Language Arts with Norse Myths--Waldorf grade 4

Throughout my years of homeschooling, I have used literature to teach language arts.  Mostly I let the authors of Learning Language Arts Through Literature figure it out for me.  For 4th grade, however, there just wasn't a good way to get through the whole LLATL book and do all the Norse myths recommended for the Waldorf curriculum.  So I began with a "scope and sequence" of what is typically covered in 4th grade.  Here is one online list.  Then I found a good book of Norse myths.  Children of Odin by Padraic Colum was my favorite of the several I read.  It is available here, but having the book is nice too.

Instead of doing several blocks of Norse myths, we are doing them throughout the year.  Each week I read one of the stories to D.  The next day he narrates (retells) the story and we talk about it ("Reading" and "Thinking Skills" topics).  

The third day he--sometimes with help--decides on a summary of the story or part of the story.  I write down the summary and he copies it or writes it from dictation in his lesson book.  (We started dictation in 3rd grade, and he does it a little over half the time now.  But I think there are good skills learned from copywork too.)  That covers "Penmanship" and many of the "Composition" topics in the scope and sequence, though the summaries are pretty short.  Other projects throughout the year will give D a chance to write longer pieces.  Of course he illustrates each story too.

The fourth day, we cover the "Grammar" goals.  This turned out to be easier than I thought, because I just choose one of the items on the scope and sequence list and spend two or three weeks on it. (D is also doing Editor in Chief, Beginning level once a week, so I mostly coordinate with what he is learning there.) With capitalization, for instance, we talked about the rules then I typed up a paragraph from the story that had lots of names in it.  D had to fill in all the necessary capitals--first word of each sentence and proper names of people and places.  For identifying nouns, I found a section of the story with a variety of words and he circled all the nouns.  This gave us a chance to talk about pronouns too.  Another day I had him take a few paragraphs and change them from past tense to present tense.

There were still some units in the LLATL book that I wanted to cover, so I have scheduled them in over the months.  For instance, we did "friendly letters" just after D's birthday when he had thank-you notes to write.  We will study poetry (and book making) when N is doing a poetry unit in her literature class.  And I have planned a research skills unit for part of our state history study.

I am having a good time, and D is LOVING the Norse myths.  Rudolf Steiner really knew what he was doing to cover them in 4th grade.

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