Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Our Autumn Season: A Bilingual Preschool Curriculum Guide for Home

I created this bilingual Waldorf-inspired preschool curriculum to use with my son this Fall.  I wanted an easy way to implement a Waldorf way of life and create a more predictable schedule for us. This guide is recommended for ages 2-4, but can be adapted for other ages and levels. I like to keep things simple and belief wholeheartedly that children learn best by doing. That and our families love of books is what inspired this curriculum! I will also be including Montessori manipulatives in our play area for Liam to play with during free play. I hope that you will enjoy exploring the season of Autumn with us! 

Don't forget to check out my Pinterest board here for links to the books, art activities and recipes to use along with the curriculum! 

Click here to download Our Autumn Season and it's accompanying weekly planning sheet.

How to use Our Autumn Season-
This is a 3 month program (September to November) divided into 2 week segments. Each 2 weeks includes 2 books, a song, a rhyme, a recipe, a listening story, a field trip and an art activity.  It is up to you to decide how you would like to schedule each activity. You can take on everything in one week and then review the next week or break things up over the course of the 2 weeks.  The weeks are somewhat interchangeable, so feel free to move around activities or week themes as you see fit. Also, most of the stories, books and rhymes are in Spanish. This program is bilingual, but Spanish is the minority language in our country, therefore, my main focus with my son is to speak and read in Spanish!  

For my family our daily rhythm will include a circle time where I will introduce each book, rhyme and song. Our circle time will also include Yoga to get our bodies moving! We will be taking a nature walk at least once a week and collecting things for our nature table. This table will consist of seasonal items we find on our walks. Branches, leaves, acorns, etc. I also encourage you to make the songs and rhymes part of your day.  Sing and recite them while you’re playing, cooking or taking a bath. Incorporate them into your daily life!

Remember that the books I have suggested can easily be replaced by a similar book from the library or your own home library.  Most of the books in this curriculum can be found on Amazon.com, as well. If there are activities that you feel are more age appropriate or are more suitable for the area that you live in feel free to swap those out too!

This program is inspired by Waldorf methodology. Nature, the seasons and festivals play a huge role in the Waldorf methodology; that is why this curriculum is seasonally based.  A Waldorf education in the early years puts most of the emphasis on imaginative play with simple toys. I suggest wooden toys that a child can manipulate his/herself. The early years are seen as a time of exploration and for a child to learn through play.  Learning is also seen as inseparable from daily life where young children learn by example. The recipes and trips included here are a catalyst for learning by example and incorporating your child into your everyday activities.

 I hope that this guide will help you on your road to implementing a more child involved way of life! Feel free to contact me with any questions or if you notice any errors at rivasandcompany {at} gmail dot com! 

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

3 Weeks Down: Surgery, Preschool and homeschooling.

We have reached the 3 weeks mark! We are almost to a month and I have to say that I feel like time is clipping along quite nicely. I'm hoping it stays that way!

My awesome new car decal!

My husband received his first care package along with some cards and stuff that my parents mailed him! He loved the package and said he's enjoying the snacks!

Our map showing where Daddy visits!

This past week I had to have a spinal block done to try and alleviate my sciatica. I have Lumbar Spinal Stenosis and my sciatica has been constant for about a month now. The block still has not kicked in, so I've been trying to take it easy.  If I can't get relief from the block then the doctor is talking about doing surgery! I'm trying to avoid that at all costs! Surgery is definitely not something I was planning on this deployment!

During this down time I've had a chance to think about Liam turning two! It's only 3 months away!  My husband and I were thinking about sending him to Preschool when he hit the 2 year mark, but our budget is not at the point where we could easily do that this year.  So, after I started thinking about it, it hit me! Why not just have Preschool at home with him? I mean my philosophy is mostly made up of the belief that children learn through doing and playing! Liam gets lots of interaction with other kids thanks to play dates, my moms' group and church, so I wasn't worried about that.It's not like preschool is foreign to me...during college and right after I graduated I taught preschool. I even created and taught a Spanish program for preschoolers at the school I was at.

My dapper almost 2 year old!

