High Summer (and a Plan)

comments: 65

ElkRock2

ElkRock3

ElkRock4

It's truly summer now. It's hotter, drier, dustier, and everything is in bloom. Our weather has been quite pleasant, in my opinion, because it's been a very cool summer here, only heating up this week. All the many troubles of the world aside, I could get used to this kind of summer, even though we rarely go out; every excursion beyond the property-line feels like traveling to a place of unrest. Everything that was so constant and familiar now feels strange, and tilted, and fragile, and fraught.

Thank you very much for all the homeschooling thoughts, and just for generally listening to me and helping me think through things. In truth, the decision was probably made by the time I got to the end of writing the previous post: We will definitely be homeschooling Amelia full-time next year. And we just got an email from our school yesterday that says they are tentatively planning (among various other options) to allow us (not just us — anyone) to 100% home-school with our own curriculum (instead of the school's distance-learning offering) and still stay enrolled and still be in touch with the class online.

It's all just incredible. My heart truly goes out to every single educator, school employee, janitor, parent, and kid right now. This is hard.

I think I literally researched every single suggestion for a curriculum or approach that everyone here and on Instagram made. I like doing stuff like that. You feel so clueless at first but it's always so bizarre — dig in just a little bit and you will quickly know exactly what you do and do not want. At least in theory. I talked to friends and looked at web sites and read Instagram posts and watched YouTube video-reviews and almost immediately settled on purchasing a boxed second-grade curriculum from Oak Meadow. I wanted something boxed, secular, nature-y, and tested. Oak Meadow happens to be Waldorf-inspired and, it was kinda funny, I got unexpectedly excited about that. It's been bringing me a sweet sort of comfort that reminds me of older happy days. When Amelia was four and five she went to a neighborhood Waldorf preschool (Song Garden, for anyone interested) that we absolutely loved, and I have a very soft spot for the traditions. The teachers were a couple of professional musicians who were longtime Waldorf teachers and had been running their little school for many years. The kids did lantern walks for St. Martin's Day and winter spirals at Christmas, played outside in rain or sunshine and planted a garden from seed. They made stuff out of felt and acorns, wore capes and crowns on their birthdays, and helped make stone soup and bake fresh bread for lunch together at the big round table. It was sweet and slow and gentle and thoughtful, and, for Andy and me, it was our very first introduction to being part of a (great) parent community and we could not have had a better experience. Those were happy days indeed.

Waldorf theory is interesting (I don't get too deep into it, but I'm good with most of what I know for younger kids) and it's also super CRAFTY. And very earthy. And it has a very strong community. And, you know, I just want all that right now. I don't want to be alone. This year is going to be hard for lots of reasons, relentless generalized anxiety notwithstanding, and I want our home (and our home-school) to be a place of joy and peace and comfort and connection. I want songs in the morning and candlelit reading and wildflower studies and fairy stories. I want Beatrix Potter and Elsa Beskow and dandelion play-dough and nature journals. In the second-grade curriculum they study dramatic storytelling and zoology and the histories of ancient China and ancient Mali. They learn to play the recorder, work times-tables up to 12, and use some expensive (holy shit! did you see how much?) art supplies. And I am excited to be part of all of this. Andy is excited, and we make a good team because I like to do the research and make the choices and he is always awesome about not only indulging my each-and-every obsession and whim but also getting totally involved and onboard (like, literally every single time). Amelia is excited because she's Amelia, and she's just got game. My girl is thriving at home and I'm so grateful for that. So, as I said on Instagram, get ready for the beeswax-candle and watercolor-rainbow and moon-phases-made-of-clay posts because we are about to head right down this rabbit hole! Let's see where it takes us! I want to share this experience here.

And very best of luck to every one of you who is also making this choice right now!

