Saturday, January 30, 2016

Planning for the Second Half of the School Year

After revisiting my ambitious plan for this school year, created over the summer, I've decided on our final main lesson blocks for the year.

Note: N and L are doing a non-traditional scope & sequence since Natalie was transitioning into Waldorf and then back out again and Leah is transitioning into Waldorf and staying there. So it's not precisely 6th and 8th grades.

We follow a main lesson block rotation of Cultural / Mathematics / Language / Science, with three full rotations occurring during the course of the year.

Here is what we will be finishing the year with:

Science 2
Natalie - finish 7th/8th grade Human Physiology
Leah - finish 4th/5th grade Man and Animal

Cultural 3
Natalie - U.S. Gov't/History by way of a study of 12 Supreme Court Justices
Leah - 6th grade Middle Ages

Mathematics 3
Natalie - 7th/8th grade Geometry, using Making Math Meaningful : A Middle School Math Curriculum for Teachers and Parents by Jamie York

Leah - 3rd grade Linear Measurement / Housebuilding / Native Americans

Language 3
Natalie - Shakespeare (Romeo & Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, sonnets)
Leah - finish 4th grade Norse Mythology, using D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths

Science 3
both girls will do as much Physics as possible, using the notes from School as a Journey: The Eight-Year Odyssey of a Waldorf Teacher and His Class by Torin Finser and Physics is Fun: A Sourcebook for Teachersby Roberto Trostli

I got to do some shopping yesterday. I've decided to go ahead and get The Human Being and the Animal World: Waldorf Education Resourcesfor Leah. For Natalie I bought Brown Paper School book: Blood and Gutssince we have been using it as our main text for the human body, and I hate having to keep giving it back to the library. I also bought The Body Book: Easy-to-Make Hands-on Models That Teachsight unseen so I hope it's worthwhile. We check out Easy Genius Science Projects with the Human Body: Great Experiments and Ideasand THE HUMAN BODY: 25 FANTASTIC PROJECTS Illuminate How the Body Worksfrom the library for our hands-on activities.

Two Waldorf-specific Human Physiology items on my wish list are Muscles and Bones: Waldorf Education Resourcesby Charles Kovacs and the Rick Tan cross-hatching anatomy drawing lesson on Etsy ($12.00).

For Leah's upcoming Middle Ages block I read some blog posts online and got a recommendation for a great book. It's expensive on Amazon but it's supposed to be the best one out there: World of Wallsby Polly Schoyer Brooks. The Giant at the Ford and Other Legends of the Saintsby Ursula Synge is like that; you know it's very highly recommended so you watch and watch for a copy to come on Amazon at a reasonable price! Actually, I found a book of Saint stories which I think I like even better although it's not well known. So if you can't find The Giant at the Ford and Other Legends of the SaintsI suggest Saints Among the Animalsby Cynthia Zarin.

Speaking of lovely and delicious books, I am in such a mood for FOOD right now. And the recipes in Meatless: More Than 200 of the Very Best Vegetarian Recipeslook so scrumptious that my mouth was watering while I planned the weekly menu. I choose a week's worth of dinners and throw in some things for the girls to bake or make for snacks, create a grocery shopping list for Adam (divided into produce, bakery, pantry, dairy, meat, and household), and write up all the recipes we have ingredients for on a large chalkboard in the laundry room. When we are hungry we just go see what we can make! Anyway, here is the mouthwatering delectable list of vegetarian meals, with two meat ones for my husband there at the end.

Avocado, Beet, and Orange Salad - p.219

Fatoush with Crumbled Feta - p.192

Bulgur and Chickpea Salad with Carrot-Pistachio Dressing - p.196

Broccoli with Chickpeas and Ricotta - p.215

Lentils with Caramelized Celery Root and Parsley - p.211

Raw Kale Salad with Pomegranate and Toasted Walnuts - p.208

Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Gratin - p.164

Roasted Eggplant and Chickpea Soup - p.137

Potato and Zucchini Hash - p.73

Kale, Apple, and Beet Salad - p.224

Easy Crockpot Venison Roast

Potato Sausage Casserole

Friday, January 29, 2016

Is It the Jellyfish Hat... or the Hanna Andersson Pajamas?

