How Old Should My Child Be For Dry Needle Felting?

My wonderful handwork teacher Judy Forster noted to me the other day that the control and sharpness of the needle for dry needle felting are challenges that are just right for the physical and emotional changes that occur in middle school (typically 7th and 8th grade). 

From my observations of the development of the child at different ages, I agree with her. I also think there are many, many projects one can be busy with, so why be in such a rush to get to that rather hardening gesture?  This is an important point for Waldorf homeschooling parents who may be guiding their children’s handwork program without having a Waldorf-trained handwork teacher to assist them!

Wet felting is a wonderful alternative, and children in the grades can knit, crochet, macrame, cross stitch (fourth grade, age 10), sew (typically grades six and seven for projects) and do many other types of work with their hands.

If you have small children under the age of 7, I like to think about color and freedom.  The small child should be able to choose colors and materials and turn them into whatever suits the child’s fancy of the moment, whether that be a ghost or an elephant.  They may imitate you, but often they are just a wellspring of creativity.    I remember I had one good friend whose little boy made a whole bunch of creatures and critters from sheets of felt when he was around four or five.  The colors and shapes and what they were called were all his and he loved them.

Even in older children, seeing what colors the children pick and what they want to make is fascinating.   My Third Grader is currently drawn to blues and greens and I feel this is meeting her temperamental traits and where she is.  Color and form is fascinating!

If you need help determining what project comes when within the Waldorf curriculum,, please look at this back post that Ms. Judy Forster was so kind to write for this blog:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/03/28/handwork/

Many blessings to you all,

Carrie

Waldorf Third Grade Handwork Projects For Fall

So far my third grader is learning to crochet.  Here are examples of beginning crochet work that she has done so far:

A belt with wooden beads:

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A crocheted “Thread of Life” (my term)  for our All Souls’ Day (November 2nd)  table:

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And another view, with some orange paper flowers the children made for this festival:

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Note there are no examples of knitting projects yet as our year just began in September.   Third Grade is also the correct time to teach the purl stitch as the nine-year change marks the appropriate time to move out into the space beyond and behind oneself.  This experience of  self- awareness and what may lie away from oneself belongs to the nine-year old who is beginning to separate. 

If you need a recap as to what types of handwork comes where within the framework of Waldorf Education and why, here is a wonderful article by my Waldorf homeschooling group’s handwork teacher Ms. Forster:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/03/28/handwork/

Many blessings,

Carrie

Ideas For Field Trips For Waldorf Third Grade

I have been tossing around some ideas for field trips for Waldorf Third Grade.  Perhaps my list will spark some of your own ideas for your family!

  • Obviously, working on farms if that is possible is a biggie.  The point with farming is not so much to visit farms but to WORK on them, to have that experience of building the will when you must do something and see it to the end.  So, that is not so much a field trip but an experience to plan…
  • But, for field trips involving farming, I have also been thinking of orchards, cow dairy farms and goat diary farms, beekeeping operations
  • State Agricultural fairs
  • Native American pow-wows or visits to Native American reservations
  • Perhaps a visit to one of those museums where the people dress up and re-enact how things were done in pioneer days
  • Visits to a working quarry, building sites
  • Visit to see wildlife rehabilitator who deals with injured owls, birds or a visit to a falconer  (it seems as if someone I know was telling me they had a family member who was a falconer, if only I could remember who that was!)
  • Thrift shop/fabric store during textile block
  • Sheep shearing to washing to dyeing to making yarn

 

What experiences or trips are you planning for Third Grade?

Many blessings,

Carrie

Layout of Blocks For Waldorf Grade Three

Well, I am almost done planning for my Third Grader. This is the order of blocks I chose with some brief notes and resources.  I am not saying this is how YOU should do it, LOL.  The joy of homeschooling is to be able to pick what resonates with your family, your child and choose what works best for you.  However, perhaps seeing this layout will spark some ideas for your own family from this list!

