I'm familiar with Waldorf education. I have always been drawn to it, bought books, sold books, bought more books, sold them again. I love it, but I cannot fully commit to it. And the reason why is because I think I get overwhelmed. I have 4 children and 2 of them are school age; they are going into 3rd and 6th grade. Then I have a preschooler and a toddler. I just don't know how I would divide up my time, so that I can ensure that everything gets done that needs to get done.
Does anyone here have a larger family and is doing Waldorf at home? I would love to know how you do it!
I want to preface this by saying I am not a whole-life Waldorf homeschooler. We tried full-on Waldorf last year and it was a bit much for me...but we use a lot of the styles of learning and the artwork...and I enjoy integrating many Waldorf math lessons into our days.
We have 7 children, 3 are graduated, and 4 are still homeschooling. My active schoolers are 12, 9, and 7. We are using Moving Beyond the Page, but we do Main Lesson books for the curriculum rather than just filling in worksheets.
I say all this to give you an idea of how my situation is different from yours. We have a 4 month old baby who is beginning to leave the "stay in the sling and coo" stage, so things are getting interesting. It's only because I've done this before that I'm not freaking out.
1) We homeschool at the kitchen table. I can start a meal or get some bread rising while we work on lessons.
2) My children are voracious readers, except for the 7yo who is still finding her wings with reading. So my 9 and 12yo's do quite a bit of their work without too much input from me.
3) Whenever I need to nurse the baby, I sit with them and help help help.
4) This may not be a popular approach, but I have taught all of them to sit with hands folded on their work when they need help. I can't take the gabble of four or more kids asking for my attention, and the quiet gives them time to figure out the problem quite often.
5) We believe mentoring is a large and important part of growing good people. My 9 and 7 yo's are especially close, and so the 9yo often reads to or instructs his sister in lessons...I don't mean long, drawn-out lessons, I mean reading the instructions at the top of a page. :)
6) We paint a lot together. Some days we do math and painting, or math and "form drawing" (coloring!) and that's all.
This is long, I know. Here is an example of what we did today:
Morning, breakfast while I read a story from a book we're working through ("The Shifty Lad"). This is our just-for-fun book. Since we are just awake, the baby is thrilled to sit near us in a little rocker and play and talk.
Then they get out their math and we all do Life of Fred lessons. The 12 and 9 kids mostly work alone. I read the lessons to the 7yo and she writes out her work and answers in her math main lesson book. I am nursing the baby during math.
Snack and a quick run outside (because we live in Alaska and it wasn't raining today). The baby naps off and on.
Back inside and literature units are out on the table...we are studying Native Americans and my 12 yo is reading Steinbeck's "The Pearl." We discuss and work quietly while the baby plays on the floor.
The baby is getting ready for her big nap, so I make lunch while the kids each read for fun (the 7yo has her own beginner books), or they can draw. Lunch is usually light, composed of leftovers and a quick fix....today was salmon with zucchini and spaghetti noodles. Super quick since the salmon was left over.
Baby goes down for her nap and we go over nitty-gritty stuff...vocabulary work, dictionary searches, science questions.
Time for a run to town and then dance lessons, so the baby gets her nap in the car after that.
When I was dealing with toddlers, I did a lot of set-up the night before. My 12yo as a toddler loved scissors, and was very careful, so we gave him huge sheets of leftover moving paper, or paper sacks, or whatever, and he cut up magazines and glued with a glue stick onto the paper. We also gave him a big firewood log and long nails and a hammer, which kept him busy for a LONG time.
For us, sharing main lessons has always been fun. My 12yo loves listening to lessons he's had before, and he is adept at working on his own things if he doesn't want to listen to me teaching.
This year we did have to set up a separate chemistry area for him, but other than that, I'd say 90% of our actual lessons occur at the table. (The other 10% or so are at the piano or at the library).
You don't have to cover everything every day. And I think all the main lesson book pages they show online were drawn by professional artists. :p
Best of luck to you, it's a real juggling act!
Bookworm Mama to 6 wonderkids and stepmama to one more: 23, 22, 19, 13, 11, 9 and our Z born April 2013. . Partner to my
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