Discovering Waldorf – ” Homeschooling – Planning for the Year Ahead”

Homeschoolers, everywhere, are starting to think and plan for the school year ahead. Where do you start? This is a challenging question, even for seasoned homeschooling families. But, for the family who is new to homeschooling, it can be a totally daunting concept. Donna Ashton, of The Waldorf Connection, shares her lesson planning experience. She breaks it down into 8 simple steps… oh my… what a help this easy to follow planning schedule is!
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Homeschooling :: Planning for the Year Ahead
by Donna Ashton

When I found Waldorf Education about 4 years ago, I knew it was what I wanted for my children and family. The beautiful materials and toys of a Waldorf home are so pleasing and simple. The gentle unfolding of wisdom is truly unique. But, how do I put together lesson plans for the year? The method is very open and there is no one “set way”. This is challenging and exciting.

Now planning my 3rd year using Waldorf-inspired education, I will let you peek inside how I plan out my year.

First things, first- Get Organized

I start by cleaning and re-organizing the homeschool room. This allows me to check supplies, make notes of what needs to be replaced or ordered and gather stray items.

Next step is to get your all resources together. All my curriculum books, inspiration guides, magazines, song books, & items bookmarked on my computer are now together in one place. I can see everything and am usually surprised at rediscovering a book that has been long forgotten.

2)Review curriculum

I take time to get familiar with which blocks & objectives are to be covered that year. This will give me an idea what is to come. Next, I read the stories I will be bringing to my children (example the Fairy tales, legend stories) from curriculum guides, books from the library, websites I have tagged or files I have saved. I make notes and really get a feel for this year’s ideas.

3)Calendar. I use a Year at Glance calendar, which is 12 blocks on 2 sheets of paper. I write in all holidays, festivals, vacations, and birthdays. This gives me a framework for where to start placing my blocks. I keep this in my 3-ring binder school binder.

4) Main Lesson blocks: Next, I decide where the blocks will go throughout the year. I fit them in between holidays & festivals and when I feel it is the best time. On my year-at-a glance sheet I have the numbers 1-4 under each month and these are my weeks. For 1st grade we did Fairy Tales. I had the Letter we were covering and the fairy tale that went with it written there. I use this as my basic guide. I use a weekly planner to fill in the details for each week. I use one page per week and write in the things I want to cover that week.

5) Additions: Once the main lessons are filled in, I decide upon the other things I need to weave in like recorder, foreign language, & handwork. I check my resources for these. I rely on sources such as, Living Crafts magazine, All Year Round, Festivals, Family & Food, and Earthways for inspiration.. I really like to gear my handwork around the seasons and festivals, so I plan more projects than we will do, but that way I have a choice. I order the supplies and get everything ready ahead of time, so I don’t have to keep running around each week.

6) Circle Time. I plan a summer, fall, winter & spring set. I choose the opening verse which we will say all year and get a new circle time candle. Then, I choose other seasonal fun songs, verses, etc. A Journey through time in Verse & Rhyme has amazing resources. I also have the Wynstones season books. I also use A Childs Seasonal Treasury which is great, especially for kindergarten 1,2,3 grade.. Then I type the verses, print them and put them in my binder.

7) Weekly Planner pages. I was using daily pages and found that it wasted so much paper and I didn’t need that much space. I switched to 1 page per week. I make headings of the lessons we cover. (Main Lesson, Math, Handwork, Baking, Music, Science/nature) Then, if I don’t do it Tuesday, I cover it Wed. This gives me flexibility and I can see the whole week. I review my week on Sunday night and I try to write out these weekly planner pages at least a month in advance.

8) Halfway. I use the weeks after Christmas holidays to take a look at our schedule and see where I need to adjust. Have we gone faster than my plan? Added something else? We went a bit faster in some areas and I had to move a block in February last year. This gives you a halfway point to see how it is going and make adjustments for the remaining year.

In conclusion, I highly suggest planning out the whole year in outline form and then moving things around as needed. You will see the whole picture and will be able to add resources that coincide with your lessons because you know they are coming later in your year.

No plan is perfect and it is ok to be nervous when you start out. Just take my advice and get started. The better planned you are, the more confidence you will have.

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Thank you so much, Donna. How kind of you to share your thoughts and experience with us. Homeschooling is one of the most important thing many of us will do in our lives… thank you for helping us in this great and rewarding journey.
Donna’s website, The Waldorf Connection, is a fantastic resource for anyone who is (or is considering) homeschooling their children using Waldorf ideas and methods. She has assembled an amazing audio series that helps to put each piece of the puzzle that is your child’s Waldorf education into the right place. Please visit her site, sign up and the info is right there, at your fingertips.
Here are the other articles in the Discovering Waldorf Series.
Thank you for sharing today, Donna,
Blessing and magic,


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9 Responses

  1. oh thank you very much for posting this. I am considering homeschooling my son using waldorf inspiration and this layed it out in a way that sounds very do-able for me. I am going to go and visit her site and see what I can find out. Any other suggested resources for the “new to homeschooling” crew? I have questions for other waldorf mothers, anyone who is willing to weigh in can contact me on my blog. I would really appreciate any feedback available as this change is a huge decision! Thanks you again for helping by making this seem a bit les daunting.

  2. Thanks so much for this post! I’ve just been contemplating the task of getting ready for our upcoming school year! This year is a whole new ball game with a new baby in the house, even though we’ve been at this for the past 6 years!I’ve been enjoying your discovering waldorf series!

  3. What a relief to read this wonderful article! I’ve been planning for the Dudimus’ first year of homeschooling, and with almost the exact same procedures as Donna explained. I didn’t have any guidelines or resources when I started planning, I just kind-of did what seemed right.’ It was a great boost to my confidence to see that I’m on track!

  4. hi there ms onions! i am relatively new to your site..but i thank you kindly for finding this donna for she has put the spark in my shoes ive needed. i like what was said to just get started on it and not stress. i think once i take that first step toward organizing the year and writing it down, it will all come together for me and be so less frightening. thank you.xx

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