At this point, we are headed into Week Seven of our school year. It has been a pretty decent year so far considering juggling three grades and three “levels” of school (elementary school, middle school, and high school!). I felt like this week is a good time to see what is really working in our family and school rhythm.
- The fact that I planned less weeks total for the entire school year, and added a week to almost every other block as a “catch-up” week (or a vacation coincides). That has really helped (and really made it less stressful when we feel like we are “getting behind”). It also makes me wonder why I didn’t do this before (???)
- Summer planning really helped. Saves. me. every. year. I can totally ditch the plan, but if I haven’t researched and know my subject beforehand, especially in these upper grades, I absolutely cannot apply it to the child in front of me.
- Planning field trips for the semester/school year. We are part of a 4,000 plus member homeschooling field trip group (Southeastern United States). There are so many wonderful field trips to take! This is especially important for the middle school and high school level – it is what makes all the subjects come alive to see them in action. Experience at the hands and heart level before the head level is a golden rule.
- Making the festivals a priority. This is easy to lose as children grow older, and because we don’t really have a specific “Waldorf group.” I am so glad we are still hanging on. This is especially important to me for our little first grader, but really for all of us. It nourishes the soul through the seasons of the year.
- Keeping our outside the home schedule at the busy-ish, but not too full, level. My high schooler really needs things to do, and our first grader and I really need to be at home, so we have to choose a middle road. And I am always glad we do, because I like to have room for the last minute spontaneity , last minute camping trips, or just being home together.
- Still prioritizing play. Today my first and sixth grader were playing so nicely together and the weather was beautiful and the puppy was so happy….school could wait a few hours.
The Jury Is Still Out:
- Having a class outside the home for our high schooler. In one sense, the accountability to a really good outside teacher has been super nice for our high schooler. On the other hand, we are totally tied into a public school schedule due to activities (which totally could be canceled or moved for the most part) and this class (which can’t be moved or missed because it is a week’s worth of work condensed into one class). It feels limiting in that sense. Not sure if I will farm anything out next year or not.
- The best way to organize/motivate our high schooler. Still working on that one! Organizing independent work has been the single most challenge of ninth grade, and I don’t think there is a good way to prepare for it really in seventh and eighth grade because we did a lot of the things I thought would help this transition. The work just changes at the high school level, and that is that. It is a learning curve.
Not Working and I Want To Change:
- I wish we had more festival preparation and handwork time. My children don’t really do these things naturally even though they love arts and crafts, so I have to plant the seeds.
- Self-care is still hard to come by. I want to exercise, but I have been back to having a really hard time getting up early in the morning to do it….In this height of allergy season, sometimes I just feel worn out from a respiratory/asthma perspective. And the heat, which I actually am sick of at this point. Where is autumn?!
How is homeschooling going for you? What is working, not working, and where is the jury still out?