Yes, I do. It’s my middle ground between mayhem and control.
I have a theme for the day: Monday is story telling (especially floor puppet plays and introducing theme stories for the week), Tuesday is handwork day, Wednesday is Washday (along with Montessori-type activites), Thursday is food planning, baking, cooking ahead, Friday is preparing for Shabbat (baking Challah, cleaning the house, and we often do painting or wall display work too).
I also have themes going on at home in the stories that I tell and activites I plan. We just did early spring celebrations (there is still some Chinese New Year and Imbolc and St Brigid stuff going on this week) and we are starting to use The Story of the World to explore history. I’m using the book as our morning story at the end of circle time on Monday and then planning other stories to read to them around that, and I have a supply of short related activities to play with if they ask for something.
We’re still very much unschooling, but also very much Waldorf homeschooling. I introduce things through songs and stories at circle time (and we HAVE a circle time LOL), we have set points through the day where we are usually doing particular things, little rhythms around the ordinary progress of our days, but in between that the children decide what they will do and when. If I really want them to try something, I do it myself without comment and they often join in! But they don’t always even notice the themes I am playing out in what I read to them or do with them, and that’s OK too. Jenna has a main lesson book, and now when she asks for work I do something with her that she can put in her lesson book (things like making a colour wheel or reading a theme related story she can draw from, and last week she asked for some handwriting so I gave her a short spring poem to copy). Hence it looks rather like Waldorf, but with unschooling at its heart.
I’m working on planning enough that I have stories and songs ready for the week ahead, and so that I can give Jenna in particular one ten minute something to do a day if she asks for it (she usually does at the moment, and usually works on it for far longer than ten minutes). Whilst at the same time staying relaxed enough not to insist they join in with something and open enough to leap off and change *everything* I’ve plannned to follow a different track that they have discovered.
Jenna is nearly seven, and I noticed she was telling me she was bored ALL the time and asking specifically to “do school at home”, and this was the way I was most comfortable with giving her that structure without directly teaching and controlling the learning outcomes. Sometimes I panic either way - am I giving her too much, am I not offering guidance that she is asking for, am I pushing, am I failing to allow her to push herself? Right now, she still has times with nothing to do, and I don’t offer something every time she asks (just suggest she could go bring me a book, or help with a household task if she feels the need to do something) and I also often tell her that if she’s bored she is quite capable of doing something about it lol. But she also has more guidance than I imagined, which I am coming to comfortable terms with.
For Morgan, she is so happy to do whatever is put in front of her I’m especially aware not to give her things that are developmentally inappropriate. When Jenna was four, and wanted to write, I thought she was ready to write (she wasn’t, but I felt I HAD to let her lead in the way she wanted to go). When Morgan asked to write, I gave her a paper with her name on and asked if she wanted to copy. She did, and asked for more writing, so I gave her some easy form drawing exercises which she loves and is doing almost every day now lol. Best of both worlds.