For our preschool little people we use Before Five In A Row . This is a curriculum using many classic children's books such as Goodnight Moon, Blueberries For Sal, and Corduroy. The little children have always loved it and this year Katie is the main teacher. She will someday have children of her own to teach and this is an excellent training ground for her. FIAR follows many of the Charlotte Mason philosophies outlined above and so meshes perfectly with our goals.
On the maple syrup front things are going better than expected. I must confess that I was sceptical about boiling it in a cauldron. I know the old timers did it but come on, it has to be so inefficient! Well, color me surprised! It boils down faster than I've ever seen sap boil. Aleks boiled off roughly 75 gallons of sap in one day (still woefully behind modern evaporators) and we had fresh syrup on homemade french toast with sausage for supper on Saturday. That's our tradition, to eat the first syrup at a special "thanksgiving" meal. Below is the sugar camp.The sap storage barrel is on the left, the warming pan is just to the right of the cauldron. The corrugated metal is to keep sparks from flying around. The children spend all day up there (after school work is done) and come home to eat, bathe and fall into an exhausted sleep. It's a good, good life!