Also, please note, my daughter is fully nine for this entire school year, so if you are doing Third Grade with an eight-year-old who turns nine during the  school year, you may consider placing the Old Testament Stories later in the year.  I think children should be fully nine  and in the throes of that nine year change in order to hear these tales and really have them resonate with them on a soul level.

If you would like to read what my overarching theme for this year is, please see this short post here and then come back:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/07/26/a-brief-note-about-waldorf-third-grade/

The idea for Lessons A, B and C did come from Donna Simmons’ Christopherus Homeschool Resources Third Grade Syllabus (see here:  http://www.christopherushomeschool.org/bookstore-for-waldorf-homeschooling/curriculum/3rd-grade.html) and I am incorporating it into our rhythm this year.  I am hopeful it will work out well!

So here is the layout I am in the midst of crafting, completely subject to change as I see fit:

3 weeks Old Testament Stories (A:  Form Drawing; B Math  C (after lunch): Painting alternated with  Modeling 1 week, String Games 1 week and Cooking 1 Week)

1 week  Farming (types of soils, worms, the “perfect farm”)  (A: Handwriting  with Poetry B:  Music C:  Games)

3 weeks Math from Noah’s Ark (A:  Grammar; B Music;  C  Cooking or Crafts/Festival Preparation)

4 weeks Farming (including Farm Animals  with poetry and grammar, some of Farmer Boy, types of wood, weather) (A:  Math with focus on Time ;  B:  Music;  C: Hand-sewing)

3 weeks Old Testament Math  (A:  Grammar; B – Birds, Bats with poetry (goes with farming, in my opinion and Old Testament); C- Hand-sewing and Crafts for Holidays

3 weeks Textiles (A:  Form Drawing B;  Cooking; C: Crafts)

Break for Christmas, The Twelve Holy Nights and Epiphany

1 week textiles to finish up (Lessons A; Form Drawing B cooking; C Crafts)

3 weeks Old Testament (A:  Math B: Music or Grammar C:  Painting alternated with modeling or drama or crafts)

3 weeks Math (A: Form Drawing; B:  Grammar or possibly occupations of different people/social studies; C- Crafts or Free Play)

4 weeks Native Americans (A:  Handwriting  or  Math ; B:  Movement or Music C: Crafts)

2 weeks Building (Building Projects)

Break for Holy Week and Easter

1 Week Bees (using Jakob Streit’s book) (A:  Math B:  Music C: Gardening)

3 Weeks Insects. with lots of poetry (A:  Form Drawing B:  Math or Music C: Gardening)

3 Weeks Old Testament ending with David/Testing during this time; we will actually review a bit of this ending time in the beginning of  Fourth Grade starting with the death of Moses..I really just wanted to highlight some of the faithfulness of God in some of these stories and end with some of the Psalms attributed to  King David’s  that suggests fulfillment of our lives through community and connection with God.  My child will be close to ten by the time we do this and I think this idea of our life being spiritually fulfilling and in close intimacy with God will really speak to this particular child; when we backtrack a bit in the fall with Fourth Grade with some of these stories we will look more at the moral ambiguity and human failings part of these stories in preparation for Fifth Grade.  This will not be highlighted when I cover these stories in Third Grade.  Probably clear as mud to those outside of my mind’s ramblings… Donna Simmons talks about the reasoning behind saving some of the tales for Fourth Grade here:  http://christopherushomeschool.typepad.com/blog/2009/06/ot-stories-again.html   Although I stopped in a slightly different place than her syllabus, I will be backtracking those last stories with the Fourth Grade Syllabus and looking at those stories in a different way.

My other note about this layout:  I really wanted to get in Farm Animals, Birds, Bees and other insects in Third Grade  so I can clear up room in Fourth Grade to do a block on Ocean Animals.  As I mentioned above, I will also have some more Old Testament to finish up in Fourth Grade. 

Hope that helps some of you in your planning.

