Sometimes I see mothers post on different forums regarding their child who is ‘’resisting” doing much of anything the parent/teacher presents. I think sometimes bloggers are reluctant to blog about this because perhaps they too, are in the trenches of it all and don’t feel as if they have much to offer than to say, “It happens here as well.” (Which in and of itself can be nice to hear, too). No one really seems to want to talk about when things implode, or that bad days do occur, even in blogland. Andrea over at Waldorf Salad and Cottage Fries wrote a great post here about what happens when homeschooling becomes a battleground and how to make adjustments.
I have been thinking a lot about this. I think the things that help me the most is to know myself, know my child and to know the curriculum. I am a good teacher, and I am an even better teacher if I don’t have to spend my time dealing with children who are resisting everything and we spend our morning more in a headlock over what they don’t want to do rather than what we can do together to learn and have fun. I am sure many of you feel that way!
Here is my list of observations regarding when things aren’t going well – something homeschooling has given me lots of practice with! Continue reading
The work I am doing in teaching our American Colonial History block in seventh grade and thinking a bit to eighth grade has prompted a bit of a search for me for history resources to help guide my teaching. I recently went over to the Waldorf Library On Line and read the free ebook, “The Riddle of America” (which also would be lovely for those of you preparing for fifth grade next fall), and it was a great read for those of you interested in a perspective regarding American geography and history.
The thought of eighth grade history really has me a bit stymied. Many talk about how the goal is to get the child up to “modern day times”. However, I do know parents who put that “Revolutions” block in ninth grade. Everything in history is also circled around again in high school, so I have been pondering this and how much detail or how far do I need to go in eighth grade. I just found this blog post about teaching eighth grade history and it was very helpful to me. I am still thinking. I also found this video, which I haven’t watched yet, about teaching American history in the eighth grade Waldorf classroom.
The thing I am finding most helpful, though is the 123 paged AWNSA document, “Colloquium on American History”. It talks about teaching American history in high school, Waldorf high school teachers give many examples of what is taught when and why (and how this varies from region to region!), and looking at bias within history. When I pull it up as a search, it goes directly to an Adobe document and I am not sure how to link to it, but it should come up if you search.
Here is a document by Betty Staley that details the high school grades, but also alludes to the seventh and eighth graders and their developmental changes and how the curriculum fits into that:
Would love to hear from you about this subject. Many Waldorf homeschooling mothers have told me the history blocks can be difficult to plan because the biography/symptomology approach is foreign to them and the blocks cover huge expanses of time in grades one through eight.
I am trying to post a little wrap-up of each week of grades seven, four and five year old kindergarten year throughout the 36 weeks I have planned for school this year. I hope this will encourage mothers that are homeschooling multiple children (or who want to but are worried!), and encourage mothers that even homeschooling children of multiple ages who are far apart in age is doable. You can find week eight here and further in back posts you can find a post pertaining to the first two days of school this year which gives insight to our general daily rhythm.
Changes in the Air -I am getting ready to change our daily rhythm. The nights are colder, the children are sleeping longer, and I think this is something natural and healthy for this time of year. So, I am planning on starting later for the sake of reality. The other change I want to make right now is to make sure we get to a daily walk. We have been starting with movement, but not a walk because it is so hard to wrangle three bodies back in the house and not have to then use the bathroom, have a snack, etc. and have it add an hour to our already long day. However, our dog was just diagnosed with some degenerative changes in her spine, and walking is important for her. It is also important for me. I feel as if I spend part of my day on my feet at the blackboard, but unlike a classroom situation where a teacher hardly sits down, I also spend a good amount of time sitting next to a child. And if we go to an activity for the children in the afternoon, many times they are being active but I am watching a four year old and not active. We are watching the older children or waiting. It is not movement for me. So, I also want to start scheduling “P.E’’ in our afternoon four days a week. I will let you know how that goes. Handwork is also taking a larger priority now that the weather is cold.
Kindergarten: We are in the lovely land of autumn circle, pumpkin and Halloween fingerplays that our five-year old loves to recall from memory, autumn crafts and the adorable story by Suzanne Down, “How Witchamaroo Became the Pocket Witch” from the Autumn Tales book. Making bone broths has also been a priority as the weather has cooled and we have made several batches. We are also working on making beds together and self-dressing.
Fourth Grade: Week Nine saw us finishing up our Man and Animal block. We did Continue reading
Our guest post today is by my dear friend Tanya. She just finished her seventh grade chemistry block with her seventh grader and was kind enough to write about it for us today.
