Creating Rhythm & Routine
At Daily Wonder, we talk a lot about rhythm and routine. That’s because we know that young children feel a sense of good health when held by boundaries, including the layout of the day, week, and month. Children learn through play and doing until they reach high school, and they need lots of activities that spark their creativity and provide space for wonder. Then, when they know what we expect of them, the children are freed up to be in the moment. After that, it is up to the adults to create boundaries to free the children.
A friend once told us that she was not expecting the freedom that came when she built a fence around her property. It sounds backward that a fence creates freedom, but think about it; she has a dog that had to be tied up or managed all the time. Once the fence went up, the dog knew how far it could go, and the people trusted that it would just do dog things. We aren’t comparing children and dogs, but we are comparing the freedom fence to boundaries.
Rhythm is your wide-level organization, such as your year, when you start school, what holidays or celebrations you participate in, what time you get up each day, and when you start and end your morning lesson.
Routine – these are the details within your rhythm, such as singing a song to begin the morning lesson, lighting a candle before the story, and how you end the day. Routines are like the rules for how we do things.
Create a routine that works for your unique family.
Every family has different needs, so it's important to take a moment and create a rhythm that will work for your unique family.
You can create a routine by writing down the essential things for your family. These are the things which must happen every day, but also the things that you love so much you want to happen every day. Then consider what things you want to remove from your schedule to make your days more peaceful.
Daily activities that need to happen at approximately the same time each day, like meals, break times, and morning and bedtime routines, are the things which anchor your routine and provide the basic outline of your day.
After your anchor points, add the rest of your daily activities. Then, try to alternate more active and focused times of the day.
Here is just one example of a daily routine:
Here are some ideas for activities throughout the day:
Tips for setting a routine.
Allow plenty of time.
We can ease gently into the morning by ensuring we have enough time to awaken, get dressed, and have a hearty breakfast.
Simple rituals, like lighting a candle, reciting your opening verse or making some tea, gently signal to your child that it's time to begin the morning lesson.
Go for a walk.
If you're finding it challenging to begin morning lessons or to make it through the study before your child gets wiggly, consider adding a morning walk before you start or partway through to break it up. Walking outdoors allows one to connect with nature, notice its gifts, and observe changes throughout the seasons. Walking also brings oxygen and blood flow to the limbs and brain, helping your child feel more balanced and grounded in their body.
Give the routine time to take hold.
If maintaining a routine is not your strength, remember to be patient and give yourself six weeks to hold steady. Then, you will experience the rewards once the habits sink in. The prize is that your child expects and anticipates the flow and enjoys being in the routine. Then you won't need to use your will forces and constant verbal reminders. Instead, everyone will relax, held by the routine, and your days will be peaceful and more productive.
Know when to change a routine.
Like any good thing, you can overdo it. There always comes a time when a successful routine no longer works as it used to. Typically after a few months, a sign that it's not working would be that your children are resisting a once-enjoyed flow. Perhaps they're saying they are bored, or they resist getting started. The first step is to observe this shift in your children. Ask yourself the following questions:
You got this!
Check in with yourself and your relationship to routine, and have patience and compassion with your process and development. In reference to the words of Barbara Coloroso, from her book 'Kids Are Worth It," some of us lean toward being too rigid, like a brick wall, while others tend to be too loose and relaxed like a jellyfish. The ideal position is that of a spine, which is both supportive and flexible. Keeping this image in mind can help us check where we are on this spectrum on any given day.
At Daily Wonder, learning to read evolves for each child in the same form as it evolved from the beginning of humanity: spoken language developed first, then people drew pictures to communicate their ideas, followed by symbols such as hieroglyphics and finally the abstract letters of our modern alphabets. Once there was a written language, people learned to read. This unfolding inspires the sequence of the literacy program laid out in Daily Wonder curriculum. For Daily Wonder, the central theme for all lessons, in every subject, is the human story. We use storytelling to shape and deliver the living pictures behind every lesson, including the literacy program.
In the Early Years, from birth to age seven, the focus is on the spoken word. When children are young, the emphasis is on spoken verses and stories: nature stories, folktales and fairy tales. Parents and teachers are ‘storytellers’ and are careful not to ‘dumb down’ or simplify the language of fairy tales. Parents and teachers are encouraged to be careful to use clear speech and enunciate well, as this immersion in literature is the basis of literacy. This immersion in the spoken word also supports children later when learning to write and spell.
Repetition supports retention. When the same sequence and stories are repeated daily for weeks, children learn these stories, songs and verses ‘by heart.’ Current brain research confirms that repetition aids a child’s brain development. The connections of billions of neural pathways in the brain are strengthened through repeated experiences.
Writing Begins Holistically. In Year 1 of the Daily Wonder curriculum, the alphabet is introduced in an imaginative, pictorial way. Each letter of the alphabet is presented as a picture representing an element from a story the children are told. For example, they might hear the story of a knight on a quest who had to cross mountains and a valley. The children will then draw a picture with the letter “M” forming the Mountains on either side of the “V” for Valley.
