There are many, many back posts about homeschooling Waldorf Kindergarten on this blog.
First of all, many families are just trying to decide about whether or not homeschooling is right for them period. If that is the case, try this back post: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/04/01/how-to-make-a-decision-about-homeschooling/. Are you concerned about homeschooling an only child? http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/11/13/parenting-and-homeschooling-the-only-child/
Perhaps these back posts would also assist you: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/09/09/more-about-social-experiences-for-the-four-year-old/ and here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/09/07/social-experiences-for-a-four-year-old/
I think it is very important to get clear about what Waldorf Kindergarten really means. Waldorf Kindergarten in the school setting used to start around age four and a half, and now the age has dropped to age 3 or even younger, with “Morning Garden” classes for toddlers to age 3 in many schools. For more thoughts on this, try this post: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/03/30/waldorf-homeschooling-versus-waldorf-school/ Both Donna Simmons of Christopherus Homeschooling Resources and I have a strong dislike of where the Waldorf schools are headed in terms of taking younger and younger children out of the home. Waldorf Kindergartens work to emulate a loving home, and this is something that we obviously can work on at home for far less cost and for far more personal development than perhaps would occur if our child was at Waldorf school. Having your children with you 24/7 forces your own spiritual growth! Ask any homeschooling mother!
I think in the home environment really we need to do “Waldorf Kindergarten” around the five-year-old year and the six-year-old year. These are the ages for increased attention, increased ability to do artistic and creative work in a focused fashion. It is just a thought; I know some will disagree.
Many families are attracted to the idea of homeschooling Waldorf Kindergarten because they like to spend time outside or they like all the natural toys. There is a bit more to it than just those things. Please read this article by Marsha Johnson, Waldorf Teacher, from this blog: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/01/15/the-waldorf-kindergarten/
What you may gather from the article by Marsha Johnson is that there is a progression in Waldorf Education, there is a sequence, and every single thing builds on each other. There is nothing random in the curriculum at all. It is all in there in due time when it is developmentally appropriate. So, I think part of getting educated about Waldorf Kindergarten entails at least having an idea as to what first grade would be like. There are posts about first grade on this blog for you to look at. Here are some other places to learn more about Waldorf Education: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/11/28/i-am-new-to-waldorf-how-can-i-find-out-more/
Academic skills are introduced when the child is six and a half or seven in first grade. I think one has to really get on the same page as one’s partner or spouse and discuss if together you are both really okay with a child not starting to read formally or do math formally. The oral basis of language is being laid in the kindergarten in an extremely rich way, the body is being prepared in a rich way to promote academic success, foundations of math and science are being laid, but the formal sit down and write part comes later. Are you okay with that?
Here are a few things to work on in the years before starting Waldorf Kindergarten in your home:
- Work on your own ability to nurture and enfold your child into life.
- Establish a rhythm for your child, your family, your life. If you are still struggling with rhythm when you hit homeschooling for the grades, it will be difficult to focus on teaching. Remember though, rhythm is not a schedule but a flow.
- Establish health of your child through protection of the 12 senses, use of warmth, establishing rhythm.
- Repetition! It is what little people need!
- Play, singing, interaction
- Including your child in household chores
- Outside and sensory experiences
- Fostering the imagination through oral storytelling
- And this famous post:
More nuts and bolts:
Here are some other blog posts that may interest you as you consider this decision:
More Early Years books: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/02/09/which-early-years-book-should-i-buy/