So, many folks I know are now knee-deep in planning for fall. I have many posts on this blog regarding planning for Waldorf Kindergarten, Waldorf First Grade and Waldorf Second Grade that you can access via the “tags” box. I also wrote two separate posts regarding planning during the summer here: and here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/06/14/summer-planning-for-the-five-and-six-year-old-kindergarten-years/ and this one: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/06/13/summer-planning-waldorf-and-the-early-years/
What else is there to consider?
Four things came to my mind today:
1. Planning for festivals – For those of you who are new to festival celebrations, you may wish to consider those which are typical of a Waldorf home and then see if those resonate with you (or not). Obviously you can add in the festivals that are part of your own religious or spiritual path as well!
Typical Waldorf festivals include:Michaelmas, Martinmas, Saint Nicholas Day, Santa Lucia Day, Advent, Christmas, The 12 Days of Christmas, Epiphany, Candlemas, Lent celebrations, Spring/Easter Festival, May Day, Whitsun, St. John’s Day/Midsummer Eve – along with many others. Some folks include solstices and equinoxes as well. Steiner himself had many lectures regarding the indications of these festivals that you can find on-line at www.waldorflibrary.org or through the Rudolf Steiner Audio Archives. Look into them, see what resonates with you and your family. If you find a festival that resonates with you, count back two or even three weeks from the festival date and plan festival preparations as part of your homeschooling experience. This could include making crafts, learning songs and verses, and baking and cooking and storytelling. Remember, with small children under the age of 7, the festival is about the DOING, not the explaining WHY.
2. Planning for homemaking along with homeschooling as part of the flow of your day – a large opportunity we have as homeschoolers is the ability to teach our children practical life skills. What significant tasks about your home will your children be learning and practicing (or imitating alongside you) this school year?
3. How often will you leave the house? As a homeschooler, I could go out all day, every day! In the major metropolitan area where I live, there is always something going on. Many mothers I know restrict their “going out” with the children to one day a week, and try to grocery shop or run other errands at night after the children are asleep. This may be difficult if you have small children that need your presence at night, but I do think it is something to consider thinking about: what errands do you typically run on a daily (I know some folks in the city or over in Europe do stop by the market daily), weekly, monthly, quarterly. Make a list and see where this will fit in with your homeschooling experience.
The other area to consider is how many activities your children are involved in, because especially as they grow and the world “opens up” a bit, it can be easy to run in different directions with different activities depending upon what your children are interested in. Personally, I know this fall with being very late in pregnancy and expecting a new baby, the activities of our family will be decreased. At the same time, though, one of our children is an eight-year old expecting a new sibling, (not a two- or three-year old!) , and her needs are different than the under –7 child. So, it is always a balancing act to see how to meet the different needs of the different aged children in your family.
4. Where is the time for you in your homeschooling flow? Do you have anything you can call your own? Do you ever get to leave the house, even for an hour, with no children at all? Usually even a small baby can go for a walk with Dad and the older siblings with you at home. It is important to remember that you set the tone for your home. There are many wonderful parents who seem to be able to do this with no need for solitude for personal rejuvenation and balance, but I personally find a little time to myself is helpful. If this is also you, then perhaps this is something to consider within the daily, weekly or monthly flow you are setting up.
Hope this stimulates some good planning ideas for you,