I wanted to thank all of you who participated and left comments in regards to the post Donna Simmons of Christopherus Homeschool Resources on Catherine’s blog. You can see the original post here (and do be sure to read the comments, because that is where the discussion really is, including an interesting side thread on forming the space between two siblings who are very close in age): Continue reading
As promised, I am sharing what we are doing in our family to gather everyone up and start our homeschooling adventure for the day. I have a wide variety of ages – age 2, age 6 and a half, age 10 – just to make it all interesting! Continue reading
I am gathering my list of fairy tales for first grade – you can see the tales I choose the first time through first grade here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2008/11/25/great-fairy-tales-for-waldorf-first-grade/ (and here were a few more thoughts for those of you who are wondering what Dr. Steiner himself said about introducing the alphabet: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/05/20/infusing-waldorf-elements-into-your-christian-homeschool/)
This year, I am planning the following: (# in the Pantheon Edition Grimm’s Fairy Tales) Continue reading
(7/16/2011 – Comments on this post are now closed! Thank you for all your comments and questions!)
Our guest post today comes from Donna Simmons of Christopherus Homeschool Resources (http://www.christopherushomeschool.org/home.html). This is a very comprehensive look at the topic of first grade readiness. This article includes her perspective as a Waldorf educator, but also as a parent and homeschooler, and includes a deep understanding of the foundation of Waldorf Education, but also includes more mainstream resources for those of you seeking those.
This article is long, but I encourage you to read all of it. Donna will be answering your questions left in the comment box in regards to this post, and we both look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Here is Donna….. Continue reading
I have gotten a few emails asking me about how “form drawing with Brambly Hedge” is going. I first wrote about this idea here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2011/01/22/two-ideas-for-firstsecond-grade-blocks/
When we start school, it will still be very summertime weather here in the Deep South. So, my first thought was to incorporate the summer and autumn Brambly Hedge books into this two-week form drawing block. I picked a two-week block as opposed to a three or four week block because I think this particular child will be fatigued by a longer block of form drawing at this point in time.
My fourth grader will be doing local geography and as such will be creating a map of her room, our home, the yard in the first part of this block, so I thought it might be fun for my first grader to have something “map-ish” as well…. So: Continue reading
So, I am busy planning a second go round with first grade (along with fourth). First grade is really fun, simple to plan (I know it probably doesn’t feel that way when you are going through it for the first time, though!), and can be simply magical.
I think there are several things to consider when planning First Grade. Continue reading
I love the book “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon” by Grace Lin. It would make a great read-aloud for Waldorf homeschoolers in the second grade. You could also make a language arts block out of it. My friend Jen over at Ancient Hearth did just that, and you can see the spectacular results here: http://ancienthearth2.blogspot.com/2011/01/la-block-where-mountain-meets-moon.html I am so pleased looking at Jen’s pictures; her block turned out so beautifully!
I also wanted to share a little idea I am working on for my First Grader’s form drawing blocks for fall. I want to use the little mice of Brambly Hedge to do our form drawing and I may also move the idea of mice into our math blocks for the four processes.
For those of you not familiar with the Brambly Hedge books, they are small pocket- sized books with intricate watercolor illustrations about families of mice who make their homes in the roots and trunks of Brambly Hedge, “a dense and tangled hedgerow that borders the field on the other side of the stream.” The main first four books go through each season with the assorted activities of gathering food, storing it for winter, and all the feasts and festivities that go with each season.
These were first published in Great Britain in 1980. You can see the first four books here: http://www.amazon.com/Year-Brambly-Hedge-Jill-Barklem/dp/0007371667/ref=pd_sim_b_8
My thought is to make a giant wall mural of the hedge and the assorted places of the hedge and then to use the stories as a springboard for the imagery of form drawing lines and curves. There is also a Brambly Hedge Pattern Book to sew fabric versions of the mice characters here: http://www.amazon.com/Brambly-Hedge-Pattern-Book-Dolman/dp/0399211942/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1295721650&sr=8-8
Many blessings today,
Apparently Kara over at Rockin’ Granola and I are on the same wavelength recently…..Several weeks ago I got this urge to make a quick skeleton outline of blocks that I am going to start in the fall with my First and Fourth Grader. This sounds a little crazy for this time of year, perhaps, but inspiration really struck me and it took very little time.
During the quiet of the Twelve Holy Nights, I urge homeschooling parents to take some of these days and lay out a skeleton plan of the blocks you are going to tackle in the fall. This way you will be ready to order supplies around March and you will be able to start putting your blocks together. You will be so proud to have a jump-start on your next school year!
Here is my quickie outline for 2011-2012, subject to change at a moment’s notice.
(Of course this does not include the middle lesson (s) or the afternoon lessons…just the Main Blocks).
