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Ahhhh … February. It always feels like a challenge. February often feels like a Bermuda Triangle of crummy weather, colds and flu circulating, fun activities getting cancelled because of weather, too much togetherness and the ensuing sibling bickering. Is it a coincidence that schools often offer their open houses in February? If you need some reassurance, because you want to throw in the towel every February, this post is a good read.
In spite of all that, my third grader and I hit a real stride this month. We spent three weeks on a Chinese Fairy Tales & Shelters block and it was just so engaging and fun – for her, and for me. (So important!) I have heard complaints that Waldorf is too Euro-centric and while I think that argument can most definitely be made, I felt like this block was such a fantastic example of taking a traditional third grade block (understanding a culture through the shelters they built and the way they lived in their unique environment) and using that lens to look at a non-Western culture. This block was from Lavender’s Blue Homeschool’s third grade curriculum.
The fairy tales we heard in this block were completely new to me, which was so lovely. It felt like we were on a path of discovery together. And we learned about the wide variety of shelters in China – from the round, fortress-like houses of the Hakka in southern China to the exclusive courtyard houses of the highest-ranking families. We ended with the Great Wall of China, which we have decided we must visit someday.
I decided to add a study of calligraphy to this block, which was a perfect addition. My nine-year-old really enjoyed this a lot. We learned about how characters were first created, how they evolved over time, and how two characters can combine to create a new word.
This month my kindergartner finished his Pre-K book from The Good and the Beautiful, and I was faced with the decision of continuing to move forward with him, or possibly stop and pick back up with it in the fall. The next level starts to introduce reading. He is five-and-a-half and all those years I spent indoctrinating myself with Waldorf philosophy told me to hold off. But he is enjoying his learning time so much, and he asked to continue, so we are. Maybe someday I’ll have some wise things to say about taking completely different academic approaches with different kids in the early years, but right now I’m just winging it, following my kids and my instincts and crossing my fingers.
We also do a very Waldorf-y circle time and story for him, and increasingly our two-year-old involves herself in that time and actually enjoys it, rather than disrupts it. It’s amazing how quickly challenges that seem intractable can evolve.
My kindergartner’s ability with numbers has really blossomed this month, and he spends hours playing games like Sleeping Queens, Rat-a-Tat-Cat and Chutes and Ladders with his big sister or me. I also recently got him these MathLink cubes and this Dot-to-Dot book and those were a big hit. Lego has become a big obsession this month, and has been a lifesaver on some recent snow days. We just recently discovered Lego’s 3-in-1 sets and that has been lots of fun for him.
Some favorite family activities this month included making Valentines for family and friends, seeing Oregon Ballet Theater’s Cinderella and starting the Zoey and Sassafrass series together. I read the first book to my kids and now my nine-year-old has been tasked with reading the other five books to her siblings.
My major accomplishment this month was getting myself new glasses frames for the first time in nine years! Sometimes it’s the super not-sexy self care stuff that is the most fulfilling.
I have been struggling for quite a while with some health stuff and decided finally this month to take the plunge and try a 30-day liver cleanse. So far (I’m writing this on day 5) it’s been super challenging and a rough adjustment. But I can also see some small steps in the right direction, so I’m sticking with it (for now, anyway). Also, I feel I should share that I see a functional medicine doctor and am not doing this on my own.
In February I was …
Knitting … secret projects for loved ones expecting spring babies.
Watching … still obsessed with The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. And so thrilled that John Oliver is back from his break.
Finding joy in … a new routine of taking a walk every-other morning (my husband walks on opposite mornings). This has been such a great new routine for us.
We are so ready for warmer weather. We are *this close* to daffodils here and I am always so thrilled to see my favorite flower pop up.