Seventh Grade Chemistry Block in the Waldorf- Inspired Homeschool
After beginning our year with a two week review, we jumped right in to Chemistry. It took me a while to plan out this block during summer as there aren’t a whole lot of resources for the homeschooling parent to choose from. What resources I did find though helped tremendously and we were able to execute most of the demonstrations laying a solid foundation for 8th grade and high school Chemistry.
My main resource was a great manual titled: “ A Demonstration Manual for Use in the Waldorf School Seventh Grade Main Lesson” by Mikko Bojarksy. This book not only lists in detail materials needed for each demonstration, but it also gives clear instruction on how to perform each demonstration as well as what conclusions can be drawn by observation. Other resources I found helpful were the two sites: Waldorf Inspirations and Waldorf Teacher Resources (this one you need to register for a full access, but it is free). Continue reading
I am trying to post a little wrap-up of each week of grades seven, four and five year old kindergarten year throughout the 36 weeks I have planned for school this year. I hope this will encourage mothers that are homeschooling multiple children (or who want to but are worried!), and encourage mothers that even homeschooling children of multiple ages who are far apart in age is doable. You can find weeks six and seven here and further in back posts you can find a post pertaining to the first two days of school this year which gives insight to our general daily rhythm.
Kindergarten: This week was a birthday week for our kindergartener, so we had some company from family and friends to celebrate! However, my little one also managed to get a good cold going by his birthday, so other than limited company and baking, this week has been a bit subdued. We are continuing our foray into apples with the making of apple muffins and applesauce and we got out the fall books to enjoy. Soon we will be going pumpkin picking, but we try to go closer to All Saints Day since the weather is often hot and the pumpkin will rot before that weekend if we get it too early!
Fourth Grade: We are continuing Continue reading
I am trying to post a little wrap-up of each week of grades seven, four and five year old kindergarten year throughout the 36 weeks I have planned for school this year. I hope this will encourage mothers that are homeschooling multiple children (or who want to but are worried!), and encourage mothers that even homeschooling children of multiple ages who are far apart in age is doable. You can check out weeks four and five here.
Kindergarten: The momentum is back! Week four included our usual activities and then we had a week at the beach of flying kites, digging in the sand and diving into waves. This week began with a day at the apple orchard and back to a friend’s house to celebrate Michaelmas. This week we have done fingerplays about apples, an apple orchard circle, Suzanne Down’s story “Little Boy Knight” with puppetry, along with making applesauce and apple crisp from our apples that we picked (and getting to use one of those wonderful apple peeler/slicer gadgets with the handle to crank!), making apple prints, cutting apples to see the star inside, and lots of verses and singing for Michaelmas. It has been a fun week with apples and gestures for fall!
Fourth Grade: We finished our first math block, which was a review block that went over many topics but mainly focused on deepening measurement and conversion of measurement units in a way that worked into our Man and Animal block. Our fifth week saw the beginning of our Man and Animal block with a presentation of the human being in its threefold organization of the head, trunk and limbs. We worked in crayon with a painting resist for a Continue reading
There has been some discussion within the Waldorf homeschooling community about when (or if) to add in a mainstream math program as supplementary practice for the Waldorf homeschooled child. Homeschooling mothers often worry about daily practice in areas like math, especially if you live in a state where taking standardized tests or the possibility of your child attending public or private school is in the near future. Here are a few of my thoughts and experiences about the mainstream programs folks are using and a few thoughts as to *how* to use some of these resources. Mathematics in Waldorf Education has a developmental approach and often mainstream math programs do not share this same view so I think it behooves discussion and consideration in regards to how to add practice of math into the homeschool day. I have included Making Math Meaningful and Math By Hand in this discussion, as I think they could be used no matter how one homeschools and these guides, while based in Waldorf Education, also seem to have an understanding of what is going in math education in all realms.
Grades One and Two: I have seen Waldorf homeschooling parents use a mainstream math program in these grades, particularly if they were afraid they were going to have to put their child into public school at some point, or if they held allegiance to a particular math program (usually I see this in families who feel very loyal to Singapore or sometimes RightStart math from other homeschooling experiences). However, I honestly don’t think you need a supplemental math program for these early grades where number sense is being developed. Daily practice that you make up, along with the math blocks, should really be enough at this stage in my opinion so long as you are diligent with practice. If you need a guide to this, please let me recommend Jamie York’s “Making Math Meaningful” for grades one through five (blue cover) and also the book “Games For Math” by Peggy Kaye. If you really feel as if you need “something else” in this stage, Math By Hand is a Waldorf-compatible resource that has some lovely hands-on kits to help you bring math in a visual way with certain activities and stories. Math By Hand runs first through fourth grades. Continue reading