Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Summer begins

It feels a lot like summer over here. The dog days feel like they are upon us. The pools are open, the tomatoes are in full bloom, the mustard greens are bolting, and the eggplant leaves are covered in little black hoppers. Forget the delicate Spring flowers, they are beyond dead.

But what about this school thing? Are we ready to put our chalkboard and crayons away and call it quits? That's the talk on all the Waldorf message boards: how are you celebrating the end of the school year; or we have x,y,z to finish up; or should we even take a break at all?

To me this schooling thing doesn't have such a clear division. That's the unschooler in me. I know we're going to learn loads this summer, but as a mom who is offering that "school-like" experience to Sunburst, I get what they're saying. Do we go out with pomp and circumstance? Do we worry about marking off everything on our lists? How far and how long do we push the school envelope?

Surely there are things we haven't finished around here. We officially started our first grade lessons in November after welcoming a new baby into our lives, selling our house, and moving out of state. Those things took priority over "school" and Sunburst spent August and September teaching herself to read with McGuffey Readers and knitting up a storm.

Sometime in late October I purchased a first grade syllabus from Christopherus Homeschool to see what a first grade year entailed. It turned out to be a great resource. Although I didn't exactly follow the lesson examples, it did give me some insight as to what we might want to cover. According to the book I seem to have left out a whole section on fairytales and handwriting, learning word families, and another maths lesson. We started late, so inevitably we were bound to leave things out. Will she be damaged forever? Probably not.

As much as I'd like to press on, as much as Sunburst would probably benefit from the lovely fairytales and handwriting practice, I don't see how we could do it all as a homeschooling family. If you follow a Waldorf curriculum there's just so much to pack into your day. If we kept school hours without interruption, maybe we could do it all, too. But I'm living in the real world, washing dishes and folding laundry and changing diapers. I'm fitting in lessons as I can, when Kitty Bill is napping or squeezing them in between snack time and dinner preparations. It's not easy, but it's fun.

If I really pushed myself, would it still be fun? If I scheduled every second of my day to try to find more time, would any of us enjoy ourselves? Hurry up and eat. Hurry up and learn. That's not my agenda at all.

Summer seems to be here. It's not holding back waiting for us to finish up our lessons. The warm days are calling us into the garden, out in the yard, onto the swings, and out on the lake. It's just as difficult for me to focus on lessons as it is for Sunburst. So we're done. We've begun scheduling our summer fun-- circus day camps and fiber arts lessons. We're going to have a blast.

And strangely enough, this week's entry for Ruldolf Steiner's Calendar of the Soul seems to validate our inability to focus intellectually and our need to move on:
  The senses' might grows strong
 United with the gods' creative work;
 It presses down my power of thinking
 Into a dreamlike dullness.
 When godly being
 Desires union with my soul,
 Must human thinking
 In quiet dream-life rest content.
English translation by Ruth and Hans Pusch

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post
    You can find more of the soul calendar and some art work, including the eurythmy forms of Rudolf Steiner for the Calendar of the Soul at the links below.

    Without attachment, more general:
    with attachment for sharing art work:

    NEWS LETTERS:3 series Eurythmy, Valerie Jacobs, Edith Bierman:
    N =means northern hemisphere,
    S means southern
    A means Attachment, which keeps the lay out.
    w mean text and pictures sent as email, one column.
    t means text only.

    Eurythmy series with Steiner’s’ indications:

    Valerie Jacobs black and White shaded Drawings:

    Edith Bierman paintings with zodiacal colour background:

    Ann Stockton paintings with Rufus Goodwin Translation:


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