Some weeks have gone by since last posting in this series. It has been a busy time of year with our children’s dear grandfather celebrating his 80th birthday, our middle child fracturing her arm, and end of the year performances and banquets. In the midst we have celebrated the Feast of Ascension, Ascensiontide, May Day, Mother’s Day, and today is Whitsun, the Feast of Pentecost.
Kindergarten: During these past weeks, we have been living life together making bone broth, baking, walking and hiking, wet on wet painting, modeling, and preparing little things for the festivals. Our circle time included an adventure circle modeled after Peter Rabbit’s garden adventures, finger plays about birds and bunnies, and this week included songs and finger plays about doves for Whitsun. We were immersed in the story of “Forgetful Sammy” from the book “All Year Round” but we have now moved into a story from the Summer Wynstones book simply titled, “Whitsun Story”. Our major project this week was a garland of doves made from watercolor paper and singing! I also made a tiny jar of woolen white birds on little sticks to decorate our nature table.
Fifth Grade: We finished our Canada/Metric System block and moved into the totality of North American geography. Before this, our read alouds involved books about Canada and also Hawaii, but now we are moving into a different part of North American geography with a little book called, “Salsa Stories”. I began this block with an expansive look at North America and the United States, all the major mountain ranges, rivers, deserts, and lakes. Then we went to Alaska, and from there we jumped across the continent to the Northeastern United States and spent time there on the land, on logging and whaling and the Erie Canal. So, we have done mainly singing, painting, and drawing this time around. I had plans for modeling but that is difficult with one arm casted, so I am saving those ideas for now. We have discussed the District of Columbia, and Washington DC, which we have visited, talked about George Washington and Mount Vernon and tied the flora of the region in the early days of Colonial America to the early Presidents and their role in a primarily agrarian country that was different than England. We looked briefly at the Appalachian Mountains through literature and now are looking at life in a southern plantation, the life of Sequoyah, and then into the Mississippi River and the wonderful Western United States.
Every day we are reviewing provinces, capitols, and geographic features from our Canada block, reviewing the states and capitols, the mountain ranges and deserts, etc, locating things on a map and making all of this as physically active as possible. We have been using extra books for reading aloud and also the “Stories Where We Live” series. For skill development, we are working on a state report, which I modified from A Waldorf Journey’s ebook about this block, which was my biggest inspiration for this block. Author Meredith is a wonderful, actively teaching Waldorf teacher, and I love all her little guides. I also garnered inspiration from a book of poetry called, “My America: A Poetry Atlas of the United States.”
We are also continuing to work on math and spelling daily.
Eighth Grade: We finished up our American History block, including the War on Terror, the Age of Digitality, and the challenges we face ahead as one humanity. Our daughter drew a very gorgeous title page and everything is done! Yay!
For Oceanography and Meteorology, we moved from the very first marine scientists, who were explorers. We looked at the explorers of Easter Island, and the development of civilization on that island and then the life of Captain James Cook. From there, we moved into the science of the oceans – what is an ocean? what is oceanography? how do our oceans change? We looked at the biographies of Alfred Wegener and Hess, and the Theory of Plate Tectonics and the layers of the Earth. We went through all the landforms of the ocean floor and what ocean life is like in different zones of the ocean and around different landforms. We also looked at the biography of oceanography Sylvia Earle and looked closely at the Marine Sanctuary off the coast of our state – Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary. From the hydrosphere, we moved into the Atmosphere. We discovered the layers of the atmosphere and their characteristics, what clouds are, the types of clouds, winds and then we moved into extreme weather – thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes. We spent one whole morning drawing clouds with pastels and our eighth grader created a very beautiful main lesson book for this block.
This week we have moved into our “Peacemakers Block”. My main inspiration for this can be found over at Waldorf Inspirations’ website. We have so far looked back at Harriet Tubman and Sojurner Truth (and their meeting!), the women’s suffrage movement in the United States and around the world, and Gandhi. This week we will be moving into more in-depth about the Civil Rights Movement, which we have studied quite a bit both in our American History block and also just in our local field trips as we live near Atlanta. I would like to compare Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X (I read his book this past summer!) and look at our local leaders – John Lewis and Andrew Jackson Young.
We have also been working on math almost daily, brushing up on geometry, algebra basics, and some business math. Next year we will be tackling Algebra I, so it is coming together! In World Geography, we will be taking the next three weeks or so to finish up Europe and then that is done as well. Yay!
Our eighth grader is working on finishing a Waldorf doll she is making, and our fifth grader will be working on finishing her set of fingerless gloves she is knitting in the round once her cast comes off. Our little guy is not in first grade but he tries to knit and has been working on what he calls a scarf, but what i think we will try to encourage to be a block we can turn into a pouch or little animal over the summer and the first part of first grade in the fall.
Homeschool Planning: I am ready to start again. I have most of sixth grade planned, but with some (many? LOL) presentations to write and also quite a bit about skill development to consider since our soon to be sixth grader needs quite a bit of repetition to remember foundational things. I have planned out a lot of high school biology and have really mixed in a good deal of Goethean science to it, so I am quite happy with how that is shaping up. I have a few blocks of ninth grade planned, and then I have the rest of ninth and first to plan.
One of my considerations is time for planning. As my children have gotten older, they are ready to go and do more and are not as content to just be home running around in the sprinklers or something while I plan. Nor is my husband content to lose me every night to planning after they go to bed. I think my solution is going to be to plan every morning for an hour and a half as part of our rhythm to summer (early), to plan at night when my husband is traveling, and then to plan several “Saturdays at the library” where I just go and leave the house and plan . That is harder because it is hard to drag stuff for three grades for planning, but I think so long as it is all on the schedule for the summer, it will happen.
Self-care: I have been working out most days. I get up at 5:40 and go to the gym or use workout videos. I also have been walking at night if my husband is home and not traveling. This has been wonderful for me. I also have joined the “KonMari in the Waldorf Home” Facebook group and have going through the house. This is something I do every summer to get us ready for the new school year, but this year I have gotten a jump on it and even started the school room switch of books by grade.
I would absolutely love to hear what you are finishing up, what grades you are preparing for next school year, and what you are working on in your home. Please share!
Lots of sunshine love,