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I was so thankful for this post at the end of our schooling year, so I wanted to hop on and report that Summer break is the best! I’m just working on our lessons to start after Labor Day and what a beautiful thing it was to let it all go and focus on lazy boring days 🙂
Ginger… We’re back at Ballet and, yes, we’re doing Nutcracker again! We’ll balance it all out but this artistic part of our lives fills our souls. Hope your theatre production is fantastic 🙂
Hi everyone! As we’re preparing to start our new homeschool year, I wanted to give a feedback on my previous question in case someone else stumbles upon this dilemma. In looking at the 5th and 3rd grade curriculum, I am happy to report that missing the beloved blocks I wanted to do last year really isn’t a big deal. It was more important for us to get our summer rest and energy back. I know that the children have what they need to keep moving in the grades because the home part of our homeschooling is the best part. In the end, they did get those blocks because our home is a reflection of our Waldorf homeschooling. They were immersed in the animal world, specially this summer with all the camping. We didn’t formally do a block and I certainly didn’t “teach” in the summer, and that was even better. So…if anyone else, myself included, feels sad about missing parts of the curriculum, let it go. The kids are fine… and most importantly… mom is fine too! 🙂
Hi! I’m Alejandra and I live with my husband and our 5 children in Northern California. We’ll have 5th, 3rd, 1st graders, 4 year old and the littlest one who is 17 months now. We were using other Waldorf curriculum. However, once my son turned 9/10 and I was in desperate need of support for that 9 year change, I found Donna’s advice like a breath of fresh air. We couldn’t get the curriculum at that time. However, we now are fully stocked and were able to finish this year rather strongly despite some extraordinary circumstances. Donna’s work has made such a difference in our homeschool life because she truly builds up the homeschooling mom, whom it turns can offer more to the child. I’m glad this forum has opened because I’ll need lots of help. Ahhh!!! We’re going to 5th grade. How did this happen? I also look forward to helping others in the group.
Hi Ginger! Lovely to read your beautiful recount of the year. Ahh..We’re in CA too. After all our crazy year, we did as you did. Math block, which we’re finishing next week. It felt right. And… truly as we homeschool, we give them so much more in rich experiences and life itself. That cross country trip must go in the books! We did that once 3 years ago and still is the best trip ever and so much learning/”unschooling” happened. Anyways, reading your post reminded me that I also start super strong each year. I mean, I’m a mom on a mission to become best homeschool mom of the year…lol My good intentions dwindle as the year goes by and life happens. This too say, that I will plan on doing the most important, challenging, non-negotiable blocks early in the year when we’re fresh and ready…haha! 🙂
Hi Ginger! Thank you for sharing your summer plans. They all sound like so much fun. We’re morning folk too here 🙂 My energy levels plummet after 3 pm. Our main intention for this Summer is to rest and do nothing, which really can’t happen for parents with little ones and so many kids. But, they key to success for us in doing that is…drumb roll…camping!! We have our first camping trip coming up in 2 weeks. We like quiet areas by the ocean where we can be in nature all day, I don’t have to clean anything, and everybody is always in good spirits and so happy, tired, and full of self discoveries. Besides that, we want to share many stories, work on art projects, music, etc. I want to sew some dresses for myself and the girls (a new goal of mine); farmer’s markets, tending the garden (we used to have chickens but now we’re on a chicken break though I miss them) and just to be open for play and lots of nature. We will do some ballet and gymnastics classes but it won’t be a weekly commitment. Ginger, you mentioned your son Oliver will be in a musical production as part of the choir. May I ask how old he is and what are the commitments in terms of rehearsals and shows- including rehearsals at theater before the show? My world is the Ballet world. However, now that I’m a mom, and Waldorf, I find it really hard to think of the girls being in productions when they are so young. My oldest is 6. Where we attend there are 3 performances a year (2 in theater)! Each performance involves 2 or 3 whole days at the theater. I get it as a dancer. That’s what I used to do. But as a mom, and knowing Waldorf philosophy, I scream NO! Too awakening…wait till they’re older. Just curious and sharing.
