It has been a busy time of year here with finishing school, enjoying friends and squishing in pool time. One thing I have been serious about since I came home revitalized and encouraged from the Waldorf Homeschool Conference in Orlando, FL is to jump on planning. There is a lot to coordinate this year. My seasonal/festival ideas for each month are written down from over the years, and our start/end/probably vacation dates are also written out. I had an idea of possible block rotations (subject to change), and I have recently sat down and gathered resources. Most of them are Waldorf resources; there are some Oak Meadow resources for my tenth grader; but many resources are just library books sorted into subjects or things off of Teachers Pay Teachers for high school to fill in my own gaps or to work with specific works of literature for high school. Then I made a list of what needs to be planned:
- High School Spanish 3 – I will be facilitating this through a traditional text book and additional readings and games I found on Teachers Pay Teachers.
- A combination health (for our tenth grader) and seventh grade physiology (traditionally done in a block in seventh grade but I am combining with my high schooler’s health) twice a week.
- A twice a week writing track where I am combining my tenth and seventh graders, focused on the wish, wonder, surprise theme traditionally found in Waldorf seventh grade where we can focus on skill progression in writing and different types of writing for our tenth grader.
- Second Grade Blocks and Weekly Nature Study. This will be my third time through second grade, so I am familiar with much of the material but hope to really bring fun and new ideas to it all and make it very active for our very active little choleric guy.
- Seventh Grade Blocks – to include physics, Renaissance and Reformation history, Exploration, astronomy, several math blocks and hopefully a little block on Colonial America at the very end of seventh grade. I am going to save the whole of chemistry for eighth grade.
- Tenth Grade Blocks – still debating on blocks; we never got to our ninth grade Art History block as we ran out of time and we have a few topics in Biology to finish. Other than that, I am planning blocks in US Government, Embryology, Ancient Civilizations and Ancient Literature, a block of poetry, and a block of Contemporary African-American Literature, and several math blocks.
- Fantastic Fun – these will be hands-on things on a single topic once a week all together. I fully expect our second grader to be in the room for many of these topics that really mesh more with seventh and tenth grade such as African geography, Latin American geography, project-based math, navigation, and more (essentially places where I felt seventh and tenth grade overlap) so I am thinking of the best way to approach some of this. Our second grader probably will just weave in and out, and much like the way I feel about younger children hearing stories that they will encounter later, it just is what it is. Homeschooling is first and foremost about family and I don’t wish to banish him from our activities.
- My other big plan is to begin this school year and have a week or week and a half of the life of Buddha and Buddhism – this ties into the Silk Road for our seventh grader, and into the Ancient World for our tenth grader and it could tie into stories for our second grader. I envision this primarily as an artistic time, and hope to work with creating clay sculpting (tenth grader) and black and white drawing (seventh grader) and some other projects. I also plan to read Herman Hesse’s “Siddhartha” to the older children and work on some projects coordinated with that.
- Summer Reading lists – I am having our rising tenth grader read Barbara Kingsolver’s “The Bean Trees” and the book “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson. I also included a tenth grade reading list to pick several books of choice off of during the summer and school year for book reports. I am having our rising seventh grader read, “Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World” and probably something that bridges the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
How are you coming along planning? I wish for peaceful planning for you!
I think the best ways to get your early planning going is to see where you can combine children in blocks or topics, gather your resources, and just begin. Where is the wonder and activity, and where is the skill progression for the upper grades? I would to hear from you how you are doing!