Second Semester Adjustments


This post is a part of Waldorf Wednesday. See all the links here.

This is the point in the year where I second guess everything we have done so far. Actually, I don’t know if that’s accurate. Because if I am being honest, this is the point in the year where I feel like we have done absolutely nothing, so really what is there to second guess? The boys are behind. I am behind. I’ve been too lax. They can’t do this. They don’t know that. Yikes!

One would think these hyperbolic thoughts would get my butt in gear, but rather they make me think ahead to next year. Greener pastures and all that . . . sad, but true. This happens every January. I let myself have my little panic, maybe even take a peek at next year’s blocks and then I force myself to look at the evidence: all the paintings we’ve done, the main lesson books we’ve completed, the books we’ve read, the handwork we’ve created. The facts are we’ve done a bunch, had some great successes and learned a lot. Yes, there are some adjustments that need to be made, but nothing enormous. Some plans need tweaking, some things have been skipped and some struggles have come to the fore. This is real, live homeschooling, and it’s not for the faint of heart.

Below you will find a listing of our first semester’s accomplishments and also our second semester’s adjustments. Seeing everything in list form allows me to view things objectively, without the baggage of what went wrong, what could have been improved, what someone pitched a fit about, what I thought I was going to poke my eyes out over. A simple list. Just the facts. A thorough assessment, and then, we move forward.

Vincent: Fifth grade is vast. We will not accomplish everything – not by a long shot – and that is ok. The first half of the year was devoted almost exclusively to Ancient Mythologies and Math, specifically fractions. We covered India, Persia and Babylon. We reviewed carrying, borrowing and double-digit multiplication. We introduced long division. We reviewed basic fractions and started adding, reducing and multiplying fractions.Vincent has extended his pennywhistle repertoire and knits everyday. He is able to follow simple knitting patterns and has taught himself to increase and decrease. His agility in basketball and football has improved greatly. He is almost swimming. He is on track to earn his Arrow of Light in cub scouts.

Some adjustments we need to make include adding daily math practice, assigning independent reading related to main lessons and imposing a 2 handwork project limit. My grand plans for Botany have gone by the wayside. Somehow, we all shut off on Thursday night – me most of all. We still bake on Friday and have storytime, but that is about all we seem capable of. I’m giving myself a pass on this, and sometime in March or April we will do a Botany block. I have also decided to finish up our US Geography block from last year where we never made it west of the Mississippi. Plus I saw this state quilt in a magazine, and it made me swoon. I showed it to Vincent (Mr. No Fear!) and he was confident we could do it. Hmm . . . we’ll see.

Jude: Jude has taken to school like everything else in his life: slowly and steadily. He is (mostly) agreeable during main lesson, but would still prefer to be outside playing ball. I keep his lessons short, with lots of art, stories and movement. We have completed our letters block, introduced all the numbers from 1-12, and completed 2 mini nature blocks on fall and winter. Jude has become a confident knitter. He can cast on, cable cast on and do the knit stitch. He has made lots of squares. Just this past week he has started knitting with brown yarn, whereas previously he would only knit with green yarn. I’m seeing progress where I can and viewing this as pushing some sort of creative boundary. He continues to improve on the pennywhistle and is becoming more assertive during his lesson time. He loves Tiger cubs and has achieved several belt loops.

With Jude, my tweaks will be minor. First grade is just getting your feet wet. I do want to incorporate a little more writing, such as Jude copying a summary sentence from the board into his main lesson book. Trying different tactics (anything!!) to encourage him to retell the stories he has heard. I made a storytelling basket full of props that will hopefully assist in this goal. A little more pennywhistle practice and tackling a larger knitting project.

Is it June yet?

12 thoughts on “Second Semester Adjustments

  1. Loved this post! Especially your humor and candor. It evoked laughter and tears at the the same time! As a novice, I’m finding that homeschooling is definitely not for the faint of heart. I’ve been doing a lot of second guessing recently. Then on Epiphany, my daughters decided to set up an “Open House” and invite our next door neighbor friend to come see what we’ve been up to since the Fall. The neighbor’s perspective was a gift. She could see the girls’ excitement about what they are learning and how much fun we’ve had so far. And how relaxed and content (mostly) they are. Then she said, “You seem so organized.” I stayed quiet. Then she added “And I bet it doesn’t feel that way, does it?” I said “Nope.” And we both had a good laugh. Onward we go!

    • How perfect that it was on Epiphany.

      I think it is so beneficial to remove the masks – no one is totally organized, no one is perfect, nothing goes off without a hitch. To admit to all of this, laugh and then keep moving is the key.

      Brava to you my friend!!

  2. I most definitely don’t think you are the only one who has the post-holiday panic! But, it is always nice to have mid year to re-evaluate and tweak as needed. My second grader is a very, very independent choleric personality who has always challenged me in all facets of parenting. He is bound and determined to go to public school next year (I believe most in part b/c he thrives in social situations while the rest of us are more hermit-like, ha ha). I have had to step back, take a good look, adjust and tweak and hopefully, we can get him back on track which may mean doing things a bit differently for him than I do for his brothers. Sigh, definitely not for the faint of heart! Thank you for continuing to share so candidly. It is always nice to read, while nodding my head in agreement! (My 5th grader has completed all but 2 of the 20 activity badges for Cub Scouts! His crossover is in mid-March and I know I will tear up with pride. He has worked so hard!)

  3. So very impressive. I did my student teaching at a waldorf school and have pondered the idea of staying home with the boys to continue this passion in a more direct way. How did you make the leap? Regardless, I look forward to cub scouts and knitting. We have been avidly trying to finger knit (with my 3 year old), but I am quite sure it is mama jumping the gun. But he does love to try!

    • Student teacher at a Waldorf School? How very cool. I have always homeschooled my boys, but only “discovered” Waldorf about 3 years ago. The book Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne completely changed the way I parented, and that cascaded over into our homeschooling. It has not been easy, but it’s been worth it.

      I remember when my boys were your boys’ age and I really wish I had known about Waldorf then. Your boys are lucky. You are lucky. Don’t worry, you’ll be in cub scouts and knitting before you know it.

      Good to connect with you!

  4. Oh, right there with you on the second-guessing. Every now and then I’m even third- and fourth-guessing!

    Fridays are pretty laid-back around here too…I like to think of it as “life skills day” with a little bit of crafting thrown in for good measure.

    • OK, when were you going to tell us about your blog??!! lol. Can’t wait to dive in over there. You should link up on waldorf wednesdays at Annette is really trying to build an online community of Waldorf homeschoolers.

      Yes, life skills days are so important.

      Let’s schedule that mom’s night soon. I’ll get with Andrea.

      • Oh, listen…that blog is about a hundred years old and I am fairly certain you could read every post and not ever come across the word “Waldorf”! Anyway, I got tired of hearing myself blather on and on and just sort of let it fall by the wayside. I will be terribly embarrassed if you look through my archives! Okay, not really, but a lot has changed in my mind and my life since then.

        Mom’s night! Yay!

  5. Pingback: Doubt | Sure as the World

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