Someone recently asked about how to get everything done and specifically how I get everything done……You all know I don’t think we should be too hard on ourselves, because small children are only small once and you really cannot get things done with the same efficiency as you did prior to having small children around. I certainly don’t get everything I want done, and I work in very small chunks of time, ten minutes here and fifteen minutes there.
However, even though we know we cannot get it ‘”all” done, we also know that if we have older children, there are some things that just HAVE to get done. I do think it is important to plan in homeschooling, especially when you have multiple children that are older. It is just too difficult to “fly by the seat of your pants” when you have babies and toddlers and older children, and with older children, there are skills to be acquired in their education. Waldorf is rigorous! More about homeschool planning in a minute…
From a parenting perspective and from a Waldorf perspective, we also want to do things that build up our own inner life so we will be better parents and better teachers. From a Waldorf perspective, we know that working with small children uses up our etheric forces, our life forces. I think even non-Waldorf parents would agree that taking care of small children sometimes can be challenging and draining. So one important thing to do in your summer planning is to consider activities that will replenish your etheric life. In Waldorf, we often think of this as artistic activities: art, music, handwork, drawing and painting. Eurythmy actually takes tremendous etheric forces and should not be done by pregnant women or women with children under the age of three as your etheric forces are so vitally tied to your small child. Other ways to help your etheric body include warmth in the chest area, warming foods (some would say “rich” foods) and I would add sleep; really getting into a rhythmic pattern for your own sleeping and waking.
I have written many times that I do all my homeschool planning over the summer so it is all done by the time we start school in the fall. I mainly do this at night after my children are asleep because I do plan on the computer, or sometimes I get a half hour where the baby is asleep and my husband takes the older children to the pool or the park and I plan then. I try to plan homeschool things for a half an hour to two hours a week over the Summer, and just work in those small but consistent chunks.
Reading Steiner is an important part of preparation for homeschooling, and if you are parenting, reading books regarding gentle discipline is very important to keep your mindset focused. Reading can be done in very small chunks indeed. Lisa’s YahooGroups are studying “Practical Advice to Teachers” and also “Bees”…Please see here to join the fun! firstname.lastname@example.org is the link for the “Practical Advice to Teachers” study group! Even reading for five to ten minutes a day is better than nothing! Slow but steady!
The other piece, for me at least, is I go through every single space in my home over the summer and declutter and move things and get everything tidy. I have a small house, and with three children, “stuff” can really take over and pile-up if I am not consistent with it all.
So, in the summer, pretty much I work on the house in the morning in small spurts between fun with the children, in the afternoon we go to the pool and swim until we are ready to drop, and at night, at least for four nights a week I do homeschool lesson planning or my own work for a little bit before my husband and I spend time together. We also plan “fun days” of going to the lake, or taking in a puppet show, or berry-picking and canning, but we also spend a good amount of time at home. I tend to have my husband run the errands, or I do them around dinner time for an hour here or there. I try to limit errand-running as much as possible!
I don’t know if that structure would be helpful to you, but in this summer I encourage you to think how you could get organized and prepared for fall. You will be so pleased how everything will be ready come fall!