Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Transitioning, pt. 2 - Doing things "right"

Maybe I should label this some kind of "Making Peace with Waldorf" series.  Because really, this has been an interesting journey for us.  Confusing, mostly.  Back in September, I wrote about how rhythmless I was, and how there was no way I could get into the whole Walforf way of life, despite my desire.  And yet, here we are.  I'm still unsure about a lot of things.  And (once again) I'm getting caught up in the right way to do things.

In my first Transitioning post, I talked about all the activities we were incorporating.  We're still doing all of those things, and telling stories, and we're still working on our rhythm.  Like I said, however, I get hung up in doing things the right way.  I know better, but I get sucked in anyway.  I go through a brief period of Curriculum Crazy every time I try on a new style hat.  I read everything i can about a method, organize myself to death, and basically lose my mind for a couple of weeks.  Then, when I come to my senses, I remember that there is no right way.  We don't fit in any perfect little style box, and I'm glad for it.  I'm free to pick and choose ideas and techniques from all the different styles and methods to find something I like.  But . . . it's completely exhausting to get myself to that point.

This time, I got really confused because Waldorf is so different from anything we'd done before.  I take that back.  We were doing a nice kind of slope into it once I started in with our relaxed secular Charlotte Mason stuff, wich made for an fairly easy transition.  Still, I got lost.  Easily.  Mostly, I think the grade leveling threw me off.  You see, my daughter's birthday is mid-September, which allowed her to start school a full year earlier than about half of her classmates, so she turned seven this year, which would have been 2nd grade if we'd continued in public school.  Waldorf philosophy is pretty adamant that, based on her age and how kids develop, um, spiritually as well as cognitively, that this should be her first grade year.   Ack.  Now, I'm not a stickler for grade levels.  I say teach where they are.  But . . . there's good reason for their "rules."  That the second grade saint & hero stories will mean so much more to her at eight than at seven.  And you know what?  I buy that.

So, what now?  Well, that means planning becomes complicated.  I'm not going to hold her back in math just to follow a typical Waldorf curriculum outline and get her on track for 2nd grade next year, so I'll always need a separate math curriculum.  Which means I can't relax and buy some curriculum-in-a-box.  I don't normally want to, but winter was hard and I'm tired, and it would be a nice option.  So, I'm planning from scratch next year.  Again.  *sigh*  I'm trying not to let it get me down.  And, yes, I know I have plenty of time to plan for next year, but I think I'd like to get a lot of planning out of the way so we can relax and not think too much about school this summer, even though we'll still be doing plenty of educational stuff.   Mama needs a planning break, I think.  Anyway, I'm thinking next year will be a big mish-mash of Waldorf, Classical, Charlotte Mason, & unschooling.  Confused yet?  I am.  So far this is where I'm thinking I'll pull stuff from next year:

Literature - Waldorf grade 2 saint/hero stories, Aesop's fables, & trickster tales; classics 

Grammar & Writing -
workbooks; writing/editing stories; copywork from literature

Spelling -
 Spelling City & other online lists

Math -
 Singapore Math 2B; considering pulling the second half of the year together from scratch (yes, I may have lost my mind)

History/Geography - Medieval Period (continuing our chronological study of history, but slowing down our pace); a few culture/geography mini-units

Science -
unschooling/student-led units mostly; lots of nature studies; we always do more than necessary in this subject

French - dunno; struggling to find a good fit

Art & Handwork - Waldorf

So, really, we'll do a hodgepodge 3rd grade with blocks/unit studies and Waldorf 2nd grade stories, art & handwork.  Am I making things too difficult?  I keep trying to simplify, but I always come back to this.  Please, feel free to tell me I'm crazy.


  1. It looks really good to me--sounds like you've even got a firm grasp on what you want, which a lot of moms cannot say. :)
    The unit studies will give you wiggle room for planning breaks and fun time. I think slowing down(but not in math!)will be highly beneficial. My third dd started 1st grade when she was 5, so she is technically 5th grade NOW, but her comprehension/understanding/appreciation levels are definitely more on a 4th grade plain. . . so the Waldorf idea sounds just about right to me.
    Have you looked at Math Mammoth? It's easy, inexpensive, and very versatile. My 1st grader is using it, and I'm THRILLED. Early years math is SO difficult to find.
    I'm not so sure the "curriculum crazies" aren't just part and parcel with home educating. . . (:

  2. We started with unit blocks last summer, but we got away from it a bit in the fall. You're right, it really has helped us to start with them again.

    I've heard of Math Mammoth, but I never looked into it. I'll definitely check that out. Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. No crazier than the rest of us! I am trying to combine Classical with Interest-Led, and throwing in some Charlotte Mason Living Books/Living Math stuff for good measure.

    It might be the road to crazy town.

  4. I think it all sounds good, Michelle! I think that most of us find that we grab from lots of different methods of homeschooling the longer we homeschool.

  5. Deb - As long as I have company on my way down Crazy Town Rd., I'll be fine. :)

    Angie - Thanks! I knew from the beginning I wanted to mix and match things, but I lose my mind occasionally.

  6. Hey, I can't even figure out where I am most of these days. A real "curriculum" or "style" is so confining for me. And nobody puts Tracey in a corner. ;)

  7. Tracey, I really really really felt that way going into this year. Then, somehow, I wound up in crazy town. Not that fitting in a style is crazy. But it is for me. It makes me feel crazy. And yet . . . here I sit. Maybe it's winter crazy. I'm feeling better already . . .


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