Weeks Nine and Ten of Homeschooling Eighth Grade, Fifth Grade and Kindy

Here we are in weeks nine and ten of homeschooling already – the Autumn is flying by!  Our mornings are crisp and the afternoons vacillate between hot and warm, so there has been a lot of time to go out and play.  I am so grateful for this time of year.  If you want to see what we have been working on, you can see this back post.

This week we were fairly busy spending time with a family whom we wanted to help and be with during a difficult time, so not as much happened “book-wise”  the past few weeks, but we are always learning and growing in life. We also took a fabulous field trip to a regional museum and heritage center to learn about Appalachian life.

Six Year Old Kindergarten:  We transitioned to an Autumn Circle – you can find wonderful ideas in the book “Let Us Form A Ring” and in the Autumn Wynstones book.  Little verses about squirrels, chipmunks,  falling leaves, and pumpkins have been speaking to us! We have been working on gross and fine motor skills a lot – jumping rope with rhymes is just emerging and lots of fun to practice, we have been walking a lot to a park near us that we can get to out our door and running in the skate park up and down the ramps and circles, lots of roller blading and biking outside, some hiking and playing with friends!

Our story has been “The Naughty Little Hobgoblin”, which is a favorite every year.  We have been painting with red and yellow, working with pumpkin in cooking several times a week, modeling with salt dough, cleaning the house and taking care of our dog each day, and working on little rhymes and verses.

In the liturgical year, we are already getting ready for All Soul’s Day and All Saint’s Day.  This is such a wonderful time  to learn some of the hymns and music for All Saint’s Day, and making a collage of different saints.

Fifth Grade – We finished up botany with a look at monocotyledons and a main lesson book page on that and some painting.  We have plans to paint pumpkins, winter trees and and spring tulips throughout the rest of the year and add them to our botany book.   We also are finishing reading “Flower Watching with Alice Eastwood” by Michael Elsohn Ross.

We began Ancient India with the concept of time.  We read the book “And They Were Strong and Good” by Lawton (please preview it for yourself),  and wrote a giant family tree on our board and talked about all of our ancestors and what countries they came from and how different couples met and what all of their occupations were.  From this look at time in our own family we talked about time throughout history – what is ancient?  What does that mean?  When we look at stories of Ancient Civilizations in this year, how old are these stories?

Outside of discussing time, I based our beginnings upon painting a picture of the landscape of India and how the first people who lived there were influenced by this geography – not much different than what we did in third grade in our Native American block.  The people of the Indus River Valley, who later moved to around the Ganges River, were some of the earliest civilizations in India.  So what things did the people of Harappa do?  They irrigated lands, grew wheat and barley, and  had carts with wheels.  And when we think of the Indus, where did this river start but in the Himalayas!  Known as Giri-raj, the Himalayas are supremely sacred. What is it like there?    The other river that flows from  Giri-raj is the Ganges – the Harappan civilization moved there, and it is the most sacred river, seen as an earthly incarnation of the deity Ganga. We reviewed all the climates and biomes of India to tie in a bit with geography, our fourth grade Man and Animal block, and our fifth grade Botany block and then moved into the Hindu Creation Story with the creation of Manu.

After that, we read a story about Indra, but did not dwell there and instead dug into the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and how the multiplicity of deities represent facets of Braham.

Other than that, we have been busy with math and spelling.These subjects are harder for our fifth grader and they take quite a bit of care and time for us in the day.  We finished “Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter” and started the book “The Iron Ring”.   My daughter read a biography of “”George Washington Carver” on her own (a Scholastic version) and had great comprehension of the details.

Otherwise, our fifth grader has been busy preparing to sing on All Saint’s Day, and horseback riding.

Eighth Grade – We have thoroughly covered the causes of the Civil War, and it took us some time to get our artistic work and summary written for that.  We discussed the biography of Abraham Lincoln.  Life on the Home Front was discussed in regards to the Civil War, and really how beleaguered the South was in the midst of this war.    We made a map of the Confederate States of America and  discussed the Civil War from the Battle of Bull Run to Antietam and how Antietam was the turning point of the war psychologically and the Battle of Gettysburg was the military turning point.  We learned about the course of the war through the biographies of Lee and Grant.

We are reading “Elijah of Buxton” by Christopher Paul Curtis and our daughter finished “Riders of the Pony Express” by Ralph Moody independently and  is now reading  a biography of Harriet Tubman

For geography, we took a lot of time reviewing all the states and capitals and the regions of the United States.  We also talked about immigration and Ellis Island in the early 20th century and compared it to immigration today of our Latin American neighbors for high school Spanish and the migration of people after Hurricane Katrina.  We spent quite a bit of time looking at Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath of Katrina at the ten year mark ecologically, economically and socially.  This coming week, we will move into Canada, some Canadian history and current events (hello, new Prime Minister of Canada!), and reviewing all the provinces and capitals.

We are still working on math daily, and also high school Spanish.  Church has been busy; our eighth grader walked in our church’s Ministry Fair representing the Youth Group Ministry and also has been busy with Youth Group and  preparing music for All Saint’s Day masses.  Horseback riding and Wildlife Judging in 4-H is also part of our week.

Would love to hear what you have been working on the last few weeks.


2 thoughts on “Weeks Nine and Ten of Homeschooling Eighth Grade, Fifth Grade and Kindy

  1. Thanks for sharing! Sounds like a lot of fun, and a lot of prep work for you, Carrie! What interesting investigations especially about Hurricane Katrina. I wonder how you think of all these topics to bring? How do you figure out what is most important to you outside of the traditional Waldorf curriculum?

  2. Hi Carrie! I love these updates. I have a 4.5 yo and 2.5 and we have been loving our fall circle time as well. I had ordered Old Gnome and Suzanne’s Down fall book after reading that you had been using them, and we just love them. Her stories and poems actually “speak” to us and energize us. We had started with Seasons of Joy booklets last year and while they gave me a great introduction to circle time, not much of the “curriculum” spoke to us (well, me). So the Wynestones book and Let us Form a ring are totally new to me. Are they much different that Down’s Autumn book? I wish I knew other waldorf families in my area so I could preview them.

    Also, last year I struggled to put together an advent circle time. It is funny, but being a christian I was hesitant to buy waldorf advent materials thinking they probably strayed a bit from the meaning of the season for my family. But, besides a few carols, bible verses, and our advent wreath I was stuck on what else I could bring. Are there any “advent” materials you could recommend for us?

    Thank you for being a guide for so many of us here!!

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