Once you have decided what blocks you are teaching, you can start to gather resources. I look at what is available for Waldorf teachers through Rudolf Steiner College Bookstore by grade and subject; I also look at general homeschooling book lists for subjects such as history in the upper grades and I look at “that section” in the library. I look hard for books in the library of poetry and music dealing with a topic as well. In the upper grades, I have also looked at artistic books regarding charcoal drawing and other artistic pieces.
The advantage of having friends who might have Waldorf resources or being able to gather resources from the library is that you can pick the same “tale” or look for the same section of science or whatever and skim through several resources and see which author’s voice resonates with you best. This can help in narrowing down how many resources you really need to have on hand or order from the library…often with too many resources you can get overwhelmed. What you really need is the resource that speaks to you best, and then figure out what to fill in any of the things you deem “holes”. For example, when tackling bigger subjects in the upper grades, I find I often need more than one source to garner a complete picture in order to write my own presentation for my child.
I tend to order from places like Abe Books or Book Depository if it something I can get used but I also usually have an order from a Waldorf bookseller as well. Then once I have all my resources gathered, I create little stacks of resources for each subject. Then I sit down to read through everything and get an idea of general flow with subjects such as history or epic sagas such as the Norse Myths and also this idea of soul development. For this understanding, you really have to understand Steiner’s view of development and the goals for each grade in dealing with the soul development of a child that age and also the temperament, personality and interests of the child standing in front of you. What are your goals for this child, for this block? Something building their capacities, something to help the soul development of where the child is right now, something to deepen their bodies and their artistry, something to bring forth their FEELING LIFE. This is something that curricula on the market can allude to, can suggest regarding, but really it is up for you to figure it out! So reading through and digesting is a large part of planning for a block. Get a general flow of the block.
Once I get a general flow, I start thinking….. Which biographies or stories will I pick to accomplish these goals? What will our warm –up be, our practice be, what will our recall be from the day before and deepening this older material be, what will the new material be? It sounds daunting, but once you get into it and start planning, it will flow.
More about this to come.