Category Archives: General Homeschool

Let Me Explain. No, There is too Much. Let Me Sum Up.

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Cleaning out the school shelf after fourth grade.

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Changing my eating habits. I got nothing but FAT following the “Nourishing Traditions” book. I changed to a whole-food plant based diet almost four months ago and lost 24 pounds! It feels awesome.

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Pintail turned eleven!!

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Teal spent a week at Girls’ Camp. I got to go up as a leader for two days. So fun!

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Wigeon enjoying the neighborhood pool.

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Summer Solstice fire jumping.

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Lagoon with cousin Max.

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I planted climbing roses on the porch and they actually bloomed!

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Baseball! That’s how we spent the first half of summer. Pintail is the fourth from the left.

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Wigeon and daddy kayaking at the lake.

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Teal doing the SUP board.

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A presentation on the Civil War by a neighbor/enthusiast for our Young Men/Young Women activity.

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Playing with cousins in Granny and Grampy’s creek.

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Cousin races on the Fourth of July.

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Doing the zipline with family at Sundance Mountain Resort.

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Hiking to Stewart Falls at Sundance.

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A sink full of yummy home-grown greens.

And the change I have been least wanting to put into writing; Teal will be attending public school this fall for eighth grade. My plan all along had been to homeschool the “grades” (Waldorf 1-8) and then see what Teal wanted to do for the high-school years; homeschool, dual enrollment (part home/part public school) at the High School, early college classes? I thought it would be a good transition in eighth-grade to let her take one or two electives at the Jr. High and then come home for academic subjects, but as she looked over the Jr. High class list her eyes welled up with tears and she said she just wanted to go to Jr. High full-time. I could have said no. I kind of wish I had said no. But, I felt a distinct impression to let this be an opportunity to help her learn how to make decisions in a faith-based way. We talked about making a decision and approaching Heavenly Father through prayer to receive either a confirmation of the decision or an impression to do something else. I won’t lie, I knew she would choose to go to Jr. High, but I helped her through the process. The next evening she was very shy about telling her dad and me her decision because she didn’t want me to cry. I didn’t cry then, but that night when I laid down with Wigeon the tears started flowing. Wigeon said, “There are tears leaking from your eyes.” I said it was because I was sad Teal was going to school, and Wigeon said she was sad, too.

It has taken me all summer to adjust to this change. And though I have only been supportive of Teal’s decision, I do feel a loss. There just wasn’t any closure for me. I won’t get to do eighth grade. I have to cram reading Kovacs’ The Age of Revolutions over the summer, so when she takes US History with a stranger this fall, she will know what led to the formation of this lovely country. I was helped one day while reading the Christopherus Homeschool Curriculum Overview for eighth grade. Donna Simmons titled the Section “Eight Grade – Taking Responsibility.” She goes right on to say, “If you haven’t already begun to treat your child as a partner in terms of his education, then now is the time…It is important that your child be able to take responsibility for his choices and that he be increasingly aware of how his decisions affect and shape his life.” I’m sure she probably didn’t mean public school in eighth grade, though it’s mentioned for ninth, but it was something that made me feel better.

I can’t help but wonder if I had never had her in public school (K-middle of grade 2) would she have wanted to go back? Does everyone’s teen want to go public school and they just say no? Should I have fought harder for just one more year? I’m sure it’s different for every family, and I recognize that part of the sadness I’m experiencing is that I feel like I’m losing some of MY identity.

So, there you have it; the summation. You can thank me for leaving out the back and forth between my husband and me regarding the whole thing. 😉

Thanks for coming back to visit me here after my five month hiatus. Now that I’ve gotten this out. I hope to be back more frequently.

Rachel

 

 

An Oxymoron or To-Do Lists in my Waldorf-Inspired Home School

Cute but unrelated picture by Wigeon.

Cute but unrelated picture by Wigeon.

We started our school year at the end of August with a robust rhythm. Our daily doings were crafted around the main anchors of the day (rising, meals and bedtime) and I had come up with what seemed a beautiful, but very full, unfolding of activities throughout the day. After a few weeks, I noticed that the rhythm I had crafted felt burdensome. There was often down time between main lessons and household activities when I just wished the kids knew what to work on next without my direction. Another problem was that there wasn’t enough time during the two big kids’ main lessons to accomplish everything relating to the main lesson. There also wasn’t enough time during their main lessons to work together on math or grammar (I have been using a non-Waldorf grammar program starting in fourth grade-ish) that needed to be redone because of errors.

After a few more weeks of struggling to stick to our rhythm, I came up with a solution. I woke up one morning and created a little spreadsheet for each child which I filled with work that I wanted them to accomplish that day. This ‘to-do’ list became a way for me to break out some of the tasks that I wanted them to accomplish in regard to the main lesson, but with which I didn’t want to take our daily main lesson time. It also gave them a list of things that they could be working on when I needed to change laundry or do something related to maintaining the household or spending time with my three-year-old.

Here is an examples of a to-do list:

Seventh Grade

  • Read: Shabanu 30 minutes
  • Math: Finish Measurement Sheet #5 (from Jamie York’s Making Math Meaningful)
  • Grammar: Lesson #40
  • Poetry: Copy “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer” in to Poetry MLB
  • Edit and Copy  ocean currents write-up into MLB
  • Main Lesson: Astronomy with mom (During this time, I present new material do any creative activity associated with it, painting, sculpting, etc.)
  • Fold and put away laundry

Often I’ll put things on like “Paint with mom” or “Review measurement sheet 2 with mom” or “Present poem to mom” when I want to make sure that they do the work WITH me. I’ve told them that whenever it says that are to work with me, it will be when I call them!

This has been working really well for us! Our daily rhythm is still intact, but there is more flexibility for me! What does our day look like now?

  • Rise & Dress, Do Morning Chores
  • Breakfast & Dishes
  • Scripture Reading and Journaling
  • Both kids usually choose to read independently first thing, which gives me time to create their daily lists.
  • Big kids begin working on tasks in any order they choose, while I sing and tell a story to my three-year-old.
  • I do main lesson with first child and work on anything else that requires mom. The second child is working on their tasks.
  • Lunch & Walk
  • I do main lesson with second child, while first child finishes their tasks.
  • Teatime and Tidy
  • Play time and/or outside activities
  • Dinner
  • Freetime
  • Bedtime

When I look at it, our rhythm is pretty much intact, only the details of how it gets done have changed. We also seem to be ending thirty minutes sooner than we used to, which is a bonus for everyone! When you think Waldorf, you don’t generally think to-do lists, but it has really helped in maintaining a healthy feeling in our home.

What are your tricks for getting everything done during the day?