I am honored and excited to introduce to you:
Heather, a homeschooling mother of 5, who blogs about family, faith, and homeschooling over at The Mac RAK.
As a home educator, research is my greatest tool in teaching and training my children. I research the experts. I research God’s Word. I research the opinions of my fellow home educators. The result has been a more than eclectic homeschool experience. We are, at the backbone, Charlotte Mason educators and we use the Principle Approach daily in our studies.
My concern with educating my children, most recently, was that my youngest was swimming in a sea of books and loosing the joy of just being a child. I longed for her to once again experience the thrill of playing in the grass and mud to create a work of art. I began to see the need to change the rhythm of our day to revel together in the natural order of God’s creation and experience His unseen hand surrounding us. This is when we began our “Waldorf-infusion” to our Christian homeschool and lovingly dubbed the method to be “Natural play”.
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way.” Psalms 37:23 NKJV
Natural play is more than just reaching for unfinished wooden blocks or another play-silk, in my humble and NOT-so-professional opinion. It is a way of life. It is taking responsibility for our child with intentional parenting, as we equip them with all they need to know, working, playing and learning alongside them. Taking hold of all that God has provided our family with and being content.
The application of this method, of course, will vary in each home, but essentially our method is the same. Natural play means using the daily routine and rhythm of each God-given day in your home, to help instruct our children. The end result has been a blessing to our homeschool. We have taken the best of a “Waldorf” experience and made it unique to our family. This is a journey into our homeschool . . .
We begin our process by ordering our day. We start out calm, slow and mindful of how God is leading us. We do our best to observe the same rhythm and flow each day, maintaining consistency during the day and throughout the week.
We pause in our morning, before our meal, to discover the joy of the day. The children and I gather, after looking out the window at the season and weather changes, for our Circle Time. This is where we fellowship and worship together. We begin with morning prayers and scripture memory. My son will then lead us in daily devotions. This helps set the tone for our day in an amazing way.
We join after Circle Time (which would be reversed in a “Waldorf” school – we teach our children that man does not live on bread alone.) and again in the afternoon, and eat a healthy, well-balanced meal. During this time we discuss our day, observe good manners and enjoy just being a family. The children help with the setting of the table, preparation of the meal and cleaning and clearing afterwards. This makes mommy a happy camper!
We have a weekly art focus discussing a method or media form, art appreciation and study a particular artist. We will typically do one project everyday . . . when it is practical to do so!
Songs, Verses and Prayer:
We choose a hymn from our family hymnal, a bible verse and a prayer to focus on each week. We recite these during the day at Circle Time, the family table and during our nature walk and nature study time.
This time takes place in the morning and then again throughout the day. We use the Five-In-A-Row schedule to help us use living books with our youngest. The older children typically will read the story aloud to her a couple of times during the week. We have a special read-a-loud time again in the evening as a family where we read novels and discuss other Family Studies.
We meet together and discuss our activity for the day. This is more special together learning time before we dismiss and begin our individual academic studies. We follow a theme for each day:
- Monday – Baking/Cooking
- Tuesday – Painting/Art
- Wednesday – Coloring/Drawing
- Thursday – Handicrafts/Games
- Friday – Home Economics