So wrapping up our first week of Seasons of Joy, hmmmm . . . what can I say about this . . . it was good, we had some definite strong moments there. We also fell off the wagon a few times and failed to complete our entire plan. Our "daily rhythms" need some practice, but heck we are new at this, we're doing our best, and we did have fun. Also, we are not aspiring to be a world-class Waldorf family, which takes the pressure off considerably. Here are a few more projects we completed:
A gnome-themed counting game that we made together and have played with every day since:
The little bag is full of flat glass "gems" that Ivo counts out to the gnomes after they sing their song. We are working on the concept of cardinal numbers (I think that's the right way to say it, what I mean is the numbers as they relate to "how many", as opposed to ordinal numbers such as counting 1-10). Ivo has been able to count ("chant" would be a name for it) for a while, but is only starting to understand that those words refer to specific amounts. So the gnomes are helping us with numbers one through five using this very goofy made-up song:
A gnome went walking down number lane,
And he stopped at number (three),
"Please give me (three) gems from your bag,
Ivo give me (three)."
There are little cards in the bag also, each with a number from one through five. We line the cards up to make "number lane" and the gnomes sort of boogie down the row until they hop onto a number. This is a simple, silly game, but Ivo adores it and has really learned a lot from playing with it. Ivo is a very hands-on, tactile learner (maybe that is true for all three-year-olds) so the textures of the gnomes and the gems really keep him interested and tuned in. Taking the gems out of the bag one at a time has also been a good fine-motor activity, which is the other area (besides language) where he is a little delayed, according to his last assessment.
Another activity was painting rocks that we collected from the yard. We used metallic acrylic paint so they would look like gold treasure (gnomes' treasure). After they were dry we took turns hiding them and looking for them.
So our first week was good, Ivo liked the activities and the stories. Our biggest challenge I think will be creating and maintaining a daily and weekly rhythm that works for us. Ivo thrives on routine, and it's no wonder. Our daily routines offer security and predictibility in a world that must seem topsy-turvy at times. Here's a perfect example: yesterday afternoon we were a little low on laundry so when we came in from playing outside I took off Ivo's muddy pants and gave him some pajama bottoms to wear. He put on the pj's and thought it was time for bed, even though we had just eaten lunch an hour ago. There really is no concept of time for him, and even verbal reminders seem to leave him perplexed. The routines are what anchor his days and tell him what's coming next. And that is a nice thing to know when you are three years old and have very little real control in life. They are also my most effective discipline tool, because in following our routines we are both relaxed and cooperative. So establishing our daily and weekly rhythms is one of my top priorities for the upcoming weeks . . . I am optimistic about it, not expecting perfection but hoping to be able to meet everyone's needs in the process. My official report on week one is that this is fun, thought provoking and beneficial to our family, even if I do sort of stink at it sometimes. We are, after all, doing "Seasons of Joy", not "Seasons of Guilt." That is certainly not a plan I would sign up for. So now it's on to week 2!