The older my children get, the harder it is to write about homeschooling. The Waldorf curriculum is a constant for us, but every child reacts so differently to it in the homeschool environment and it is hard for me to know if any of our experiences will translate. Homeschoolers tend to paint this picture of things being lovely on blogs and Instagram. Our days can be lovely too, but some days are not, and I find with older children they look much different than when I had children all in 5th or 6th grade and younger. It is not as beautiful as the early grades when all the children were more on the same page as far as the curriculum; it is more academic; it is more juggling for me because the children are so spread out in ages (if you are a first time reader, my children are 9th grade, 6th grade, 1st grade) and it is more focusing on areas that are difficult and time-consuming.
Today started with the usual – breakfast. My children really want hot meals at most meal times. My fifteen year old and twelve year old absolutely can cook and do, but I find if I do breakfast it is speedier and gets us off to a better start. So today I threw oatmeal and flaxseeds in the crockpot with some cinnamon and cut up pears and sauteed some apples in cinnamon, butter, and a little coconut sugar.
We started with our littlest guy. After his opening verses, he is doing a lovely circle regarding Pelle’s Suit from the book, “Movement Journeys and Circle Adventures” but I added in a number of Spring Wynstone verses about daffodils, violets, gnomes and the Spring Queen. In this way, we wake up our voices, our fingers and toes. We woke up our minds with some movement math. Then we reviewed. We started with a little song he knows well. It was written on the board – (“Spring is coming, Spring is coming, birdies build their nest, Weave together straw and feather, Doing each their best) and we hunted for all the S’s, all the c’s, found the letter that makes the “W” sound, etc. We also practiced saying the words and clapping on the S’s and stomping on the b’s. He still mixes up some of the letters and their sounds, so we played some games of putting little alphabet cards that he wrote in order and then I pick a sound and he finds the letter or vice versa (and then he quizzes me!). We also took turns writing the capital letter on the board and writing the little letter friend that matches – big A, little a, for example. He re-told the story of Snow White and Rose Red to me in exquisite detail, and we modeled a bear. Then we painted not so much a bear, but the gesture of a bear in red, with yellow around it for the gold, and then a shy blue hiding in the corners. The painting looks like the painting of any other first grade with a play of abstract color, but to us it represents the strong bear who could defeat a dwarf and the inner gold we all carry. I put a sentence on the board from the story and we looked at it carefully, finding all the letters. Tomorrow we will re-tell the story again, and draw and write from the story and have a new story.
During this, my sixth grader was bringing me her report on Attila the Hun. She is using the book “Attila the Hun” from the Villians of History series and going through the chapters and writing down three things from each chapter that she learned. On Friday, we will take all her notes and make it into a little report that will bridge our Rome History Block and our Medieval Block. And my ninth grader was wandering in and out, muttering about writing up a lab and how the graph was weird (which I later figured out it was because I was having her plot the wrong thing. Oops! We did fix it).
Next I worked with our ninth grader. We started with biology. We have been doing ecology and lately succession and biomes in particular (and catching up on labs since we switched programs in the fall semester and are still catching up). We looked at the lab she was having trouble with, and fixed that. Then we forged ahead with using a microscope. Oak Meadow Biology doesn’t require a microscope, but I wanted our ninth grader to have this experience, so today we were using the microscope to review mitosis and using some labs I pulled off the Internet. We also looked back through our main lesson book at mitosis since this was something we did earlier this year. Then we moved into our more current topic and went through the biology chapter and I have had several main lesson book activities for this topic. Lastly, we went through the book Kidnapped our ninth grader is reading for literature and went through comprehension questions and vocabulary. During this, our first grader was playing, our sixth grader was practicing violin and reading the fiction book, “The Dancing Bear” for bridging our history blocks.
We had lunch, which I hurried along and brought a smoothie for myself to the school room. It was time for our sixth grader to get to work. We worked on spelling, math written and with movement and some grammar exercises regarding possessive pronouns. This all sounds simple, but it took over an hour and we didn’t have lots of time left. We reviewed her information about Attila the Hun and made plans for moving forward. She has a few things to finish up in her Rome Main lesson book, and we hope to finish this week. We are also working on business math. We have gone through the history of math, and we are going over fractions, percentages, and decimals. During this time, our ninth grader was re-writing her lab, and working on some questions surrounding her literature assignment. Our first grader was playing in the school room and throughout all three lessons, our little puppy was being entertained by whatever child was available and sitting on my feet with toys. After school, it was time to get ready to go to the barn and have a horseback riding lesson. The fresh air was welcome! We came home for a later dinner and made dinner and everyone was ready to relax.
We had a slow start to this year and even in January, but things are finally falling into place (at least for now until it changes, LOL). Hope you all are having some catch-up days to your school if you need it or settling into the groove of a new semester!
If you post a day in the life of your homeschool, please do link it here in the comment box! I would love to hear from you!
Your day sounds lovely Carrie. I have a almost 9 year old son who is following a Waldorf 3rd grade curriculum (generally). I used Live Ed as my guide this year but am considering completely doing my own ideas for blocks this spring.
We wake up, have breakfast (always hot and usually eggs and sides), I read aloud to him, then he chooses a reader to read aloud to me. Then we do a few movement exercises (or walk/bike in neighborhood if warmer). He practices piano. I have him write the date on the chalkboard (and whatever artwork he wants to go along), and read it back to me in German (the language he is learning). Then time for our warm-up. Saying a poem while clapping, stomping, bean bagging. We have a tongue twister, song to sing aloud together (usually cuddle time too with that). And movement while singing or chanting multiplication tables. When I have energy we also play a game like moving the statue or hide and seek.
