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 some drawing and poetry for the seal, and modeling for the Eastern Harvest Mouse for trunk animals. Modeling mice is a wonderful exercise in transitioning shapes. We looked the the different limbs of different animals (mole’s paw for digging, bird wings for flying, seal flippers for swimming, bird’s feet for perching, and an extensive look at the elephant and his trunk), drew the elephant and practiced hatching, did a “list” of these limbs and finally looked at the only true limb animal- the human being. Week Ten saw us moving into Local Geography. We started with drawing ourselves, and thinking about our own bodily directions and place in the world (address, neighborhood, city, state, country, hemisphere, etc). We looked at our place in the family, another “address” and location of sorts. Then we looked at our house. I know many people start here with a “bird’s eye view” map of a bedroom or the schoolroom, but I decided to hold off on that for a bit and focus on flat maps. (We will have the chance to do a three-dimensional map later in this block). We walked the neighborhood and drew a large three-paged neighborhood map. This week we will start with the greenway that is attached to our neighborhood and look at that familiar place and move into our county. There are many interesting historical places to visit!
We finished “My Side of the Mountain” and I hunting for what we will read next week.
Seventh Grade: We finished up astronomy during Week Nine and began Colonial History. Colonial History, like all major history blocks, has been an interesting one to try to put together. The goal is to pick the things that are symptomatic of an era, the biographies that really sing. I found this difficult because my approach often tended to get mired in the details. So far we have looked extensively at the First People of our Nation, drawn and summarized and looked at how those people may have gotten here in the very beginning; we talked about some of the earliest explorers and how America got its name, the earliest of trading posts that were here when the Pilgrims arrived and made a beautiful map to show how far these posts were apart from each other and which countries had started them, compared and contrasted the Puritans and Pilgrims and how life in New England Villages began and constructed a map of a typical village (a building diorama on a piece of plywood would have worked well too), compared and contrasted Roger Williams and George Calvert, and started a map of a typical plantation. We are reading a biography of William Penn. This week we will move into plantation colonies and talk about the colonial history of our own state, talk about the thirteen colonies as a whole and move into colonial life and the basis of the Revolutionary War.
“Revolutions” is usually fodder for eighth grade, but I really wanted the colonial history in seventh grade as background. We will cover the Revolutionary War in sweeping strokes during the next two weeks and circle back around to it in our “Revolutions” block next year. Some Waldorf curriculums on the market start in the 18th century, but I think it is a shame for Americans to miss out on the earliest foundings of our country. If you are homeschooling these upper grades, I urge you to give thought to how you want to put American history into the curriculum. I have heard of some Waldorf Schools in eighth grade who did as many as three blocks of American history in that grade, and some who had a block planned but then it didn’t happen and the children got no official American history for all eight grades, which seems absolutely appalling to me for American schools. So please do plan.
I am gathering a list of supplies for chemistry and looking forward to that block.
I would love to hear what you are working on in your homeschool! You can drop a comment in the comment box or if you are blogging about your days, please leave a link!