Monday, April 22, 2013

S is for Schedule - A to Z April Challenge

This year has become quite busy and much more complicated than past years with additional activities, music lessons, and educational partnering/therapy with the local school. It seems as if homeschooling has been happening in more places that aren't home than in previous years.

Olivia painting a pot at the 4-H meeting in April.

I miss the days that had open space on the calendar...time to relax and enjoy the moments with Sophia and Olivia rather than watching them rush by. If anything, this year has taught me that there is value in being underscheduled rather than overscheduled.

Sophia enjoying doing spelling surrounded by the pets.
She has four of the five cats and both dogs
sitting by her.

As I'm looking towards the upcoming homeschool year, I am revisiting some of the beginning stages of education and scheduling. In the preschool, Kindergarten, and early-elementary school years, I followed a Waldorf approach.

We used to take nature walks regularly when 
Sophia and Olivia were younger.
I would like to begin doing this on a regular basis again.
This is a turkey vulture that we spotted sitting on a fence 
at the end of the road we live on.
Sophia took this picture of it.

The Waldorf philosophy has a strong belief in a schedule that has a rhythm to it. Children thrive when their schedule is predictable and there is a consistent rhythm - either day-to-day or week-to-week. When children's daily activities reflect the natural order of life with a rhythmic arrangement, they flourish.

Rhythm - or a predictable schedule - provides a series of fixed anchors for children to work around in their day and week.  Meal times, bed times, play times, work times - all are gently scheduled to provide a nurturing home and homeschooling environment.

So, generally, what does that look like? From a food perspective, there is a type of food that is eaten on a particular day of the week, according to the Table of Correspondences. For example:

Sunday - Wheat
Monday - Rice
Tuesday - Oats
Wednesday - Millet
Thursday - Rye
Friday - Barley
Saturday - Corn

For our family, it would something that's a key part of a meal - whether it be breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack. Perhaps for ease and consistency, having it be the focus of a snack rather than at each and/or every meal would be sufficient. For lunches, we could have a different bread that uses each grain of the day to accompany a salad.

Sophia hopes to be a baker or chef someday, so the grain of the day was something of particular interest to her.

Sophia making a cheeseburger casserole.

Another thing that I like about having a predictable schedule is that children (and adults) can look forward to activities that create a pleasant home environment and/or are mentally or spiritually enriching. These are once-a-week activities above and beyond the normal curriculum. For example:

Sunday - Cooking
Monday - Gardening (outdoor and/or indoor - depending on the season)
Tuesday - Painting
Wednesday - Bread Making
Thursday - Doing Handwork
Friday - Adventuring
Saturday - Doing Housework

Olivia used her binoculars on a walk we took on April 16th 
when we spotted tundra swans in a small pond 
in a neighbor's cornfield. 

The last area that I like is having a color of the day. This can be as simple as having placemats and napkins in  the featured color:

Sunday - White
Monday - Purple
Tuesday - Red
Wednesday - Yellow
Thursday - Orange
Friday - Green
Saturday - Blue

Taking it a step further - there could be a candle(s) on the table and/or a centerpiece that ties into the color. Some families and Waldorf schools incorporate food that is the color of the day into some of the meals.

Olivia liked the color of the day idea a lot. She's a very visual and artistic child, so this resonated with her in particular.

I'd like to begin doing this in June when we transition to our summer homeschooling schedule. Our schedule is lighter from June-August than it is from September-May, so it will be a good time to make modifications to our schedule and try some new simple ideas to make life more peaceful, predictable, and relaxed...a place to nourish all of our souls.


Rosie Amber said...

Hi just popping in from the AtoZ Challenge, I've set up a link to your blog from my post today

DayDreamer said...

I do like some of the rhythms of the day sound lovely, I especially like the colour of the day, I agree with Olivia with that one, and the grain of the day, also.

Rita said...

Those are some weekly lists I have never seen or imagined before--from grains to colors! Might be fun for the summer. Hard to believe that summer will actually be arriving fairly soon, too! :)

Diane Weidenbenner said...

I so enjoyed getting to "meet" your children. I especially liked the photo of Sophia and the kitties/dogs around her while she studies. Keep sharing your stories - I'll be back. I'm a bit behind (2 letters) on the A to Z Challenge but I'm hoping to catch up in a day or two. Happy blogging! or "In my own words" on A to Z challenge.