I am starting a new series of Monday posts that will hopefully help me stay on top of my planning for next year. I will be teaching grades 1 and 5. I don’t use a scripted curriculum or syllabus and pull from a variety of sources. These posts will not be linear – I promise you that! – however, one thing this blog has done for me is helped me to organize and plan.
I have been very casually planning since about March. That’s when I seem to get curious about what blocks are coming up next year. I begin to keep a lookout for resources being sold on the Waldorf Used Curriculum Yahoo Group. I also start to gather things I already own. I purchased the bins in the photo above to help corral everything. The largest is for grade 5 and the middle one is for grade 1. I have books, printouts, notes to myself, handwork patterns, and who-knows-what in there. I am not discerning at all at this point. If it somehow relates to next year’s blocks, it goes in the bin. The smallest bin is like my shadow; I keep whatever I am currently working with in there. Because this is the first year I will be teaching two grades, I feel like I need to be super organized from the beginning. I am trying to color code everything that I mark: blue post-its are grade 5, green are grade 1. This will help when I go back and start planning in more detail. I also keep a notebook in my purse, because I find that throughout the planning process, I never know when I’m going to get an idea.
I am just, just at the baby, baby stage of starting to think about personal goals for everyone for next year. Here is a peek at the front of my notebook though:
“Fly!” It’s not a word that usually resonates with me – not sure why, it’s a great word. After I finished collaging the book, I felt like it needed a title. This jumped out at me. We’ll see how it manifests.
This past week’s planning consisted of getting a thorough overview of both grades. I listened to grade overview audio recordings by both Donna Simmons and Melisa Nielsen. I also listened to several interviews Donna Ashton conducted on the Global Waldorf Expo. I spent a lot of time reading The Christopherus Waldorf Curriculum Overview for Homeschoolers. I have lots of post-its in there marking different sections for both boys. I also have several post-its stuck to the cover listing different resources that were mentioned that I want to keep an eye out for.
- Jude: Grade 1 – Awakening
- Letters/Grimm’s Fairy Tales
- Numbers/4 Processes
- Form Drawing
- Vincent: Grade 5 – Balance/Equanimity
- Ancient Mythologies (Indian, Persian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Greek)
- Ancient Greek History
- Beginning Geometry
- North American Geography (Canada, Mexico, Caribbean Islands)
Let’s just say I am glad this wasn’t my first year homeschooling with Waldorf-inspired methods! There is a lot packed in there – especially grade 5. And because we didn’t come to Waldorf until Vincent was in grade 3, I am planning on including him in a lot of the artistic and story components of the first grade curriculum (fairy tales, form drawing, painting, modeling, handwork, drawing).
My oh-so-loose plan is to do a 2-day rhythm (Monday and Tuesday) that is all grade 5, except for a telling and then retelling of a grade 1 fairy tale during circle time. Wednesday will be all grade 1 artistic interpretation of the story, with Vincent participating as well. I have not done cursive with Vincent yet, so when I do the printed letters with Jude, Vincent will do the same activity with cursive. Thursday and Friday with be another 2-day rhythm for grade 5. We have never done a full 5-day school week before, so I don’t how this is all going to work. Like I said, this is the very beginning of my planning – nothing is set in stone.
Have you started your planning? Do tell!