Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Timetables part 2

In our first year of home education we were using a pack from a Queensland Steiner school.  From what I understand it was their year 1 curriculum packaged up for use at home.  For my first year of home education this was great, as I was quite of the mindset that I needed someone else to teach my child and that I didn't know how.

Early days- exploring Regent Gardens in London.

Buying a pack that told me how to gave me confidence and guidance for finding a place to start.  I was already interested in Steiner education, from my experience working in natural skin care, and coming across Dr Haushka and learning about biodynamics and eventually coming across Rudolf Steiner.  The pack gave me somewhere to start;guidance with music, circle time, main lesson and craft.  Willow was 6 and Gabriel, 4, we did a lot of it together with Gabriel joining in the best he could. We had a lot of fun, and  very much did school at home, except in a more relaxed playful way.

When home educating became a permanent decision, on return to Adelaide, my first thought was to return to a kit.  However with a bit of searching I started finding resources and then I came across Shining Star school and their Waldorf Home Educators page.  Mrs M (who manages the page) shared so many wonderful resources that I felt that I could use her information and pull a plan together, and so for grade 2, that is what I did.

Exploring the parklands in Adelaide

In the early days I was quite regimented about sticking to her plan, I felt quite impatient to do everything!  However as time progressed, I started to relax as I came to realise that there was a time,place and season for everything and that we could fit in different work in different years.  (We also largely hung out with unschoolers in Adelaide, who frequently went on about "doing nothing" at that time and I share my feelings on unschooling here- for me my attitude to this has not changed over the years, though I am more relaxed now).  I also came to realise that I could create my own lesson plans, and that sometimes new opportunities that I had been wondering about quietly fell into place as we lived life.

Afternoon tea stall by Willow at our friend's garage sale- early foray into how to make some money. 

For the remainder of our second year home educating we followed a very similar rhythm to our first year- circle time, main lesson, craft.  Thursday was our outing day whilst we were settling into home education becoming a lifestyle decision.  Our third year was much more chaotic- Arden was born- and we did things as we could manage them.  There was a time early on when we were at home more, and we followed what I now refer to as baby rhythm.  We worked to Arden's needs and we fitted around him.  As he grew our need to structure the day around him became less and less, and we settled back into a rhythm closer to our early days.

One of our favourite places in Adelaide- Botanic Park- and particularly the Moretan Bay Fig trees

Hanging out with Alice in Rymill Park

Much of our work took place around the kitchen table, or in the garden, or at the coffee table.  We, as many home educators will tell you, became educate in pyjamas sorts of people (except for me).  I still joke that we really need to buy more pyjamas than clothes.

Kindy in the kitchen-learning to count eggs

When we moved to Perth, we started doing more classes, and this changed our daily rhythm a bit.  By this time Arden was getting bigger, so there was more time for me again, and some time for quiet each morning which was lovely.  By the time Arden was 4 3/4 I was pregnant again.  At this stage Willow was 13 and we were heading towards more self-directed learning.  We spent a couple of  years doing subjects when it suited everyone, and we gave up circle time (as Arden was not very enthusiastic for it) and with baby rhythm back in place with Irving's birth I found it easier for me to manage if we were all at least doing more or less the same work.  (I was starting to feel a little crazy jumping from craft to baby to english to baby to maths to baby,etc, etc) and so we came up with the plan of start the day with music, maths, lunch, main lesson, and craft.  This helped me feel much more grounded and centred and so made life calmer for everyone.

Arden was very pleased to discover Arden St near our home in East Perth.

Our first connection with the Swing music and dance scene in Perth- heading out for dinner and we found a great Swing band and live dancing!

That said this experience was brief for everyone and at the beginning of this year,  Willow and I sat down and came up with a plan for her to meet the requirements of the national curriculum and to cover all the musical work that she needed to do to get up to an adequate level to do further musical study.  We created some guidelines and divided up her work over the year, and on the whole I have acted as manager whilst she has got on with managing where she needs to be during the week and what she needs to do when.  It has been a very positive experience in learning how to manage time and projects to achieve goals whilst balancing free time and other interests.

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