Tag Archives: rhythm

An Ordinary Day

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I wake without an alarm. I am snuggled up with Wigeon who woke at three and needed her mama. I check my email while laying next to her. I also pop onto Facebook.  At 7:30, we get out of bed and wake Teal and Pintail. I knock on their doors and recite, “Morning has come, night is away. Rise with the sun, and welcome the day.” While they do their morning routine, Wigeon and I go to the kitchen and make Banana Oat Blender Pancakes, such a yummy recipe from the Beauty  That Moves blog.  It needs to sit for a bit, so I get dressed and brush my teeth before returning to cook the pancakes. Mr. Mallard joins us for breakfast. This is a new occurrence, but one that I like.

After breakfast Teal and Pintail take care of the dogs’ needs and then empty the dishwasher.  I do the dishes and we meet back at the kitchen table for prayer, scriptures and journaling. Then Teal goes off to practice the piano while Pintail reads aloud to me. We just started The Cay, I worry that it may be too mature for him, but it’s one of my favorite books and I think he will love it. I knit on his jacket while he reads. After fifteen minutes, we flip-flop and Teal comes to read The Bronze Bow while Pintail practices the piano. They have Federation in a couple of weeks and their songs sound so beautiful after hours and hours of hard work.

When reading and piano are done, Teal and Pintail head back to the kitchen table for math. In January, I changed our schedule to provide dedicated math time each day. I used to do math as part of their main lessons, but it was beginning to make the main lessons too long to juggle with a two-year-old in tow. In Waldorf schools, the upper grades always have dedicated math time anyway. While they begin flashcard or fact practice, I do Wigeon’s “main lesson.” She has taken to calling our time for poems, songs and a story her “main lesson.” It’s just about the cutest thing ever. I return to the kitchen table and help out with any math questions.

After math we go on a walk. It’s such a lovely day, unseasonably warm. We have a snack when we get home. It’s yogurt and crackers because I’m saving the last few slices of homemade bread for lunch.

Teal’s main lesson is first today.  After her opening verse, she works on finishing up a map of Europe. I let her listen to her book on tape while she is coloring and I correct an essay she has written about the bodies of water surrounding the European peninsula. When she is done labeling rivers and mountain ranges, we make sure the country overlay she made on a clear sheet protector lines up with the physical features map. I introduce her next project.  It’s an idea I found on a Waldorf School website to have her prepare a four-part presentation on a European Country. It will require an essay, map, artistic element and presentation. I’m glad to have found the project. She is excited about it.

We have lunch; homemade bread, nut butter and jam. Then the bigs go to their rooms for rest time.  Wigeon stays with me.  Some days she’ll go to her room for rest time and others she hangs around with me. I wish she would go to her room today because I am ordering her birthday present online and I don’t want her to see. I ask Teal to let Wigeon have rest time with her. She obliges after asking how much I’ll pay her…I look at bokashi kits while online and check Facebook again. There are a lot of good discussions on Waldorf Facebook groups, but I don’t have the time today because I decided to blog.

After rest time, it’s Pintail’s main lesson.  We are working on a clothing/fiber block using Marsha Johnson’s free resource from the Waldorf Home Educator’s yahoo group. We are looking at wool today, something Pintail is familiar with, but we get it wet and smell it. We burn a piece of it. We draw the cycle from sheep to cloth. Later this week, we will make a loom and weave some wool cloth. We studied leather on Monday and Pintail made some moccasins from a Boy Scout kit.  He has worn them all week. I love it! During Pintail’s main lesson, Teal is putting books on hold at the library and Wigeon is demanding attention. I put her shoes and coat on her and let her go out into the back yard with Roxanne, our Aussie.

We have been diligent at doing our housekeeping after the last main lesson, but the weather is so nice, I let the big kids go outside. I chop vegetables for dinner. We are trying a new recipe. Teal starts planning her garden bed.  She will garden this year to satisfy an achievement project for church. Pintail will get a bed to garden for school work. I’m expanding my garden into some raised cement planter boxes that used to hold boxwood shrubs.

I drive Teal to an outside class. I pass my dad on the way. He is in his truck driving home from work. I wave excitedly, but he doesn’t see me. I love that he works near enough that sometimes we see each other on the road. Wigeon falls asleep. That means she’ll have trouble going to bed tonight.

