We had a fun week enjoying the sunshine! Monday Sims and I went for a hike while the younger two went to ecology class. Tuesday, Nick surprised us and took the day off (it was his birthday). We headed to Crowders Mountain State Park and went for a hike. Wednesday, Sims headed to our local high school to see what school is like (he concluded that he still likes homeschooling and would like to continue). Thursday, we hit the barn to ride in the fields. I hope everyone is beginning to see some signs of spring too!
Last August, I attended the 2016 Taproot Teacher Training hosted by Barbara Dewey and Jean Miller in Ohio. I had no idea how life changing the experience would be. Eight months later, I still refer back to my notes and think about the weekend.
Why do I bring up this training class now? Well, registration for the 2017 Taproot Teacher Training is up! I highly recommend this training!
If you think:
I am not a 100% follower of the Waldorf homeschooling method. Well, neither am I. I like the feel of Waldorf. I like the way the information is taught through stories. Humans have used stories for centuries. We learn so much from stories. I love the way creativity is weaved into the lessons. I use pieces of the Waldorf method everyday, but I am far from 100% Waldorf. This was probably my number one concern about attending, but I am so glad that I did not let it stop me.
It is too far. I thought that too, but the drive was amazingly peaceful. How long has it been since you got to drive in your car by yourself? Listening to your own music? Ohio is also surprisingly beautiful.
It is too expensive. The weekend is worth every penny. I gained an amazing education AND had fantastic accommodations, food, fellowship, and relaxation.
Most home school education activities push you to purchase their curriculum. Nope. There is no pressure here to purchase anything. In fact, I went home with the courage to find books to use as my curriculum instead of purchasing. I spent less on curriculum this year than I ever have! I felt empowered to trust my own judgments on the stories I chose to support the lessons.
I have not received any compensation for writing this page. I simply believe in this workshop! You can read about my experience last year on this page.
The plan for block 6 included early US history, ancient Rome, and man/animal. With everyone getting sick, my plans did not work out. We made the best of the situation and did a lot of read aloud. For early US history, Sims read “The Counterfeit Constitution Mystery,” by Carole Marsh. For ancient Rome, we read from various sources on the roads, the architecture, the aqueducts and the political system. The man/animal block simply did not happen. Instead, we worked on reading fluency with books that Parks chose.
At first I was nervous about not completing my “plan,” but I quickly got over that. They continued to work even through sickness. In fact, school gave them something to do on those long days of being sick.
Overall, we had some fun highlights in February. We hiked several times. We celebrated multiple birthdays. The kids built a new ramp which has provided hours of fun. And most of all, we rested.
We had a really terrific week. Everyone was finally feeling well. On Monday, the younger two went to an ecology class at Latta Plantation, and Sims and I went on a hike. Sims and I found signs of spring-small blossoms in the woods, a few butterflies and migrating birds.
On Tuesday, Parks and I headed into the city to check out a freestyle BMX course. He had a blast.
Wednesday, we hung out and enjoyed the beautiful day. Parks went to a shelter building class, and Sawyer added some color to her hair.
Thursday morning, we went horse back riding through the fields.
Then-BAM! Thursday afternoon, the flu hit. All three kids are down. I hate it for them. We have not truly gotten sick in years. However, we have been battling viruses and infections on and off since November. What happened in November? Personally, I think sugar. We had several birthdays in November and the holidays began. We ate horribly. Then we started some home projects that kept me from cooking the way I usually do (I got completely overwhelmed and stressed-aka: Mommy meltdown). We are back on track with the food now, so hopefully we will be getting out of this rut of sickness.
I hope you are all staying well!
2017 started off a little rough emotionally, but school-wise it started off well. The first block of the year was a lot of fun for everyone.
Grade 4-Local History
Parks’ block began by looking at the Native American tribe that inhabited our area before the European settlers came, which was the Catawba Tribe. We visited the Charlotte Museum of History which had some information on the tribe (and a TON of information on the beginnings of Charlotte, the biggest city that we are near and the where many of the NC history stories that we have read about take place). He then looked at the town that we live in, Cornelius, and how it has changed over the years. Our area was drastically changed in the 60s when the area was flooded to build a lake. We visited the Energy Explorium for our area which had a terrific history of the area and pictures of the area before and after the lake was built. He finished up the block with a study of his choice which was Blackbeard, a pirate who resided in NC. Overall, I think Parks really enjoyed the block.
Grade 6- Economics/Business
Sawyer’s block focused on business using the book Striker Jones. I am not a business person. When I did this block with Sims, I used this book and Sims really enjoyed it! Well, Sawyer did too. Each chapter had vocabulary and insightful questions that got everyone discussing business! During the field trip to the Charlotte Museum of History, the guide spoke about bartering and trading which was perfectly timed with her chapter. She also interviewed several people about their jobs and what kept them at their jobs (she was pretty shocked to find out that money was not enough to keep people at their jobs). She wrote a business letter to Jelly Belly about her love for their product! We also went to watch the new movie, “The Founder.” After that movie, she wasn’t so sure how she felt about being a part of a big business in her future!
Grade 8-US History 1910-Modern Times
I wanted to try to make history more relevant for Sims during this block, and I think it worked. We did history backwards. I had him look at 2016 (the year that he turned 13) and describe historical events and his life. We then went back in 10 year increments to look at what happened during that decade. He also interviewed people of different ages. During each interview, he asked: in what year was the person 13? what and where were the activities that the person participated in? what big events in history does the person remember? what was an event that had a big impact on the person’s life? anything else that the person wanted to add? Most people did not know what was going on in the country, such as the depression, the vastness of the wars, the economic ups or downs, etc. Three of the four field trips tied in very nicely with this block for him. The Charlotte Museum of History was filled with information on the area from the present time back to the 1700s. The movie, “Hidden Figures,” went through civil rights, the cold war, and the space program (and many more historical events). Finally, the Energy Explorium went through the impact of electricity through the US and many other changes in the US over the past 100 years. Like Sawyer, we had SO many amazing discussions, looked through videos, and made so many connections during this block. Sims also learned how to make a simple power point presentation during this block as a way to make an outline for the century.
I love it when all three blocks come together so nicely. They all had pieces that tied them together. We read about many business practices during our local history and US history blocks that put what Sawyer was learning into real life. We learned how the small town that we live in was impacted by events happening around the US.
What a roller coaster of a week! We are finally beginning to look a little bit more like our “normal” selves today, but the rest of the week was a whirlwind. We are in the process of redoing our floors, which I found out means “pretend like you are moving out of your house but you don’t.” We have stuff EVERYWHERE and of course, I enjoy complicating everything. Thus, we cannot put it away until we go through it ALL! So we spent the week in chaos.
When your children and yourself work best with routine/rhythm and organized chaos, then insanity occurs when you replace your floors. LOL. So Monday and Tuesday were spent ripping out the old floors, painting the subfloor, and moving stuff around. Wednesday the men came to put in the new flooring. We were off of our game. Our rhythm was out of whack. I thought that I was going to lose it. Then I noticed our little cockatiel, Honey, was lying down (if you know anything about birds, then you know that they do not lay down).
Everything stopped. We all gathered around each other on the couch snuggling our little bird on our chests, taking turns as she took her final breaths. That moment brought us back. We had small backyard funeral for her and then walked up the road for some lunch and a slow afternoon.
So far 2017 has brought us two sinus infections, a trip to the emergency room and two pets passing on. I do not want you to think that I am negative about this as I am not. These events have also taught us all some important life lessons and brought my children together. My kids argue…..ALOT. However when the times get tough-aka, someone is sick or one of their pets die or someone is hurting, they come together.