No, this is not an epic post about a fantastic adventure to drop a ring in a volcano, or to defeat some evil wizard – nope, it is just about the homeschooling curriculum we are using!
In years past, we have used Earthschooling exclusively. I have always loved how they have an entire day laid out, and they don’t skimp on the details. They include everything in their curriculum packages (hence the price, which is still phenomenal compared to many other Waldorf Inspired curriculum providers). It has so much packed into each year – not content wise, but information for the parent/teacher wise. Examples abound, photos are placed all over the PDFs for clarification and inspiration, and they have supplemental documents and ideas. It is definitely a well-rounded and complete curriculum. BUT – and it is a big BUT – it was so overwhelming for me.
I am both a free spirit and a person in need of a plan. These two aspects contradict each other and make my life, as both a mother and a teacher, rather difficult. However, after much research (and a few attempts to create a curriculum from scratch), I found Waldorf Essentials! It is a simpler setup, no frills, and affords more space for creativity and choice in what is done. This is both a gift and a curse because I have had to look into different activities that will solidify the lesson from each day, but it has also helped me to feel so much less guilt about not being the perfect Waldorf mother. Melisa has created such an amazing curriculum and my Sun and Moon love the setup.
And yet, there is another however thrown in the mix: WE provides an excellent main lesson for English and Maths, yet there is so much missing from it! What about Nature Studies and History/Geography? Whelp, that’s where research comes in. Hours upon hours of research.
For Nature Studies, I found Exploring Nature with Children to be an amazing curriculum. Actually, it can be used as a near full curriculum, minus Maths, but we are just implementing the Nature part of it. I think Nature Study is the most difficult to put into our days, mostly because my Sun and Moon are so overwhelmed by the end of Main Lesson that we just need some quiet time. BUT, I am working on a solution for that! Keep time spent to a minimum, as much as possible, and break things down over an entire week.
For History/Geography, I have spent so many hours reading and searching and throwing things out. One of the resources I am absolutely in love with is A Little History of the World – and, along with that, Bringing Up Learners offers an amazing guide for how to use the book and different ways to bring the lessons. Best part? It’s free!
We also have a Spiritual lesson, every day during our Morning Circle, but just as I stated in the previous post, I am going to write about that separately.
In Arizona, it is not required to keep a record or turn in grades or do testing to move onto the next grade. We do not have to report the curriculum used, either. This state is definitely homeschooler friendly! This has made our journey so much easier. People always ask me ‘Are they getting good marks?’ and I sort of smile and nod, stating that we do not use letter grades or percentages, but that my Sun is Satisfactory and my Moon is… well, she is my Moon and that means so many things.