|Inside my messy cabinets it looks like a whirlwind hit as well!|
Last week was a whirlwind!
Monday I spent the whole day at the county courthouse. I was in a jury pool of 50, but after eight hours of grueling boredom, they released me. Although I'm sure it is interesting to see how our legal system operates from the perspective of a jury, I'm SO very glad that they didn't pick me. It turns out the trial is going to last well over 9 days.
Today I needed to take my sweet girls to the dentist many miles away. Another day and rhythm disrupted.
Although I know its silly to be upset for falling behind, I do dote on my schedule that I plant and prune each summer. We were supposed to be discussing the Four Elements, but instead we're still discussing Conifers and the different evolutionary stages of the plant. Na, ja. Such is life.
And, out of the blue, and after spending well over a hundred and fifty dollars on gear, the girls riding instructor canceled lessons. No reason, except that we weren't full time at twice a month, and she only wanted to work with full time (every week) students. No forewarning that this would be an issue after a month of back and forth emails, phone calls, and assurances. But she did do me the courtesy of facebooking to let me know all this. Now I'm scrambling to find lessons and classes that are still open. I have a few choice thoughts about this particular riding instructor, but I'm censoring them since this is a family oriented blog. *grins*
Happenings like this are always a reminder to not get too invested in my plans. When I do become too invested, I lose sight of the overarching needs of the family. Even in family life, things work better if we go whole to part. You'd think after 4 years homeschooling I'd remember that, but every year I'm thrown off schedule for one reason or another; an inevitablity with a big family.
|Becky, 7, picture of a home.|
Yet I'd rather overplan than underplan. Some rearranging has been done. It looks like we'll either have to do a second Botany block this year, or save it for 6th grade. It will be okay. It will. If horseback riding doesn't work out, there is always ice skating later this winter. Breathe, Chrys, Breathe. Luckily our dancer Sophie had a blast. She started her dance lessons last week and, bonus, I won't have to worry about them being cancelled!
Not to whine or anything (okay, maybe a teensy tiny whine), but it is hard to let go of the momentum once a rhythm is, or is in the process of being, established. We've had conversations about this very subject at Homespun Waldorf. Anytime a baby is born, a big move happens, or any other life changing event occurs (death, marriage, holidays,etc.), its hard to get going again. Momentum is just as important in homeschooling as it is in politics. Losing momentum is hard on me and the children, but I do think its a bit harder for me.
Enough already with the whine, time to break out the Brie and crackers! This is what we did do last week, and though we didn't accomplish everything in my Homeschool Plan 2011/2012 notes...what we did do must be celebrated! Without further ado I give you....wait for it...LAST WEEK!
Painting, Mosses, Lichen, Algae and the Life of a Lonely Stone
I find it overwhelming to have all six children wet on wet watercolor paint on one day, so I usually spread it out over two days. The first day is for the older three and the second day is for the younger three. Things are a bit messier that way, but it gives each group of children the space and time to fully experience color and the joy of painting.
We started our week by discussing Lichen, Algae and Moss. I began the lesson by telling a Nature Story I wrote about a Lonely Stone who discovers a green friend. We read three chapters in Botany, often referring back to our trip to the arboretum and the discoveries we had in the pond and while observing the bark of the trees and what was growing on it. I found this book invaluable in planning the Botany block:
Dennis is well known in anthroposophical and Waldorf circles in the USA and beyond. This book is perfect for the fourth grade Man and Animal block, and it is also helpful for learning how to draw plants. An illustration of Algae from my own Main Lesson Book (copied from Book of Nature):
I didn't start doing this until last year, but I find keeping a Main Lesson book of my own notes, drawings and other work to be so helpful; especially when organizing and creating my own, unique, curricula.
In addition to beautiful illustrations and a primer on the "Waldorf" way of drawing from nature, Dennis Klocek has many fascinating and interesting ideas and information about plants and even how to paint or model them.
Becky drew a picture of The Lonely Stone during the active phase of the lesson.
Marie and Sophie painted an underwater Algae and seaweed scene:
|Sophie's take on the assignment|
Usually we have one painting that is lesson specific. It can be about what we are studying at the time or learning painting techniques, complementary colors, etc. After the "lesson painting" they can paint what they want to. The younger three, since they are all under five, usually explore only one color at a time. By doing so they have the opportunity to be fully immersed in understanding and experiencing that color. Sometimes we do a rhyme or verse, and sometimes not. The very act of wet on wet watercolor brings my rambunctious youngsters into a state of reverence and reflection...the perfect mood for watercolor painting!
|Christoph's (4) Raphsody in Blue|
|Becky's Sun Mountain|
A Morning in the Life of the Youngest Three
This year I have the luxury of having a bit of help in the morning with the younger three. Every morning Papa takes them out on a fieldtrip. They go shopping, to the park, and peek in at what we're doing sometimes. It's a big world out there for the under 5 set.
|Beth's drawing of the younger three: Beth, Christoph and Katydid.|
|Hmmm....I think I now know the reason that they come back home so hyper. ;0)|
|The way it looks from a preschooler's perspective|
|You never know what treasures you'll find in the Wal-Mart parking lot.|
We're still working on this lesson, but we began by reading Hans Christian Andersen's The Fir Tree.
It's a sad story, but one that made a positive impact on my 2nd grader. This fairy tale (and many of Andersen's fairy tales) are sometimes better left until 3rd grade, but I think she was ready for it. We practiced mirror form drawing (I drew one sidea and she finished the other) as our activity and made fir tree shaped forms.
I decided to let my girls experiment with journaling and writing about what they learned without prompting from me this year. Here is Sophie's take on the fern:
|Sophie (age 9 almost 10). It was interesting to see what both of them picked up on and the logic they used to gather their thoughts. The red is to show that there are red ferns too! Entirely their idea.|
Tomorrow I'll post a bit about the crafts we've been doing and do an update on Conifers. But now it is time to get ready for the morning and go to sleep.