Getting Started/Re-started

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If you are panicking about school starting, if your rhythm is non-existent, if you haven’t planned one single thing for next year, if you have just made a last-minute decision to homeschool, take a breath. I promise you, this is a foolproof plan for getting started.

#1 Go for a walk in the morning. This is a great way to start the day. It gets everybody’s ya-yas out, and doing it every day after breakfast will begin to shape your rhythm. Just get outside. Don’t have it be a nature lesson or a historical walking tour. It’s fine if these things casually come up, but just get everyone out of the house and walking. Walk for as long as you can, building up to an hour if you have nothing else planned for the morning. When I first started walking with my boys, they were nice and tired when we came home. I gave them a snack, and found myself with some free time where I could do some planning. Usually I had a lot of ideas generated on the walk – getting them down on paper was a step in the right direction.

OK, after you’re walking consistently for about a week . . .

#2 Have afternoon storytime. I have written a lot about storytime. If you get a basket, put some really good books in it, and read to your children every afternoon, you are doing something great. Depending on the ages of your children, walking and reading could be enough.** Or perhaps, enough for a good long while, and then enough to build upon. If you are uncomfortable reading aloud, start with audio books. My advice is to go for the classics – these books have stood the test of time for a reason. You can take a look at our reading lists here.

There, if you are walking in the morning and having storytime in the afternoon, you have 2 anchor points during your day. Bonus points can be added if you have predictable mealtimes. Again if your children are little, especially if your oldest is under 7 or 8, relax. You’re doing enough** – or at least enough to buy yourself some time to get a solid plan together. However, if your children are older, and you want to do more . . .

#3 Do some math. I’m not talking about researching every math curriculum out there and spending a lot of money. Math can be baking. Math can be playing games. Math can be playing cards. Math can be skip counting, times tables with beanbags, baseball stats, football scores. I have some cheap and easy math ideas in this post and this post. The idea is just to begin introducing math into your homeschooling day. See how your children learn. See what they like. My favorite resource for beginning with Waldorf math is Melisa Nielsen’s math book. It is simple, yet thorough, and not expensive.

OK, you can feel good about getting some math in. And now, last but not least . . .

#4 Recite some poetry. This could be nursery rhymes, tongue twisters, seasonal verses. This could be simple songs. Interacting with language orally promotes literacy on so many levels. Check out a book of poetry from the library, and read it together. Pick a poem to memorize. If you really want to impress your kids, memorize “The Jabberwock” by Lewis Carroll and recite it to them one morning after your walk. Donna Simmons suggests this in her book Living Language, and it is a sure fire way to generate some enthusiasm around poetry.

Do these four things consistently for 3-4 days a week with your children, and you are really doing big things!! Add a baking day. Add a library day. You’re doing it. You’re homeschooling. You’re starting a rhythm. Congratulations!!

**Obviously you need to check the homeschooling regulations for your particular state, as they vary widely. However, my advice – no matter what rules need to be followed – would be to start slow and to start small. Build a solid foundation and move on from there.

***

Want to see what our first two years with Waldorf looked like? Click the images below.

This post is a part of Waldorf Wednesday. See all the links here.IMG_0454

10 thoughts on “Getting Started/Re-started

  1. Pingback: Monthly Link Up: Getting Started with Homeschooling | Sure as the World

  2. Hi, this is my first time to your blog. Found it via Pinterest and researching Waldorf-inspired homeschooling. We have discussed homeschooling on and off since my daughter was born 4 years ago but I recently just go serious about looking into since my daughter turned 4. I have had a lot of doubts about my ability to home school and I found this post very inspiring. I don’t need to start anything “official” for another two years but I think we will start incorporating the daily walks!

    • Walks are a great way to start. And I will let you in on a secret: everybody doubts their ability to homeschool! LOL For me, it has been trying to get to the bottom of that doubt that helps me to quiet those voices in my head. Also keeping the ‘why’ of why I homeschool at the forefront. Everyone’s whys are different.

      It’s a journey, for sure. Good luck Samantha!

  3. Pingback: Our morning walk | Homeschool PDX

  4. New to your site and loving what I am finding.

    This is wonderful advice, looks a lot like our days and we aren’t “waldorfers”. I have 4 children; 8yo son, 6yo son, 4yo daughter, 6 month old daughter, wondering how to transition the oldest child to doing more “school” work (like spelling, writing, grammar). Like I said we don’t “do” waldorf and I haven’t read much about.

    • Our homeschooling before discovering Waldorf looked a lot like reading books and pursuing different interests. We are kinda taking a break from Waldorf right now and going back to reading books and pursing different interests, LOL. I started moving into more formal academics when my oldest was about 8 as well. At that age, I don’t think they need a lot, but just a little every day really sets a firm foundation. Have you looked at the Brave Writer curriculum? She has a great philosophy IMHO, although I just started using it this year (grade 7).

      It’s a journey for sure.
      Glad you’re here.
      Sheila

  5. Shiela, we started morning walks last week which was poor timing on my part with the horribly cold weather. But a great way to start the day, none-the-less!! I also tried adding reading hour after lunch which we haven’t done since summer and my daughter ended up finishing the hour after I fell asleep. :-) (Dang that new reclining couch and toasty fire!!) Thanks again for the inspiration. I find myself with much better perspective today than a week ago.
    http://c219academy.blogspot.com/2015/01/rhythm-morning-walk.html

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