(Just a brief and gentle reminder, this post is copyrighted. The posts on the Early Years and Early Grades seem the most likely to end up in other people’s work uncredited (and being sold for a profit!) If you want to use something from this post in a public way, PLEASE link to it or credit my work in some way. Please do not write a curriculum and use my ideas. Many of us with experience are becoming reluctant to share due to this, and it hurts the homeschooling community. Food for thought).
I am so glad you asked! It is going very, very slowly. Between planning high school biology as a year long course, our ninth grade blocks, and our sixth grade blocks, which I did a lot of work on and re-did them all from scratch (this is our second time through sixth grade)…well, first grade is coming along slowly, even though it is my third time going through it. It is hard to get back into gnome and fairy land after planning high school, and also to juggle between high school, middle school, and first grade. It is a situation unique to Waldorf homeschooling families and very different than a teacher in a Waldorf School setting. At any rate, this is what I have so far:
My block layout and a general structure for the day and week. This essentially includes jumping rope, hand clapping or rhythmic games or skipping for more movement, something from my favorite Movement for Childhood (see the article “Classroom Activities to Support Learning Readiness” on their website), our Opening Verse, a seasonal Circle that is fairly paired down, some active math, and then our Review/Main Lesson Material. Depending upon the day of the week, I have also assigned my two helpers to do something with our first grader – usually this is cooking (August we will be working with peaches) or knitting ( I plan to use the story of Captain Tinker knitting a scarf for Jenny the Cat, for those of you who are familiar with the Cat Club books) , math and language arts games, or painting, drawing, or modeling that I want to do outside of our Main Lesson work. I also always have several options for movement breaks on hand that I can pull out when we need a minute to get re-focused in our work.
A lovely 3 week block of Form Drawing. I made up a container story involving a farmer, a little boy who loves to be up in the trees, a turtle who lays a golden egg, a giant, and a journey to a kingdom. It is actually not a very complicated story, but it encompasses a lot of movement and many line and curve forms, and also introduces counting as the different characters go over things on their journey. This should be a fun one to set up with little wooden figures, silks, river stones, and sand.
Our second block is also a three week block and will involve our qualities of numbers. This block will include the same general structure I detailed above, but I will also introduce the pentatonic flute in this block with a story along with continuing many rhythmic activities . For our actual Main Lesson, I took the story, “Robert’s Harvest Loaf” from the back of the book “All Year Round” and extended it and added more characters to make it into a story about the qualities of numbers 1-8. After number 8, I am using individual stories for the numbers 9-12. I am spending a lot of time in this block on developing rhythm in different ways, to really imprint that in the body as I feel this is a large key to learning mathematics in the early grades, and in forming spacial relationships of these numbers in relation to the circle. So we are using many active math techniques and games and a lot of bodily movement. This will also be our time leading up to Michaelmas, so we have some seasonal preparations to do. We will be cooking with apples this month and going apple picking, and tent camping as well.
I am sitting down today to write our third block, our Introduction to Letters. For this block, I am envisioning a lot of fingerplays, and fun with sounds and rhymes. I plan to make a story off of Dorothy Harrer’s story, “The Prince Who Could Not Read.” I am envisioning expanding it ( a lot) and weaving fairy tales into it to include the letters B, C, D, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P and W. Our next block will cover the other letters and the vowels.
Our fourth block will be our second math block, and I am planning on introducing the four processes through bears. Not gnomes, but bears. 🙂 Black bears live in our state and in fact we had one in our neighborhood this summer. Bears can climb trees and swim, they can live in hollow trees or elsewhere and eat a variety of things that lend itself to math processes (berries, fruit, acorns, grasses, insects). I think this will be a great block full of fun and being outside, along with more camping. This block should write itself fairly quickly.
Our fifth block will be in December, and this will be a nature block and preparing for the holidays. We will most likely do nature walks and hikes, crafts for the holiday and for winter, animal stories of the animals in our areas, and possibly look at making a calendar, which is suggested in the First Grade Christopherus Syllabus (I have a syllabus from 2005, so not sure if that has changed over the years!).
So that is what I have so far.
I would love to hear how your planning is coming along,