Monday, July 18, 2011


Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum: A Guide to Catholic Home EducationIn between story hour here in town and a crafts class at the library in the next town, I spent lots of time planning.  My IHIPS (planning forms for homeschoolers in NYS) are due pretty soon, so I'm looking at Live Education!, Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum, Emmanuel Books, MODG, Seton, OLVS, Mater Amabilis, Ambleside, Mainlesson, and of course the library.  The childen did some school work also, but in the afternoon they went to our community garden bed and worked there with dh in spite of the very hot day.  And he surprised them by taking along soap bubbles for them to blow while they were there.  Thus I had a lot of planning time to myself.

Zwischen einer Vorlesestunde hier im Dorf und zwei Bastelstunden in der Bücherei des Nachbarortes habe ich heute viel Zeit mit der Planung für das neue Schuljahr verbracht.  Ich muß meine Planungsbögen für die Schulbehörde bald abgeben und so beschäftige ich mich mit Live Education!, Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum, Emmanuel Books, MODG, Seton, OLVS, Mater Amabilis, Ambleside, Mainlesson und natürlich der Bücherei.  Die Kinder haben einige Schulaufgaben gemacht, doch am Nachmittag waren sie mit meinem lieben Mann bei unserem Beet im Schrebergarten, wo sie trotz der Hitze Unkraut gejätet haben.  So hatte ich Zeit ganz alleine für meine Planung.  








  1. Paprika hätte ich auch gerne in meinem Garten:-)

    ...und...Unkraut jäten müssten wir auch mal wieder;-)

  2. Mir haben die Fotos von Eurem Garten sehr viel Freude bereitet,denn als wir fuhren,war ja noch nicht viel zu sehen und nun steht das Gemüse so gesund da. Der Blick von dort oben ist immer wieder schön. Unkrautzupfen ist und bleibt eine anstrengende Aufgabe. Steht man stolz an einem "sauberen" Stück, sieht es schon nach ein paar Tagen so aus, als ob der nächste Eisatz schon bald ansteht. Unkraut ist sehr schnell und vorwitzig!
    Liebe Grüße Oma

  3. Ja, ja, das liebe Unkraut, es nimmt immer überhand. Bei der Hitze und da oben, wo es keinen Schatten gibt, ist das wirklich im Moment kaum zu beseitigen. Außerdem haben wir einen "striped cucumber beetle" (gestreiften Gurkenkäfer), der uns die Gurken frißt. Trotzdem freuen wir uns über unsere Pflanzen.

  4. Ja, Wurzelwicht, Paprika ist hier eine ganz beliebte Gartenpflanze, doch in Deutschland habe ich sie nie so oft gesehen. Vielleicht, weil es hier wärmer ist.

  5. How do you manage to fit everything in? I thought that, the Waldorf Live Education would have come as a complete package? Looks like you'll be pretty busy these next few weeks!

    San x

  6. No, Live Ed. only gives you materials for the main lessons, and it doesn't cover math and English thoroughly enough. So I need to supplement and now I also have to keep high school in mind. Luckily, I have taught all grades except grade 8, so most of my planning is dedicated towards that one. Right now we are suffering from a heat wave, which makes planning very difficult.

  7. Hello, Eva and family,
    Thanks for such a great site - so far the only one I have found that also tries to mix my top three favorite homeschool methods! I'm curious, as I work on our own planning, for some more detail about how you combine them... Do you use CM's style of narration and short lessons covering many subjects? How do you approach the Waldorf ideal of delayed academics given the rigorous approach of both Classical and CM? I'm also interested in your experience of Live Education, how much of the curriculum you are able to use (given that you supplement Math and English). Is that what provides the 'spine' of your year?

    But most of all, I wonder how a typical day might be laid out, time-wise, with multiple children. Who is doing what with who, and for how long? Thanks for sharing your experience!


