August 13, 2014

Homeschool Science - Color Changing Milk

Hi! I’m sorry for my absence the last couple of weeks. We’ve had a lot going on around here, so I haven’t had a chance to post. We still have two weeks left of summer, but Sola has recently entered a phase where she wants to do experiments all the time. By this, she really means that she wants to mix random things together to make a concoction, especially if it involves food coloring. This has been proving to be quite messy, so this week, I decided to try do some more structured science experiments that allow her to mix as she wanted to do, but still somewhat contained her mess.

The first experiment that we did was called the Color Changing Milk Experiment. I first read about it several years ago. I found a good set of instructions on Steve Spangler’s website. The only change we made was that I just had Sola drop a blob of dish soap right from the bottle in the milk, instead of using a cotton swab. Apologies for the blurry video, my phone couldn’t focus on the milk very well).

Maureen

August 4, 2014

Seashell and Driftwood Wind Chime

Seashell and Driftwood Wind Chime - from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

I’ve always loved wind chimes, but have never owned one because I didn’t want to disturb my neighbors. The last couple of summers, I saw several seashell wind chimes on Pinterest and thought that would make a lovely alternative, since the shells wouldn’t be too loud. I was intimidated, however, by the thought of drilling holes into shells. Finally, this summer I convinced myself that this would be the summer - I would make a wind chime, if it killed me!

Seashell and Driftwood Wind Chime - from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

While searching Etsy for shells (we’re not allowed to collect seashells from the beaches in Washington) I was ecstatic to find shells and driftwood that were already drilled!

Seashell and Driftwood Wind Chime - from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

I threaded some embroidery floss through the driftwood and tied a knot on top. Then Sola threaded the seashells and wrapped a loop around them to keep them in place. I then used more embroidery floss to create a hanger.

Seashell and Driftwood Wind Chime - from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

Since we finished our wind chime, I’ve seen lots of other pretty DIY wind chimes, such as this one made with sea glass,

 

this one made with miniature nature sun catchers,

 

this one made with keys,

 

and finally this one made with silverware.

 

This was lots of fun and a great way to celebrate summer. The shells just make a gentle tinkling sound.

Maureen

July 31, 2014

45 Places to Buy Books and Supplies for Your Waldorf Homeschool

45 Places to Buy Books and Supplies for Your Waldorf Homeschool - from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells
Buying Waldorf materials for homeschooling can get expensive and confusing. Here is a list of suppliers that we have used. Please feel free to share any experiences you have had with these retailers or others that I’ve not mentioned

  1. A Child’s Dream (a large variety of books and supplies)
  2. Baby Naturopathics(a Canadian store with a large variety of books and supplies)
  3. Bear Dance Crafts (craft and handwork supplies)
  4. Bella Luna Toys (a large variety of books and supplies)
  5. Bookstore at Rudolph Steiner College (large variety of books/curriculum)
  6. Casey’s Wood Products (wood craft supplies)
  7. Christopherus Homeschool Resources
  8. Dragonfly Toys(an Australian store with a large variety of books and supplies)
  9. The Enchanted Cupboard (Etsy store that sells wooden toys and seasonal table items)
  10. Enchanted Forest Toys (large variety of toys and seasonal table items)
  11. Family Pastimes (cooperative board games)
  12. Folkmanis (high quality puppets)
  13. Georgia Wooden Toys (Etsy store that sells wooden toys and seasonal table items)
  14. Green Mountain Woolies (Etsy store with peg dolls, toys, and seasonal table items)
  15. I Used to Be a Tree (Etsy store that sells unfinished wooden peg dolls, eggs, etc.)
  16. Jamie York Press (Making Math Meaningful) (curriculum)
  17. Katjas Flower Fairies (Etsy store that sells Waldorf flower fairies, root people, etc.)
  18. Little Acorn Learning (Etsy shop that sells play stands, beeswax crayon holders, etc.)
  19. Little Acorn Learning (curriculum)
  20. The Little Hedgerow (Etsy store that sells fairy garden supplies)
  21. Live Education (curriculum)
  22. Mamakopp (Etsy store that sells wooden toys and seasonal table items)
  23. Mamaroots (Etsy store that sells wooden toys and seasonal table items)
  24. Math By Hand (curriculum)
  25. Meadow Sweet Naturals (a large variety of books and supplies)
  26. Nova Natural (a large variety of books and supplies)
  27. Palumba (a large variety of books and supplies)
  28. Paper, Scissors, Stone (a large variety of books and supplies)
  29. Personhood Press (curriculum)
  30. Pied Piper Press (curriculum)
  31. Promethean Press (curriculum)
  32. Simple Gift Toys (Etsy store that sells wooden toys and seasonal table items)
  33. Specialty Bottle (jars, bottles, and other storage containers)
  34. Steiner Books (large variety of books/curriculum)
  35. Teach Wonderment (books and coloring with block crayons DVD/book)
  36. A Toy Garden (a large variety of books and supplies)
  37. Two Raccoon Hollow (Etsy store that sells wooden toys and seasonal table items)
  38. Waldorf Books (Bob and Nancy’s Bookshop) (large variety of books/curriculum)
  39. Waldorf Essentials (curriculum)
  40. Waldorf Publications (large variety of books/curriculum)
  41. Waldorf Toys (a German store, but has the largest variety of Waldorf postcards)
  42. Waldorf Treasures (a large variety of books and supplies)
  43. Walter T. Kelley Co. (candle making supplies)
  44. WECAN (large variety of books/curriculum)
  45. The Wooden Wagon (large variety of toys and seasonal table items)

Maureen

July 24, 2014

Waldorf Festival Dates for 2014-15

Waldorf Festival Dates
"Candleburning" by Matthew Bowden www.digitallyrefreshing.com - http://www.sxc.hu/photo/148763. Licensed under Attribution via Wikimedia Commons.

