Archive for September, 2018

A Week in the Life (Michaelmas)

September 30, 2018

Since this Saturday (the 29th) was Michaelmas I decided our lessons this week would revolve around the festival. Now that the girls are older we focused more on slaying our own personal dragons.

This festival kicks off Autumn and the fact that the daylight is getting shorter. As we get ready to enter into a season of darkness it is important to take the time to reflect inwardly. Maybe there is a bad habit that needs conquering.

Michaelmas has always been one of my favorite festivals. We may not have always celebrated it full out once we started unschooling, but the sentiment has always been there.

Usually, during this week we get our supply of wood for the winter delivered.

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We are able to start baking in our oven again.

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(Vegan carrot millet muffins)

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(Vegan gingerbread cake, both baked and photographed by Little Sis.)

Little Sis also baked vegan chocolate chip oatmeal that was so delicious. She wanted to make sure she had the recipe for future use. I think she is preparing for her business math block that starts this week. 😉

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It is also around this time most of our local pumpkin patches kick off their fall festivals as well.

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This means the corn mazes are now open.

What Michaelmas festival would be complete without a bowl of homemade vegan potato soup and dragon bread while watching a Lord of the Rings marathon?

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For art lessons this week we tried our hand at paper cut-out stained glass

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and wet on wet watercolor painting.

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I added in our favorite Michaelmas stories from when the girls were younger and Sky and I listened to Rudolf Steiner’s lecture: Michaelmas and the Soul Forces of Man.

We finished up our festival celebration by making a list of the dragons we would like to defeat this year, then cast them into the fire.

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Sky and I finished Donte’s Inferno. We had lots of conversation about this epic poem and we are both glad to have read it. She will finish her lesson page this week.

We are still reading and enjoying The Hobbit. Little Sis choose her spelling/vocabulary words and practiced writing them in a different font. She will look up the definitions, write their part of speech, and use them is a sentence next week.

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I rotated A Sentence a Day with Mad Libs and added a few fraction problems in for review to prepare for our first math block next week. This is where we left off in volume 2 of Learn Math Fast.

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We learned a new song for Autumn on our Pennywhistle and a new Spanish song. I have also added a new instrument basket to our living room. Several of the instruments Little Sis has learned about in her spelling Thinking Tree journal.

One of the things we decided to give up as a family during the season for Michaelmas is our tablets( most likely it will be for longer than a season). There is a lot I would like to write about why we are giving up screens right now, and our choice to move back to Waldorf education, but feel it is just not the right time yet.

For our handwork project this week, we finally made beanbags. The girls used them while learning their Michaelmas poem.

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The girls wrapped up their woodworking block by adding their project to their journals.

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They finished their form drawing from the last two weeks.

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I am focusing on freehand geometric shapes for Little Sis’s geometry block this year.

The girls also added a goldenrod page to their journals. Sky will have a biodynamic gardening block this year. I am adding a nature study lesson to our monthly rhythm to make up for not having studied Botany.

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We watched the documentary/movie: Given for Sky’s movie history course.

https://www.giventhemovie.com/

All of us enjoyed it very much. You can stream it on Netflix.

As for Independent work, without tablets, our family’s creativity has been sparked. I have found myself too busy for Facebook.

Papa made a puzzle board for us.

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What the girls are currently reading.

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Sky has been playing around with block crayons.

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Little Sis has been busy sketching.

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As for myself, I have been reading a few of Steiner’s lectures on education (again) and working more inwardly by journaling my thoughts in my own Thinking Tree journal.

I don’t quite understand the journey I had to go through or the why, but everything now makes perfect sense. While going over old notes, that I took down the first time I read Steiner, I just shake my head in disbelief that I couldn’t “get it” then. Now I completely understand the “whys” behind Waldorf education. I think I left marks from all the facepalming I have done over these last few weeks.

Peace for the journey.

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Week(s) in the Life (Welcome Autumn!)

September 22, 2018

These last few weeks we had a second summer, though technically I know it was still officially summer, with temperatures in the 90s. Today, however, it actually feels like Autumn. It reminds me of the first day of Spring when it snowed, Mother Nature is a little off balance. I welcome Autumn, as I sit here typing with our windows open in shorts, with temperatures in the 60s. I am just not a big fan of the heat anymore.

We actually were able to take advantage of the cooler temperatures with our first round of homemade bread and soup.

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Living in a small home, not tiny (just under 1000 square feet), I have come to the conclusion not to use our oven while the air conditioner is running. Since our home is so small, the oven and dryer warm our house up a lot causing our air to run a lot. So, during summer I cook most everything outdoors on our grill. I use my crockpot to bake most dishes I would need the oven for. During summer we bake tortillas or naan stovetop. This helps with meal boredom. Salads become soups, and so forth. I say bring on the soups! 🙂

We are adjusting to our new school rhythm. The girls actually like the block rotation and having actual “school hours” better. One of the things both girls always complained about while unschooling was that school never ended. I added beginning and ending transitional verses. I am not allowed to mention anything related to school before or after saying the verses.

This was the girls’ last week of woodworking. Making dollhouses might not have been the best first woodworking project to start of with. Especially for one child that has never used tools before. However, they managed to put one together.

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I think they did a good job. Sky made herself a treehouse. We will be making the dolls and furniture during hand work. The girls are excited to decorate it for Christmas.

