Wednesday, August 10, 2011

more planning

yesterday, i was remembering why i am doing this.
I'm not homeschooling for my own benefit (though I am happy as can be about it)
those little people are depending on me
I'm planning a year for my first grader, and my fourth grader.
I've decided that I have loads of wonderful ideas, and am putting it all in a Waldorf Rhythm.

I gathered all of the resources in a basket, and took my paper and coffee outside to watch the kids play while I worked.

I spent a lot of time finding antique or vintage books to use - I love the old illustrations
and the feel of a well-loved book.
I have:
My America - a social studies text from 1947 - for my son learning about Westward Expansion and the Oregon Trail
Sounds of... readers for Emma - they are from the 60s, but have so many fun rhymes and short stories and songs, and of course, the illustrations are fabulous
Times and Places - a 1947 reader for the fourth grade - full of adventure stories!
Around Green Hills - a 1948 reader for the first grade - sweet stories about animals and farm life
The Burgess Seashore Book for Children - of which I talked about here.
My Little Golden Dictionary - perfect for Emma, with color pictures and a sentence for each word - from 1957

I've also gathered:

When I first begin to plan any year, I have to take a look at the standards the government wants covered in the grade level I'm planning. This was easy enough for me. I went to the site for my state's department of education (I'm sure you could google your requirements), then I printed off the pages I needed for my first grader and my fourth grader. I'm going to put these in a binder so that I can refer to them now and again. They are good guidelines if you aren't sure what to teach your children while you are homeschooling.

Once I knew what I wanted to teach my children (taking their interests, and my interests, the guidelines for my state, what the main curriculum for their ages are in Waldorf and in Public Schools), I plan out the year this way:
I write the main lesson subjects next to each month we'll be in school. I spent a lot of time thinking about the weather and when would be most convenient to do different things. For instance, I'm going to be doing a Storyline (my favorite way to teach) called Fractionburg (based on this wonderful thing I found!) and that seems best to do when we are going to mostly be indoors during our Central Oregon winter. I'm saving the Oregon Trail unit until next Spring, when we can drive around on field trips. There was lots of erasing and rethinking.

Then I started writing out the rhythm of our day. For this, I actually had the kids come and sit with me while we thought about it. It was great, because Ethan reminded me that we should have a break around lunch time, and then Emma asked if I would read a book to them after lunch. We talked about when we'd do dance, and 4-H and swimming.
I decided to go with the Waldorf schedule of having a 2-hour block of the main lesson in the morning, then a hot healthy lunch and the handwork, nature studies and things in the afternoon.
More details on our daily rhythm later, when I get that pinned down.

Mostly, I had to share with you this book:

I bought this from a Unitarian Universalist publisher when the children were very little. Mostly, I think, it was for me. The description reads: "God comes alive in a variety of multicultural, non-sexist forms --as transcendent mystery, the mother and father of life, peace and silence, light and darkness, and more. Perfect for exploring the religious questions of curious youngsters. Twenty-nine enchanting tales suitable for four to eight year olds." Honestly, an adult could read these and get much out of them. I'm including this in our morning time before we begin the day.

When my son was 5, and I had started homeschooling him, I had him listen to the stories and draw pictures (as there aren't any) for the book. One of my favorites is a story about how a boy and a girl argue about the name of God, and they go on an adventure and find out that God is called by whatever name makes YOUR heart feel loving. Isn't that sweet?

Then, of course, I prayed...mostly for patience in this next year.
But also for clarity, for strength, for ingenuity and creativity.

edit: I WANT this book!!


mindy said...

katiebird, you so beautiful. i love what you are doing and how you are bringing your heart into what matters most in this world. you are incredible to me.

sarah elwell said...

echoing mindy's words.

I love how you found a way to bring religion and prayer into your day suitable to your own faith. That is something I never managed and always regretted.

sarah elwell said...

p.s., I've been reading about Storyline and it fascinates me how this new idea reflects so closely the ancient Socratic method of education.