Sunday, December 4, 2016

:Waldorf Grade Two: {Saints Block}

  When I began planning out our homeschool journey I knew that Waldorf was the pedagogy that most resonated with me.  When I saw the second grade curriculum centered around Saints and Heroes it gave me pause.  I am Catholic, much less devout than how I was raised, but a very spiritual person still, but my husband is Jewish and this is the path we have chosen to raise our children.  However, we do not feel that learning about other religions is any threat to our beliefs and, in fact, openly seek to learn about other religions and cultures.  The Saint stories are amazing and the core lessons about doing good works are applicable to anyone trying to be a better person.  We thoroughly enjoyed our first Saints unit and look forward to working on more stories as the year progresses.

  The saints unit follows the Waldorf model of listening to a story, creating from it (in the form of a drawing, modeling, a song or a play), and summarizing it on the following day.  My second grader, Will, has always been an avid writer and he likes to recount a lot of detail.  The challenge with him has been getting him to leave out some of the details and get the gist of the story written down before he gets tired of the task.  Sometimes he is adamant about including the minutiae and we just take another day to finish writing the summary.  The stories are included with the lesson plans from Waldorf Essentials and we really didn't use any additional resources.  I looked through a few Saints books, but found the material in the curriculum to be better.

  St. Francis was always a favorite Saint of mine, and I have visited Assisi a couple times, so he was a fun one to start with.  Will enjoyed the stories about his birth and troubles with his wealthy father. He was told in a dream to rebuild God's church on earth and so he sold his father's luxurious belongings to give the funds to a priest to literally rebuild the crumbling church.  Another dream revealed to him that "the church" he was meant to rebuild referred to the people, and so he set out to work in service to the people.  This theme on helping God by helping His people was a recurring theme I was happy to emphasize through this unit.  


  For fun, we made pinecone and peanut butter bird feeders to celebrate St. Francis' love for all creatures.
  Grammatically, we are trying to work on natural pauses when we read our work aloud to avoid run on sentences.


  St. Jerome and the Lion is definitely an exciting tale and Will really enjoyed this lesson.  We also worked with our modeling beeswax to make lions.  It really is nice to work with as we hold it in our hands to make it warm and malleable while we listen to the story and then it's ready to form.  


Our next Saint story was the transformation of the powerful soldier Offero into St. Christopher.  Will was absorbed by the tale of Offero searching for the greatest master to serve.  He ultimately realizes that the greatest master is God and serving Him means putting down his weapons and using his strength to help people. 

my chalk drawing for St. George and the Dragon, copied from a pinterest photo with no link

Well, obviously, St. George and the dragon was a huge hit! Will was very surprised that George ended up killing the dragon.  He said he thought it would end like St. Francis and the Wolf or St. Jerome and the Lion, with George finding out what the problem was and helping the dragon.  Interesting.  He liked the Tomie dePaola story much better!

Our first unit on Saints culminated with St. Martin and the feast of Martinmas.  I'll record more about our festival in the next post.

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