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:
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!