Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer school and looking ahead ...

If you read through my previous post, you know that I've been thinking a lot about next year. 

Well, it's less than two months away, and I want to be fully prepared for a change.  I think things go smoothly for us when I'm prepared.  And, they flop when I am not.  For me, I need to prepare. 

So, after much (and that is a MAJOR understatement) thought and reflection (and obsession), here is what I've come up with:

I have a rising First Grader (turning 7 in August) and a rising Third Grader (turning 9 in December)

I am going to outline for you the major themes.  I will go into detail in another post.

Grade One (The Princess)

We will follow the Christopherus Grade One Syllabus (syllabus only) pretty closely for Language Arts, Math and Nature blocks.  During her LA blocks, she will be introduced to the letters via Fairy Tales and work with reading, writing and word families.  During her Math blocks, she will learn the qualities of the numbers up to 12 and work with all four processes this year (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division).  During the nature blocks that are scheduled, we will spend time outside and will study weather (combining here with her sister's 3rd grade curriculum), do nature crafts, plant a garden, etc.  

We will also continue working through the lessons in the Delightful Reading program.  She LOVES this program and I think it is simple and beautiful as well.  I will most likely alternate these lessons with All About Spelling level one lessons.  AAS begins with 3 and 4 letter words, short vowel sounds and the like, so I think it will mesh quite nicely.  As she is ready, she can begin to read aloud from Reading Literature the Primer and All About Reading Cobweb the Cat.  I also still have the complete set of Bob Books.  They in no way fit in with any of my philosophies of education, but she likes them and enjoys reading them.  So, we'll keep using them until she tires of them. 

I'd like to teach her to knit this year and get her going on some handwork.  Her sister can already knit and we do a Waldorf-inspired Handwork group once a week during the school year, but the other girls are all the Hippie's age, so next year they are moving on to crochet.  So, it appears I'll have to work with the Princess on her handwork on my own.  
That will be the basis of her Grade One year.  She will also participate in all Family Work (listed below).  Most importantly, she will have plenty of time left for playing and exploring.  I figure if we have 15 minute reading or spelling lessons plus 30 minutes for her Waldorf Main Lesson, she will be finished in about 45 minutes to an hour in the morning.  Then, she can play while I work with her sister and then we'll come back together for our science/nature and art studies.  Her entire school day of actual "instruction" shouldn't be more than an hour and a half or so.  Perfect for her age.  

Grade Three (The Hippie)

These are the main topics.  I will put them together on my own.  I'll do another, more detailed post on that another time.  For now, the topics:
  •  Math - Grade 2 and 3 Waldorf topics 
  • Old Testament from Creation to Moses' Death (Promised Land), Hurlbut's Story of the Bible
  • Native American Stories, selections from the library
  • Shelters and Fibers as applicable to OT and Native Americans, Shemie books
  • Farming, Gardening (doing, not bookwork)
  • Weather
  • Building, Practical Projects (with Daddy on the weekends)
  • Cursive
  • Copywork related to Old Testament and Native Americans
  • I'd like to follow some Jewish holidays to relate to our OT studies 
  • Learn Hebrew Alphabet 
  • Continue All About Spelling
  • Math Facts for Copywork 
  • Math games with Momma on Fridays for extra practice
As a Family:

We will continue our Artist and Picture Study, Charlotte Mason style.  We will finish Monet over the summer and then we will cover the following during the 1st/3rd grade school years (one per term):
  • Van Gogh
  • Georgia O'Keefe
  • Renoir 
We will continue with Outdoor Secrets and the companion available at Simply Charlotte Mason.  We have about 45 lessons left, so I intend to do this twice a week.  

We will work our way through the Burgess Bird Book and the accompanying ideas located here at Satori Smiles.  We will do this once a week, so will not finish the entire book this year, but that's perfectly okay.  

 We will do some sort of art, craft, cooking, baking, etc. based on the Old Testament or Native Americans we are studying on Fridays.  Even though the subject matter may be related to 3rd grade, we will do this together as a family (this is the fun stuff!).  During the math and nature/weather blocks, we will paint some geometric shapes, copy some of the Art Masters that we are studying and just plain have fun with crafts, art and baking/cooking. 

