Thursday, 31 October 2013

A haunting good time little goblins are out haunting the neighbourhood while I stand guard over our stash of Hallowe'en goodies and treats and greet our little visitors one-by-one.  I'm also armed with warm Hallowe'en punch for when the little ones return from their adventures.  I can't remember the last time I stayed home and Chris took the little ones out.  But this is nice.

And what a busy day we enjoyed together too.  I retold the children the story of where many of our Hallowe'en traditions came from...the festival of Samhain that was celebrated by the Celts of long ago.  To honour some of those old traditions, we made Sussex soul cakes and shared them with family.  I have a funny feeling there will be a small plate of them sitting on the hearth of our masonry heater tonight too.  We dressed up right after lunch and shared our small homemade treats with grandparents, then headed over to our local homeschool-friendly and Waldorf-inspired school for a Hallowe'en dance. 

In a flurry of preparation before darkness fell, the pumpkins were carefully hauled to the steps, along with some jar lanterns the children made at a pumpkin festival this year.  Our little tin lanterns donned their wire handles (the finishing touch) and were hung where the hanging baskets of summer used to be.  Candles were lit.  Faces were re-painted.  In excitement, the little ones rushed out the door.  This adult decided to stop being a stick-in-the-mud and pulled together a little of this and a little of that for her own homemade costume (thanks Jaelyn for lending me your playcape). 

We hope everyone had a happy Hallowe'en!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Club Day. The Birds of Prey Version.

Our meeting today was an experiment.  It was the "what will the Club do when I have prepared nothing for them to do?" meeting I thought we would try out a couple of meetings ago.  We came up with some interesting results.

Most of the boys decided they wanted to be silly.  Yes, that was an option that they wrote down on a list of things they could do.  And the one they chose.  So I politely asked them to get their shoes and coats on to take the silliness game outside.  I did follow them out too, at a distance, as sometimes this group doesn't quite see how fast they are approaching the line named "too far".  One clubber decided to build something while the others made up a hunting game.  I wasn't sure what to make of the division in the group, but let it happen and watched what would unfold.

Eventually, the Clubbers got cold and wanted to come inside.  This meant they all had to come inside.  And they all played together quite happily upstairs until the meeting was over.

And what do I make of our meeting today?  It's too early to tell.  It's too early to determine whether the odd man out thing will be consistent.  It's too early to tell how consistently the magic moments will appear, or if they even will happen consistently (magic has a funny way of appearing when you least expect it, I understand).  It's too early to tell how often the silly game will trump opportunities for creating either individually or together.  And I wonder if I will ever be able to figure out the triggers to the path they choose to take at our meetings, since I am not witness to how their day unfolds or to what extent they use the Club meetings as a time to decompress from the day.

So we'll take it meeting by meeting and see what we see. 

Monday, 28 October 2013

Easing into fall

We've had a nice pace around here since the last of the fruit and tomatoes made their way through our kitchen.  Yes, there's been time for planning co-op activities, knitting, conspiring for Hallowe'en and the multitude of celebrations that follow over the next few months, amongst the everyday tasks that keep us learning together.

So what have we been up to?

  ~ making homemade candies to share with friends and family

  ~ making tin lanterns that we'll hang for Hallowe'en and use for a local Martinmas walk we learned about

  ~ making more cardboard shields

  ~ starting to get ourselves ready for the great Christmas crafting spree - dreaming, planning, gathering, and a little making here and there

  ~ cooking unique homemade meals, using up the bounty from our pantry

  ~ knitting, now that the first snowflakes have fallen and we've given up on an extended Indian summer

  ~ putting that masonry heater to work, as we experiment with a different type of wood

  ~ many stories as we cuddle together

I've gone through a bit of a funk as the days get shorter and shorter and the temperature dips lower and lower.  But I also find myself in a comfortable place.  I smile as I add another quilt handmade with love by a grandmother or great-grandmother to our beds.  I find myself enjoying wearing my woolen treasures.  And I think I'll have to face the fact that I'm a cold-weather cook - it feels comfortable to roast or slow cook, and make up batches of soups and chilis.

And I'm learning that there is much fun and celebration that can be had in the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I'm looking forward to the weeks ahead and the light we'll send out into the world as the nights stretch out. 

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Club Day. The Nature Version.

I knew that neglecting to clean out the corn from our garden was a wonderful choice.  All summer and so far this fall it has stood guarding our potato patch and our back yard.  I loved coming around the corner and seeing all those long green leaves swaying back and forth in the breeze.  I loved the sound of the leaves rustling together.  I loved the splash of green colour it gave to an otherwise boring fence.

