Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Shelby's summer poem to memorize:


Yellow sun
And yellow sky,
A dandelion's
Yellow eye;

Yellow pollen
Dusts the breeze,
And yellow
Lights the summer trees.

A yellow buzzing
Prints the air;
In dappled yellow
Dreams the pear.

And from the finch's
Yellow throat
One golden, flowing
Yellow note!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

India Lesson

After performing The Life of Buddha, we read a slightly different version in The Prince Who Became a Beggar and also flipped through this book on Buddhism by Anita Ganeri.
The girls write a simple paragraph about Buddha to go with yesterday's illustration.

Then....we cook!
Rajma: A kidney bean dish made with ginger, onion, fresh tomatoes, garlic, green chilies and tomato sauce. This was served over a bed of white rice tossed with fresh cilantro. We also fried flat bread to act as a serving tool as well as a side. All that was washed down with iced red chai masala.

The Story of Buddha

The Queen has a dream.....
The sage says that the dream means that they will have a son....
He is born! They name him Siddhartha.
Siddhartha gets married...

Siddhartha goes out into the world and sees and old man.....
a dead man....

and a monk as the sage had predicted.
Siddhartha decides to become a monk.
The monks meditate to try to find a cure for pain and suffering.
Siddhartha sits under a tree for a long time to find the truth of life over death.

Death visits Siddhartha and tries to get him up.
He becomes enlightened.

Siddhartha became the next Buddha.

FUUSM Harvest Dinner

Second Annual Harvest Feast

This year's menu features organically grown vegetables almost exclusively grown in local gardens.

Local vegetable gardens: Grecni /Miller, Harrison, Baily, Prince, Putnam, the YMCA, and FUUSM's own corner of the community garden. The only vegetables not coming from one of our own gardens were several 'candy' onions bought from Whitten's roadside market and several ears of corn donated by a friend of the Baily's.

Herb Gardens: Grecni/Miller, Harrison and Hyde (Mint tea made by Jesse Hyde)

Walnut Creek cheese purchased at Huck's market and Food for Less (also butter)

Pasture-raised meat from Dixon's

Fruit for dessert crisps: Baily (blackberries), Stacy Strawberries and rhubarb, Wagner's peaches

Organic flour from Amish country, the Farmacy in Athens OH, Brighter Day and Giant Eagle

Pasta made from scratch this very day. Thanks to pasta makers Brice Henthorn, Debra Miller and Linda Dauber

Thanks to the rest of the food preparers Adeline Baily, Zena Grecni, Shari Miller and Luana Maddox


Fresh raw vegetables with yogurt dill dip
Fresh vegetable saute with fresh herb seasoning
Hand-made pasta
Green beans
Potatoes Au Gratin
Hasluska (cabbage and potatoes)

North Bend Hike and Bike

Daddy took all the girls on a church field trip to North Bend State Park and did NOT take the camera! Oh well, they had a wonderful time visiting the nature center, holding snakes and meeting a recently-rescued baby porcupine. Grace enjoyed seeing the big buck antlers and snake skins.
They rode through tunnel #13 and continued biking up the Rail Trail. They hiked up another little trail until they were on top of the tunnel they had biked through earlier.
After lunch, they went to the river bank to catch crawdads and met some horses coming down for a drink.
They all got Explorer ribbons and have already inquired about when we can go and do it all again.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Shelby's Practice Work Books

Recognizing story characters
Identifying sequence of events
Retelling parts of a story
letter/number recognition and formation
hand/eye coordination
fine moter skill development
beginning drawing skills

ordering numbers
odds and evens
place value
reading and making graphs
following directions
plotting on a grid
telling time

Grace's Practice Work Books

numbering recognition and formation
solving word problems

picture study
copy work
beginning capitalization
creative writing

printing capital letters, lower case letters, and words
writing words, phrases and sentences
small muscle control
follow written direction

letter recognition and formation
printing practice
reading comprehension
vocabulary building
finding the main idea
critical thinking

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fairy Tales and Indian Food

This is our bed time reading for the month of August. For our actual Fairy Tale Block we will be using The Tales of Tip-Toes Lightly by Reg Down

The kids received a very full Indian history lesson this Monday at Rachel's house
and as part of our review we cooked up some delicious Indian food.
As the turmeric dyed vegetables simmered in the pan, the kids took turns re-telling The Life of Krishna. They all remembered his life quite vividly from his mischievous childhood ways to his daring defeats.
While the rice baked, we learned how to tie a sari. Lydia got one for her birthday last week.

