Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Please Join Me ...

... today at the Homespun Waldorf Winter Carnival. I am so honored to have been chosen to write a guest post for this weeks Nourish series. The carnival has been fantastic so far, so be sure to take a look at the previous posts, and know that there are 8 posts to come after mine.  Plus there are weekly giveaways!

If holistic and natural living appeals and you haven't joined the Homespun Waldorf forums yet, please do come on over. Membership is free and it is an amazing community! It isn't only for homeschoolers, either, but all those interested in Waldorf in the home.

And now, a completely gratuitous cute children photo:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Whirlwind Wednesday

Today was busy! We had PE and T-Guy had his first baseball practice of the season, so there was a lot of sitting in the fresh air and sunshine for me, which is always good. Of course, temperatures in the mid 70s, in February, are very good. Well, maybe except for the whole global warming issue. To be fair, it was cold and rainy just yesterday.


Today the boys:

Did two lessons in their Kumon Grade 6 Fractions workbooks.

Had PE (Volleyball, which the parents find hysterical.  The homeschooled kids love it.)

T-Guy had baseball practice, which counts as an extra session of PE.  A long session.

J-Baby did fractions games on the iPad while T-Guy had baseball practice, then he played Yahtzee, which is kind of math.

Spent some time with Papa exploring Garage Band on the iPad.

Did more fractions work, or rather, prime factoring in their other fractions workbooks.

Made the waste books from Isaac Newton and Physics For Kids.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Simple Tuesdays

Monday is a combination of busy and home; we don't go anywhere but we get a lot done.  It's a heavy homeschooling day and a heavy kitchen day. Tuesdays, by comparison, are simple. We do our morning chores and tidy, we do some homeschooling, we have lunch with Papa, and then we visit with friends. Then we fix a simple dinner or choose to go out, which is what we did tonight.


Today the boys:

Completed their music practice.

Worked on fractions, doing two lessons in their workbooks. The concept of borrowing came up, and honestly I don't think it is one I was ever taught. I always convert the entire mixed number into an improper fraction and so far that is exactly that I've taught the boys, but their book did it differently so we spent some time at the white board doing it this "new" way. It does make it easier to finish the problem as there isn't the final conversation, just an occasional simple reduction.

Read the first two chapters of The Borrowers. This is our children's literature selection for the rest of February.

Did two lessons in their other fractions workbook, one that is more story problems and real world applications.

Heard the rest of chapter one from Isaac Newton and Physics For Kids.

Played Yu-Gi-Oh, Dungeons and Dragons, and Monopoly. We consider playing games quite educational, and the public schools must agree as the students in my mother-in-law's classroom also play board and other games.

Monday, February 6, 2012

I thought it might be nice to blog our homeschooling days again, at least for a short while. It always helps me to see how much we really do.

(We aren't in a Waldorf block this month.)

Today the boys:

Did their music practice.

Completed two lessons in their fractions workbooks. This is getting easier everyday.

Did WiiFit Plus for PE

Listened to The Story of the World: Volume 2 Chapters 1 - 3 in audiobook form. We've decided to do the entire book again, this time with activities.

Colored in three maps and put them in their main lesson books (MLBs). They also colored in a laurel wreath, created illuminated initials in their MLBs, and then used a template to create axes. I'll add in pictures tomorrow.

Listened to part of a chapter from Isaac Newton and Physics For Kids. This is our new family learning project/book, to be completed in the evenings with Papa.

I'm sure there was more in there, but this is all I can recall.

Moving Forward With Grade 6

People who read this blog (I think there are two of you) maybe astounded confused by the number of times we change course over the space of a year. Either I am brilliant and move constantly to meet the needs of my children or I am fickle / can't make up my mind / still haven't found anything that works. I hope it is the former ...

We have 5 blocks left in our homeschool year. Our current Ancient Roman History I block has been preempted by illness and a need to get back to basics and work on skills. Actually, a nice conversation at Homespun Waldorf left me thinking that my boys had already learned enough of Roman History for now and that we can move that off the calendar this year regardless of the traditional Waldorf curriculum. We'll keep going with in-depth math work for the next three weeks.

Our next planned block is the grade 6 Physics block and I am thinking that we'll leave it on the calendar. It may be just what we need to refresh our little homeschool and inject some enthusiasm and excitement. Plus it is very hands on, which is perfect for the March doldrums. The trick will be finding a way to keep it fresh as the boys have spent countless hours exploring physics with Papa and on their own. (Can I say here that I am looking forward to teaching a grade at some point in the future where the boys haven't already learned most of what I am planning to teach? I wonder if it is possible.)

After that would have been our Ancient Roman History II block, which will be replaced with another skills block, this time focusing on the writing process. I finally got hold of a Lively Lessons Story Board and think it will really help us. We've also added another computer for the boys to use, so they will start writing using a word processing program.

Astronomy comes in May. It's another subject that the boys have studied extensively, so it will need a fresh approach. Or perhaps we'll do it as a part time block and add in something else, like continuing decimals and percents work.

Our final block of the year is supposed to be an introduction to The Middle Ages, except, as always, the boys already know quite a bit of history from this time period. Honestly, this is the block I expect to have the most trouble with, as most of the boys' friends will be done with schooling / homeschooling for the summer. I'n thinking of having the boys review The Story of the World Volume 2 (gasps heard 'round the web from the Waldorf purists) over the rest of this homeschool year (starting now) and then jettisoning this block in favor of some low pressure skills work in writing. We'll have to see how it goes.

I feel really relaxed about all of it. Coming to understand with the very basics of the grade 6 (fractions/decimals/percents plus the five paragraph essay) has given me the compass that I've been lacking all year.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Giving in to Illness

Oh, this is so hard for a mama!  Mamas aren't supposed to get ill, right? And when they do they are supposed to soldier through and be over it before anyone notices that mama was ill to begin with.

Only this time, it hasn't been true. Mama ran a fever for five days straight last week. Mama is spending lots of time in bed resting. Mama is still struggling to breathe deeply after even the slightest exertion.

I don't know what it is. At the doctor early last week my lungs were still clear and my cough was dry, but I was struggling with deep breathing and as my inhaler was empty we trudged off to the urgent care. Common cold, he said. Which is what I figured, and I don't go to the doctor for a cold, but I needed an inhaler that night. Oh, you're feverish and achy, especially your neck? Possibly the flu then. Here's a prescription for an inhaler - don't let it leave your side.

Of course, the fever continued, the cough got wetter, and the breathing even more difficult. I'm not even sure of some of the basic details of last week as I was in a fog. Papa helped out a lot, depute not feeling 100% himself. A good friend let the boys play at her house a couple of afternoons.

This week I surrendered. I have tried, repeatedly, to get back to the daily chores, etc. and my body refuses. I want to cook, to bake, to tidy, to do errands, and my body responds with body aches, exhaustion, and low fevers. Honestly, I am rather tired of the whole thing. So I've been doing the bare minimum, and slowly I can feel my health returning.

In this, we have returned to workbooks, and it is working out just fine. The boys have been able to keep up their fraction work and practice. They've watched some science and history programs as well, and they've still made it to PE. They've read and listened to audiobooks. They've done their daily music practice. It's all flowing rather well, and I imagine I need at least one more full week before I feel 100%, so we'll stick with what we're doing for now. It's very possible we'll keep this up until our next block is scheduled to start at the end of February.