Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wagon Train

We made covered wagons today. They came out pretty cute, but it was a lot of work, at least for Strongmom and I, while the kids grew restless and floppy. I made one up ahead of time, I really did, to make sure the glue and all would be easy enough for the kids to do. The sample came out easy and cute, and I was proud for being such a good Mom, all organized and efficient! Unfortunately I think I got the only kit with all of the pieces cut the right size and holes drilled in the right places.
In the end it came out okay, though I do have a renewed frustration with this town and the lack of decent crafting and fabric stores. I hate to say it, because the people at Craft Wharehouse are always really nice (except the quilting corner lady who is rude and awful). But really, you can't even buy silk here by the yard in this town, or dye-na-flow fabric paint, apparently. And because I am always gathering supplies at the last minute I didn't find that out until last night. Darn it!
Anyway, we had fun setting up the wagons in the grass after Strongmom and her two left. Foal chose circus animals to pull her wagon, which is appropriate (and she painted her wagon cover in polka dots). She is giddy knees and elbows and shining to applause. Mymy chose dinosaurs. I guess when you're two 1843 might as well be the time of the dinosaurs. ABCD and Sunny both refused to paint their wagon covers, despite my assurances that real wagons were often painted in bright colors and designs, and both claimed litle play horses to pull their little play wagons (both were disappointed we didn't have a stock of play oxen). They are strict.
Before we made wagons I read Chapter 2 of Little House on the Prairie, where they cross the dangerous stream and nearly drown and Jack is lost. The kids were shocked at my choking back tears while I read. But honestly! What parent can read that chapter and not feel how fragile and scary it all can be? Still, though. Crying?! As if I haven't read that book about 150 times in my life. Really!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Oregon Trail Curriculum

Week 1:
How did our country grow?
Why did people go west?
make walking sticks

Week 2:
What do we need and want?
Preparing to go- procuring supplies.
flower-leaf print painted tshirts

Week 3:
Famous Pioneers
make personal flags, have a parade around our cul-de-sac

Week 4:
Dangers on the trail.
drama camp this week- no big craft day

Week 5:
Frontier forts, pony express, and communication along the trail.
make wooden flower presses or marbled paper journals

Week 6:
Native Americans and Westward Expansion
bamboo lanterns?

Week 7:
Day in the Life of a Wagon Train.
Children and children's chores.
make whirligigs, pioneers toys

Week 8:
The Gold Rush
paint silk sun catchers or plant dye play silks?

Week 9:
The Mormon Trail
make soap or candles?

Week 10:
Life in a new land.
prepare for the show on Friday, no big craft day

Summer 2008 Circle

Our Circle verses this summer:

Morning is come, night is away, rise with the sun and welcome the day. (The children start out lying on the floor in a ring and slowly awaken and rise with the song)

There's the firm earth under me,
The blue sky over me,
So I stride,
So I stand,
And I see You too,
With the blue sky above you
And the firm earth under you.

Be you to others kind and true, and always unto others do, as you'd have others do to you. (Sung all together then in a round- challenging and fun for 8 yos.)

Whether the weather be fine,
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold,
Or whether the weather be hot,
We'll weather the weather,
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not!
(which just cracks everyone up and they say it over and over)

Pioneers all work as one as one- work as one all pioneers
Pioneers all work as one- work as one all pioneers
Pioneers all work as one- work as one all pioneers
Peace shall be for all the world- all the world shall be for peace
From the dawn til setting sun- everyone finds work to be done
From the dawn til night does come- there's a task for everyone
Pioneers all work hard on the land- men and women hand in hand
As they labor all day long- they lift their voices in song
Let us work, my friends as one
Let us work til the task is done
(This is an old Israeli song "Zum Gali Gali", but we're just doing the English translation, sung as a call and response type, each child leading a different verse- lovely!)

Stillness soars as a mountain peak, seeking greatness in eagle's beak, striving lifting, reaching, climbing, gentle reason in numbers finding (They're hand in hand from "Pioneers" and join in a circle, crouch down then rise, then split into a line, marching. One child starts quietly counting the steps "1, 2, 3, 4....", the next child chimes in on the 2's, and the third child chants the 4's. In Time. We're challenged by this, but working on it! I got this from Miss Marsha's resources at waldorf home educators)

The coach is at the door at last;
The eager children mounting fast
And kissing hands in chorus sing:
Goodbye, goodbye, to everything!
To house and garden, field and lawn,
To meadow gates we swung upon,
To pump and stable, tree and swing,
Goodbye, goodbye to everything!
And fare you well for evermore,
O ladder at the hayloft door,
O hayloft where the cobwebs cling,
Goodbye, goodbye to everything!
Crack goes the whip, and off we go;
The trees and houses smaller grow;
Last, round the woody turn we sing:
Goodbye, goodbye to everything!
(Farewell To The Farm by Robert Louis Stevenson)

