Usually one of three things happens during the homeschooling year:
Life intervenes and the entire year is rather chaotic. Yep, that happens.
The school year starts off strong, and then life intervenes and is rather chaotic. Yep, that happens too.
Everything goes as perfectly planned. Nope, that really doesn’t happen too often.
Homeschooling calls for flexibility, an ability to work with life throws at you, often an ability to juggle different roles of being a parent/spouse/homemaker and to juggle children of a wide spread of ages and stages and temperaments. All of this really requires an ability to get organized and work with planning as a tool. This is important especially for Waldorf homeschooling. Planning is everything in Waldorf homeschooling, and it really can help save you when life intervenes.
So, how is it coming with planning? The last posts in this series were in February and March (you can see March’s post here: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2014/03/27/march-time-to-plan/)
This is where I am so far in planning a five year old kindergarten year, fourth grade and seventh grade:
I planned my start and finish dates and vacation dates based off of the two counties where my children have friends on different school schedules. I didn’t do that this year and ended up regretting it.
I marked out “teacher time”. Plans made over the summer often need adjustment, and at any rate, one needs to look things over and live into the material before the block begins.
I went through all the months of this past year and wrote down any details I wanted to remember – which months did life hit us hardest, how I felt inside, how the children seemed to feel, seasonal details about each month or details related to feasts of the church.
I thought very seriously about extra-curricular activities and how many days we can really be out of the home each week – and what time we will finish school each day and really can realistically make it out to something. The out of the house rhythm I have discussed with my husband, because whereas I am a “yes” kind of girl, “yes, let’s do that!” he is much more practical in terms of looking at how much time we can sustain outside our home.
I made out a sample daily rhythm for all three children. That, to me, is the hardest part, as I often don’t feel as if there are enough hours in the day to meet everyone’s needs with three separate ages of children – early years, mid grades and late grades.
I created my “wheel” of the year – you can see details about that in the March back post. I go mainly around the calendar of the Anglican Communion and have to plan in our feast and fast dates and dates where we will be out of the home due to church. Remember, the cycle of the year is what holds all of your different ages and stages together for your homeschooling adventure!
I sketched out what blocks I think will go where in the year and how long those blocks most likely will be. Subject to change!
I ordered most of my resources and started gathering various titles to get at the library.
I put together notes for two blocks for my seventh grader by day (but have not done any of the artistic work for those blocks ahead of time yet, which is often that part that takes me the longest after I read the resources and get an idea for the order of what to present when in the flow of a block).
I put together some general ideas about work each day of the week for my kindergartner, and ideas about stories for each month, crafts and handwork for festivals.
That is a start, but there is certainly a lot, a lot more to do! I have to start now to really plan it all and fit it all in. Most of this work is being created by me from scratch using different resources, as I am certain it is for you as well.
What are you planning? I would love to hear!
Planning grade 5. And we will do it on the road (so perfect for US Geography and botany!!). Such an exciting year ahead of us!
Catherine — that is awesome! Where are you headed this time around? Fifth grade was probably my favorite year out of all the years, so it should be super fun. 🙂
I’m in the “gathering” stage – and not even to the point where I’ve taken my grade bins out of the attic yet. I’ll be doing grade 3 for the second time around and grade 7 for the first time. I find I cannot begin to plan in earnest until our final blocks are wrapped up – which will be Memorial Day. I am having a hard enough time just finishing the year, so I know I need to keep my head in the here and now. June and July will be here soon enough!!
I have spring brain very badly right now too. LOL
I will be teaching grades 2 and 6 and trying to make sure I have time for some special things with a 3-year-old as well. Most of my resources have been purchased, and in my mind I’ve been thinking about when I might do various blocks. I’ve also been thinking about what went will this year and what I need to change and how I might change it. Nothing is on paper yet, because we are moving across the country in a month or so. I am definitely concerned about how to find planning time when our whole summer will be in upheaval, and really, our lives have been in upheaval for some time. This past year was that year when everything could have fallen apart (my husband lost his job 1 month into the school year, was unemployed for several months, got a new job 2500 miles away, and I’ve been on my own for several months trying to sell the house and finish the school year). But everything didn’t fall apart, even though it has been very stressful. And I credit that to the careful planning I did for our year, as I always do. (And also ALOT of help from above.) I loved your idea of planning “teacher days” for prep. I didn’t do that last year, but I did plan a week here and a week there that had nothing scheduled, they were supposed to be for catch-up or vacation, whichever we ended up needing. They ended up being used for getting the house ready to sell, packing, cleaning, etc. Because of that foresight, however, I will be able to finish our school year on time and will only have to cut a few days from our botany block. Other than that, I will be able to finish our year as planned.
So good to hear from you. I am sorry for your employment changes, but so proud of you for holding together such a year. Your planning really paid off and you are an amazing momma! I can’t wait to hear what you think about sixth grade!
Ha! I love your three things. This year (gasp) I think we at least brushed up next to number three. Amazing and wonderful and a gift for us! I will say, that after doing public school for a year, usually number one or two apply outside of the house also; this just includes more alarm clocks, tears, frustration and torn homework than number one or two at home. 🙂
I have become a huge fan of Charles Kovacs, and I am using his books as much as possible. Beyond that, we will continue to read beautiful stories relating to our grades and subjects (mostly from the library) and create beautiful main lesson books. I have learned that it is better to really immerse the children in the parts of Steiner inspired education that really speak to me, rather than overwhelm myself with all the aspects of an ideal Waldorf education. I would do more if I could, but I am happy with what we do achieve!
My big challenge (always) is Math. I have much trouble wrapping my head around Waldorf Mathematics, and I would really like something I can give to the kids without much oversight here. Math is not my passion, though I feel it is important, so I would like for them to practice while I do…you know… a million other things. 🙂
We read the literature together, and I have my own main lesson book, and I really enjoy drawing and reading with them.
If you have any helpful hints on math (4th and 6th) I would love to hear them! I have tried Christopherus and I still struggle. I did purchase Compass Drawings, which I think N will really enjoy.
Love you momma!
Hi Twinnie Andrea!
I do have thoughts and I will email you privately!
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