Our Lives

I keep reading blogs about the dreariness of February.  According to these blogs, many people experience homeschooling hardship during this month.  Maybe it is the cold weather? Or the fact that others are looking at new school for the next year?  Whatever the cause, I can completely relate.  However, this is our third year homeschooling and I was prepared for this month!

In January, I felt overwhelmed with all of the work-teaching three kiddos at different levels and with three different learning styles.  I knew that I needed a break.  Thus, I decided to do a textiles block with all three children.  We took a break from our Waldorf Essentials and did a block on our own.  I guess the block was more like a unit study of sorts.  I varied the work load and the difficulty of the work based on the child’s level.

Overall, we studied three different types of fibers-silk, cotton and wool.  We used lots of picture books that gave the history of each fiber, the harvesting of each fiber and the process of taking the raw material and producing something wonderful.  The older kids had the task of finding appropriate videos for each fiber and the process.  They are all looking for the fibers throughout their days.  What did they learn?

The history of each fiber such as where it comes from, how its trade effected the world, and how its development changed the world.

How was it used in the past and the present?

The “life cycle” of the fabric.

How the climate and geographical position of its harvest affects the product.

The chemistry behind dying fibers.

The physics behind turning a raw product into yarn or thread.

The final projects included lots of main lesson pages, papers, tree weaving, ginning and carding cotton, spinning wool into yarn, a field trip to a cotton and wool farm and dyed fibers.  The best part was a relaxed month without too many meltdowns by mom or kids!

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Project-Birthday Lunch!

Do you remember how I stated earlier that NC weather is crazy?  Well, two weeks ago today, it snowed.  The kids had a blast.  I didn’t see them except for short food breaks.  The next day, they were playing outside in the yard without jackets.

Since then, we have had rain and rain with both cold and cool weather.  Over these past two weeks, my kids have been planning for an important day-our next door neighbor’s birthday.  We do not have any attachment to our house, but we do love our backyard and our neighbor (two things, we are not ready to leave yet).  The children visit our neighbor almost daily.  She teaches them songs, reads to them, teaches them games and simply entertains them in a way that no one else does.  My children have grown up with her as an important part of their daily lives.

The meal was not part of their “school,” but it was definitely a project.  First they planned the menu.  They figured out what items they would need to purchase and who could cook what items.  They decorated with paper chains and flowers.  They made cards and planned.  The menu consisted of scrambles eggs with cheese, smashed potatoes, biscuits, and sliced tomatoes,  The desert was their favorite part.  They made ice cream cupcakes in the shape of a nest with robin’s eggs on top.  The meal was 100% theirs with only a little cueing on the timing (when to put everything in the oven or start cooking it).

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I had a terrific time watching as they worked together reading directions and cooking.  Everything was perfect (and absolutely, delicious!).

So for school today, they worked on reading comprehension, fractions, time, chemistry, practical life, art and most importantly compassion.

September Studies

We are only two weeks into September and it has already been quite an exciting month.  Last week, we enjoyed a beautiful hike at South Mountain State Park as a family.  We continued the fun this week as we visited the Cabarrus County Agribusiness Fair in Concord on Tuesday, the National White Water Center on Wednesday for some white water rafting and Latta Plantation on Thursday for Muddy Boots Class.

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The kids began their Waldorf lessons this month as well.  Parks is continuing with the IEW program that I wrote about here.  He is doing very well with writing and is actually enjoying it.  We are continuing with fairy tales, folk tales and classic stories.

 

Sawyer is in the third grade.  This year she will be studying the Jewish faith and history.  We began her lessons by reading the book, Meet Rebecca.  Rebecca is one of the American Girl Characters.  We then researched on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kipper.  This week, we started the creation story.  She is truly enjoying the art that goes along with the story.  Next week, we plan to finish the creation story and do a little geography on Israel.

 

Sims is in the fifth grade.  He started his Waldorf studies with a quick review of the United States.  He looked at the regions of the US and how they have changed over the years.  He is beginning to learn the states and their capitals.  This week, we “flew” over to Africa for a quick study of Africa.  We studied the geography and history of Africa.  Sims was amazed at how much the history of Africa was similar to that of the US with European exploration and trade.  We also thoroughly enjoyed a few African folk stories and fairy tales.

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I hope your studies are going well also.  Have a fantastic weekend!