Many blessings and peace,

Carrie

A Brief Note About Waldorf Third Grade

This evening, I was thinking and meditating and contemplating what blocks I am going to choose and/or design  to finish our Third Grade year (I am now up to mid-March in planning).  And this came to me:

The Third Grade year really is about how we, as an individual, find a home here on Earth from the spiritual realm.  We can show this through the study of one group of people, the Ancient Hebrew people, in their stories as recorded in the Old Testament.  The other possibilities are showing how the Native American people how they made their homes here as influenced by the land they lived on (and remember, I have said I am still not sure how I feel about Native Americans within the Third Grade curriculum).  The third possibility for Americans to consider is  the pioneer and how the pioneers made this individualized journey searching for a promised land  as well,  and how the pioneers also worked with the land and the weather to move from being a pioneer to being a settler.  This is something a nine-year-old is  facing as they become more of  an individual and more separate but still part of a family, and part of a larger  community as they grow and mature.

I think the Third Grade year is also about what we need  in order to live.  First of all, one could consider  a relationship with God and to  authority in order to live in community and as a spiritual being.  This is shown in the Old Testament blocks.  Marsha Johnson also has a free Third Grade block over in her files regarding Community.  The next thing we need outside of a relationship with our Creator and a community is the basics of survival :  a physical house (shown in the building block, but could also be highlighted in a Native American block in how the weather and climate and land shaped the housing styles); clothes to protect us from the elements (textile block); and food (farming block).

The Third Grade year is also about doing, doing, doing – how can one take these blocks and make them full of movement, full of the wonder of doing, and how can one tie this into a unified year.  That is the challenge.

Just musing out loud. 

Many blessings,

Carrie

Waldorf Homeschooling With a Kindergartner, Third Grader and A Baby

Yes, this is where I am these days.  Planning away, dreaming and thinking.  And de-cluttering my house.

I saw a post recently on Marsha Johnson’s list regarding doing Waldorf homeschooling with a First and Third Grader;I think one of  the responses was something along the lines of try doing the Main Lesson for the First Grader first thing and make the traditional Middle Lesson for the Third Grader.  I thought that was interesting.

I am trying this rhythm ( below)  this year for my Third Grader and Kindergartner.  Essentially I used my Word program to make a table with two columns with the older children’s names in it because even if one child is working with me on something there has to be something going on for the other child.  Does that make sense?  I cannot leave my Kindergartner to wander about and have nothing planned whilst I am working with my older child, and vice versa.  Or if they are playing or doing something on their own, when that runs out and they need something to do, I have to have something ready to go!

So, the general flow of the day and my chart looks a bit like this:

  Third Grader Kindergartner
Main Lesson

(one to one and a half hours)

Days One through Four here

Movement last 10 minutes or so

Activities to do during Main Lesson, Days One through Four

Movement with Third Grader last ten minutes or so

Kindergarten Story

(15 minutes or so)

What will Third Grader be doing during this time? Listening to the Kindergartner story or working independently? Days 1-3, story, puppet shows Day 3 of last week of story

Day 4  Wet on Wet painting and Bible story

Lesson A (half hour) 10 minutes Movement

plus whatever I put here – math or grammar practice, form drawing, music etc.

10 Minutes Movement with Third Grader

Ideas for Creative Play here

Practical Work (half hour) We can do this together, but I am also thinking:  What can my child do around the house to help today that would be specific to a nine-year-old? DAY ONE-Craft DAY TWO Gardening; DAY THREE Housecleaning; Day four baking
Lesson B

(half hour or so)

Days 1-2

Day four out of house

Days 1-2 Art

Day three Music

Day four out of house

Lesson C (this would be after lunch)

(forty five minutes)

Hands – cooking, painting, modeling, handwork, etc.

