Block Layout Plan for Ninth Grade Waldorf Homeschooling

So this coming fall marks a big occasion – we will have a high schooler in the house!  Making the decision to homeschool high school is a big one in and of itself, but to try to homeschool high school in a Waldorf way is also a big decision and an interesting project.  Many of you know that the Waldorf Curriculum really culminates in the high school and speaks to the development and awakening of the adolescent in a beautiful way.  In a Waldorf high school the subjects are taught by specialists and there are still blocks but there are also classes that run in tracks – (usually math, foreign language, some sort of Literature/Composition) plus all the increasing artistry around things such as blacksmithing, glassblowing, and other manner of things that we don’t often have access to at home.  It can sound daunting, but the home environment can be a truly great springboard toward preparing  a student for the future due to its inherent flexibility and real- life experiences.

So, we are hoping our high school will be a mix of blocks and tracks, of course, but also that it will be experiential, artistic, centered around outdoor education, 4-H activities and outdoor skills and also around our student’s passions and interests and serving in our community as well.  Having this real hands-on component I feel is essential for the restlessness of most teenagers who are ready to “do”.  So it may or may not really look like a “traditional” Waldorf high school depending upon the day, but I think it will very much meet the needs of our adolescent who likes to “go and do” and “learn and teach”.

These are the blocks we are planning for ninth grade in a very preliminary state:

Living Chemistry – 3 weeks

Native American and Colonial History with Basketry and American Art – 5 weeks – tracing the Native American tribes of the Southeast and focusing on some of the beautiful Native American sites in our own state along with Colonial History

Comedy and Tragedy – 4 weeks

Earth Science – 4 weeks

Christmas Break

Physics –  3 weeks

Revolutions – 3 weeks – will recap American, Industrial and Digital Revolutions along with Russian Revolution and Chinese Revolution and Chinese Cultural Revolution from eighth grade; will add in this block a more in-depth look at the French Revolution,  Simon Bolivar and Latin American independence, and also the Mexican Revolution

The Short Story – 3 weeks

Math/Probability – 2 weeks

History through Art – 4 weeks

Physiology – 3 weeks

The “tracks” we are planning include high school Spanish II through an outside source, English Literature, Algebra I, probably a separate “Art Foundations I” tract of studio art projects and field trips to combine with hours from History Through Art block to make a credit, and most likely biology.  I know Waldorf Schools don’t run biology in a track class, but I am a science geek and I need the higher end of  biology hours for our daughter who is most interested in medical careers.  So, in total we are hoping to earn credits for those track classes, plus American History (blocks from ninth grade combined with blocks and experiential hours  from eighth grade), and Music I.  This year our eighth grader will earn high school credits for World Geography and high school Spanish I.

While it may sound like a lot,  it actually is not that different from what we have been doing in seventh and eighth grades. If you are in the lower grades and reading this, please don’t panic.  It will all make sense when you get here.  Your homeschool high school  will look different than mine because every child and every family is different, but you will come up with the best way to meet your homeschooler’s needs. That is the whole joy of homeschooling high school.  Trust that the homeschooling that worked so well for your younger child can still work for your adolescent.

Blessings and love,




Great Sixth Grade Read-Alouds

I realized I have a post for great books and read-alouds for the Early Years through fifth grade but nothing for the older grades!  So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite and recommended books for sixth grade, along with some suggested by other parents.  I have not read every book on this list, so please leaf through for yourself.

For those of you Waldorf homeschooling, I tried to note books that would go great in those sixth grade blocks!  Also, please realize that most Waldorf sixth graders are twelve years old or very close to twelve, so these are listed with that age in mind. And as always, please pre-read for your sensitive reader!

