Friday, February 8, 2008

The latest

Bean and I (and Love Bug, of course) went to our local Classical Conversations open house. I was really looking forward to it. I'd been looking into some classical ed stuff in the couple of weeks leading up to it and let me just say, if I had set out to go as far in the other direction from Waldorf, Classical Ed would be it. LOL!

The open house was impressive and the Mamas and children were all so very nice and welcoming. They opened with prayer, then the pledge of allegiance to the Bible - which I love! Then they said The Pledge of Allegience to the flag. Then they went to their "classes." We sat in on the six year old class, where Bean would be in the fall. I missed about 30 min total of this because my wonderful husband was on his way home early to get Love Bug and was stuck in traffic. An 18 month old is not a fun addition to a class of six year olds trying to learn, but we managed until he got there.

I did get to see the kids sing their history song. All their "memory work" is set to music, which is neat. The song they were singing that day was to help them remember who led the Allied Forces in WW1. Huh. Of course, I'm thinking, Does my five year old need to know who led the Allied forces during WW1? It was very hard for me to wrap my Waldorf brain around, to be honest. They describe it like a peg board - kids work on the same curriculum from 4 years old to 6th grade, each year digging deeper into it, becoming more familiar with it. So the basic familiarity as in "Churchill - I remember that name from such-n-such a song . . . " lays the foundation for further learning later on. So all these kids did was learn the song - and they loved it. They all begged to sing it again and again. They all had snack together, which was brough by one family - which I think is nice.

Next, was on to art - where they looked at a few examples of work by the impressionist painter Berthe Morisot, who focused on texture. Then the kids were presented with several different cups of paint, some with glitter inside, some with sand, some with flour and some plain, so they could experience painting with different textures. Then it was back to the classroom to sing their conjugated Latin verb song and skip count - which is where they count by 2's, 3's, 4's etc - these kids were learning up to 8's - but they needed help at that level. They rolled a ball from one kid to the next, taking turns saying the next number in the sequence. Finally, it was back to the gym for a neat science experiment about force (force = mass x acceleration) where they rolled marbles down ramps into styrofoam cups and watched how much farther the cup moved depending on the degree of slant to the ramp.

Bean really liked it. She wanted to go back next week when they would all meet again, and was disappointed when she learned we just visited that one time. I asked her what her favourite part was, thinking of course - it would have to be the painting. She's been in Waldorf surroundings literally all her life. So, it must be the nifty art project. Nope. The skip counting.
Huh. OK.

It was SO different than any Waldorf thing I had ever done or anything I had planned on doing with her or had ever done with her. However, what we've been doing isn't working. It's not meeting her needs. I actually got into a brief discussion re: Waldorf Education with one of the mothers there, when asked about our homeschooling background. She said it would have been really great for her oldest child, who was very artistic and didn't actually start reading until that year (he was in 3rd grade.) This made me feel so much better - if a child can make it all the way to 3rd grade in that program without reading, then I feel better about it maybe not being so academically aggressive.

Bottom line - I'm simmering. Bean loved it - has asked to go back. The people were so so nice, so were the children. I love the fact that it is a Christian curriculum. I like that it can be as large a part of your homeschool curriculum as you want it to be. So, I'm thinking about it. I'm adding more academics to our schedule slowly, slowly and Bean is loving it. So, I have no set course, but I have a direction and that is enough for now.

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