Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ancient History - Grade 5 Waldorf Homeschooling

We have been delving into the Ancient History blocks this year for homeschooling.  Grade 5 is rich with stories, mythology, geography, food and festivals from ancient cultures. We love reading stories from EarthschoolingStory of the World and other wonderful books.

Wilson is creating a main lesson book featuring the deities from each part of the world that he studies. He chooses two gods/goddesses, learns about them, and adds a simple poem to his drawings. Here are some samples from Egypt, Babylonia, and India.




Monday, November 17, 2014

Needlefelted Tapestry - Autumn Song

Jennifer had the pleasure of attending a felted fairytale tapestry workshop at Davis Waldorf School, taught by the wonderful Suzanne Down of Juniper Tree Puppets.  Jennifer decided to choose a scene that represents elements of a new pentatonic song that Rick wrote for his first graders.  Song words, below (and an audio clip coming, soon!).

 Inspiration from Suzanne included looking at felted scenes and also postcards of felted scenes.



After many layers and some extra work at home, the scene is finally finished!

Red, Orange, Yellow, Brown
Music and Lyrics by Rick Tan

Red, orange, yellow, brown
Leaves are tumbling down, down
Trees branches cold and bare
Signs of Autumn here and there, there

Summer's gone and Winter's near
Autumn season's here
Hard at work, the gnomes and fairies
Gathering acorns, seeds and berries

Apples and pumpkins it's harvest time
Scarves and mittens dear friends of mine

Red, orange, yellow, brown
Leaves are tumbling down, down
Trees branches cold and bare
Signs of Autumn here and there, there

Summer's gone and Winter's near
Autumn season's here!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Linden's 3rd Birthday


Our baby Linden turned three in October! Seems like yesterday that she was born blissfully at home in the waterbirthing tub with family present.

We used cuttings from the yard for simple decorations.

Linden loves butterflies! We made a crown of butterflies out of plant-dyed felt and roving from Mama Judes on Etsy. Crocheted bunting was made by Jennifer, originally for our 20th anniversary celebration. The colors were perfect for the butterfly birthday!

Extended family came to celebrate.

Kids had handmade fairy bubble wands.

Kids and adults needlefelted butterflies and dragonflies.


Our oldest son and his girlfriend made a beautiful "3" cake.

Sweet Linden Faye. Crochet pattern for her top by Chez Plum. Silk Cape dyed with Logwood from Griffin Dyeworks.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Waldorf Cookbook

Second Edition of The Waldorf Cookbook Released

Preserving the Waldorf tradition through nourishment
Award winning journalist and Anthroposophic fiber artist Kelly Sundstrom has just released the second edition of The Waldorf Cookbook, collection of recipes from Waldorf Schools, teachers, and parents all over the world. These recipes are the most cherished in the Waldorf tradition, and hand selected by Waldorf Schools around the globe.
After the resounding success of its first release, the second release of The Waldorf Cookbook has 260 pages and includes more recipes, spaces to take notes and a beautifully designed cover illustrated by Sundstrom herself (please see attachment). Special care has been taken to ensure that all of the recipes in The Waldorf Cookbook have remained as original and pure as possible.
These recipes have been passed down from generation to generation, crossing oceans and mountains to find their way into your family's home,” says Sundstrom. “There is nothing like an old-fashioned recipe, one that has a history and has been nourishing the hearts and minds of the world for ages. This is what The Waldorf Cookbook brings to you.”
We have a limited amount of cookbooks in stock at Syrendell!  
Email us to order. $23.50 plus $5 shipping.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Homeschooling Again...Joy!


Ancient Humans - Watercoloring Stonehenge

Geometry - Pentagons and pentagrams

We have decided to homeschool at least one more year with our son Wilson.  He is currently considered a 5th grader, so we are joyfully jumping into all things ancient, while continuing to deepen our understanding of botany that we started at the end of last year. We are using Earthschooling, Teaching Textbooks (math), Story of the World, and an eclectic mix of books, field trips, and our own projects. Some highlights from our first couple of weeks.

Botany - Growing seeds indoors and then transplanting into the Fall garden

Botany - Identifying plants during a hike to Boiling Spring Lake in Drakesbad within the Lassen Volcanic National Park

PE - Tap dancing with siblings and Mommy

Art - Watercoloring a scene from our camping trip to Lake Almanor

Botany - Crayon drawing the stages of plants


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Waldorf Summer Camp


Week 1 - Dyeing, Spinning, Weaving, Cornhusk Dolls, Flower Pressing

We are very fortunate to coordinate and teach at the Davis Waldorf School Summergarden Camp in Davis, California.  This summer was our 4th year.  Children entering grades 2-6 attended for one-week sessions.  Older students could attend as Jr. Counselors. We have highly qualified teachers for handwork, gardening and cooking, and a host of amazing high school and college volunteers who help the program run smoothly. Children come to us from the Davis Waldorf Schools, and also from the local public schools, Waldorf schools from other cities and states, and homeschooling families. Some families travel from afar and stay in Davis for a week or more on vacation while their children attend camp.
Week 2 - Wood Bird Perches, Herbal Honey, Herbal Tea

