Sixth Grade Mineralogy

This is an interesting block to plan and do.  We actually started this block with a trip my sixth grader took to Luray Caverns in Virginia over the summer before our school year officially began.  We also took several trips to places of geographic interest in our state.  I think this is the best student and teacher preparation for this block – to really identify what is in your own state and go there!

The resources I used to plan this block included:

  • The Christopherus Homeschooling Resources “ A Rough Guide to Sixth Grade” by Donna Simmons – free
  • “An Environmental Science Curriculum For Middle School” by Craig Holdrege of The Nature Institute — free
  • AWNSA Waldorf Science Newsletter Volume 5, #10  – free
  • The Living Earth by Walther Cloos  – available through anthroposophic booksellers
  • Roadside Geology of Georgia by Pamela J.W. Gore and William Witherspoon
  • All  About Rocks And Minerals by Anne Terry White (an old book but worth the find) – used
  • Geography From A to Z:  A Picture Glossary by Jack Knowlton  (used)
  • The series by Jean Craighead George “One Day In The (Woods, Prairie, Desert, etc)  (all used)
  • The Story of Salt by Mark Kurlanksky and S. D. Schindler   (all used)
  • Books on fossils
  • Samples of coal – free from Coal Association
  • Samples of rocks for testing hardness – Amazon
  • “Geology and Astronomy” by Charles Kovacs

I took the broad view with this block, which was inspired by the Christopherus Curriculum “Rough Guide to Sixth Grade”, where Donna Simmons mentions to try to “weave” geology, biomes and weather together.

I  mapped out the major themes in this way, starting back with fifth grade botany:  plants —>biomes—> geography /geographic features influenced by —> water, wind, climate —>climatic change using glaciers as an example —>moving into more traditional mineralogy starting with granite and ending with a summary of rock cycle, metal ores and salt.

So, we started  by  picking up our botany main lesson book from fifth grade and reviewing plants.  We spent time outside looking at different habitats and biodiversity of plants and the animals that  we drawn there because of those plants.  We reviewed ecology terms (what is ecology?  what is biome?  a habitat? biodiversity?  a climax community?) .  Using the Nature Institute’s free plan, we talked about plants as food and a what a food web looks like in different habitats and investigated the introduction of the European Rabbit into Australia and other cases in our own state where the food web became altered by introduction of non-native species. We spent time talking about plants as producers, and plants that we eat and who/what are decomposers or consumers of plants.

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That was our first week and a half or so.  During our second week we moved into talking about how plants are found in certain geographic locations in the world and are grouped into biomes.  We talked about succession and made a biome map of North America.  We also started reading the Jean Craighead George series of books (very easy to read aloud, thin with pencil drawings) and our daughter has been working on drawing or painting each biome.  (This project has extended on past when the mineralolgy block officially ended, as have some other pieces that I mention toward the end of this post).

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Biomes depend upon climate and weather (rainfall).  Biomes are distributed throughout the world and are a way we can describe parts of the world.  The other way we can look at the world is through geography.  So we reviewed geographic terms and did some modeling of different geographic forms.  No  landform is static, of course,  and is affected by wind, water and weather. Our daughter wrote an original composition about the water cycle from the standpoint of a raindrop and also drew this in oil pastels.  We also talked about wind – trade winds, equatorial winds, westerlies, polar easterlies, etc in map form and lastly about weather and the five zones of the earth from a climatic standpoint.

The poem “Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost became our theme now, and we worked with this poem in movement and copper rods and finally captured it in our Main Lesson Books: Continue reading

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Twelve

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you: steadyRead on for more

So far, our words to help us on a journey to a calmer, more peaceful home include open, reconciliation, attentiveness, reverence, courage, love, relentless, unity, building, time and haven . Today we are considering the word steady in creating a peaceful relationship with our children. Continue reading

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Eleven

 

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you: havenRead on for more

In La Leche League, my favorite parenting organization, there is a good amount of emphasis and thinking about people before things.  This is rightfully so in regards to all people, but especially our children!  Children need our presence, our time, our attention.  They are far more important than things.

I hear a lot of chatter around the Internet of mothers being turned off by “beautiful” blogs.  Where is the imperfection, the humanity, the realistic look at living with children 24/7 we cry?  Living with children is a constant re-do of the cooking, cleaning, laundry – it never really ends and just cycles around and around.  That can be challenging for some parents who would love the home to stay clean for five minutes before the cycle begins again!

So we often say our children are more important than our things, and therefore our children are more important than cleaning our things and taking care of those things.  However, I am not certain it has to be as one-sided as we often seem to make it on the Internet.  It is almost this unspoken thing that if we are taking care of our children well, then we can’t take care of our homes well.  If we take care of our homes well, then obviously our children are being neglected and they will grow up and have to enter therapy!  And to be fair, some of us do have memories of our mothers cleaning, cleaning and we were to be seen and not heard, and it is not pleasant.  I do understand that!