In this way, the child develops a living relationship with each letter rather than going straight to the abstraction of the alphabet letters themselves. These ‘pictures’ can be described as the bridge between the pictorial thinking of the child and the abstract thinking of the adult.
After learning all the letters, children experience copying mom or dad’s writing into their portfolio. The portfolio is an artistically created record of the learning that children using Daily Wonder curriculum create themselves. These first written sentences and stories come from the children’s own experience, and the children’s first practice of ‘reading’ is the reading of their own text.
Reading begins with decoding. It is important to know that reading requires decoding skills that develop in children at varying ages. At Daily Wonder we understand that learning to read will unfold naturally in its own time for the vast majority of children when given the proper support.
Just as most children will learn to walk without our teaching them, and just as a child miraculously learns to speak their native language by the age of three without lessons, worksheets or a dictionary, so will most children naturally learn to read when they have a positive relationship with the spoken and written word and have been provided with the necessary tools and skills.
At Daily Wonder we follow the well-researched early Literacy program set out by Janet Langley and Jennifer Militzer-Kopperl in their book “The Roadmap to Literacy.” Over the three years of the program (grades 1 through 3), Daily Wonder supports parents to bring the six layers of literacy to their children (phonemic awareness, phonics instruction, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, writing).
Once the child receives the alphabet letters and sounds pictorially and through verse and song, they begin to learn approximately 33 phonics rules over the three years. The rules support understanding and skill-building for future spelling and reading. Vocabulary, fluency, comprehension and writing are regular parts of the daily lesson plans and expand over time.
Classic books expand vocabulary. At Daily Wonder, we encourage parents to provide their child(ren) with age-appropriate, well-written literature to expand their vocabulary and keep their love for reading alive. We also love a good graphic novel for those who need shorter reading stints to maintain their enthusiasm for reading. Practice is key, and preference is personal.
There can be negative impacts of pushing reading too early. Research has shown the negative impacts of pushing academics, such as reading, at too early an age. Asking children to read too early often hurts their self-confidence and general passion for books. This research indicates that kindergarten and preschool-aged children should focus on age-appropriate activities such as playing, exploring and socializing. Finland is an excellent example of this, given that its schools lead the world in education standards. Finnish children generally don’t start kindergarten until age 6. And kindergarten is focused mainly on play and socialization; there is no reading or writing. Additionally, their school days are not more than 4 hours long.
We at Daily Wonder believe that children who read when they are ready maintain a passion for stories and a love of reading long term. In our experience, when reading is not rushed before writing, students are typically reading at or above standardized government levels and with improved comprehension.
We think we can all agree that we want our kids to love reading and have the ability to express their heart's desires and gifts in writing and speaking.
Anthroposophist, mystic, and teacher, Claudia McLaren Lainson explains the Holy Nights:
"In the darkness of Winter’s night, when the great breath of the Earth Mother finds its greatest point of inhalation, human beings are afforded the grace to touch into both magic and miracle. In the pause between her mighty in-breath and out-breath there is a still-point of rest. This still-point has long been known as the Holy Nights. In these blessed Nights, the angels circle the globe as if in a great cosmic dance. They long to speak to listening human hearts. Throughout the ages the ‘listening ones’ on earth have heard the angelic choir; they have received messages of Peace and Love. What is received during these sacred days and nights, resounds a thousand-fold in the year that follows. In this year before us, a great light is striving to find willing human hearts. May we each be the ‘listening ones’ during these Holy Nights. May we work with angels."
Claudia McLaren Lainson is a teacher and Therapeutic Educator. She has been working in the field of Anthroposophy since 1982, when she founded her first Waldorf program in Boulder, Colorado. She lectures nationally on various topics related to spiritual science, human development, the evolution of consciousness and the emerging Christ and Sophia mysteries of the twenty-first century.
The time between December 24th and January 6th is when the veil between the earthly and spiritual world is the thinnest. This is an excellent time to reflect, meditate on the year ending and gather wisdom for co-creating your upcoming year with your higher self and spirit guides.
Whoa! That's a tall order, you may say! Indeed, it is! I have done this meditation for six years, and I take it one step deeper each year. It starts simply with an awareness of this opportunity and an intention to take a moment to consider or be open to the virtue highlighted each day.
Since Daily Wonder is in the biz of homeschool education and parent support, this meditative journey can be an incredible opportunity to focus on your homeschool experience. The winter break can be the time to carve out some quiet, reflective time and think about each month of teaching over 2022, as well as the lessons, experiences, and growth you and your child(ren) have experienced. As you are approaching the halfway point in the school year, you can assess if there are changes you want to make coming into the new year. The virtues highlighted are wonderful ways to frame your strengths and challenges as a homeschool parent. Every moment is an opportunity to practice self-love!
You can trust that the depth in which you experience this opportunity is exactly as it should be.