But we kept it in late for a reason.  Two meetings ago, Nature Club read the book We All Gather Together.  It describes the autumnal equinox and how various cultures celebrate the harvest at this time of year.  One such celebration is Sukkot, an eight-day festival of thanksgiving celebrated by the Jewish culture.  Often, a sukkah - a hut built by Jewish farmers in their fields so they could be close to their crops - is built and decorated with fruits and vegetables. 

Sometime between that meeting and now, I read an article in the Fall 2013 edition of Living Education magazine that described building a sukkah.  Hmmm, I thought.  That could be an interesting project that could tie in nicely with some of the other celebrations we could organize to honour the seasons.  But the actual instructions for how to build that particular sukkah felt a bit daunting.

Fast forward about a week.  My family was hiking around on a local hiking trail.  And what did we find?  A little fort built quite simply with fallen branches.  It didn't make much of an impression on me at the time, except that it was a cute little hideout for little ones in the woods.

Eventually, the two ideas came together.  What if we made a little Nature Club hideaway?  We could use our old, dried corn stalks for the walls and the longest piece of wood in our garage for the center beam.

Fast forward today.  We briefly reviewed the Sukkot celebration and I showed them the picture of Astrin and Jaelyn in the fort in the woods.  "Have you made one of these before?" someone asked.  "Nope, but we'll figure it out" was my response. 

We tromped outside after our snack, armed with a pitchfork and a couple of spades.  We worked together to pry the corn out of the cold damp ground and made a huge pile of definitely looked like a pile that would be fun to jump in, save the cement sidewalk lurking not too far underneath. 

Then we hauled the stalks over to the spot in our yard that Jaelyn and I had chosen earlier...a spot that would hopefully stand up to the elements until at least the next meeting.  A spot where the branches we wedged the end of our wood between would be high enough for people to duck into comfortably, and also wide enough to have seating for more than two.  We alternated the stalks as we stacked them - one on the left, followed by one on the right of the beam - and the leaves naturally tangled themselves so we didn't need to lash the stalks and the beam together (at least not yet...we'll see how it's doing in the morning). 

Once the space was nice and cozy, the Clubbers began to decorate and make it just right...the spot for the fire circle was created...any leaves on the inside of their hut were cut away...the tassels of the corn were cut off and gathered into bouquets to scatter around the hut.

And that was where Nature Club played for the rest of the meeting. 

Eventually, Nature Club was over, yet my children continued to enjoy the outside space that was created, expanding it to fit their needs.  They insisted upon eating outside, equipped with homemade flashlights (courtesy of a recent Cub Scouts meeting), camaraderie, and toques and mitts too, of course.

I certainly hope this little hidey-hole we created lasts for a while!  Thanks Nature Club for a bit of fun, and for helping stretch those corn stalks out just a wee bit longer!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013


('Jambo' means 'Hello' in Swahili)

I'm not sure if I've mentioned how much I love, love, love our homeschool co-op.  I've loved how the children have been engaged about the countries we've visited thus far.  I've loved how the activity for the week has been played out by my kids once we've arrived back home, sometimes for days on end.  I've loved the challenge of learning about different places and weaving together aspects of history, culture, geography, and craft into a tiny 45 minute block.

Today our group learned some more about Kenya.  Last week, the children learned what the life of a typical Kenyan child might be like and finished their day by preparing and sharing a simple meal.  This week, we looked into symbolism that weaves its way into both fine art and utilitarian artifacts - how the shapes and colours used by a culture have special significance and learning about that significance so we could appreciate the story an artifact tells.

I started our discussion by showing a picture of the Kenyan flag.  We noticed the different colours and the shield and spear design in the middle.  We wondered why the country picked the colours it did.  Then, I shared the shortest history lesson I possibly could that explained the explorers, tradesmen, soldiers and settlers who migrated to the country at various times throughout its history and their influence and effect on the native Kenyan tribes.  The flag is directly linked to the country's history - you can see the flag and learn more about it here.

Then we talked about symbols in our own culture - what shapes, colours and animals might mean to us in North America.  The ages I was working with ranged from 4 to 10, so I picked pretty simple symbols - a heart, a dove, a dollar sign, a lion.  We compared this to what shapes, colours and animals might represent to one of the tribes that call Kenya home...the Maasai.  I found a wealth of information about the meaning of colours here.  Finally, before moving on to our craft, we looked at some pictures of Maasai artifacts and people (Living Tribes has some amazing photographs of tribes from all over the world) and took note of the colours and shapes used in the items. 

