Waldorf Homeschoolers Thread - Page 4 - Mothering Forums

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#91 of 397 Old 08-27-2009, 05:06 PM
 
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It is a good point that you do not need a Main lesson Book for each block per say. It just depends how you design the block. Third Grade, the year of doing, especially comes to mind!

We are starting on Monday as well. We were going to start the day after Labor Day but the kids are just ready to start!

Warmly,
Carrie
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#92 of 397 Old 08-27-2009, 08:28 PM
 
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We'll have main lesson books pretty much for each subject:
Norse Myths/Vikings/Beowulf will be in one (four blocks worth),
Man and Animal/Zoology, Character study, US History, Writing/Poetry, Form Drawing, Human Body/Health, Math, and Nature. Some are thin, some are fat, with lots of pages, some are from main lesson blocks, and some are from extra lessons. The nature journal is a fat spiral bound book, and there's a steno-book for spelling.

I haven't any of the Wynstones boooks, though they always SEEM nice....
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#93 of 397 Old 08-27-2009, 10:04 PM
 
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how are you all setting up your day? do you really do a circle at home? how does that work? how many kids do you have?
do you all plan on doing "school" at home all day long? just wondering... no judgment. lol
and what are "blocks"? do you sort of have all of your subjects come back to a topic? like math and lit and history, etc all involving lets say rome?

h

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#94 of 397 Old 08-28-2009, 02:12 PM
 
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Yep, we really do circle at home. We start with a walk, a little one, then come home and have our circle. Here's our September and October circles planned out. It's a nice way to turn the focus to school time, to memorize painlessly songs and poems. I always include a hymn, a folksong, some seasonal stuff, a couple movement games, we move our bodies or hands the whole time, though, really. The kids love it. And I love hearing them singing little hymns to themselves throughout the day.
I have a 9yo, a 3yo, and a 6mo, all boys. We have, at various times, had other children included in our circles, and they all love it.
The blocks? I used to bring everything back to the main lesson, or, rather, try to include most everything in the main lesson, but with more than one kid that became really exhausting. Plus there started to be things I wanted or needed to teach that just didn't fit well with the main lessons for that age, so it seemed kind of forced, squishing things in where they didn't really fit.
This year (4th) these are our main lesson blocks. And here is our weekly lesson template. It looks a little more frightening than it really is- a lot of the lessons overlap and compliment each other, and many of them are very short- 15 minutes or less.
I do feel like we're learning all the time, and our school rhythm is a really naturl part of our daily rhythm at this point. We're doing festival prep and rearranging our nature table, cooking and baking (maybe recipes inspired by our lessons), folding laundry, sewing, tromping around the neighborhood, all of that is at least as important as our actual "school" lessons, I think. So I suppose you could say we're doing shcool all the time....
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#95 of 397 Old 08-28-2009, 07:06 PM
 
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I visited the Rudolf Steiner College yesterday and noticed my kids playing in some of the landscaping on the way out. they were simple native grasses but they seemed to be set up for just that purpose....It made me wonder if that is a part of Waldorf....does anyonwe have any suggestions for my small but wide open front yard. I would love to design a fun, playful space for my kddos....

TIA!
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DS 8, DD 4, twin DDs 2

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#96 of 397 Old 08-28-2009, 08:12 PM
 
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Certainly having access to the natural world, and simple, uncluttered outside space is a Waldorf thing. We have some bushes (lilac, mock orange) that I let hang and droop over, and the kids love to play under there. We have a single swing in the Maple in the front. There's a rockborder all around the planting areas, and we add in pieces of petrified wood, fancy minerals, shells, little treasures we find, and make little fairy houses and things, too. I'd love to get a couple-three big boulders and plant them with lots of mulch and some little trees. They spend hours playing in the mulch that's already there! I'd also like a water feature of some kind.
In the backyard we cut some tree branches and trunks into different lengths, and dug them into the ground a little, and they like to balance and climb, hop from one to the other, and use the "stumps" as little table, balance boards and log disks on them, clip cloths to the taller ones to make sails and roofs.
They have a sand-area, surrounded by rocks, and sunflowers grow up on their own every summer so it's kind of hidden and shady by late summer.
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#97 of 397 Old 08-28-2009, 11:53 PM
 
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<wiggle toddler boy on lap, spelling is only a suggestion... )

So someone post this awsome link to a site that gave some waldorf training.... i think it was a homeschool waldorf moms site (maybe?) and she wasn't too pricey for a little waldorf teacher training... I've missplaced the link though and can't find it.....

