Category Archives: Deschooling

What is the Pentathlon Training?

The WLR Pentathlon Training program is offered every 2-3 years and is inspired by the Waldorf 5th grade curriculum. Around this age, students’ understanding of the world is broadened and deepened through exploration of various ancient cultures, typically finishing with Greek history and mythology. The highlight of the year is a physical education training program culminating in the Greek Pentathlon.

Students demonstrate “Draw back and aim” command.

The WLR Greek Pentathlon training is open to students in Grades 5-8. The 12-week program meets for 2 hours each week. Students learn and practice the 5 traditional pentathlon events:

  • Discus
  • Running
  • Javelin
  • Running long jump
  • Greek wrestling

Safety is emphasized throughout the training. Also important: students learn by focusing first on form; as they become confident in form and technique, grace and poise develop. You may see your student begin to walk a bit taller! Athletes are encouraged to practice at home 3-5 times a week for 15-20 minutes.

The throwing events are modified for safety; students throw from a stationary stance (rather than running). Running events include both a long distance run (about a mile) and a sprint.

Greek wrestling provides a unique opportunity for the developing student to meet both him/herself and his/her peers. Decorum is paramount. First, students greet one another with a firm handshake in a show of goodwill and good faith toward their opponent. Then with feet well-grounded, the athletes take their stance and form the “golden circle,” clasping hands as indicated. The stance itself brings the student into the here and now, into the presence of the human being before them, with honor and respect. They share energy; they share space; they look into one another’s eyes and learn from each other while as they challenge each other. Practicing again and again, the athletes become not only more skilled in the wrestling itself, but perhaps more importantly, they become accustomed to meeting their fellow human being with honor and respect.

The Greek Pentathlon training is about much more than simply developing physical skills; the program aims to create a deep, meaningful experience on many levels, planting seeds that have a profound and lasting effect.

The handshake: precursor to each Greek wrestling match.

Students prepare to engage in Greek wrestling match.

Student prepares to recite ‘ode’ before Discus throw.

Student demonstrating “stand” command in preparation for Javelin throw.

Each week includes warm-ups, training and practice in 1-3 events, and cool down/stretching.

The Pentathlon Training is the perfect complement to your student’s study of Greek History or Mythology, bringing learning to life while creating lasting memories. To enhance the Pentathlon experience, consider registering your student for WLR’s Greek Mythology, History & Art class on Mondays. The program is also ideal for students who may have previously studied Greek History & Mythology.

Requirements: Students should come ready for active participation wearing appropriate clothing and footwear (well-fitting athletic shoes); long hair must be tied back securely. Bring water and light snacks; a short break (about 10 minutes) will occur about halfway through each class. Regular attendance is important as students learn important safety precautions and refine their developing skills each week. In addition, students will identify and practice speaking a short ‘ode’ to the Greek god / goddess of his/ her choice to be recited at the final event. Class is designed for grades 5-8; minimum age is 10 years old.

Recommended Reading: Ideally, prior to first class meeting, students will be familiar with Greek history and/or mythology. Choose a solid, classic source to read with your child or on his/her own. Below are a few possibilities:

  • D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths
  • Ancient Greece, Charles Kovac
  • The Golden Fleece & the Heroes Who Lived Before Achilles, Padriac Colum

Students relaxing before the gods arrive to oversee the Pentathlon.

The training program culminates in the final Pentathlon Event, a community endeavor. Parents participate with some light set up tasks and organizing the Greek feast, a potluck luncheon to follow the event. Judges for the event include several Greek gods and goddesses who oversee the festivities. Awards are granted not only for fastest/furthest but also for those who excel in demonstration of beauty, poise and grace as they execute their feats. Parents, siblings, relatives and friends are all welcome to cheer on the pentathletes!

The training sessions take place on Wednesday mornings with at least half of the sessions at Ancil Hoffman Park in Carmichael. The remaining sessions take place at Tahoe Park in Sacramento, close to Highway 50 & 65th Street. For details, including class dates and times, click here.

The 2018 Pentathlon final event is scheduled for May 9, 2018.

Early Registration discount for the Greek Pentathlon ends December 30th. The training begins Wednesday, January 17th.

Go to WLR Registration Page.

 

 

New! Singing & Dancing Games

Music! Movement! Dancing! Singing! What an excellent way to start the day, to start the week!

Singing and dancing is much more than simply a fun class. In fact, few subjects can potentially do as much for children as a program of singing games and folk dancing. Through these activities, children experience the musical elements of rhythm, melody, and form. They also sharpen their listening skills and tone motor performance. In addition, singing and dancing help pave the way for cognitive learning. Patterns and sequencing are important aspects of learning both math and language arts; singing and dancing require students to follow patterns, remember sequences and put their bodies into motion to experience those patterns. Such delightful movement is an excellent way to meet the needs of various learning styles including kinesthetic and aural learners.

And while all of this is going on, the students enjoy themselves immensely! The program provides the opportunity for parents to share in joyful movement and song alongside their children.

In addition to paving the way for cognitive skill development, dancing and singing games are an excellent way for students to develop socially. The collective activity is a rewarding and enjoyable experience for both children and parents.

Each week, Ms. Christiana Quick-Cleveland will lead students in learning songs, performing steps and playing games that are part of North American traditions.

