Saturday, May 25, 2013

Introductions, a bit delayed

Youngest first...here's Jam helping to peel carrots...he'll be 3 in July.  On the right is Papa J helping Jam build a pretty awesome tower.


And since I don't know what I'm doing & can't move pics around, here's me w/ some of the cousins!



Tweeters just turned 5 (she's the one on the left) - her snuggle companion is Wallace (our other dog's name is Bruce...get it, Wallace & Bruce??).  They are cute, but annoying.  So far they've eaten 10 blueberry bushes, 1 lilac, 1 rose of sharon, and one electric cord for the rock water fountain.
Flash - here he is working on weed eating a neighbor's yard - he is a hard worker and a sweet, loving young man of 17.  Veeery conservative, handsome, and not yet available.  Sorry, ladies.  Did I mention that he loves to cook?!  YUM!

Here's Honey Bunches, our oldest...yes, we have quite a gap between our youngers & olders!  At 19 she is officially graduating this year and may start up a Waldorfy kindy this fall.  She fell in love with the classroom we observed recently and thoroughly enjoyed sitting on the floor  playing with the wooden figures and silks ;0)

Playspaces

Jam tends to concentrate better when there are fewer things out - so this new approach has been perfect for him!  Really, though, who doesn't?  See posts from the blog 'Becoming Mimimalist'....


Here we have a meal of spaghetti (yellow yarn) & meatballs (buckeyes!)
*UPDATE* We moved the kitchen back out to the garden playhouse for the summer & brought the bookshelf up to take it's place.  I do love changing things up seasonally, and I need to do it for other spaces in our home as well, especially as we approach harvest time!

Often, though, the kitchen gets cleaned out ......
...and everything ends up on the table!!!

Tweeters loves the wooden dollhouse that Honeybunches handed down....and the fairy bower makes a nice baby doll space (also used to belong to HB)


A short essay

As an educator at home now for 12 years, & former public & private school teacher, I am always interested in various approaches & philosophies. Some are classical, as we educated our older two children through jr. high, with sprinkles of Charlotte Mason; others are somewhat "non-traditional" (traditional meaning sit in a desk, read a chapter, take a test) like Montessori & Waldorf. I've been reading about these last two since our youngest was born (Jam, almost 3), wondering if we would educate the younger two the same as our older ones.
I do not like the undercurrant of anthroposophy OR mysticism that winds it's way through purely Waldorf schools, yet there is so much that seems so natural! From birth to age 7 they stress all natural foods, natural toys (a few excellent ones as opposed to tons of the plastic kind), little to no computer/video/TV time, high quality art materials, and time at home in a routine or rhythm as opposed to running every day to activities or busy stuff. Just getting the natural food & rhythm is a challenge to me - not to mention my attempt at "Becoming Minimalist"! But thanks to the flexibility of homeschooling we can cut & paste from several educational philosophies and choose what we like best from each for each child.
So our hodgepodge of prek/k is a combination of art, music, lots of free & structured time outside & inside each day, and as Tweeters is ready we are adding in latin, math & reading. When 1st grade comes along, we'll begin formal reading & math, but I am still researching whether or not that will have a Waldorf/Montessori flavor or not. It will likely have a mix of both, as well as the classical things we did with our older ones! Here is a somewhat brainy (but I think neutral) article comparing three particular non-traditional approaches:
http://ecrp.uiuc.edu/v4n1/edwards.html
and a book that tells a bit more about classical christian education:
http://www.amazon.com/Case-Classical-Christian-Education/dp/1581343841 - of course, I have loved everything I've ever read by Douglas Wilson, and I think I have most of his writings! We mostly used The Well Trained Mind as our guide, with bits of Veritas Press, Memoria Press, & Canon Press thrown in (even reading lists from Sonlight). Of course, the movement has exploded in recent years, spawning co-ops like Classical Conversations, in which many of our QACHE members participated in this year (including us).
It is an interesting season, to be teaching a kindergartener to read & a senior rhetoric. Challenging for sure, but in a fun way! I love talking curriculum and know that everyone does things a little differently - and different is good :0) I want to encourage you as educators & parents to think outside the box as you do your planning for the coming year, even consider teaching a class or two for a month over the summer very casually (art? music appreciation? logic? math games? reading biographies aloud during a quiet time?).
I've recently ordered a book that I hope will help me on this homeschooling journey - sounds simple & maybe it is - but even at the greying age of 41 I don't feel like I can ever know enough about education. I already own a bookshelf of similar books, but every age & stage brings new and fun challenges for both scholar & parent educator! Here is a link if you are interested - You are Your Child's First Teacher:
http://www.amazon.com/Your-Childs-First-Teacher-Third/dp/1607743027/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1369273455&sr=1-1&keywords=you+are+your+child%27s+first+teacher
and if you have little ones, this one is a quick but excellent bathroom read and was SO encouraging to me (if you can get 10 minute stretches in the bathroom or while nursing ha ha) - Loving the Little Years:
http://www.amazon.com/Loving-Little-Years-Motherhood-Trenches/dp/1591280818/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1369273538&sr=1-1&keywords=loving+the+little+years+motherhood+in+the+trenches
Finally, the article below reveals a bit about Waldorf if you are suspicous about it's beginnings or undercurrent. Unlike the author I am not Jewish (however we try to observe the feasts, fasts, & holy days) but she does give a fair analysis of the pros/cons & which things to be cautious about. If you are totally uninterested in Waldorf just skip it ;0) Just hoping to introduce a few new things to the smorgasboard that is home education.
What every Jewish parent should know about The Waldorf Philosophy
http://www.waldorfcritics.org/articles/NJP_WhatEveryJewishParent.html

here they are, all together!
















 

Wild & Free in Tennesee

So so happy to have taken the plunge!  This gathering of nearly 900 homeschool mamas gathered in Franklin, Tennessee for the weekend & ...