Monday, January 7, 2013

Winter Lesson Plans, The Star Child

We started back with homeschool lessons today and other than a few bumps from my kindergartener who doesn't want to practice writing, it went well.  She is generally a willing learner as long as she doesn't have to use a pencil and write letters, but I suspect she's not all that different from other kindergarteners with her innate need to have a little more time for her brain to develop before she tackles some of the intellectual work that contemporary, American teaching demands.

And so, we have our Wildschooling, Waldorf flavors to guide us.  Keeping things simple helps.

Here is what we're doing this week:

Monday:  Introduce the main lesson, language arts, reading, writing.  The Star Child.
This is a beautifully illustrated fairy tale about a girl who has very little, but finds happiness in helping others.

We started with circle time, the elements on a mini altar (a plate) and the element song.

While still in circle, we read The Star Child, a Brother's Grimm fairy tale illustrated by Bernadette Watts.  This began our main lesson and shapes the rest of our week.

Moving to the table, we did the following:

We chose 5-10 words, Jetta entered them into her main lesson book.
She illustrated those words after sounding them out.
She then spent time drawing pictures in response to the book, while I used the words we chose and wrote sentences to summarize the book.

We took those sentences and made them into a little paper book.  As she reads each sentence, or sounds out what words she can, she then illustrates the page for that sentence.  This will take all week to complete since it's several sentences and most things take much longer than I anticipate.

Before bed, we'll do a little star magic of some kind, reaching out with our hearts into the sky, beyond Sister Moon, and into the depths of space to connect with the stars.

UPDATE:  Our magic time was not quite as magical as I wanted it to be, but we did attempt it.  As we lay in bed, I read a page from Every Day Magick about giving.  Then we closed our eyes, reached out past the moon to find Sister Star, and asked her about giving.  Jetta's initial response was authentic and genuine.  The message she heard with her heart is that we should keep what we need and give everything else away.  After that, it was forced and went downhill (ie:  comments about needing more tv's and dolls), so we said our prayers, sang our songs, including Twinkle Twinkle, and called it a night.

Tuesday: Math and Star Crafts

We'll meet in circle time after breakfast again with our elements, element song, and sing another song or two about stars, probably to include Twinkle, Twinkle. 

This time we'll recall the story before we read it, remembering the course of plot, and the items Mathilde, the main character, gives away.  Then we'll read it again and move to the table.

We're counting stars and counting how many items Mathilde gave away. 

We'll  make a "star bag," a paper bag with stars on the outside.  Then we'll make stars and the items that Matthilde gives to others.  We might do some basic addition with these items, sorting them first, then adding them together in a number sentence or two in Jetta's lesson book.  And then we'll have enough stars that come out of the bag to replace what she put in that will stretch Jetta's knowledge of numbers.  With each star she takes out of the bag, she'll put another number on a page in her lesson book (this is about number recognition and quantity).

We will also introduce the science lesson from A Year of Hands-on Science which covers the night sky and a little star gazing.  This will mostly be brief and we'll return to this on Thursday.

If time permits, we'll attempt making this beautiful Waldorf star lantern.  This lantern will go on our post-holiday Winter table.

UPDATE:  After watching this tutorial on the star lantern I have decided this is much too complicated for my kiddos (and me) right now.  Instead, we'll stick with some kind of paper, hole punch lantern like this

Wednesday:  Library, Play Group, and Social Studies

Our library day used to be on Tuesday, but when we changed days for playgroup, it made sense to also switch days for the library. We don't get much done before leaving for 10:00 am family story time, but in my ideal world, we'd have time for circle time before we left.

Our social studies lesson will be brief and likely over breakfast and dressing.  It will pertain to havnig compassion for others.  This page will add some framework for what we do after library and over lunch.

After library, we have lunch at home, and then head up the highway to meet for playgroup.

When we are done with this, the girls are worn out and usually need a bath right way, so other than attempting star-gazing, there won't be much else for us to do that day.

Thursday:  Science, Clock, Crafts

We start with circle time, songs, and the elements.

We'll do an actual lesson on stars and one of the activities from A Year of Hands-on Science

UPDATE:  The experiment we did from this book was tons of fun.  At bedtime, we got out four flashlights, two for each child.  We turned them on and pointed them to the ceiling while the lights were still on and talked about why we couldn't see them and why we can't see the stars in the daytime.  Jetta was right there with me, knew what was going on, and really enjoyed the discussion.  Then we turned off the lights to see what happens when the earth isn't facing the sun.  Lots of fun!

We'll likely make a wooden peg Star Child of some kind, make cloth stars for our nature table, and finish up that book that Jetta needs to illustrate if it hasn't gotten finished yet.
UPDATE:   The wooden ped Star Children were super cute and the girls loved them.  So simple and sweet, easy for them to do with me!

Friday:  Computer time, Unfinished Work

We start with circle time, songs, and the elements as usual. 

On Fridays we spend time on doing reading and basic math/geometry lessons.  Jetta is very receptive to this learning medium and because of that it is very efficient.   We indulge it and let it be a part of the process.

If there is anything we haven't finished from the week, we'll wrap it up here, though our science lessons will continue through the month.

If it's warm enough, we will get outside for a walk through the neigborhood, and save hiking at the local trail for Saturday, when my husband can go with us.

Our approach is not true to Waldorf education in that we are not delaying reading and math until age seven.  It is, in many ways, Waldorf inspired, but I am more concerned about including the elements, making things natural and intuitive, and honoring the spirits of my children.  I want to keep what is wild, delay what is imposed on us by society, but prepare them for the possibility that public school might happen at some point.

I'll update this throughout the week as we complete things and have images to go along with them.  I'd love to hear how your homeschool week is going!!!

UPDATE:  This was a great week, but we got busy.  Playgroup got rescheduled for Thursday and we lost our groove with the routine.  We managed to complete almost everything, but it took us through the following Monday to do it. 


  1. Love what you are doing, Jess. Even though I don't have kiddos I may check out The Star Child myself. Never too late for a good book.

  2. Rachel, thanks for thinking so! It's a sweet story with a wonderful lesson!