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 sixteen and seventeen 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: We have been doing a wonderful morning circle journey about King Winter, but I have extended it with many verses, songs and fingerplays about gnomes and dwarves working under the earth now that the year has turned past Candlemas. It has been great fun! We moved our story from Suzanne Down’s January story about “Old Gnome and Jack Frost” to her February story about Old Gnome and the candle, which incorporates the nursery rhyme of “Jack Be Nimble/Jack Be Quick/Jack jump over the candlestick”. We have been painting red winter berries and snowy skies (sprinkled with salt), and collecting items on nature walks. I am also currently thinking about what our six-year old kindergarten year will look like in the fall (our kindergartener has a fall birthday).
Fourth Grade: We have been reviewing a lot of math. I tried to forge ahead to what I feel is on target for fourth grade math, but we really just are not there yet, so we are still working in building up confidence where we are. We have done several form drawings these past weeks, and also have gone over more grammar and made some grammar pages for our Main Lesson Book from examples in the Norse Myths. We have also been working on spelling and are mainly spelling sight words right now and making sure we know all of those before we move on to other commonly used words. We did some modeling for Idunna and her golden apples, along with modeling Thor for “The Theft of Thor’s Hammer”, along with some other rollicking tales of Thor. We have drawn a scene from the death of Balder, painted a wet on wet painting of the night before The Twilight of the Gods, and have a little more work to do in expressing Ragnarock and the new beginning that follows. I am hoping tomorrow we will finish a summary about the death of Balder and I have a picture in mind for drawing Ragnarock and the new beginning. Our little fourth grader is feeling under the weather, so we shall see how far we get.
Seventh Grade: We have been working quite a bit in math each day to review fractions, decimals, ratio and metric measurement, but the main thrust of our time has been to finish up our Africa block. This included a map of Ancient Africa with some of the ancient cities and kingdoms marked, a timeline of Ancient Africa, a picture and summary of Sundiata, the Lion King of Mali; a summary and two pictures about Mansu Mali and King Abubakari; a veil painting representing the travel of Ibn Battuta in China and a drawing; a simplified map of Africa as divided into pieces for colonization and a summary regarding the horrific slave trade, how this affected Africa and the differences in how countries approached colonization. We then moved into re-capping and expanding on some of the tribes we studied in connection with geographic regions and into looking closer at a country in each region – for example, we looked at North Africa and West Africa and in West Africa we looked at Nigeria and the three dominant ethnic/tribal groups, and briefly where Nigeria is today as the most populous and highest economic power in Africa and how those groups interact. I did not enter into the current conflict with Boko Haram, but next year we will be focusing on current events, so I wanted the background there for what might be found and seen in the newspaper. Our daughter drew a beautiful picture of a Yoruba woman carrying pottery to market that took several hours. In East Africa, after review of different ethnic groups and tribes, we focused on Ethiopia – a little about where Ethiopia is today, especially about coffee production, but also about the legends of Ethiopia in terms of King Solomon and Queen Sheba and King Lalibela – his life, the parallels of his life with the life of Jesus Christ in some ways and the amazing stone churches still in use in Lalibela. Today was the day of hardest discussions as we talked about Central Africa, an area which breaks my heart, and we traced some of the difficult and troubled history of Angola and the Central Democratic Republic of Congo. We also looked at the countries in South Africa, where we talked about the biography of Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu from our own religion and the history of apartheid in the country of South Africa. It was a day of many thoughts and questions from my daughter, and I was happy to be homeschooling so we could talk about these troubling things together. I think this is a very important region to understand and a region I feel will become more and more important during my daughter’s lifetime so I am glad for her to have a foundation that we will expand upon in eighth grade and high school.
My suggestion for this block if you are coming up to it is to include plenty of extra time for drawing; the drawings our seventh grader did routinely took two to three hours a drawing (not including the summary writing and the play she wrote about the life cycle of the baobab tree).
I am disappointed that there are not more curriculums that include Africa to be studied in the seventh grade for Waldorf homeschoolers. We will also be studying Latin America before we leave this school year. We did European Geography last year, and will look at Asia, Australia and Oceania next year. I highly recommend planning out how you will tackle geography in the middle school years.
More to come as we move into different blocks….Many blessings,