Our chicks

About five weeks ago we brought three baby chicks home. I affectionately call them ‘the babies’. We already have 6 free ranging chicken in our yard so they will soon have more friends to be with as soon as they are big enough to go outside.

This is the day we brought them home.

The yellow one is a salmon favorelle, the gray one is a blue chochin, and the black one is unknown. We are starting to suspect she’s a copper marran. Time will tell!

Getting some outside time while we clean their cage.

They were running out of space in the guinea pig cage we initially had them in. I’d been stressing about what to put them in when a very large box arrived yesterday with guinea pig supplies. I suddenly realized it would be perfect for the babies! Here is our new set up.

I think it’s spacious enough until they have enough feathers to sleep outside. They spend a bit of time outside every day unless it’s cold and wet. I’m looking forward to seeing them becomes friends with the older hens.

What a summer

I always have this idea that summer will be a time to laze around and watch the flowers grow. And I know I’ve had summer like that in the recent past, but I think as my children get bigger, our summers get busier.

Don’t take me wrong. We have plenty of empty days with nothing planned, but for an introvert like me, the down days aren’t nearly enough lately in the summertime. I know that part of the busyness stems from chasing after a baby right now. He keeps our days very busy. But for the past month we’ve had so many happenings.

First, we went to the coast for a few nights to celebrate my second son turning nine. It was a lovely trip and really filled us up.

Four days after we got home from that trip, we left for 5 days at fiddle camp. This was our third year in a row attending and my kids loved every second of it. It was great. I was thoroughly exhausted when i got home and it took a good 3 days to feel back to normal. Camping with a mobile baby as a solo parent is no walk in the park! I’m so glad we went, though.

We had a full week to recover from fiddle camp before it was time to pack up and head out for the day for a fiddle contest about an hour away. Third year attending it as well. My second son competed and did great. My oldest only brought along his guitar to back up others, and then regretted not bringing his fiddle along and entering. Next year.

The following week brings us to the present. This is fair week. When you are in the 4H program, that makes 5 days of driving back and forth to the county fair, sometimes multiple times. Thank goodness for carpooling. The animals must be cared for and checked each morning before 8, so we head out by 7am. Today my oldest was at the fair for nearly 14 hours! It’s exhausting but fun. I’m sorely looking forward to the rest of August being a bit empty. But then again, I just received an invite from a fiddling family to attend a kids fiddle camp out at the end of the month. Three hours away. I think it’s a testament to my love of the music and watching my kids play that I’m seriously considering attending.

Homeschool Planning

I’ve been in the process of planning out our next school year. I started in May this year, but have taken breaks here and there. I thought I’d share some resources I use, and a bit about my process.

This year I am planning second year kindergarten, 3rd grade and 9th grade, all using Waldorf curriculum.

I always start with my Planning for Peace journal. This is my second year using it and I love it. It was revised this year and is even better than last year. It breaks up the whole planning process into 5 months and includes everyone, including rhythm, meals, inner work and block planning.

I’m almost done with planning for my 3rd grader and I’ve totally finished kindergarten. What does this look like? For my kindergartener, I have my weekly stories planned out, crafts and cooking planned, and I know which props I’ll need each month for story telling.

For my third grader, I have the block plans done for the whole year and daily detailed plans done through the end of December. In November , I’ll go through and plan out the daily plans for the remaining months. All I have left to do is create the artwork (painting and drawing) that I’ll use for his main lessons, and to plan out his music lessons. I’m waiting for my hard copy to arrive to do that. We are using Music Unfolds and the lessons are already laid out as daily lesson plans, so the work will be minimal.

Below are many of the books I’m using for planning. We use Waldorf Essentials curriculum and love it. It’s what we’ve been using for going on five years. I love their work so much that i became a TFW leader for my local area, so if you are local to me and looking for curriculum or support on how to make Waldorf happen at home (hint: the answer is the Thinking Feeling Willing program), message me and I can help.

I have many books that i use for verses and songs and activity ideas, and I’ve included some in the photos below

Planning high school is a bit different. I don’t use a laid out curriculum (but for math, I do) but rather I first look at the suggested blocks for the 14-15 year old and figure out how to arrange their order for our school year. Then I break the blocks into weekly plans and figure out which main lesson topic will be focused on each week. After that, I start hunting down resources. They may be books I own, library books, websites, and even YouTube videos.

In 9th grade, our blocks include: review of 15th-19th centuries, 20/21st centuries with a focus on revolutions, nature study (homeostasis and immunology), geology, meteorology, chemistry, and physics. I’m still looking for resources and planning that part out, but I’ve finished the most of September-December. Here are just two books that I already own that he’ll be using. Most of the books he’ll read, however, will be library books.

