Our first day

Today we began our new school year. Ninth grade for my 14 year old. Third grade for my 9 year old. And second year kindergarten for my 5 year old. We covered a lot and had a good start. Tomorrow, the mother (me) needs to work on having a wee bit more patience and on being ‘unflappable’ as they say.

Following are my week’s plans for each older child, along with the weekly paper I give them so they know what to expect and accomplish each day.

Grade three:

Grade nine:

Three years ago, I had this last minute idea to do a mini survey of the kids on the first day of school. So I quickly wrote this up. I’ve been making photo copies every year. Today was their 4th time filling it out. They all enjoyed hearing their responses from years past.

We always start the morning out with a walk. Our goal is to be home by 8:30am to get started on our day.

I had the 3rd grader prepare our morning snack.

Teaching the third grader crochet. He’s a good knitter already. The ninth grader is also doing crochet for handwork time because we never got very far with it when he was younger (he started late with Waldorf). They will both be making washcloths to begin.

My chalk drawing for third grade. Last night when i was drawing this, i decided that I must make a new chalkboard. This one wasn’t done properly, as I used a brush to apply primer and the primer left ridges. It is very frustrating. On the left hand side on the small chalkboard, are his math facts for the week.

We will be dying yarn this week, before the weather gets cold. We will be well stocked with yarn for crocheting!

Painting to prep

I’ve been needing to do my prop paintings for my 3rd grader’s lessons, and this week, I finally got the paint out and knocked them out. I had to do 9 paintings for the first 4 months of lessons. I still have 2 drawings to draw and some modeling figures to create, but those will be done soon enough. The painting can take a bit more time.

Here are some photos from my first night of wet-on-wet painting. Note that I intentionally try to make sure my paintings are perfect. They will be used as the prop while my son and I paint it together during his main lesson, and he can be a bit of a perfectionist. So, it is best if mine don’t look stunning.

I use stockmar water colors.

My kids have been painting rocks almost everyday. My daughter found a painted rock at the library and is hooked! She likes to leave them places for others to find.

Look for a blog post coming soon with a mini run down of what our planned out year will look like. I’m excited to start the new school year next week!

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!

Dolls

My new handwork interest is making dolls. It’s so gratifying to make a beautiful doll with your hands that your child loves. This was an area that used to totally overwhelm me and I thought there was no way i could ever manage learning it.

My confidence first started to bud when I came across a video course for doll making. It was wonderful and helped me to make a beautiful 12 inch Waldorf doll by hand. My only problem with the course is that it is ALL on video. This makes it difficult to reference without sitting and watching something. And this contributed to the doll taking me several months to complete. That wasn’t sustainable.

So I decided to get something in print. Serendipity led me to these two books.

The first book is a wonderful treasury of patterns and instructions for all types of dolls. I’m slowly working my way up to the large limbed doll. The second book does have some simple patterns, but I mostly love it for the written content. The entire first half of the book explains the importance of doll play.

I just recently made some small dolls and thought I’d document the process. I made a twin set of dolls for my daughter and her friend. This was my first time making this pattern. I’m not sure how many hours it took as it was broken up over a number of evenings, and there was even a gap of a few weeks, as I ran out of doll hair yarn.

My next doll project is a doll for my almost 1 year old. My crafting time is limited to evenings most days but I hope to have it started and finished within the next two weeks.

Handwork loose ends

I love handwork. I love making things with my hands. I love the process and the product. Through mostly the process, as the product isn’t always what I was envisioning.

My handwork books and supplies have been in major disarray after we had to turn our craft room into the Zoo room for our guinea pigs and rabbit. Last night I finally tackled it all and it makes me want to get busy on my long list of things i want to make.

I didn’t take a before picture, but it’s so lovely now! I even have a whole drawer for my doll making supplies!

Today, I started chiseling away at my in-progress list. I decided before I dive into anything new, I had to tighten down and focus on the projects I’ve begun. The only exceptions I’ve made were for some crochet baskets that we badly needed in the play room, and a sweet little doll that was a present for my friend’s daughter.

Today I finished a sweater for my baby, and a baby hat that is now much too small for him and has become a doll hat.

This is my list now. I’m thinking I’ll work on the fairy mobile next. It’s a little kit that I bought last summer and I really want to get it made and hung up.