Each day you will reflect on a different virtue; your work is to consider how each virtue plays out in your homeschool life in general and then specifically over the year that is coming to an end. For example, were there highlights that put this virtue into practice? Were there moments when you could have strengthened this virtue?
When you reflect over the year, begin with the most recent month of December, and work backwards. Each night you will go back one more month to review your year in rewind. This act of reflecting backwards elevates our everyday thinking and shifts our awareness to a higher level of observation and reflection.
Once you have a feeling for how this virtue is playing out in your experience as a homeschool family, and specifically as your children's teacher, you can set an intention for how you would like to deepen or strengthen your connection to this virtue. Then, you can envision how that might look in your life and how this will feel for you and your child(ren).
The power of holding the image and feeling will take you deeper into co-creating your upcoming year.
The Stars once spoke to Humankind
It is World Destiny that they are Silent now
To be aware of the Silence
Can become painful for Earthly Human
But in the Deepening Silence
There Grows and Ripens
What Humans Speak to the Stars
To be aware of this Speaking
Can become Strength for Spirit Human
-Rudolf Steiner (Christmas 1923)
Day 1- LOVE (December 24th)
Love is the meaning of life on earth. Take time to ponder the ways in which you express your love for yourself, your family, romantic intimate partner(s), community, humanity. Be open to visions of how you would like to expand this love into the next year.
Reflect on December 2022, and your experiences and soul lessons.
Day 2- DISCRETION (December 25th)
We learn that there are times to hold our thoughts and feelings to ourselves, and there are times to choose to share them. Not everything, positive or negative in experience, needs to be shared. In silence, the flowering of discretion becomes an ever-deepening meditative force of contemplation. Be open to visions of how you would like to expand your ability to be STILL into the next year.
Reflect on November 2022, and your experiences and soul lessons.
Day 3- COURAGE (December 26th)
It takes courage to overcome our soul resistance to change. It takes courage to create a future of goodness. Courage, the ability to take on actions and experiences that cause fear. The ability to overcome our resistance, and our fears, and bring more love. Be open to visions of how you would like to expand your ability to be COURAGEOUS into the next year.
Reflect on October 2022, and your experiences and soul lessons.
Day 4- SELF-DISCIPLINE (December 27th)
When we practice parenting our inner Self, we find that we must bring a balance of love and acceptance for where we are at in our evolution, and the healthy push to become more self-disciplined. When we practice self-discipline in our thoughts, speech, and actions, this leads to deeper knowledge of our self and other. Be open to visions of how you would like to expand your ability to be SELF-DISCIPLINED into the next year.
Reflect on September 2022, and your experiences and soul lessons.
Day 5- PATIENCE (December 28th)
Patience is wisdom paired with will power. When patience is practiced, it leads to the gift of spiritual insight. Be open to visions of how you would like to expand your ability to be PATIENT into the next year.
Reflect on August 2022, and your experiences and soul lessons.
Day 6- CONTENTMENT (December 29th)
When we practice contentment, a feeling of peacefulness in any situation, it brings us the blessing of equanimity. Can I be content with the current moment, even if it is uncomfortable? Be open to visions of how you would like to expand your ability to be CONTENT into the next year.
Reflect on July 2022, and your experiences and soul lessons.
Day 7- REVERENCE (December 30th)
This is reverence that is honoring a courteous, tactful heart. This encourages the ability to communicate with kindness and love. To add to this pondering, this day also honours the spiritual nourishment and digestion that is taking place through this whole meditative process. We are digesting the year and nourishing our way forward. Be open to visions of how you would like to expand your ability to be REVERENT into the next year.
Reflect on June 2022, and your experiences and soul lessons.
Day 8-COMPASSION (December 31st)
Compassion asks us to hold the future of each person as positive and illuminated. Compassion leads to freedom, as we harbor no ill will within us for another. Be open to visions of how you would like to expand your ability to be COMPASSIONATE into the next year.
Reflect on May 2022, and your experiences and soul lessons.
Day 9- EMPATHY (January 1st)
Here we are reflecting on our capacity for empathy. When we practice selflessness, we are led to an inner awakening. We feel the connection between our Self and the Other, and we become more attune, and more sensitive. Be open to visions of how you would like to expand your ability to be EMPATHETIC into the next year.
Reflect on April 2022, and your experiences and soul lessons.
Day 10- PERSEVERANCE (January 2nd)
This is the virtue of perseverance to fulfill our soul’s destiny leading us to True Faith. When we feel an inner calling, an inner knowing that we have work to do upon this earth, we have the inner will and steadfastness to work ceaselessly throughout our lives. This inner knowing that we are called to bring to life, is our True Faith in the meaning and purpose of our life. In this way, we each bring our gift to the world, and to the people linked to us by our destiny. Be open to visions of how you would like to expand your ability to PERSEVERE into the next year.
Reflect on March 2022, and your experiences and soul lessons.
