Waldorf-inspired Grade 2 Resources

Here I am listing resources that I have found useful for planning and presenting Grade 2 to my daughter this year.  Please bear in mind that the beginning of this particular academic year (Sept 2011) was very challenging due to a housing crisis over the summer (we became temporarily ‘homeless’ and ended up in very cramped and stressful conditions for 6 months) and then a further move in the middle of Jan 2012 (to a much more comfortable home). So this has been an odd Grade 2 year so far and yep, I know I may well miss some things that might traditionally be looked at in Grade 2, but hey, I’m working with what I’ve got with an emphasis on keeping things manageable for what has been a hell of a lot of changes for my children in the past couple of years!
I plan Main Lesson blocks around the cycle of the Moon as it makes sense for me to start a new block as the moon starts a new cycle (the waxing moon being a time of new beginnings, the waning, a time to end things).  I also pay some attention to traditional school holidays as Nin and Ted have friends who attend school and it is good (and also very important) to have playdates with these friends and generally this is easier to arrange during the school holidays (although they usually play with neighbouring children pretty much every day once those children are home from school).

Saints:

I used the Saints as a vehicle for Language Arts (Literacy), also covering some History and Religious Education (naturally).  I have been using a 2 day rhythm for this purpose, with the reading of a story followed by the drawing of a picture associated with the story (or, indeed, painting or modelling) and then a review of the story and the writing of a synopsis the next day, working to a 4 day week.

A Main Lesson block was done on St Francis (for whom there is a wealth of stories to be had and therefore it is relatively easy to fill three weeks solely learning about his life).  Within the four-week Main Lesson time we also looked at St Vincent De Paul and celebrated Michaelmas.
Other saints were covered on or leading up to their Saint’s day, an example of this would be Saint Nicholas, for whom there are a few stories as detailed in the link to Christine Natale’s telling of the life of the saint below.
St Francis of Assisi: “God’s Troubadour, The Story of St Francis of Assisi” at the Baldwin Project (mainlesson.com)
St Nicholas: St Nicholas Centre and specifically the six stories included on the site (one for each day from the 1st December through to St Nicholas’ Day on the 6th) by the wonderful Christine Natale: Gentle Stories of St Nicholas in the Waldorf Tradition.
Compilations:
“In God’s Garden” and “Our Island Saints” by Amy Steedman at the Baldwin Project (mainlesson.com)
Also very useful is http://www.catholic.org/ which has a list of Saints and their festival days plus an overview of the life of the Saint and http://www.catholiccuisine.blogspot.com/ which has some fantastic ideas for cooking related to the Saints’ days.

The King of Ireland’s Son:

I used the first part of The King of Ireland’s Son (Fedelma the Enchanter’s Daughter) as a vehicle for Language Arts (Literacy) again using a two day rhythm for presentation and recap.  As part of this block you could also do some Celtic-inspired form drawing/art.   The second and third parts (“When the King of the Cats Came to King Connal” and “The Sword of Light and the Unique Tale”) I have told as an ongoing story whilst doing a subsequent Maths Main Lesson block (and beyond – it’s a very long story!).
 
This book can be found online for free at Mainlesson.com (under ‘Waldorf’ and then ‘Grade 2’)

Jataka Tales

Also being used as a vehicle for Language Arts again with a 2 day rhythm.
 
The Jataka Tales can be found online for free at Mainlesson.com (under ‘Waldorf’ and then ‘Grade 2’) and at Cultural India – Indian Folktales.

General Language Arts (Literacy)

Adding a little more to Nin’s experience of Language Arts throughout the Grade 2 year: Nin is an avid reader.  Aside from Main Lesson Blocks on Language Arts, she is encouraged to read aloud to me every day.  Typical books she might read from are (this is a list I’m working on so needs adding to):

In addition to this, she also enjoys reading chapter and other story books in her own time. Some of the books she has read to herself this year are:

Maths

Aside from Main Lesson Blocks on Maths, maths practice is done every day as part of warming up for the Main Lesson (during our version of ‘Circle Time’) by singing, clapping, throwing, skipping, jumping [etc] various multiplication tables and other mental arithmetic sums (we also use a basket of percussion instruments at times).  In addition to this, we also play various games utilising mathematical skills (such as Yachtzy).