Possibilities from Grades Four and Five that you might have missed or want to re-visit:

  • All of A Kind Family – Sydney Taylor  (series)
  • Augustine Came To Kent – Willard
  • Because of Winn-Dixie – DiCamillo
  • Bed-knob and Broomstick – Norton
  • The Bee Book ; Little Bee Sunbeam – Strait (Waldorf book)
  • Big Red – Kjelgaard (series)
  • The Black Stallion – Farley
  •  The Children of Green Knowe – Boston
  • Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis
  • The Dragon Boy – Samson (trilogy)
  • Finn Family Moomintroll – Jansson (series)
  • Anything by Edith Nesbit
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – E.L Konigsburg
  • Anything by Eleanor Estes
  • Anything by Elizabeth Enright
  • Anything by Edward Eager
  • Heidi
  • Hitty: Her First Hundred Years – Field
  • The Matchlock Gun- Edmonds
  • Tuck Everlasting – Babbitt
  • The Great Turkey Walk -Karr
  • Secret of the Andes – Clark ( or save for when you study the Incan Civilization)
  • The Wheel on the School – DeJong
  • I hope if you are American you have read the Wizard of Oz series!


Sixth Grade:

  • Adam of the Road – Gray (Medieval)
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn;  The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Twain
  • Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
  • Ben and Me – Lawson (and others by Lawson)
  • Madeleine L’Engle
  • The Bronze Bow – Speare  (Rome)
  • Brother Dusty Feet – Sutcliff (Elizabethan England)
  • Call It Courage – Sperry
  • Captains Courageous – Kipling
  • Carry On, Mr. Bowditch – Latham (could be in seventh grade with navigators and exploration as well)
  • Catherine, Called Birdy – Cushman (Medieval England)
  • Crispin:  The Cross of Lead – Avi (Medieval England)
  • The Dancing Bear – Peter Dickinson (Byzantium, 558 AD)
  • Dogsong; Hatchet – Paulsen
  • The Door in the Wall – de Angeli (Medieval)
  • El Cid – Geraldine McCaughrean
  • Far North – Hobbs
  • Favorite Medieval Tales – Pope
  • Galen and the Gateway to Medicine – Bendick
  • Geron and Virtus – Streit (Waldorf book) (Rome)
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – Rowling – the characters grow up, so please be mindful in looking at the later books when the protagonists are 16 and 17 year olds!
  • The Hidden Treasure of Glaston – Jewett (Medieval)
  • The High Deeds of Finn Mac Cool – Sutcliff
  • The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkein
  • Homecoming – Voight
  • Books by Lois Lenski
  • Books by Jules Verne
  • Books by Jean Craighead George
  • Books by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Books by Rudyard Kipling
  • Stories of King Arthur
  • Little Women – (and others ) – Alcott
  • Mansa Musa – Burns (picture book, fascinating subject)
  • Mistress Masham’s Repose – T.H. White
  • A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver – E. L. Konigsburg  (Eleanor of Aquitaine) and also The Second Mrs. Giaconda (Da Vinci)
  • Queen’s Own Fool – Yole and Harris (Mary, Queen of Scots)
  • Redwall – Jacques
  • Anything by Jean Craighead George
  • Smoky the Cowhorse – James
  • Son of Charlemagne – Willard
  • String, Straightedge and Shadow – Diggins
  • Sundiata (picture book but fascinating subject) – Wisniewksi
  • This Dear-Bought Land – Latham (1607 America)
  • Tuck Everlasting – Babbitt
  • The Trumpeter of Krakow – Kelly (15th century Poland)
  • Walk Two Moons – Creech
  • The Weirdstone of Brisingamen – Garner
  • The Westing Game – Raskin
  • The Wilderness Tattoo – Steele (Hernando de Soto)
  • The World’s Desire – Haggard and Lang
  • The Yearling – Rawlings

I saved most of the explorer and American history related books for seventh grade (when I usually do a Colonial History block and also explorers ) and eighth grade (especially for literature related to World War I and World War II) but if you are looking for titles related to this for sixth grade, I am happy to throw them out there.  Please look for upcoming posts on great books for grades seven through nine, and also I would love to hear your suggestions for sixth grade/twelve year olds.



