Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy New Year!

On the brink of a new year, here is what the end of the old finds us doing:

My oldest turned twelve, 12, ten and two more. She thinks she may want to be a vet most days, but the option of spy is also high on her list. In either case, she has decided that Spanish would be a good asset, so we are studying Spanish together. In the meantime, both she and her brother (now 10) have accepted a great lit challenge that I did not exactly issue, but suggested. They are both reading Dickens; Oliver Twist this month, and ds completed Plato's The Trial and Death of Socrates, Four Dialogues this week as well. If that all sounds very serious and academic, not to worry, they only spend about an hour or so a day with that particular activity!

Everyone is busy with their Christmas toys. Legos have kept some sequestered in their rooms building and rebuilding, especially no. 2 and 3. They have been building creative structures and very elaborate critters. The playroom houses block structures and a wooden castle. The basement has been turned into a gym and lots of time is spent down there with a new tumbling mat and music turned up till it hurts your ears. Outside, usually a favorite destination, has been a dubious one of late, with temperatures below freezing with a bitter wind or else in the 40s and raining. There were two days when it was too cold to stay out for more than 3 minutes, brave or not. Yesterday we came in completely soaked through all our winter layers with feet that required rubbing and rice warmers. At least we got in an hour's walk, but it was not the most fun walk in recent memory; if you weren't slipping on the ice build-up from weeks past, you were sloshing through running water, and getting rained on non-stop.

Our second daughter turned seven in November and insists on daily reading time with us both. She has scheduled her father for this during his vacation, and she and I have a standing 9am time to read. All her idea, she has decided she is too old not to be reading on her own, and is truly ready for the gift of reading from the Wise Sophia of her Waldorf book.* It has been very cute to see her work her way through the riddles, figure out the roman numeral system and learn her vowels. She and her sister can skip rope "like never so," and love to knit.

Little guy, but not the littlest, my four-year-old, is drawing real pictures and writing letters and has such a vocabulary he makes me laugh sometimes. He is all about knights and castles and being a hero against the bad guys. He does lovely cartwheels can sing any song he has heard once before.

Baby, now 19 months old, is a munchkin. He acts like a real little person, and can communicate almost everything he wants or needs quite clearly. And when that doesn't work, he gets your finger in a death grip and will lead you to where you need to be to see what he wants. He has a new word; en garde! And if there is a sword in his hand when he says it, you'd better take care. I have some worries about the situation, since he only says two words besides "Mama" and "Daddy," and they are "feu" or fire and "en garde." I trust this does not show a predisposition to a career in arson or violence, just natural boy curiosity from a third boy.

December has been a month of preparation of hearts and home for the holidays. We took break from a normal school schedule to decorate, bake and read Christmas stories together.

Other activities have continued, at home and out of it. The three oldest worked on a Christmas play for three months with their favorite director. The ten-year old has been playing hockey,(hockey?! Must have something to do with living in a land of snow and ice), and the girls have joined Girl Scouts. We have a darling four-year old who is a friend and has become part of our school day on Friday each week. She is apprenticing the French language with us. This has been great fun and encouraged all to remember to speak in French. She is a very quick learner and already knows a number of songs and expressions and how to count to twelve.

We have counted our blessings and look forward to a new year. Happy New Year to you all!

*A Journey Through Waldorf Homeschooling, grade one, Melisa Neilsen


  1. Hi from Sunnespot. Oh! How I wish that I had two languages for my children. Lucky you. Thanks for the comment. I just keep trying to figure out what world citizenship is all about. Your school days sound lovely. Happy Gregorian New Year! (We're up for the Lunar new year in a couple of weeks!)

  2. Sounds like a wonderful christmas and New Year for you guys. Loved your christmas card! Miss you. Tricia

  3. Sunnespot, thank you for your comments! Happy Chinese New Year! I have been working on a free weekly newsletter of French phrases to foster learning the language at home with your children. The sign-up list will be posted soon. Join us if you'd like.

  4. Hi Tricia,

    We miss you too, neighbor who fled Iowa for greener pastures!

    Thanks for writing!



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