Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Starting off the home school year

We started the school year off around here excited, but sick. Everyone was sick. It started with Matt and worked it's way through the family until it got to me. I'm still sick! We can't kick it. But we've been going strong for a month now and we're so glad we started. In week one, Sam learned to knit! And he was good at it!

We're home schooling with our friend Annabel this year as well as with the Von Kondrat family who have two girls: Dylan and Zoe. It's a full house of girls for poor Sam, but it's what we've got right now and he's just so happy that there are people in the house....he loves people. He's his mother's child.

We also signed the kids up for music lessons with a nice lady who is also the violin teacher at Urban Prairie, which is the relatively new Waldorf school around here.

And after buying this book as well as Housebuilding for Children (also by Lester Walker) we started framing a tiny wooden house for Wella in the back yard! It's part of our 3rd/4th grade practical work study and it has been great for all the kids.

They have sawed their little hearts out until it's second nature for all of them and they've pounded dozens of nails in [straight!] as well! So Nicky (Mrs Von Kondrat who is the other teacher at our little home school) might have pulled out a drill once or twice, (and nearer to the end there were incidences with nail guns and jigsaws) but MOSTLY it was all done with hand tools. Not bad I have to say!

Gardening has also gone okay this year. We put a little more effort into it this summer and bought raised beds, did the whole square-foot-gardening thing and planted some trees and shrubs. 

We just made a pretty great squash soup out of these [butternut?] squashes (we got 3 big ones) and everyone has liked it.

These are delicata squash. They are still ripening.

Wella joins in the picking every once in a while. I'd like to say that our gardening has turned her into a little veggie eater, but it hasn't. She usually takes one bite out of tomatoes and then throws them to the ground.

But it's one of the things we use to keep her busy while we're building...that is, letting her pick vegetables.

Tomatoes did well this year as did basil and the squash. Our green beans bit the dust and we didn't plant nearly enough lettuce. Next year.

Wella has gotten very opinionated lately. I guess she's a real toddler now. It makes home schooling very taxing some times, but she wants to be noticed and heard, that's for sure. 

She sat on the counter with me while I made this pie out of squash one day. Granted, she had to empty all of the powdered sugar onto herself out of one canister while I did it, but these days that works for me. I have to cook dinner somehow! Well...that's not always true. We've had more than our share of pizza and tacos this year from mommy being too tired to cook.

But I'm really excited about our school. Mrs Nicky and I have found our grooves as teachers. I like to pride myself on being relatively handy, but she's really an outstandingly amazing builder/worker/project doer. So, I've stepped down a bit and learned to defer to her on most of that. This is her giving the kids a "talk-to-each-other-positively-or-I'm-not-going-to-let-you-touch-my-nailgun" speech.

And she's very patient and good with the kids in that way. I, on the other hand, have become the general curriculum planner and organizer of things. I can't believe that is my specialty because anyone who knows me would think that planning would not have been my forte. In fact, I just bought a calendar for the first time this year! But I guess necessity is helping me to grow a woman's heart.

Look at Claire with the nail gun. I think a little pent-up sibling aggression went into the building of this house. Nail guns are good for getting out aggression...when used properly that is.

And at last, it was framed! I love this picture of Claire lifting the roof onto the house in triumph.

It was a big moment for all of them. I love these kids and I'm so glad I'm homeschooling with a community this year. It makes it so much better. And...it gets me out of my pajamas and makes me brush my teeth in the morning, which is a bonus for everyone. :)