Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Summer with a Two Year Old

Well, today was the official start of my Summer with a Two Year Old.

I am 41 and this is literally the first time I've ever been able to focus on just one child in the toddler years. Just one! In my first marriage, when my oldest daughter was 25 months old, I also had a 5 month old infant and that same month I found out I was pregnant with baby #3. Surprise!

The joy of a second marriage and another baby late in life is that you get to relax and enjoy your child!

In my case, my oldest three daughters (now 15, 13, and 12) are spending the summer with their father on his farm in Wisconsin and I am spending my summer with my son here in Illinois. Let's see. Zac turned two (or, "doo" as he calls it) on Tuesday the 23rd. We had his birthday dinner and presents (cute Boden teeshirts from my mom, a photo album full of pictures cut out from magazines and mounted on 4x6 index cards from his sisters, and what seemed like a million wooden toys from me but was actually only three).

On Wednesday all of the children finished up school, we did the remaining shopping for summer clothing, and then the kids and I and my mom went to Mandala Gardens and had a wonderful evening. On Thursday my mom left and we packed suitcases. On Friday we drove to my aunt and uncle's house (8 hours). On Saturday the girls met up with their dad. On Sunday I took Zac to the National Missisippi River Museum & Aquarium in Dubuque IA. On Monday we drove back home (8 hours). And then today was... nothing!

We had nothing to do today.


It was a relaxing day, and it was so super-fun to hang out and make cookies with him! He carefully unwrapped the stick of butter. He watched me crack the egg and helped me beat it, and stirred in the vanilla. And he loved using a fork to carefully make marks in the tops of the cookies before baking.

Obviously this summer won't be all fun and games because I have to prep for my From Lava to Life Camp (and that will probably be the subject of most of my posts for the next few weeks). I'm also starting three months with a life coach tomorrow! Her name is Stacey Julian-Fralish and I'm so excited to work with her! Also, I want to clean and reorganize my entire house. Oh, yes, this is the summer my friends! I know it because I listened to the most unbelievable webinar last night called Solving the Procrastination Puzzle. It is by Dr. Tim Pychyl and he is the real deal. I don't think I've ever had someone quote so much research to me in 40 minutes, but everything he said was like AHA! and so practical and realistic. He gave the talk for Smith College women executives but they put the link online for free and so I am sharing it. Please set aside 50 minutes and listen. I promise you will be glad you did! If you're interested in his website, it's called Procrastination Research Group and he does his work at Carleton University in Canada.

Oh... and I wanted to mention in terms of wrapping up the school year, that here are two great options for assessment. One is a Learning Skills and Work Habits Student Self-Assessment Checklist which I think children should do at the end of every year (and it should be added to their portfolio). The other is a Teacher's Report Card / Student Evaluation of Teacher which I find really helpful (if you can convince your children that you really do want them to be honest) for my own reflection and preparation for the year ahead. That one you should have your children do every year and add it to your portfolio. Enjoy!

This post contains affiliate links to the materials I actually use for homeschooling. I hope you find them helpful. Thank you for your support!

Monday, May 22, 2017

"The Chariot of Michael" by Dorit Winter

Are you interested in doing additional anthroposophical reading as part of the research and preparation for your school year?

Dorit Winter's article "The Chariot of Michael" in And Who Shall Teach the Teachers? is full of references to Steiner's writings which specifically mention different main lesson topics. (This is not a be-all and end-all, since he was so prolific, but in her essay she shares excerpts from her personal collection of notes, gathered while she read his work.) Many of the lectures she mentions I had never heard of before! So I give this brief "cheat sheet" in case it piques your interest. If so, I strongly recommend that you read her article. The book is available as a free PDF from the Online Waldorf Library.

I've also included the links to buy his books, as well as online resources, where I could find them.

Grade One

Grade Two

Grade Three

Grade Four

Grade Five

Sixth Grade

Seventh Grade

Eighth Grade

    she makes reference to both biographies and current events, framing them as follows: "It takes perseverance to find the Rosicrucian heroes of our day. But they do exist, and it is a significant path of research to discover them. Through them the Christ Impulse lives, providing an antidote to the carnage of modern warfare, which is also part of the eighth grade curriculum."

Ninth Grade

Tenth Grade

Eleventh Grade

Twelfth Grade

Dorit Winter has a few concluding remarks, mostly turning her attention back to Steiner. Obviously, nobody says what he said better than he did! And that's why reading the original Steiner is so important. I believe this is really what she is trying to get us to do. Even the lengthy quotes she provides aren't as helpful as reading Steiner's thoughts in the original context.

However, I do believe that this quote from Education and Modern Spiritual Life sums up Steiner's entire educational premise:

    "For no education will develop from abstract principles or programs — it will develop only from reality. And because man himself is soul and spirit, because he has a physical nature, a soul nature and a spiritual nature, reality must again come into our life — for with the whole reality will the spirit also come into our life, and only such a spirit as this can sustain the educational art of the future."

And Winter ends her lecture with quoting him one last time:

    "This is a mighty and magnificent task, the task of providing the chariot for Michaël: Michaël needs, as it were, a chariot by means of which to enter our civilization . ...
    By educating in the right way, we are preparing Michaël’s chariot for his entrance into our civilization. [her emphasis added]"

This final quote is from Rudolf Steiner's The Younger Generation.

This post contains affiliate links to the materials I actually use for homeschooling. I hope you find them helpful. Thank you for your support!