Day 11- INNER BALANCE (January 3rd)
This is inner balance of soul, body, and spirit. It also refers to the balance of our outer work with our inner life. When we find balance in these realms, this leads us to our soul’s progression along our spiritual path. Be open to visions of how you would like to expand your ability to be INWARDLY BALANCED into the next year.
Reflect on February 2022, and your experiences and soul lessons.
DAY 12- DEVOTION (January 4th)
We contemplate devotion that leads to self-sacrifice. When we devote ourselves to something greater than ourselves, we feel the power of self-sacrifice, and in this way, we serve human evolution. Be open to visions of how you would like to expand your ability to feel DEVOTED into the next year.
Reflect on January 2022, and your experiences and soul lessons.
DAY 13-INTEGRATION (January 5th)
This night is your Soul Epiphany that has come from pondering and meditating on your year that has passed and the year you are beginning. All the virtues are now integrated through the force of Divine Love. We can see the year as a whole and have prepared the foundation for the coming year.
May you each find the sacred place within yourself that allows you to perceive with the eyes and ears of the Divine. You are gathering in community with many who share your perceptions and will work with you on transcendent and holy ways. You are not alone.
Know that there is New Life Awakening within your heart that will bless each day of 2023.
The Four Temperaments
As parents and teachers, we are always looking for ways to understand our children, to interpret their behaviours, and to be able to support them more fully in their development. In Waldorf Schools around the world, it is very common for teachers to use the Four Temperaments Model, as a foundation for understanding their students.
This is one of the oldest personality type systems in the world. The origins of this typology belong to Graeco-Arabic medicine, where it was successfully used to treat illnesses. In fact, it is still used today by practitioners of traditional medicine around the world.
Greek physician Hippocrates (c. 460 – c. 370 BC) described the four temperaments as part of the ancient medical concept of humourism, that four bodily fluids affect human personality traits and behaviours. He believed that certain human moods, emotions, and behaviours were caused by an excess or lack of body fluids (called "humours"), which he classified as blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm. The Four Temperaments are sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic and were coined by the Greek physician Aelius Galenus to describe the effect of these humours on human behaviour.
Modern medical science does not define a fixed relationship between internal secretions and personality, although some psychological personality type systems use categories similar to the Greek temperaments.
It is interesting to note that traditional Chinese medicine sees that body constitution can vary from person to person, some are strong, some are weak, some tend to be hot, and some tend to be cold. According to the China Association for Traditional Chinese Medicine (CACM), body constitution can be divided into nine types, named as neutral, qi deficiency, yang deficiency, yin deficiency, blood stasis, phlegm & dampness, damp-heat, qi stagnation and special constitution. Generally, the classification of body constitution is based on physical outlook, personality, common health problems, and adaptation to external environment.
As well, Ayurveda, ancient Indian medicine refers to three main body types, or doshas: vata, pitta, kapha. Our doshas affect all aspects of us, including our psychology, emotional responses, choice of careers, foods we crave, the music we enjoy, how fast we talk, our energy levels, the colour of our eyes, the smoothness of our skin and the way we deal with stress.
In a homeschool setting, it is useful to be aware of the four temperaments as a tool for building a deeper understanding and connection with your child. By observing your child’s personality and body type, you can gain information that can often help make sense of certain behaviours. One of the four temperaments is often more dominant during elementary school years; however the goal is that through nurturing and holistic education, we help the child to come into more of a balance between the four temperaments.
Waldorf Publication, article Temperaments in a Waldorf School August 18, 2015
The choleric is a person who is fulfilled by deeds. This temperament tends to be fiery with a keen interest in all things, a high level of engagement in all they do, and quickness to action. They are natural leaders and get a lot done in group work. Teachers do well to give them many difficult tasks, make clear rules, and stick to them with the fulfillment of any promised consequences. If the teacher fails to gain a choleric’s respect, trouble will ensue! Cholerics have a good sense of judgment and can usually be trusted to divide things evenly from a firm sense of fairness and equity. They are first to want to go out for recess, and they are impatient with those who are slow or weak. Red is the favorite color most often, and typically division is the favorite arithmetic function. Cholerics can be difficult because of their intensity and quick judgments; however, without cholerics, little gets done in a crowd. They tend to be heroic and commanding in a natural way and are loyal defenders of friends, family, and community when necessary.
The sanguine is the most social of the temperaments. A party with no sanguines will tend to be fairly dull. Sanguine children have trouble concentrating because their attention flits a bit. Their color is yellow, and they delight in quick changes and varied ideas. They love people and discussions. The favorite in arithmetic is multiplication. These children know all the news in any classroom and can trace activities from the beginning to the end. If a teacher wants to know what happened, s/he need only ask a sanguine. Seating sanguines together holds the promise that they all might get weary of how much talking is going on and talk a little less themselves. Jumping rope, skipping, and running are all favorites of the sanguine elementary school student.
