Archive for the ‘Waldorf Education’ Category

Weeks in the Life (Halloween and More)

November 4, 2018

This will be my last post categorized under a 12-year-old. As of tomorrow, all of our children will be teenagers on up.

It seems like so much has happened since my last post. We lost power for a weekend, which luckily we were prepared for, during a wind apocalypse that leftover 55,000 homes without power. We wrote about it in our family newspaper.

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This will count as part of Little Sis’s (and Sky’s too) creative writing lessons.

We found it a bit ironic that we had just recently given up our screens, so entertainment was not an issue.

We had a birthday and celebrated two festivals.

Not having electricity for two days allowed time for some deep inner reflection. No matter how hard I have tried our school lessons have still felt forced and not naturally rhythmic like I want. Our home was not as peaceful as we all would like. Something was still off.

I knew the jump from our fast-paced life into a more rhythmic one would be challenging, I just didn’t think how much of a challenge it would be for all of us. Then, the power went out. Nothing slows you down like not having electricity. Pots of water were slowly heated on top of our woodstove for dishes or tea. Baked potatoes were cooked over the coals. There were no electronics to interrupt us(thanks to our cell phones being dead or with a low battery). For a weekend, time for us stood still. Who would have thought it would be so hard to sleep with complete silence?

So, we talked. The girls told me what they felt like wasn’t working. Then it hit me, I was still trying to do “school” at home, even if it was Waldorf. You would think by now, all these years later, I would have learned that!

Homeschooling, at least for us, should flow as naturally as breathing. So, thanks to Halloween and Day of the Dead celebrations we focused more on finding our homeschooling rhythm.

Lessons happened, just more organically like they should.

If the girls were in a Waldorf school, Little Sis would be learning about the Age of Exploration. Sky would be discovering “Who” she is. Both girls are on a journey of self but at different levels.

I chose business math for Little Sis and personal finances for Sky with the theme of our family owning a business, or vegan bakery as Little Sis insists, to use as our story through the year. However, I kept trying to separate our lessons into blocks of this, then, this, and so on instead of just letting things happen.

So, instead of feeling rushed to get our math block done so we can do history, and then a science block. I am combining all of those subjects into our story for the whole year.

We may calculate simple interest for the loan we needed to take out from the bank to start our bakery, or balance the budget of our expenses this week and then next week join a ship on its way to India to gather special spices for our bakery. First, we might need to understand magnetism or chart the stars to make a map for navigation. Then, write an article about our expeditions in our family newspaper. This way I can work with both girls at the same time, just at different levels.

Sometimes, you need something as big as a power outage to “get” the message.

 

We are still reading and enjoying The Hobbit during dinner.

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I brought out the modeling beeswax.

Little Sis has been busy putting together puzzles. (I am thinking of buying stock in Ravensburger. 🙂 )

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Sky had been stitching

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and drawing.

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We have also been busy with our independent reads.

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(I finished book two of the Alchemist’s Daughter and loved all 700 pages of it. Bring on Book 3! Little Sis is on book five of The Princess Diaries, the library can not get them in stock fast enough. Sky has read book four of the Rick and Morty series already and is on book 4 of Saga.)

We learned about the history of banks and money from Extra Credits on YouTube.

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Our vegan “bakery” has been busy with peanut butter cookies (made twice now), snickerdoodles,

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quiche (made with tofu).

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and Halloween ghost and pumpkin sugar cookies.

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The girls have written new songs on their penny whistles,

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learned new Spanish songs, and attempted to draw one of our favorite couples, Jack and Sally.

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There was Halloween Mad Libs, logic puzzles, and games of Guess My Number between 1-1000.

We created new dolls for our dollhouse

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and remembered our loved ones who have passed on.

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Peace for the journey.

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A Week in the Life (Finance, Week 2)

October 14, 2018

Well, this will be my last post categorized under 17 years for Sky. Monday she will be 18. I can’t believe it. I don’t know where the time has gone. Our journey together has not always been an easy one. She has challenged me every step of the way. Watch out world! She demands change.

Since on the subject of change, I think we have finally found our rhythm.

Instead of trying to fit two main lessons into our day, one for each child, I work with Little Sis one day, Sky the next. While I am working with Little Sis, Sky works independently on her previous main lesson work. While working with Sky, Little Sis works independently on her main lesson work. Since they are learning about the same topic, just at different intellectual stages, we can review and discuss their material together before they go to work independently.

We also added our afternoon lessons (Spanish, handwork, penny whistle, and art) into our main lesson before each child goes their separate way. Now when we take our break, all we need to do is chores. The girls have been helping make dinner every night too (part of their financial lessons). We end the day reading while eating dinner.