The children then dove into the craft of their choice...making a replica of a Maasai shield, mask or bead necklace.  Each of these projects required the same materials...cardboard and paint, and the design was up to them.  I made the pictures we looked at earlier available to the children to look at, and I shared copies of what the colours symbolized.  The children were free, though, to use the colours, shapes and symbols that meant something significant to them.  Instructions for the Maasai necklace were found in Super Simple African Art.


Another great day at homeschool co-op!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

The wonder book

My daughter received The Seven-Year-Old Wonder Book by Isabel Wyatt for her birthday, way back in April.  Sadly, we've just gotten around to reading it now.  But my, what an adventure we've been on!  This book is packed with so much goodness...tales that mirror the seasons, gentle tales that remind us to listen to our conscience, and all-round, feel good tales that spark the imagination.  It definitely brings a sense of wonder to our before-bed reading time, and the world feels like a simpler and happier place.

The book is about a girl named Sylvia, who is not quite seven.  She meets friends of this world and the imaginary world.  And she has a gentle, kind mother who is a marvelous storyteller.  Often, after an eventful day or listening to a tale her mother has woven, she pulls out her wonder book from under her pillow and chants the magic spell to the Rhyme Elves.  Leaving the elves a blank page, she falls asleep and by morning, her clean page is filled with wonderful drawings and a poem, always based on the preceding story. 

This book is so good, in my daughter's eyes, that she too desired a wonder book of her own.  And a flurry of activity began...finding a blank book that would be just right for the Rhyme Elves, and memorizing the magic spell to summon them.  When all was ready, and the spell had been chanted, she left the book by our piano downstairs and headed for bed, hoping for a visit from the elves.

And they came! 

We decided that Sundays will be the day that we ask the Rhyme Elves to draw us a picture and write us a poem.  We're happy to welcome them into our home.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

The family tree

We've continued to learn about different systems in the human body...I just haven't blogged about it much as of late.  This week, though, we've been working on a special project that we've invited our extended family to help us with.

You see, we're learning about the reproductive system.  And while we've read books like Amazing You!, Changing You!, and Did the Sun Shine Before You Were Born?, added body parts to the alien bodies hanging on our wall, and done some laid-back Q & A, it seemed like a bit of a stretch to find a good, non-invasive hands-on project to reinforce learning. 

So we dove into the world of genetics, dug into our family's history, and started on a quest to discover who we might resemble...where our unique traits came from.  To do this, I selected two traits for us to investigate - eye colour and ear lobes (eye colour because it can be an easier trait to remember and there's less debate about a person's eye colour than hair colour; and ear lobes because they can be easily seen in photographs).  Both these traits also follow a true dominant and recessive pattern, which makes them simpler to work with. 

We created a massive family tree (drawing, painting, colouring and embellishments courtesy of Nicholas).  Jaelyn and I cut out little squares for each person in our family, up to the great-grandparents' generation (lots of measuring going on here, to make sure the squares were the same size).  We asked our parents to do a trade with us...we provide supper and they provide information and photographs to help us uncover the mysteries of who might have influenced our physical characteristics.  We finished half of the family tonight and will finish the rest tomorrow.  After that, our family tree will hang on our wall. 

We were also able to make some predictions.   We expected that a couple who had blue or green eyes would have children with blue or green eyes - there should be no brown-eyed lads or lasses in that match.  As we added information about aunts, uncles, and cousins to our tree, we discovered this hypothesis was true. 

And it was fun to search through photographs - there was a thrill of excitement as we found out something about our relatives and rushed to add it to our tree.  Maybe not as exciting as finding a dinosaur fossil, but still exciting.  And nice to invite our extended family to a place at our homeschool table.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Club Day. The Birds of Prey Version.

We did it!  We finished the ornithopters today!  There was lots of slow, patient cutting of tissue paper and concentration as we connected all the pieces together.  There was a little of waiting for glue to dry.  There was some testing of the ornithopters, and fascination at watching the wings flap on their own (after the elastic that powers the whole thing was wound up, of course).  There was a bit of talk of pretending to be wizards, with the birds being a most wizardly accessory.  Then, I think, the clubbers decided that perhaps those birds should be handled quite carefully, and they were left to allow the glue to finish drying as the Clubbers burst outside to enjoy free time.


Friday, 11 October 2013

Walk in the woods

A beautiful day for a walk in the woods.  Wishing you a lovely weekend!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Club Day. The Nature Version.