65 comments

We have been using Waldorf homeschool methods for a decade now and it has helped our children thrive. Bella Luna toys does have some wonderful supplies. Please, also look at Meadowsweet Naturals and Papers Scissors Stone. They also have a broad selection and are “reasonably priced”. I think you will like them. Also, many of the Waldorf picture books, early readers, and such can be bought for a song on Abe.books. Happy hunting!

Jude Walker says: July 17, 2020 at 03:20 PM

From a home-schooling Mum in Shropshire, England, all the best. I think you chose well. An earth education, rooted in gentle domesticity is going to be a restorative tonic for you all. (...and how wonderful to be so well supported by the school, too?)
Take care, enjoy and embrace it. x

Oh, Alicia! How wonderful that all of this is coming together for your family (all Covid anxiety aside)! You seem to have the best bits of all the school things, and your enthusiasm is catching. Good quality art supplies have always been a worthwhile expense in our homeschool. I second Paper Scissors Stone and Abe Books as good sources for supplies.

If I had school aged kids right now I would definitely home school! I really admire your attitude and commitment. Have a wonderful fall term and if we’re lucky the world will have a vaccine soon. Best of everything.

Yay!! I knew you would like Oak Meadow. :-) So happy for you, Alicia! Wishing you and your family all the best on your new adventure!

I no longer have school age children but that curriculum is dreamy. I hope you all have the best year! :)

This will be my 15th year homeschooling, and I want you to know you’ll never regret your decision. It is truly one of the greatest joys of my life. I consider it a huge privilege. All the best on your new adventure ❤️

" I want songs in the morning and candlelit reading and wildflower studies and fairy stories."
Yes, do. Take it all, and enjoy every bit of it. You'll make such a world of wonder of it all, and we'll all be the better for it.

Dolores Tanner says: July 17, 2020 at 05:52 PM

AND Tasha Tudor....

We home schooled Waldorf style for a while, when my kids were little, and it was lovely. Wishing you all a safe and gorgeous home school year.

My daughter just graduated high school. I wouldn’t trade a day of our homeschool experience for anything.

If I may, I (strongly) suggest that you read the following two books by Oliver and Rachel DeMille that outline a homeschool philosophy that I think you might love: A Thomas Jefferson Education and Leadership Education, the phases of learning. Amelia is in the Love of Learning phase. You are going to have a blast.

Bravo for finding just the right plan for you all. I actually look forward to seeing what you will do. And I got to thinking.. when you'll be home-schooling, you will also be learning new things, too! My nephew works for a government contractor who does risk assessment for all kinds of things such as terrorism and viral warfare, etc. He told us that if kids go back to school, this country will implode with deaths. So, you're doing just the right thing.

((hugs)), Teresa :-)

So excited you'll be doing second grade waldorf. I will also be doing it (second time around). And don't worry about the expensive art supplies, you can buy just one thing at a time. Start with the block and stick crayons. We have only bought crayons twice and this is my fifth year of waldorf homeschooling with 3 boys (we even still use the original set for travel, they just are a bit broken and beat up)! We're still using the same stockmar modeling compound, water colors and color giants colored pencils as the first year! I used to spend $100 a kid, easily, each year for public school supply lists and after the initial investment it is so nice not to have to do that each year.

I'm sure it's a wonderful thing to do and I wish you well! Amelia looks like a cross between Gandalf and a flower fairy in that photo. :)

It sounds as if it will be perfect for you all, and it is exactly the sort of thing I would choose as well. Children get so engaged with this sort of learning I think, and take a lot forward into the rest of their lives. I am with you on the research side of things, I like to dive down the rabbit holes and find it all out too. There's always so much to know, whole worlds I never knew existed. I am wishing you all a very happy home schooling adventure. CJ xx

It sounds like you and yours are landing right where you need to be. It DOES sound exciting. Sometimes life creates these unexpected opportunities for wonderful paths to follow. I am looking forward to reading about this new journey in upcoming posts! Be well.