Finding Peace

March seems to be this consistent time of the year that I look for, yearn for, and strive for  PEACE.  (Really!  You can see this post about “Peaceful March” all the way back in 2010:

This month, I want to approach the idea of peace differently than I ever have before.  Come join me in exploring peace through our…

Hands – the “Hands” part of this is really the physicality of the environment we live in – our homes, and also our bodies.  We live in our bodies.  How can our physical body be peaceful to us? I would love to talk about that and share some things with you that I have been looking at lately in regards to the peaceful home and the peaceful body.

Heart – Heart is our peaceful tone in our homes.  It is how we maintain our relationships in our home, speak to and guide our children, and how we maintain friendships.  It is also our one-ness and unity with the spiritual world and with nature.  How do we keep initiating deeper and deeper conversation with our own intimate spirituality?  How do we keep going deeper and deeper into a love for the world?

Head – Our head includes our thoughts, how we train our thoughts, how we deal with anxiety and worries.  I think in this we could also think about how we approach homeschooling in general – how do we homeschool FROM a place of peace and in a peaceful way?

Looking forward to exploring peace with you this month,


Weeks 23 and 24: Homeschooling Eighth, Fifth and Kindy

The past few weeks have seen spring come in with full force – one moment is rather beautiful and warm and the next minute it is literally thundering and sleeting at the same time.  Our homeschooling has gone in spurts and fits as well, but overall has been fairly productive…

Kindergarten:  We moved from a late winter circle into an early spring circle and also into our new story about a little leprechaun from Suzanne Down’s wonderful little book, “Spring Tales”.  We have been enjoying walks outside, even in blustery weather,   and collecting interested dried seed pods still hanging on some of the foliage.  We have been wet on wet painting with blue and yellow, modeling, baking and reciting nursery rhymes.  We also spent a good deal of time on the stories of Saint David of Wales as part of our religious tradition.

Fifth Grade:  We are still  roaring through the mythology of Ancient Greece.  For some reason, this feels much less laborious than it did when we did this block with our first child.  We went through the minor gods and goddesses and the heroes of Ancient Greece (Perseus, Theseus, Hercules, Jason).  We wet -on- wet painted Prometheus bringing fire down to earth, and we did a painting of   Hermes, Orpheus and Eurydice.  We have modeled Grecian urns/pottery and drew the different types of columns found in Greek architecture.  We have also worked through many beginning geometry exercises, the life of Euclid, the six types of triangles and degrees in angles.  We will be continuing through more geometry in the coming weeks.  We also started reading the epic of Odysseus since we finished Lois Lenski’s “Strawberry Girl”.

Toward the end of this school week,  we moved into the Ancient Americas with our math block.  I used Marsha Johnson’s “The History of Chocolate” math block as a springboard to create a block combining review of four processes of math, decimals,  the mythology of the Toltecs, Mayas and Aztecs and a little about the Ancient Americas, and chocolate.  I just don’t see how I can live here in the United States and not talk about these early cultures in Native America in fifth grade.  The first story I told was the Toltec story of how chocolate was brought down to earth (which sounds similar to the story of Prometheus from Greek mythology) and we talked about the cacao tree. We also practiced all four math processes through word problems involving the cacao pods and beans and the process of fermentation.

We are still working hard on spelling and math every day.  Other than that , practices for two separate plays (one a Waldorf play and one a spring musical at our church), ribbon practice for church choir, horses, and 4H are keeping us busy.

Eighth Grade – Whew.  That is all I can say.  Our  Geography of Asia block has ended, but we are still tying up loose ends with a Daruma doll made out of paper mache that needs finishing touches and a diorama of the Great Barrier Reef and a one page report on that in the works.  We finished up our Oceania summary and have a wet on wet watercolor painting to go.  Whew.

