Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First Day of School

Baby boy woke up so excited to start school today. Ran in my room with a shout of "It's my first day of school. Let's go!" Unfortunately, I didn't get going as early as I wanted to. Not surprising, that's me. After a leisurely breakfast and a break to care for the goats and cats, we started 4th grade.  Our first assignment was to check the weather. He declared it "Perfect. Then asked, is that a weather condition?"  He is right. 79 degrees and beautifully sunny.

We started our work by lighting a candle and reciting our morning verse. Typically in a Waldorf school there would be a circle time. But with just the two of us, it feels a bit contrived. I'll need to figure out some type of movement exercises we can add to the morning. He's not a very flexible kid, but I've warned him many times that we'll have to change some things around til we get what works for us. We then moved into our Main Lesson, starting with a new verse that we'll be using for local geography/history. We made our practice book and geography ML book. Then we packed up for our first field trip!

We stopped to pick up a compass, then headed to High Point, a York County park that overlooks the Susquehanna River. On the way I asked him to notice the shape of the land. Imagine what it would look like without roads, buildings and the other things people have created. He rode silently the rest of the way and just watched out of the window.

As we enjoyed our picnic lunch, we sat quietly and watched the horses on a neighboring farm. We then climbed to the top of High Point and stood still to breathe it all in. At the top there's a compass rose set in stone so, we pulled out our compass and talked about the ordinate points and compared our compass to the compass rose. (One of them is two degrees off!) We each sketched part of the view, which was a painful experience for both of us. For me, I'm a beginner sketcher and not very confident about my work. He has a difficult time doing anything new. After a few tears and bouts of frustration (him) we both settled into our work and by the time we were finished he seemed very happy with the process. I faked my way through it, keeping a cheerful face, even when another hiker looked over my shoulder and said nothing but "hmmmmm." We took some photos, filled our water bottles, then took the Mason Dixon Trail back down the hill and headed for the river itself.  Oh, the river felt wonderful on our hot, dusty feet!

At Highpoint Park

The river visit was short, surprisingly. Usually I can't get him away from the water. But today he was happy to clamber back in the car and head to the library. One of his favorite places! As I write this, he is sitting in the back yard reading one of the books he selected. It is now "quiet time," the peaceful rest time before the busy-ness of getting dinner together begins.  Looking forward to tomorrow's adventure!