Jenny's Waldorf Homeschool Classes

August 31, 2010

Journal from Waldorf Homeschool conference: 8/28

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Jenny Sage @ 1:15 pm

This morning, we went for a nature walk before doing anything else. It was so early, that the pond and the hills were swathed in white mist, which glowed bright in the sunlight. We saw dozens of perfectly-spun spiderwebs, glistening with diamond-like dewdrops. The spiders weave these breathtakingly intricate forms fresh every night, up on this hillside, since they don’t last through the day. Many of them still had spiders of various colors and sizes in their centers.

We also saw a turkey nest, hidden in the tall grass. The five or six eggs in it had long since been cracked in half, and nothing remained except a damp-looking feather or two.

Later in the morning, we studied optics. Using spotting scopes, hand lenses, a textile lens, and microscopes, we examined various natural items. Anything looks amazing when magnified, from the skin on my hand, to the barbs of a thistle. Then we took a walk with the hand lenses, examining anything and everything. We saw all the inner texture of orange spotted touch-me-nots, and I got a revealing view of the underside of a caterpillar– feet, jaws and all. It was so much fun, I can’t wait to have equipment like this in my “classroom”.

In the evenings, we have been talking about different ways of organizing the year, and the Main Lesson blocks. I have been grateful for the advice of many seasoned Waldorf teachers and homeschool moms, as I’ve been tweaking my own Main Lesson block schedule. I am happy with the result, which will be up on my website soon. If you are interested, and want to see the schedule of subjects my classes will cover, check the “schedule and tuition” page of my site. It will be getting some exciting new updates in the very near future.


August 28, 2010

Yesterday’s journal from a Waldorf Homeschool Teacher conference

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Jenny Sage @ 1:41 pm

Greetings! After a long summer of working and studying hard, I am finally finding some time to update this blog. Just four days ago, I got back from a long, intensive Spacial Dynamics training. (for more info: I am now finished with the first of five years. This session was mostly devoted to the study of childhood and child development, and I now have even more movement games and activities to share with the children I will help to teach in the coming year. Some people have asked me to describe Spacial Dynamics, but that task is not an easy one. Most broadly put, it is the process of redefining our relationships to to our bodies and the space around them, in order to become more free, and more fully human.

Now I am in a beautifully hilly, farm-covered part of eastern Ohio. I am resting in the grass, beneath a huge, spreading maple tree. While writing, I have watched an inchworm inching up a blade of grass, a wasp-like insect carrying along another insect as big as itself, and a yellow butterfly, which flitted right up to my face before going off again.

The warm, midwestern sun is especially welcome after some rainy days in upstate NY. I’m staying for a few days on a farm of 65 acres, ffor a training specifically for Waldorf homeschoolers, and teachers of Waldorf homeschooled children. This morning, I showed up for a session on animal studies, for fourth grade. I have no fourth graders yet in my program, but it was the only option besides grades 1 or 5. The man teaching the class turned out to be, not a Waldorf teacher exactly, but an experienced naturalist, who has worked as a forester in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, and led youth wilderness canoe trips in the Adirondacks. Nobody wanted to go over the classic, grade 4 animal curriculum, so we discussed field guides for a while, then headed out for a nature walk. We looked for tracks, and managed to find those of a raccoon, well-formed. Deviating from our “intended” purpose, we found and identified several species of caterpillars, spiders, mushrooms, and other interesting plants and insects.

Far from being merely a nice walk, the morning inspired me with new ideas for how to approach nature studies in the coming year. In Waldorf schools, the more scientific aspects of ecology and biology are preceded by more imaginative nature stories, through which younger children can breathe themselves into the world of nature in a way that is appropriate to their level of development, and which therefore impresses in them a deep, long-lasting love for nature. What could be a better way to build a bridge between the nature stories of first and second grades, and the more analytical studies of fourth and beyond, than to engage in wonder-filled observation and identification, as we did this morning?

After lunch, we studied form drawing for grades 2 and 3. Form drawings are archetypal forms, often found in nature. When done in the right way, they are said to support the developing inner lives of the children, especially between grades 1 and 4. Personally, I believe that I can feel similarities between the forms we made today on paper, and the forms we lived into with our bodies in space, in Spacial Dynamics. Part of my job, as a teacher, is to refrain from pointing out these similarities blatantly: instead, the children should have the freedom to feel their way into the subjects by discovering connections on their own, and thereby making them their own. This experience of discovering together is one of my greatest joys in teaching, and one of the very many things that help me to be so excited for the coming year.

For more information on Taproot Farm, where I am currently staying, see:

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