There's a lot of inspiration for nature-related projects around this time of year.  I have a bit of a line-up of projects that would all be good for right this very moment, but only so much time before the weather becomes uncooperative.  Given the blustery days we've had and the abundance of leaves that have fluttered to the ground of late, I decided I couldn't wait another two weeks to make leaf tiles, which were a project featured in the 2013 Fall Living Education Journal from Oak Meadow.

There was so much in this project that was fun.  A scavenger hunt for leaves, mushing and manipulating clay, dreaming of what the tiles would look like when they were dry...oh, there was goodness at every turn.

While we didn't need to go far to find just-right leaves - tromping through our front yard was good enough - we still needed to be selective.  We were hunting for leaves that were not too big, yet not too small, combined with enough definition that they would leave a print behind when they dried and peeled out of the clay.  The leaves still needed to be pliable - the leaves that crackled under our feet were best left for raking into piles for jumping in.  Most of the clubbers chose leaves from the raspberry bush, the strawberry patch, the old elms, the baby maples invading my garden boxes, or the high bush cranberry.

Then there was the task of squishing the clay out of its brick shape and into something that could be rolled out with a rolling pin.  We used Sargant air hardening clay, which had a better consistency than other air hardening clays we've used in the past.  It needed just the slightest bit of water to be malleable enough to roll out. 

The project instructions described making a border from wood that was 1/2 inch thick.  I opted not to do this, partly because I didn't have any pieces that were that thickness, and partly because I didn't have enough clay for the Clubbers to make large tiles that were half an inch thick!  We simply cut away the edges with a butter knife and then proceeded with the rest of the instructions.
I don't know why I thought this project would leave a simple self-contained mess at best, but that was an error of judgment on my part.  If I were to do it again, I would do it all outside...that way, I could simply hose off any outdoor furniture that got clay or clay-coloured water on it.  And I would have lots of rags handy for spills or clay inadvertently getting here, there, and everywhere.  I would also think a little harder about buying the grey air hardening clay instead of the terra cotta that we used...the red clay really wanted to stain everything, although it is such a gorgeous colour.  Something to think about for next time!


I'm looking forward to seeing what lies beneath!

Remember this later!

We've been riding a cloud of bliss over the last week and a half.  What does bliss look like?  It's children actively engaged in the work they've selected for themselves - making jewellery, identifying birds, baking together with play dough, climbing trees, playing games, noticing the hue of the clouds at dusk.  It's children who give some of their time and their talent to helping others.  It's sweet cherub faces that greet the day, happy smiles as we move through our family's loose semblance of rhythm, and lingering hugs as we tuck the last little one into bed.



Why do I write this today?  Because there were days before today that were not blissful.  I'm quite sure there will be days after today that will feel dull and grey.  But holding on to these pictures of bliss...these pictures that clearly illustrate the benefits of homeschooling...these pictures that remind us on the bad days of why we choose to do what we do...they can help pull us through the trough so we can ride the next wave of bliss.  I write about it so that I have tangible proof to look back on in a moment of frustration or self-doubt.  I write about it so that I can feel more confident that we are, at times, living that ambitious overarching philosophy neatly typed once upon a time in a written education plan for the school board.  I write about it, hopeful that in several years' time a pattern will emerge that shows the scales have tipped to many more days of bliss than days of marginally getting by.  That we've found our groove.  That we've hit our stride.  That we "get it".

Maybe there are too many variables that will crop up that we are not agile enough to overcome when it comes to living our philosophy every day.  That little thing called puberty might throw a mighty curve ball.  Relationships may change.  Maybe the children will simply want to go back to school.  For now though, knowing a long winter is making its way south to our little prairie city, it helps to look on the bright side and know that bliss can happen here.  We've seen it.  It felt brilliant.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Hopping on the Trans-Siberian Railway

Our tiny but wonderful homeschool co-op started up again this week!  I've missed our weekly meetings and was excited to add this to our weekly routine.  We've chosen to globetrot around the world this fall, spending two sessions in a country.  First up was Russia, and I had the pleasure of facilitating.

While I know intuitively that most, if not all, countries have a rich history, culture and interesting geographic features, I felt intimidated by taking on a country with such a huge land mass.  There was so much that could be shared - from the Arctic to the dense forests, the steppes to the cities.  The history of the tsars, conquests, revolutions, and present times.  The beauty created by the composers, architects, artists and ballet dancers.  A different alphabet and different language.  Food.  Where to start?

