Thursday, August 14, 2014
A few weeks ago I shared a photo of my evening of homeschooling planning which sparked a lot of interest, so I thought I would share my process. First, a little background. We are a Waldorf homeschooling family. Last year was our first year of kindergarten, and this coming year will be our second year of kindergarten. In Waldorf, children do not start academics until the age of seven, until then there is a focus on nature connection, outdoor play, indoor play and rhythm. We tell a lot of stories, have fun with verses, finger plays and songs, and enjoy crafting on a regular basis.
I start my planning with the big picture, the year ahead. I fold a piece of watercolour paper into twelve, and then paint it with some watercolour paints. When it is dry I write the month in each rectangle. In each month I list the festivals we will celebrate and the date, I write the theme for the month, and any ideas I have for things we will do. I also right in birthdays, and any other dates that are important to us.
Once I have the big picture I move on to our weekly rhythm. Again, using a piece of watecolour paper, I fold it in half lengthwise, and then in five. This gives me a two week homeschool schedule, over five days. I write in the three days we will homeschool, and the rhythm for those days. We homeschool on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Each morning follows the same rhythm....breakfast, free play, circle time and story, nature walk, snack, theme work, free play, and lunch. After lunch each day there is outdoor play before coming in for a little quiet time. After quiet time we have afternoon tea and a snack and them move into the activity of the day. The activities follow this rhythm...Monday is our handwork day, Tuesday is baking day and Thursday is watercolour day. We then finish the day with more free play.
On Wednesday's we spend the morning with friends in the woods, and the afternoon is dedicated to errands. Friday's change on a two week rotation. On week 1 we skate or swim in the morning and do some sort of community service in the afternoon, and on week 2 we spend time in nature in the morning with our nature journals and then head home for an afternoon of games, reading and playing.
Reece and I are fortunate to have another little one that joins us on Monday, Thursday and Friday. She arrives at 8am, in time for breakfast, and gets picked up at 4pm. This has been wonderful for Reece in so many ways, and has been a joy for me.
With the weekly rhythm determined I move on to monthly planning. I first plan out our circle time songs, verses and finger plays, and create a little seasonal song and verse book so I can work at memorizing them all. I change the circle time monthly. I use Wynstones Press Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter Books and A Child's Seasonal Treasury to plan our circle time. Next I work on finding handwork ideas, crafts, and recipes for baking, and creating little stories for our watercolour days. Once all of that is done I check the yearly calendar for festivals and start to think about how we will celebrate.
The last thing I do is write a to do list. The list will include things I might need to pick up for our crafts, things I need to make for our story, nature table, or festival celebrations, recipes and craft ideas I need to find, and any other things I need to do to ensure I am ready for the month ahead.
At this moment I have completely planned September and October. I am working on November, and would like to have both November and December done before we start school in three weeks. Once we are into our school year I will start planning for the winter months.
I am a planner by nature, and actually enjoy this process. Is it totally necessary for the kindergarten years? Maybe not. But by planning this way over the last two years my hope was to cement what works for me so that as we move onto grade 1 next year, I can focus on other things and have my planning method solidified.
For those of you who were intrigued with the photo a few weeks ago, I hope this post has helped. I am more than happy to answer more questions, share more or even help a little if you need it. Just ask.