The phlegmatic is a complacent soul who would rather be left to his or her own devices than to be stirred to great action. Phlegmatics love food and mealtimes and look forward to these with a particular interest. They tend to like water and swimming (or, better yet, floating) and they are particularly unflappable. They have a knack at being cheerful and they tend to avoid describing any situation in terms of being a crisis. Finding the things that genuinely motivate these students is the task of the teacher because; left to their own devices they might do very little on their own. Upsetting a phlegmatic, or making him or her move too frequently can cause the phlegmatic to behave like a choleric. The anger of a phlegmatic is infrequent but intense. Addition is a favorite of the phlegmatic. Green is often their favorite color. When phlegmatics are seated together they help each other to realize that very little happens in their group and they are stirred to break the inactivity and take the initiative of their own.
The melancholic is a deep thinker, poetic in tendency. Melancholics tend to feel many things personally. Tasks can easily feel insurmountable to them and they tend to consider many situations in the most difficult light. They would, for example, most often consider the glass, “half empty.” In history lessons, these students view the misfortunes of mankind most compassionately. They often offer insights into people’s motivation from an understanding of the deep feeling life possible in human beings. Blue is often a favorite color of melancholic children. Of the four arithmetic processes, subtraction tends to be their favorite. Teachers must sympathize deeply with melancholics in order to ensure that they feel understood.
In a Waldorf school, teachers observe their students, and use this model to help support the children. It is not a hard and fast rule, and it is not advised that we label children or get stuck too strongly in one view. However, knowing the dominant temperament of a child can help us know how to proceed in a variety of situations. When a child is under stress, each temperament meets this stress differently. Each temperament approaches a new challenge, a new project, or a social situation uniquely. There are certainly common patterns and traits for each temperament and proceeding with this awareness can make a huge difference in meeting the child’s needs.
When recognizing a temperament in a child, we take a homeopathic approach, which is to say, we try to offer doses of these characteristics and traits, to help our child to be saturated in these qualities. The theory is that a child who feels held and seen in their temperament, can more easily move beyond it, into more balance as they grow up. For example, a melancholic child, who feels the “weight of the world”, and takes things in very deeply, should not be told to “get over it” or “it’s not that bad”, or “just let it go and smile”. Instead, they respond best to a loving adult who acknowledges their pain or misery and does not try to fix it.
Tips for Working with your Child's Temperament
If your child is sanguine, they are most inspired by your love and your love and attention awakens magic in them. When it comes to life, they can be easily distractible. They often change their mind and find it hard to settle down and commit to one thing. As a parent, you can encourage them to stick with what they started. You can insist that they finish the activity or sport they chose before trying a new one. During school lessons, you can help them to choose a project that really excites them and help them stay on task. Reading a book together, or looking at a picture, and having the child really take the time to look at the details, can be very helpful.
If your child is choleric it is important to help them to notice and appreciate the needs of others. Choleric children want to have deep respect for the adults in their lives. Show them some of your talents and skills. Give them challenges to work through, and make sure they get plenty of exercise. Give your choleric child situations where they can take on a leadership role.
If your child is phlegmatic they are most inspired by other children, and need support to have a social life, with varied friends to learn from and admire. At home, they require a stable, predictable environment with steady routine and rhythm. Make sure you allow space in the morning for a slow start. Your phlegmatic child is easygoing and sweet natured until they are NOT! This means that if you push them too hard, and too fast, they will get angry.
If your child is melancholic, they will benefit from focusing on the needs of others. It is easy for a melancholic child to get wrapped up in their own suffering. Melancholic children respond very well when the adult takes time to offer them compassion when they are hurt. Take time to ask a melancholic some challenging questions, and also set aside time for them to discuss a topic of their own interest.
Here are some links to Four Temperament Assessments:
10 Fun Homeschool Activities that Connect to Learning Standards and your Child will Love
Hey Parents! After you have been a super hero and guided your child through the Daily Wonder morning lesson, maybe you want to take a step back, maybe you have to attend to your regular job, or maybe you need a coffee break. Whatever the reason, learning does not have to stop. In fact, learning is an ongoing process, and Daily Wonder will show you how easy it is to connect regular homeschool activities like free-play and everyday life experiences with worldwide learning standards!
1. Build with Lego
Applied Design, Skills and Technologies
Grades 1-3: Big Idea/Concept: Designs grow out of natural curiosity
Grades 4-5: Big Ideas/Concepts: Designs can be improved with prototyping and testing. Skills are developed through practice, effort and action.
2. Bake Muffins!
Grade 1: Big Idea/Concept: Addition and subtraction with numbers to 10 can be modeled concretely, pictorially, and symbolically to develop computational fluency.
Grade 3: Big Idea/Concept: Fractions are a type of number that can represent quantities.
Grade 5: Adjust the recipe and learn this Big Idea/Concept: Numbers describe quantities that can be represented by equivalent fractions.