Some of this will be done together; Crafts and festival preparation we will do together

Six Year Old Projects
Directed Movement

anywhere from 15 minutes to an afternoon adventure)

   

 

The length of time is approximate, there will be rest breaks and snacks and lunch and quiet time in there….I am not saying this is how YOU should do things, this is just what I am experimenting with.  LOL.  If you are wondering where the whole lessons A, B, C, originated from,   I actually liked the lessons A,B,C that Christopherus Third Grade  had, and I only have two children to work  with, so I thought I would give it a go.  As usual, I am taking some things from some pre-created curriculum and creating some blocks myself and melding it all as I see fit.

This is the big idea though:  the more children you have, the more you will have to integrate lessons and not have things be so separate. There are some of you who read this blog who have five or more children,and I am sure you can attest to this! Your Waldorf homeschool will not look like a Waldorf School with everyone having a separate Main Lesson, and that is okay!  Home has so many advantages, and family is first and foremost. 

I am also making lots of plans revolving around the liturgical year; these traditions are precious and dear and another excellent reason we homeschool, so sometimes things will be pared down to a Main Lesson and maybe one other thing involving crafts or  cooking or putting on a play for that particular festival. 

I hope this stimulates some ideas for you all, I hope some of you will share on your own blogs what your planning looks like to help other mothers.  We are all here to help each other and learn.

Many blessings,

Carrie

Musings for Waldorf Third Grade/Fourth Grade

So, I am planning for homeschooling Waldorf Third Grade right now………

and I am glad I have started early.  There is a lot to figure out!

Many people talk about how Third Grade is the year of “doing” and how things in Fourth Grade really shift.  I actually see a bigger  shift occurring  in Fifth Grade, with the start of ancient history and such, with first through fourth leading up to this point in tracing human consciousness and evolution.  So,   I actually am planning Third and Fourth Grades together so they flow nicely.

This came about because I feel one has some decisions to make regarding Third and Fourth Grade:

1.  Do you want Third Grade to be the year of the Old Testament stories (Eugene Schwartz, Eric Fairman) or include Native American stories as well  (Melisa Nielsen, Donna Simmons)?

2.  Where will you put Native Americans? In with the Third Grade building block?  In with gardening in the Third Grade?  In with local geography in the Fourth Grade?

3.  Do you want to split the Old Testament Stories up between Third and Fourth Grade?  Donna Simmons makes an argument for that here:  http://christopherushomeschool.typepad.com/blog/2009/06/ot-stories-again.html

4.  What about those Norse myths – do want a shorter block of those, several blocks throughout the year, do you want to do any part of The Kalevala?  The Norse myths are dark, good for a TEN-year-old, do you want to put them toward the end  of Fourth Grade depending upon your child’s birthday?

5.  In Fourth Grade, do you want to bring in US Geography along with local geography?  I have heard good things about the way Melisa Nielsen approaches local geography in her Fourth Grade curriculum guide, and I like how Donna Simmons lays out her approach to geography through the grades here:  http://www.christopherushomeschool.org/waldorf-homeschool-publishing-and-consulting/curriculum/subjects/geography.html

According to “The Waldorf Curriculum Chart”  I have hanging on my wall, the following areas are typically covered in Third Grade:

  • History- Biblical stories as part of Ancient history and American Indian tales and fables.   History in the Fourth Grade includes  local history, why the early settlers chose your geographic location to live, how they developed the natural resources
  • You can see more about literature and skill development throughout the grades here:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/03/10/history-and-literature-waldorf-homeschooling-grades-one-through-twelve/
  • Math – times tables, prime numbers, carrying and borrowing, problems in time and more goals are listed in other Waldorf math resource books (remember this is just a little chart with boxes!)
  • Housebuilding, farming, clothing are mentioned along with studies of the cycles of the year, soils, farm life, grains, vegetables and fruits, practical work in a garden, introducing colored pencils for writing (my daughter’s handwriting is exceptionally good so we probably are going to go with a fountain pen at this point), crochet work, forest walks and stories about trees and forests as an introduction to woodworking, beginning an instrument, lots of games and more!