Children rotate each day through the kitchen, garden and handwork room/woodworking area. The calendar provides breathing in (learning) and breathing out (playing) times throughout the day. Gardening includes planting, harvesting, weeding, composting, learning about herbs, and garden crafts.
Week 3 - Wood Toy Boxes, Flower Essences, Herbal Cheese

Children help prepare their own snack and lunch made mostly from local and organic ingredients.  This summer, we were fortunate to have produce from Good Hummus Farm in nearby Capay Valley. Live musicians perform for the children during lunch once per week (harp, guitar, fiddlers, flute, clarinet). A beautiful aftercare program is available for children who want to stay longer than 1pm each day.
Week 4 - Wood Weather Vanes, Aromatherapy Sprays, Birdseed Feeders

Each morning starts with circle time: Good morning song, gardening song, yoga stretches, summer song.  Each learning session includes an opening and closing verse.  Eating times begin with a meal verse. By the end of the week, children learn 8 verses and 3-5 songs. Children watercolor paint a cover for their journals which includes the week's recipes, songs, verses, and drawings.
Week 5 - Doll & Puppet Making, Herb-imprinted Clay Magnets, Wool Bird Nesting Balls

Summergarden 2015 information will be on the website around February, 2015!



So fortunate to have incredible teachers -- Jennifer Tan, Par Duncan, Bill Critchfield, Robyn Wolfe, Jan Plotkin, Dahlia Haberman, Hue Thao, and Aftercare providers Karen Hansen-Downey and Misty DeGennaro


Below is a photo album that we created featuring our 5 weeks of summer camp adventures!


Photo books are the perfect gift for any occasion.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Let's Talk Biology and Biography eBook - Waldorf Inspired Lessons

We are very excited about our new eBook!  Often, teachers, parents and homeschooling families ask about how to teach children about reproduction.  Rick has been developing this eBook for the past three years, and it is now available for pre-order through our Etsy shop!
The eBook is currently featured in the Global Waldorf Expo at The Waldorf Connection June 13-15, 2014. Click here to register!


Some information about the book....
You might remember when you were a teenager and your parents gave you “the talk.” You sat down on the family room sofa and they started lecturing about birds and bees. You were slightly baffled about the reference to flying garden creatures! Mostly, you were feeling squirmy and awkward. You realized, as they lectured on, that they were equally uncomfortable. 

Fast forward. Somehow, you became the proud parent of a teenager. Well, it is not really somehow. You know how you became a parent. It is the most natural thing we humans do. And yet, you are sitting with your teenager and finding yourself in the same position as your parents a few years before. This time, however, you decide not to use the birds and bees metaphor. This time, you are so ready. You have read Let’s Talk Biology and Biography, an eBook about facing your adolescent child with compassion and courage. 

Let’s Talk Biology and Biography gives a positive and healthy message about human sexuality. It contains a unique and beautiful diagram that connects reproduction with relationship, an illustration that compares male and female reproductive organs, and of the female fertility cycle. With simple descriptions that accompany the illustrations, this eBook can serve you as a parent through “the talk” or, as an educator and homeschooling parent, offer you an introductory set of lessons you can do with your students.

More than ever, in this tech age of casual (mis)information, we owe it to our children to be the ones to offer heartfelt words that affirm the celebration of a healthy sense of self and relationships. 

Beautifully written and illustrated eBook by Waldorf Teacher Rick Tan, MD of Syrendell, based on his own teaching in the middle grades, his medical degree background, and homeschooling his own children. All contents are copyrighted. This eBook is for your own personal use, only. Please contact us if you are interested in utilizing this in a school setting and need permission to reproduce information/artwork.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Our End-of-Year Homeschooling Photo Album


One of our favorite things to do at the end of each homeschooling year, is to go back and find photos of our trips, projects and samples of work. We upload the photos into Shutterfly and create a keepsake album. 

 The album is such a special gift for us to keep as a family, and we enjoy sharing it with friends and relatives. It also serves as a nice reminder of what we accomplished during the year...always more than we remember! 

Summer is a great time to analyze and evaluation the previous homeschooling year in order to better prepare for the coming year, and the photo album may be used as an evaluative tool. 

More than anything, we really just love flipping through the pages and saying, "Oh yeah...remember that?" and launching into discussions about what we learned together as a family.  Click below to take a peek at our album from 2013-2014!

The new way to make a photo album: photo books by Shutterfly.