Monday, November 7, 2011

Waldorf 1st Grade - First Lesson Blocks


First of all, I really must say, Chessa is such an adorable 1st grader. The sweet little voice with which she answers a question or recites a verse, she just melts my heart!

She is also a rather shy 1st grader. She is allowing me to post some of her lesson book pictures, but there are others that she has asked me not too, and so I will of course respect her wishes.

We started her 1st grade year with a two week block of Form Drawing, same as I did when Chloe was in 1st grade. After that we began her first Language Arts lesson block, introducing the letters of the alphabet. Chessa already knew all the letters, not because I ever taught her them, but how could she not pick this up herself with an older sister. However, there is still much work to be done. For example, she often writes the letters backwards, and really has not much awareness of the sounds that accompany the letters.

I had grand thoughts of creating an entire new lesson block for Chessa, different than the one I did with Chloe when she was in 1st grade, but in the end I was forced to be practical, with planning out the homeschool year for two children now, I am mostly following what I did before. Which is mostly based on Donna Simmon's Christopherus First Grade Curriculum.

~ My own drawing of a swan for the letter "S" to go along with the Grimm's fairy tale The Six Swans

First grade was the only year which I had a complete curriculum purchased for. It gave me a great foundation that allowed me to continue in the following years more on my own. Unfortunately I don't own the curriculum any longer (and I really do wish I did, Donna writes with such wisdom, I would love to go back through the whole thing) but since I completed entire lesson books alongside Chloe that year I am still able to go back and fairly accurately recreate the lesson for Chessa. In my own lesson book I had written the container story to accompany my drawings, I preferred to read from my own book and writing rather than the typed curriculum pages. (Nope, I didn't tell the story from memory!)

My first drawings were done on individual sheets of paper which where then hung on the wall. Then Chloe and I, and now Chessa and I, would do a drawing together. As you can see, my drawings are very simple, and I am certainly no great artist!

~ My own drawing of the King, Queen, Prince, and Wise Woman

The container story tells of a kingdom where the Prince must go on a journey with the Wise Woman, so that he can learn how to become a good king.

~ Chessa's lesson book drawing of the Jester, who tells the Prince the story of The Golden Goose

~ Each picture has letters written on the opposite page.

~ Chessa's lesson book drawing of a door in the mountain ~ a door which the Prince was convinced must lead to a Deep, Dark, Dangerous Dungeon (though it did not...)

You can imagine my delight when while drawing the letter "D" Chessa said, "A straight line and a curved line!" Yes! Form Drawing success! She pointed this out often while drawing her letters.

~ Chessa's lesson book of the prince calling to Rapunzel

We worked our way through much of the alphabet (not in order) and will continue with the rest in early December.

Now we have moved on to our first math block on the Quality of Numbers. Again, Chessa already knows the numbers fairly well, she actually seems to have quite a good sense of them. She will sometimes amaze us with little mathematical figurings she does in her head.

~ Chessa's lesson book drawings for the numbers One and Two

For this block we are memorizing a verse by Eugene Schwartz... "One is the sun that shines so bright, One is the moon so high. One is the day, One is the night, One is the sheltering sky. One is a head, so still and tame, upon one body whole with health. And "I" is the one and special name that only I can call myself." And then the verses continue with the next numbers.

Although we mentioned the sun and moon for One, they also symbolize the duality of day and night, the opposite qualities of light and dark, and so we used those images for the number Two.

~ Three makes a family

~ The Four Seasons

~ My own lesson book drawings for the numbers Three and Four

And our journey continues...



Catherine said...

Beautiful, Renee! Glad to hear Chessa is enjoying first grade! I just love Donna's curriculum!

Crooked Moon Mama said...

You have a little light shining through this one!
Lovely block mama.

a little crafty nest said...

Oh Renee, This is so wonderful! What a beautiful introduction to learning with Donna's guidance. I also have this curriculum, but as you know I have decided to wait until next year to begin Grade 1. Now, I get inspiration from you and I have bookmarked this to return to in the summer for guidance. I just love all you're doing and I also rewrite the stories to read from our Fairy Tale book...a little more personal and magical, I agree. By the way, your drawings are just perfectly simple and beautiful ~ exactly what is needed at this age. I'm happy to hear how much you are both enjoying the year. I'll write more later in the week :)
xo Jules

Taira said...

This is lovely. My daughter is also going travelling through first grade and this week we have just started a quality of numbers block. You are doing a great job!

Diana said...

Oh, I really love this lesson block. Although I will not homeschool my boy because it isn't allowed in Germany but I am strongly interested in homeschooling. I just love the combination of telling fairy tales, drawing and learning the letters. All the senses are activated. It's really great. There is no way that teachers are doing this here in school. So sad. Really.

Mama Ash Grove said...

Dear Renee, how I love grade 1! I miss it! Luckily I get to do it two more times. :)
I do think your drawings are beautiful, and so are Chessa's.
And of course this year I am appreciating Donna Simmons more than ever. . .

Emily said...

We are also using some of Donna Simmons work for first grade. I have a boy and it is interesting to see someone who really takes her time with the pictures. His temperment is more to rush things so we work a lot on slowing down and taking our time. This is such a wonderful journey, homeschooling. Thank you for sharing with all of us :)

Anonymous said...

These are so beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

Anya said...


Earth Mama said...

*sigh* I wish we were neighbors. It would make homeschooling my fifth and first grader so much more fun! I love your lesson books drawings! Chessa is such a great artist too!


MittenMom said...

I am your new follower from the blog hop!

Heather said...

So beautiful, and inspiring. Thank you for sharing all that you and your girls do :).

barefoot mama said...

Such a beautiful way to learn. I really enjoyed this post! Thanks for sharing your days with us. ~ Barefoot Mama

aspiringmomma said...

I wish I had discovered your blog sooner, these are really lovely! I too have a first and fifth grader. An earlier comment described your drawings as simple and beautiful - you have a nice touch!

Thank you for sharing-