The house also serves for a part of Little Sis’s school theme of owning a bakery. For her lessons this year, our family owns a bakery. We live upstairs and the bakery is downstairs. We plan on making miniature food that I think will be fun.

Something else that Little Sis asked for was a library day. She prefers to read actual books over her Kindle. How could I deny such a request? So, I made sure to add library days into our monthly rhythm.

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(She just finished Matched and is currently reading book 2.)

Since our library is located near our favorite park and apple orchard I also added nature walks too.

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One of the many things I love about Thinking Tree journals is that we can take them anywhere. Thanks to the invention of smartphones, we can school where ever we want.

This week we learned about Monarch butterflies and Goldenrod.

Okay, so the girls morning lesson block these last three weeks was woodworking. We transition to begin school by reciting a verse and a few movement exercises, then the girls work on some form of mental math problem,

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a little Spanish review of what the girls learned previously, and the current penny whistle song they are working on. After woodworking, we end the morning lesson with Little Sis’s read aloud.

We finished The House At Pooh Corner and started The Hobbit.

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Little Sis likes to put puzzles together while I read. Sky likes to color in her Thinking Tree journal or draw.

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(Games and puzzles from the week)

After the morning main lesson we take about an hour break. We go for a walk and have lunch. We transition back into lessons by doing the chore of the week. Monday is baking, Tuesday is outside work, Wednesday is cleaning, Thursday is outside work, and Friday is cleaning our personal space (our rooms).

For the afternoon main lesson we rotate Spanish, handwork, music/ penny whistle, and art.

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(Little Sis made her penny whistle case and Sky patched holes in her favorite skirt for hand work.)

Both girls have Language Arts. Little Sis works on her spelling and vocabulary while I work with Sky.

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Sky and I are watching Crash Course Mythology and reading Donte’s Inferno.

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Sky works independently on her spelling and vocabulary when I work with Little Sis.

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So, both girls have independent work to do when I am working with the other.

They both finished copying the Michaelmas poem and have a form drawing to practice.

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Sky added a page in her journal for Netflix’s The Little Prince for Film History.

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She has 3 more videos and she will have this course completed.

That about sums everything up. Happy Autumn and…

Peace for the journey.

A Week in the Life (Block 1, Woodworking)

September 8, 2018

This post could be titled: “That in which I insert foot into mouth.”

It seems only fitting that since we started out our journey of homeschooling with Waldorf education, that I finish Sky’s last year with it.

Tuesday was our first day back to school. This year I have a 7th and 12th grader. I spent the summer deep in planning and came up with this year’s plans.

I have thoroughly been enjoying Betty Staley’s book Between Form and Freedom. Honestly, I couldn’t have found it at a better time.

Instead of creating their own main lesson books, the girls will be working in their Thinking Tree journals. I gave each of the girls new binders to keep any extra papers in, along with their attendance. I decided to start out our new year gradually with a short, 2 week, woodworking block. Most Waldorf main lesson blocks last 3-4 weeks.

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Since Little Sis has never colored with block crayons or played the penny whistle or stitched anything before, these next two weeks’ extra lessons are kind of a “crash course” introduction.

The girls copied the first stanza of a Michaelmas poem (They will recite the poem from memory for Michaelmas on September 29.)and worked on their first form drawing.

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Since Little Sis is between the ages of 7-14, she falls into the “heart” stage of learning, that means she learns best through stories. One of her math blocks this year will cover business math. So, I have come up with a story that our family owns a bakery. This will be the theme running throughout her year.

It is hard to explain how Waldorf education is different from mainstream education in a paragraph, but what I will say is it meets the individual child where they are developmentally. The stories should feed their hearts. Though the subjects may be the same (like business math), the lessons will look different for each family.

Little Sis loves to cook. We have been watching all kinds of different baking shows this summer. She has been coming up with her own recipes, trying this, making that. I think using baking as the theme for her lessons this year is going to work out for her.

Sky, on the other hand, falls between the ages of 14-21. She is ready for more intellectual thinking (head). One of her history blocks this year is History through Architecture.

Being that Little Sis never had a”shelter” block, I thought a good woodworking project would be to build a dollhouse. I mean, a “bakery”. Sky is learning how to design a structure, then build it.

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These houses will be the center of the majority of our handwork projects this year.

Speaking of handwork projects, our first project this week was to make our own handwork bags to hold our current project.

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We learned the notes B, A, and G on the pennywhistle. The girls’ first assignment was to write a song using those notes. Sky picked up right where she left off like she had never stopped playing.

For our block crayon lessons, we worked using the three primary colors to make orange, purple, and green.

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Little Sis has been working on some of her own art projects.

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We still have a morning rhythmic routine like our circle time before the main lesson, just now that the girls are grown, we perform brain gym movements and Bal-A-Vis-X exercises. The girls also have a critical thinking challenge. This week’s challenge was Animal Crossing from the book Family Math.

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For Little Sis’s read aloud, we are reading The House at Pooh Corner. (We loved the new movie.)

Sky’s interest in Skyrim has sparked an interest in mythology, so mythology will be her first literature block. We are reading Dante’s Inferno, and actually really enjoying it.

Next week I will add journaling, spelling, and vocabulary back into our lessons.

Though we encountered a few bumps in the road this week. I am feeling positive about our year.

Peace for the journey.