I'm Fi, mum to 3 daughters ages 4, 6 and 8 and expecting a little boy this summer. I'm originally from the UK and my DH is Swedish/Estonian.
My oldest daughter has nearly completed her first year of mandatory schooling and for various reasons we are planning on homeschooling her, possible all 3 girls from September. We are currently involved in a project to start a Waldorf school and kindergarten but this wont open in time to benefit our older two girls. We will be the first/only family to homeschool where we live (on a island very conservative and traditional Estonian island with a population of 35, 000). So, I would really love some support from overseas :)
I have been reading the info on the great forum but I have some questions. I'm both excited and a little daunted at the prospect of starting to homeschool possible all 3 of my children whilst having just given birth. Our lifestyle is close to nature and I've always done many crafts with the girls and used the opportunity to learn in a fun way but I've never properly homeschooled. So, my questions at the moment are:
1. I have a limited budget, with this in mind what curriculum would you advise to choose if you could only buy one? I would like something as detailed and comprehensive as possible. I don't feel I have the confidence to try and put together my own curriculum at this stage.
2. What would you consider the most important homeschool supports or materials (for example books, toys etc)
3. There is 20 months between my older two daughters. Would it be a good or bad idea to try and teach them the same material at the same time. Either, skipping 1st grade or starting them both in 1st grade at the same time? I'd be really interested to hear opinion on this.
I probably have thousands questions but I think that is enough for now. I appreciate any help, advice and support I can get to help me get started. Huge thanks :)
did you receive my message? i wanted to add that the marsha johnson yahoo site has loads of free resources for the grades, do check it out if you haven't already. also for free are the waldorf teachers manuals on www.entwicklungshilfe3.de, click on download, the manuals are at the bottom. excellent resource!
Great good luck in your new journey. I've been homeschooling my 2 sons for 5 years. They are 10 and 12. I've read a lot of forums and primarily used the Christopherus curriculum. The feeling I get is that the more children the family has, the more like unschooling their homeschooling becomes. Which is not a bad thing. The only problem with a very structured curriculum like Christopherus or Oak Meadow, is that you will be tempted to have less flexibility...and I think you will need to be very flexible with 4 children.
This is a great time to start, however, because the 4 and 6 yr old, and to a lesser degree, the 8 yr old, do not need a vigorous course of academics at this point. In Waldorf, things start off slowly, and get more vigorous as the years progress.
One book I think you could use with all of your kids is Christopherus's "Joy of Movement". And certainly second grade is not rocket science. Anything you can glean online (Marsha Johnson, etc) will probably be just fine for second grade. However, if you have absolutely no time for even that much, I do recommend Christopherus if you can afford it. It will serve you well for more than one child.
Beautiful picture books will be your mainstay for this year, and hopefully you have a library full of them. They can be read for bedtime stories as well. Toys? I cannot emphasize this enough: if you have access to nature, children do not need many toys. And possibly even if you don't have access to nature. I wish I had purchased far, far fewer toys. You know how entertaining a big cardboard box can be? The less your children have, the more creative they will become. And the more interested they will be in school subjects and crafts, etc. This is a hugely good reason to keep them away from media as well.
Teaching your daughters at the same time might work, but it depends on them. Mine were 14 mo apart, and for a lot of subjects, it didn't work. My eldest was average or a bit ahead, and my youngest would like to stay in dreamland for as long as possible. So, certain things can be combined easily, like Bible stories, folktales and such. You can just make their activities different. The 8 yr old can be copying sentences and making a drawing in her book, and the 6 yo old can be just drawing, or perhaps recognizing some of the letters on the board and copying them. Math might be a separate thing unless you are blessed with a speedy 6 yr old. And in math, it is OK to speed ahead!
You will soon find out if they can work together. My advice would be to present school as something that we do together from the very beginning, so they learn to work w/each other and all the distractions that happen. The youngest ones can be allowed to go in and out, and the oldest must know that they, too, will have to do what she is doing when they they get older.