Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hello, introduction

Thank you so much to Lisa for creating this wonderful space.  I have been hoping for the opportunity to contribute more actively and thought I would post a quick introduction.

We currently live in England, UK although my husband and I were both born and grew up in southern Africa.  We have strong family connections in UK and in southern Africa.  We have four boys aged 8, 5, 3 and 7 months and from the start we have home educated and always been Waldorf inspired.

Currently, we are covering 2nd grade and kindy.  I plan out my own curriculum and draw ideas from a variety of resources.  For 2nd grade, we've recently been covering a block on Aesops Fables.  I have created an umbrella story to appeal to my son's interests and it's based on four happy adventurers who go on various quests and then I drop in carefully chosen fables into the story.  We recently covered the fable 'The Boy and the Nettles' and did all sorts of activities based on nettles - making paper from nettle leaves, making nettle tea, the various uses of nettles.  The week after that we spotted a fox whilst out walking and my son was so very excited, having not seen one in broad daylight before.  I quickly used this fantastic teachable moment and changed our story to cover two Aesops Fables involving foxes.  It worked out beautifully!

We are looking forward to the start of Advent this weekend and will spend the month enjoying the Advent season as well as covering some of the Saints starting with St Nicholas next week.

In January, I plan to cover a Math block using Anansi stories and follow that by a Language Arts block using African folktales from Southern Africa.

We also really enjoy following Jodie's pennywhistle programme.  The areas I find most challenging are fitting in reasonably peaceful watercolour sessions, and fitting in form drawing.

So, that's a very quick introduction from me.  Looking forward to sharing and learning with you all in this wonderful space.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Everyone join in....

If I finish my introduction, maybe you will all jump in and introduce yourselves? and contribute to this blog? Even if you are brand new to Waldorf, it's okay, this is a forum for sharing and connecting, it's fine to jump in right where you are at.

Carrie and Kelly are signed in as contributors. Come on in and write on this blog! Send me, lisaboisvert at yahoo dot com, your e-mail address and I'll send you an invitation to participate as a contributor. I envision this as a co-operative writers blog where each of us can contribute, maybe we can get some topics going, build on each other's writings, ask questions, support each other, mix it up, make it juicy and fun for all! Come on in!

Today is Thanksgiving and I am blessed with the luxury of time and so thankful for that rare gift. My mom is cooking today and I am going to the football game later on with the boys and my dad whose alma mater is playing. The children are sleeping, the house is quiet.

To wrap up my introduction,  I am using a combination of resources, I have Sieglinde de Francesca's fabulous book on the fables ( I could not resist the pun!)  and I ordered the Aseop's fables book she recommends which is beautifully illustrated and has lovely illustrations which inspire my drawing. I also have the Saint Francis Little Book of Flowers and various other books on Saints and legends. I am struggling with the Native American legends because the ones I find do not resonate with me at all even though we live smack in the center of the place where the french, english and native americans collided. My ancestors came from farther north in Quebec and are french, english and native american so I am wondering if I hear stories of those people, will they resonate? Any advice?

Math circle time has propelled me into the realm of the grades and rhythmic movement as something new to learn. I am an early childhood teacher and at ease with circles for three, four, five and six year olds but this realm of second grade is oh so new. And fun. I have not found any inspiring resources out there so I am creating my own.

I love all of it. I think we are still in the honeymoon phase of homeschooling where it is all so new and precious and exciting. I have been a wanna be homeschooler for many years since we quit homeschooling with my oldest. I love seeing my child learn and I am amazed at how the culture of learning at home imbues everything we do. It  truely is a live education! 

My challenge is time. I wish I could go off for two weeks and immerse myself in the curriculum and chew on throughts for the whole year. Also community. I wish we all could come together for a cup of tea and maybe handwork while our children played and sing together and do a play as a group. This is what I wish for and perhaps the impetus for starting this blog.

We have a lovely Waldorf school in our community and very few families doing Waldorf homeschooling. Our connection with the school life and community is strong though it is different than a community of homeschoolers. There is something so vibrant with homeschooling.

We recently celebrated Martinmas with a group composed of Morning Garden families, friends from the school and a homeschooling famiy that journeyed from across Lake Champlain to meet and join us. This is my youngest, my second grader, at Martinmas.

You may know that I blog at Celebrating the Rhythm of Life with Children and have FaceBook pages, one is the Waldorf Homeschool Network and the other is Waldorf Early Childhood Education ~ Bringing it Home. Please join and post links to your blog posts there for others to find.

