One of the things so many of us love about homeschooling is that we can educate the whole child, meaning we can assist in their physical, academic, spiritual, and emotional growth simultaneously. No need for separate classes or teachers or complicated schedules. Waldorf educators refer to this as head, heart, hands. It is a simple reminder that we as parents and teacher are responsible for growing all three parts of our children. We can feed their minds, bodies, and souls every day.
Waldorf educators plan each day around a particular rhythm of head, heart, and hands. (Visit my Breaking Down Your Rhythms post for more information about developing regular rhythms.) While most of us, as parents, recognize the need to balance various activities throughout the day (easy/difficult, active/calm, inside/outside), head-heart-hands scheduling requires a little more forethought, but the rewards are well worth the planning. The following is a simple breakdown of how you can schedule your homeschooling days around your child’s head, heart, and hands.
- Head – Schedule academic, head-centered activities in the morning. Most of us try to do this anyway, since our children are usually more alert and ready to learn at the beginning of the day. Of course, you can always start with circle time, or a walk, or some kind of movement, but try to schedule your main lessons during the morning hours.
- Heart – Children can become drained from thinking all morning, so follow up with things that warm their soul or fill their emotional cup. Plan activities such as music, art, free-reading, and nature collecting for the middle of the day. You can also do foreign language at this time as long as you keep it light with songs or games, not grammar or memorization, which are head-oriented activities. If you center your days with heart warming activities, you can help them relax and refresh to start the second half of the day with a sense of calm and security.
- Hands – In the afternoon, set aside time for the “extras” – knitting, sewing, crafts, gardening, cooking/baking, building, and other forms of handwork. This is a perfect time to plan for all those activities we typically overlook or wish we had time for. It also channels some of that physical energy at a time of day that can often feel chaotic and troublesome.
The key to head-heart-hands success is to insist on those heart activities. Don’t skip over them because you are tired or busy or have errands. Do something from that list in the middle of the day, then plan ahead to keep those hands occupied in the afternoon. I find that our afternoons run much more smoothly if we recharge properly in the middle of the day. In this way, their souls are filled, and their bodies are kept busy.
Michelle is a wife, mother, writer, and Cajun who prefers everything extra spicy. Follow along at Lagniappe Academy, for more real world Waldorf inspiration mixed in with the rest of their eclectic homeschooling.
Join 10,000+ Other Awesome People
Subscribe to the Real Life at Home weekly newsletter to get our latest content, exclusive free printables, learning activities, and ideas for celebrating with your family all year