Friday, October 30, 2009


Well weeks have gone by without a post. I knew that would happen. Homeschooling has a way of pulling me into a vortex that is very creative, but allows little time for documentation.

In these past weeks, we finished the story of creation and bound a beautiful book of painting, drawings and writings. We continued on for some time with Old Testament Stories, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah and the Ark and the Tower of Babel. I need to take some time to write about all of that in more detail, but the most exciting thing going on right now is Halloween!

This week has been devoted entirely to Halloween. Rowan loves to decorate and we came up with some great ideas for a little party that will take place here tonight! Of course, I threw in a little learning here and there. We learned Halloween tunes for the violin, wrote out labels for potions and signs for the spooky walk. We drew and walked spirals, then created spider web forms in many places, finally hanging up a rope spider web and creating a creepy spider kingdom in a burnt out redwood stump in the yard. We also did some baking - full of measuring and technique. We made cookies in the shapes of pumpkins, bats and autumn leaves and we made doughnuts from scratch. Tonight we will hand fresh made donuts from a tree and have a "doughnut bobbing" contest.

Rowan very much wanted to create a graveyard in our yard and hang up skeletons and ghosts. He sees this sort of decoration all around town. We recently spent some time in Southern California, visiting the mausoleum where my recently deceased grandmothers ashes rest. That was certainly a good opportunity to discuss death and burial with my kids. It was an odd experience in many ways, but healthy, I think. Earlier this year, we lost a dear old pet and we held a beautiful and sad funeral in our garden. Now, when Rowan wanted to create a "spooky" graveyard, I felt compelled to take a little time to talk about the sacredness of death and the memory of those we love. We created markers for pets and wild animals (mostly birds that hit our window) that we have known. With Rowan right in the midst of his "nine year change", I felt it was a ripe moment to take with him and speak openly about loss, death, the spirit and the body.

Paper mache was a big part of our decorating this year. Trying to save money, not spending it on overpriced, low-quality junk from the party store, we came up with creative ideas for making giant toadstools, ghosts, bones and costume pieces. We did these things in paper mache, clay and cloth. I even slipped in a little fiber arts, having Rowan needlefelt green stems and leaves onto little wool balls to use as pumpkins in our fairy house display.

It is such a pleasure to work with Rowan on all of this. He is so enthusiastic and innocent. He is nine this year and I know that he will begin to change rapidly in the coming years. This is most likely the last time we will throw this kind of "magical" kid-focused party. I am trying to savor it as much as I can. At the same time I get exasperated with some of Rowan's behavior. Nine year old boys are full of some sort of mischeivious juice that jangles my nerves sometimes. I find myself chanting "Patience" to myself several times each day. I definitely feel that I am most able to do this when I have things in balance, not too much to do, minimal distraction. Unfortunately, this is not always possible to orchestrate.

Off to create a little more magic and try to have fun!

Happy Halloween!