So, I am in the midst of planning. Fifth grade planning is done; I am still working on kindergarten and eighth grade planning. I finally decided on blocks for eighth grade to include:
- August: Geometry/Mensuration
- September: Physics (mainly electricity, hydraulics and aeronautics)
- October: American History
- November: Organic Chemistry
- December: Geography of Asia
- Christmas Break
- January: Oceanography/Metereology (although I am still debating about placing metereology into ninth grade and just focusing on oceanography)
- February: World History Themes
- March: Anatomy/Physiology
- April: Spring break and a short block on the Evolution of Human Freedom that will cover some of the wonderful biographers of peacemakers who changed the world
- May: Medical Geography (the block my eighth grader picked)
I had planned an almost five week block of Revolutions but decided at the last minute that Revolutions would be better suited for us to go with the polarities found in ninth grade – binary, comedy and tragedy, the hot and cold found in thermodynamics, etc.
There are a few things that will be done daily (math) and a few things that will be running a few times a week (High School Spanish I, High School Latin I, and then World Geography and some focus on governmental structures for our state and nation).
Most of my blocks for eighth grade are either done or 50 to 75 percent done, so it is good to see the ending line in sight. I wanted to be done planning everything by June, but it didn’t happen, so here we are.
How is planning coming for you? I would love to hear where you are.
I am finishing up my planning! I think I have all of my resources but I am sure things will change. 🙂 I am doing 3rd, 5th and 7th grades!
Hi Simple Days! Glad to see you are still here! You have some great grades this upcoming year – seventh and fifth especially are some of my favorites to teach! Can’t wait to hear what you think about seventh; I think it was one of the best years ever.
Hi Carrie, I’m curious…when you say your planning is done, how much detail have you gone into at this stage? Would you be willing to show an example of your completed plans for a day’s main lesson or a week perhaps?
Do you read all the books and reference materials for all of the blocks in the summer? I imagine it is easier planning a grade you have already taught but with 8th, for example, if it’s a subject or skill you did not learn yourself at school or have not used since leaving so have forgotten, how much time did you allow/need preparing for that?
One of the hard things for me is knowing what to cover and what to leave out and in the higher grades, with less Waldorf homeschool curriculum available and far greater content per block, what guides your choices?
And do you continue to work on your plans closer to doing a block or during the block? I know a lot of teachers do this.
Here in the southern hemisphere our school year has a very different format with 4 terms and a much shorter summer break. We only get about 4 weeks break in the summer once the busy Christmas season has ended before the new school year begins again (school ends mid December around the week before Christmas/New Year week, starts back again last week in January). Now we are moving up the grades I am feeling a huge conflict between lesson planning and actually having a (much needed) rest after finishing the previous year. Do you have any advice for getting everything done AND having a break in only 4 weeks?
Lots of questions here! Thank you, Carrie!
Great questions. It is harder in the upper grades because almost every thing I have to look up – because even if I remember it, I don’t remember enough to teach it authentically, if that makes sense. So, yes, it is a lot of reading books and Internet searching. It took me a long time to plan seventh, probably three to four months, plus throughout the school year I was still researching and writing some things. I typically, though try to plan 1 – a flow of topics (which takes research just to narrow down to the topics 2 – what I am going to present, so I research and write the summary on that topic. and then 3 – ideas for art, projects, etc. This could be just an image search or something I saw in a book or cooking or whathave you and then 4- an idea of what academic skills we might be working on; whereas now it is my student coming up with summaries more than just copying (and we did more summarizing together orally with a summary pre-written by me probably longer than I should have – we just started getting into my student really summarizing more regularly this last half of seventh grade). I don’t know as you will be able to plan seventh and eighth grades in only four weeks; in cases like that something like a Live Ed or something you can start with as a base could be very helpful to you. You will still have to flesh things out but you will have a base to begin from.
