Waldorf Planning Time!

I think April is a great month to order materials so you have a good amount of time to look through everything and plan.  I usually order my things at the end of March, so my Third Grade things are already here, which is really exciting!

Melisa Nielsen did a great radio show on planning if you would like to listen:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/alittlegardenflower/2010/04/05/planning-for-the-new-year–part-1

Melisa made a lot of wonderful points and I encourage you to take the time to listen to this!!

I think the one thing to think about beside the obvious “what-do-I-need in terms of supplies and materials for my child”  is “what-do- I need- to- read -to prepare- myself- as- a- teacher.”

A MAJOR piece of planning for me is my own spiritual development to go with each grade.  This year my oldest is a Third Grader and  I am considering Beth Moore’s Bible Studies on both “The Patriarchs” and “Esther.”  I think those will tie in well with Grade Three studies!

You can work with Waldorf Education without even dipping a toe into Steiner’s works.  I think that is just fine! You can absolutely take the the subjects studied within each grade and plan!  For Third Grade, I am dipping into some  of Steiner’s lectures as background to help give me some background, especially for the farming and gardening end of Third Grade.  I am  currently reading “Practical Advice to Teachers” and doing “The Agriculture Course” lectures one by one.  My reading for the summer is going to include “Discussions With Teachers”.  I would also like to read his lectures on “Bees”.  I think all of those would be great preparation for Third Grade from Steiner himself.  There are also those wonderful booklet commentaries that Roy Wilkinson wrote about various aspects of each grade, from Interpreting Fairy Tales to Practical Work for Third Grade…These booklets can run from about $5.95 and up at Rudolf Steiner College Bookstore and Bob and Nancy’s Bookshop.

One practical thing to consider is how many days we will be going out each week.  To me, third grade ramps up a bit, and the need to be home is great.  One just cannot be running around every day, so planning for when to be out, how many activities, is really important.  Where will errands go?  Park dates with friends?  Homeschool group activities?  I try really hard to be home quite a bit because otherwise nothing gets done in homeschooling, and we want the ability to have a relaxed daily pace, not a rushed pace!

What activities will the children do?  Taking a musical instrument comes into play in the Third Grade, in a typical Waldorf school this is usually a stringed instrument.  I have not yet decided what instrument we are going to do, and am meditating and praying about that right now.

The other interesting piece of Third Grade is working in experiences of DOING with farming, gardening, building.  Here in our town there is a wonderful “Bee Camp” for children where they get to work with a hive; there are also many farms around here and farming kinds of activities, so I will be investigating those.

I have written about my approach to planning for Waldorf homeschooling here:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/02/23/planning-101-planning-for-fall/   

Essentially, if you start now and plan a little each week, then you will have it all mapped out by the time school starts in the fall!

Blessings,

Carrie

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8 thoughts on “Waldorf Planning Time!

  1. Thank you Carrie, for another great post and a reminder of the importance of our own inner development. The more clear we are, the more easily parenting flows and the curriculum too.

    I’d like to suggest the importance of group work, for:

    For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

    I have found a wonderful treasure with Lynn Jericho. Lynn Jerichooffers biography work with The Inner Life as well as the seasonal Inner Year work. I found great satisfacation and inspiration with the work with Lynn, which is in a group format. The more I do my work, the more life flows for me. And there is always more worrk to do …..

    In bringing the Waldorf curriculum, it is so much about us and about us understanding why we are doing what we are doing, why are we bringing this to the child. With an understanding of the underpinnings, it all flows and we can freely discern if it is something that fits for us or not. Lynn’s work is based on the foundation of Waldorf education. It is so helpful.

    As for Steiner, why not read him and them truely know “what Steiner said” and does this jive for me? Then we can freely choose what to use and know why. It’s all about consciousness.

  2. I just had this aha! moment in that Waldorf education is about development of the human being so to really hold the space for our children’s development, we must work on our own development. (I don’t mean to sound preachy.) What I want to say is that it’s all connected in doing the work, the curriculum unfolds and makes sense (little pun there :). Or just that what a gift it is to be involved in Waldorf education and to have this experience of growth alongside our children! Thank you Carrie for all the rich posts you share.

  3. Wonderful post! We are busy with lessons each week, and with three chlidren, scheduling can be quite interesting. We try to book lessons on the same days and at the same time or back-to-back so that we are not driving around too long or even every day. Starting a string instrument or piano for your 3rd grader is a wonderful idea. Being a former band teacher myself, I always recommend at least 6 months of piano lessons, then start the stringed instrument. Then, the following year your child can try a wind instrument. Having the piano foundation makes a huge difference in the child’s ability to be successful on other instruments. Good luck!

  4. My oldest is only 4, so I don’t need to do much planning, do I? :) I hope! Of course I am planning to celebrate the festivals and doing my own inner work, but when (at what age) does this advance planning for the school year come into play? If I were to buy a curriculum for grade 1, would I still need to be planning this far in advance?

    Also, if you don’t mind me asking, is it recommended to start grade 1 when my February born daughter is 6.5 or 7.5?

    • Jane – I probably would start in January so you are as close to her 7th birthday as possible, if that is feasible or if she is really ready, although that is not my favorite because then she is six for most of first grade and not seven.. Your advance planning will help starting preparing for definitely the sixyeaar old kindy year and beyond….she will need more at that point. You can just open and go pretty well for first grade, but may still tweak things..that’s why I am gathering blogs for the grades, so you can go back and see what other mothers have done for each grade.My second grade, for example, was math-heavy and I had to account for that…you may find folktales speak to you more than Saints in second and want to adjust…It is ALWAYS worth it to gather your materials and plan

  5. Thanks Carrie. I think I understand now. For some reason, it has been difficult for me to wrap my brain around the recommended starting age for grade 1 with a feb birthday. But now I have a handle on it. :) It’s just so different from the public school system here where they would have her starting as much as 2 years earlier.

    What are the readiness signs to look for before starting grade 1?

    Thanks so much Carrie!

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