Hi everyone! I had this question as well for I am always curious about what other brilliant moms do. In the early years I was very relaxed. We did as we went and Life was the curriculum. Thank God for Waldorf as when you have children starting K and you have 3 little ones and are pregnant…well… that Life is enough! So I always treasure those years now because they were sweet. Fast forward last year with 3rd grade, 1, and K1… I had to up my game 🙂 So I started planning with a month ahead and do weekly or biweekly sit ins for more detailed planning still with a new baby 😉 Now this year is where things have come all together a bit better. I feel like having gone through the K-3 cycle once gave me the wisdom of a more experienced home school mom. What truly helped was Donna’s Christopherus curriculum overview. Now I can really see the whole picture from 12 to K and work backwards. This puts me more at ease. What I have in store for next year is to devote 2 weeks in the summer, in a very relaxed way, with a glass of wine (that was a great idea Kristin) sit with a notebook and the 3 binders we’ll use (1, 3, 5). Read Donna’s amazing words of wisdom. Get the big picture for the year; pencil down ideas as they come; see where we could combine lessons; determine when we’ll do what blocks. Fall is an amazing time for more inward work, so I’ll keep that in mind. Look for holidays, vacation, birthdays, etc. to prioritize around our schedule and start thinking of stories and material I will need to support the lessons.
A big one is what new skill I will need to learn. I will then pull out a calendar and note on which months we’ll do what blocks to make sure we have a good breathing time to complete things. I will not go over details or anything like that. When Summer is coming to an end, I will go back to my weekly planning in an old-fashioned teacher planner one can get at the Dollar store. I can’t plan details in advanced or have things too structured. This overwhelms me. But I like to have the big picture (my walls/borders) so that then I can fill in the circle with details that will be pertinent to the growing children. In a way it’s hard for me to predict what my child will need in, say, 6 months.
Donna, would you please forward the link for your Homeschooling Big Families talk when you find it? Thanks!
Hi Kristin! I love your idea of starting in the afternoon after chores are done and kids have played. I can’t wait to hear what you decided. It was so lovely to see a description of your homeschool life. Many blessings.
Hi Ginger! I loved to hear your description of summers. Let the children play 🙂
Hi everyone! Posting here as I just asked Kristin’s very same question in our FB group! Mama of 5 here. Finishing grades K, 2, 4 plus a 4 year old and 17 month olds. Thank you Donna for transferring me to this thread. The sharing and wisdom is wonderful. So… I have been contemplating on homeschooling year round like Kristin even though my gut says NO!because of Donna’s very eloquent explanation. My reasoning was to finish important blocks with my 4th grader: Man and Animal and the Norse Mythology. We had some extraordinary circumstances this year that stopped our lessons for a good half of the year. But, I also recognize I’m tired, I need a break, my husband who is a teacher will be off and in our hearts we dream of camping for days and eating s’mores and do nothing structured or planned. Part of me just wanted to lessen the load I have the rest of the year. If I could do less but for longer stretch, would it work? Since I’ve now decided to take our well-deserved break starting June 14th and resuming after Labor Day, what would you recommend in terms of finishing those 2 blocks? Start with them in 5th grade. He’s 10 and will turn 11 at the end of December. Forget about them? This makes me sad just because I know his little soul needs to hear these stories. Or just present it as stories we share this Summer? Story telling is huge in our family so maybe we can do that but we wouldn’t be doing the accompanying lessons in the Good Book. I feel happy where my 2nd grader and Kindie are finishing up. And also with Summer off I can just be more present with the littlest ones. I know it will all work out. Thank you 🙂
Christopherus curriculum materials are so clear and accessible.
I often recommend them, both as a starting point for new parents who are just beginning to study Waldorf Ed., and to more seasoned homeschoolers looking for curriculum ideas. Donna's words are like an offer of a reassuring hand, to make me feel: 'I can do it' and to help me relax and know that my instincts are right.
She deeply understands developmental readiness, and her encouraging words have often helped me to observe my child with a fresh perspective, and to relax, knowing that I don't need to push the learning process ... Having Donna's books to refer to is like having a wry and witty best friend, just an arm's length away, ready to share her wisdom and encouragement.
Thea Bodger, homeschooler and Waldorf early years teacher
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