A large part of Waldorf or seasonally inspired education revolves around the rhythms, seasons, festivals, and holidays of the year. I find it much easier to plan out our school year, if I start first with writing down all festival dates before I plan anything else. Last year, I shared a list of the Waldorf festival dates for the 2013-14 school year, and I’d thought I’d do so again this year.

For those who are new to Waldorf, you do not need to celebrate any or all of these festivals/holidays. Homeschoolers and Waldorf schools, alike, choose to celebrate the festivals and holidays that are important to themselves and their community. I happen to list a few holidays that some of you may never have heard of, but which are important in my community, which has a large number people of the Hare Krishna and Muslim faiths. Meanwhile, I know almost nothing of Buddhist or Hindu holidays. Also, I was raised Catholic, so am more familiar and comfortable with the liturgical calendar celebrations, yet my husband was raised Jewish, so I take that into account also. In addition, I have many friends who identify with more Earth-based and/or Goddess religions, so I am heavily influenced by these celebrations as well. Finally, there are the holidays for own's home countries that should be taken into account. In all, the calendar can get very busy, very easily, so it is important to not over schedule yourself. If you find yourself wanting to celebrate so many festivals and/or holidays that you can’t think straight, you might want to consider celebrating the festivals and holidays in a simpler form. One does not need to redecorate the house for each and every festival or holiday!

  • September
    • 1 – Labor Day
    • 11 – Patriot Day
    • 23 - Autumn Equinox and Mabon
    • 29 – Michaelmas
  • October
    • 4 – Eid al-Adha
    • 13 - Columbus Day
    • 31 – Halloween and Samhain
  • November
    • 1 – All Saints’ Day
    • 2 – All Souls’ Day
    • 4 – Election Day (United States)
    • 11 – Martinmas and Veteran’s Day
    • 23 – Diwali
    • 27 – Thanksgiving (United States)
    • 30 – Advent Sunday
  • December
    • 6 – Saint Nicholas Day
    • 13 – Saint Lucia Day
    • 16 – Hanukkah starts
    • 21 – Winter Solstice/Yule
    • 24 – Christmas Eve and Hanukkah Ends
    • 25 – Christmas
    • 26 – Boxing Day, Saint Stephen’s Day, and Kwanzaa begins
    • 31 – New Year’s Eve
  • January
    • 1 – New Year’s Day, Kwanzaa ends
    • 5 – Twelfth Night
    • 6 – Epiphany and Three Kings’ Day
    • 19 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • February
    • 1 – Imbolc and St. Brighid's Day
    • 2 – Candlemas and Groundhog’s Day (United States)
    • 14 – Saint Valentine’s Day
    • 16 – Presidents’ Day (United States)
    • 17 – Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, and Mardi Gras
    • 18 – Ash Wednesday (Lent begins)
    • 19 – Chinese New Year
  • March
    • 5 – Purim
    • 17 – Saint Patrick’s Day
    • 20 – Spring Equinox and Ostara
    • 29 - Palm Sunday
  • April
    • 1 – April Fool’s Day
    • 2 – Maundy Thursday and Lent ends
    • 3 – Good Friday and Passover begins
    • 5 – Easter
    • 11 – Passover ends
    • 22 – Earth Day
    • 24 – Arbor Day
  • May
    • 1 – May Day and Beltane
    • 5 – Cinco de Mayo
    • 10 – Mother’s Day (United States)
    • 14 – Ascension Day
    • 24 – Whitsun and Pentecost
    • 25 – Memorial Day (United States)
  • June
    • 14 – Flag Day (United States)
    • 18 – Ramadan begins
    • 20 – Midsummer Eve
    • 21 – Summer solstice and Father’s Day (United States)
    • 24 – Saint John’s Day
  • July
    • 4 – Independence Day (United States)
    • 16 – Ramadan ends
    • 17 – Eid al-Fitr
  • August
    • 1 – Lammas and Lughnasadh
    • 15 - Assumption Day

Maureen

July 23, 2014

Homemade Beaded Bubble Wands

Homemade Beaded Bubble Wands - From Blue Bells and Cockle ShellsRecently, Sola and I made some bubble wands. I was really surprised that they worked as well as store-bought wands. To make these wands, you need some copper wire (I used 18 gauge), beads, wire cutters, jeweler’s block, and ball-peen/jeweler's hammer.

Homemade Beaded Bubble Wands - From Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

The first thing that you will want to do is to decide how you want to make your handle. I have seen some people on Pinterest who made the ends into swirls, but I was worried that Sola could still poke her finger on the raw end of the wire, so I opted to tuck the wire under the bottom bead. To do this, I curved the wire into a “u”. Then I used my ball-pean hammer and jeweler’s block to hammer the “u” shape until it was very flat. The more you hammer metal, the stiffer it gets, so it won’t lose its shape.

Homemade Beaded Bubble Wands - From Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

We then started stringing beads on to the wire in the pattern that we both liked (you might have to use a smaller bead for the very first bead, just so it won’t slide off the bottom.

At the top, I also wanted to make sure that the wire ends were safely tucked into the beads, so I first stuck the end of the wire into the top bead, not bothering to shape the wand.

Homemade Beaded Bubble Wands - From Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

Then I shaped the wire into circular shapes (you can make any shape you want). I twisted the wire at the base of the wand, where it enters the beads. You want to twist the wire nice and snug up against the beads to make the handle stiff, or else it will be flopping all around.

Homemade Beaded Bubble Wands - From Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

And that is it! We’ve also been experimenting with several DIY bubble solution recipes.

Homemade Beaded Bubble Wands - From Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

Maureen