Finally!! We have completed a very long lesson block that began last year in early December. We began with the Quantity of Numbers, which is a Waldorf way of teaching number sense through finding the source of how many a number is as evidenced around us: one sun, two wings, three sides to a triangle, four seasons, and so on. We explored the numbers, 1 through 10, and put down the one’s we both agreed on in Little Man’s Main Lesson Book . . . .I have my own that I do the illustration in first and he copies as best as he can. It’s a good way to gain discipline and steadiness, requires a lot of concentration!!
We came to the process by way of story: our favorite friend who I’ve been making up stories about over the years, Whispering Wind, was tricked and hence trapped in the roots of a great oak tree by the Swamp Hag. Amidst the dwarves who dwell in the deep underground, mining gems with care, he solved the riddles which illustrate 1 through 10 and spent many days helping them add, sort piles, haul away piles, and count in 2’s and 3’s the gems that they laid out around the underground lake. So he was acquainted with the four processes of addition, division, subtraction, and multiplication along the way as well. When the dwarves were satisfied with his work, they took him to meet with the Wise Owl at the top of the tree who showed him the way out and back home.
From there we moved into more Whispering Wind stories; he now has four lumberjack, ex-seafaring brothers for neighbours. They are building a cabin, and since Little Man so loves the outdoors, sawing, hatcheting, splitting, and anything to do with woodwork, this was his favorite part, so we drew it out a lot. Whispering Wind would go visit the brothers and listen to their stories while they worked and he sometimes helped, when he wasn’t lazing in a tree eating apples.
Through this platform we came up with picture drawings showing the Quality of Numbers, and we worked exclusively with 6’s for the illustrations. There’s Al, who splits wood and has an idea of how many pieces a certain sized log should yield. There’s Dan, who sorts the split wood into piles. There’s Mike (Little Man’s favorite on account of his chainsaw), and he saw’s down timber, which he then saws into parts. And there’s Steve, who pulls away logs to the cabin site. So we work with the four processes and how they relate to a number, in this case 6 and the different ways we can arrive at 6.
Now we are done with the lesson block, but the tales will continue as the cabin gets built and the brothers settle in. You can try this for yourself, using any number of fairy tales, or made up stories, to suit your child’s temperament and what gets his/her imagination flowing to do the lesson with. It’s a lot of fun and we both felt a sense of accomplishment when the lesson book was completed and done :0)