Monday, January 4, 2010

Easing Back into Schooling...Form Drawing to Maths

After focusing on the holiday season for the month of December, we began to ease back into homeschooling last week by reviewing some familiar forms. I drew the reviewed forms on the large board, one at a time and then the girls wrote them on their boards after drawing them in the air with their fingers. We started to have so much fun telling stories about each form that they began to transform the forms themselves. We also drew some of them on the windows with our wax crayons.

The first running form I introduced was the parapet form, which of course, ended up being transformed into a castle with a brief retelling of the Brothers Grimm's Rapunzel. They walked the form outside and we drew a picture around the form on the board.

This segued into our first Maths Block this morning, which is on the Qualities of Numbers. After a brief circle time, we began with a bit of yoga and focused on oneness with this most appropriate Standing Pose (Urdhva Hastasana).

I pulled a riddle from Melisa Nielsen's "A Journey Through Waldorf Math" for the girls to guess which number we would be doing:

I live in the sky
Up far away
I brighten the earth
I bring light to our days
And each night when the day is done
You will be sure, I am the only one.
Who am I?

I got one guess for "Heaven" and one guess for "Sun" which was quickly changed to "Moon" on the last line - think they got confused at the mention of night bringing the moon out - but yes, the answer is Sun.

We then switched over to the wonderfully put together "Sixth Sense & Holistic Math" ebook by Earthschooling's Kristie Burns. She discusses incorporating the learning into the senses to make it whole body learning and not just mental math. We tried to find as many things as we could that encompass "Oneness" - the earth, the sun, each of us individually - both inside the house and out. We discussed the unity of one - one tree with many branches and one forest made up of many trees, etc.

The girls looked at the chalkboard drawing with the castle and discovered the "oneness" in it - one castle, one path, one door, one forest, one stream, one purple mountain, one sunset, etc.

We discussed the "rhythm of one" with verses, emphasizing each syllable and then I told them "The Grain of Corn" - A Tale from India, as listed in Kristie's book.

We then went outside with our new extra long jump rope and the girls began by jumping over frontwards and backwards while reciting a verse from Eric Fairman's "Path of Discovery Volume I: Grade 1" -

When I was One
I had just begun.

When I was Two
I was nearly new.

When I was Three,
I was hardly me.

When I was Four,
I was not much more.

When I was Five,
I was just alive.

But now I'm Six,
I'm as clever as clever.
So I think I'll stay Six for EVER and EVER!

And we ended the day with a suggestion by the Master Waldorf Teacher, Marsha Johnson with Shining Star: "What is One?"

The girls will sleep on it and tomorrow, we'll hear what their "One" is. And we'll begin to weave the tale that formally begins our first Maths Block as we delve deep into the Quality of Numbers.


  1. Your days are so inspiring..since I was sick yesterday :( we are a day behind..I can follow you :)


  2. Wow! It looks like they had a great time. You pulled it all together so nicely.

  3. Thanks Donna and Jenn. Donna - I hope you feel better :( and how fun we're doing it at the same time :D. Jenn - I love the freedom from pulling from various sources. It makes it so lively and tailored to the individual child or children, but it is also a lot more work - lol! Certainly keeps one on their toes but I love that I can work in ideas from others and my own. I am really excited about Grade 3 with your fabulous blog to inspire and pull from! So thank you again for all the great posts you put out! p.s. we made our raggedy Befana doll yesterday and it turned out so cute :D Will have to post a shot tomorrow! She's headed outside this morning!!!!

  4. You should post her (befana doll). I don't have time to do a post on it. you could bring it back to life. It's such as fun story & thing to do in early January, but it's so obscure that no one rally knows about it. We skipped the doll this year, and just baked biscotti & had story time with the Child of Light Befana story.

  5. Hi Jen,
    We seem to use a lot of similar resources for Grade 1 and it is so intersting to have a peek at your fantastic angle of Grade 1. I love that you incorporate yoga. I hope to introduce that a bit too. What do you use for yoga, Jen! There is some yoga in the Earchschooling resources - do you draw from that source? We finished our Quality of Numbers in December and this week taking it easy so start up again next week. It is all going so well and, boy, this learning is so much fun and works well for us all! I just love it. I am always impressed by how well organised and well-planned you are. I tend to be a bit free-flowing and take us all out for long treks outdoors a lot of the day so a chunk of our 'learning' is done out there on our walks as we trek along or hang from trees. Also right now I just can't seem to stay awake to plan much in the evenings. Seem to need lots of hibernating.
    Have a lovely day.

  6. So, Jen, I am not sure I understand how you proceeded after the first 2 weeks of form drawing. Did you introduce one running form a week in a separate form drawing block (say on Wednesday?).


  7. Hi Catherine! Yes, I would introduce about one a week, though sometimes we didn't do it for a while and then would jump back in. I should have documented more of the form drawing activities, but they were all pretty similar, as far as how the girls moved and learned/felt/experienced the forms with different little stories that I'd usually make up or take from a fairy tale we told that week. HTH! LMK if you have more ?'s. I usually try to do form drawing on Fridays, along with water color painting, but sometimes we don't get to what we've planned (gotta be honest about that!) Smiles :D