What I am suggesting is a middle way of viewing the home as a haven.  If you read the last post in this series, I talked about time and being home.  Being home for copious amounts of time is a first good step to having time for this middle ground of caring and nourishing our children and the physical space in which we live.

I feel that this nourishing and care for the home may be more important than we make it out to be because I talk to so many mothers and they tell me their stress level is so much higher when their homes have clutter piled everywhere.  They tell me when no one picks up after him or herself and they feel as if they are the only one helping to care for the home they feel stressed and they tend to yell.

So I do think having a no-yelling home DOES have something to do with the physical environment and what routines or rhythms are in place to help take care of nourish the home.  The home is a very real extension of the people who live there.  When we have a baby, especially a first baby, and even into early childhood, things  in the home will not be done completely nor perfectly.  However, there is a difference between recognizing that and doing what can be done versus deciding nothing can be done at all.   Again, the middle ground is important.  For those of us who have completely perfectionistic tendencies about cleaning and clutter, learning to have realistic expectations is so important.  I know people who don’t have children.  Their things don’t mysteriously move places!  Some of them are exceedingly neat and clean from top to bottom after they cook – because they are not cooking three or more times a day for a hungry children! So, realistic expectations and finding that balancing point is so wonderful.  Many mothers do tell me that when things are reasonably picked up and reasonably clean, they feel lighter and happier.  This is the reality we are searching for in making our homes a haven.  A haven is not a picture from a magazine of beautiful homes where no one lives.  A haven is a home where children and children’s friends play, a home where pets are loved, a home where there is a certain harmony between the adults in the home.  And this really can start with a welcoming physical environment.

Many mothers begin by simplifying and reducing as much clutter as possible.  This is the first step toward beginning to establish routines and rhythms that take a little time each day that can be done together as a family.  This is the first step toward bringing order out of chaos.  This is an interesting back post for you to read on this subject:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2011/03/30/an-ordered-outer-world-for-a-peaceful-family/   and this outside post that was an inspiration to many:  http://www.studyinbrown.com/writing/2011/3/22/order-and-routine-making-straight-paths-for-peace-part-2.html

Many mothers enjoy a system such as Flylady to help them reduce their clutter and get started on baby steps to cleaning.  I love Flylady.  My home is generally reasonably picked up, but I don’t spend hours and hours on chores and I attribute this to a foundation of many years with  Flylady.   I don’t do things exactly like Flylady, but I do have small step routines in place.  

You can start laying the foundation of working as a team to nourish your home as early as the toddler years.  Liza wrote a beautiful post about this here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2011/06/28/guest-post-meaningful-work-for-toddlers/  .  Work in the home, and as a team, is another way to connect to our children, to establish a family unity, to attach ourselves to one another in love.

A home as a haven.  What a beautiful thought for the day.

Blessings and peace,

Carrie

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Ten

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you: time.  Read on for more…

“Time” is a simple shorthand to mean several different things:

If a no-yelling household is important to you, then you must spend time on building on the positive things you identify.  This requires time to be home and with the ones you love.

If a no-yelling household is important to you, then you must spend time connecting in a loving way with the people in your home.

If a no-yelling household is important to you, then you must be home and present without running a million places.

Simplify your time to reflect your priorities.  If creating a calm and peaceful household is your goal, then staying home will help you accomplish your goal because it will give you the time to stay centered, to not rush, to be present.

Most mothers have a tipping point of how much they can be out of the home and feel calm.  I know I do!  You can stay home and love it, and it can help you deepen your relationships to a level where yelling is not the norm in your household.

I listened to a speaker recently at my church who talked about Continue reading

Gallery of Work From Sixth Grade Ancient Rome

We have finished a block on Geometry, Ecology/Biomes/Mineralogy and Ancient Rome so far.  We started Physics this week, and still have quite a bit left for the school year, including European Geography, Medieval History, Business Math and hopefully a few weeks to fit in a small block on American Colonial History.  Hopefully we will continue to move at a careful and steady pace through this semester and finish up all we need to finish!

Ancient Rome was a block that I have laid out in some detail regarding resources, and what we read and did here  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2013/11/20/sixth-grade-ancient-rome/  and here:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2013/12/16/sixth-grade-ancient-rome-2/

Here is the title page for the first main lesson book of Rome:

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I mentioned in a previous post that we began with the story of The Aenid.  This drawing was done completely in hatching, and took quite a long time to accomplish.  There was no outlining at all.  Hatching is worked on in the Waldorf curriculum beginning in the fourth grade, and I think you can start to see the fruition of that technique in these more complex drawings in the sixth grade:

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We worked on maps of the Seven Hills of Rome and painting the Seven Hills of Rome:

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We then moved into such things as “Horatius Keeps  The Bridge” in painting, and the crossing of the Alps by Hannibal:

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We did some black and white drawings in pencil (not charcoal, although we will be doing charcoal drawings this semester) with shading from the book detailed in one of the previous posts “When The World Was Rome.”  In the Waldorf curriculum, it is important to get adolescents to work with grey areas of shading.  The suggestion of drawing from photographs of busts was in the Christopherus Roman History Unit Guide, and I recommend it.  Portraiture is difficult, and really comes into play more eighth grade and high school from what I understand, but it was a worthy endeavor.