Help?!?

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#98 of 397 Old 08-28-2009, 11:56 PM
 
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OK, I'm in. I'm Annette, and we're probably more Waldorf-inspired than Waldorf purists. This year, I am homeschooling a fifth grader, a third grader, and a kindergartener who turns six in September, all with a two-year-old underfoot. I have some Christopherus and some A Little Garden Flower stuff, but mostly I look at the typical Waldorf course of study for each grade and cobble together my own curriculum. It's a lot more work, but I feel more connected to what I'm teaching that way.

It's getting harder each time I add another child to the mix. I've been working on the first main lesson blocks. My ten will be doing a review of fractions and intro to decimals. My third will be doing a review of the four processes with a focus on multiplication. Since my five is turning six, but still really kind of young for first, I've decided to do the fairy tales this year with a focus on letter recognition but not on writing. Next year we'll just do it again with different fairy tales and writing, I think. Anyway, he's starting off with A/Star Money.

What's hard, is I get so connected to each lesson as I plan it, and it's difficult to move in and out of subjects like this.

It's also hard because with so many kids, school takes up pretty much all day and there's not a lot of time for around-the-house stuff until after three.

Our days go like this:
8:30 Devotions (we're doing one with different hymns this year)
8:45 Circle time (my ten really doesn't want to do this anymore, and I can't blame him)
9:00 Nicholas, my kindergartener, has his time with me. The older two have independent stuff to do.
9:30 We do something together that's quick-- a quick craft, a song, something physical, look at art
9:45 Katie Grace's main lesson. Michael works independently or practices cello or piano. I'm going to fill workboxes with Waldorfy stuff for Nicholas, because he's just too much of a lose canon to let him run around the house unsupervised, LOL!
10:15 Snack
10:30 Do something little together. This is really a time to (a) fit in those little things I don't seem to have time for and (b) check in with everyone
10:45 Michael's main lesson. Katie Grace finishes her stuff, practices piano, plays with the baby
11:15 Check in and a ten minute tidy
11:30 I try to get some time in with Daniel, telling a story or playing together. To be honest, though, if we're behind, this gets pushed back
NOON Lunch
12:30 Everyone helps clean up, dinner prep, free play
1:00 Read aloud
1:30 Story of the World
2:00 Science (this is really just for fun exploration) or an art project or we just quit for the day

It does feel a bit like running on a treadmill to fit everyone in.

Flowers, fairies, gardens, and rainbows-- Seasons of Joy: 10 weeks of crafts, handwork, painting, coloring, circle time, fairy tales, and more!
Check out the blog for family fun, homeschooling, books, simple living, and 6 fabulous children, including twin toddlers

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#99 of 397 Old 08-28-2009, 11:57 PM
 
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Oh, and I forgot my blog:
http://natural-childhood.blogspot.com/

Flowers, fairies, gardens, and rainbows-- Seasons of Joy: 10 weeks of crafts, handwork, painting, coloring, circle time, fairy tales, and more!
Check out the blog for family fun, homeschooling, books, simple living, and 6 fabulous children, including twin toddlers

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#100 of 397 Old 08-29-2009, 02:43 AM
 
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mama-aya: when i was looking over your weekly schedule i was wondering something, is the "main lesson" the block subjects?
thanks for all the info btw! great blog!

h

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#101 of 397 Old 08-29-2009, 08:52 PM
 
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Thank all of you for your suggestions about alternative nature shelves! I love reading this thread (and forum) because the ideas are amazing and really helpful.

nature and art loving homeschooling mom to a half-dozen little treasures.
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#102 of 397 Old 08-29-2009, 10:04 PM
 
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I just thought I'd mention, for you non-music-reading mamas -- the Wynstones series has at the beginning of each book a little section about the pentatonic scale. Starting with the pentatonic scale is a very easy way to start reading music. If you bought either a pentatonic recorder or xylophone it is very simple to pick out the melodies in the books you find. The songs in the Wynstones books are very simple, all pentatonic, and hover around A, going up and down in a very predictable way. It would be pretty easy to learn.