What guides my choices as to what to leave in and leave out depends on the block. The history and geography blocks are sometimes the hardest with this – I have some very old history books that were my grandmother’s and I have found them to be helpful; for oceanography and metereology I am using used college textbooks to get an idea of topics, sometimes just after reading you can get an idea of the main points of, say for example, the Great Depression and the Dustbowl and can go from there. I probably still will be writing as I go along in blocks, but I try to have as much of it planned out as possible so if I have to write something or look something up it will take me no longer than a few hours at night.. Hope that helps. I forget what grades you are working on again, so feel free to write back and we can talk about it…
PS to Cathy – plus on top of the three to four months planning, I already had the resources, which probably took me one to two months to look through, order, receive. So for seventh and eighth grade I would say yes, start early. Keep lists now of possible resources, etc. It will make life so much simpler when that time comes.
Thanks for the response, Carrie. It’s very helpful to have your process broken down into those steps of research, outline, summarize, activities (images, art work etc) and skills. I have a planning template I created which does pretty much help me do that and it’s good to know that I’m on the right track. I think I change my planning method with each year! Hopefully by the time we finish I will have figured out a system that’s efficient and really works for me LOL!
I have come to realize that planning in a lot of detail far ahead is a little bit of a waste of my time because usually by the time it comes to delivering the block I will have forgotten (my memory is not what it was…), but I like to do my story and research reading, take notes on that and have a basic outline mapped out with some ideas for MLB images, art work and verses/poems.
Sorry to hear about others not crediting you with ideas and work. That must be even more of a problem now with Pinterest. I’ve noticed it is very hard to trace things back to the original source now in order to give credit or see who the author/artist actually was and that on a google search it’s mostly Pinterest pins that seem to come up. And yes, I too have seen images taken from blogs on curriculum that I had to pay for that was not the curriculum provider’s own work.
I don’t understand the legalities of it all, but it must be very frustrating.
Thanks for all the work you do on the blog, Carrie. I do appreciate having you here 🙂
ps – Another quick question – do you do your planning in the order you will do your blocks, that is, start with your first block of the year then move on to the second block etc., or do you find it more efficient to do all the history blocks, then move on to all the science blocks, all the math blocks etc.? Planning for “real” history and science blocks is a fairly new thing for me.
Aw, thanks Cathy and Nicola — it is frustrating and there seems to be very little way to protect intellectual property on the Internet. Once it is out there, I guess that is it – free for all! LOL.
I have in the past planned all the history blocks in a block of time, but I am noticing for eighth there is this American stream and world stream that are both rather intensive, so I have broken it up in my planning, just in my head so I don’t feel so overloaded with historical figures!
Oh! The end being in sight is so good! I am still plugging along, trying not to over-think it. I am getting there with 5th grade and don’t think 2nd will take me as long. I would love to see your 5th grade plan. Did you post about it? I haven’t been online consistently and might have missed it!
Hi Nicola! I didn’t post about fifth yet; I try to be rather vague as many times if I post details about things I have noticed it can end up in someone’s curriculum who then claims it as their own and charges for it…So it is a fine line of balance. I will try to post some details though. 🙂
Oh! That is really sad I know other Waldorf pros have commented with similar issues. (I used to write a lot on my blog and elsewhere, with greater readership than I have now, and I have seen my content elsewhere. It is unnerving and one reason my blogging has shifted and decreased in recent years.) 😦 For 5th, I am curious about an outline, much as you did above, but I can also look back over more of your previous 5th grade posts. I have my blocks planned out and I think I have my resources selected. (Now to read everything myself!) I have never taught 5th before, and while my confidence is increasing with this homeschool gig, since I came to homeschooling when my oldest was already in the grades, I have never recovered from the feeling that I am always trying to catch up. She was part way through 2nd, which is the other grade I will be teaching this year, so I am finally feeling some familiarity! Thank you again for putting yourself out there on your blog. It has been invaluable to me.