Wednesday, November 5, 2014

{Waldorf Homeschooling Notes} One day at a time

sunrise main lesson block - weather main lesson block - weather handwork handwork homeschooling horse class

Forgive my rambling, but in my current state, it appears rambling is all I can do.  Maybe I will look back at this one day, after years of homeschooling, and laugh at myself ...

Last week we officially started homeschooling K. I say officially because it's not like we weren't schooling before but it was more of a Waldorf unschooling method. I enjoyed the ease of this method but I noticed that K really needed more of a set rhythm, she thrives when she knows what is coming next. So it was time to make some changes.

Adjusting to a new rhythm is never easy. I really should have eased us into these homeschooling days a bit more slowly. We are all having spells of crankiness, myself included. But when I announced to K the week before that we were starting a new homeschool schedule she was literally jumping and dancing and chomping at the bit to begin. I didn't want to let her down or have her lose her enthusiasm. So I pulled out my Christopherus curriculum (which we love, by the way) and got to work.

Now I am up before the sun each morning preparing myself for the day's lessons. This is after I stayed up way too late the night before planning those lessons or creating main lesson book examples. Our first couple of homeschooling days began at 7:30am and didn't end until dinnertime. And that was just with teaching K! I have to keep reminding myself things will calm down and we will adjust to the new rhythm of our days. This is all so new to us so I know a lot of trial and error will be involved.

 I am exhausted to the point that I can't even bring myself to pick up my knitting needles (say it isn't so!) It's a fulfilled feeling of exhaustion but still exhaustion nonetheless! I can remember a friend back at PWS (Hi Jennifer!) telling me to be prepared for lesson planning taking over all my time and knitting collecting dust in the corner. I kind of blew it off thinking I see people in blogland knitting and homeschooling so I should be able to do it, too. Ha! Maybe in the future I will be, but not at the moment.

Transitions are probably the biggest culprit in our long days. It is taking us quite a long time to move from one thing to another, especially in the morning as we prepare for our daily nature walk. It takes us hours to get out of the house, throwing the rest of the day way off track. So I am trying to come up with some smoother ways to transition from one thing to the next.

We have had a couple of rough days this week so I decided to change things up and focus on Saint Martin. We'll dive into our Native American studies next week, instead. I think that being flexible is a key to making our homeschooling journey work for us.

One thing K and I both noticed after our first week is that she needs a bit more variety. The way the lesson blocks are planned with our curriculum is too repetitive for K. She is used to her Waldorf school days back at PWS when she would have main lesson in the morning every day but then Spanish on Monday, handwork on Tuesday and Thursday, games on Wednesday, eurythmy on Friday... things of that nature. So I am working on moving some things around to accommodate this need.

Panic and fears from my lack of confidence have been creeping in on me at least once a day. I constantly find myself thinking back to K's days at PWS and how magical and inspiring they were. How could I ever recreate this? I have always studied Waldorf early childhood education, not the grades... Ack! What am I doing?! But then the image of her eager face each day as we begin main lesson and the thought not being able to give her this education we both love hits me and I calm back down. Thank God for handwork. That's one area that I actually do have a bit of confidence and feel more relaxed. We might be doing handwork every day for awhile.

My hope is to eventually get our rhythm running smoothly so that our school days end in the early afternoon around the time Kevin leaves for work. He has been incredibly helpful and supportive keeping C and Little L occupied and happy while I work with K. I am incredibly grateful for that.

Well, that is the raw truth of where I am currently at. Perhaps I will come back and touch on this subject again very soon, but not until I have had a full night's sleep!

Many new things in life have a learning curve. We just have to learn to adapt and adjust. Deep breaths. We'll get through this one day at a time.

p.s. - Tanya, your inspiring words have been keeping me going. Thank you!
"You will get better, I promise. The first year is a learning curve for everyone so keep that in mind and when all else fails, knit, paint, tell stories, sing, cook and get out in nature and you have a successful day!"

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