Meredith, Waldorf teacher and mother of ds C (14), dd A (11) and ds L (7)
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#103 of 397 Old 08-30-2009, 03:36 AM
 
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oh, that sounds great. thanks for the idea.

h

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#104 of 397 Old 08-30-2009, 04:09 PM
 
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how are you all setting up your day? do you really do a circle at home? how does that work? how many kids do you have?
do you all plan on doing "school" at home all day long? just wondering... no judgment. lol
and what are "blocks"? do you sort of have all of your subjects come back to a topic? like math and lit and history, etc all involving lets say rome?

h
We also do circle at home. I mingle in some verses, seasonal songs, and movement activities. I have a 7.5 yo, 5 yo, 3.5 yo, and a 3 mo so I have to keep things interesting for all. I will end the circle with a story for my kindergarteners. Following circle will be the main lesson time for my 2nd grader which will last an hour at most. Then we break for snack and a little free play. I am following Donna Simmons schedule, so after snack is Lesson A, lunch, quiet time, then Lesson B. Lesson A and Lesson B change depending on what block we are in, but is pretty much a rotation of math practice, arts and crafts, music, poetry, handwork, and spelling/word family practice.

A block is simply what subject you are teaching- if you are working on a math block, then that would be the subject you are covering during your main lesson time.

We are involved in a weekly co-op and we plan on throwing in some field trips here and there, but for the most part, school will be at home. I am a home body anyways and I dread the thought of dragging my kids here and there all week. Too much stress! Life with 4 kids keeps me busy enough

Hope this helps!

Tanya, wife to my best friend momma to Blake 2/02, Jacob 5/04, Parker 12/05 and MaKenna : 6/09
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#105 of 397 Old 08-30-2009, 04:37 PM
 
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We are involved in a weekly co-op and we plan on throwing in some field trips here and there, but for the most part, school will be at home. I am a home body anyways and I dread the thought of dragging my kids here and there all week. Too much stress! Life with 4 kids keeps me busy enough
I can completely relate to this one...and I only have two kids!
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#106 of 397 Old 08-30-2009, 10:59 PM
 
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Yep, on my weekly template "main lesson" means "block lesson".

OT:
We just got back from a weekend in the city and a trip to the zoo to visit the animals. I was thinking we'd buy a year's pass, and go several times, since we're doing 4th grade and man & animals this year. But holy cow! I couldn't believe how horribly people were treating their kids! I don't hink I can stomach going as often as I was planning....
And why do people even take their kids to the "bug house" if all they're going to do is shreik "eeewww! gross!" at every display?

We're starting school tomorrow! Hooray!
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#107 of 397 Old 08-31-2009, 03:45 PM
 
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How did everyone's first day go? Ours went pretty smooth actually! I only had a few hiccups (with the 5 yo...he always keeps me on my toes). Looking forward to having a pleasant first week!

Tanya, wife to my best friend momma to Blake 2/02, Jacob 5/04, Parker 12/05 and MaKenna : 6/09
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#108 of 397 Old 09-01-2009, 12:26 AM
 
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I'm really starting to wonder how Waldorf works with the super spirited child. Anyone have any experience there? My DD2 is my spirited one and today she made it impossible to tell them a story. My DD1 was more than able to sit and listen to a story or walk around and play while I told a story without trying to take my props and such. When I tried to redirect DD2 today she squalled like I had pinched her. I even tried giving her her own props to no avail. It ended in both the girls screaming and crying, and DH getting disturbed from his work to deal with DD2 while I dealt with DD1 who desperately wanted to hear the story.

I'm working really hard on paying attention to the in breath and the out breath, but there has to be something I'm missing. DD2 is very physical. She is the imitation queen and a climber. She is also destructive in many ways. She loves to empty shelves of toys and then pull out the slats in the shelving. DD1 was never like this and I remember Parent/Child classes being like an easy dream. There wasn't a child that reacted like my DD2. Where have I gone wrong? So, much for not jarring them from their dream.

It isn't an option to do everything with DD1 while DD2 is napping. She only naps for 30 minutes to 1 hour most of the time and that is when I sneak in my daily yoga. Also, I think that DD2 needs these songs and stories. DD1 benefited so much from them at this age. The rhythm of our family has to include both children. I'm also concerned as she gets older how this will manifest itself.