Now to decide on a teaching method!  I learned all about them in college, but it has been a while. Off I went to the internet to do some research.  If we were going to send Liam to preschool the Montessori schools in the area are on the top of my list. So, I started reading up on Maria Montessori and also looking at comparisons of preschool programs. That's when I stumbled upon the Steiner Method, also known as a Waldorf Education. I really liked the idea behind it. It wasn't really child centered, but more of a child involved way of life! I felt like it went right along with my ideals. There are aspects of both Montessori and Waldorf education that I love. I knew for sure that I was not going to do strictly one or the other...more like a little of both.  I then started looking for a curriculum, but just could not find one that was exactly what I wanted and not a lot of money.

After thinking about it long and hard I decided to write my own! I knew that the basis for what I want to teach Liam was going to be everyday life and lots of free play! I also loved that a Waldorf education is based on the seasons and festivals. Keeping those things in mind and our love of books I came up with a simple Waldorf Inspired preschool learning guide! 

I am so excited to share it with you all in my next post. It still needs a bit of tweaking and I'm trying to create a Pinterest board to go along with it. That way all the resources are in one place, if you choose to follow along! We'll be starting "Preschool" the second week of September after we return from a trip home. 

If you would like to learn more about the Montessori method and the Waldorf method check out Global Mama's series Hunting For A Preschool! She gives an excellent break down of the methods and their critiques. Who knows maybe you'd prefer the Reggio Emilia method or the Charlotte Mason approach!  

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

2 weeks down: Care Package #1, International calling and France!!!

We hit 2 weeks down on Sunday! Woohoo!

Ever since my husband left I feel like all I've done is go from one doctor's appointment to another! Some days there were 2 in a row! After today I will be down to just a couple this month! Shew! Today I had an outpatient spinal block to try and calm my sciatica and hold off on back surgery. It went well and I'm praying it will last until my sailor returns! Surgery while he's gone is not something I look forward too! Lol 

Speaking of my sailor! We got to Skype with him today while he was in FRANCE! His ship is in port for a little bit before heading back out to sea. He found free wifi in town and we got to Skype. The connection was poor, but I loved getting to hear his voice and see his blurry face!!! 

This deployment my husband invested in an international SIM Card for his cellphone. It is pre-paid and he can add minutes as needed. It has already paid for itself! My husband was able to use it on the ship when they pulled in. The convenience of using his own phone is so helpful! He doesn't have to wait in line at a phone bank or wait to Skype in order to contact us. I absolutely love it!  

The company we bought ours through is Telestial. My husband picked the Passport SIM Card. Keep in mind that your phone has to be unlocked and that texts, pictures and data cost extra. You can also buy an unlocked phone and SIM card on the Telestial site. I highly recommend this for deployments! It is cheaper than the international plans through cellphone providers and so convenient! 

Oh and I almost forgot we got our first care package sent out! I sent a smaller one this time with not a whole lot in it. The main reason for that is that he stocked up on stuff before he left and has only been gone a short time. The space on the ship is limited when it comes to storage. I'm sure later on he will be making requests for things he's ran out of! So, here is our first care package....snacks, k-cups, PC Gamer magazine, a laundry bag (that he forgot), a USB stick with pics and videos on it, cold medicine and a glasses cleaning cloth! I also added a jewelry box with three pennies I found on the ground the day he had to report to the ship. I'm not superstitious or anything, but I thought it would be cute to send them to him for good luck. ;) I also included a little baggy full of sauces (BBQ, Soy, Honey mustard) for him to liven up the bland ship food and a tub of Chick-fil-A Sauce too!

As far as how I decorated my box goes... I just used Chevron duck tape and scrapbook paper for the flaps. The stickers are scrapbook stickers, as well! I bought a big book of different colors of scrapbook paper to use to decorate my care packages this deployment. I just tape it on and then add decorations. Super simple! My husband informed me that the boxes just get trashed, so I don't go too overboard and I make sure pictures are easy to remove, so he can keep those and trash the rest. I hope that helps! :)

I hope the rest of our days, weeks, months pass as quickly as these last two! Until next time!! 