Parent participation is optional. If you are attending with your student, please participate! The more the merrier! Our Singing & Dancing class is an excellent opportunity for parents to learn alongside their children and they can continue to sing and dance at home as well.

Singing & Dancing Games is offered on Mondays at the American River Grange for Grades 1-4. Class begins promptly at 10:00 a.m. Please arrive a few minutes early.

Go to WLR Registration Page.

2018 Winter-Spring Registration is OPEN!

Registration is open for the upcoming 2018 Winter-Spring Session. Take a look below and then register soon — classes are filling fast.

WLR has been serving the local homeschooling community for over 8 years, offering:

  • excellent, experienced teachers
  • developmentally appropriate, wholistic programming
  • a warm, nurturing environment at 4 convenient locations
  • fresh air and large play yards at all locations
  • supervised recess for students enrolled before & after lunch
  • many Waldorf specialty classes
  • classes appreciated by Charlotte Mason & unschooling aficionados

Highlights for the upcoming session include:

  • K-1 Program now at 2 locations! The programs are similar but will each have their own unique feel and rhythm. Excellent teachers at both locations receive our youngest students into a warm, nurturing environment: Ms. Audra at the Grange and Ms. Ciana in Sacramento.
  • Ms. Audra will also teach Math Logic & Skills for the upper grades at the Grange.
  • And Ms. Ciana will teach our new K-1 Afternoon Extension in Sacramento.
  • New! Ms. Belson will teach Handiworks: students will learn practical skills in both handwork and woodworking.
  • New! Greek History, Mythology & Art is offered on Mondays — an excellent complement to the Greek Pentathlon Training for upper grades offered on Wednesdays.
  • New! Singing & Dancing Games with Ms. Christiana includes optional parent participation. Come join the fun with your 1st – 4th graders on Mondays!
  • New! Ms. Springwind will teach Art at the Grange, exploring 3 unique modalities, 4 weeks of each medium.
  • Looking for an inspiring, intriguing science class? Mr. Huff is adept at bringing the wonder and joy of science to life and will lead two excellent classes for the upper grades — Mechanics: the Science of Motion on Mondays at the Grange and Science of the Weather: Meteorology on Thursdays in Sacramento.
  • New! For many years, we have wanted to add gardening – and now we have it! Gardening & Carpentry is an exciting new program available at our Sacramento site.
  • Musical Theatre returns to Davis along with many Waldorf favorites. Dr. & Mrs. Tan lead the Davis program, often integrating material from one class into others.
  • The popular Movement & Games class returns to the Grange with Mr. Huff!
  • Clay & Ceramics returns to Sacramento along with Movement & Games / P.E. for both upper & lower grades.
  • Mr. Huff will also teach Math & Movement for grades 2-4 on Thursdays: through hands-on activities, games, movement and social interaction, students will learn math facts of the four processes (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) along with simple concepts from geometry, pattern recognition, and sequencing.

To see full class descriptions, go to the Class Descriptions pages; start here.

To see the class schedules for Sacramento, Davis & Rancho Cordova locations, click here.

For information on the Greek Pentathlon Training, including dates, location and other details, click here.

New to WLR? Take a look around; feel free to call with any questions and take a moment to review the Participation in WLR classes page.

We are excited and looking forward to another great session with the many wonderful families who choose WLR to supplement their children’s home-based education! Many blessings to you on the journey!

Go to WLR Registration Page.

Getting Started ~ Part 2: “Deschooling”

For brand new homeschoolers with children previously enrolled in a public or a private school, “deschooling” — not to be confused with “unschooling” — is a term you will want to learn about.

Although deschooling may look like unschooling, it is used to serve a specific purpose for both the student and the primary home educating parent.

The purpose of deschooling is to allow the child time to decompress from the previous classroom experiences, whether those experiences were positive or negative. The general recommendation is to allow one month of de-schooling for every year the child has spent in school.

So what does deschooling look like? It looks like what some people call child-led learning or delight-led learning. By giving the child space and time to connect with those activities of high interest, she can begin to recover her natural love of learning that traditional schooling may have depleted.

A gentle rhythm to the day and the week can support the entire family during deschooling. So for instance, perhaps one day a week is library day or park day. For your daily rhythm, choose a time to read to your child each day and perhaps another time when she reads to you. Keep any academics short and focused – maybe just 2-3x/week, 5-30 minutes long depending on your child’s developmental age, interest level and willingness.

The deschooling period also supports the parent new to home education. While your children pursue enjoyable activities that they can do independently, you can use this “down” time to explore various educational methods, philosophies and curriculum. There is no need to rush out and buy a full curriculum set! There are now volumes of resources for home educators to choose from, so it is helpful to find a philosophy/approach that resonates with you before making any major purchases. Also realize that your philosophy may change over time as you continue to learn and grow together.

There are numerous articles on the internet on this topic. Do a search or check out the links below for more information.

And welcome to the amazing journey of home education! Be patient with yourself and your children as you adjust to this new and exciting life and lifestyle. Over time, you will develop your family rhythm and rituals to support the journey.

From School to Homeschool: What is Deschooling?

Deschooling: Starting out Right

The Truth about Deschooling that will Blow Your Mind