Otherwise, the school year is going well for the most part. Yes, we do circle time. I like it as a rest and it helps me to create a time where I focus on sharing things with the girls. We also do a nature walk and a craft about 4 days a week.

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#109 of 397 Old 09-01-2009, 12:55 PM
 
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eastkygal- Hang in there! Here's what I do in a similar situation: 1)Try to adjust my expectations. Flexibility of what I want to do for lessons on a given day has been a sanity saver. 2) Look for the underlying cause of the behavior. (Food/rest/environment) If I'm reading your sig right, dd2 is about 18 months...So, for a spirited child that all makes sense. She probably needs to be able to move nonstop, huh? Is she trying to get your attention? Is she at all interested in the story?
It gets easier! Really it does. Unfortunately there is no magic formula to make them sit still and listen, you get to aim for that every day. Try to be gentle on yourself too.
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#110 of 397 Old 09-01-2009, 01:49 PM
 
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Do you have any reading material about the various ages your kids are? You night be interested in the Gesell Institute books, which, while dated, are practical and informative. Have you read any Piaget? There's some good info there regarding what kids are "working on" at their various early childhood stages. It might help you put your younger dd into a broader context.

FWIW, it sounds like you have a delightfully inquisitive and energetic dd on your hands. It can be exhausting sometime, but it sounds like she is actually doing what she is supposed to be doing at this age.
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#111 of 397 Old 09-01-2009, 02:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I totally agree that your DD is just being her age. Even if your older child wasn't as spirited, it still seems within the realm of normal. I have 3 very spunky children...one who was 'spirited' from birth and the other two seem to get more so with each passing day.

If you've not already done so, check out Carrie's blog: www.theparentingpassageway.com There is an absolute treasure-trove of great information about parenting and what is developmentally appropriate and to be expected of various ages. It's worth digging in to.

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#112 of 397 Old 09-01-2009, 04:41 PM
 
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Thanks ladies. She is a delight and very very inquisitive. I love watching her throughout her day. And, there are things that are far more difficult because of this. I do think she is definitely normal. She is doing exactly what she should be by imitating and wanting to experience things firsthand. I'm just not used to it at all as DD1 was more content to have me show her things, to sit looking at books, and she still isn't very physical.

No, I haven't read Piaget, but I'm trying to decide between buying Beyond the Rainbow Bridge or Heaven on Earth. I do need to study up on Waldorf and early childhood. My oldest is still only 4. I've never gotten to even flip through either book, so I'm buying them without really knowing which would offer more useable information.

So, how do you get your spirited children to stop and listen once in awhile? Or, should I even try. Should I just let her take the props during story time eventhough I feel like that might ruin it for DD1?

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#113 of 397 Old 09-01-2009, 05:24 PM
 
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No, I haven't read Piaget, but I'm trying to decide between buying Beyond the Rainbow Bridge or Heaven on Earth. I do need to study up on Waldorf and early childhood. My oldest is still only 4. I've never gotten to even flip through either book, so I'm buying them without really knowing which would offer more useable information.
Heaven on Earth...hands down! It's full of practical, inspiring ideas.

If you have stories you'd like to tell, could you try doing that as part of the bedtime ritual? I'm doing 1st grade with my ds and I tell him his fairy tales before bed so they can rest with him while he sleeps. He then retells the story to me the next day. Then we color or paint from the story, etc.

Just an idea. Hang in there! And read Heaven on Earth ASAP.

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#114 of 397 Old 09-01-2009, 10:11 PM
 
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i have both books and i love heaven on earth. so wonderful and just full of really great stuff. it works great with my little ones!


h

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#115 of 397 Old 09-01-2009, 10:36 PM
 
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Heaven on Earth...hands down! It's full of practical, inspiring ideas.
:
I read "Beyond the Rainbow Bridge" first, but couldn't get my hands on a copy of "Heaven on Earth" from the library. I just got a copy a few days ago and I have to say I much prefer "Heaven on Earth."