Lots to think about!  Start now!

Blessings,

Carrie

Waldorf Third Grade Student Reading List

Most students in Waldorf Third Grade are 8 and a half or nine years old.  They should be this age!  The third grade curriculum is designed specifically to speak to the developmental issues surrounding the nine-year change.  There are quite a few articles on this blog regarding the nine-year old if you need to look those up!  If your second grader is doing “third grade academics”, so be it, but please let the fables, folktales, Native American tales be the conduit to carry these pieces until they are eight and a half or nine and then ready for those Old Testament Stories!

Here are some suggestions for Third Grade Reading; most of these are geared toward a child who is close to nine or at that nine-year-old change.  The themes may be too much for children under nine, so please pre-read if your children are not yet nine!  Also,  please feel free to add your suggestions via the comment box below!

  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins – Atwater – always a fun story to re-visit even if you have done it before!  Children like repetition!
  • The Wizard of Oz series – Baum
  • Burgess – Nature Stories
  • Carpenter- Tales of a Korean Grandfather
  • Dahl, Roald – Matilda, etc. (This recommendation came from the “Waldorf Student Reading List” book- I personally don’t really like Roald Dahl’s work).
  • Holling C Holling – The Book of Indians
  • Juster – The Phantom Tollbooth
  • Kipling – Just So Stories, The Jungle Book
  • Ursula Le Guin – Catwings series
  • Osborne – American Tall Tales
  • Patterson – Angels, People, Rabbis and Kings from the Stories of the Jewish People
  • Chief Seattle’s Brother Eagle, Sister Sky (may want to preread, I have heard this is a tear-jerker!)
  • EB White – Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web, The Trumpet of the Swan
  • Isabel Wyatt-  King Beetle-Tamer and Other Light-Hearted Wonder Tales, The Book of Fairy Princes
  • Ella Young- Celtic Wonder Tales, The Tangle-Coated Horse
  • Tove Jansson’s Moomintroll Series – either you love ‘em or hate ‘em; we love ‘em!
  • Rafe Martin’s The Boy Who Lived With Seals, The Brave Little Parrot
  • Meindert De Jong – The Wheel On the School
  • Brian Jacques – Redwall series
  • Susan Kantor’s One Hundred and One African-American Read-Alouds
  • Adele Geras – My Grandmother’s Stories:  A Collection of Jewish Folktales
  • Elizabeth Shub – The White Stallion
  • Phil Strong – Honk the Moose
  • Margaret Stranger – That Quail, Robert
  • Ethel Cook Eliot – The Wind Boy and others
  • E. Nesbit – Five Children and It and others
  • Farley Mowat – Owls in the Family – funny!
  • Donald Hall – Ox Cart Man – should be part of reading in your Farming Block along with “Farmer Boy” by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Noel Streatfield – Ballet Shoes and others
  • Dorothy Canfield Fisher – Understood Betsy
  • Carol Ryrie Brink – Caddie Woodlawn
  • Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons series
  • Astrid Lindgren – The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking – the reason we put these books around the nine-year-change is the lack of parents and Pippi as a strong individual character.
  • Selma Lagerlof’s The Wonderful Adventures of Nils
  • Elisa Bartone- Peppe the Lamplighter
  • Elizabeth Orton Jones – Twig – If you read it before, you can go back and re-read it!
  • Valerie Flournoy – Patchwork Quilt
  • Lois Lenski – Strawberry Girl, Texas Tomboy, etc.
  • Robert Lawson – Rabbit Hill (pre-read)
  • Astrid Lindgren – Ronia the Robber’s Daughter
  • Alice Dalglish’s The Bears in Hemlock Mountain
  • Johanna Speyri- Heidi
  • Anything by George MacDonald
  • Chronicles of Narnia Donna Simmons recommends for those 10 and up, but The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe might be okay for a nine-year-old.  I suggest waiting on JRR Tolkien
  • Marguerite Henry’s horse books
  • Geraldine McCaughrean’s The Crystal Pool, The Golden Hoard, The Silver Treasure
  • Robert McClosky – I still love these, One Morning in Maine and the like and Homer Price and others are good for a nine-year-old.
  • Jospeph Bruchac – preread!   Donna Simmons recommends “Children of the Longhouse”
  • Enid Blyton -
  • George Seldon’s “Cricket in Times Square”

Again, please add your favorites at the bottom!  And please do pre-read, you know  your child best!

