The Daily Rhythm for Three Children in the Grades

I have thought ahead to what our rhythm will look like in the fall with a six year old kindergartener, an eighth grader who needs not only block lessons but “track” lessons, and a fifth grader.  I think this rhythm would work well for those whose third child is in grades 1 –3 as well.  For those with three children or more in the upper grades, there would need to be more tweaking I think – please be sure to go back to this post about homeschooling Waldorf with large families:

This is just what worked for us last year when we were really “on task” and what I have had to add to it for eighth grade.  It takes most of the day – 8:30 to about 2:30 or 3.

Here is our sequential order, but no particular times attached:

  • Daily Walk with six year old kindergartener twice a week, fifth grader will work on any independent math work or reading associated with school, math with eighth grader twice a week (like the math that should be in a math block but we don’t have time in the year for three math blocks) and once a week “life skills” with eighth grader ( I did that in seventh grade too, where we read books related to our faith or related to emotional intelligence, or the more “traditional” life skills such as personal finance, etc) .  The times we are walking either the older children will go or will be finishing main lesson book work, especially the eighth grader if we are in intense blocks.  It would be nice to have enough time for all of us to take a long, long walk but quite frankly I would rather get school done earlier and have more time in the afternoon.
  • Main Lesson  with fifth grader – Eighth grader has piano practice, independent work such as writing rough drafts of summaries, finishing drawings or painting, independent math practice and also will be doing some crafts and play with our kindergartener.
  • Circle, story and work of the day with kindergartener; fifth grader and eighth grader will relax or do whatever chores need to happen. I normally do our kindergartener first, but I think moving his things to the more mid-morning could work better for us at this point.
  • Main Lesson with Eighth Grader – Fifth grader has  music practice and playing with our little kindergartner.
  • Lunch
  • Rest
  • After lunch, some days each week I will work with our fifth grader on different track activities such as movement and math games and some days I will work with our eighth grader on world geography or American civics.  Our little kindergartener can play then.
  • A few days a week we will have handwork and woodworking or other practical arts and our little kindergartener can join in.
  • Closing verse and done!

It sounds like a lot on paper, but it really is fairly casual in terms of the fact that I don’t mind being flexible and letting things go depending upon our sanity level and what we feel up to.  I used to always try to end by lunch when my older two are younger ( and many times, most of the time have not felt successful in getting everything back together after lunch,  but last year with a seventh grader by necessity things went longer)  but with an eighth grader I feel like she needs a bit more as you just cannot fit everything into blocks…and with a lack of outside classes, I feel we really should get to our practical arts (outside of the kitchen, which we always manage to get to!)

Things change every year as they grow, so we will see if this is successful or not.  I am always willing to be flexible in trying out rhythms.

Would love to hear your daily rhythm, especially those of you with seventh graders and up!

Many blessings,

19 thoughts on “The Daily Rhythm for Three Children in the Grades

  1. Hi Carrie,

    It seems we have almost similar issues, trying to get back to work after lunch…. Now with my Kindergartener joining into the schoolwork, I feel a bit nervous that I can juggle it all. I know my 5th grader will need to do more after lunch work and I am not sure how that will work out, as until now we also finished just around lunch time. Do you have any tips on how you are getting the older kids back into work?

    When you say you do twice a week math with your eight grader, does that mean kind of like a main lesson in smaller doses over the course of the year, or do you mean math practice of things already learned?

    Thanks for all the work and support that you do here on your blog! It helps immensely to keep us homeschoolers on the straight and narrow. 😉


    • Hi Maggie!
      I know what you mean, I am trying to brace myself for when my littlest is in first next year so I am trying to get a feel for that this year. I honestly am not sure your fifth grader needs much after lunch. When my oldest was fifth and the rest of the children were younger, I don’t think we did too much after lunch, to be honest. Sorry I am not being helpful there, but I am being honest, hahahahaha. Worst after lunch person ever is me!
      Math – yes, we do math daily at the beginning of main lesson but the twice a week more for geometry and things I would have liked to have done another math block on but didn’t seem to have time.
      Hope that helps, can’t wait to hear your plans!

    • By after lunch lessons I mean more things like handwork, reading, modeling, maybe a bit more practice time with various subjects. At the end of 4th grade we seemed to scramble a bit and it would have been more helpful to do some more work in that regard in the afternoons.

      I have similar thoughts on geometry actually. Geometry seems a lot this coming year, I know it is just an introduction into it, but a lot of biographies are in there as well, which I actually really like, as it wraps a lot of important figures from history nicely into the subject. Maybe I will do that as well, once or twice a week since it is only an introductory year, basically what we did with form drawing the past years.

      Other than that, I plan to keep it pretty simple this year and not add too much other work into the year, the last years I added way too much practical work into the school year (after all he is a boy), now it is time to hunker a bit down with more mental work.
      I know we will love the Ancient Cultures. Greek mythology will be a year round read aloud project, just because there is so much material, which we will finish with a main lesson block on it, I am looking forward to that. My son is already very keen on learning about Botany.
      We will start with Decimals in the beginning of the year and work with it throughout the school year, I also plan to add a block on the metric system. Since I am European, it just makes so much more sense to me, haha.
      Not sure about adding Ancient China anymore into the mix, maybe at the end of the year, depending on how we are doing.
      That wraps our 5th grade plans up for me.