I am headed right down the same rabbit hole. After years of struggling through various types of curriculum choices, I happened upon Oak Meadow. I downloaded the samples and I almost started crying. They were perfect for my girls (and will work for my other boy and girl and the baby growing in my stomach) still too young for School lessons. My oldest is following his co-op this year and we’ll see how that goes. I may switch him over to Oak Meadow too. This was what I was looking for all along! I’m so happy and excited. I only hope I can keep up with the crafty parts. My husband has been encouraging me to do more crafty things lately. With Covid - I think I got a little depressed. :/ It’s easily done even for an introvert like me. We need human contact. We were made for community.

I would have loved to have sent my daughters to a Waldorf school had I been able to afford. I think you will have an enjoyable year!

charlotte m. says: July 18, 2020 at 06:23 AM

I wish you great good luck and happiness. I ache for all the parents and teachers having to make these decisions right now. My grandchildren are suffering these adult decisions and it is very tough on them. Their parents are working from home, so home school is tough.

I used Oak Meadow for homeschooling all the way through, grades 1-12, alongside a library card and some extra math in later years. You can have faith in it, and yourselves! You are about to make some wonderful memories as you help your daughter enjoy a wonderful education.

(And yes, both of my daughters achieved college! One has graduated, one about to start... with full scholarships. Like I said, be confident!)

OM second grade is wonderful!!! Enjoy your journey!

Oak Meadow was the last curriculum I bought. I loved that it was waldord-inpired. (inspired being the key word) I had planned to school 3 of my kids on it, but it was too intense for 3 kids (very involved curriculum). But I'm excited for you because I think you'll have fun with one kiddo. The key to homeschooling it to remain flexible. If one aspect of the curriculum isn't working (e.g. math) swap it out for something else. No point in making your child (and you!!) miserable. That would defeat the purpose of it. :)

Alicia, it says something about the lovely oasis you've created with this blog that I am fascinated by your educational choices for your daughter and can't wait to see what fabulous crafty things you create with her this school year when my own child is 21-years-old and about to begin a very different final year in university. I've been reading your blog since I first found out what blogs were, and your post years ago about your accident remains my favorite blog post of all time. Just thinking about it right now makes me tear up and makes my heart grow two sizes. I just want to thank you for the joy that you've brought into my life with your blog. xoxo

You're going to have a blast! I homeschooled my three oldest (all boys) for years, my youngest son just graduated high school, and now I am starting all over again this fall with my five year old daughter. It will be my first time homeschooling a girl, and I am so excited! It's crazy how addictive researching curricula can be, and that feeling when something really resonates! It's a joy.

On a side note, I just finished your "Homeschool" cross stitch sampler and I'm going to frame it and give it to my daughter on the first day of school. It is darling! I'm also working my way through "things of spring" and just ordered the summer one too. Your patterns are the best!

I look forward to seeing your beautiful photos as your homeschool year unfolds.

"they are tentatively planning (among various other options) to allow us (not just us — anyone) to 100% home-school with our own curriculum (instead of the school's distance-learning offering) and still stay enrolled and be in touch with the class"

I hope more schools in North America decide to go this route. I home schooled our kids from the time our eldest was in first grade -- we fell into it suddenly and unexpectedly, and the best advice we got from experienced home schoolers was NOT to do "school at home", which was described to us as the worst of both worlds. Home schooling can be a wonderful, magical experience, for the child(ren) and the rest of the family if it's done properly. Enjoy the adventure : ) .

We have four kids at four different schools this year, so it’s an adventure— large public university going virtual, small private college in the upper Midwest going not-virtual, large Catholic high school going hybrid (or virtual? Our county is becoming an epicenter), and tiny, diverse Catholic elementary for our second grader— probably virtual at this point with a move to in-person with masks as soon as the numbers get better. And things will probably change and shift throughout the year. Meanwhile my husband is a teacher and I’m a family doc, so we are still working as much as ever— I suspect I’ll be working more, since I’m on the surge plan if things get bad enough. Such crazy times.

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About Alicia Paulson

About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.