3. Clean Your Room!
Grade 1-3: Big Ideas/Concepts: Strong communities are the result of being connected to family and community and working together toward common goals. Everything we learn helps us to develop skills. Communities include many different roles requiring many different skills.
4. Family Meeting Time
Grades 4-5: Big Ideas/Concepts: Strong communities are the result of being connected to family and community and working together toward common goals. Leadership requires listening to and respecting the ideas of others.
Grades 6-7: Big Ideas/Concepts: Practicing respectful, ethical, inclusive behaviour prepares us for the expectations of the workplace. Leadership represents good planning, goal setting, and collaboration.
5. Climb a Tree!!
Grades 1-3: Big Idea/Concept: Confidence develops through the process of self-discovery
6. Make a Healthy Snack!
Physical and Health Education
Grades 1-3: Big Idea/Concept: Knowing about our bodies and making healthy choices helps us look after ourselves.
7. Work Through an Emotional Outburst!
Physical and Health Education
Grade1: Big Idea/Concept: Good health comprises physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Grades 2-3: Big Idea/Concept: Having good communication skills and managing our emotions enables us to develop and maintain healthy relationships.
8. Work Through Social Conflict with Friends
Physical and Health Education
Grade 1: Big Idea/Concept: Good health comprises physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Grades 2-3: Big Idea/Concept: Having good communication skills and managing our emotions enables us to develop and maintain healthy relationships.
9. Participating in the Digital World
Physical and Health Education and Career Education
Grades 6-7: Big Ideas/Concepts: Our personal digital identity forms part of our public identity. Practicing respectful, ethical, inclusive behaviour prepares us for the expectations of the workplace.
Applied Design Skills and Technology
Grades 1-3: Big Idea/Concept: Technologies are tools that extend human capabilities.
Grades 4-5: Big Idea/Concept: Skills are developed through practice, effort, and action.
Grades 6-7: Big Ideas/Concepts: Design can be responsive to identified needs.
Complex tasks require the acquisition of additional skills.
Isn't it incredible that learning is happening all the time?!
Daily Wonder recommends that you take time to conduct a baseline assessment when you begin teaching your child each school year. Then, by observing them in everyday activities, you can track their development and become aware of areas that may need extra attention. Below, you will find specific areas to assess, ways to observe your child, and suggested activities to help strengthen particular areas of need.
Children typically favour a dominant side of the body around age seven. You can check if your child has done so by observing them with the following activities.
Crossing the midline is a necessary skill that is related to bilateral coordination. This is the ability to use both sides of the body in a coordinated and organized manner, where one hand is the stabilizer, and the other hand is the performer.
Crossing the midline is the spontaneous movement of one hand, foot, eye into the space of the other hand, foot, eye.
You can see how handwriting requires this skill, as the arm, hand, and eye travel from the left to right, crossing the body's centre. Letter formation also requires this crossing.
Many everyday activities require us to do this; however, some children may need more specific focus to cross the midline fully. Activities that address the hand and foot are easier to practice and can help support the eye and ear to align as well.
Activities to Support Hand Dominance and Crossing the Midline:
Activities to Support Foot Dominance:
Healthy Posture & Pencil Grip
It is essential to have healthy habits when it comes to posture and pencil grip. This will serve your child over the years as the demands for sitting at a desk and writing increase.
Ways to Support Healthy Posture:
Ways to Support Healthy Pencil Grip:
Eye-tracking is an important foundation skill for reading. It’s important to notice whether your child can move their eyes horizontally while their head stays stationary. It is common to observe a tremor at the centre midline, which may indicate difficulty crossing the midline.
We use our memory for imaginative thinking. For example, when we remember something we’ve been told or see, we build imaginative pictures in our brains, leading to high-level thinking. The ability to build pictures takes practice, and we can strengthen this skill through memory games.
Links for More Info & Activities
Establishing Dominance and Crossing the Midline:
“Celebrating festivals illuminates our life on earth with heavenly meaning and shows us the significance of our human existence in the universe. We human beings stand between the two worlds uniting them in ourselves. We are the crossing point where the upper circle representing the heavens flows into the lower one belonging to the earth.”
– Evelyn Frances Derry, Festivals and Seasons
Throughout the year, we can celebrate festivals to connect us with the cycle of nature, establish a yearly rhythm for our children, and strengthen our community.
Autumn is a time to reflect on our inner selves, to find the inner light that will carry us through this time of darkness. It can be an opportunity to know ourselves more profoundly. We can mark this season of inner searching with fall festivals to help guide us on this path of introspection. Our ancestors must have spent many transitions from summer to fall worrying and doubting whether the sun would ever return to its full brightness. This time of year triggers feelings of doubt, fear, and anxiety, possibly stemming from our ancestors' times around fires in the darkness of the year. Seeking comfort, our ancestors would have shared stories and songs as nourishing soul food. The flickering light of the fire would have been a beacon of hope. It's helpful to honour the shared human experience of the seasons when heading into Fall. It is very healing to acknowledge feelings of darkness by bringing them into the light. As nature begins to go to sleep around us, we also feel this downward pull to sleep. It's fair to say that this is also when seasonal depression is common. Instead of unconsciously emanating what's happening outside of us, this is a call to create a strong inner light. Everything that we joyfully soaked up during the summertime, from the beauty of the flowers and trees to the long hours of sunlight, can be harvested now as inner light. When we celebrate this call to kindle our inner light, it is most beneficial to participate in rituals with others. Celebrating together brings depth and meaning to the experience.
