December 26, 2010

New moves for school


I'm making some changes for our school time in an effort to chill Hannah Jane out a bit and to draw the younger fellas in on slightly more academic content.  We'll be moving in a decidedly more Waldorf inspired direction, but without the postponing of actual academic rigors and minus the anthroposophy business.  Simply stated, we'll be using the 2 hour learning block, circle time, literature based everything (to satisfy the Charlotte Mason lover in us all) and way more artsy fartsy activities, all with a little more laid back attitude. 

My hope is that Hannah Jane will go easier on herself, no longer asking daily how old I think she'll be when she goes to college (what kind of 7 y/o worries about that) and just enjoy her childhood a bit more.  Today we had a big blow out over her decision to make a recipe book for home made Easy Bake Oven recipes, but quickly deciding it wasn't worth her time to do it well.  I know.  Sounds like I'm splitting hairs here, but she just never seems to do her best on something once she see that it will take more than a minute.  I thought it was a matter of attitude and was ready to deliver a lecture on how anything worth doing is worth doing well, when Joe stepped in and after only a matter of minutes realized that she's just always rushing herself, thinking that being done fast and moving on is in fact the same as doing well.  He says he's the same way, always having to stop himself from taking the short cut, thinking that quantity is the same as quality.  I am so not that way, always lingering and taking too much time, that it just never crossed my mind that rushing through was the problem.  I am prone to laziness, hence I immediately identified it as a laziness problem.  This, by the way, is just one example of God's wisdom in giving children to a family of care givers.  It takes two (or more) to help each other see different aspects of a child and fully nurture every part of them, including the ones that we don't have in common.

Anyway, I'm thinking that a more laid back approach in which quality is prized far above finishing a grade in a few months would just help Miss Speed Schooler slow down and enjoy the beauty in each thing she encounters.

So, in preparation for the arrival of our Waldorf Math text, and a shift towards turning her k-12 curriculum into a more artistic learning block sort of thing, we made some physical changes to our school area.

You may recall that we recently moved the school room to a larger space downstairs so that the boys could sleep closer to the rest of the family.  This has been such a great change!  So if the room in the pictures looks like a totally different room, it's because it is!


I bought a round table top at Lowe's that was on super clearance and I painted it with chalk board paint, getting ready for the beautiful chalk board art that adds a little flair to literature blocks! 


Hannah Jane got an mp4 player for Christmas and I loaded it with beautiful traditional and multicultural folk tales (which are high quality and free for the download from the  Story Nory portion of the Guided Montessori )  and she immediately took to the Swan Lake story.  Being the obnoxious mom that I am, seized the moment to make school out of something that I already knew she liked, and drew a little something from the story on our chalk board.  It's my first go at the Waldorfy chalk board art, so take it easy on me.


All the kids are quite excited about the idea of math gnomes, and Hannah Jane and I spent a morning making a set of gnomes and a magical, mossy tray for them to live on when we're not using them. 


Lastly, we've filled our shelves with baskets that contain a wider variety of art and craft supplies.  In case you've never considered the difference, arts are activities with  no right and wrong like water coloring and sculpting, while crafts have a set of steps and a predictable result like knitting and cross stitching.  They're always thrown together as "arts and crafts" as if there's one meaning, but acknowledging the difference can be important.  We have traditionally done art at home, but I think the crafts are a nice, lighthearted way to introduce he concept of following certain steps to achieve the desired outcome.  They are, in my mind, a precursor to skills like learning to compose a proper sentence, paragraph, or essay.  

There you have it!  Hopefully some of our new books will arrive in the mail within the next few days and we can take a big, calculated step towards slowing down and savoring our learning time together. 

1 comment:

  1. I want to work or volunteer at the Christison Academy :)

    ReplyDelete

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