I’ve been feeling a bit untethered lately because I am so scattered. This always happens to me mid-summer! So I’ve decided to own it, and speak it out loud.
Waldorf homeschool planning and organizing often makes things messier before everything gets pulled together.
In the spirit of acknowledging this, here is a photo of my office! It’s a complete mess. My desk is so covered I can’t even work at it! Notice the many, many piles.
I am a piler. I pile books and papers everywhere…books from the library, books pulled off of my own shelves, papers from my files, books from my grades’ bins.
For much of the year, I am able to stay on top of things and not let it get this bad. But just about every summer, my piles get the better of me!
I am resisting the temptation to draw arrows to each of the piles in this picture to label what they are…I think that’s my desire to somehow justify their existence!
The reality is there are so many different aspects of Waldorf education AND I am trying to plan for too many at once!!!
So, rather than just pushing through, I have decided to devote a few days to each area. Today, it’s making decisions on handwork projects. Tomorrow, I will finalize the syllabus for my high school composition and literature class that I teach in the fall. Next will be ideas for painting.
The principle is “focus on ONE thing at a time.” Otherwise, it’s too easy to get overwhelmed! And then that leads to discouragement because we are unable to see the progress.
Steps for Waldorf Homeschool Planning and Organizing
- List the blocks for each grade and then place them in specific months.
- Select the main resources for those blocks.
- Spend some quiet time reflecting on the essence of the year for each child and what he/she needs.
- Come up with a daily rhythm.
- Flesh out the block plans for at least the first three blocks, adding in movement, verses, painting, handwork, and modeling. (Being sure to focus on ONE thing at a time!)
- Set up the environment.
If you want more help with each of these steps, have a look at my homeschooling primer, Homeschool Simplicity Bundle: Your Toolkit for Grades 1-8. In it, I describe this process and include lists of my favorite resources for each grade.
And if you want specific help working through each step, join me and a community of other Waldorf homeschooling Moms for Plan It Out, my 3-week online group coaching program. I only run this a few times a year, so click the link to find out when the next group starts.
Are you looking for ways to tame your paper piles? It’s taken me years, but I have found that baskets and bins really help. Below are some of my favorites These are affiliate links for your convenience. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
How is your Waldorf homeschool planning and organizing coming along? Does it look messier before it gets better?
I have no idea what you are talking about. My planning is finished and my house is as neat as a pin.
As I type, I am sitting next to a huge pile of library books for Tom to take back today. There is a huge pile on the floor of my desk too.
What I am trying to own this summer is that I only plan so far in advance. I get my overall outlines together, have the first semester (through December) pretty tight, but after that, I like to plan as I go. And I am trying to be OK with that. It works out every year and lets me be more creative and in the moment. If I get too scripted, I find I am too rigid and too loyal to my almighty plan and NOT looking at what is happening right in front of me. A balancing act for sure.
My word is “enough” this year – at least I think it is. And I want to be able to say to myself, “You have done enough. You are enough. It will be enough.” Maybe if I keep repeating this I will start to believe it.
Here’s to being where we are and owning who we are.
Yup, a HUGE pile of library books! I will return them all before heading to Taproot. And the week between Taproot and vacation will be devoted to cleaning up my office space.
Such a great point about NOT planning too far in advance. I agree that if we try to plan way far out, we then have an allegiance to the plan rather than being open to whatever comes up or is needed. ENOUGH! Sometimes in the planning process, the hardest part is saying “I have enough and it’s time to move on,” time to make some decisions and be done!
So glad to be walking this path with you, Sheila.
So nice to be in touch with both of you this morning! Yes, the piles—I try to make them look neat, as if that makes any difference! As Sheila says “Here’s to being where we are and owning who we are!”
The worst part is that our cats climb on top of my piles and knock things onto the floor!
Here’s to owning where we are and who we are!!!
PS I also try to cover my piles with rainbow colored silk scarves!!! Especially when we’re having people over. I call one my “roll top desk.” Funny huh?
Love this use of the rainbow silks! Too funny. I’m going to have to try the “roll top desk” technique…
This is such good advice all around.
I think I may actually need *more* piles. I tend to hide everything away for the sake of being tidy, then can’t find what I need when I need it. Of course, this could be a sign of a much deeper housecleaning/personality problem… 🙂
I respectfully beg of you to post some of your high school composition ideas. There is just *nothing* out there for high schoolers, and I am completely dissatisfied with what we’ve done so far. It’s uninspiring, at best, and deadening, at worst. Much of it is confusing as well, for both student and teacher. I’m a big believer in daily writing, but at that level, essay forms (not difficult to understand, but can be tricky to craft “just so”) and longer research papers (intimidating) need to be tackled. I’d truly love to hear your ideas.
The advice you have here, plus Sheila’s “lean & mean” philosophy, well, that packs a planning punch for me. Thank you (both) for sharing so generously!
I wish I could be at Taproot. I’ve always wanted to go, but alas, not in the budget in terms of money or time away. Please enjoy it enough for me too!
I know, Penny! After I reorganize or just shuffle things around, then I have trouble finding what I need.
Thanks for the encouragement to write more about high school composition. I am making a note! I already have on my list to write about Reading and Writing with Waldorf, including articles for the elementary grades, middle school and high school. In the meantime, here are two books I’ve used with my high schoolers: Fairview’s Guide to Composition and Essay Writing by Gabriel Arquilevich; and Writing with Power by Peter Elbow. You can find the Peter Elbow book at the library for sure. You definitely want to keep things alive; teens have so much to say and need lots of encouragement to get ideas down on paper. It helps to write along with them and be willing to share!
Thank you for the recommendations – I have Fairview’s sitting right here to look at this week, and I’m wondering, how do you feel about Writing for 100 Days for middle school? Our library doesn’t have the Elbow book, but I’m looking into it…
Feel free to not answer until you write a blog post – I know you are busy, and I know it will be worth the wait!
Great conversation! You all get at the essence of it!
Thanks, Barbara. Can’t wait to see you next week!