We are back to home-schooling again.  It’s another math block – fractions for the first time for the 4th grader, and introduction to the four processes for first grade.  I wanted to have some cute little wooden figures to help with the four processes, but buying beautiful Waldorf-inspired carved figures was cost-prohibitive (sheesh…it would have cost like a million dollars!  Well, only $45, but I can think of so many other things I’d rather spend it on).  I almost sculpted some out of beeswax, but the thought of Clothilde gnawing the head off of the owl while I was distracted with something stopped me.  So I am rather proud of my little math kit we made.

I made a pattern on paper for the squirrels and the owl, and Ethan cut them out of little useless scraps lying around in the warehouse at work.  I borrowed Mirin’s carving knife to trim all the sharp edges, and then I painted them with the kids’ Lyra watercolor set, and oiled them with some tallow and olive oil.  Not too complicated, although Ethan did leave me stranded in front of Ward’s (local grocery store) for forty minutes while he was cutting them out.  It wasn’t entirely all his fault.  Buying all of the eight items on my grocery list did not take the hour it usually takes to accomplish with the three children, so the amount of time was way overestimated for the shopping trip.

It wasn’t TOO horrible.  The kind check-out ladies took pity on me and lent me a chair, and he did show up before the rain started.  I had forgotten the creepy attention women get from older men when out on their own.  I guess I have not yet gotten too old to avoid it.  My children must usually drive them away.

He had all three children, meanwhile, who were little beasts while he was working on it.  Rose was having one of her Pink Witch tantrums, and kicked him as he was cutting the tail on one (don’t imagine that Mirin was innocently standing by – he was encouraging her).  It needs a little help standing up now, and Ethan suggested it is called Rose, because its legs don’t work.  This was a common affliction for her when she was younger.  Another one turned out with a funny bit suggestively in the crotch, so it has been labeled a boy squirrel.  It’s okay, since my kids are used to distinguishing genders on animals.

Even so,  I think they will make this math block lots of fun, and I’m not sure if I will ever buy any more little wooden figures.  They are so easy to make at home, provided there’s someone handy to cut them out, and no one is having a tantrum.

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