We are now in our last history block of eighth grade, which has the challenging task of covering from about The Gilded Age through the War on Terrorism and Digitality.  So this week we have mainly covered the biographies of Rockefeller and Carnegie, the Gilded Age and all the myriad of things going on in that short time period, and looked at examples of architecture of The Gilded Age (especially the regional attraction we have visited:  The Biltmore House in Asheville, NC).  We also looked at the life of Albert Einstein, his theories and examples of this in the news with the discovery of gravitational waves.  We  looked at the overall themes of imperialism (which we had already covered in our seventh grade block on Africa last year), and the themes of totalitarian rule and our own Bill of Rights and are moving soon in the Russian Revolution and World War I.  Wish us luck as we continue to cover major themes in this block.

We are still reading, “Red Scarf Girl” as a read aloud.  Our eighth grader  has said this is her favorite book of the entire year.  She finished reading “The Good Earth” and we used that book as a beginning springboard to analyzing literature beyond plot – so into themes, symbolism, atmosphere, atmosphere, point of view.  There was also a test.  Our  next book is “Breaking Stalin’s Nose” and we will delve even deeper into literary analysis, including more about foreshadowing and tone and all the other things mentioned above.  These are good exercises for this second semester of eighth grade as over the summer I will be assigning three books to read, analyze upon a theme and write an essay.  For independent reading, our eighth grader is reading a book that ties in with what we are doing now with World Geography about growing up in Palestine.

In World Geography, we are finishing up the projects regarding Asia from our block but now continuing with our weekly studies.  We are studying the Middle East right now, along with Southwest and Central Asia.  We went back and reviewed the history of the Middle East from Biblical times through now, including Palestine and the creation of Israel.  We also spent a good deal of time looking at OPEC and also Afghanistan and the War in Afghanistan.  These issues probably could have been left for high school, but an introduction here is sufficient.  Perhaps we will do a more in-depth study of the Middle East in high school as well.   In the meantime, we got about twenty books out from the library regarding individual countries in the Middle East, Southwest and Central Asia and will be leafing through all of those this week.  We haven’t decided what to put in our Main Lesson Book yet regarding this area of the world; there is so much!!

In math we are working daily.  Our eighth grader is busy with ribbon practice for church choir (that Anglican chorister tradition!) , the spring musical and the presentation for 4H this weekend.

I would love to hear what you have been up to!



These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things: March

Despite Shakespeare’s warnings to “beware the Ides of March”, March lives in my head as this beautiful, peaceful month of new foliage peeking out along with little spring flowers.   A month of wind and gardens to be made.  A month of sunshine tossed with splattering rain and a little wind…but a good month full of shining new possibilities just as spring is beginning to emerge!

This is a month that includes both the solemnity of Lent and also  celebration with remembrances of holy people.  We have the following festivals on our calendar:

March 1- Feast Day of St. David of Wales – He is the Patron Saint of our parish, and I have shared as many stories as I could find about him with our children.  We got to celebrate at a very festive liturgy the last Sunday in February, and we sang all Welsh music and the children’s choirs all processed with daffodils.  It was quite lovely, and set such a tone for this month! Here are two back posts on celebrating with St. David of Wales:  and here is one regarding painting:

March 17- Feast Day of St. Patrick – also so much fun, so many wonderful stories and books for the book box and crafts to do and food to make! You can see this back post on celebrating St. Patrick’s Day for ideas, along with ideas for other spring festivals:

Holy Week and Easter – also so big that it has about six back posts or more.  Here is one to start you off about Lent and Holy Week:

March  25 – The Feast of the Annunciation –  which will be marked with our parish

March 30 – St. Innocent of Alaska –  I plan to keep this one simple since this month has a multitude of saints to celebrate and Easter!  However, I do want to talk about the life of this Saint. The Orthodox Church in America has some wonderful resources for children regarding this Saint.