I can turn myself and turn myself and curl up as I will,
I can stand on tiptoe, reaching high,
I can hold myself quite still.
I can be as small as a small, small seed,
I can be as tall as a tall, tall tree!
I can be as wide as the wide, wide world,
I can just be ME!
(I wasn't going to include this one, we used it last year, and ABCD has used it since preschool, but the children begged and begged and so I included it)

Now the day is over, night is drawing nigh, shadows of the evening steal across the sky.
Father give the weary calm and sweet repose, with thy tend'rest blessing may our eyelids close.
(Sung softer and softer, as the children fall asleep, curling down to the ground.)

This circle will start each day, and also start the show we're planning for the last day of camp, at the end of August.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Oregon Trail Summer

This summer at our little "day camp" the kids and I are studying the Oregon Trail. Last week they made up "families" for themselves, took a period occupational interest test to find out what job their OT "Dads" would have. ABCD, in a stunning turn of events, ended up with an Industrial Technologies job, and decided that Blacksmith would be a terrific job no matter what the century. Foal and Sunny both ended up as Baker.
They also started their lesson books, colored in maps of the US to show the stages of our country's growth, and learned about some of the reasons why Oregon Fever hit so hard. Friends came over one afternoon and we made walking sticks- ABCD and Papa had previously drilled holes in dowels, and he and I sanded them ahead of time. On the big weekly Craft Day we threaded string through the holes to make a good hand grip, and all the kids decorated their walking sticks with stain pens and sharpies. Strongmom and I helped the kids mark inches on their sticks, for measuring puddles and things.
This week will be our first real week, with both Foal and Sunny starting Tuesday. We'll purchase wagons and supplies and pack up to leave. I've got lists of costs from the time, and weights, and we'll start out by measuring out a 4x10' rectangle to get an idea of what moving your whole life and family with really only necessities meant. This will lend itself to lots of math this week, as they spend their money and prepare their wagons. Oregon or Bust!
The kids all decided that instead of starting tennis right away, as usual, they'd rather ease into summer a little and have more relaxing and playing time and start tennis in mid July. Its fine with me- they're all getting along really well and having fun.

Third Grade Curriculum

Farming 1- harvest and preservation; life cycle bee
visit farms to observe and help with the harvest
visit beekeeper
cook with honey, make beeswax polish and candles
Farming 2- sprouts and microgreens; life cycle sheep
grow and taste many kinds of sprouts and microgreens
visit sheep and help tend them
Farming 3- planning and planting a garden; life cycle chicken
incubate chicken eggs
start a children's garden or herb garden
Shelter 1- history and geography of homes
draw and model many kinds of homes
Shelter 2- history and geography of clothing
visit spinner/weaver, help with wool -clothing process
hand sew wool vest; weave belt
Shelter 3- design and build a structure with a foundation
patio with pergola, playhouse, or walkway with arbor and benches
Time- history of telling time
make calendar, sundial, etc.
Money- history, practical skills
Measurement Linear
Measurement Weight
Measurement Volume

Math- Archios, Math Lessons for the Elementary Grades
daily puzzler/logic problem/diagramming/graphing problem
daily oral math
weekly math story and hands on play and solving
twice weekly Miquon 3rd grade/Key To Measurement
Language Arts- Logios
daily oral reading
daily circle with songs, poems, movement
daily cursive practice with art appreciation
weekly longer copywork
2-3 book reports
Old Testament- stories to set a backdrop for study of ancient Israel (Jakob Streit)
History- Lore of Life
our house, street, neighborhood, city, county, state
Form drawing-
daily knitting, sewing, etc..
Science- World Within Child Without, Child Awake, msnucleus
weekly nature story, nature walk w/journal, nature craft or picture
weekly story/project about Leonardo da Vinci
weekly experiments and projects
daily practice and weekly guitar lesson
daily harmonica practice
Art- Artistic Pursuits, art prints from Ambleside
daily viewing of artworks by: da Vinci, Picasso?, van Gogh
weekly story of the artist
weekly technique
drawing and watercolor in all subjects
twice weekly homeschool gym & swim at the Y
weekly homeschool gymnastics class
thrice weekly soccer U-9 fall and spring
weekly skiing lessons winter
Spanish- La Clase Divertida 2
Latin- Lively Latin Big Book 1