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Monday, July 29, 2013

One week down!

Oh... Hello, There!

Yes, I remember I have a blog. I was just soaking up all the time I could with my sailor!

Photo Credit: Shutterly {Sweet} Photography

Photo credit: Shutterly {Sweet} Photography

And would you look at the calendar... It's been a week since I had to say see ya later to my handsome husband! The following day we watched the ship sail out from the Chesapeake Bay and onto the Ocean.

Liam and I are still trying to get into a routine of our own, but the week went by surprisingly fast. I think the first week is one of the hardest.  I just tried to stay busy and work on a schedule for us. I have also started putting together the first care package.  I've already booked our homecoming photographer too! From what I hear finding a photographer for homecoming is already starting to be a challenge and we just got started! Ha! 

So, for those of you dealing with a deployment or facing one soon I thought I'd share the link to my care package idea board on Pinterest! You can find it here. There are LOTS of great ideas on there. I'm going to try and post my monthly care package, as well. :) 

Another idea I came across on Pinterest to countdown deployment can be found here.  You take a photo each month with a chalkboard wall that says what you did that month complete with drawings, etc. Since we rent I knew I couldn't do a chalkboard wall. So, off I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond. I found a dry erase wall decal that is perfect! You can find it here.

 I can't wait to share our photo each month with my husband (and you guys too)! 

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Vacation Time!

I just wanted to let you guys know that I will not be posting for a week or two. My husband is on leave and we are heading to California for a week. I am just trying to soak up all the time I have with him before he leaves for Deployment!

I hope you guys all have a wonderful 4th of July and we'll be back before you know it! :D

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Our Weekend In Review// Father's Day Weekend

Saturday we had a fun play date at the park with the Mom's group I'm a part of. Liam played in the sand for the first time since he was 6 months old. The park we normally go to just has mulch and some dirt patches, but this park had an awesome sand box! Liam was so worn out after playing that he took a 3.5 hour nap! Then it was off to the gym for a workout (for me) and playtime (for Liam). Needless to say we both slept well that night. :) 

I don't even know what this is. He came crawling into the apartment after church. I guess he was worn out!

Sunday was Father's Day and unfortunately we didn't get to spend it with any of our Dads. That's what happens when you're in the military. My father and father-in-law live in different states and Pablo was out to sea. We made sure they felt the love though! I emailed my husband (usually our only form of communication when he's out) & sent him pictures. We tried to celebrate before he left, but Liam was sick, so we only managed to go out to lunch. I guess we'll do some more celebrating when he gets back! Liam even made him a card! 

We did go to church, but other than that we spent the day being lazy. Liam was not feeling well. The doctor finally put him on an antibiotic after we went back for the 3rd week in a row! This time Liam had fluid behind his ears. He and the antibiotic aren't getting along to well though. I'll spare you the details, but I will say that he has a very uncomfortable rash. :( 

This coming week we're preparing to fly to California to visit my in-laws! We'll be heading out a week from tomorrow! I'm not looking forward to flying with a 19 month old, but at least Pablo will be with us! If you think of us, say a prayer for a safe and smooth trip!!! :) 

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

It's My SITS Day!

Today is the day I have been patiently waiting for! It's my SITS Day!

If you haven't visited The SITS Girls blog then you should! It is a community of women bloggers who support and help each other in all things blog related! Each weekday they feature a blogger and today is my day!

I am so overwhelmed by all of the love I have received today from all my fellow SITS girls! I have been doubting myself lately, but you ladies have definitely shown me that my posts are not in vain! Thank you!!!

Head over to the site (at the link above) for tutorials, paid blogging opportunities and ALL things blog related!

And thanks again for all of the support and LOVE

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Our Weekend in Review // 6/7


This past Friday Tropical Storm Andrea decided to pay us a visit. We really just got a lot of rain, but we decided to stay indoors in our jammies! I realized Liam had never played with play dough before, so it was the perfect day to make some. I searched Pinterest for an easy recipe that I could make with things I had on hand.

