It is that time of year where families are planning for their Waldorf homeschooling experiences and have questions. So, here is a round up of back posts and links about some specific subjects that come up over and over and over:
- How do I bring Waldorf into my homeschooling? Here is a guest post by Donna Simmons of Christopherus Homeschool Resources on that subject: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/08/25/bringing-waldorf-to-homeschooling-by-donna-simmons/
- What is a Main Lesson? I like this series of posts about the Main Lesson from
Waldorf Teacher Meredith who is currently teaching fifth grade starting here with this post: http://www.awaldorfjourney.com/2010/12/main-lesson/
- Do I have to believe in anthroposophy (the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner) to use Waldorf Education? Well, I know Eugene Schwarz and many others would argue with this, especially for the school setting, but my answer for the home setting is no and/or not necessarily. In the home environment we are free to dip a tiny toe into Rudolf Steiner’s teachings or to delve deeply. I write about this thought here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/12/27/waldorf-101-do-i-have-to-be-an-anthroposophist-to-homeschool-with-waldorf/ There are many devoutly religious mothers who use surface elements of Waldorf Education in their homeschools, but make their religious life and the Church the focus of their family life and homeschooling experience. I think this is a matter for personal discernment and reason. I have heard some priests refer to this as not a theological question, but a pastoral question.
Waldorf Education coincides well with Piaget and Gesell in terms of what comes in when, so perhaps those mainstream underlying philosophies appeal to you more as a basis for what you are doing.
Some mothers will feel because Steiner designed his curriculum for the proper incarnation of the soul of the child, according to his spiritual view and observation of the child, that they cannot use it. The Roman Catholic Church has a position against Steiner’s philosophy, but as far as I know, Waldorf Education is not condemned. Roman Catholic priests still go into the Waldorf Schools in Germany to provide religious lessons. I am not Roman Catholic, so I hestitate to write even the above as I don’t understand it all. All I know is as in life, matters of the spirit are rarely cut and dried. Do your own investigating! Talk to your priest or spiritual advisor, see where you are in your walk, and if the basis of this is easy for you to separate or not. If not, you may need a different homeschooling method.
- Can I use a math program or a spelling program and still be a Waldorf home educator? Yes, but I will say veteran Waldorf homeschoolers may be less likely to use outside programs because they have seen how Waldorf Education really works. It really does. But there is no Waldorf Police, and no one is going to revoke your Waldorf Homeschooling card if you mix and match the things that meet your child’s needs. Workbooks in the Waldorf home environment are typically brought in during Fourth Grade – many Waldorf homeschoolers use “The Key To…” math series beginning in this grade.
- Does Waldorf mix with other methods? Here are some back posts on my views of Waldorf and Unschooling, Waldorf and The Well-Trained Mind. Hopefully you can use these to discern the essential: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/01/17/unschooling-and-waldorf/ and here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/01/17/unschooling-and-waldorf-the-student-teacher-relationship-birth-age-7/ and here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/06/25/differences-between-waldorf-and-the-well-trained-mind-grades-one-through-four/
- I am getting overwhelmed! Any thoughts? http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/01/02/losing-the-forest-for-the-trees/ and this post with words written by Mrs. Marsha Johnson regarding Waldorf Education: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/06/11/the-cardinal-rules-of-waldorf-education/
- My child is already reading, what do I do with First Grade? Keep calm and carry on! Grades penetrate what the child needs developmentally, beyond just the academic pieces. Try this post for some encouragement: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/03/21/regarding-waldorf-and-the-early-reader/ Here is my experience with my oldest who could read anything, and I mean anything, when she was in first grade: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2008/11/29/waldorf-first-grade-with-a-fluent-reader/
- How do I homeschool multiple grades children with Waldorf? http://theparentingpassageway.com/2011/04/14/homeschooling-children-in-multiple-grades/
- What do I do about wet on wet painting? Try this post from Sarah Baldwin: http://simplehomeschool.net/painting-wet-on-wet-waldorf-watercolors-for-children/ I also have posts on this subject on this blog if you use the search engine.
- I am not creative; what do I do? http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/03/22/what-if-i-am-not-creative/
Hope those back posts and links assist you,