Plans for January

IMG_0524Oh, right, I homeschool these kids and apparently write a blog about it too! We all enjoyed our hiatus from main lessons in December – me most of all. It is always great to take a break, but at the same time, getting back to a normal rhythm feels good too. I have started looking at our school year as having two semesters, with December as a winter break – similar to a university schedule. There will definitely be some second semester adjustments – look for those in a future post. Because I completely disconnected from anything related to homeschooling last month, I will need a couple of weeks to get myself in order. Returning to our school day rhythm will also need a couple of weeks. It works out and is something I expect and allow for come January. For the first two weeks, I will do only one main lesson for both boys. It will be a combination of form drawing and Nature Study/Winter crafts. After that we will return to separate main lessons. Here are some more details:

Vincent: 11 years old, 5th grader  Vincent will begin his main lessons by reviewing India, Persia and Babylon. We will do a review technique that I came up with for the Old Testament stories in Grade 3 that also reinforces grammar in a fun way. I put up big pieces of paper and we make lists of people, places, things and actions associated with each culture. Because the majority of Vincent’s main lessons don’t allow him to use his prodigious ability to recall facts in isolation, this gives him a chance to shine. I’m sure he will remember much, much more than I do, and that is a good thing. After that, it will be onward to Egypt. Mostly we will be following Donna Simmons’ recommendations as laid out in her Ancient Mythology guide. I have a few other fun resources and also some papyrus that I will need to figure out what to do with. Any ideas?

Jude: 7 years old, 1st grader The math gnomes will return to our schoolroom this month. I honestly wanted to use math squirrels, but Jude was insistent. I did make new little figures, as our dog found Plus to be a yummy treat last year. Poor Plus! I still need to finish their tiny hats, and also start leaving notes from them. I did this with Vincent when we first came to Waldorf and he loved it. Jude has always had an aptitude for anything related to numbers – we are not sure where he gets this from, probably from his Nana, because it’s definitely not from his parents. Like all of first grade so far, he will not be learning anything he doesn’t already know, however the rhythm of a lesson, the stories, the art forms and all the movement we do are so much more important than any actual concepts at this point. For me, first grade has been laying a foundation of how we do school. This is good. This is enough.

Sheila: 43 this month! Our post-holiday trip was so, so restorative. Walking on the beach, reading a whole book in one day, working on a bunch of mail art projects and going to bed even earlier than usual helped me to clarify how I want to spend my personal time this coming year. In order to make more room for (non-homeshooling related) reading and (non-homeshooling related) art, I have decided to completely unplug on Saturdays. I am not on the computer a lot, but even popping on to “just check something real quick” can squander a nice block of time that could have been spent doing something much more fulfilling. I have also set my alarm for 30 minutes earlier (5:30 am) because by the time I got my butt downstairs, made the coffee, fed the cat, cleared the table, remembered what day it was and what it was I wanted to focus on during my precious time alone, I had about 20 minutes before Vincent came bounding down the stairs. Hopefully these two changes will help me to be more intentional and more productive.  

Links and other things I have loved this past month:

  • Andrea’s honest and open-hearted post about the new year has stayed with me since I first read it.
  • It is not too late to make some Snowflakes for Sandy Hook!
  • Melisa Nielsen had a great post about self-care – something we all need to remember.
  • If you have a fifth grader and/or an eleven year old, read this. It is spot-on! Thanks Carrie!
  • I find the free weekly e-newsletters from Math by Hand to be informative and inspiring.
  • Thinking about signing up for this photography e-course. Any input? She also has a very cool, free workbook for distilling your vision for 2013.

Recipe of the month:

I made this butternut squash casserole for New Year’s Day. It is yummy, yummy, yummy and easy, easy, easy.

  • 3 pounds butternut squash, roasted and scooped out of skin
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • salt and pepper

Caramelize onion in butter. Combine with squash and coconut milk in food processor until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes until brown on the top and bubbly. Especially delicious with pork!

PS. We will announce the winner of the giveaway on Friday. Thanks to everyone who entered.

4 thoughts on “Plans for January

  1. Ah, it’s January 3rd (: So missed you.

    How about writing your own messages on that papyrus? http://www.virtual-egypt.com/newhtml/hieroglyphics/sample/alphabet.htm

    The girls really enjoyed audio book “The Cat of Bubastes” read/edited by Jim Weiss — The book Cat Mummies (most excellent!! is a must have for Egypt!)

    I support you in your analyses of how to make things more meaningful. I’m thinking of when I’m going to “unplug” as well (:

    I’m glad your back.

    I thought of you the other night when we were eating a concoction of my own devise entitled “Happy New Year African Stew”. Now I know your appetite is whetted (:

    Happy New Year!!

    I hope you jump on the “one word bandwagon” …

    • Well it’s good to be back.

      I love Jim Weiss and will check out the “Cat” title. (BTW we loved “Boxes for Katje” – thank you so much for that!)

      Hmmm . . .pictures of you chopping goat meat for your stew are now in my mind.

      Yes, the one word thing. It’s “celebrate” – something that is oh-so-unbelievably hard for me. Please read that with absolutely no irony, as it is true, true, true. My spiritual director gave it to me in November or December, I think. I have been working hard at it and am looking at my BIG banner hanging in my kitchen right now. (It’s hard for me to even say the word without turning up one side of my nose.) But I have two more chances this month: our 20th wedding anniversary is the 16th and my bday is the 28th. woohoo!! Please cue up Kool and the Gang for me.

      xoxo,
      Sheila

      • I meant to say that I laughed out loud with your first 2 sentences of this post (: Thanks for that.

        I’m so glad you loved Boxes for Katje. We love it so much!

        Here is a blogpost link to a review I wrote on Cat Mummies and also a wonderful book on Galileo. We LOVE Cat Mummies and have read it several times! http://youknowwhatmama.blogspot.com/2011/09/excellent-books-weve-recently-read.html We even got to see a real cat mummy…but that’s another story.

        I had “Celebration” ALBUM …by Strawberry Shortcake -she does good covers. I hoped that she would also do a cover of “Let’s Get Physical” by Olivia Newton John — now I understand what my mother meant by, “She won’t.” And I thought it was about aerobics.

        That was during a different phase in my life (;

        Celebrate good times, c’mon.

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