All of our classes are taught outside if weather permits. This year our subjects include Astronomy, American History, Book Club, Tinkering Garage, and a semester each of Critical Creative Thinking and Theatre. We also have bunnies, chickens, cats, and a dog with hopes of getting goats in the spring.
Each day the children arrive, put their things away, and head straight to the job chart. Children from K-3rd grade are called foxes and 4th-6th graders are raccoons. A fox is always paired with a raccoon on their job which ranges from supply prep, cleaning off the outdoor classroom or stage, feeding the rabbits or chickens, filling up the bird and squirrel feeders, etc. It’s wonderful to watch the foxes and raccoons together. The foxes can learn from the raccoons and the older children are learning to serve and teach the younger ones. This is one of my favorite things about The Cedar House! It’s also good for the children to learn to take care of the animals and to do their part to prepare for the day.
After their jobs are complete we begin our first lesson. Here are more detailed class descriptions:
Astronomy- We are basing our studies on the Astronomy book published by Apologia. Every lesson after we learn and discuss new information we do an activity related to whatever we are studying. We have made telescopes, created volcanoes, diagramed the layers of the earth,looked at the sun with solar glasses etc. And in each lesson we are in awe of God’s perfect design!
American History: We are using Beautiful Feet’s Early American History books to explore this time period. The 4th-6th graders are reading chapter books at home to add to our study. On top of all of the hands on projects we do each student is also keeping a timeline book.
Book Club: K-6th graders read our book selection at home either independently or as a family read-a-loud. During class time we discuss the current book as well as do projects, cook recipes, play games, etc. The books we are reading this year are Indian in the Cupboard, The Railway Children, Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin, Danny Champion of the World and Wind in the Willows.
Tinkering Garage: This is a time where the students are given hammers, nails, drills, saws, and a variety of building material to create whatever they can come up with! We call this Free Build. You would be amazed at what they are capable of. Then the last class of each month the students work on a specific project. They have made pencil holders, prize wheels, boats, a catapult,framed chalkboards, etc. They even divided into groups and made all of the games for our Fall Festival this year!
Critical Creative Thinking: This is a class we have during the first semester. Each day the children are presented with a different instant challenge. They range from creating bridges that can withstand heavy weights to creating, filming, and editing a commercial within 30 minutes. They love it!
Theatre: This class is during the second semester. We work with the children all semester on a Spring Play which is performed on our Outdoor Stage.
NAP time: (Nature Journal, Art and Poetry study) We have NAP time once a day. We read poetry from our chosen poet of the semester and examine artwork from our artist of the semester. I love this time with the children! They love to discuss and share their insights into what these great masters were trying to convey.
Then the children take their nature journals into the woods to draw/paint whatever they choose. They are encouraged to add their thoughts, scripture, poetry, or a diagram. These journals are treasured possessions by the end of the year!
We also have a 40 min. lunch break and one hour of free time to play and explore.
(We do not subscribe to any specific educational philosophy but instead choose different elements from many.)