Monday, June 7, 2010

Our 3rd Grade Waldorf Year

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!!!

23 comments:

Cadi said...

Beautiful penmanship! :-)
Well done, 3rd grader.

momma rae said...

you are such an inspiring mama! i love seeing chloe's lesson books...they are beautiful! it was absolutely wonderful to talk with you last night. i miss you all so much. xoxoxoxo

Linda said...

Oh Renee,
Thank you so much for this post! Caiden is busy with the Old Testament at the moment and I think I must get the Jakob Streit books. What wonderful writing and paintings.
xo
Linda

Sarah said...

Thanks for sharing the books. They are lovely. I am enjoying going back through all of the girls' books this week.

Twig and Toadstool said...

Beautiful summary of your year! I'm curious as to what you do for math...do you have any suggestions for math curriculums, (I was using Oak Meadow, but it doesn't seem to explain much...just a basic story that you are supposed to expand upon, and I really "suck" at story telling)..any suggestions!?
maureen xo

TulsiLeaf said...

Beautiful lesson book!

6512 and growing said...

Wow, that is an impressive chunk of writing and illustrating. Chloe's cursive is gorgeous.
Maybe we will finally meet this summer. Maybe you will help inspire me to homeschool when our time for schooling comes.

Naturalearthfarm said...

Thank you for sharing this Renee. With six children I sometimes feel sad that I am not able to follow as much of a waldorf homeschool curriculum as I would like. But, I continue to learn myself and the more I learn, the more I am able to incorporate...
What beautiful books your daughter made.
Warm wishes, Tonya

Nicola (Which Name?) said...

I cannot believe how much you are able to get done and with such a peaceful heart. The art she created is beautiful!
Nicola

Tahara said...

Renee, you guys acomplished a lot and it looks great...We are both going into 4th next year, so I love reading your updates...I am also thinking of next year...Live Ed has ten books as part of 4th grade!...I am a little nervous, LOL...

You are doing such a great job :-)

Melanie said...

Chloe did a beautiful job on her main lesson book this year!
I'm right with you planning out fourth grade. . .! Gathering books and ideas. First grade for Ollie Winter- it'll be so fun to do grade one again, that may have been my favorite year.

michelle said...

SO inspiring! Thank you for sharing! Love&Light Michelle

michelle said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hip Mountain Mama said...

Beautiful post Renee!!

Earth Mama said...

I love that our girls know how to build houses. That just seems like such a wonderful thing for everyone to know how to do. Your lesson book and paintings are beautiful. My oldest is really sensative too like Chloe. She gets nervous at intense stories and anicipates the worst outcome and gets real sad. As she is getting older though, it seems like this is getting easier for her to be comfortable with. She is approaching the end of her 9th year, and I know in Waldorf that is a very big transition and year on inner work. Thanks for sharing some homeschooling insight from your year Renee!

:)Lisa

Wendi said...

I love these!! So beautifully done!

Sara said...

What beautiful Main Lesson pictures! Your daughter's cursive is lovely. We are just finishing up fourth grade and it is such an awesome year!! Thank you for such a great Waldorf post. :)

Sara said...

These main lesson pictures are beautiful! Your daughter has lovely cursive writing. Thank you for such a great Waldorf post.

Heather said...

Renee, those are such beautiful lesson books, and your homeschooling time with your children is something that really inspires me. I look forward to reading and seeing your year ahead

kendra said...

truly, her cursive is so lovely! that's one of the beautiful things i loved about waldorf - the teacher's heart is always right. ; )

earthycrunchy said...

So beautiful. I'm really impressed with what you've done. Your kids' handwriting is amazing!

Grace said...

Chloe's handwriting is gorgeous for a 3rd grader! Wow!

Ginny said...

I have to agree that Chloe's handwriting is awfully good for a third grader! Seth, who just completed third grade as well, doesn't write nearly as well.
I finally finished and posted about that Emily and Daisy dress!