Monday, August 3, 2015

Catching Up

A lot has happened since I last posted. Jaden is now in 5th grade, Sage in 3rd. We ditched Waldorf about 1 1/2 years ago because I got too frustrated with it. Now we are a mix of eclectic and unschooling style.

The past 3 years I have worked on putting together a planner to keep track of things. This year it's doubled in size from the previous years, partly because I used a thicker paper stock to print on and partly because I've added a few more sections. I plan to put together a post on that since I keep getting asked what I do to assemble the planner.

For curriculum this year (August 2015 - July 2016), we are using:

Math is our weak point, mostly because of the Waldorf method which was slow to teach and wasn't working out for Jaden. I used Making Math Meaningful to help catch us up, the free drill worksheets they offer online was a great boost for getting her up to speed on her multiplication skills.

Math-U-See Delta for Jaden
Math-U-See Beta for Sage

Reading was another slow start because of Waldorf but I'm fine with that. Jaden is picking up speed and loves to read Shel Silverstein poems. This year we will be focusing on poetry from Shel Silverstein and possibly branching out to other authors as she chooses. I am also requiring her to read 1 chapter book a week from any series of her choice (she likes Magic Treehouse and Secrets of Droon). I may up that requirement in January or sooner as her reading skill picks up.

I am starting Sage on reading Dr. Seuss books, he can read better than he wants to admit so they are a great confidence builder for him. Right now, we will do 3 - 4 a week and increase as his confidence increases.

I also still do read aloud with them at bedtime as well as audio books when we are in the car (we are currently on the 3rd book in the Percy Jackson series).

Jaden loves to write in a journal daily. We will also add in learning proper punctuation this year and occasionally they will have assignments to write.

Sage doesn't like writing so I try to give him simpler things just to work on his penmanship.

Science/Nature Study
I'm sure we'll have a variety under this category by the end of the year. For now, they want to learn tracking skills, primitive fire building and shelter building. We'll also do nature study, probably starting off with collecting a monarch caterpillar from our milkweed so we can watch it create a chrysalis and eventually emerge to be released.

Sage and Jaden are also interested in building, how houses are constructed and how to build things. We have 2 books that will probably be a starting point, plus their dad the architect will get involved with this.

Carpentry for Children
Housebuilding for Children

Social Studies/History
Last year Jaden wanted to learn some of our family history but we didn't make it far. We'll pick that up in the winter months. We are also learning United States History and will study South America/Central America. And because the kids love Percy Jackson so much, we'll probably throw in a bit of Greek Mythology/History as well.  I am still finalizing a lot of those resources but for US History I am using:

A Young People's History of the United States
Voices of a People's History of the United States
A Different Mirror for Young People: A History of Multicultural America

Fine Arts
Jaden loves to paint acrylic paintings and play guitar. We will continue with that. Sage is interested in playing mandolin so he will pursue that as well. We also generally study artists throughout the year as it fits into other things we are learning about.

Harmony Fine Arts Art & Music Appreciation eBooks
Artistic Pursuits books

Jaden is also returning to ballet. At 11, she will be starting Grade 3 Cecchetti this fall. Sage has not decided if he wants to return or not.

Both will do art illustrations when I read aloud to them for various subjects (a natural rhythm we got into the habit of doing during our Waldorf years that stuck).

Though this is not a government requirement, it is mine. I want kids that will be confident to go out into the real world and know how to take care of themselves. Topics we'll be covering this year include cooking (both love to cook and create their own recipes), money skills, swimming lessons, house cleaning, and Jaden is going to take a safe sitter class at the YMCA this fall (she has been wanting to babysit for about 3 years now). The kids are also both involved in my herbal business, mostly the soap making and selling.

The Nourishing Traditions Cook Book for Children
Practical Money Skills - they have lesson plans from Pre-K - College level

Physical Education
The kids ride their bikes often and in the winter, we skate weekly at the Y. We also do core exercises to increase our core strength for archery classes which will start up again next month. Plus weekly swimming at the Y and the dance classes.

Health Education
Jaden is heading towards puberty so maturing bodies has been our topic of late, learning out the menses cycle.

Foreign Language
While I consider Math to be a foreign language, I also want them to learn other foreign languages that will be beneficial for when we are able to travel abroad. This year we'll be focusing on Spanish again.

Rosetta Stone Spanish (if I can get it working on my computer again)

Religious Studies
Jaden is interested in the pagan traditional sabbats (what we generally celebrate) so we'll be pursuing that more formally for her this year. She loves the Pooka pages and I have several books on the subject.

Pooka Pages
Celebrating the Great Mother
Circle Round: Raising Children in the Goddess Tradition
The Llewellyn book series on the sabbats
The Earthchild's Handbook: book 1 and 2

The Little Witch books series (I loved these as a kid and was able to snatch them up on Amazon for about $5 each including shipping)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Main Lesson Block II

I'm not sure if I mentioned before but I decided to go with Donna Simmon's Christopherus Curriculum. I purchased the Language Arts book and the First Grade Syllabus. It is WONDERFUL!! I also have a few more of her books and highly recommend them to anyone wanting to homeschool waldorf style.

Although Sage is only 5 and would be considered Kindergarten level (waldorf specifies Kindergarten as ages 3 - 6) I haven't worked formally with him. He learns differently than Jaden. He does often sit in with us during our lessons so I include him as much as possible.

