Hello again!

Hi everyone, I’ve been away for awhile, but I figured I would check in. How are you all doing?

Me, I’m doing pretty good. Planning a move in a couple of weeks, working on my curriculum and my rhythm for the Fall, and I’m quite excited about some of the stories I’ve found on http://www.mainlesson.com.  It’s a site with hundreds of free stories, many from the early 1900s, very sweet and in keeping with my own values and aesthetics.

Since I last wrote, my girl turned 5, we completed our 1st homeschooling year, and we went away for another month at the cottage. We also found out that we got the apartment we were hoping for–a 3-bedroom stacked townhouse in our same neighbourhood, with 2 little balconies (container gardening–yay!), and a laundry room! No more doing laundry in my kitchen and hanging clothes in the dining room!

Our homeschooling year went well. Of course there were tough times–like most of February! But I think we all get the winter blahs if we’re prone to them, whether we homeschool or not. I’ve gotten to know Waldorf a lot better, and have met many homeschooling parents in the area and made some very nice friends. And to top it all off, I’ve had the ultimate compliment from my daughter who told me, “I have the BEST teacher!”

So I’m trying to do even better this year, with a rhythm that will be doable, and also with some story content 🙂 For those of you unfamiliar with Waldorf, the kindergarten years are meant to be filled with the rhythms and work of the home, with rhymes and stories and songs and art. So the parent-teacher gets the chance to work on their consistency during the days and the weeks, planning this day for mending and this day for baking and so on, and the children get to know the days of the week not as “Monday, Tuesday” but as “Mending Day, Baking Day”.  You know you’ve succeeded when your kid asks you, “Mom, is it Washing Day today?” Extra gold stars if it’s because they want to help you wash the floor!

It ain’t easy, but it sure is fun.

On top of all that, moving to a bigger apartment means higher rent, which means our frugality skills need to ramp up a wee bit, which will be fodder for some new blog posts I’m sure. Over the time since I started this blog 3 1/2 years ago, our bank balance has wavered between the black and the red, but you know what? Each year we are moving forward. So I have faith we can meet these new challenges ahead.

And if not, I can always move back to drying laundry in my dining room.

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Frugal Urban Homeschool: September Report

Greetings! It’s now four weeks in and I must say homeschooling is going very well. Of course we have grouchy, tired days, days with meltdowns and false starts, and days where the dishes don’t get done and we order pizza again. But there are also the joys of waking up slowly, snuggly moments reading books on the couch, hours of romping outside and swimming at the Y, and millions of chances to get to know each other better.

So, what do we do all day? We are working on our daily and weekly rhythms, a balance of “in- and out-breath”, of inside time and outside time, of high energy and rest. Basically, we wake up, eat breakfast, tidy up and get dressed, and then meet in the living room for our circle time. We go through a selection of seasonal rhymes, finger plays and songs, after which we’re ready for our morning adventure.

We’ve been up to a lot, even though we don’t leave before 10 most days (some days not till 11!). We’ve been to our favourite playgroup several times, as well as swimming at the YMCA, the library, parks, and even our own back yard.

After our morning adventure, we head home for lunch, the little guy’s nap, and quiet time for me and my girl. And, if I’m good and organized I will also start dinner during this time. I’ve been trying to include my girl in the dinner prep more often, though she is not always interested in helping out. I’m working on this!

During this time we also do our daily theme activity: baking on Monday, washing the floor and bodily care (clipping nails, etc.) on Tuesday, sewing, hand-work and mending on Wednesday, garden-related activities on Thursday (though I’m still working on this one), and wet-on-wet watercolour painting on Friday. That’s our weekly rhythm.

Once the little guy wakes up we finish up our theme activity and then head out again for our afternoon adventure, which is most often to a park or sometimes our backyard. When we get back, the kids jump in the tub, while I try to get dinner on the table.

I like our rhythm and feel lost on weekends when the rhythm is disrupted. It seems like we are quite busy, and I’m working on slowing down and sticking around home more often, but there is also tonnes of time for the kids to just play together as well as separately and build their interior worlds.

Some people ask about what they’re learning, and although we are not doing “lessons”, I am amazed at how much learning takes place around everyday things. There is so much physical learning like how to use a sharp knife, how to ride a bike, kick a ball, do a summersault, etc., but there is also a lot of basic learning like numbers, math and even fractions (baking), as well as days of the week, some spelling, lots of seasonal stuff, and more.

But more than any of that, we are learning about the world and the systems that sustain us. Also, how to be nice to each other and care for others. And what interesting things adults do in their lives.

This week we’re going to start going to the French story time at the library, and I’m going to start learning new French songs to do at our circle time. And with the coming of Fall there will probably be lots of leaf art and talk about pumpkins. Not to mention harvests and baking and delicious Fall smells filling the house.

That’s about all to report for our first month. And now to take on October!