As I stated before, I am having a difficult time getting Sawyer interested in the Old Testament blocks and blocks on Judaism. She loved the Rebecca series and she learned a lot of the information through that series. I decided that January would be her last Old Testament block.
She decided upon Moses as her last block. We went through the story of Moses from his birth to his death. We also delved into some history about Egypt and the pharaohs of the time to keep it interesting for her.
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!
Last month, Sawyer completed her first block on shelters. She was far from interested in this topic and wanted to research birds instead. Well if you know kids, then you know it is best to just follow their lead sometimes. I went to the library and checked out a tone of books on birds. She read them and researched birds on the internet and loved every minute of it.
Then I made the slip. I found a book on nests. Birds, Nests & Eggs by Mel Boring was perfect for what I wanted to cover. The book covered where the birds lived and how the bird’s habitat determined what type of nest it would build. She spent time attempting to make different types of nests. She had a difficult time getting the nests to “stick” together.” We all have a new appreciation for nest building!
Along with the bird books, I picked up a couple of books on Native American Shelters. She loves to read, and she will read almost anything that I put out. She read the two books that I picked up and immediately found the similarities between the Native American shelters and the bird nests.
We then looked at the Native American homes sheet from Montessori for Everyone. Sawyer made a booklet out of the sheets and was amazed by the different shelters that people made. She also made several connections between the tepees in the sheet and the tepees described in the book White Fang, which we are reading as a family.
Considering I was nervous about how the shelters block was going to work, the block worked out perfectly!