Here is the recipe I used. Oil, flour, cream of tarter, salt, water....really simple and you probably already have everything in your pantry. For the colors I used the back of the food coloring box as a guide. There's usually a chart with how to combine colors to make frosting colors. We went with lime green, teal, orange, reddish/pink  and yellow. 

Liam had a great time mixing and kneading as we made the dough. And he loved playing with the end result. I broke out some cookie and biscuit cutters for him to use and he got the hang of it fast. Liam did mix colors and I had to overcome the OCD side of myself. I desperately wanted to pull the colors apart, but he was having fun and I've had to learn to let go of little things like that. I am way more laid back than I use to be. lol 

 To store the dough I put each color (as best I could) in a plastic sandwich bag and put them all in the fridge. 




Saturday we were super busy and I didn't take a single picture. We spent 2 hours at the YMCA where Liam played and I worked out.  Then we went shopping followed by a dash home for a nap.  Then Liam and I both made new friends at a get together with other Navy wives from my husband's department.  It's nice to know people from the ship that have similar schedules and know what you're going through. That was the whole point of the get together. I would say it was a success. :)

Sunday we went to church and spent the afternoon napping (well, Liam did).  After naptime we had a meeting for church and I'm happy to say that we have a lot of exciting things happening! 

The weekend flew by and I'm glad it did! I hate to wish time away, but when my husband is out that's what I spend my days doing! 

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Friday, June 7, 2013

Writer's Block of a Different Kind

I would love to produce more blog posts. I actually have quite a few ideas saved on Evernote. The problem is I have writer's block. His name is Liam.

I can not use the computer or the iPad without Liam begging (more like screaming and crying) to use them. That leaves me with naptime or bedtime to write. The problem with that is naptime and bedtime are when I try to do everything else. Clean, prep meals, organize, fold and put away laundry, etc. I also need my sleep, so I do not stay up late doing these things. Especially since I have a child who does not like to stay asleep once he goes down.

My husband is away A LOT, so the above things are left to me and me alone. When he is home it's a little easier to get things done, because one of us can work and the other can occupy Liam.  That being said, when he is home I would rather spend time with him than do anything else. That means quality time is spent together and blog posts are left unwritten. 

With the BIG ONE looming ahead of us we have been trying to squeeze in as much time together as possible.  That will mean even fewer blog posts in the coming months. I'll apologize now! Sorry!

I do try and view this blog as a job. But let's face it, I do not make any money off of it. If I did generate a little income from the blog, then I would probably hire a babysitter for a few hours once a week. Alas, I'm a sailors wife, that means we're on a fixed income and can not afford a frequent babysitter.

So, I'd love to hear from you. How do you manage to create posts when you can not find time to write them?! Do you hire a babysitter? Do you work while your kids are in school? Do you stay up late? Give me some tips! :)

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Our Weekend in Review // 5/31

Friday morning Liam and I met some friends at a local strawberry patch where we picked our own strawberries! Well, Liam ate more than he picked.  I had to keep picking half eaten strawberries from the bucket and he was covered in red when we were finished. He had a blast though!

I also got some local honey. I'm talking from the next town over honey! I really hope it helps with our allergies!

The next morning Liam woke up with a fever, so our plans to head to the pool were thrown out the window. Liam ran a fever all weekend, but he was energetic and playful the entire time too.  We stayed home with the exception of lunch at Johnny Rockets! Our plan was to celebrate Father's Day Saturday since my husband is going to be gone on Father's Day. We still took Pablo out for lunch on Saturday since Liam was feeling fine (only running hot). Then it was back to being cooped up in the house.

Saturday afternoon I made a Nutella and Strawberry Tart with all of our fresh picked strawberries! I found the recipe on Pinterest and you can find it here.  It's from the blog, Crazy for Crust. I'm going to have to investigate the blog further, because she has a ton of recipes! :)

Sunday we had to miss church and our community dinner due to the feverish boy. We got a little creative and turned a Nordstrom bag into art. :)

I took Liam to the doctor on Monday and they said it's just his cold from last week hanging around. He's been fever free since Sunday night, so I hope we can get back on a schedule. I need to get out of the house and staying busy makes the time my husband is away fly by much faster!!!

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