Hello! We are back today with Part Two regarding planning. In our last post, we talked about planning the year out (and if you are in the early years, your work stops here after you plan a weekly and daily rhythm). If you are in the grades, the seasonal changes of the year where you live is and your family culture are the foundation for your homeschooling, but now you add blocks of subjects in another layer. As you are thinking about blocks, think about if you have multiple children of different ages in the grades. My argument is that as a homeschooling family, the blocks from first through third grade (nine year change) could be done together, the blocks from ages 9 to 12 (sixth grade) could also be fluid, and then blocks for children after age 12 to age 16 could be combined in ways.
After laying out blocks in a flow for the year, including knowing how many blocks for each subject, estimate how long you think each block will take. Then you can start gathering resources for each subject. There are some tried and true Waldorf resources available through Waldorf booksellers. Be on the lookout for other resources, and ideas for music, art, movement, gardening and cooking. Many mothers keep lists on Amazon, in a notebook, and on Pinterest for these types of resources. There are many places, including Abe Books and Book Depository, to order resources from. You may choose to order a curriculum, which you will need to sit down and read from start to finish. Once you have read your resources, start compiling a general flow to your block. How long is it working out to be? Is it like your original estimate? You can go back and adjust your calendar.
When laying out blocks, I used to always hand write everything. Now I usually hand write notes from a particular book or resource, and then use a computer because what I need to present regarding history or science, for example, can be long and I can type faster than I can write. I also need to compile not just a general flow but more of a presentation on a particular subject for middle school grades and that is often a separate file. However, for grades five and under I think you can plan things just by writing things on paper or index cards just fine. Some mothers devise manila folders for each block or just a binder with plans in it. If you plan on your computer, at some point, you need to print it out and memorize it, especially for the early grades!
When you are planning a block, it is important to remember that parts of a block are review from the day before, but also PRACTICE. How will you practice? Do you have games, movement, songs, kinesthetic experiences? The other piece is ARTISTIC. You can gather ideas and resources for art – drawing, painting, modeling – and try it yourself. Try to create something yourself as well – don’t let everything be a canned image from Pinterest! Leave your samples in a folder. You may have to sit down and draw or paint step by step with your child, but you will thank yourself that you tried it first! Depending upon your grade, you may also think about things such as what read-aloud goes with a block, or songs, or handwork. Will you put handwork, music, foreign language in with your block or before you start main lesson (Gasp! Some homeschoolers don’t follow the head-heart- hands that the schools follow. Some homeschoolers do not bring a foreign language at all either. This is up to you. Do NOT kill yourself trying to do it all. Better to have the main lesson and a few essential areas and a happy home life rather than trying to re-create a Waldorf School at home!)
Blessings on your homeschooling,