Okay, so I'm in obsessive over-drive planning and thinking mode again. I've been on another pendulum, swinging from Waldorf to Charlotte Mason to somewhere in the middle back to Waldorf to highly scheduled to daily math with a "real program" to math blocks in the lively, beautiful and fun Waldorf way to AAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH ....
Now, I am here. At peace. For the moment. Trying desperately to stay here.
I started off wanting predominantly Waldorf for next year. Then, I had the opportunity to look through an entire Christopherus Grade Three syllabus. I love Donna Simmons. She is the Waldorf Homeschool Momma I can most relate to. Some say her materials aren't as beautiful as Live Education or that Live Ed is more "pure" Waldorf. That may be true. But, Live Ed just doesn't speak to me. I'm a realist. I need something that I can work with. I like Donna Simmons. She's real. Her materials feel like something I can understand.
But, I did get that opportunity to look through the entire syllabus, and still it wasn't me.
What I have learned is that no matter how much I might want to use something where it is all laid out for me, I just can't. I would change too many things to make it even remotely worth it.
So, what I have to do (although this is WAY more work for me) is take the outlines of each year and then choose my own materials, my own methods and plan my own thing.
Waldorf education is beautiful. But, still there are aspects that simply are not natural for me. And, I don't want to try to be something I'm not and then just fail.
I love Charlotte Mason's ideas on education just as much. But, again, there are some aspects that I most certainly would not include in my homeschool. They just aren't me or my family or I don't feel like they are appropriate for the ages I'm dealing with.
I've been reading heavily in the Charlotte Mason realm again. Reading blogs of CMers, spending tons of time on the Simply Charlotte Mason discussion forum. I'm currently reading For the Children's Sake, which I love.
I get all excited and want to fit all the topics into the tiny boxes on my spreadsheet schedule.
Then, I can't seem to fit them all and fit lots of FREE PLAY TIME. Then, I start to rethink things.
Then, I get confused.
But, I think I've finally figured it all out. I'll share my outline for next year in an upcoming post. But for now, let me give you ONE example of my crazy thought processes lately: MATH.
I've been absolutely obsessing over math recently. My youngest is fine. She is not "behind" by any standards. Thankfully, she is only about to begin 1st grade, so I'm good there. My oldest, on the other hand, is "behind" as far as grade-specific curriculum. That's certainly not her fault. It is mine! It is my fault because I've been an educational philosophy hopper for her first 2 years of homeschool. I haven't stuck anything out long enough to give her any of its real benefits. Shame on me.
Okay, Mommy-guilt aside, she is still fine. She has learned a lot simply from our every day living. She's learned math up to this point primarily via the Unschool approach. And, that's okay.
But, I want to get her "on track".
So, I started out with RightStart Math. Too many materials and too much time just to get everything ready. This led to us not doing it regularly enough. A great program is only great if you use it.
Then, we tried Singapore math. A year behind. Wasn't feeling it. She likes the games, but flopping around between Home Instructor's Guide and Textbook and Workbook and Mental Math and games and such was just too much.
Started looking into other things. MCP Math, CLE Math, Math Mammoth. I wanted a solid, daily program. But, one that didn't involve so much of MY time. Simply for MY ease, I wanted something to just teach her for me and let me be there to help when needed.
I had settled on Math Mammoth. Have her do 2-3 pages per day and still do the Waldorf Math Blocks with her for reinforcement.
Then, last night I read through the entire Christopherus 2nd Grade Math book and fell in love. I was reminded that it is possible to keep math fun and lively and beautiful. It doesn't have to be something that we both dread, that we just have to get through.
I started to wonder again if I could simply trust the Waldorf method to teaching math. Teach her in blocks, beautifully and then just practice with games throughout the year. Could it work? Do I really need to have her drudge through 2-3 pages of Math Mammoth worksheets a day just to say she's doing it?
I slept on it.
This morning I discussed it with her. It is her education, after all.
She said she "didn't believe in math workbooks". She said she thought it should be fun, family time. She said she wanted to play games. She said she already knew a lot from our life, from cooking and baking and the stuff we do.
I thought about it.
I finally settled on just relaxing and letting Waldorf work its magic.
Now, technically, we are still a little "behind". I haven't covered all of the topics in the 2nd grade curriculum in the manner in which they are covered in Donna Simmons' book. And, I want to.
We will also hit on the grade 3 math subjects of time, money and measurement. I think it should be easy enough to fit those in with our other studies.
We also have next summer. We'll aim to be "all caught up" by the beginning of 4th grade. If we still need a little work, so be it. We do homeschool, after all. :=)