I find the two areas that stymie Waldorf homeschoolers the most are actually not areas unique to Waldorf homeschooling, but are areas that differentiate homeschooling from a school setting:
1. How do I teach multiple ages?
2. How do I have a life? How do I get things done around my house?
I would like to offer some suggestions and you can choose what resonates with your family life and values.
In regards to teaching multiple ages, I feel this has been thoroughly addressed in many back posts. The things that will assist you in this endeavor is to NOT create a Waldorf school in your home. You will need a new and different way of looking at the curriculum through an idea of blending. This post takes a good look at that. You will need a steady and nourishing rhythm to accomplish that. There are many back posts I have written from the time I had all children under the age of 7, one child in the grades and other younger children, now two children in the grades and one in the last year of kindergarten, and next year all children in the grades. Because of our large age gaps, I feel certain if I can homeschool a kindergartener, fifth grader and eighth grader, any variation in between is feasible! Be up for the challenge of rhythm in your home! Here is one post detailing rhythm for three children in the grades, as this is the rhythm that will serve us through the last year of kindergarten and into grade one.
Next we must learn to set boundaries on our time and energy.. As a homeschooling teacher, teaching multiples ages, you will need your energy for preparation and follow-through, self care and inner work, and your important relationships. So I feel a very important piece of teaching multiple ages is not to take on too much outside your home unless you feel very steady about that. Think very carefully before you commit yourself all over the place. Your home is your priority during the school year.
As far as homemaking and homeschooling, I would like to suggest a simple rhythm of practical work including children, providing older children with chores to do that you have shown them repeatedly how to do and checked in on their work, and using small bits of time. Laundry, for example, can be done as Flylady recommends – one load in the morning before breakfast, hang up to line dry at lunch, fold and put away around the dinner hour. Or, some mothers will save up all their laundry for Saturdays and enjoy doing a bulk laundry day. Cooking can involve small children, but with multiple grades I often find myself without two hours to sit and cook one meal – that is the reality!- but you can chop many things at once and store, you can double batch cook, you can use a crock pot, or you can bulk cook on a weekend. Cleaning can be done much the same way – you can choose to clean on a weekend day, or you can choose to clean one area deeply in different ways throughout the week. There are a variety of approaches parents use, and one size does not fit all.
Sewing, mending, baking, handwork, getting ready for festivals can be brought in during an afternoon session and many parents seem to find this feasible. Having a rhythm to your cleaning during the week is such a blessings and bonus.
Self-care and care of relationships with your most significant others also requires time and energy. Please be sure to put this on the list before you worry about homeschooling multiple grades or cleaning. These things are the foundation of all other things in homeschooling. Again, there are many back posts about self-care, but this one about burn-out in Waldorf homeschooling is one of my favorites.
Would love to hear from you. What is holding you back?
Blessings and love,