Both of your DDs are around the same age as my kids - complete with the spirited toddler (after my laidback ds, dd is quite the shock...I'm really hoping #3 is alot more like ds). I have to say I have difficulties dealing w/dd at times so I'm definitely watching the responses you get.
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#116 of 397 Old 09-02-2009, 04:13 PM
 
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Another vote for Heaven on Earth. I love, love, love this book! I think it will help tremendously.

Is it possible to give your dd2 something to occupy herself while you are doing the story for your other daughter? Maybe some large wooden beads to sort or beans to scoop and dump (some things that she would only play with during this time). That way, she can be busily playing without interrupting your story time and still be absorbing it (BTW, from what I read, it really is very normal for a child to not be able to *participate* in circle under the age of 3). You can then just add in the verses and songs throughout your day when you are working, outside playing, taking your nature walk, etc.

Oh, and I also recommend you visit Carrie's blog! I think you will find a wealth of helpful information over there!

Tanya, wife to my best friend momma to Blake 2/02, Jacob 5/04, Parker 12/05 and MaKenna : 6/09
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#117 of 397 Old 09-02-2009, 04:25 PM
 
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My oldest is currently in 2nd grade and we are starting with a form drawing and math review block. To my surprise, my 5 yo is wanting to participate along with us (last year, he would color and then wander off to play). So he has been doing some of the forms and *practicing* math. I definitely don't want to wake him up too soon, but how else can I get him to not want to do the same things that his brother is doing? I don't guide him, btw, he just does it on his own at the table and then shows me. He has a very determined personality so once he decides to do something, he is gonna do it. Any ideas?

Tanya, wife to my best friend momma to Blake 2/02, Jacob 5/04, Parker 12/05 and MaKenna : 6/09
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#118 of 397 Old 09-03-2009, 12:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by blumom2boyz View Post
My oldest is currently in 2nd grade and we are starting with a form drawing and math review block. To my surprise, my 5 yo is wanting to participate along with us (last year, he would color and then wander off to play). So he has been doing some of the forms and *practicing* math. I definitely don't want to wake him up too soon, but how else can I get him to not want to do the same things that his brother is doing? I don't guide him, btw, he just does it on his own at the table and then shows me. He has a very determined personality so once he decides to do something, he is gonna do it. Any ideas?
I was just reading Donna Simmons' kindergarten book the last few days (am loving it and so glad I purchased it!) and she addresses this. She talks about not worrying about if a younger one wants to learn along side their older sibling. You can see if you can get them off into more age-appropriate learning, but it's also fine for them to work together. She suggests letting the little one have their own MLB and then being prepared for them to head off to play when they want, revisit the topic when their older, and then ensuring that they have plenty of activities that are geared for their age. I'm fairly new to things, but it seemed pretty reasonable to me.

ETA:

I've actually got a few questions of my own. I just finished Donna's Kindergarten book and was trying to sit down and decide what to get materials wise. She mentions the Stockmar block crayons. We already have the stick crayons (ds much prefers them to the Crayola ones he used to have). Can we just stick with those? Why the preference for block crayons?

For wet-on-wet watercolor - I've already got watercolor paint, paint cups, brushes, and some paper on hand. I'm wondering if I can use it for this purpose?

I love the idea of the painting boards so I definitely want to get a few of those - it would certainly solve the problem of where to put things while they dry (while also remaining mobile if need be).
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#119 of 397 Old 09-03-2009, 09:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Another EXCELLENT blog post at The Parenting Passageway:

I'm homeschooling my four year old

As for painting boards, there was some discussion on making these over on the homeschooling waldorf yahoo group (Melisa Nielson's group) IIRC it involves using a piece of cardboard then several layers of unfolded (you don't want creases) newsprint. You masking tape all around the edges and have a portable painting/drawing board. The newsprint gives it some cushion. Make sense?

We're officially starting our homeschool on Tuesday 9/8. I've been spending time this week reviewing my plans and notations in preparation.

But mostly we're just enjoying this fall-like weather that has descended on us.

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#120 of 397 Old 09-03-2009, 11:22 AM
 
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We've been really digging multiplication circles/wheels. I'm sad I missed them my first time around!

Flowers, fairies, gardens, and rainbows-- Seasons of Joy: 10 weeks of crafts, handwork, painting, coloring, circle time, fairy tales, and more!
Check out the blog for family fun, homeschooling, books, simple living, and 6 fabulous children, including twin toddlers

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