Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Long Field Trip

We head to the mountains this weekend to stay for several days with good friends in a cozy cabin among the pines. The kids love to play on the fallen trees around the cabin and "build" little forts. We always hope to see some chipmunks and watch for falling pine cones. They get to shoot at targets and cross streams to arrive at the tree line where a lake is all our own. Botany will be so alive for Molly. Geometry will present itself to Oliver. In everything they experience, they'll look for what they've learned. Beautiful pics to come!

Monday, August 27, 2012

It's OK to Move Slow

Maybe we'll start at 10...maybe we won't. One of the benefits of homeschooling is that we can feel our way through the day. We all woke up a little tired and cranky so instead of just crossing things off a list, I'd rather give ourselves the time we need. What's the point of going through the motions? Once we get going, Oliver will be learning about the structure of the snowflake and drawing one in his book. Molly will be learning about different leaf structures and deciduous forests, perfect before our trip up the mountain this weekend!It's so important not to get bogged down and bored. Flexibility, freedom and FUN!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Free on the Farm

What a wonderful way to end the week. Visiting our friends in Winters for a birthday celebration potluck. The kids went swimming and ran around in the dark playing hide and seek while the adults got to just hang. So perfect, freedom for me and for the kids! A mile high carrot cake slathered in cream cheese frosting, curried potatoes, tofu cashew dip, salmon patties and a beautiful salad, oh AND lemon bars that the kids had made. The community we've had since preschool has become a second family. The drive through the walnut groves and olives has become so comforting. Home away from home. Happy Birthday Vatrena King!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Nature Kids

Our friend Kenny Ballentine just finished this documentary and it's amazing. Kids need nature

Enjoying the Pace

I got up early this morning and went for a walk in the cool morning air. I feel the change of season slowly sneaking up on us. The light is changing, sunflowers are bending and drying...dropping their seeds for next summer. Under a tree on the big green was a blanket of wispy grey-blue mushrooms, perfect for Molly to observe for her botany block! I had Oliver pick some apples to stuff with oatmeal, cinnamon, dried cranberries, butter, sucanat and our spiced plums. The whole house smelled so cozy. The kids had their warm breakfast then we moved into our work for the day. Molly and I walked through the neighborhood to look at the plants and Oliver just went out to look for six fold symmetry that exists in nature. We get to construct the hyacinth tomorrow with his compass! It should turn out beautifully. We'll be heading up the coast in September as well as to the mountains and all that we've studied will be at their feet and fingertips. It is good.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Establishing Rhythm for Homeschooling

I've found that Sunday's are the best day for planning curriculum for the week. It only takes about an hour and a half, or less, to get a basic structure down. This week I added some vocabulary out of last weeks lessons to practice throughout the week for a test on Friday. I've got a pretty good rhythm down for getting everything on paper to reference the night before a lesson. I do all of the curriculum for one child at a time to help me feel less scattered. Because we teach a Waldorf curriculum, we have block rotations dedicated to one subject for 3-4 weeks. Once you're in a subject and lesson planning for the week, I find it easier to stay there instead of bouncing back and forth.
  We open with a review of the previous days main lesson followed by the main lesson of the day. I try not to be too detailed in what I want to do to leave room for being excited and inspired in that moment. I can expand on the topic in any way that feels interesting and fun to us! Then they do their main lesson book writing and drawings from the day before. This is how it's done at the Waldorf schools, present a story about the subject with interesting info, they sleep on it, review it and then put it into form. After their mlb work, they do a simple math sheet to just keep that repetition of facts. This is not a favorite of either child and it's just one of those things they have to practice and keep fresh. This week they'll be practicing their vocabulary words last. All of this only takes about 2 1/2 hours! Their work is turning out beautifully! The rest of the day will be open to any other activities they want to participate in. Molly loves to cook and we've been enjoying looking at Pinterest together in preparation for a fun Halloween party! This is just the rhythm that's working for us so far. Flexibility is the name of the game but having a basic rhythm to go by is so helpful. Good luck to any newcomers to homeschooling!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Biome's and Monad

The biome's of the earth and the Monad principles were on our study list today. In Molly's botany studies we talk about the plants relationship to the sun and earth. Moving away from the poles, we go through the biome's meeting the equator where the jungles are hot and steamy. From there everything is reversed ending in the arctic region once again. With Oliver, we learned that the word Monad is derived from the Greek language meaning The Whole, alphanumerically adding up to 360 degrees. He's loving his compass and has already created some beautiful shapes. All of this is just so fascinating! We read about things, write about them in the books, they illustrate them so beautifully and we end with some math review. This is how it looks so far! Next week I think I'll add a vocabulary test for each subject that they're working on. Not too bad today!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Slow Start

The first day of school got delayed due to the arrival of my little nephew Monday in the way AM. What a beautiful experience and we are all so tired today. Molly's working on her beautiful main lesson book for botany while Oliver and I dipped into some geometry. Today he gets to go and pick up his geometer's tools from the arts and crafts store to practice some fun designs. It's so hard to get back in a rhythm. We all seem to be dragging our feet a little today but I suspect each day will become easier. For now, we just need to push through our tiredness and take our time. Once all the schools are back in session there will be less temptation for the kids to want to go outside and play! As for me, my patience muscle needs some strengthening. I'll work on that. :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Waldorf Homeschooling Begins!

  Next week it all begins. Oliver is starting off the year with Nature, Number and Geometry while Molly will begin with Botany. It's so inspiring to look through this curriculum and recommended resources. Every lesson is presented with such meaning that they excite the soul.
  Oliver will learn how to use a compass, creating interlocking circles and learn what these shapes have represented throughout's connection to the universe. The resource book I will be using is just excellent! "A Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe: The Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art, and Science" is richly illustrated and has so many things to pull from for his main lesson book, not to mention, it's just so fascinating to read. "Do nothing unconsciously. Be aware of each action you perform with them. No act in a geometric construction is trivial or without profound symbolism and correspondence to the world's creating process."
  Molly's botany block will begin with the plants relationship to the sun and earth. "Botany" by Charles Kovacs will be our main read for these lessons: "Imagine all these millions and millions of seeds held inside the earth during the cold season when there is snow, ice, and cold winds, but they are safely kept inside. And now imagine for a moment that each seed is a tiny light, and if you could imagine that we could see through the earth, it would look as though there were millions of stars. During the winter, the earth would look like the starry sky." Alive and twinkling!
  More than facts, the child feels this information on a cellular level. They feel the truth in what's being presented. So do I.