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 one 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.
Weeks two and three were fruitful. Here is a glimpse into some of what we did during those two weeks:
Kindergarten – Our little four year old (soon to be five years old this fall) spent time with whittling under supervision, a simple circle with singing and circle games, watching puppet shows of the story “The Fishing Pond” from Suzanne Down’s work Old Gnome Through The Year.and working with our simple weekly rhythm of making salt dough, drawing or crafting, baking, nature walk and painting, along with cooking with his big sisters and housekeeping tasks. He also helped plant seeds and has been busy watering each day.
Fourth Grade – In weeks two and three, our fourth grader worked with a poem called “The Monkeys” by Edith Osborne Thompson and many speech exercises from the Christopherus Fourth Grade, along with Brain Gym exercises, as part of our warm-up for the day. She reviewed math, especially carrying in addition, money, time, number dictation, arabic and roman numerals, all four processes in mental math, rounding up and down and multiplication tables. We worked on multiplying by tens mentally and taking halves of different numbers mentally as well, and worked toward finishing the last section of her “Key to Measurement Book One” that we started in the second half of third grade.
Our main lesson, though, was really form drawing and also some inroads into artistic drawing with an introduction to colored pencils. For this, we began with forms that usually were done in third grade since we didn’t finish all of the third grade forms in third grade. The forms mainly came from the Christopherus Form Drawing book and Math By Hand. I tied them in to Cherokee and Native American tales, including: “The First Fire”, “How Groundhog Lost His Tail”, “How Terrapin Beat the Rabbit”, “The Rabbit and the Tar Wolf”, “Why The Deer’s Teeth Are Blunt”, “Why The Possum’s Tail Is Bare”, (all from the book, “Cherokee Animal Tales” by George Scheer), “Rabbit Goes Duck Hunting” from the book “How Rabbit Tricked Otter: And Other Cherokee Trickster Tales” by Gayle Ross, “Rabbit Shoots the Sun” (a Hopi tale from Math By Hand Grade Four), and “Raven and the Tides”, also from Math By Hand, Grade Four. We worked with drawing some of the animal characters from these stories with our pencils.
Our read -alouds for the first and second week included “Mandy” by Julie Andrews Edwards and the book “The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” by E. L. Konigsburg. She also read a lot on her own, and is working on many life skills – doing her own laundry, taking care of all her animals (which is super important to her), cooking and cleaning.
On an aside note, my fourth grader really, really likes fourth grade! This is a cause to celebrate in our house since that was not the case for quite some time with school and she didn’t really begin to read well until the end of third grade and especially in the summer between third and fourth grade. So, I want to encourage all of you with later bloomers in school. It really will come! ❤
Seventh Grade – In weeks two and three, we worked with the poem “The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver. Independent work included “Key to Geometry Book Four” and review worksheets involving world geography (hemispheres, world extremes of rivers, mountains, world extremes, world islands, working with map scraps), The United States (states, mountain ranges, rivers, riddles about states, etc) and European geography. Our read-aloud has been Jules Vernes’ “Around the World in Eighty Days”, which I highly recommend for this age.
We worked for the first week and a half or so of school on physics, (since we were behind from sixth grade), including experiments in light and color that combined concepts from both sixth and seventh grades. We also did six wet on wet paintings related to color for our physics artistic work. During the first, second and third weeks we also reviewed our geometric constructions from sixth grade and moved into seventh grade constructions, including creating circles from points and lines, creating asymmetric forms from points and lines, creating hexagonal forms and creating spirals, including the famous Archimedes spiral . The second week of school also saw us move into a creative writing exercise in conjunction with wonder. Creative writing comes extremely easy to our oldest and she really enjoys it.
The third week of school was when we moved from just sheer geometric constructions into a block of combined Algebra/Geometry, which you can see for free on the Making Math Meaningful website by Jamie York. I recommend this approach, and also found our studies leading into other areas since Galileo’s formula for falling bodies is mentioned. We took the time to read the book “Starry Messenger” about Galileo (especially since our astronomy block is next) and to work on a short creative writing piece regarding writing a descriptive piece on a natural object without mentioning what the object is. She also wrote a short piece on the history of the Greek mathematicians that laid the groundwork for algebraic thinking (especially Thales, Pythagoras and Archimedes – I found their biographies in the book, “Mathematicians Are People Too” by Reimer and Reimer, along with the biography of Carl Friedrich Gauss which is also needed for the Making Math Meaningful block), so that was two writing activities in the third week. We followed the Making Math Meaningful plan fairly closely, but expanded as needed since we had done “Key to Algebra Book One” at the end of sixth grade so negative numbers and such was a review for her.
Our third week of school was shortened since it was my seventh grader’s thirteenth birthday, and it was heading not only into Labor Day weekend but also the very first horseback riding show (a casual show at our own barn) for the older children. Our older daughter’s birthday party involved going to spend an afternoon up in the tree canopy on a zip line/rope obstacle course through the forest, which I think is really a wonderful activity for older twelve and thirteen year olds.
The seventh grade work in particular can sound like a lot, but I assure you it was done in about an hour and a half to two hours of consistent work each day, not including reading aloud time or time my daughter spent writing her compositions (or time we spent working on some things for life skills, which I hope to detail in another post). It really just flowed together really well the way it all worked out, which is why I enjoy being surrounded by the possibilities of how things might flow that day and week after the summer planning is done. That planning gives me the freedom to riff (if I may borrow a term from jazz music!) off what my child is presenting when we come together to learn. So, this is the wrap-up for weeks two and three. Stay tuned for the wrap up for this week, week four.
Thank you for taking the time to post. I cannot quite figure out how to homeschool, cook, clean, be a wife, mother and a blogger. I commend you or taking the time to do this. I am working on 4th grade as well, although my daughter is at more of a 2nd grade level with reading and math. I am using the 4th grade Waldorf Ideas/Stories/Form Drawing, but sticking to 2th grade amounts and types of writing and reading. I know she will get there someday. She has come so far in just the last 12 months so I can be patient for her to catch up. I am so grateful for the ability to homeschool my children and i am ESPECIALLY grateful for wonderful people out there like you who share your knowledge so we dont have to reinvent the wheel every year. Thank you
Absolutely. Adjust the work up or down but let the stories work on the soul level. Also, look, if you can at the work of fourth graders from a Waldorf School. The amount of writing and such may really not be as big a leap as you think. I know I always thought when my oldest was in fourth the amount of writing and such we were “supposed” to be doing in my head was actually higher than what students were doing in Waldorf Schools when I started looking at main lesson books.
I too, am grateful, for homeschooling for the children who bloom later.
I really appreciate your posts about what you do each week. (Well, ALL your posts, actually!) I find them both practical and inspiring. I am awed by your work with your children, and also hopeful that our days will continue to be as rich and rewarding as this first week has been.
We’re wrapping up our first week of first grade and 5-year old kindergarten, and it has been such a relief. Honestly, I was filled with anxiety in the days leading up to the first day. I couldn’t imagine how to fit it all in. But other than some difficulty with my seven-year-old accepting being shown what to draw in form drawing (vs. free drawing which is her favorite pastime), it has all fallen into place with ease based on our foundational rhythm. They both LOVE the circle time we’re doing from Nancy Blanning’s book of Movement Adventures (which I chose based on your recommendation). And they are so much more vital in their play and their work this week; as though they are really doing with purpose, rather than doing just because. I’m amazed at the difference!
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