First Two Days of School: Seventh Grade, Fourth Grade and Kindy

 

People who are curious about homeschooling always want to know how it rolls with multiple children and how it works teaching multiple grades using Waldorf Education at home.  It is undoubtedly different than a Waldorf school, and yet I feel indebted to the schools and the resources the Waldorf school teachers use as I gleam so much from the teachers and their resources.

We celebrated our first day of seventh grade, fourth grade and kindy (our four year old will be five in October, so this is his five year old year) yesterday.  What follows are two days in the life of our homeschooling adventure.

On most of the “first day of school” in years past our older girls would dress alike in something new or wear something pretty from what they already had.  This year they dressed up in something they already had, took the dog and their little brother for a quick walk (all barefooted) and came back and we took first day of school pictures (still barefooted).  They quickly checked on their hamsters, fish and frog and then came to the school room.  We opened our school day around 8:15 with prayers and confession, and then a reading from “Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends” (Christian book). We are alternating this book in the morning with some of the writings of St. Theophan the Recluse.  Next we moved into singing and fingerplays for our four year old and ended with a story from Juniper Tree Puppets’ Old Gnome Through The Year book.  I had wet on wet watercolor painted a very large background with a pond and frog puppets on sticks that move within the painting and had needle felted a gnome for the telling of this story.  The older girls then grabbed their folders of independent work (fourth grader reviewing coinage in math and seventh grader reviewing United States geography) and the little guy and I went downstairs.  He worked on tying his apron in the front, measuring ingredients,  and stirring with one and then both hands to make a big batch of yellow, lemon essential oil scented salt dough.  After we cleaned up, I took him outside (still in his heavy apron) to hunt for beautiful sticks and presented him with a very small pocketknife. (If you would like to know more about this, please see the writings on the Forest Kindergartens in Germany and Europe, and also the woodworking book for 3-5 year olds by  Master Waldorf teacher Marsha Johnson.) I demonstrated and modeled the use and care of the knife and how to whittle and  he very carefully whittled the bark off the end of a small stick to be a fishing pole for the Old Gnome puppet in our story under supervision.  Once the whittling was complete for the day, I put the knife away in a very safe place. Our seventh grader then took over the supervision of her brother  whilst I worked with our fourth grader.

Our fourth grader began with Brain Gym exercises and drinking water.  We recited a poem and speech exercises and reviewed math.  We took a look at last year’s main lesson books and then reviewed some areas  with props and activity and writing.  After that we took another little Brain Gym break and then we worked on form drawing from a Cherokee Native American Tale by first actively walking and working with the form and then drawing it on the board , on practice paper and finally in our main lesson books.  At the end of the lesson, I read the book “Mandy” by Julie Andrews Edwards aloud to her.  In the meantime, our seventh grader and four year old had prepared snack for us downstairs in honor of the grain rice –coconut rice today- so we went downstairs and ate.

Our fourth grader then went outside to play with her brother, and our seventh grader and I dived into poetry and the review of the work she had done on North American geography independently.  We are doing a physics block this week, but also some review and work in geometry, so we looked at her geometric drawings from sixth grade and then did three exercises from Blackwood’s book.  For physics, we experienced the totality of darkness , the wonderment of the match and candle in darkness, and wondered together about sunrises, sunsets, why they are red, why is the sky blue, and other various things.  We ended the session with coloring some of our geometric drawings and I read aloud from Jules Vernes’ “Around the World in 80 Days”.

Then we ate lunch around 12:40 and had some resting quiet time.  We came back for a little latch hooking and work with Spanish about frogs and ponds for our four year old who made a little picture and practiced his Spanish.

Today was our second day.  We were shorter  on time because I had a breastfeeding support group to lead. Our day started the same as yesterday, including circle and story for our four year old.  Then he very carefully whittled another fishing pole under supervision and he and our seventh grader made butterflies to hang in our school room from pipe cleaners and carded wool.  Our fourth grader at this time was working with Brain Gym exercises, poetry, more math review, and then an introduction to colored pencils and together we drew some of the animals from yesterday’s Cherokee Native American tale.  She heard a new tale today about groundhog which we will work with tomorrow in form drawing.  We ended there with reading our book, “Mandy”.  She took her brother to play in water with teaspoons, tablespoons, cup measures, etc and they made a rather exotic soup of spices, clover and other plant friends whilst our seventh grader and I played with light in a very dark closet and how we can see a beam of light, and then we worked on more geometric drawings from Blackwood’s book.  Our time was quickly up, and we had to leave for our community meeting, which was extremely busy.  The older girls helped entertain the toddlers at the meeting and were very helpful.  We came home to an afternoon of play.

Hope that provides a glimpse into a few days for your own inspiration, and I hope those of you that have already started school are having wonderful days of learning!

Many blessings,

Carrie

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9 thoughts on “First Two Days of School: Seventh Grade, Fourth Grade and Kindy

  1. Wow Carrie! This is super-inspiring, and truly awesome… The planning that must have gone in to making this run so smoothly! Does it really unfold so easily like that? How do you get your children to go off and do things together do easily?

    I fear my day plan would also include rather too many other tasks such as :

    ‘stop five year old from being mean to two year old’, ‘clean up by myself whilst five year old plays in her room’, ‘get two year old down off the kitchen table (repeat x 55), ‘refold clothing that two year old has emptied from the cupboard’, ‘reprimand five year old for screaming at her sister and slamming doors’, ‘clear up pee on the floor from two year old’, ‘try to engage five year old in helping with table setting, end up having to re-make beds from where five year old has run away and hid”, ‘clear up five year old’s toys, singing sweetly, whilst she flatly refuses’.

    Hmmm. I see a pattern here!
    Thank you for the illumination! Xxx

    • Red,
      It did unfold just like that for the first two days. However, there are days were things run horrible and not smooth at all. Today, day #3 has not run smoothly at all. And, I have to say, my children are MUCH older than yours. You would not have this kind of rhythm until your five year old is 13!
      That being said, homeschooling does take the COOPERATION of all the children working as a team together I think. That is the bigger picture of homeschooling with multiple siblings…hhhmmm….I feel a blog post coming on.
      Blessings,
      Carrie

    • Yes exactly Carrie! That is the major inspiration I got from your post: everyone seems to be working TOGETHER harmoniously. Maybe that has something to do with your having a family mission statement? Perhaps that is a good place to begin. What are we all trying to achieve here together, what are the main values we all share? Thank you! Love to you and yours! Xxx

  2. Oh please keep posting about homeschooling Waldorf with multiple siblings. My kids are getting older (7, 9, and 11), but still trying to fit it all in is such as challenge! I appreciate the posts on smoothly running days and they not so much days.

  3. This is a fascinating post Carrie, thank you! I couldn’t open the link to the woodworking book, this link is very timely for me as I’ve been looking for something similar without any luck. We go to the bush one day a week with friends for nature play and I took a junior hacksaw with me last week . My daughter aged 4 loved to saw little sticks. Much love to you all

    • Mamalily,
      I am so not the technical wizard with the links…you could try going directly to the Magic of Waldorf website and try from there. It is an ebook and very inspiring for the littles ages 3-5
      Blessings
      Carrie

  4. Thank you Carrie for posting about the homeschooling dance with different aged children. mine are 16, 14, 11 and 6…. all such different stages in their learning. great to see how positively you craft your days
    blessings
    Victoria

    • Victoria
      You should write something! With four children of varying ages, I know you have a lot of wisdom to share!!
      Blessings,
      Carrie

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