As we are nearing the end of the year, I am doing a mental recap of everything we have covered so far. We are so close to officially being finished with the first Language Arts block – I kept forgetting about the vowels for Moon, so we heard a lovely story (The Land of the Singing Sounds) and Moon was so excited that she did all five of the pictures today. Now she is decorating two snowflakes that she cut, all by herself. She is out of the school mindset, which is fine – we will continue our vowel work tomorrow. Sun is getting into the school mindset while decorating his own snowflakes, and once lunch has been eaten and Moon is having a rest, we will hear a Saint Lucy story and he will colour in a gorgeous Saint Lucy drawing for his main lesson book.
So, topics. Topics, topics, topics. Some people call them subjects. What all have we really covered so far?
Well, Sun has worked, off and on, with grammar and spelling and punctuation and capitalisation. I am not big on marking on his papers, or even correcting them. We just work on things regularly and I hope that they will stick – when he is corrected, he gets defensive and shuts down which is not conducive to a learning environment.
Moon has focused all of her energy on the Alphabet and forming the letters (though, to be honest, we are so behind on her actual letter practice it isn’t even funny). She is rather firm in the sounds that each letter makes, and has even started reading simple stories on her own.
Now, there has been a lot of thought (within my head) about what we SHOULD be doing versus what we ARE doing. I always feel less for some reason – maybe it is all the amazing work I see on Instagram or here on WordPress. It isn’t the perfection that entices me, it is the imagery, the colours, the natural materials, the willingness of the children to actually do their work.
One of my biggest problem topics has been form drawing. This is something that I have always loved, a topic I have wanted to bring to my children so much. And when we first started, I tried so hard to make it interesting, to help them build their confidence – but it all fell apart and Moon broke down because she felt, deep in her soul, that she just couldn’t do it. This bubbled over to Sun and BAM! we were done with form drawing. And, there is so little in the way of inspiration or tips or really anything for form drawing. This is something I really want to work on in the coming months – I think I will just begin my own form journal and work on it each day in a way that the children can see me and experience the forms with me.
Another topic that I have been struggling with is modelling. Oh, modelling, how I find you so difficult to grasp. We do not have any beeswax, but we do have no-dry clay that my kids are obsessed with – however, they want to create everything BUT something for their lessons. They want to PLAY with the clay, not model with it. So, I have almost completely done away with that portion of our learning – it always devolves into a giant mess and the clay all over the place.
The final topic that has been causing me some anxiety is painting. I love painting. I am a painter. BUT, I am terrified of bringing this amazing art form to my children because they are so wild and so energetic. It takes so much mindfulness and care, and they are rarely able to sit long enough to focus on their main lesson drawings. However, we will be working through the book Painting and Drawing in Waldorf Schools come the new year. It is one of my biggest goals.
If you haven’t already noticed, we are rather minimal in our daily work. I do not force lessons, but rather invite them to share and if things get too out of hand we either take a bit of a break or we end the formal lessons at that and go about our day. I have noticed that there are so many opportunities for learning throughout our days, constantly answering spelling questions and math problems that arise out of their general play. Now we just need to get more writing in there and we will be golden!
Through all of my thoughts and fears and doubts, I know that what my children are learning is what their minds are ready for at this moment. Their confidence has skyrocketed, especially Sun’s – he was so self conscious and worried all the time about his work when he went to public school, but now he sees any oopsies as places of improvement, and if it is necessary he corrects them himself. It is a slow process, this learning thing that all of us have gone through, but I believe fully in the better late than never mentality. I know that I will be revisiting this place again, and likely soon as we gear up for the Maths block in January, but for now I am content in my plans. Now, if only I could get this whole rhythm thing down!