I'm planning out next year's curriculum, especially focusing on my eldest son, who will be 7 and in First Grade. I have purchased a curriculum to work with which I like for the most part, and will follow that with regards to Main Lessons, with some tweaks to suit us better.
I have a question about doing the other lessons (I've seen them called periods and other things. For clarity, I will call them Lesson A and B). I like the daily rhythm suggested by our curriculum to do Lesson A just before lunch and Lesson B in the afternoon. Also, I will plan on doing a more head-learning subject in the morning and a hands one, which my younger sons can join in with, in the afternoon.
Our curriculum does Lesson A and B in blocks like the Main Lesson. So, for example, we'd do knitting as Lesson B for 4 weeks at a stretch, or one week of baking, followed by 4 weeks of recorder for Lesson A. I'm not sure about this approach. I found this old thread while searching online for a schedule for non-main-lesson blocks (I'm sure there is a more elegant way to say that!). Post #7 got me thinking. It's a weekly schedule for a first grader in a Waldorf school. I didn't cut and paste due to length. If you prefer not to follow the link, in short the schedule has only the Main Lesson taught in blocks. The remainder of the lessons follow a weekly schedule.
Two things strike me.
1) Every topic is covered each week, which seems like a nice counterpoint to the blocks of the main lesson (but I worry that the three-day rhythm then wouldn't be happening for Lesson A & B. How does that work?)
2) In our (purchased) curriculum there is no foreign language at all in Grade 1. I have reservations about this as one of the things that drew me to Waldorf was the early introduction of language in the schools. But I don't want to go overly academic too quickly, either.
I would like to hear from other Waldorf homeschoolers about how you manage Lesson A & B. Do you do them in blocks and perhaps cover fewer subjects over the course of the year? Do you do them in a weekly schedule, maybe changing things up by trimester or something? How does your approach work out for you? In fact, how many subjects do you cover, which is a tough question if you assume that 'Handwork' will itself cover lots of sub-topics like woodworking, knitting, crafts. Can you give me an idea if the school schedule above is more or less rigorous than your first grade schedule? Did it work for you?
I guess I wonder particularly if something about the homeschool setting makes doing these additional lessons in blocks somehow more suitable (learning is still home-centered and involves things that don't happen at school, so a less-intense academic schedule works better? Multiple ages at home? IDK?).
Any thoughts about how to use Lesson A and Lesson B to the best advantage at home?
Just a quick reply as I am homeschooling first grade for the second time around now :-) I did NOT follow a block schedule for Lesson A and Lesson B. I found it didn't really work well for my family (I have four children, two are grades aged, one kindy and a toddler). Instead, I followed more of a daily/weekly rhythm. Marsha Johnsons site had a pretty good schedule for that in her files under the first language arts block, I believe. So for us, we always do Form Drawings on Mondays in the morning. Our afternoon schedule follows a kindy day simply b/c that is when I can squeeze it in (I spend a good time of my morning with my third grader): M-baking, T-modeling, W-handwork, Th-painting, F-free day with friends. Recorder practice gets put in the morning time as well. I hope this helps. One things I can tell you is that you really can't get a feel for if something works or not until you just do it, ya know! Good Luck! I LOVE first grade!!!