Our second week of school brought the first of four Language Arts blocks.
We began the week using the same format as last week, which is the same format we will follow throughout…that of HEAD, HEART, HANDS. Meaning that the Main Lesson (head) happens first in the earlier part of the morning, followed by a break and a snack and then music (heart) which happens at roughly mid-morning, and finally lunch time and the restful time of day, after which we do hand crafts (hands). This is the basic rhythm that our bodies are in sync with, and this is the best rhythm for achieving the most productive amount of work in differing tasks.
We began the week by using the basic LA story contained in the Christopherus Curriculum about the Queen and King who send for the Wise Woman to help them prepare their daughter, the Princess, for life as a ruler. Of course, we could have just used one of the Grimm stories, or even better made one up, perhaps using for inspiration the amazing watercolors by Famke Zonneveld in her gorgeous book, “Living Alphabet.” But it was simpler for me to just use the Christopherus story.
the big reveal!
And so on Monday we learned the letters Q, K, W and P and their sounds through the story. We drew the pictures together, we practiced writing the letters, and we added a special copy of the letters in the Language Arts Main Lesson book. We then left it all alone and allowed sleep, that very special second teacher in Waldorf education, to work its magic on Sophia’s mind. And indeed, she woke up Tuesday morning with an inherently stronger grasp and memory of the letter sounds then she’d had the day before.
On Tuesday, after we revisited and recalled the story from the previous day, we went on. In the story the Princess listens to a tale recounted by the court Jester all about the Golden Goose (Grimm’s Golden Goose, that is) and the Princess encounters the first sacred sound, O (the long sound). So we added letters J, G and O to our repertoire. After we drew the pictures, we made an O on a big yellow star and pasted it into the ML book.
Wednesday was all review – of the story so far, of the letters, of sounding the letters out (which is more important then the names of the letters). We sounded out the letters, and to our amazement, found that when you put the letters G and O together, they say a word!
Thursday was painting day, and using Mrs Marsha Johnson’s guide as a reference, we broke out the Stockmar paints (wow, truly superior to other watercolors – I always wondered if the hype about them would live up to reality!). I soaked the watercolor paper in the tub for about 10 minutes, then laid out a sheet for both the girls, and told the story of the warm, hot summer sun. Then using broad sweeping strokes, we painted it. This was both soothing and fun.
This week saw an improved level of confidence and mastery for Sophia with her other two lessons, the penny whistle and knitting. She is beginning to be confident of her finger placement with the instrument, and she is definitely becoming more coordinated with her knitting. I am, as before, keeping the lessons quite short and sweet.
She also had her first piano lesson, which went well, and which she holds a lot of excitement about. These lessons will emphasis the pentatonic scale and learning by ear.
Monday (tomorrow) will see us beginning LA block 2!