Here is our daughter’s Julius Caesar and my Julius Caesar: Continue reading

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Nine

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you:  building.  Read on for more…

So far, our words to help us on a journey to a calmer, more peaceful home include open, reconciliation, attentiveness, reverence, courage, love, relentless, and unity.  Today we are considering building.

Building is often defined in a dictionary as putting together or assembling a structure.  If  family is  thought of as a structure, a sheltering gesture for the protection of those within, how do we build that?  I think we must identify what is already positive within our family culture and find ways to draw attention to that so it can be repeated in different situations throughout life.  It is the building of something that seems perhaps intangible at first, qualities and character, but really turns into a tangible energetic reality within the home!

Sometimes this exercise seems so difficult for mothers.  If we are mired in negativity Continue reading

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Eight

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you:  unity.  Read on for more…

Unity is an important piece to having a calm family life.  In the olden days, family members depended upon one another for help, for companionship, for laughter.  In our era of nuclear families and often very fast-paced lives, we often need to make a conscious decision to think about what really unifies us.  After all, even if we are in a family, we are all separate individuals with different temperaments and personalities.

To me, one of the best ways to start thinking about family unity or to “re-set” family life is to re-connect with the unity your family members have through shared values, shared purpose, shared work.

I have written time and time again about crating a family mission statement.  This can be such an important exercise for families to tackle in this era of Continue reading

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Seven

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you:  relentless.  Read on for more…

If we truly want a no-yelling house, we have to be relentless in learning now to speak to each person in our family in kindness and love.

If we truly want a no-yelling house, we have to be relentless in not allowing sarcasm, put-downs, passive aggressiveness, threats, sarcasm and anger in ruling our household.

If we truly want a no-yelling house, we need to learn how to communicate.

Our children need to hear our parenting language change.  I wrote a post in 2010 regarding the need to hold boundaries in love by changing our parenting language: Continue reading

31 Days to the Rhythm of the Inner Heart: Day Six

 

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you:  love.  Read on for more…

 

It takes courage to create the family you want, and to create yourself as the parent you wish to be.  The main underpinning for all the actions is love:  the love of a parent for a child. 

I don’t know many parents who have children and plan to become disconnected from and angry with their children.  Yet, in a society that often encourages the separation of children from the family under the guise of socialization and independence, it often happens.  In a society that encourages tuning out and passive entertainment over real presence with real people, it often happens.  We are a society that seems to have forgotten what children and what childhood is all about.  We are a society that often celebrates the attachment of our children to other peers rather than an attachment to, and as part of, the family unit.

If you are struggling with anger towards your children, I am here to tell you that your love as a parent for your child is the way to reverse this.  It is the road that underlies increased patience and calmness.  If you can go and look at your children whilst they sleep and see how very small and innocent they truly are, if you can think of them in their best moments, if you can see where your love molds and shapes their hearts, you can do this.

You are being attentive through the use of an accountability partner and the use of a journal.  You are looking not only at times of stress, overwhelm, and anger, but when you are your best self with your children.

Now is time to move into laying the foundation of the family: love.  Author Ursula K. LeGuin once wrote:

Love doesn’t sit there like a stone

It has to be made like bread,

Remade all the time,

Made new

 

What are you doing anew each and every day to make love in your home?  Every child and every person has a different love language, but I can tell you that for most children their love language will include “quality time” as at least one of the languages.

 

Ideas for quality time:

Be outside together and play and be active

Teach your children how to do something, from how to  bake bread to tying shoes to how to fix things around the house

Cook together and eat meals together

Read a book together

Tell stories together

Create traditions for the day, week and year together

Take your children places

Snuggle together

Listen.  Let them talk and listen.

Play games together – play their games!

Roughhouse and play backyard sports together

Do arts and crafts and woodworking together

Take children with you on an errand to the farmer’s market, the dump, the home improvement store

Work as a family together

Share your spiritual traditions together

Take one child out to breakfast

Have a date once a week

Let the child choose how to spend time with you

 

Share your favorite ways to show love and unhurried time with your children in the comment box.  This is the best place to focus your attention this week, as love is the connection that leads to more love and  less anger.  It provides the well that you can tap into when anger threatens to rear its ugly head.  Love is the strongest power of all.

 

Many blessings,
Carrie

31 Days of the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Five

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you:  courage.  Read on for more…

Real change takes place not only when we acknowledge our challenges, our battles, our triumphs, but really take charge with our will and our actions.  It is not enough to talk about change, but we have to make change.  We must act.

I wrote this post a while ago, but I think it reflects this mood of determination and courage so perfectly that I would like to share it with you again: Continue reading