A big in breath

While we tend to take off most of December, we are so busy with crafting, baking, shopping, and other Christmas related activities, that it doesn’t feel like downtime.

Now that Christmas is past, I feel this sudden space to breath in and assess where we are and where I want to head for the new year.

I started by going to the library on my own this afternoon to work on planning for the rest of the school year. I have already finished my first and fourth grade planning for the year, but I still had high school to work on. We are supposed to start back Monday and I had nothing written in for our daily plans! I know which blocks we are doing but I needed to work out the detailed planning.

I was putting off high school planning because I’ve been really unsure of where we are headed with high school.

The last two months have been very hard with my tenth grader as he was in a play that was consuming most of his time and headspace. We also were using Udemy courses for the first few months, which felt like a break for me, but I don’t think it was the best choice for him. He likes more interaction with learning.

So, now that we are coming out at the tail end of 2019, I am feeling more clear on where to go. We are doing a month of chemistry in January, which is something he loves. That will be a good way to ease back into things. I’m also going to start getting more serious about writing up his transcripts now that I have a book on the topic (Setting the Record Straight).

Week wrap up

We went on our lantern walk for Martinmas with our homeschool co-op.

Practicing the names and sounds of the alphabet that my first grader has learned so far:

Working through the Norse myths with my fourth grader. We only have one more week of Norse myths left!

And his music lesson and form drawing:

Monday, part 1

We were down one child today, as my teen was out of town at a concert. It was still very much a Monday, though. Here is our day in pictures. I’ll be writing a follow up post, that’s more reflective.

Copy and verse memorizing work.

Fourth grader knitting. He’s making a sweater for his little brother.

Painting from a Norse story with my fourth grader. He wanted to use paper that would fit in his main lesson book.

Painting with my first grader. I accidentally grabbed the wrong red and we leaned first hand why we need the circle colors. 😂 Carmine red doesn’t quite mix the same way with yellow. You can see my prop painting above, with a lovely golden color for the goose. But we made it work.

I had to snap a picture of my toddler. He always wants to paint with us, but what a mess still! This photo was after he’d dumped the tiny bit of rinse water I’d given him. But the pleasure is in the process and I know it’s good for him to experience painting.

Bumpy roads

Yesterday we started out our day at home, like usual, but things didn’t go as planned. Against my better judgement, my teen had been out late three nights in a row, which meant he was exhausted. This led to an atypical morning and I accepted that he likely wouldn’t be getting any school work done before we had to run off to play practice at 11:30. When the time came to leave, I’d finished my first grader’s work but not yet main lesson for my fourth grader. I saw it was a gorgeous sunny day, so we packed up our things and took to the park.

We are in the middle of a Norse mythology block. Yesterday we discussed Loki’s story and painted from it.

This morning I managed to quietly get out of bed before the toddler and had the house to myself while I did a quick tabata. I took the trash out to the curb and got to see the full moon and the sunrise.

When I woke at 4 am this morning, I woke with a sudden word in my head: control. This is the problem for my teen. He feels like I’m trying to control him. We’ve been having huge struggles with him lately. I mean, to keep it in context, I know it isn’t that bad. He still wakes up every morning and comes to me for a hug; he’s not drinking or doing drugs; he’s not sneaking out at night, etc. But we’ve been having big struggles with finding balance between freedom and responsibility. He’s such a different person that I am, that I find it leads me to loose my patience with him and fall into old habits of exerting control, which in turn just make him buck more wildly.

So, back to this word that came to me. I realized suddenly that I need to stop trying to exert my force on him, because when he feels like he isn’t in control of his own life, it just makes things worse.

Parenting pushes and stretches me in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I know people think I have it all together but I mess up so often. I suppose that’s all we can do. Mess up, dust off, make amends and go forward.

More from our week

We are getting into our school rhythm more. Finished up week two today! following are some photos from grade 10 and 4. The tenth grader is doing a LA/history block called ‘The Word’ (on udemy) which is a history of the written language, more or less, with some ancient history mixed in. The fourth grader is doing a mapping/local geography block.

For a back to school present, I gave my 10 year old his own set of watercolors. He’s been doing a lot of painting on his own. I love his artwork so much, I had to share a bit of it.

Planning begins

I’m in the middle of planning three grades: first, fourth, and tenth. This will be my first time teaching three grades simultaneously and I know I’ll need to be in my game to make it happening. So, my planning needs to be tight!

The easiest grade to plan is first. It’s my second time teaching it and I saved most of my prop drawings from last time. I’ve decided to redo them, though, as the book they were in isn’t holding up very well and my skills have vastly improved. So, I’m doing lots of block crayon drawings at the moment!

I’m using Waldorf Essentials for grades 1 and 4. And their Planning for Peace journal/workbook is a must-have!

Here are the resources I’m using for grade 1, more or less. I’m about 75% done planning grade 1.

Grade 4 planning has a bit more to go still but I’m making good progress.

Those are some fourth grade weekly block plans. I still need to do our daily plans.

I am using these books as well, for both early grades.

High school planning is not as far ahead. I’m waiting for some books to arrive and I plan on diving in deep once I’ve finished planning grades 1 and 4. Tenth grade looks like it’ll be a great year. I’m going to be focusing on art and poetry, in addition to the sciences we are doing.

So far, these are my main books I have to plan tenth grade.

I am experimenting with this little book this year. It has some interesting handwork ideas.

As I work my way through planning, I’ll continue to blog about it. So stay tuned.