I was inspired by the book Sovietrek, which is the story of a team of Americans and Russians crossing the USSR by bike in the last year of communism in the country.  Instead of following their bike route, however, I opted to board the Trans-Siberian Railway, which made its way from Moscow to Vladivostok - the last stop before plunging into the Pacific Ocean.

I only had about 45 minutes to complete the trek, and I chose to make four stops along the way.  After teaching the children how to say hello in Russian and orienting them to the train (the train bell was music from Peter and the Wolf, and it would only ring once to warn the train was leaving), we found ourselves in Red Square, gazing at a large pencil drawing of St. Basil's Cathedral, which I'd prepared.  I shared how Russian culture had amazing roots, but it was squelched during the years of communist rule.  Slowly, culture and religion are coming out from the shadows.  I gave the children the opportunity to paint the Cathedral, or do an original painting, to symbolize the return of freedoms to the Russian people.

We traveled over the Ural Mountains, which separates European Russia from Asian Russia.  We found ourselves surrounded by the Western Siberian steppes - grasslands and wheat fields with thick forest marking the beginnings of the northern taiga.  It is here that the population becomes more sparse, and the older inhabitants take on the more traditional attire - babushkas (grandmothers) wearing kerchiefs, shawls, long dresses with aprons, and rubber boots for working long days in the fields or gardens.  Men wearing warm sweaters, hats and boots.  And it was at this stop that the children put on such clothing as well.  I brought what I had to share and asked the other homeschool families to supply whatever clothing or costumes might portray a rural Russian.

Now looking like authentic Russians, we travelled further east to Lake Baikal.  Factoids about this amazing place include that it is the largest lake in the world, owing to its depth (more than a mile deep).  It is also home to unique flora and fauna...about 75% of the 1000 plants and 1500 animal species can only be found at Lake Baikal.  The lake, unfortunately, is facing challenges due to human industrialization - air and water pollution are threatening the lake and the unique species that live there.  To bring the ebb and flow of the lake to life for the children, I introduced one of the unique species - the Baikal seal, also known as the nerpa.  With this sweet little seal in mind, we concocted an interpretive dance - we moved how the lake would move, how the seal would move, how the smoke from the factories might swirl in the air and the sewage might seep through the water, how the humans might try to clean things up.  A whole gaggle of children, from the youngest to the oldest were barking like seals by the end!

Our last stop was as we neared Vladivostok, for this is the home range of the largest of the big cats - the Siberian Tiger.  I shared that parents shared stories with their children to prevent them from wandering into the forest all alone, as beasts such as the tiger, wolves and bears also called the forest home.  With that, I read the story The Flying Witch, which illustrates a child's self-reliance and smarts when face-to-face with the terrifying Baba Yaga.  I had Babushka Baba Yaga available for families with younger children or those who might have been sensitive to the idea of a witch who eats children.

By the time we finished the book, our the Trans-Siberian train had safely glided into Vladivostok and we were ready to say farewell until the next time. 

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Together again

Despite a rough start to the morning, we found ourselves at 10:00 with our bookwork for the day all done.  I felt myself in a place we hadn't been to before, at least in recent memory - two hours left in the morning and nothing really planned.

Nicholas was already occupied on the computer, finding bird pictures for some scavenger hunt cards he was making for a friend.  There's a great way to build spelling skills!  But the girls were in need of some time with their Mama.  And there was that Michaelmas celebration that I had wanted to play see where we could take it, but didn't have time to do at the beginning of the week when I had originally planned it.  Late is better than never, right?

We are not a religious family.  I had never heard of Michaelmas before reading books about Waldorf education.  There is no real significance to the celebration for us, and in that I struggle a bit.  But new traditions, especially fun ones, need to start somewhere, and I'm game for building our own traditions.  I used All Year Round to inspire the projects we did today.

As the girls were playing, I gathered up the ingredients for making a harvest loaf.  As the yeast was proofing, I read them the story of Saint George and the Dragon.  Then we made our way over to the kitchen and I read the story of Michael and the Dragon while adding ingredients and mixing them together.  I'm looking forward to enjoying our harvest loaf as part of our afternoon snack! 

