Getting Out the Planner!

Well, there is no better time than the present to begin planning for next year.  Actually, I have been planning for the past 6 weeks.  Now, I am working on the specifics.  I use ideas from many people on how to plan including: Waldorf Essentials, Waldorf-Inspired Learning, and various other blogs (do a web search on homeschool planning and you will be amazed!).  I am basically using the same method that I used last year.  Overall, I think the method worked well.

First, I decide on my themes for each child.  The themes guide which blocks that I want to cover.  Second, I make goals for each child for the year.  (I also have the kids make up goals for the year but we do that at the beginning of the school year.)

In the next step, I take the themes, goals and typical grade-appropriate Waldorf blocks to decide what blocks to consider.  I decide on 9 themes/blocks.  Then I get to work looking for books, activities, poems, copywork, etc that will support each block.  Last year, we focused on grammar in our language arts.  This year, we plan to focus on writing using the grammar learned last year.  Once I develop the blocks and the monthly plans, I break everything up into weeks.  I do not make daily plans because our weeks change each month.

I plan to make weekly work plans in my final step.  I am not there yet, but I am close.  I think that I have all of my curriculum planned out and purchased except for one.  I will write on the specifics for each child in the next couple of weeks.  For now, I am still planning.  If you see me, then you will probably see this:

How is your planning going?

This Moment

Originally inspired by “Soulemama“: {this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a simple, special, extraordinary (sometimes just silly) moment.

Summer Anxiety

Oh, how I love summer.  Well, I used to love summer.  I enjoy(ed) coasting through the days without a schedule, sleeping in(lol-well, at least sleeping past 6:30), and going where-ever the day takes me.  Unfortunately for a person with anxiety, the lack of a schedule and an irregular plan is far from enjoyable.

Every summer, I remember the importance of rhythm.  My children thrive on a rhythm.  They need it.  Without a rhythm, they are lost.  I, on the other hand, like to live life without a plan and as the day takes me.  Do you see the problem here?  The two ways do not mesh AT ALL and the result is stress, frustration, melt downs and all over unhappiness.  You would think that by now, I would have figured this out.  However, I haven’t.  Every summer we experience the above-stress, frustration, melt downs and overall unhappiness-mainly with only one child but the frustration takes over the entire family.

So we head back to the schedule and the rhythm.  I am still trying to figure out how to set a schedule and a rhythm for the summer but I will figure one out soon.  You would think that since we are together all the time during the school year that the summer would go smoothly.  Unfortunately, everyone’s schedule changes.  There are no classes in the summer-only camps.  Horseback riding is sporadic due to camps and vacations.  The gym schedule changes.  And there are kids to play with who are not around during the school year to play with.  Sounds like fun to me, but the changes bring increased anxiety and stress to my youngest.  He tries so hard to take control of his day but he needs a plan and a back up plan.  Until he can do this for himself, I must help with the plan by providing a rhythm.

Are you able to relax during the summer or are do you need to keep a rhythm?

This Moment

I recently found a new blog that I am truly enjoying called Barnraised.  Each week she has post called “This Moment.”   The post includes a photo and these words:  “Originally inspired by “Soulemama“: {this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a simple, special, extraordinary (sometimes just silly) moment.” (this quote came from her site).  I LOVE this idea and would like to join in.  Please take the time to check out her site.  Her “This Moment” photos capture beautiful moments.

So on to my photo (from now on, there won’t be as many words).

Parks painting a horse at camp.

Parks painting a horse at camp.

Finding Passion- Hiking

Finding Passion-hiking

As you can tell from previous blogs, hiking ranks high on our list of activities.  All three of the children love to hike and explore in the woods.  Luckily, we also have many friends who enjoy the same activity and are up for a challenge.

I have to smile when I think about our journey with hiking.  I hiked a little bit in college but nothing much.  Once  had children, I don’t think I hiked at all.  We played outside ALOT but did not venture into the woods much.  Enter homeschooling-we began homeschooling in about the third month of my oldest child’s third grade year.  At the time, my friend also had begun homeschooling.  In her homeschooling research, she learned about the importance of children doing nature study.  She drug me out on a hike and had the children sit in silence for a few minutes.  That hike alone changed our lives forever.

My children fell in love with what they experienced, and I fell in love with their excitement and enthusiasm.  We now hike once a week.  The kids do not need formal nature study.  They study their natural world independently.  Sawyer knows which squirrels live in the nest in the tree outside her window.  Sims notices how the trails are changing with the seasons.  Parks keeps an eye on various areas of the yard and updates us on changes.  All three children are amazingly in tune with the natural world.  They take notice of the changing winds and weather.  They sit with nature because nature is where they feel the most at peace.

We are now starting on the next step to hiking.  We went on our first backpacking trip this week.  It was short in time and length.  We learned.  We experienced, and we are ready to go again. If you would have told me ten years ago that I would some day be an outdoor enthusiast, I would have laughed.  My children have taught me so much and I am so glad that we now all share the passion of hiking!