While Teal is at class. I return home and work on this post. I finish dinner. Wigeon is awake and she and Pintail are in the back yard playing with friends. I drive back to get Teal.

Dinner is put on the table when Mr. Mallard returns from work. We light a candle, it’s the one Wigeon decorated at a Candlemas gathering we attended, ask a blessing on the food, and eat. We recently started sharing our “Rose and Thorn” during dinner. I got the idea from an online workshop. Wigeon’s “Thorn” is always a rose and it’s so cute that she just shares the good things. Teal asks if we are having cookies after dinner, so I tell her she has to make them. I do the dishes and chat with Mr. Mallard. The kids play for a while.

Bedtime is just as I expected. Wigeon takes more than an hour to fall asleep and the minute I sneak out to join Mr. Mallard for an episode of Alaska: The Last Frontier, she appears at the top of the stairs. I tell Mr. Mallard goodnight, planning to just fall asleep with her. I’m confident that in the future, there won’t be children who need parents at night and we’ll have an abundance of time to unwind in the evening. Before Wigeon was born, we’d already arrived at that point with Teal and Pintail.

It has been a good day. A good, ordinary day.

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Falling Into Our New Rhythm

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I read a quote on Facebook last week that said something to the effect that we were leaving the long, lazy days of summer behind and beginning the busy season of school and activities.  Not for me!  Our summer was busy, and hectic, and far from lazy.  I am so content to have moved into our predictable, wonderful, fall school schedule. Because this summer was busy, I didn’t get nearly as much school planning done as I have in the past.  I was able to create a block layout I was pleased with, I ordered all curricula helps I wanted, and I prepared our daily rhythm.  I planned everything necessary for our first blocks and off we went.  The truth is, I’m not nearly as stressed about it as I thought I would be! Yes, I will have to read and plan as part of my daily and weekly schedule, but now that I have almost four (4!) years of homeschooling under my belt I feel like I can handle it.

Our blocks look like this:

Grade 6

Mineralogy

Business Math

Literature

Roman History

Geometry

Medieval History

Physics 1

European Geography

Physics 2

Grade 3

Measurement: Time

Garden/ 7 Grains

Hebrew Studies: Creation

Shelters

Measurement: Dry & Liquid

Measurement: Linear

Language Arts: Basic Parts of Speech

Math: Long Division and Multiplication

Language Arts: Four Sentence Types

Farm

Building

I used Eugene Schwartz’s lectures for the first time in planning sixth grade.  I found them quite useful.  I bought the “budget” lectures, but perhaps for seventh grade I will buy the “Online Conference.”

Our daily rhythm underwent some major tweaking this year, too. For a long while, I was caught up in doing our work in the Head, Heart, Hands structure (i.e. academics first, then foreign language or music, then handwork) because that’s what is done in a Waldorf school.  I was trying to cram both main lessons into our morning and it wasn’t working for me!  Our new rhythm seems so much more open and I feel like we have more time in the day to get everyone’s work done!  Plus there is time for me to meet the needs of my toddler.

Here is our new daily rhythm:

Rise, Chores & Piano, Breakfast, Morning Devotional & Scripture Study

Walk & Snack

Main Lesson 1 (each grades age child gets their main lesson in the AM twice a week)

Lunch & Rest

Main Lesson 2 (each grades age child gets their main lesson in the PM twice a week)

One day a week is different and includes piano lessons, a trip to the library, spanish, and handwork.

There is no formal circle this year!  The grades children get all their movement, poetry, and songs as part of their own main lesson. For my toddler, I sing seasonal songs on our walk and do verses and finger plays throughout the day.  I got this idea from the Waldorf Community Exchange, in which a teacher wrote about the fact that her circle was just part of being outside. She would do songs and verses and poems with the children as they played and they didn’t even realize it they were doing a “circle.” Speaking of my toddler, there is one more thing I would like to add to each day. I think it would be beneficial to structure the days more like a Waldorf Kindergarten and make sure there is a daily activity she can weave in and out of while I’m working with the older children.  (e.g. Monday, play dough; Tuesday, painting; etc.)

Are you glad to be back into a fall rhythm?