There are as many ritual and celebrations to choose from as there are communities in the world. It is a beautiful process to choose the ritual that works best for your family based on laocation, values and beliefs, and community. Here are some things you may want to include in your seasonal celebrations;
We'd love to hear about how your family honours the light. Be sure to share with us in the comments below.
Teaching Cursive Writing
Teaching cursive is fun, easy, and has great pay-off. Cursive can be especially supportive to those that struggle with forming print, reversing letters, eye-tracking, or reading. Not convinced it’s worth it? Check out these articles that explain some of the benefits of teaching cursive.
Literacy Benefits: Scholastic.com
Biological and Psychological Benefits: PsychologyToday.com
Daily Wonder recommends teaching cursive as soon as grade two, when your child knows all the letters, knows their sounds, and is beginning to understand the rules for encoding (spelling). We recommend that the archetypal forms are brought in order of difficulty rather than letter by letter. Below is a step-by-step guide to bringing the forms that are the basis for the letters. Remember, any new skill needs daily practice to become a capacity. We recommend that once you have brought all the forms/letters that cursive then becomes your expectation for all written work. It can take a whole year to become a natural at cursive but just think of all the brain pathways you will create and strengthen in your child, what a gift!
Lesson 1: loops
You’ll teach your child all the letters/forms in lower case first, they can print the capital letters until they have mastered all the forms, then you’ll bring the upper case. The looping letters are the first lesson in cursive. Have your child practice creating the loops, big for l, small for e, across several lines of a lined book. You don’t need to tell your child that these are the letters, just have them practice the form of the loops. Remember to show the areas for placing letters on the page as in the example. You can have your child join the tall and short loops all together to practice the size of them on the lines for today. They can try eeeelllllll or elelelelelelele across the page in cursive.
Lesson 2: points
Make sure you have practiced the looping forms for a couple of days before you move on to this second form. The second form is the pointing form as in the letters i and t without the dot or cross. They’ll be practicing the motion and size of coming to a point, unlike the loop. They can try iiiiiiiiittttttttt or itititititititit across a couple of lines. Be sure to indicate the height of each line or loop using the imaginative image of the sky, earth, and sea.
Lesson 3: bringing letters
Take this day to practice cursive that you’ve brought so far. Show your child how the e loop is an /e/ the l loop is an /l/ the i point only needs a dot to be an /i/ and the t point only needs a cross to be a /t/. Support them to cursive write all the words they can think of with these letters: let, lit, tell, till, little, lilt. Give feedback about the size of the letters in comparison to each other and their form and starting place.
Lesson 4: wave
Today you’ll bring a new form, the wave. Guide your child to practice the wave letter form like for ‘c’. This curving line makes up the base for ‘a’, ‘c’, ‘d’, ‘g’, ‘o’, and ‘q’. Have them try just cccccccc, then switch to cececlclcl and cicicictctctct.
Lesson 5: wave, point, loop
Today guide your child to practice the wave and point together that form the a in cursive. They can do a line of ‘a’ and ‘d’ and then combine other practice letters such as ‘cat’, ‘tall’, etc. Take your time. If the ‘a’ isn’t making sense, don’t go ahead to adding other letters.
Lesson 6: down and loop
Before beginning, make sure that your child has had plenty of practice with previous forms. The next lesson is to guide your child to practice the down and loop line, as in j. Remind your child the difference between: sky, where letters reach way up; earth, where letters always begin; and sea, where some letters reach way down. Show them the ‘j’ without the dot and notice how your child crosses the line to loop, this can be tricky. Practice as much as is needed, combining other practiced letters as is appropriate.
Lesson 7: point and hump
For this lesson, you will guide your child to practice the point and hump as in the h, m, and n. They can combine skills now to try words such as ‘line’, ‘men’, ‘hen’, etc. The point of the ‘h’ can transform to a loop if that is the style you choose, either a point or loop is acceptable.
Lesson 8: wave, point, and down loop
Remember to ensure you give lots of time for practice before moving on to the next form. This lesson will have you guide your child to practice the ‘d’, ‘g’ and the ‘y’. They can create words once they master these two that are a combination of the ‘a t j’ lines.
Lesson 9: point
Time for practice, then guide your child to try the ‘u’, ‘v’ and ‘w’ lines that are point lines. Again, they can take some time to practice any words they can spell with letters they know
Lesson 10: loop and backwards wave
Today you will guide your child to practice the ‘b’. This is a tricky one that is a loop followed by a backwards wave. Provide some time to practice any words they can spell with letters they know.
