Monthly Archives: June 2012

What’s the Black Thing in the Trees?!


Have you heard of Sundance, Utah?  It’s a ski-resorting, mountain-biking, nature-enjoying type of place and my grandma owns a cabin up there nestled in the trees.  Every year, I look forward to our turn to travel up there and enjoy the beauty and quiet of the surrounding area.

One of my favorite hikes is to Stewart Falls.  It’s a quick hike through a little meadow and up a short hill to the bottom of a two-tiered waterfall.  It’s absolutely gorgeous in the early summer and fall.

Well, yesterday, I hiked up there with my sister, who is visiting from out of town, our children, and a few neices.  The hike up was beautiful, but dry (where’s all our water this year?!), and the hike down was uneventful until a certain amount of crashing through the bushes on our right drew our attention and my sister asked, “Is that a bear?!”  And Yes!  It was a bear!  A HUGE black bear about twenty to thirty feet away from us on the other side of a small stream lumbering through the trees and brush!  AHH!

The first thing that came to mind was, “Don’t run.  Make a lot of noise.”  So I started talking unnaturally loudly as we moved on.  Luckily, the bear just seemed to ignore us and we made it out without a problem.  (And so did the four older kids who had gone on too far ahead of us – breaking my hiking rule of always staying within sight of mom. GRRR!)  I stopped shaking after I caught sight of the kids in front of us and we seemed to be far enough away from the bear.

That was the first time I have seen a bear while hiking in the wilderness.  It was my sister’s second!  I don’t really hope to have a second sighting…

Have a terrific Thursday!


**Photos are from a trip to Stewart Falls last year.  I didn’t have my phone with me this time, but I don’t think I would have stopped to take pictures of the bear anyway.**



Whenever I think of planning, I think, “…if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.”  Because it really is frightening to wake up knowing that you have NOTHING ready and soon you will need to find meaningful things for three children to do. All. Day. Long.  Last year, due to a move and a new baby, I only got half the year planned before we started in August.  I did not like having to plan week by week, bit by bit, to finish out the year. 

Inspired by Carrie’s planning posts at The Parenting Passageway, I decided to share how my planning is coming so far.  I have really appreciated Carrie’s thoughts on planning.  Especially good for me was the reminder to set goals for each block.  I find that I get carried away by academic goals, which I can clearly see, but forget to set artistic and spiritual development goals for the children.


I always begin my planning by printing out the public school schedule from the county website.  Why?  Because all of the dates, holidays, and vacations are marked in a tidy fashion that makes it very easy for me to see when things occur during the next school year.  And even though we don’t follow the public school schedule precisely, I like to know what days our neighbor-friends are going to be out distracting us – er, able to play.

Next, I fold a piece of paper into twelve squares and label them all with a month and a date for each Monday during the month.   Then, I pencil in all the holidays, birthdays, and vacations.  (I think I found this method from A Little Garden Flower.)  Then, I set about arranging the main lesson blocks into the weeks of my little calendar.  Sometimes it gets messy as I try to get things where I want them!


After I’m satisfied with the overall layout of main lessons, I dive straight into planning those main lesson blocks.  Last year, I tried to do it all on the computer, but I found it difficult to have enough “sit down at the computer time” to type everything.  I switched to the good ol’ pencil and paper method halfway through the year – just like they taught me in college. Ha! It’s much more my speed.  I’m just using a Lesson Plan Book I picked up at a school supply a few years ago.


So far I have planned the whole year of second grade math and two other second grade blocks.  I also just finished reading our fifth grade Botany materials and our Ancient Mythologies manual.

Once main lessons are planned, I will go back and decide what our morning devotionals will consist of (i.e. hymns or children’s songs, scriptures to memorize), what books the kids will be reading during their independent reading time, what poems they will be memorizing, what handwork they will be working on, and what extra practices will accompany the Main Lesson Blocks.  I will use the blank lines to the left of our main lesson plans to jot this information down.

Here is our year so far at a glance:

Grade 2

Fables/Form Drawing – 2 wks

Math – 2 wks

Animal Legends/Language Arts – 4 wks

Math – 4 wks

Saints and Heroes/Language Arts – 4 wks

Christmas Break

The King of Ireland’s Son – 3 wks

Fables/Form Drawing – 2 wks

Math – 3 wks

American Tall Tales – 3 wks

Fables/Form Drawing – 2 wks

Math – 3 wks

Science – 3 wks

End of School Wrap-Up – 1 wk

**Perhaps you noticed I am adding my own American Tall Tales block for my second grader.  It’s not a traditional Waldorf block, but I think it will work really well in second grade and I’d like my second grader to be familiar with those stories.  I’m also planning to tie in some saint stories with their corresponding holidays – i.e. St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day.**

Grade 5

Botany – 1 wk

Math – 3 wks

Ancient Mythology/Language Arts – 6 wks

Geography – 4 wks

Botany – 2 wks

Christmas Break

Math – 3 wks

Greek Mythology and History/Language Arts – 6 wks

Botany – 2 wks

Geometry – 3 wks

Ancient China – 2 wks

Botany – 3 wks

End of School Wrap-Up – 1 wk

Do I plan everything myself?  No! and Yes!  This year, I purchased the second grade eBook from A Little Garden Flower along with several Christopherus second grade materials.  I also purchased the entire Fifth Grade Package from Christopherus and the Geometry DVD’s from A Little Garden Flower. This does save time, however, I still read through all the materials prior to the year, plan out each day individually, and determine how we will accomplish our “education.”

Phew, super long post!  How is your school year shaping up?!  Thanks for stopping by!