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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ideas for Rainy Days in Autumn

Well, I have found that homeschooling really takes away from my blogging time.  I miss posting our fun projects and my thoughts, and hope to give myself more time to tell you about our days soon. But for now we have a hurricane barreling our way and very likely will be out of power for a bit.  So while I would love to take time to write about more of our lessons (Who knew studying the Roman Empire could be so much fun?!) and ways we are integrating Waldorf techniques into our lessons, for now I will share links to past posts with an autumn theme and activities to pass the rainy weather.


Colorful Felted Acorns

Corn Husk Dolls

Jack-O Poem

Indoor Autumn Tree

Autumn Leaves Fingerplay

Rhythm of the Season - Leaf Matching Game

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Learning about Christopher Columbus - combining techniques & theory into practice

Just a little more on how we incorporate Waldorf techniques into our Mason education: On Monday, Columbus Day, I wanted to teach the boys about Columbus and his 1492 voyage. Looking ahead, I also saw that in our 106 Days of Creation science study we had just finished learning about the atmosphere and were moving into wind and wind pressure, so I decided to combine history and science studies and throw in handicraft in the mix. First, we sat down to read In 1492 by Jean Marzollo and answered Who, What, Where, Why questions. Then it was on to the craft: walnut shell boats! I blogged about making walnut shell boats last summer and decided this was the perfect craft to accompany our history lesson.

*We started by painting watercolor sails*

*As the sails dried, I used an icepick and screwdriver
 to break the shells in half - a rather challanging task-
and cleaned out the inside*

*Next we filled the shells 1/4 way full with beeswax
and stuck in the toothpick mast with the paintd sails*

It only took a few minutes to dry and the ships were ready to sail in
a bowl of water - or the high seas when our imagination took off.

After a brief discussion about how wind pressure push against boat sails,
 the boys experimented with blowing through straws to see who could make
their boat move without blowing too hard, causing their boat to sink.
(If a boat tipped it would no longer sail becuase
the sail got wet and weighed down the boat.)
This was a great way for the boys to learn about so many subjects - history, geography, painting, and science!  And I am sure we will come back to our fun game of Sail the Ship many times in the next few months.

See Waldorf Wednesday for more inspiration.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Early Adventures in Homeschooling

We are three weeks into homeschooling and loving it, not that everything goes according to the smooth rhythm I had envisioned, but having fun nonetheless.On a few of the forums I joined, other homeschooling moms have asked for ideas on incorporating Waldorf techniques in a Charlotte Mason education.  While I certainly do not have it perfected, I thought I would share a few ideas that we are using.

To start, I try to set up a rhythm of the day, keeping in mind that a daily rhythm is not a schedule based around time, but more of a way to gently transition from one activity to another.  Young children work well with a song or fingerplay to transition, but my seven year old son wants something more concrete and visual, so I wrote different subjects and activities on small strips of cardstock and attach the ones we plan on doing to a string with a little clothespin.  As we complete each activity, we take it off  the line and move to the next. It sets up the day for him in such a way that he can literally see what we still need to accomplish and gives him the satisfaction of seeing a task finished.  Along with the subjects to be covered and activities to do are fun things, like "Play Outside for 30 minutes" & "Play with Legos" etc.  

In the next few weeks, I plan on refining our weekly rhythm and daily rhythm to include morning circle time, festivals - there are so many coming up - as well as incorporating additional subjects such as Nature Study and form drawing, and keeping a main lesson  book for math.

One of Aidan's favorite subjects is copywork in which he copies a short passage slowly and neetly.  It is a standard in Mason education and helps him learn to focus and appreciate the idea of doing his best instead of writing quickly.

For our first two weeks his copywork came in the for of a poem, writing one stanza per day and discussing the meaning of each stanza and looking at pictures that resemble the scene.

by Helen Hunt Jackson
The golden-rod is yellow;
The corn is turning brown;
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bearing down.

The gentian's bluest fringes
Are curling in the sun;
In dusty pods the milkweed
Its hidden silk has spun.

The sedges flaunt their harvest,
In every meadow nook;
And asters by the brook-side
Make asters in the brook.

From dewey lanes at morning
The grapes' sweet odors rise;
At noon the roads all flutter
With yellow butterflies.

By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer's best of weather,
And autumn's best of cheer.

But none of all this beauty
Which floods the earth and air
Is unto me the secret
Which makes September fair.

'T is a thing which I remember;
To name it thrills me yet:
One day of one September
I never can forget.

Later in the second week, he copied some history facts as we moved from prehistoric times to ancient Egypt in our history lessons.  To make the lessons hands-on, I hid a secret message in our back yard and the boys pretended to be explorers/archaeologists looking for their Rosetta Stone, then deciphered our simplified "hieroglyphics" to reveal that in the next lesson they would build a pyramid out of Legos - oh that Aidan would be so excited about every history lesson! 

This last week, we began using wet-on-wet painting techniques in our studies.  Primarily by painting the cover of the books the boys will use to draw pieces of nature when they do their Nature Studies - but more on that later.

I am happy to see that so many of the traditional Waldorf techniques are fitting in nicely with our Charlotte Mason education.

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