We have two different read-aloud sessions per day.  One is prior to our Quiet Time (this is usually nature-related) and one is prior to bedtime.  Our quiet time read-alouds this year will come from the individual Thornton Burgess Adventure books (we own 11 of them), Clara Dillingham Pierson's Among the _________ People books and The Red Indian Fairy Book

As for our bedtime read-alouds, they will range across the 1st through 3rd grade suggestions.  Some that I have in mind include Farmer Boy, The Wise Enchanter, Ox Cart Man, fairy tales from the Green Fairy Book (we own this one), Understood Betsy, Naya Nuki and other Kenneth Thomasma books, books (I have a little horse-lover on my hands) and whatever else strikes our fancy from classic children's literature appropriate for their ages. 

We will do poetry in a relaxed manner ~ simply reading it aloud once a week.  The Hippie will also be exposed to some poetry in her language arts blocks and will most likely copy some into her Native American and Old Testament books ... maybe even in her Farming book.  I may get LMNOP and all the letters A to Z and read the letter poems to the Princess. 

I'm still trying to figure out where to fit in plain old Nature Study.  We're doing A LOT of Nature Study in the sense of reading and narrating nature stories and doing the activities to go along, but regular old nature walks and nature observation and nature notebook sketching?  Still trying to find a place for that in the schedule.

We are going to work in Spanish and PE and Handwork as well, but outside of our regular school day.

We also have memberships to our local science and history museum, planetarium and zoo.

We'll take as many field trips as we can.  Some things I have in mind are working farms (where we can actually work on the farm a bit), berry picking, find a beekeeper, etc.

We'll be studying weather together as a family during our weather/nature blocks.  This is not book-work, simply outdoor observation, making a weather vane, keeping a weather journal, measuring rain and temperature, painting clouds ... that sort of thing.

We'll spend a day on Michaelmas (story, baking dragon bread, play and/or art), some time on All Hallow's Eve, All Saints and All Souls Day, a day on Martinmas (story, activity) and some time honoring Bob Marley's birthday (read books we have, watch his concerts on DVD, bake and cook Jamaican food, listen to his music, paint in honor of him).  

We will also take off from "lessons" from the week before Thanksgiving all the way through New Year's.  During this time we will focus on Christmas decorations, making gifts, baking, reading about St. Lucia, St. Nicholas (the real one), celebrating the Winter Solstice, read Christmas stories, watch Christmas movies and just enjoy being together.  We also started a tradition last year of baking cookies and delivering cookies and blankets and socks and warm clothes (second hand) to the homeless (wherever we could find them) on Christmas Eve.

I think that about covers our year.  I may also include a grammar block between 3rd and 4th grade (next summer) using Ruth Heller's World of Language books (just for fun).  We will read them and create a Main Lesson Book about all the parts of speech.  But, that's later.  Much later! 

For this summer, we will finish up our study of Monet, complete our Arithmetic Village block, continue reading aloud both during the day and at night and continue with the Hippie's independent reading and handwork during Quiet time.  Momma will continue planning and hopefully we'll be ready to start school in late August!  

What are your plans for next year? 


  1. Oh, I can't wait to see your detailed posts on 3rd grade! It looks great. We thoroughly enjoyed Outdoor Secrets and the companion books, too. When she came out with the guide, we just had to do it again. Would you mind doing a post on festivals, including Winter Solstice. I know your faith perspective and would really like to see what you are planning.

  2. Cindie, I will try to get to that soon. My head is sort of mush about 3rd grade at the moment ~ I need to really figure out what I want to do and how I want to do it before I start posting it for the world to see, lol. As far as the celebrations, I had thought before that I wanted to post WHAT we celebrated in our family and WHY, but I've never gotten around to it. Honestly, the Waldorf stuff, I'd never heard of before learning about Waldorf so it may not have as much "meaning" to us (yet), but it is fun to read the stories and bake dragon bread. We had not ever celebrated the solstice before last year, but we got together with the local Waldorf co-op for that last year and it was fun. When I get a minute, I'll try to put together a post for you. Thanks again for reading! Did you get the books I sent you yet?

  3. I did and I am really looking forward to incorporating them when we use the same kind of thing with Oak Meadow. They overlap a little on the stories and I knew they would, but Donna has such great ideas about how to engage children in the story, so I am really looking forward to Christopherus-izing Oak Meadow. (That is so not a word!) You know what I mean. :o)

  4. Hi there. I am here from your link on a Waldorf Curriculum Yahoo Group post. I am like you...having to be prepared (in all aspects of life, really). I am impressed!

  5. Thank you for checking me out, Nicola! It's nice to "meet" you. :)


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