These are a few of my favorite things for the family:

  • Making spring and herbal tonics!
  • Spring cleaning with natural cleaners and essential oils!
  • Deep cleaning and purging of things – getting down to the essential.  I know I am slow to the Konmari movement, but I am looking forward to delving more deeply into this.  If you, like me, you are late to the game and  are wondering what this is, here is a title to start you off:  …Also, the author’s book “Spark Joy”
  • Also, I have plans to look at our outside spaces and outside play toys and see what needs to be removed or added to..

These are a few of my favorite things for small children:

  • Beautiful, nourishing spring tales!  Try this back post:
  • Re-vamping the play areas – rotating out toys, re-designing the play spaces themselves so they are inviting.  I really enjoyed this post about one family’s loose part play block corner:
  • Gardening with children – planting seeds, telling stories about the Earth, spending time outside

These are a few of my favorite things for children in the grades:

  • Poetry really calls to me in the month of March.  I hope to spend some tea-times reading lovely poetry and memorizing a few poems along the way.
  • Making and flying kites
  • Making spring toys that flutter in the wind – little sticks with crepe paper attached or rings with trailing streamers to run around with in the wind
  • Jump roping rhymes and hand clapping games

These are a few of my favorite things for teens:

  • Gardening!
  • Volunteering comes to mind for teens in this month
  • Hiking and being outside
  • Attending plays and musical concerts

These are a few of my favorite things for my own inner work:

  • This seems to be a month where I always feel drawn to start a new spiritual study.  I have not decided what study I am going to do this month, but it will be something.
  • Examining closely my own prayer life

These are a few of my favorite things for self-care and health:

  • Follow-up doctor’s appointments from January and February; dentist appointments
  • Getting out and walking every day
  • Checking Vitamin D levels through a simple blood test
  • Use of chiropractic and massage
  • Doing yoga
  • Taking time each morning and evening and checking in with myself and how I am feeling.

These are a few of my favorite things for homeschooling:

  • Re-vamping the space we are using for homeschooling
  • Seeing if there are appropriate field trips
  • Planning for fall.  It is wonderful to start now!

Please share with me what is inspiring you this month!




Guest Post From Waldorfish: Things Steiner Never Said

(Here is a beautiful post by Robyn Wolfe from Waldorfish.  Please do look for a very special offer for Parenting Passageway readers at the end of this post.  Those of you new to Waldorf homeschooling will especially be pleased!  Thank you to Waldorfish! Here is Robyn…)

We’ve all been there — new to Waldorf education, possibly new to homeschooling as well. Some of us may have arrived more recently than others, but we share at least one thing: wanting something different than whatever wasn’t feeling right for our child at the time. Maybe you first heard about a nearby Waldorf school from a friend, or had a passing conversation about homeschooling at a playgroup event. At some point you made a bold decision, and here you are. Welcome!

I love the enthusiasm that comes with new endeavors.

The dialog, at least in my head, goes something like this. “Ok! Here we go! Let’s DO this!”.  I like to picture a few high fives, and maybe some chest bumps too, although I’m not certain how Waldorfy those actually are.  In any case, you made the decision, took the leap, and then likely realized …. there were a lot more decisions to make.

Curriculum! Toys! Local classes! Art Supplies! Hurray! So many great options available online these days.

So. Many. Options. Oh boy.

No doubt at one point or another, you have found yourself pondering just HOW one is supposed to weed through all the available information out there? Maybe you spent just a little more time than you meant to looking at all the gorgeous toys for sale online? Maybe you spent just a little more money than you meant to? Or maybe a lot? Does anyone else still have a few things collecting dust from the early homeschooling days that were purchased in a flurry of enthusiasm, but then never actually got used? In my case, a spectacularly expensive, gorgeously handmade wooden puzzle comes to mind.

See? It’s ok. You’re not the only one.

