People who are curious about homeschooling always want to know how it rolls with multiple children and how it works teaching multiple grades using Waldorf Education at home. It is undoubtedly different than a Waldorf school, and yet I feel indebted to the schools and the resources the Waldorf school teachers use as I gleam so much from the teachers and their resources.
We celebrated our first day of seventh grade, fourth grade and kindy (our four year old will be five in October, so this is his five year old year) yesterday. What follows are two days in the life of our homeschooling adventure.
On most of the “first day of school” in years past our older girls would dress alike in something new or wear something pretty from what they already had. This year they dressed up in something they already had, took the dog and their little brother for a quick walk (all barefooted) and came back and we took first day of school pictures (still barefooted). They quickly checked on their hamsters, fish and frog and then came to the school room. We opened our school day around 8:15 with prayers and confession, and then a reading from “Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends” (Christian book). We are alternating this book in the morning with some of the writings of St. Theophan the Recluse. Next we moved into singing and fingerplays for our four year old and ended with a story from Juniper Tree Puppets’ Old Gnome Through The Year book. I had wet on wet watercolor painted a very large background with a pond and frog puppets on sticks that move within the painting and had needle felted a gnome for the telling of this story. The older girls then grabbed their folders of independent work (fourth grader reviewing coinage in math and seventh grader reviewing United States geography) and the little guy and I went downstairs. He worked on tying his apron in the front, measuring ingredients, and stirring with one and then both hands to make a big batch of yellow, lemon essential oil scented salt dough. After we cleaned up, I took him outside (still in his heavy apron) to hunt for beautiful sticks and presented him with a very small pocketknife. (If you would like to know more about this, please see the writings on the Forest Kindergartens in Germany and Europe, and also the woodworking book for 3-5 year olds by Master Waldorf teacher Marsha Johnson.) I demonstrated and modeled the use and care of the knife and how to whittle and he very carefully whittled the bark off the end of a small stick to be a fishing pole for the Old Gnome puppet in our story under supervision. Once the whittling was complete for the day, I put the knife away in a very safe place. Our seventh grader then took over the supervision of her brother whilst I worked with our fourth grader.
Our fourth grader began with Continue reading
Here in the Deep South, many homeschoolers will be starting school again in a few weeks. I love this time of anticipation of fall, and am looking forward to heading back into some more rhythm. The children seem ready as well, so we will continue to enjoy nature and all her summertime glory (and fall glory too, with camping and trips to the beach in the fall), but I am feeling more ready to get going!
I wanted to share with you some of my favorite resources for planning: Continue reading
I have written quite a few posts about Waldorf homeschooling in third grade. Each time I teach third grade, it varies depending upon the child. With our first child, it was more of a year centered around the Old Testament stories. With our second child, we centered our year more around Native American studies and farming. Whatever you decide as you observe where your child is and what direction within third grade to focus on, I wanted to share some of our favorite resources from over the years.
Farming and Gardening - Continue reading
The Waldorf curriculum moves into not just using art as the vehicle for the subject, but for bringing in the fine art of drawing of itself in the middle school and high school years. Different teachers seem to bring in charcoal drawing at different points, so like everything in the curriculum, this demands that you observe your child carefully and see when you think it is appropriate to start this journey. The Waldorf School Curriculum: An Overview for American Waldorf School Teachers (chart) lists: Continue reading
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!): Continue reading
I have recently been jotting down a notes regarding fifth, sixth and seventh grades. These notes will probably only make sense if you are coming up to these grades and you are a Waldorf homeschooler. If you are planning for these grades, I hope these ideas are helpful.
Fifth Grade: Continue reading
So, you may remember when I wrote this about seventh grade planning: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2014/06/11/seventh-grade-homeschooling-here-is-the-real-deal/
As a little recap, all the things I mention in that post are areas of thought for me; essentially since I think seventh and eighth grade are a step up. Those two grades are different than the earlier grades, and even different than sixth grade. I also think again, in an era where many homeschooled children do look toward taking community college classes and such at age 16, what we do here counts.
The seventh and eighth grades are also the culmination of a beautiful grades curriculum, and I don’t want to miss the beauty and peak of all the work we have done in previous years. It is also my first time through planning seventh grade, which always makes it harder as well. And, to add to that, there are some things I wish we had done in sixth grade that we didn’t so I also felt we add a bit of make up to do. More on that in later posts!
My other major place of thought centers around PRACTICE. I don’t think is talked about enough in Waldorf circles, and certainly not especially for the later grades, nor are enough examples and ideas given. For example, to me, It is not enough to cover state geography in fourth grade, U.S. Geography in fifth grade, etc and then never practice and return to it – the man and animal block of fourth grade, etc. And yes, of course, some of this information comes up again and again as you work the information into other blocks. This is the “layering” of the curriculum that one often hears about, but yet I find it often takes experience to really bring this to fruition. So, a growing question in my head as of late has centered around this idea of practice and integration of what we have studied through ALL of the eight grades and how do I bring this into seventh and eighth grade.
So, I am thinking a lot about the practice and habits part. We start our day with Continue reading