Kirstee Lee Raki is a mum to two who lives in Queensland, Australia. She presented a brilliant workshop about Waldorf homeschooling as part of the Australian Homeschooling Summit, which you can access here.
Today I will share a typical home day with you with Nikolai, 8, and Wynter, 3. We use a 3 day week in our homeschool and cover all of our formal learning and bookwork in those three days. A fourth day is devoted to a full day of hiking and playing in nature with our homeschool group. The fifth day Nikolai attends a family daycare program for home educated kids in our area and this mama takes a day off.
6:30 am – My 8 year old is up and getting his chores out of the way. He feeds the chickens and the dog, gets himself fed and dressed, then gives his room a quick tidy. Around 7am his 3 year old sister is up as well. Normally she convinces her big brother to feed her too. I’m not a morning person so I spend some time sitting quietly in my room, catching up on emails (and let’s be honest, Facebook too).
By 8am we are all up and ready for the day. I put on the washing and get the dishes and any other housework done while the kids are playing. If we have any errands to run we try to get them out of the way first thing in the morning.
9am – Around 9 am we start out school day. If we have been out on errands it’s closer to 9:30/10. The time isn’t too important, but we do like to stick to our rhythm, doing things in the same order, and getting it all done in the morning if we can. I sing a song to get the kids racing in to the kitchen or the school room, depending on where we have decided to work that day. This is the start of our morning circle.
Round and round and round we go
Not too fast
And not too slow
When we all are in our place
Face to face
Holding hands and smiling too
How are you?
I light a candle for each of the children and they say their morning verse. The little one isn’t really old enough for a proper circle time, but she likes to be included and joins in with varying degrees of enthusiasm. She especially likes to blow out her candle once the verse is finished. Then it’s on to poetry recitation, tongue twisters, singing and recorder practice. The 3 year old has been drawing, singing along, whinging for a snack and is now off sweeping the kitchen floor. Her big brother practices his times tables and some mental maths while we toss a ball to each other. We finish up with a closing verse then it’s on to our Main Lesson. All this has taken half an hour at most.
Two little feet go tap, tap, tap
Two little hands go clap, clap, clap
A quick little leap right next to your chair
Two little hands reach high in the air
Two little feet go jump, jump, jump
Two little hands go thump, thump, thump
One little body turns round and round
One little child sits quietly down
9:30am – On to Main Lesson. Because I’m not a morning person, I have done all of my prep the night before. My daughter tends to listen in on the story and then wanders into the adjoining living room to play. I make sure she has something interesting set up in there to keep her occupied so that my son can be the main focus for this part of our morning.
Waldorf uses a block system where our main lesson focuses on one topic for several weeks. This block has been about ‘time’. We start by chatting about yesterday’s work then it’s on to our new story. I love this part when I get to tell the story. In typical Waldorf fashion I tend to tell it rather than read it. Today it is a story about King Alfred the Great and his candle clocks. We have a go at making our own candle clocks. Tomorrow we will test our clock and Nikolai will write a summary of what he has learnt into his main lesson book. We use the blackboard to practice the drawing that will go into his MLB then the kids head outside to eat their morning tea and play. I take the chance to hang the washing and put another load on.
10:45am – Once they are feeling refreshed, the kids head back in. Nikolai settles down to work through some maths problems and I sit with Wynter to give her some much needed one-on-one time. We sing some songs and she convinces me to repeat her current favourite fingerplay, 5 Little Ducks, at least three times. She snuggles into my lap while I read her a story then she is off playing again while I check in on her big brother. He is done by about quarter past eleven then chooses to sit down and read. Farming is a major focus in Waldorf third grade so he is currently in the middle of reading Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. At this point I realise Wynter has been quiet for too long and I find her helping the chickens to dig up my garden bed. I help her collect the eggs then she comes with me to fold up yesterday’s laundry. The kids help me get some chores done before lunch. We like to sit outside and I read them poetry or a novel while they eat.
Love for the blossoms
Love for the roots
Love for the leaves and stems
Thank you for our fruit
Verses are an important part of our day. We use them a lot for transitions. This one has hand actions to match and I am in big trouble if I am distracted and forget to recite it before lunch. They eat and play then we head out to the big table in the backyard for art time,
12:30pm – I set the kids up with paper, watercolours and other materials, then turn on an ArtVenture tutorial for them. Nikolai works on a painting representing autumn while his sister free paints beside him. I get the second load of washing hung and vacuum upstairs. On days we don’t have art we use this time for handwork or baking. Once they are finished, Nikolai clears away the art supplies while I get his sister ready for bed.
1pm – Wynter goes down for a nap, Nikolai heads downstairs to read and play quietly and I take the chance to get some work done on my blog. Usually I get a good two hours work in before the little one wakes.
3pm – The kids and I work in the garden. We are weeding out a new garden bed for the next lot of planting. Our main lesson block at the start of term three is a shelters and building block, so Nikolai and I plan a project to build wire cages to keep the chickens off the new garden bed. We discuss the design and make a list of materials.
4pm – The kids are playing while I get dinner prep under way. Once the air turns a little chilly they head inside to build with the Magnatiles and ask me to turn on some children’s folk songs for them to listen to until Daddy gets home.
5pm – Dinner time. As we finish up Nikolai asks us all for our favourite part of the day. This is a special ritual in our home, and he doesn’t go a day without asking. Once the meal is over the kids clear the table and then take it in turn for showers.
6pm – We don’t have screen time on weeknights, so once the kids are in their pyjamas we all snuggle onto the couch with books until bedtime.
7pm – The kids are off to bed with a final verse and a book each. Then this mama knocks off. Goodnight x
A star for you to wish upon
The sun so warm and bright
The moon for you to wish on