Most of you reading this are probably somewhat familiar with Rudolf Steiner. No doubt you are aware that he had a lot to say about Waldorf education. Like, A LOT, a lot. It seems to me that if you are at the beginning of this journey, there is plenty of time to work your way through his lectures, slowly and thoughtfully. My advice would be to keep good chocolate nearby, and pace yourself. Remember, this is a journey. In the meantime, though, what about the here and now? My inner pragmatist wonders what she can tell you right now that will be immediately useful to you. While pondering this, it occurred to me that although the list of things Steiner said can be dauntingly long, the list of things he never said is, by comparison, quite short.

I am 100% certain that Steiner never said we should go broke giving our children a Waldorf-inspired education and lifestyle. He did say that we should emphasize natural materials, and that teachers should consciously choose open-ended playthings and supplies for the home or classroom that will nourish a young child’s senses. It’s true, sometimes the toys and supplies made from beautiful, natural materials DO cost more, and well, rightfully so. They are often handmade, and they are worth more than their plastic counterparts, plain and simple. This leads me to my next thought.

At no point did Steiner ever say that we must buy all the same things that other Waldorf-inspired families own. Nor did he say that we must teach our children in exactly the same way. In fact, he was pretty clear about that,

According to each teacher’s individuality, outer forms of teaching may vary enormously in the different classes, and yet the fundamental qualities are retained…in a Waldorf school outer forms do not follow set patterns, so that it is quite possible for one teacher to teach his class of 9 year olds well, while another who takes a completely different line, can be an equally good teacher…and as long as the teacher feels in harmony with the underlying principals, and with the methods employed, he must be given freedom in his work instead of being tied to fixed standards” ~ Rudolf Steiner

A good Waldorf education will not fit in a standard sized box. More importantly, it will not necessarily resemble what our Waldorf friends and neighbors are doing either.  A pinecone you find on your daily walk can become a doll, or a loaf of bread, just as easily as it can become a large bear lumbering through the woods in your afternoon story. Before making any purchase, consider asking yourself, “Is this toy (or school supply) helping to nurture a spiritual depth and creative thinking within my child? Do we currently own something that can be used to the same end?  Could we make something similar ourselves?”

My husband and I have spent the past couple of years distilling our decade of experiences in Waldorf classrooms down to the most essential components. We’ve been looking at what is really important. Our new online course, Waldorf Art for Beginners, is one product of this distillation process. While planning it, we asked ourselves:

  • What art tools and supplies does a family just getting started with Waldorf education really need?
  • What’s worth spending money on, and what’s not so important?
  • What are the most basic skills they’ll need to move forward with chalk-drawing, watercolor painting, and using block crayons?

Our new course contains the answers to all these questions in one place. There are video tutorials, URL links, and written content galore — all designed to help ease you into this journey, and to help you wade through at least some of the options you will encounter.

Does this sound like the kind of support you’re craving? You can learn more the course here. Also, we’ve created a 15% discount code just for readers of The Parenting Passageway…we’re so excited to have you join us! Use PPDISCOUNT at checkout to make it happen. Registering before 3/5/16 will also get you our e-book, Paint with Watercolor: Pencils & Crayons, for free!

The decision to homeschool in a Waldorf-inspired way is going to take you on a beautiful journey! Our intention is that the work we do and the tutorials we provide will create a sense of ease around this for your family. We aim to provide the support that will keep families encouraged and confident, and allow you to find the JOY!

(Thank you so much to Waldorfish for this generous offer! I know my readers will love this so much)


All About Robyn Wolfe: An early career as a park ranger led co-founder Robyn Wolfe, to her love of illustrating and education. Trained as both a public school and Waldorf teacher, she has been involved in art + education for over 20 years, including homeschooling one of her two children. Robyn is currently working as an illustrator and as the manifestor of the creative vision held by the Waldorfish team. Working out of the premise that life is short (but sweet!), she and her husband Brian empower soul-filled teachers & families to (re)find their JOY in teaching and making art. Robyn’s work has been featured in Amulet magazine, The Mother magazine, the children’s book The Journey of Analise, as well as Annapurna Living and the Pence Gallery.

