Well I was clearly unable to write about our homeschooling year as we went through it. (That is kind of disappointing, maybe next year, I sure would love to.) It was an interesting year, definitely our most challenging, but still when I look back I am happy with what we accomplished.
First and second grade were both great and easy for us, third grade was so different right from the start, even while I was planning the summer before. In a way I feel like we got lucky this year, much of the 3rd grade curriculum has already always been a part of our lives...
Gardening, farming, cooking, baking, we have always had a garden, our close friends are farmers, our children have always known where their food comes from, we have always cooked all our own food from scratch. We created our own story in a lesson book for our farming block, something I will of course share here later as I catch up on homeschool posts.
Building and shelter, we have that covered from several angles... A couple years ago Jason worked with a home builder, they built a house right up the road from us, the first "green" built home in our neighborhood, (though really not as "green" in the end as everyone had hoped, but at least there was an effort). So it was just Jason and one other guy building the house, the girls got to see it from start to finish, Chloe sometimes had work days with dad. She knows how a house is built, and she knows that someday we will build our own!
As far as the block I have planned on traditional houses of Native American people, that has not happened yet, but it will, summer seems like a nice time to explore the subject.
Our pace has been slow, sometimes lesson blocks are completed sitting down to daily lesson, sometimes things have happened when they happen. And I guess my point was, it's a good thing so many of these things are a part of our daily life anyway, (handwork too!), cause if I had to work them into a schedule they may never get done.
So, after an autumn week of harvest related stories and activities we began our first main lesson block, Old Testament stories, painting the days of Creation. During our first harvest week I had introduced cursive writing, and we continued all lesson books in cursive.
I originally had two different resources for stories, Roy Wilkinson's Old Testament Stories, and then the books by Jakob Streit. I love Jakob Streit's writing, but I also really enjoyed the Wilkinson book, and in an attempt to simplify, as I sat surrounded by way too many curriculum materials, I decided not to keep the Jakob Streit books. And we used the other.
We read the stories, we did our paintings. Chloe made a beautiful lesson book, but the stories did not seem to appeal to her, they did not move her, I am not sure how well she followed it. So after the days of Creation we stopped. I decided to wait and get the Jakob Streit books again. And I am so glad we did. I already knew they were wonderful, and as we started the stories again from the very beginning it felt just right.
(I am not showing the entire lesson book here...)
We finished the first book, Let There be Light, just this early spring, now we are reading Journey to The Promised Land. (The first book is now on Chloe's shelf of books that she is reading on her own.) We are probably finished with lesson book work but will continue with the stories. Yesterday we read the story of Abraham and Isaac and the sacrifice. Oh my goodness! She could hardly take it. I knew it would be hard on her. She saw what was about to happen and wanted to stop, I did not want to force her but I told her not to worry, to wait one moment. We were only a couple sentences away from intervention. She threw her head down into my lap and started crying, and I started crying, but managed to continue reading the words, and then everything was okay.
Was she ready for such an intense story as that? She has always been very sensitive to stories, we moved slowly with the fairy tales. Once we read Hans Christian Andersen's Little Tiny (Thumbeline) and she found it very sad. The next time we read it, probably nearly a year later, she burst into tears at the end of the story and said she never wanted to read it again. Jason and I were actually discussing this one night last week, and the next morning I found her on the couch reading the story to Chessa. She also recently read herself the chapter in the Little House series when Jack dies. That was another one she had said she never wanted to read again.
So yes, I think she is ready. This is one of the reasons I so love Waldorf education. I really believe that these stories are brought to our children at the just right time, I trust in it, I see that it is good for my child. I am glad we have moved slowly through the stories this year, I do not think she would have been ready for that last one 6 months ago...
Now I need to get through these 3rd grade posts because 4th is beginning to occupy my mind too, and Chessa, what is the best Kindergarten year going to be for her...
I love Waldorf homeschooling!!!