For math, we will be continuing with Making Math Meaningful by Jamie York. Jamie is a Waldorf math teacher who has written a fantastic math curriculum. We started using it in 6th grade. I can’t deny that I’m slightly nervous about high school math, but as long as I stay a few steps ahead of my son, it’ll be fine. The resource book has never failed me, and has helped me to understand math in a whole new way.

Planning is key for a successful school year. It can feel tedious but it is vital. Last year, my planning was less than thorough and there were many holes in my plans, as I’d just had a baby and didn’t spend enough time planning before he was born. This year, I want my year to feel smoother, so I’m putting in the time to properly plan. I know it’ll be a much easier school year!

Self care and fridges

Pictures from our day.

I feel like we entered a new level of homemaking today since we purchased a second refrigerator. I got it used for $50 and it’ll live in the garage next to our chest freezer. My teen thinks it’s hilarious and slightly embarrassing to have two fridges, but I assured him that it’s quite common. We will finally have space for all the veggies that we juice and lots of extra fruit! I’m a little too excited about it.

The sleepless baby saga continues as we wait for that tooth. It isn’t too bad, but it does mean I’m much too tired to wake early, before my kids, to do much self-care. Waking up at the same time as my kids, feet hitting the ground when I wake, isn’t my ideal. In fact, my favorite time to wake up is 4:30am. But with a baby now, that isn’t happening and probably won’t for a good year more. So i settle for 5:30 most mornings, and the first child (usually the baby) usually at 6. For me, self-care can be anything that fills my cup. Meditation. Long showers. Cup of tea and a good audio book. A book I enjoy. Journaling. Making things. Just sitting and enjoying the silence.

But I have a lot of patience these days, this being my fourth baby. I look forward to the days when I have more time to myself, but I am also deeply savoring these days of child rearing that slip by so quickly. I know all too well that in a few years, my days of babies will be over. So for now, I’m quite content to just be here, now, and enjoy where I’m at, squishy baby snuggles and little time to myself. It’s all perfect.

It’s May!

Some of our photos from the last few days. We are celebrating May Day tomorrow by going to a nature area park tomorrow for a picnic.

Flowers from our yard:

On our morning walk:

Some of our sweet hens:

Big and little kid wearing:

I don’t know who is to credit for this meme, but this is one of my favorites:

A little painting

On Mondays, i just have my younger three children at home. So, after breakfast, chores and a short walk, we got busy with our day. It’s usually 8:30-9am at this point.

We always start a school day with circle time. This involves my 8 year old, 5 year old and baby. We sing songs and say verses, and sometimes read a story. We’ve been learning Spanish songs as well, and are working on our third one at the moment. I also use circle time to practice skip counting with my 2nd grader. Because little sister can feel left out of that activity, I’ve been teaching her some jump rope rhymes while we do hand clapping together. She thinks this is brilliant and loves it! I’ll likely do a whole blog post on circle time, as i could say much about it.

After circle , i set my 2nd grader up with a book for reading to himself (a fiction book of his choice at the moment. He’s reading a Ramona book) while i focused on the kindergartner. I tell her her story and we play a little bit. This probably last 15-30 minutes. By then, she’s content and wants to go play on her own usually. I might stop and make snack at this point, depending upon the time.

It is then time for my 2nd grader’s main lesson. We are currently doing a fable block. So I told him a story a crocodile and a monkey. He loved it. Then we had a watercolor lesson, painting a picture to go with the story. Little sister painted her own paintings along with us. The baby was thankfully asleep on my back.

After this we sat and did handwork. The 8 year old started a knitting project and the 5 year old finished up a sewing project while I mended some clothing.

Fiddle practice came next for the 8 year old and then he practiced his form drawing a bit on he chalkboard (no pictures, I’ll get some later this week.)

The afternoon was free and the kids played outside for most of it, in spite of the rain. We have a second wave of chores that happen at 4pm, and that’s when they usually head in for the day.

More to come tomorrow.

Back to blogging

I’ve let this blog sit for a few years and I’m ready to get back at it and blow life back into it. I plan on starting with sharing our day to day homeschool life for next next few months. It’ll either be a once a week or twice a week summary with lots of photos! I think that many people are curious about what homeschooling the Waldorf way actually looks like. So I’ll be taking lots of pictures and giving a nice glimpse into our (imperfectly perfect) homeschool with a kindergartener, 2nd grader and 8th grader.