Weeks 21 and 22: Homeschooling Eighth, Fifth and Kindy

It almost feels like the verge of spring here, despite several days of very cold weather and flurries.  The skies are blue, and it feels lovely to be outside today.  I think we all are feeling a little spring fever already!

These past few weeks have flown by; if you would like to see what we were working on in weeks nineteen and twenty, please see here:

Kindergarten:  Having a forest kindergarten program two days a week has been really wonderful for our extroverted little guy.  At home, we have been working with a winter/early spring circle at home, the story “The Quiltmaker’s Gift” and drawing, painting, bread baking and being outside hiking.

What I have been contemplating a lot is this balance between the older children and what they need academically and socially and  what our littlest guy needs.   Our oldest will be 15 this summer…and that seems a long way from 6 right now… How do we resolve and balance those needs?  Is there even a way to do this?  I have spoken lately to quite a few mothers of completely extroverted third children who would do fabulously if the entire day could be structured around them, but what do you do if the whole day cannot be structured around them?  Still contemplating deeply.

Fifth Grade:  We finished Ancient China and have been fully immersed in Ancient Greece.  We have studied the land of Greece, wet on wet painted the land and wrote a summary, and drew some forms to decorate our main lesson book pages.  We have gone through all the major gods and goddesses of Greek mythology, and then our fifth grader picked one myth to re-write.  Our fifth grader chose to re-write the story of Dionysus and the pirates he changed into dolphins as our major summary.  We moved into the minor gods and goddesses toward the end of this week and next week will choose another myth to re-write.  For the drama component, we are lucky enough to be working on a play  with a group of homeschoolers about the myth of “The Labyrinth”, which is a good opportunity.  We will head through more mythology next week, including  the labors of Hercules, the Odyssey and more in the next few weeks.    We have also been tying geometry into each day and looking at geometry within the context of the Greeks.  We may not have time for a long geometry block, so I think to tie this into Ancient Greece may be a way to work a little more into our school year.   We are also working with all four processes, measurement, fractions and a preliminary look at decimals right now in math along with spelling and spelling rules.  We finished reading “Understood Betsy” with its focus on New England and are now reading “Strawberry Girl” by Lois Lenski with its focus on Florida.

Eighth Grade:  In the past two weeks, we have continued our Geography of Asia block.  We went back and focused a lot on modern Chinese history, especially Chairman Mao and Chaing Kai-Shek, the cultural revolution and more.  Our eighth grader made a timeline about Chinese Revolution along with a pencil drawing to practice drawing people.  Our eighth grader has been reading “The Good Earth” by Pearl Buck and we have used this to look at characters, theme, symbolism and more in a piece of literature and then as a read-aloud we are reading “Red Scarf Girl” which focuses on the Cultural Revolution of China.  In weeks 19 and 20 we had also covered Korea and Japan ; we also studied  Daruma dolls and their meaning and Japanese Buddhism.  We studied Vietnam and included a beautiful picture of a water buffalo to encapsulate our reading of the book  “Water Buffalo Days”; looked at Borneo; Oceania and its continental, high and low islands;  the continent of Australia; and compared and contrasted the Australian Aborigines and the New Zealand Maori.  Our main project for Australia is to complete a diorama and report of the Great Barrier Reef.    After this block our eighth grader really wants to move into World History, so we will be doing that as our next block.

In  math, we are still working on ratios and proportions – especially as they pertain to blueprints and scales for a map.   Spanish still continues to come along.  The 4-H District Project Achievement is  coming in the first weekend of April at the 4H center.  Our eighth grader is presenting a speech on the Get Outdoors Program and the Junior Ranger Badge Program in Outdoor Recreation.

I would love to hear what you are working on this week!  I am glad we are a little more than halfway through the school year.There were many points so far this year where I felt completely under water trying to juggle children of such vastly different ages so  although we still have quite a few weeks of school left, I am hoping it will be successful.