Well, planning is still coming along. My seventh grader is the hardest, because not only did I have to find most of the resources by searching or through word of mouth from other homeschooling mothers, I had to read all of them! So, it is moving slowly. I keep having these epiphanies and a-ha kinds of moments about how the curriculum is working to a culmination and how things are stretching over and through blocks, but that also is making things a bit slow.
Things are brighter for my almost five year old, whose year is almost entirely done, and for my fourth grader, whose year is about half done.
What I did this year regarding the needed practice of math and grammar and such was to make one long document with each day of the week for each week of school and I literally mapped out the math and grammar for the entire year by day. If grammar coincided within a block such as Man and Animal or Norse Myths, for example, it was easy enough to note which block it went with by week. I also did this with fine art projects for my seventh grader as well. This document has turned into an overarching kind of document that the separate Word documents for each block just plug into. Just a thought for those of you who have children who might need more practice and repetition than is normally spoken about within many of the Waldorf curriculum sources.
Once again, the basic steps that I use to plan, (and everyone does it differently!):
1. Go through some of the preliminary steps regarding thinking and meditating on each month of the year, how did I feel, what got slow this year, what went fast, how did we feel. Spend some time in thinking about where the children are right now, what are their strengths, what do they need to work on, what goals do I have for the upcoming school year for us as a family and for each child and what is my child most interested in.
2. Divide a large piece of paper into twelve squares (or you could create a circle) (or do both!) and write down festivals, feasts, special things for each month, stories and activities that you usually do during those months, brief ideas. Our year is devised around the liturgical year as well as seasonal activities.
3. Bring out a calendar and decide start and end dates, dates of vacation or days off. This year, I tried to take a Monday or Friday off each month so we could have a long weekend.
4. Decide the general order of blocks for each grade. I write these on my monthly calendar.
4. You can then read the materials for each grade or block and start to plan the general flow of each block by week , day or just a general start to end flow. Then start thinking about hands on projects, and what you will draw or paint or model in conjunction with the block. For a kindergartener (five year old or six year old year), you can start to lay out a general flow of a rhythm to your week, start picking stories and thinking about what puppetry you will use or props.
5. Last step for the grades is to flesh out each block in detail. Many teachers will make a main lesson book of their own for the block. What will be the summaries, the paintings or drawings or projects, for older children what will be done in terms of independent writing for that block? I have a rising seventh grader and for that grade, this is a big thrust of the year.
6. For older children, decide what work can be done independently to start the morning, or what they can do whilst you are teaching other children – especially if they are in middle school and have a bit more to do. Younger children, of course, can play!
7. For kindergartners, the last step is to plan your circle time, pick out verses for the activities you will do each week, and create puppets or props as needed.
8. For children in grades 4-8 that need to practice skills throughout the year (fine arts for middle schoolers, grammar, mathematics, etc) consider making a week by week document and following one subject through the year and then go back and follow the next subject through the year. At least have a flow so you can adjust it up or down depending upon your child’s progress without a lot of effort.
How are you coming with planning? I hope you feel encouraged and are finding time to plan!