Time for form drawing, grammar, and/or some math practice. It is only this year that he is not complaining about form drawing and just doing it:)
Then I finish with main lesson. The last couple weeks we did money and that involved making lots of treats for Valentines and then setting up a cafe in the house to play store and practice using money. He named it Valentine Cat cafe and the price tags were made of hearts. We also did some written money practice from Singapore math, as well as just plain counting of money. We visited the mint (lucky to have one in our city) and tried to get to the stores to use money. Other times through the day I tried to do mental math using money. He tends to be resistant to doing “school” when it is not “school time”:)
I am usually only able to get 2 hours of his attention for school and trying to figure out a different approach. Somedays he seems completely unwilling to cooperate and that is frustrating. But overall with just one child, it seems that what needs to be covered can happen pretty quickly.
So nice to read something written by another mama of an only child! Thank you!
Our days seem to go by less quickly now that I only have one left to “school.” When I was doing 1st grade and 12th grade at the same time I hardly had a free minute. High school demands so much time. Now, the days are much more relaxed and my big struggle is missing my son. I love reading about your day:)
Aw, I love hearing that encouragement.
Love this, Carrie; thank you! Yours is the only blog I read while my daughter is awake or in the house, precisely because there aren’t any photos. If I even try to sneak a peek at anything with images, my little one zeroes right in, which I don’t want. So thanks for no photos!
Today, our day started, as usual, with my little light sleeper, early riser popping wide awake before 6:00 a.m. She only sleeps 10 or 10.5 hours, no matter what. I am not one of those “rise-before-the-children mamas” (although they have my deepest awe and respect!). We snuggled and talked in my bed, and then snuggled more while I read aloud. We read the same picture book, story, or chapter for about a week at a time, at bedtime and again in the morning. We are currently reading “The Village of Basketeers”.
I am a total slug in the morning, so once we are up, I have a four-step process: get a shakey smoothie (yogurt, milk, juice) and some nibbles out for my daughter (while she plays), make my coffee, wash face with cold water, do jumping jacks and dance around the kitchen (to wake up and get my blood moving), once coffee is ready, I drink it and contemplate the sky and our day.
Hot breakfast. Teeth, hair, clean part of bathroom quickly (since we’re in there), and get dressed. Then we begin our homeschool day with about an hour and a half of: circle time (lots of singing and movement), story, beeswax, and alternating coloring, painting, or modeling. Today was coloring (with beeswax block crayons). For circle time and our story, we’re still in Valentine mode with lots of songs and rhymes about love or other coziness, such as “Cross patch, draw the latch…” and our story is Suzanne Down’s “The Baker of Pink”.
Then snack, gear, and out the door. We’re outside for about an hour, or hour and a half. What we do depends on the season, or what is happening outdoors. Right now, we’re in a rhythm of riding our bikes about 10 minutes to a park and then playing there.
Inside for lunch and Mommy’s rest and quiet time. I make soup for the week on Saturdays, and then we vary it by having different fresh fruit and veg on the side, cornbread one day, quesadillas the next, etc. I gave up long ago on enforcing a rest for my girl (she’s six and a half). But she must play quietly during this time, and she usually comes and snuggles with me for part of the time. Ideally, my rest time is 20-30 minutes. Today it was seven.
Then we do about 30 minutes of handwork. Usually me knitting, her finger knitting. Today I cast on for a new neck gaiter for myself. She made little dolls out of cut up pieces of yarn. Sometimes work on other simple fiber projects, or projects that we do together.
Next is folding, putting away, and sorting laundry. Laundry has always been something we’ve particularly enjoyed doing together.
Then we have about 20 minutes of music time, with some rhythmic stepping/rhyming and singing while playing the kinder lyre and other simple hand instruments, such as shakers. (She is in 6yo kindy, but I’m starting to hold the space for what will be our first grade schedule. This will be when we will play recorder.)
Afternoon snack. Which today lasted about an hour! Her tummy was bottomless.
Next we put away clean dishes together, and she played while I washed dishes.
I cook dinner three afternoons a week, and the other days are leftovers. On my non-cooking afternoons, such as today, we go outside, so she can play with the neighborhood kids when they get home from school. In warm weather, I garden. This time of year, I mostly walk around and/or jog back and forth to keep warm!
Back inside. Warmed up dinner. Daddy home a bit early..so nice! Dinner and bedtime routine.
And as for those messy bits! The morning was awesome! The afternoon was gruesome! (Well, maybe not actually gruesome, but it was difficult.) She was at “loose ends”. Her energy was jittery, unfocused, whiny, fussy, not listening. No full-on meltdowns. But really grating on my nerves! She was so unsettled, and I couldn’t get to the root of it.
Meltdowns (kiddo): 1 (bedtime)
Meltdowns (mama): 0
Screaming kiddo: 0 (well. except for bedtime meltdown)
Shouting mama: Twice (I feel awful, of course)
Literal messes (kiddo): 3 (or more?)
Messes (mama): 1
Bach’s Rescue Remedy pastilles (kiddo): 1
Bach’s Rescue Remedy pastilles (mama): 6
🙂 And that was our day. Full of ups and downs. Lots of hugs. Some anger. No photos.
I took on this challenge and just blogged about two of our days this week. The first one was pretty awful, so I decided to chronicle a second day that was better and more typical. I think it is good to share both kinds of days!
Awesome! Thank you so much for sharing!