Ahhhh, a feast! Curried zucchini and green pepper, Indian fried rice and puris.
While the girls cleaned up, I read the prologue of the Ramayana.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Before the new moon...

Two years ago we started all of our main lesson blocks on the new moon or as close to it as we could get. I'm not really sure why we abandoned this system because it seemed to work quite well. We started a fresh subject with the new moon, the lesson becoming more full-bodied as the moon became more full-bodied, learning to apply the subject matter to life as the moon waned and preparing ourselves for another educational adventure with the new cycle. This way of teaching really appeals to me and also keeps me on track which is good because I tend toward procrastination and the moon never takes a day off.

The new moon of August is not till the 20th so we will be taking the school days before then and doing quite a bit of reading and more practice work.

This week we will be focusing on fairy tales and on the 20th begin a main lesson block on them. They will hear the tale on day 1, re-tell, act out and illustrate on day 2 and write story captions and discuss the stories lessons on day three. Most stories will have more than one part, making the lesson stretch out the full week.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Practice Work

Shelby and Grace have had a full week to adjust to school life again. We have gently made this transition by doing some easy review in workbooks and playing educational games on the computer. Shelby has been brushing up on some 1st grade math skills.

Grace enjoys a typing game.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Here We Go Again...

This blog will feature the work of Shelby, second grade and Grace, first grade. This year Lydia has her own blog @ and is currently working on typing up her first report of the year on our fantastic trip to New Vrindaban in Moundsville WV a few weeks ago. I have posted pictures of this field trip here:

The following week I taught an Herbal Day Camp here at my house and the pictures of the weeks activities are also on spiralpathways here:

Here as a list of activities:Herbal Day Camp 2009

Day One: Herbal Identification

Gather and read part 1 of Herbalist of Yarrow
Walk through the gardens with Hyde tour guides and learning about what we have growing here
Herbal identification activity: 21 herbs in various stages laid out and numbered. The children made note of the ones they could already identify
Discussion of the healing properties of those herbs
Lesson on plantain (the miracle plant)
Plantain harvest and hanged to dry

Day Two: Flowers

Circle Time
Herbalist of Yarrow Part 2
Harvesting fresh basil, rosemary, cilantro, nasturtium flowers and zucchini blossoms for lunch
Preparing herb lunch:
Pasta with garden zucchini and tomatoes, garlic and onion in olive oil with fresh-cut herbs and nasturtium flowers
Herb cream cheese filled zucchini flowers
Collected brightly-colored flowers and foliage and made beautiful nature-made pictures with leaves and petals
Learned of the medicinal value of red clover, lavender and rose and brewed a delicious tea to lift the spirits, ease pain and calm the nerves.
Collected the leftovers from the Art project and tea and made a fragrant potpourri to take home.
Day Three: Herbal Cooking

Circle Time
Part Three of Herbalist of Yarrow
Cooking Asiago Basil Focaccia bread topped with sage and sweet basil pesto pasta
Wildcraft (herbal board game)
Garden Yoga
Herbal leaf rubbing cards

Day Four: Herbal Medicine

Circle Time
Conclusion of Herbalist of Yarrow followed by discussion
All prepare lunch: Herbal Stone Soup and cheddar chive drop biscuits and fresh chocolate mint tea
Making olive oil and beeswax based skin salve using freshly harvested yarrow, comfrey and plantain along with dried lavender and chamomile flowers.
Created a Human Herb!