What was it that made last night so silly and fun? Was it the jellyfish hat... or the Hanna Andersson pajamas? Either way, Leah had a great time acting out the Norse myth of "Bragi, God of Poetry." She was quite vibrant slithering as Odin the snake and flapping and flying as Odin the eagle (the jellyfish hat came into play when she had to cover the missing eye, of course) and she fell on the floor laughing more than once. For "Heimdall, the Watchman of Asgard," she wrapped the blackboard diagonally with her rainbow silk to make Bifrost, and created little figures out of modeling beeswax to act out the story. These myths are touching her deeply and you can tell because she is so moved by them, and yet she is so joyful and light. For the illustration for the Bragi story she painted the outline of a cauldron on her page and then used an old screen, an old toothbrush, and some paint to spray "spittle" in the pot. She's writing the story summary around the edges. Today is the final day of Norse Myths I, with "Odin's Eight-Legged Steed."

Natalie is finishing up her Literary Criticism / Short Stories and I'll post the rest of her stories and the resources I used in my next post.

In Science explorations we did investigation #1 from Puddle Questions for Science - Grade 4

It was the perfect combination of fun and thought-provoking.

I wrote a review for this book on Amazon since nobody else had! I think it's excellent and I plan on getting her math series as well. I just ordered the math books for grades 6 and 8. We also did a somewhat Science project today when we made a magic trick: how to cut and restore paper. I saw this on the local morning news when my husband was waiting for the weather report... and since it only takes a strip of folded newspaper, rubber cement, baby powder, and a pair of scissors, it looked very doable.

We have been doing so much cooking for school lately. With their mornings free, they seem to be in the kitchen every day. The girls have also done lots of art and reading, as well as playing outside and working on their huge fort under the magnolia tree. They also love to practice Latin and their multiplication facts and do cross-stitch and knitting and weaving.

Leah made alphabet letters out of the "Rich Roll Sculptures" dough in Mudworks: Creative Clay, Dough, and Modeling Experiencesand spelled out "Happy B-Day Meg." Then she decided they looked delicious and ate them all! I guess Meg is getting some other kind of gift this year.

For Lauren (also having a birthday soon) Leah decided to make up a batch of Mixed Grain Muffin Mix, then give her the recipe card for the muffin mix as well as for the muffins. And last night she made a wonderful Ham-Lentil Stew in the crockpot.

Mixed Grain Muffin Mix

Mix all ingredients thoroughly and store in a one gallon freezer bag. Keep in freezer for freshness.

  • 4 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 T salt
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tsp baking soda

  • "Muffin Mix" Muffins

    Mix thoroughly. Add more applesauce as needed to achieve desired consistency.

  • 1 1/4 cups mixed grain muffin mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 3 T milk
  • 3 T vegetable oil
  • Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 18-20 minutes. Makes one dozen.

    Ham and Lentil Stew

    Combine in slow cooker

  • 3 cups diced fully cooked ham
  • 1 lb lentils
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • one onion, chopped
  • 2 cans condensed chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • Cover and cook on low heat 7 - 9 hours or until lentils are tender.

    Natalie made Chocolate Pudding from scratch (mmmm.....)

    Chocolate Pudding

    In medium saucepan combine

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • Whisk in 2 cups of milk and 1 egg, lightly beaten. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for one minute. Remove from heat. Flavor to taste with 1/4 tsp vanilla extract and/or 1/4 tsp almond extract. Serve warm.

    She also made mayonnaise from scratch this week! She hard cooked some eggs and made lovely egg salad sandwiches for lunch on Wednesday. Then she used up the rest of the mayo in a Cranberry Waldorf Salad yesterday.

    Cranberry Waldorf Salad


  • 2 apples, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • Combine

  • 2/3 cup mayo
  • 2 T sugar
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • Pour dressing over apple mixture and toss gently.

    And, yes, I've been cooking too! One of my favorites, which we had for dinner Wednesday, is Moroccan Sweet Potato Stew.

    Moroccan Sweet Potato Stew

    Saute two medium onions, chopped, in Dutch oven with 4 tsp olive oil. Add

  • two 15 oz cans garbanzo beans
  • two or three large sweet potatoes, baked and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 2 T honey
  • Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally. Serve over couscous.

    So quick and easy! Of course if you make your chickpeas in the slow cooker you can sub in the appropriate amount. I do now, since I've learned how easy dried beans can be when prepared this way.