During this Grade 2 year we have been building upon previous work with the four processes, including the knowing (by heart) of number bonds up to and back from 24; continuing to learn multiplication tables up to 12 both ‘forwards’ (multiplying) and ‘backwards’ (dividing) and commutative property; covering place value into the thousands, including number dictation, and from this extending the understanding of multiplying numbers by 10, 100 and 1000.
 
Books:
Web Resources:

Science (inc. Geography):

Much of the science we are doing in Grade 2 comes from experiential learning in the world around us.  We take regular walks in the surrounding countryside and also further afield and use this opportunity to note the changing of the seasons, the effect this has on the landscape and the flora and fauna that inhabit it.  We also grow various plants (including vegetables and fruit) and note such things as the care and preparation of the soil (and how this may differ for different plants), suitable times to plant, care of the growing plant through to the picking and using of vegetables, herbs and fruit.  Such activities lay the foundations for future lessons in Biology, Geography, Geology, Botany, Zoology, Environmental Sciences and more!
Further scientific activity is experienced, again experientially, through play with such toys as building blocks and marble runs.  We also make toys such as windmills and also explore what floats and what doesn’t.  All such activities lay solid foundations for future physics lessons.
There is also a lot of science to be had in cooking – the changing of matter from one form to another (e.g. ice melting to water, being boiled to become steam, condensing on surfaces and returning to water).  No graphic explanations are necessary at this stage, rather the process can be noted – and yes, I have been known to accidentally boil a saucepan dry *blush*.   Forgetting to use baking powder and the resultant flat scones (amongst other things) can also be noted – there’s quite some chemistry to be had there!

Music

We will continue daily singing and the use of some percussion instruments in Circle Time (and maths) and continue with recorder.

Handwork and Art

  • Continuing with knitting using the knit stitch and introducing casting on and off.
  • Finger and French (using a knitting bobbin/dolly) knitting – as they’re both useful means of making cords for other projects.
  • Wet felting
  • Weaving – simple, using cardboard or paper plate ‘looms’, Ojo de Dios (stick weaving) and miscellaneous ‘found object’ weaving.
  • Form Drawing
  • Wet-on-wet watercolour painting (although I have to admit this is an area I’m still not at all confident in)
  • Miscellaneous other painting as needed on models, etc.
  • Crayon drawing – emphasis on non-lined drawing in simple forms (although all children are free to draw as they choose outside of Main Lesson time and crayons, pencils and paper are always available.)
  • Modelling – predominantly using home-made playdough or beeswax (although I actually find using beeswax a very big challenge as I have some difficulty with manipulating the wax due to problems with my hands)
  • Collage – especially when making jar lanterns for Samhain and Martinmas (it’s a yearly tradition)
  • Various other simple crafts.

General Resources

Books:
Web Resources
  • Homespun Waldorf – from the front page join the forum listed on the top bar- a really wonderful forum with such a wealth of support from other parents following a similar path!
  • homeschoolingwaldorf  – run by Melisa Nielson of Waldorf Essentials.  Melisa is a home-educator of some years experience and offers curriculum materials and consultancy.
  • waldorfhomeeducators – hosted by Marsha Johnson of Shining Star School’s Suns and Moons Homeschool program.
  • The very many wonderful blogs (various linked to on the left bar here) written by home-educating families that are out there – such a wealth of inspiration!
It may also be worth looking at the following labels on this blog:
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4 thoughts on “Waldorf-inspired Grade 2 Resources

  1. sheila says:

    Hey Nikki,What a great overview. I will be bookmarking it for sure. I am just starting to think about next year. I have never done a waldorf grade 2 – it looks like so much good stuff in there.Best,Sheila

    Like

    • Nikki Wall says:

      Not at all 🙂 Also, putting together a little package for you to say thank you for the wonderful map – I know it’s really belated, but it has been on my ‘To Do’ list to contact you for a while (but it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster of things happening, which is hopefully settling down now) – but if you could e-mail me your address again to ninnynoodlenoo at gmail dot com (substituting the obvious bits) that would be really helpful, thank you!

      Like

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