The past 2 1/2 weeks we have been doing a 4 week language arts lesson block. Jaden has been begging to do school and is excited each day to pick up where we left off.

For the main lesson, week 1 & 2 was spent with the first part of the alphabet story. Letters are presented randomly in a continuous story that is woven with the sounds of the letters plus Grimm's Fairy Tales stories. Each day we recap what we did the day before and review the letters and sounds we learned. Jaden would help retell the story as we looked at the pictures. We also reviewed the words in the story that started with the letters we were learning about.

Lesson A was handcrafts. We started week one with her braiding wool yarn together into ropes. Week 2 we made Knitting Nancys (hopefully the how-to will be in the winter edition of Rhythm of the Home).

This was also a 2 week block for the recorder so we did finger plays to warm up our fingers, sang the songs we were learning on the recorder and then played the songs. We worked on 3 separate songs: Mary Had a Little Lamb, Hot Crossed Buns and Aura Lee.

We are now on week 3. We are continuing on with the Language Arts main lesson and reviewed the entire story yesterday before continuing on. Jaden decided to work on re-drawing 3 of her pictures for her main lesson book as the first few were a bit sloppier than the rest.

For handcrafts we are continuing on with knitting. Today we are going to begin making our own knitting needles. They should be finished by the end of the week and next week we'll begin knitting.

The next two weeks we are supposed to take a break from the recorder. I'm not sure how long that will last as she loves to play it but for now, we will focus on watercolor for the next two weeks.
Although I have eased up on teaching her to read, she has been making amazing leaps and bounds in this department. She read a name of a facebook friend of mine the other day (a friend she doesn't know and had never heard the name before). It was pretty cool, she asked if the person's last name was 'rob-ets' (it was roberts). I asked how she knew that and she said she sounded it out. She is doing that a lot more. It is great just watching her emerge w/o me forcing it.
I'm also looking into the Feingold diet for Sage. I know he has chemical sensitivities, I've seen his behavior change when eating red or blue food dyes. I avoid HFCS at all costs and most other preservatives. I suspect he may be gluten intolerant as well which is hard for me to stomach but I'm looking into alternatives. I don't often buy bread but when it's in the house, he eats it like crazy. They both like pancakes for breakfast so I bought a gluten free mix. It's pricey but while I'm eliminating items, it's making my life a bit easier. Luckily, Greg is on the South Beach diet right now which is similar to the Feingold diet so it's easy to modify it for everyone. I just have to make sure myself and Adelena get enough to eat so we don't lose weight since we are the runts of the family and can't afford to lose a pound. Jaden and Sage don't need to, they are of perfect build in my opinion so I need to carefully supplement them as well but it's not as worrisome as it is for A and me.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Year of the Waldorf 2011 - 2012

we started our school year this week and are going all-out waldorf, a huge switch from classical. my reasons for doing so are:

1. i love the waldorf philosophy and really believe in the ideas behind it

2. i'm exhausted from trying to keep up with the classical education work

3. classical felt too pushy, trying to cram too much intellectual info into my kids at such an early age

4. jaden has a very artistic/creative side that i want to nurture as much as possible

5. i want to establish routines in our household for all our sakes

6. i want to cut out all the tv viewing we've been doing....well, not tv but movies and videos and such

so, i have at my disposal, the first grade info for live education!, oak meadow and christopherus. oak meadow is not waldorf, only uses waldorf concepts. at first i thought i'd like it better because it's a more 'ready made' curriculum of sorts but after reviewing it and the other two, i like the other two better. out of the other two, christopherus is my favorite. i'm lucky to have a friend who had the christopherus and live education! curriculum so i could review and try them out before i actually commit and buy.

jaden is starting first grade this year so we'll follow the concepts and ideas of first grade. i don't have the luxury of schooling all day long since we have a homestead and i have my herbal business so we use 2-3 hours 4 days a week as our 'formal' schooling though the unschooler in me smugly knows my kids are learning whether we're sitting down and saying we doing schoolwork or not.

our schedule will go something like this:

~i get up, milk the goats, check emails if kids aren't up
~make breakfast, eat and clean up
~get sage occupied so we can have some alone time
~start by lighting our candle, reciting our poem and doing some yoga stretches/poses
~review foreign language flash cards (currently reviewing colors in spanish and french)
~main lesson
~nature stories
~take a walk

our afternoons will be free to have playdates, work on special projects or just play. around 4 in the afternoon the kids watch the sheep for an hour then it's time to pick up the playroom area while i get dinner ready.

after dinner, i milk while they take baths or finish up anything then it's a story and bedtime. our goal is to have the kids in bed by 8:30pm with the high schoolers in bed by 9 and lights out at 9:30.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Logging Our Homeschool Journey

so far our homeschool has been a mixture of unschooling, charlotte mason style and waldorf. every eclectic!

right now i've fallen in love with the core curriculum series and am using the kindergarten for jaden and the preschool for sage.

we combine reading from these books with math-u-see, computer online games and various books that jaden and i pick out from the library. we also use educational videos and hands-on learning (gardening, chores, taking care of the animals, cooking, etc.).

spring is here and we are learning about the life cycle of plants first hand. yesterday we sowed our early greens (lettuce, spinach, kale) in the garden and transplanted some horseradish plants to their proper location.

today we are baking cupcakes, learning math while making goodies.