Blessings,

Carrie

Grammar In The Waldorf Curriculum

This morning Mrs. Johnson posted a wise response on her list (waldorfhomeeducators@yahoogroups.com – please join if you are not on this list) to a mother.  This is a post regarding spelling/ grammar within the Waldorf Curriculum:

“Waldorf is just so different, often. This is one of those areas.
Here are a couple insights to get you thinking inside the Waldorf box.

1) the spelling words come from the curriculum. They are part of the block, part of the ‘story’, part of the telling you are doing in your story-sharing time. They are not ‘disconnected’ random words. They certainly can lead to word family lessons and discussions to cement and explore spelling and phonemes. So the grade three child is hearing the Old Testament and the Practical Arts block stories all year long and the spelling words come from these areas.

2) the grade three child learns about Naming words (nouns) and Doing words (verbs), most often in the telling of the story of Creation as Adam names each animal as they are created.
You are Rabbit! Rabbits jump!
You are Goat! Goats leap!
You are Snake! Snakes slither.
You are Fox! Foxes slink.
And so on. Simple Naming and Doing, great basis for movement exercises, too.
3) In the grade 4, we begin with the nine parts of speech. We bring this from the Nine Worlds of the Norse gods, the Nine Days that Odin hung on the tree to obtain the ability to write, and the inclusion as we can see for that post-nine year change child of being able to step back and divide things into their parts now….fractions, music, and so on. So we have the ability to divide a bit and that is when we bring the Nine Parts of Speech. But we do this with games and directly from the curriculum as well.
He is Odin.
He is the wise Odin.
He is the wise Odin who sees.
He is the wise Odin who sees so clearly.
He is the wise Odin who sees so clearly and speaks so calmly.
etc etc

Dissecting abstract language concepts into diagrams is meant for the middle school child. The younger ones need to stay in their imagination and in the story of the moment. We can see with each Norse god, unique characteristics that create a personality and a ‘type’. This is also true of our spoken language, each one has a personality and even a culture embedded in every single sound. Some languages do not have all the elements of English, others do. In some, the word order is quite different. In English we say I I I at the first, I am the most important. In others, the I is hidden or unspoken or ignored….

Children can be taught many things. We know this, but it is HOW we bring it that makes it Waldorf or not. Creating images, living pictures, in our hearts before we bring it to the children is very important.

For example….why are some verbs regular and others not? What are irregular verbs like, then> I am, you are, he is, she is, we are, they are………why, they are a bit individualistic aren’t they? Yes, why they are quite independent and not very easy to rule over, they are like the sons and daughters of Moses who don’t really pay attention to what he says when he is not there! They go their own way…and over here, so many good little words….I fly, you fly, he and she fly, we fly and they fly. Good little fly, way too obedient! Good two shoes? Or a good student? Always minds his manners, that fly.

And so we can see, can we create a town or a land where these characters live, some decent and easy to understand, others quite persnickety and rebellious but cute as bedbugs! Little rascals. Well we must make friends with them all, shan’t we?

Yes, bring in the materials, but do bring it on a platter of the imagination and this will create in the child a mood of play and drama and pure fun.
Mrs M”

Hope this brings blessings to you,

Carrie

HELP! How to Waldorf Homeschool With My Grades and Kindergarten Child?