I recently initiated and helped produce the Elements of  Early Childhood Program for Donna Ashton at the Waldorf Connection of which our own Carrie Dentier was a dynamic speaker.

I am currently working on a project to support Waldorf education in the home.

Warmly and thankful for each of you in the online community,


Saturday, November 13, 2010

I'll go first.....

We are doing Second Grade. 

I am still finding my way into our rhythm as we just began homeschooling in October. This is so exciting to be learning the second grade curriculm and taking up the pentatonic flute, drawing with crayons and drawing with charcol. It is pushing me to learn and be active in my own work in a way I had let drop. It is also a bit daunting to think I am the one who is bringing  this to my child. And I trust that it is all perfect in its imperfection!

Each day I rise very early and feed the animals, water the plants, start the laundry, and organize what will be dinner. (I plan the weekly menus on the weekend. ) This solitude is essential to my clarity and well being for the day. When I became a mother, I was tired at night that I went to sleep earlier than ever before in my life and discovered the beauty of morning solitude.

Monday morning, we go to the farm down the road and do farm chores: feed the hens, gather their eggs, slop the pigs, admire the piglets, feed the horse, help milk the goats and cows. We do whatever needs doing by checking in with the farmer. Often we spend a good deal of time playing on the hay bales in the barn. We do this with the Morning Garden which is my nursery program. At nap time, back at the house, we do Main Lesson of form drawing with a story, math and writing review. 

Tuesday, we start the day with math or writing and then make soup with the Morning Garden. At nap time which usually lasts for two hours or more,  we do Main Lesson. 

On Monday and Tuesday, we do Circle together for both ages. This gives us a chance to sing seasonal songs, we've been singing Saint Martin Songs and Lantern songs, say verses with movement and do finger and toe play as a group. We do crafts like lantern making together.

On these days, I save the more rhythm clapping and stamping and bean bag work for nap time and often do it outdoors with my son.

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday we start the day with  math or writing I have set out and them school for two hours with Circle and Main Lesson. Afternoons are for story, beeswax modelling, knitting, french, painting and baking, followed by outdoor play in the afternoon.

We have an outdoor movement course that we do before begining Main Lesson that has been really good that ends with jumping rope, a stomping verse, then a calm verse while holding hands. Then we go in to school. My son needs lots of movement in his day and when he gets it, he can focus and work with eagerness.

My older child is now in high school.

Some days feel really balanced and good, others need tweaking.

I have put together curriculm material from a varity of sources:

General inspiration for all:

Marsha Johnson at the yahoo group, Waldorfhomeducators is a great inspiration. 

Live Ed too. I have used the Live Ed first grade curriculum which inspires me in second grade as well. 

In addition to Marsha Johnson's amazingly rich files at Yahoo Group Waldorf Homeducators,  I use Donna Simmon's Christoperus Second Grade Mathematics book. Dorothy Harrer's, Math Lessons for Elementary Grades and Henning Andersen's Active Arithemetic! inspire me in putting together math.

Right now I am working on a Native American Math block through Thanksgiving. Lots of clapping and stamping songs. cooking, baking, measuring, dividing, fire building and teepee making.

 I was hoping to find some good examples of second grade circle as they don't seem to be out there where I can find them. So I am making my own.

Enough for this post, I'll return with more on Fables, Saints and Legends as well as other aspects of the curriculum that I am pursuing and response to the rest of the questions I posed in the first post on the blog.

I'd love to hear from you. Come join the blog and be an author too or link to your blog. If you wish to participate in this blog, as an author, let me know in the comment section below and I will add you as an author.



Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Warm Welcome to the Waldorf Homeschool Network


I am home educating my second grader with Waldorf curriculum and loving it. I'm creating this spaca as a place where Waldorf homeschoolers can share what they are doing. I'd love o hear from you.

This is a place to share what is going on in the world of Waldorf Homeschoolers. Please join and tell us about your experience of doing Waldorf education at home.

What grade/class are you doing?

What is your rhythm?

Do you have more than one child?

How to you balance all?

What curriculum are you using?

What do you love about it?

What are your challenges?

Do you have a community?

What is your vision?

What do you wish for?

What are you blogging about and where?

Waldorf homeschoolers and home based programs, perhaps you'll answer these question in a blog post and post a link to your blog?

Autumn Blessings!