On Friday, we celebrated a beautiful back to school ceremony with our homeschool group. It had a different mood than in the past, because whilst we have many small under-7 children in our group, we now have a large crop of first through fourth graders, and some of things our group is doing reflects that a large portion of our children are in the grades.
We met at a member’s house for some wet on wet painting done outside, free play, and a delicious potluck lunch. The ceremony itself began with all of us gathering together outside near a simple arched stairway. The stairway led to a deck and had been dressed in silks over the banisters with a small ring of stones made in front of the stairway. A log was present to hold a tall candle.
We, as homeschooling parents and teachers, opened our year of learning by standing and reading in unison Rudolf Steiner’s verse regarding a teacher’s thoughts for children (you can see the words to this on Rebecca’s blog here: http://bendingbirches2010.blogspot.com/2011/08/steiners-words.html). We then sang a welcoming song and welcomed each grade (highest grade first and descending to first grade last) and then each child in each grade to come up to the front with their parents in order to receive a small token and a few words to start off a beautiful year of homeschooling. Many parents had made things by hand to give to their children with simple sentences of love and ideas for the new school year. Then, once all the first graders had received the little gifts from their parents, they were led as a group over the arched stairway by the oldest child present, in a nod to a traditional Waldorf School’s rose ceremony. Lastly, the oldest child lit the tall white candle to signify the beginning of the learning year.
In our household we celebrated the first week of school last week. It was a lovely week beginning with going out for breakfast, a small in-home rose ceremony where our new first grader received a story and flower from our fourth grader. We focused on form drawing and math this week for our first grader, and local geography and math for our fourth grader.
Our first grader has been especially excited, and every day she remarked how much she loves school; from learning a song on her pentatonic flute to movement to math to drawing forms, she just is so happy. She turned to her older sister one day and said with her eyes shining, “You know, in first grade, you can do ANYTHING.” Anything is possible! And isn’t that a wonderful way to feel about embarking on a world of learning in love as a family?