We start our main lesson together with a centering and morning verse adding the eurythmy movements. We practice the current Spanish and penny whistle song from the previous week’s lesson. Then the girls do a mental math challenge, practice the form drawing for the week, and either work on A Sentence a Day or Mad Libs.

For this week’s challenge, the girls played a grocery store game I made up.

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They take turns shopping and being the cashier. The shopper must choose at least one item with a sales tax. The cashier must figure out what the sales tax is. The cashier must count the change back out to the shopper without using a calculator. The shopper must figure out what how much change they will be getting back, in their heads, to know if the cashier is right. It amazes me how many cashiers have not learned how to do this. The girls got a first-hand learning experience over the weekend while our family attended Kokomo-Com. One of the booths almost shortchanged me.

The girls work on their spelling and vocabulary words, main lesson page, and read independently while I am working with the other.

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(I am so excited to read the second book in the Society of Alchemists series! The first book is number 1 on my favorite top 5 book list of 2018.)

This week Little Sis learned how the importance of trade,

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supply and demand, time accounts, and double-entry bookkeeping are good for economic prosperity.

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We are reading Who is Richard Branson.

Sky and I continued with Crash Course Economics and Financial Literacy for Millennials.

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The girls made a list of 10 Spanish words they know and copied them in a fancy font.

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We started making bendy dolls for our dollhouse

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and Little Sis has been sewing felt food.

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Little Sis has been practicing sketching.

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Sky has been drawing more with block crayons.

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We all have really been enjoying The Hobbit. Reading it around the table during dinner is the most anticipated part of our day.

Living without individual electronics has been getting a bit easier. Totally worth it.

Peace for the journey.

A Week in the Life (Mathematics Block 1, Finance)

October 6, 2018

Well, we hit another bump in the road this week. I knew we would eventually. After all, we are completely changing up our previous rhythm for something new(old).

When one has had their own tablet for years, suddenly finding yourself without one can be a bit challenging. I won’t try to pretend everything has been peachy keen around here. We quickly found out just how much we relied on them when bored, and that for us was the problem.

Technology can be such a good thing. I was able to wish my nephew a happy birthday face to face 500 miles away. I am able to purchase most of our homeschool supplies online that I would never find in Indiana, not to mention all the amazing online resources available that help me be able to homeschool at all. I could write a whole post about the medical advancements alone.

However, we must acknowledge that technology can be a bad thing too. It is far too easy to use as an escape from the “real world” and become a clutch from facing problems. (To be an American teen right now, I understand the need to escape.) Technology became the wedge that ended up dividing our family. It was time to reclaim us.

I know technology is here to stay, there is just more to living than allowing it to control every aspect of your life.

Despite our setback, we still ended up getting quite a lot done.

We turned our air conditioning back on (after Papa had it covered and ready for winter) because temperatures reached the high 80s again. Not just 80s, but with lots of humidity too. I just can’t take the humidity anymore. So, that meant no more baking in the oven. Tortillas are back.

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One of the girls rolls them out, while the other one cooks it stovetop.

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They make a good team.

The girls started their first math block of the school year. They are both learning about finances. Little Sis is learning business math while Sky learns about personal finances.

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Since I have two different ages (12, heart and 17, head), I work with Little Sis in the morning while Sky works on language arts. While I work with Sky in the afternoon, Little Sis works on her language arts assignments. We start the rhythmic portion of the main lesson together and end our day together with the rotating lesson of the day.

Since Little Sis is still considered in elementary school (grades 1-8) she learns lessons through the “heart” or feelings, which means stories. I created a story about our family owning our own bakery. She came up with the name Vi’s Vegan Delights. Before she can begin working for us though she needs to learn the history of how our society became a money economy. I read The Apple Cake (with hopes to make our own, but no, too hot for baking this week). I used this story to explain self-sufficient, barter, and money economies.

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Since Sky is in high school (grades 9-12) she learns through the “head” or intellect. So, Sky and I are reading and discussing Financial Literacy for Millenials and watching Crash Course Economics videos.

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During their independent time, the girls work on the week’s form drawing, A Sentence a Day, read their stories (of choice), and work on spelling and vocabulary words.

Sky finished her Donte’s Inferno page

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and movie page for Given.

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Little Sis continues to sketch.

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(Her self-portrait.)

We had Spanish and Penny Whistle lessons this week, and are still enjoying reading The Hobbit.

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The girls switched between Mad Libs and the Grocery Store game during morning movement.

We spotted a Praying Mantis during one of our walks

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and played a few games.

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Besides the bumps, we are getting used to our new rhythm. I feel confident about next week and that is a good thing.

Peace for the journey.

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.