Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sweet Little Gift

e and I have been kept busy by birthdays this month!

This little guy is Natural Suburbia's pattern....sort of. We decided his ears made perfect wings, lol.

Also from Natural Suburbia, a cat. Or five. Yep, we made five. We loved him that much. I adore the way each one comes out different, based on how the stuffing sits, how the face is placed, and how the ears are divided. They each have such different personalities. :)

And the pouch, complete with finger-knitted decorative braiding.

Pretty, no?


I'm joining Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm, Craft On. Join the fun!


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Planning for a New Year

I have begun planning for this coming school year, which we will start slowly in August. Man and Animal for E- not your ordinary zoology unit study! With each passing year I learn more about Waldorf and love it even more. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon for e. She's been waiting three loooong years for this!


So how does one go about preparing for a new year? I use Melisa's method from Waldorf Essentials. Easy and very visual. I fold a piece of thick paper into 12 squares. Trace the lines, write in the months. List birthdays and festivals. Think about where your breaks are, and what blocks fit best where. Here's mine, without 5th grade blocks.

Then I put it onto a spreadsheet, and the computer ate my formatting. This is a rough draft!

On the left is second grade, on the right fifth. Or 4th/5th. That one gets confusing to explain.


As far as the school district knows, E is a rising fifth grader. He is the appropriate age for a public-schooled fifth grader: ten. Waldorf, however, does not match public school. The fifth grade blocks are designed to meet the developmental needs of an 11-year-old, which E will not be until spring.


I didn't think it mattered too much- after all, lessons are lessons, right? Until he hit the end of third grade. He hung onto the third grade topics, and just....didn't seem ready to move on. Academically he was fine; he tested at or above grade level in all core subjects. It is hard to explain to anyone who hasn't experienced the wonderful developmental match that is Waldorf education. I just felt he wasn't ready. Third grade subjects still spoke to him.


So we continued on with four months of Native Americans. In January I brought out the 4th grade Norse Myths block, and he jumped in with both feet! The timing was just right. Thus we continue in that way: declare him as a fifth grader this year, but his blocks will be fourth grade through December.


We may do the same thing with e at some point, perhaps even drawing out her blocks enough to drop her back a grade since her birthday is in June. She's a whole year young by Steiner's ideals. But you can bet I won't be telling her; there's no way she'd allow it!


Anyway, I've ordered books and supplies. I'm so excited for it all to arrive! Fifth grade geometry is going to be amazing; I wish I had learned math this way! And zoology... What a twist. E is going to LOVE the art processes involved.


Catching Up

This summer has been busy! We have met new friends, deepened friendships, and played to our hearts' content. Even with the jellyfish and wasp stings, lack of structure, and lots of car time, I believe both children will say it has been a wonderful experience. Two more weeks- including a week of day camp for e- and then we will settle a bit more into home life again in preparation for the upcoming school year. That means finishing up last year's main lesson books, which were left hanging in favor of beach play. Here's their last few pages I never posted:

Oh. My. Word! This was a tough block for E! In e end it was YouTube songs that saved us.

Review of forms- his favorite assignment. One or two running forms a day.

He is getting better at cursive! I ordered an actual handwriting main lesson book for each child this year. I'll let you know if that helps.

And....this. Pulling teeth. That's where we stopped. This week we will return to finish the page with examples and color.

Our Story of the World lesson book. Early writing.

And mummies. Fun stuff. We actually made a game hen mummy a few years ago. The kids don't remember it, but I do. Every time I'd go to change out the corn starch, I'd cringe and hold my breath...but it never smelled bad. Shocked me every single time!

e and I read the last few stories in Christopherus' first grade curric. e was determined to hear them all!


This was a FAVORITE. Abu Kasim's Boots. She talked about it for weeks!

A pretty form. e figured out how to make her sun glow. :)

E's spelling. Slowly but surely...


Wednesday, July 9, 2014


We drove hours and hours to Luray Caverns last weekend. The formations inside the cave were beautiful; it was awe-inspiring to see what a drip of water could create.


But the best part came on the way home. E shared the story he'd been writing on the drive to Luray, and what a story it is! The language he used! The phrases, his word choices.... I even asked C if E had perhaps used phrases from the Redwall series, but no. It was all E. Here's a sample:

She started to back away but slipped and fell into the grisly hands- or the things that would have been hands- of Haven's. He quickly stuffed her into a rough sack, tying it tightly. He flew off into the night with a screaming Lilly fearfully awaiting her fate.

And this one:


Coco just stood there in horror as Hellen related the turn of events.



Where did this come from? E has hardly written anything in the last 4 years, and certainly nothing beyond what he copied from the board or the two sentences a week I required in his third grade weather journal.


No writing lessons, no vocabulary tests. We read to him. We read real stories full of drama and description. We search out books we know he will love. We visit the library and put book after book on hold to nurture his love of reading the whole series... In order, of course. We answer questions. And we read to him some more.


I've probably mentioned that we couldn't read to him before almost 7 years old. He couldn't follow story lines, asked questions every other word...it was too much to take in. Then all of a sudden he couldn't get enough.


He hated writing, would do anything to get out of writing, and now this.


It isn't a slow steady progression with this kid. He appears to make no progress, perhaps even sliding backwards, and then BOOM. Twice a year or so, he gives me reason to keep moving forward. Remember the geography lesson? That was another moment like this. Moments I live for.


A friend sent me this, thinking of E the Gymnast:

But it also relates to parenting a kid like E. Or maybe any kid. Parenting is hard. Good thing we have what it takes.