      Thanks a lot for your help Carrie!



    • Maggie,
      I plan to do a block on metric system as well..for those living in countries that do metric, of course that was already introduced in third grade, for those of us stuck in English measurement countries, I think fifth grade is ideal and you could mix it with studies of one of our neighbors who uses metric. Just a thought.
      I think Ancient China, Africa and Ancient Americas could be brought in through math as well or a shorter block. Or you can do it in seventh grade like I did with my oldest. It worked out just fine.
      Blessings, happy to hear your plans,

    • Carrie, that is a good idea, it would fit nicely with the age of Exploration. Do you have any good resources for Ancient Africa and the Ancient Americas? For Ancient China you mentioned something previously from the Rudolf Steiner book store, I know, but not too sure about the other two.


    • Yes! For Ancient Africa and Ancient Americas, do look through my back posts on seventh grade – Africa has an entire huge list, and Americas has some titles. I am still gathering titles on these areas as well.
      Many blessings,

    • Wow, thanks a lot! That is indeed a lot of resources. I have bookmarked your web page on that. 🙂

  2. Carrie, It is so helpful to have a sense of the flow and length of other Waldorf homeschoolers’ days. Where and when and how do you/will you fit in any outside-the-home activities? I remember your saying your older two do 4-H. Do they do any other activities, as well? Do you fly solo or do your participate in any kind of support group or co-op? I am still working on my rhythm planning for next year (5th and 2nd). My younger one really needs lots of physical play and breaks, which means lesson time takes longer overall. I never got it quite right for this year, which left me tired and a bit behind with my two. I felt challenged by the inconsistency of the timing of the few extra activities my kids were doing.

    • Hi Nicola!
      It seems most of the things around here are later – horseback riding we have to leave later afternoon and the same one other day, but most anything else seems to be dinner time if we do it. I am trying to really stick close to home this fall semester and see how things flow… I don’t have a coop or outside classes at this point. I think when my oldest is ninth grade, we may hunt again for something that meets our needs. And yes, that fine balance of walks and movement activities and just getting through it so we can have the rest of our day! That is so true and I felt like with grades 1-4 we really juggled that – now that my older two are in eighth and fifth, I think we can get through things at a decent pace..
      Hope that helps, blessings,

  3. Pingback: » The Daily Rhythm for Three Children in the Grades

  4. Carrie, I appreciate reading your ideas about the year to come! I have a solid sense that we should continue to maintain our mostly “home” status during the day, but can doubt it from time to time and hearing your thoughts on the matter truly helps! I have very few homeschooling friends, if any, that stay home the majority of the week (or even 50% ) for their homeschooling. I live in an area where there are tremendous resources and opportunities for homeschoolers – even the public school system offers free enrichment classes for homeschoolers. I worry about finding a group of friends for the girls to grow up with in these elementary years and support for the path we are choosing…Is that a challenge for you?
    I remind myself though of the gifts I have before me– creating this world at home for our family and I can sigh some relief…Thank you again! Sheila

    • Mojaveinmyheart,
      We have a pretty big social community, but I would say even with that my oldest would count four friends as “closest” and two as “best” friends (almost 14), my ten year old would also count probably three friends as “closest” and perhaps two as “best” and my little guy has a number of little playmates with about two or three “favorite” friends..I don’t know if that comparison helps, but I see even the middle school girls in public school around here have two or three close friends…I think it might run the same across types of schooling…

    • Sheila, I feel this too. I find there are so many opportunities for homeschoolers that it is challenging to find those that feel like a fit and that overlap well in a way to develop community. Carrie, I see your answer and would love if my kids had 2-3 friends to call “best.” Developing that type of closeness in friendships takes time that it is hard to find when homeschoolers have such varying schedules.

    • Nicola,
      Yes, I think it is hard and it does take time. I think up until about age 10 or 12, it is all about who children see “the most”. The children they are best friends with are ones we had weekly playdates with week after week when they were much younger and those friendships have built through the years..As homeschoolers get busier as children age, I agree it can be much, much more difficult.
      Sorry that is not very much help!

    • Carrie, it does help, thank you. We have only been homeschooling for 2 years and are only just now really settling in, so I am sure it will come in time. I hope, when my kids are ready, that they form strong, mutually supportive, caring friendships.

  5. Love this post! I am “down to” “only” five children next year – my eldest has graduated, my second eldest is in her final year through an outreach high school program, so will be around, but not really available or involved during school hours, and my third has chosen to be the first to go to abricks and mortar school (and play football) – so i have a boy, grade 8, a girl, grade 6, a boy grade 4, a girl grade 2 and a little girl (3 yo). I wrote to Oak Meadow and hopefully they will write back with even book recommendations about ordering my day to keep in mind everyone’s differing developmental stages – but i really feel like this is the year to dive in as deep as i can, and only a lack of knowledge is impeding me :)… I loved this post because it encompasses most of the grades i have, and gives me an idea of how to structure the day. Thanks! Off to do a search for your large homeschool family post 🙂

    • Stephanie!!
      So glad you are here and you found any of that helpful! Let me know if you need help finding the back post you were searching for…

  6. Pingback: The Two Things That Stymie Waldorf Homeschoolers The Most | The Parenting Passageway

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