After lunch, while Astrin rested, we decorated candles.  The project gave us two options - we could use modelling beeswax and simply roll out shapes and press them by hand into the candles, or we could use melted wax and paint designs on the candles.  We used leftover pieces of old beeswax candles as our paint.  Here's how we did it:

1.  Gather supplies and prepare the work area: 

  ~ I used an old vinyl tablecloth to catch any spills or splatters, as hot wax can fly off a paintbrush as well as paint can.
  ~ We further protected our workspace from spills by using parchment paper muffin papers underneath our candles, and to pour any unused melted wax into.  These worked great, as the wax, when cool, simply peeled right out of the paper and we could reuse it again in a matter of minutes.
  ~ We found a synthetic paintbrush that I didn't mind never using again for paint.
  ~ We used a small gravy ladle to melt the wax in, again, an item that I didn't mind if we ever used it again.  Beeswax is one of those things that I really don't like cleaning up after!
  ~ A candle and matches, for melting the beeswax
  ~ Candles for painting on.  I found some at a thrift store that were about 2 inches in diameter, and these were perfect.
  ~ Your beeswax.  As I mentioned, we used leftover beeswax from candles.  You could also use small or broken beeswax crayons too.  I wouldn't recommend using a crayon made of a synthetic wax...I don't imagine it would smell too pretty.

2.  Melt the beeswax:

  ~ This was my job.  It's simply a matter of placing a small chunk of beeswax into the spoon and holding it over a lit candle. 
  ~ Be careful not to get too close to the flame - beeswax will start to burn at a relatively low temperature.  I gently swirled the beeswax in the spoon to help it melt faster. 
  ~ Oh, and be aware that the bottom of your spoon will likely turn black.
  ~ Once the wax is melted, it can be removed from the flame and your little one can dip his or her brush right into the spoon.  If it starts clumping, simply hold it back over the flame.

3.  Let the painting begin!

  ~ Painting with beeswax was a lot like painting with paint...dip the brush and paint on the surface of the candle. 
  ~ The wax will harden quickly, so use lots of short strokes, which was my children's preferred method.  I dotted the wax onto my candle in an attempt to give my dragon a scaled look.  It worked great for the red eye, claws, and neck plates. 
  ~ Like painting on a vertical surface, the wax may drip down if too much is put in one spot.  Unlike paint though, I imagine that the beeswax could be chipped off after it hardens if it ends up in the wrong place.

4.  About changing colours:

  ~ I poured any leftover beeswax into a muffin paper, then peeled it out once it had cooled and hardened.
  ~ I was only prepared to part with one spoon, so our colour changes were not absolute or perfect...there was always a little of the last colour getting mixed into the new colour being added.  This worked out well, though, because we only had a few colours to work with.  Each person had the same but slightly different colours on their candles.

5.  Cleanup:

  ~ It is so much easier to cleanup from painting with beeswax than with paint!  Essentially, after the last candle was done, and the remaining wax was poured out and hardened (as in step 4 above), everything we used, from the muffin papers to the paintbrush to the spoon and the leftover wax, was put back into our stash of beeswax stuff.  There was nothing to wash or scrub clean, because it was really about as clean as it was going to get.

By the time we got to the end of the day, which was full of singing, tickle kisses, and laughing just for the sake of laughing, I discovered the key for what this celebration will mean to me.  I mused to myself that our harvest loaf was the first bread I'd made since the weather started getting warmer in the spring.  I feel ourselves moving out of sweltering days and into days where the heat from the stove and oven is a welcome thing.  Perhaps the dragon can symbolize our need for fire to warm our toes and noses as the days get chillier.  Perhaps the bread can symbolize the change in the rhythm of the seasons.  Perhaps the soft glow of the candles can represent moving into quieter, more reflective times.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Club Day. The Birds of Prey Version.

Our meeting this week was a little like watching paint dry.  Except we were watching glue dry...really.  We continued on with building our ornithopters (more on that here).  At least along with watching all that glue dry, we have the body built and will be connecting the wings to the body next meeting.

The other wonderful thing that came out of sitting around watching glue dry was the space and time to scheme.  A door to ancient Egypt, with its folklore of Gods and heroes, was opened to one of our Clubbers, and he delightfully shared some of the allure of times long ago with the rest of the Club.  Which led to talk of Greek mythology.  Which then led to a drawing session where they created their own mythological Gods.  Which finally led to role-playing of their mythological world in our backyard.

I love watching how an idea grows organically into something tangible, with each child's own distinct fingerprint left clearly visible for all to see.  How they naturally gravitate to working out the details on paper, so they all can understand what one envisions their characters to embody...its essence and its physical being as well.  How they want to move beyond the two-dimensional form to fully living and breathing their character.  I'm feeling foolish for being in their way for so long.

Don't worry boys, I'll be out of your way soon.