Zac and I are having special Mommy/Toddler time, since his sisters are off on their Winter Vacation with their dad. Tuesday we drove up to Wisconsin and Wednesday we drove back from Wisconsin, so that was exciting-ish. Yesterday we did errands, playing Santa by mailing all the Christmas presents in boxes to friends and family on the East Coast, returning overdue library books, and then going out to a pizza and spaghetti lunch. We won a $10 gift certificate to a local pizza place as a door prize at a Christmas party!
Today was quieter. I set him up with a Talenti container of water (thank you Talenti for making ice cream containers that make for perfectly-portioned food storage containers, thereby allowing me to buy one of every flavor with a perfectly clear conscience that I'm not just eating ice cream, I'm thoughtfully stocking my family's shelves with unbreakable tubberware) and a wide paintbrush and he painted the blackboard with glee. With G-L-E-E, I tell you. He returned to this activity throughout the day, over and over. He also tried erasing the water with a chalkboard eraser, which didn't work. He experimented with drawing with chalk over the wet parts. He considered brushing his hair with the dripping wet paintbrush. He tried to put things into the water and helpfully discovered the principle of water displacement, and then went to get a towel to clean up the spill. All in all, he had a blast!
Thank you Pinterest for helping me add more awesome things to my Early Art & Sensory board all the time!
You can see the lights from the Christmas tree shining in the wet places. :-)
We also played with Zac's "10 lbs of cornmeal plus a bag of seashells from the craft store" Toddler Beach Bin, read stories, folded and put away laundry, and had friends over to play. Zac has a new friend who is three months younger than he is. His mom and I were pregnant at the same time but we had never gotten the kids together to see if they would play well or not. It was a little rough at first, with Zac not sure whether to pet him or push him over, but we got it sorted out. She brought cupcakes, too, which helped.
Now Zac is in bed. I'm eating the Turnip-Cheese Bake which I just pulled out of the oven, dyeing water with food coloring and putting it in the freezer for tomorrow's ice cube painting project, and putting together the first of the long-awaited posts of MLB pages from last year's blocks. Plus I just finished finding a book on Amazon which would have been perfect for our Middle Ages block -- finished on Friday -- and that just goes to prove that you never stop finding teaching ideas and that having your own blog or website to help you keep them organized is an absolute homeschooling necessity!!!
Queen Eleanor: Independent Spirit of the Medieval World
by Polly Schoyer Brooks
- Turnip-Cheese Bake
This is a lovely use for turnips, handy for when you see nice turnips at the store and put them in your cart and then get home and realize you don't have a plan for them.
Cook three small or two large turnips, peeled and diced, in a small amount of water for 20-30 minutes or until tender. Drain in a colander over the sink while mixing other ingredients.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine one cup cottage cheese, one cup yogurt or sour cream, one cup grated Cheddar cheese, 1 1/2 tsp Mrs. Dash Italian medley if you're in hurry (or some fresh parsley, fresh marjoram, diced onion, and minced garlic if you're not), and 2 eggs, well beaten.
Add turnips (and any diced apple you have handy and want to use up) and mix well. Pour into buttered casserole dish and bake, covered with foil, for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake another ten minutes.
Serve with a slotted spoon.
I am working hard to create Pinterest graphics for some of my webpages and blog posts, so that there is an easy way for people to share me as a resource... so if you see something that you find helpful in homeschooling please Pin it!
Whether you call this block the Renaissance & Reformation, or the Age of Exploration, or both, it is a key block in Waldorf 7th grade, and one that students and teachers both enjoy!
I've created a new page on the website with my notes from teaching this block last year. Below are the photographs I took of Natalie's MLB. Click on any picture to enlarge it and scroll through the pages with ease.
I also had her read historical fiction throughout. This ended up being her favorite block of the year (!!!) because she could do so much reading, and I had her write a book review for each book and publish it on Amazon, giving her an authentic audience.
We also created a tri-color web (something I came up with when I wrote my thesis for my M.S. in Curriculum & Instruction, which focused on using historical fiction in the classroom) and this must be started at the very beginning of the block to be successful. Choose your three colors and get a very large piece of paper, such as chart paper. BEFORE beginning the block, have your child write all he/she knows about the main lesson block topic in one color. As you go through your homeschool lessons each day, have your child add what new things he or she has learned to the web, using a second color. As your child reads historical fiction, or does independent research on his or her own, add the new information learned to the web, expanding it further, and using that third color. At the end you'll be able to see what was learned and where all that information came from.
the front cover, which we did inspired by "a light coming through the darkness of the Middle Ages," and the tack-punching window letters project MaryAnn Kohl recommends for the picture book Light: The First Seven Days in Storybook Art
labeling each MLB with name, age, school year, and which number it is in the series helps keep them organized years from now!
we save the first page for the table of contents and do it last, on the final day of the main lesson block when we also number the pages and decorate the front and back covers
The Adventures of Marco Polo - we used A Child's History of the World chapter 55 (and this was our main text for this block), plus Animals Marco Polo Saw, The Silk Route: 7000 Miles of History, A Single Pebble: A Story of the Silk Road. I had her write in cursive in later MLBs but I wasn't that organized yet with this one. This was my first middle school block!
The Magic Needle and the Magic Powder - we also used a compass to find North and set up an orienteering course in the field by our house, and did the Stanford History Education Group lesson "Ibn Battuta"
Thelon Gest Wart Hate Verwas - we also used the SHEG lessons "Understanding the Black Death" and "The Black Death in Florence" and read about Joan of Ark in Stories of the Saints
Printing Press and Magic Powder - we also listened to the Constantinople song by They Might Be Giants, and I had Natalie painstakingly hand copy a passage of the Bible over and over until she wrote it correctly with no mistakes (Genesis 5:25-32) which took her several hours, and we read Morning Girl by Michael Dorris in preparation for Columbus tomorrow (you must read this to the end before you start Columbus)
we read Johann Gutenberg and the Amazing Printing Press (unfortunately I wasn't able to find a copy of Marguerite Makes a Book as well) and Natalie wanted to do potato printing for this illustration. It took her two hours but she did lovely work, carving both sides of the potato so as not to waste any.
Christopher Columbus - we also read Animals Christopher Columbus Saw
at the time we did this block, her younger sister was doing Aesop's Fables and made an illustration for The Tortoise and the Hare which was a moving picture from Making Picture Books with Movable Figures by Brunhild Muller, and Natalie wanted to incorporate this into her MLB as well, so she did a moving picture of Columbus's voyage
night in the tropical forest - I used the suggestion from Painting in Waldorf Education to combine the times of day and night with the biomes, although I didn't yet know enough about painting and our paper was way too wet
Proof That the World is Round! - we also did the SHEG lesson "Moctezuma and Cortes" and the Inca Quipu lesson (activity 4) from Math and Science Across Cultures
Born Again - we watched some Rick Steves and Rudy Maxa travel programs about traveling through Florence, Italy. She also called her Grandmother who has been to Italy and seen the fresco of The Last Supper, and started the historical fiction Falling for Henry (she read historical fiction the entire block and wrote book reviews of each book and published them on Amazon under my account waldorf_curric)
I gave the choice of drawing the human hand with wrist or the human foot with ankle, and we also sculpted the human hand using the Salt and Alum Modeling Material recipe from page 35 of Mudworks
The Reformation - we also did the SHEG lesson "Martin Luther" and, yes, we watched the Monty Python sketch of the Spanish Inquisition
Catholic or Protestant?