It's a tea and pancakes morning here. Rainy and cold. Perfect for turning our brown grass green!
I am starting a new path- Waldorf Essentials Thinking Feeling Willing program. Back when I was new at this homeschool thing, I bought their first grade curriculum. They were called A Little Garden Flower, and I watched every YouTube video and read their blog start to finish. It was an excellent way to begin.
About halfway through E's first grade, we moved to Alaska. Since then, I've used Christopherus. I liked A Little Garden Flower, but Christopherus spoke to me. I loved the math animals rather than gnomes, and the stories seemed deeper. So we have used Christopherus grades 1-4.
But what to do for grade 5? It's a ways off, I know. Next January at the earliest. Christopherus goes through fifth grade. A Little Garden Flower- I mean Waldorf Essentials- goes through seventh. Live Education! through eighth. Earthschooling is through high school. Oak Meadow through high school. I really love Chrisopherus. Have I said that? I adore their curric. So why can't they go through high school?!? But they don't. So...what to do.
After much searching, reading, praying, and complaining I finally came to a decision. Melisa at Waldorf Essentials has this program, Thinking Feeling Willing, as I was saying before. It is lessons for mom, as well as all her child curriculum. Two birds with one stone. I will have curriculum through seventh, and by then I will have learned what I need to create my own plan beyond that...or at least continued support as I go about creating it!
Right now I am working through the first mom lesson: creating rhythm. This is the single most difficult thing for most homeschooling parents. Creating a daily and weekly rhythm that works. One in which everything flows. The first assignment: get up before your kids and exercise, meditate, plan, etc. That is hard to do. I've been working (sort of) on that one for 10 years now. :) But I WILL do it. And keep doing it. I've always known it would make our days flow better. No time like the present to actually put forth full effort in this, right?
The other thing I did was give the grandparents a wish list. I laid it out, just in case they wanted to help but didn't know what we needed. Want to see it? Here it is:
Art classes, piano lessons
Elementary science education, vol 2, grades 3-5 by Bernard Nebel
Middle school science education, vol 3 grades 6-8 by Bernard Nebel
Story of the world by Susan Wise Bauer, book and activity book (not tests)
Vol. 2: Middle Ages
Vol 3: early modern times
Vol 4: modern age
Geology and Astronomy by Charles Kovacs
And just like that, they offered an aquarium membership, piano lessons for e, and the two science curriculums. Boom. Ask and you shall receive? I did not expect much of a response. I'm not sure why, since they've always expressed a big interest in the kids' education. Subscriptions to nature magazines, hours of watching gymnastics, piano playing, and singing on FaceTime, and just recently a telescope- not to mention the offers of high school science Power Point files and lots of science lessons each time they visit. We are very grateful for it all. Maybe that's why I was surprised. They'd already given so much.
Yet there you have it- e can take piano again (woohoo!!!). We can visit the aquarium often and learn about the bay and ocean. The science books are pretty awesome. I've had the first one, for k-2, since E was kindy. The author presents topics in a teachable moment sort of way, believing that science should not be taught in a cookie-cutter manner, nor out of context. If you want your child to learn about states of matter, teach it while cooking or playing with water or ice on a hot day. Energy? How about roasting marshmallows over a fire and seeing what material will/won't burn? Inspiration. As E gets older, my efforts on this will become more deliberate, and I am happy to have Nebel's next two books to draw from. Nebel is in no way Waldorf, but the information can be applied in a Waldorfish manner.
Now, back to the tea and pancakes. How do we make grain-free pancakes? Have I told you yet? Mash 2 ripe bananas. Stir in 4 eggs and a bit of cinnamon. Pancake batter. I use a nonstick pan and wipe it between batches with bacon grease. These things stick. Then the kids gobble them up plain. No need for any sweet topping. In the summer, I store frozen pancakes in the freezer for the kids to snack on. Deliciousness. Meanwhile, I sneak a chocolate chip peanut butter Lara Bar. Yum.