Sawyer is working through the third grade curriculum from Waldorf Essentials. So far, it has been a struggle for her to get through the material. She is just not interested in the Old Testament stories or shelters (which you can read about in last week’s post). Her lack of interest is requiring me to get inventive with the curriculum. I like how Melissa Neilson keeps the curriculum developmentally appropriate. the stories and the information in the curriculum is perfect for her age and developmental stage.
So how do I work the curriculum in? Last week, I wrote about how I took her interest-birds- and made it about shelters. She loved it. In fact yesterday, we were out having a girls’ day and she was finding bird nests all over the place. She was then looking around to see if she could find the various plants that the nests were made from in the area.
The main theme for the third grade of Waldorf Essentials is Judaism and the Old Testament stories. She did well with the seven days of creation and with a few of the stories here and there. She enjoyed learning about Israel, but the majority of the stories are not interesting to her. I went to the drawing board. She loves to read so I thought about living books about Judaism. Living books are a Charlotte Mason type of learning style that I find very effective when trying to teach an era or a historical lesson.
I went to the American Girl Book area of the library and found Rebecca. Rebecca is a little girl close to the same age as Sawyer who is Jewish. She lives in New York City during the early 1900s. The series has six books total. Sawyer reads the books aloud to me one chapter a day. Everyday she begs to read more but I want her to actually absorb the information and sit on it for a night. We discuss what she read the day before and then read through the next chapter. The books are entertaining for her and meeting my needs perfectly. Sawyer is learning the main components of the Jewish faith such as the Sabbath, Chanukah, Passover, Bar Mitzvah and Rosh Hashanah. The series tells the Biblical stories behind each special day in way that Sawyer didn’t even realize it.
At the end of each book, we discussed the Jewish tradition that was discussed in the book. Sawyer is able to tell me the story behind each tradition and how the tradition is celebrated based on the books. Amazing! Unfortunately, we are through the books! I am not sure what is next in the curriculum. I will go back to the written curriculum first and give it a try. However, I may have to get on my thinking cap again if it doesn’t go over! Child interest in the subject is vital to making home schooling effective and manageable!