Monday, January 4, 2010

1st day of homeschooling

After what felt like months of planning we had our first day of homeschooling. Although I can't say I was 100% prepared (who is, right?) I wasn't nervous or anxious. I had my plan into place and was ready to dive in and see what would happen. At a certain point there isn't much else you can do until you actually interact with your child and figure out what works or what doesn't.

Ellery has been in a waldorf school since kindergarten and since I am basically using the same curriculum, art mediums, etc. he has had a lot of practice with these things already. This is great to some degree but in some cases a bit harder on me because I have to be at least as good as he is at things like painting, form drawing, or flute playing.

We started the day with a lovely nature walk. It was brisk for sure but there was an abundance of morning wildlife around the lake that the kids thoroughly enjoyed pointing out from ducks to robins to cranes. It is a good thing that we have plenty of land on this property to wander on since there are no sidewalks on the roads. Yikes.

Then we moved on to morning circle which consists of verses, songs (mainly to cater to Willow's age), and some flute playing around the campfire. The ditty it took me a week to learn on my flute was learned by him in five minutes. Oh boy, have I got to get good at the flute. This is his second year playing and I've only had a few months to teach myself which is taking longer because I have to learn to read music. Ideally I would have all of these songs and verses memorized but I'll be honest, I don't.  I had my lesson book to refer to. After doing it day in and day out I think we will all learn them anyway. That is how the kids learn too.

Although Willow loved circle time since she likes anything involving singing she quickly fell apart when we moved over to the chalkboard which I had propped against a nearby oak. I tried sitting her on my lap but that didn't suffice. I quickly handed her over to daddy who took her to grandma's. Although that was helpful I worry about what we will do when we don't have a grandma nearby or even a daddy if he is working. This is one of those situations where it can be better to have more than two kids because at least an older one can help out with the little ones. I don't have that. Oh well. I'll be figuring out how to deal with that.

Our chalkboard lesson on time, specifically from whole to parts of the year down to months began fine but he had no problem telling me that it was boring, lol. Some of these lessons may be repetitive because he was combined with a second grade class last year when he was in first grade. It is going to take me some time to figure out exactly what lessons he does and doesn't need. Okay, so he breezed through that, understood the lunar cycles, months, etc. It was quite chilly so we moved on indoors for our actual "work."

We started with form drawing. This is something specific to waldorf education where the children are supposed to mindfully copy various designs/drawings. They start quite simple and get harder as they get older. It is very helpful in developing good handwriting skills and spatial awareness. I wish I had it in school. My handwriting is atrocious, haha. Anyway, he said the form I had chosen was too hard. Fine, we put it away and moved on to coloring a picture with block crayons and copying a verse about January in our lesson book. He enjoyed this with no complaints and we both colored a picture of an igloo and a campfire with someone warming their hands nearby. Then I went back to an easier form drawing exercise. I realized that he is very self critical and wants to give up easily but I nudged him to practice it a few times because I knew he could do this one from his form drawing work I've seen before. Then I left the day at that. I want us to ease into it without burning him out too quickly. I have a feeling that second grade is a done deal for him now anyway. This is sort of like his second year doing second grade curriculum. I get the feeling I will be using this last half of the year as more of a review to help me see exactly where he is and what he needs for next year.

It's funny because you do all this curriculum planning but you have to sit down with your child to figure out where it will all take you. I've talked to his teachers, asked about his strengths, weaknesses, etc. with them all knowing we were ready to homeschool but I am already discovering the quirks I couldn't plan for and will now have to find our comfort zone. All in all it wasn't a terrible first day. I suspect it will take a good week or so for us to establish a steady rhythm and routine....and that goes for my own lesson planning as well. I have to acknowledge that it is okay for things to be a little awkward at first and to take it slow. He has half of the school year under his belt already anyway.

So this was my first blackboard drawing for this morning's lesson....not too bad for a first one. Like all of the waldorf art mediums, I find that it isn't nearly as hard as it looks...and how bad can it be with beautiful pigmented chalks like these?


Tan Family said...

Your blackboard drawing is beautiful! The ups and downs of homeschooling are all part of the adventure. Sounds like you are doing a wonderful job. :)

The Boves said...

Well, hello to you and your beautiful family! We are thrilled to meet you all! Are you headed to the rally? I wasn't sure, but, it sounded like you may be! if so, I'm stoked! If not, lets meet up! I love your site, your pic and loved the comment and email from you~

Let's for sure get together! I see a possible match made in heaven hehe.


Little House On Wheels said...

Yes, we are going to the rally! I think we are at site 21. How about you? I've been a little worried that we might not fit in with the rest of the group so you all may be our saving grace, haha.

Jen said...

Sounds great! Good job. Hey, by the way, have you bought curriculum from little garden flower and can make suggestions?

Little House On Wheels said...

Yes, I bought the second grade, the planner, and the math book. I can't really compare them to anything else because this is my first time homeschooling. I can answer any questions you have though:)

The Valentine's said...

Amy, you will definitely figure out the best way to occupy your daughter while you're working with your son - she has to adjust to homeschooling too! It took our youngest a while to figure out what to do with himself while the other 3 were 'at school' (and we don't spend too much time on it, a lot of field trips!). I have extra toys etc for him and other things he can do right with us all. You'll find what works....