Question from the field:

I have an 8 year old second grader and a 5 year old. We all come together for morning lesson and it used to be that my little one had his own work – puzzles, play dough, stringing beads. But recently he has been joining the lesson, drawing the lesson picture into his sketch book, he’s trying out copying letters and he has learned to write his name. He does not want the other work right now. The reality in our home is that there is no separation when I read a second grade story they both listen, when we do second grade work, my 5 year old is right there. It’s been this way since the very beginning. Whatever work or story we’ve been doing for my older son, my younger son is a part of it too. We share our day and I love that! But it sure feels like everything revolves around my older son. I feel guilty! We already include some things in our day that are geared more toward the younger, I guess maybe I should step that up. And I do get little moments in my day to cuddle or play a quick game with my little guy. It’s hard to keep it simple, especially when I think about the future! I visualize a Waldorf-one-room-homeschool-house where both boys get what they need and feel (obviously!) overwhelmed!

This is a great question, and it comes up so frequently that I would like to address it in a blog post for everyone to see and read.

First of all, take a deep breath.  Part of homeschooling is more relaxed than a Waldorf School, and that is okay because there are many other advantages to being home.  One of the main advantages is that instead of being separated from each other all day, your children will form a strong bond by being together day in and day out.  The other thing to think of is not only is there an advantage for the younger one to see what the older one is doing, it is an advantage for the older one to see and be a part of what the younger one is doing.  So, please do start with a very positive attitude that this is very best set up for both of your children.

That being said, I agree with your caution regarding running your homeschool just to suit your oldest.  If your oldest is 9 or under, I think we must be especially careful to allow for time for the oldest to play, play, play and be outside and to do other things.  A 7 or 8 year old is still small and has energy to get out, for sure.  This is an advantage

Several things to think and meditate on:  How long is the Main Lesson?  I would say for first and second grade one  to two hours is typical (don’t forget daily practice of math as part of your Circle/Opening!).  How many days a week are you doing school?  Most people do four days a week in these very Early Grades.

Where do you put the Kindergarten Circle/verses, Kindergarten Story and Activity of the Day for the Kindergartener?  You could do baking one day, soup making one day, etc either in the morning before you start the older one’s school or in the afternoon.  It should be the type of thing that the child can join in on or not, and that the oldest can participate in as well or even lead a few songs or verses for the younger child.

In contrast, the older child should have several days a week to devote to handwork or playing a musical instrument and not work with a different activity each day.  They need consecutive days to get things done, projects completed.

How active is your Main Lesson?  There should be singing, movement, oral recitation, cooking, painting, modeling, drawing (not all at once, of course!)  The movement, etc are all things a younger child could join in on.  And don’t go crazy, keep it simple, short, “economical.”

Some Waldorf homeschooling families also have a “Kindergarten Day” a week, where that day the Kindergartener’s activities move to the forefront for that day and the Grades child joins in. 

I think too, the longer one homeschools, the more one is not afraid to be “rigid”, in other words, if the children are playing well, to let them play and start school in a bit or go hiking if the weather is gorgeous….But then also, on the flip side, to know when your Grades child really does need to buckle down and get to work. 

As far as a five or six year old listening in on the Main Lesson, try not to worry too much.  Children under 7 are at the height of imitation, and they are imitating what they see around them.    Give them a “Main Lesson” book and respect if they want to draw in it, but also respect when they are running off to play and are tired of “playing” school.  Writing one’s name and copying down a few  letters does not mean they are ready for formal Grade One lessons yet!  When it is their turn for First Grade or Second Grade, they may vaguely remember some of the stories, but the stories will speak to them on a much deeper level at that point because they are at the right age for them.  And your older child gets the benefit of listening in to the stories for a second time and deepening how they view things as well.  I think that is a very enjoyable part of homeschooling!

That being said, though, do carry on with typical Kindergarten activities, lots of movement, Circle Time and other things that nourish your Kindergartener’s soul.  Meet them where they are developmentally.

Lots of fun, good times, and holistic educational progress is the key!

Many blessings,

Carrie