Week of August 29 through September 9 – First Grader Form Drawing and Counting Games (2 weeks) ; Fourth Grader Local Geography (3 weeks total)
Week of September 12- First Grader Beginning Wet on Wet Watercolor Painting and Crayon Drawing (2 weeks total) ; Fourth Grader Local Geography
Week of September 19- First Grader Beginning Wet on Wet Watercolor Painting and Crayon Drawing’; Fourth Grader Math (3 weeks total)
Week of September 26- October 7 First Grader Introduction to Letters (5 weeks total); Fourth Grader Math
Week of October 10– Week of October 31 - First Grader Introduction to Letters, Fourth Grader Man and Animal I (4 weeks total)
Week of October 31/November 1 First Grader Fall Crafts and preparation for All Saints Day (1 week) ; Fourth Grader Man and Animal I
Week of November 7-December 2 First Grader Introduction to Numbers (4 weeks total) ; Fourth Grader Norse Myths (5 weeks total)
Week of December 5- December 16th First Grader Writing First Reader (2 weeks) ; Fourth Grader Math (2 weeks) with Grammar as Middle Lesson; Advent Crafts
OFF December 19- January 7th
Week of January 9-January 13th First Grader Introduction to Pentatonic Flute and Counting Games (1 week) ; Fourth Grader Kalevala (3 weeks total)
Week of January 16-27 First Grader Science (3 weeks total) ; Fourth Grader Kalevala
Week of January 30th- February 3 First Grader Science ; Fourth Grader Local Geography (4 weeks total)
Week of February 6-February 24 First Grader Math (3 weeks total); Fourth Grader Local Geography
Week of February 27-March 9 First Grader Form Drawing (2 weeks); Fourth Grader Local Geography Man and Animal II (4 weeks total)
Week of March 12-23 First Grader Word Families and Phonics /Make Readers (3 weeks); Fourth Grader Man and Animal II
Week of March 26-30 First Grader Word Families and Phonics/Make Readers (3 weeks total); Fourth Grader Math (3 weeks total)
Week of April 2- 13th OFF
Week of April 16 and Week of April 23rd Finish First Grader Word Families and Phonics/Make Readers (2 out of 3 weeks); Fourth Grader math (2 out of 3 weeks started before break)
Week of April 30 –May 18th First Grader Math (3 weeks); Fourth Grader Four Elements (3 weeks)
Week of May 21-May 25 (1 week) Drama, Stories, Review
Week of May 28th – safety week if we need to make anything up and push school further….
Anyone else care to share their blocks for fall?
My wonderful handwork teacher Judy Forster noted to me the other day that the control and sharpness of the needle for dry needle felting are challenges that are just right for the physical and emotional changes that occur in middle school (typically 7th and 8th grade).
From my observations of the development of the child at different ages, I agree with her. I also think there are many, many projects one can be busy with, so why be in such a rush to get to that rather hardening gesture? This is an important point for Waldorf homeschooling parents who may be guiding their children’s handwork program without having a Waldorf-trained handwork teacher to assist them!
Wet felting is a wonderful alternative, and children in the grades can knit, crochet, macrame, cross stitch (fourth grade, age 10), sew (typically grades six and seven for projects) and do many other types of work with their hands.
If you have small children under the age of 7, I like to think about color and freedom. The small child should be able to choose colors and materials and turn them into whatever suits the child’s fancy of the moment, whether that be a ghost or an elephant. They may imitate you, but often they are just a wellspring of creativity. I remember I had one good friend whose little boy made a whole bunch of creatures and critters from sheets of felt when he was around four or five. The colors and shapes and what they were called were all his and he loved them.
Even in older children, seeing what colors the children pick and what they want to make is fascinating. My Third Grader is currently drawn to blues and greens and I feel this is meeting her temperamental traits and where she is. Color and form is fascinating!
If you need help determining what project comes when within the Waldorf curriculum,, please look at this back post that Ms. Judy Forster was so kind to write for this blog: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/03/28/handwork/
Many blessings to you all,
This article is by Donna Simmons and can be found on Donna Simmons’ Christopherus Blog. Please see Donna’s blog for more wonderful articles about topics near and dear to your heart as a parent here: http://www.christopherushomeschool.org/home.html
Here is a link for this special article: http://christopherushomeschool.typepad.com/blog/2010/06/musings-on-school-readiness-and-older-children.html
This article addresses not only the six-year-old year but other transition years/grades for older children. This article is really wonderful, and I encourage you to read it.
For the Early Years section of this article, I especially and wholly agree with the idea that we are starting children much too early in Waldorf Kindergarten at school. At home, we have the opportunity to make the “Waldorf Kindergarten” years the “five-year-old year” (ie, starting at the ages of four and a half/five years old) and the “six-year-old year” (ie, starting at five and a half/six years of age) with first grade starting at six and a half or seven years of age based upon your individual assessment of your child. I have posts on this blog about the one and two –year- old in the Waldorf Home, the three and four- year -old in the Waldorf Home, and many articles about the six-year-old kindergarten year. My perspective on the five and six-year old years will be forthcoming.
For those of you with older children, I encourage you to read this article as Donna shares candidly about her high school experiences from her perspective as a Waldorf Educator, now a high school teacher, and as a parent.
I hope you find this article as wonderful as I did… Donna Simmons has many wise word regarding children and their needs. Thank you Donna!