Lesson 11: point and curve
Today you will guide your child to practice the ‘o’ and ‘p’ which include point and curve lines. As always, once they have practiced and feel confident, they can take some time to practice any words they can spell with letters they know.
Lesson 12: double loop
Today’s form is another tricky one, the double loop. The letter ‘f’ can be formed with a double right side loop or with a reverse at the center. In our experience the double right is a bit easier for some children. You choose what is right for your child. Once they have the hang of it they can take some time to practice any words they can spell with letters they know.
Lesson 13: wave, point, loop
This one is my favourite! The full wave followed by a point on the earth, followed by a waving loop! The letter ‘z’. When they feel confident, take some time to practice any words they can spell with letters they know.
Lesson 14: point table, point curve
Your next forms make the letters ‘r’ and ‘s’. Again, they can take some time to practice any words they can spell with letters they know.
Lesson 15: final forms
There is no easy combo for the remaining letters x, q, and k so we’ll practice them as the final and most challenging letters. The x requires a lift of the pencil, the k requires a switch in direction, and the q also requires a switch in direction. Take it slow, follow your child’s lead. If you need to do one each day to avoid confusion, take that time. After these final letters, they should be able to form all the lower case letters and will need lots of support to keep practicing. You can bring the upper case letters as needed when your child is writing. If you embrace cursive as the way to write, they will too:)
Image credit: Andy Everson
Content warning. This post, which addresses the painful history of residential schools, may be distressing to some readers.
Canada has declared that September 30th will be a National Day for Truth & Reconciliation fulfilling the Truth & Reconciliation Commission's call to action #80. This call to action means that the federal government in collaboration with aboriginal peoples, established this statutory holiday to honour Survivors, their families and communities and ensure that the history and legacy of residential schools is never forgotten.
This has created another opportunity to find meaningful ways to connect to this important part of Canada's history. Below we share some ideas for how you can honour this day.
Appropriate for Grades 1 and up:
Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, a residential school survivor, shares her personal story which inspired Orange Shirt Day.
After you share this story, here are three simple craft ideas for the young child, to build meaning and connection with the story:
Appropriate for Grades 3 and up:
This video is a gentle reminder of what residential schools were and why it's important to learn about them.
After watching the video you could have your child do the following activity:
At Daily Wonder, our goal is to connect parents with heart-felt, age appropriate activities to bring meaning to being human in our world. We hope to inspire you to build community and take a moment to reflect and connect on this new national holiday in Canada. We'd love to see your ideas. Be sure to share with us how you built connection on this day.
The Importance of Rhythm & Routine
Whether you welcome routine, or resist it, we're here to tell you why you should embrace it.
At Daily Wonder we talk a lot about rhythm and routine. That’s because we know that young children feel a sense of good health when they are held by boundaries, including the lay-out of the day, week, month…. Children are meant to learn through play and doing until they reach high school. This means we need to provide them with lots of activities that spark their creativity and provide space for wonder. When they know what is expected of them children are freed up to be in the moment. It is up to the adults to create the boundaries to free the children.
A friend recently told us that she was not expecting the freedom that came with building a fence around her property. It sounds kind of backwards, that a fence creates freedom, but think about it…she has a dog that had to be tied up or managed all the time. Once the fence went up, the dog knew how far it could go and the people trusted that the dog would just do dog things. We aren’t comparing children and dogs, but we are comparing the freedom fence to boundaries.
Rhythm – this is your wide level organization such as your year, when you start school, what holidays or celebrations you participate in, what time you get up each day, what time you start and end your morning lesson…
Routine – these are the details within your rhythm such as singing a song to begin the morning lesson, lighting a candle before story, and how you end the day. Routines are kind of like the rules for ‘how we do things’.
Any solid new rhythm and routine will take about six weeks to take hold. This means that once you've decided on the appropriate, realistic routine for your family, you need to harness all your forces to hold your new routine in place while you're settling in.
The temptation will be to let it go and give in because it's exhausting and feels like it's not working. But, what's actually happening during this time, is that you are genuinely exhausted because you are using your energy and life forces to hold a routine for your family. The good news is that around the 6-week mark, the routine will hold the family, and you can take a step back.
You will notice that our daily lesson plans have repeating daily steps. This is to support you in holding that routine for your family. We can't stress enough how important it is to open and close your homeschool day at the same time and in the same way.
Also, because you will feel exhausted during this return to routine, make sure to schedule your self-care into this routine. This might look like making yourself a cup of tea at 11:30 every morning and zenning out on the couch while your child plays lego on the floor. Your body will welcome this set time to relax each day within this structured routine.
Remember to hold an abundance of love and compassion for yourself while on this rewarding journey.
Do you have a routine that works well for you and your family? We'd love to hear about it in the comments below.
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