  8. Hello Holly and welcome! I will have to answer your questions in two parts. (Blogger doesn't allow long comments).

    I use the Waldorf curriculum as my starting point. For that I prefer the original one from Karl Stockmeyer. Then I take a look at Live Education!'s main lesson booklets (I buy their curriculum). I compare their suggestions with Laura Berquist's "Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum." I add some of her suggestions to my main lessons, especially her living book suggestions in history. Also, each of my children takes the "Learning Style Test" from Mercy Academy (Catholic). I use this test to fine tune my teaching approach and identify some additional appropriate materials.

    I use Charlotte Mason and classical ideas for nature study, art history, and music appreciation, but I also use the pentatonic scale for the younger children.

    The original Waldorf schools offered Latin and Greek in addition to French and English. They started Latin as early as third grade, so that goes well with the classical approach. I start with the modern languages first and add Latin in grade 3 (just orally), Greek in grade 5 (mostly the alphabet for that grade), and I continue with all of them in subsequent years.

    I honor the 7 year rhythm of the Waldorf schools and don't teach reading, writing, or math until first grade. I try to do American history in grades 1-4 with many living books as suggested by Laura Berquist. In grade 5 we start with world history, concentrating more on the myths. I just recently decided not to do Ancient Egypt in grade 5 anymore, but to move it to grade 6 instead. Grade 7 is then Romans and Greeks, and grade 8 Middle Ages and Renaissance. Modern and American History I'll do in grade 9. I don't teach world history per se in the lower grades, but we read lots of fairy tales from different cultures. I've also begun using "A Child's History of the World" as a read-aloud, spread over two years in grades 3 and 4.

    Live Education! has been very helpful for me and I couldn't come up with so many great ideas for making the materials we need to cover come alive. I don't use all of their suggestions, but I do use most of them. They recommend the "Key To" series for math, which we use, but we also use Miquon Math and Singapore Math. Their English suggestions are good supplements to a more rigorous program. I choose an English program for each child according to his or her learning style. I also use a spelling program and do dictation regularly.

    I use short lessons for art history, music appreciation, and the foreign languages.

  9. Part 2:
    We do most of our schooling in the mornings, starting with circle time for everybody. I then briefly work with my 3rd grader while my 6th and 8th graders work on math independently for an hour. Then I devote my time to my 5 and 3-year-olds, while my 3rd grader works on math, English, and handwriting. When the older ones are done with their math, they switch to 45 minutes of independent work in English. I use that time to do a main lesson with my 3rd grader. The little ones do some quiet activities or play. Then it's time for a snack.

    After snacktime I do a main lesson with my 6th grader. My 8th grader does Greek, memory work, and religion. My 3rd grader works on her main lesson book or main lesson activity. After 45 minutes I do my last main lesson with my 8th grader. My 6th grader works on her main lesson work, my third grader does religion and Latin during that time. Then it's time for me to make lunch (I cook our main meal then). My 8th grader does his main lesson work, my 6th grader does religion, memory work, and Greek, and the little ones help in the kitchen or play or nap (just the 3 year old). (My third grader has a housekeeping lesson once a week during this time). After lunch (1:00 p.m) we clean up and do some laundry. Then it's reading/quiet time for an hour. At 3:30 p.m. it's snack time again and outdoor play. At 4:30 p.m. we do foreign languages for an hour. At 5:30 each child has either a chore, music/art appreciation, woodworking, or drawing. During this time I make supper (just sandwiches). The evenings are reserved for quiet activities, handwork, ballet classes for the older ones, etc. Each child also gets to practice his or her recorder in the mornings. (I forgot to write that earlier.)

    On Tuesdays we take a break from this routine and go to Mass and the library early in the morning. After 10:45 a.m. we have textbook time when each child works on the subjects geography, science, handwriting, history, and vocabulary on his own. I use the time to either tackle household chores or to help a child with a particular problem that has come up during the previous week. Saturday is our cleaning day, Sunday is our rest day. We try to do nature walks once a week. I have written out a detailed schedule to help us keep on track. If you send me your e-mail in a comment, I could mail you a copy. (I won't publish your e-mail.)

    I hope I have covered all your questions. Please let me know if you have any more.


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