This year, I have a 4th grader, still youthful, yet changed slightly, as she has crossed through the rough waters of the 9 year change. It was bumpy, yet amazing. I held her hand when she needed it, yet there were moments she swam strongly on her own. I didn't understand at the time, but now I do. This passage didn't mean the teen years were steps away. My girl is the same again, just with a view of the world expanding beyond me. We are on the banks again together now, nearing 10. It is so hard to believe. I hope to bring her the wonder and joy of 4th grade, freely, but I think this might be the age when it becomes so hard for parents to balance the idea that we are raising these little people to leave us one day soon. Soon comes closer everyday, doesn't it?
here.) In preparation, I told Finnian this story about a leaf, leaving the tree. At the surface, it was just a story, but Mike patted my shoulder and smiled, knowing my intention and meaning. My little guy is ready. In the past few months, he has lost his first 2 teeth, he has begun to show an interest in reading, he's tying his own shoes, he's grown inches, and he's so capable and eager to do things himself.
As we begin the school year, I have already changed my plans since my last post (my first post on these grades). While the bulk of my post remains the same, I have decided that I will not be using Oak Meadow at all this year and I will be using very little of the Waldorf Essentials curricula. I will continue to use the Waldorf Essentials Thinking Feeling Willing program, which has been such a support to me. For teaching materials, I will be using Christopherus (beyond the resources I mentioned in my last post, I now also have materials for 4th and 1st grades) as well as the previously mentioned guides from Marsha Johnson of Waldorf Home Educators (Yahoo! group) and also the guides from Waldorf Inspirations, depending on the blocks I am teaching. I am struck by how much fabulous information is available at no or low cost, particularly if one wants to take the approach of making it "their own," which is ideal for each child and family when homeschooling.
A rainbow for Finnian, a California Quail for Lala. We had some, um, troubles with the chalkboard this morning, so Lala, once ready, came and helped re-do my drawings. The column is actually our first form drawing, the lines at the top and bottom representing the sky and earth, to teach Finnian where to start and end his vertical lines.
As the parent-teacher, I am excited this year (and nervous, too) at the idea of co-leading a project for the kids' homeschool 4-H club. In addition to this project, the kids will participate in several others, supporting their science and social studies needs, as well as getting them outside and physical. We are also going to be doing a small co-op with new, like minded friends. Kindred spirits. Lala is continuing piano lessons and as we did last year, the kids will be in classes through their charter. It sounds like a lot, but as we begin the year, I have mornings blocked off for home learning and one full weekday a week at home, with no obligations.
And so we began...
The start of the day was a bit bumpy, with a girl feeling left out of the rising grade welcome and sadness at her own move up a grade (growth and change are hard, just like for her mamma), but with love and empathy and a realization that we can go at our own pace, we moved on to a beautiful, smooth, wonderful day.
I asked the kids to paint what their image of the summer had been; something tangible, a feeling, a color representation, whatever. The top painting above is Finnian's. It is a green canoe in the water, with sun and rain. This was our time at the lake. The bottom picture above is mine. It is hands coming together, as we spent a lot of time with friends, family, and each other, making connections. Below are Lala's paintings. The top one is a yellow canoe, also from our time at the lake. After this, she wanted to paint again, so I asked her to paint something that represents what she wants to gain from the school year. She painted a butterfly, because she wants to learn about them during our animal block.
4-H begins for the year and a proud girl turns in a complete record book from last year.