This Could Be My Favorite Post

…. ( A reader alerted me on 11/7/2012 that this link didn’t work and she couldn’t find the original post.  On quick search I couldn’t either, but this post is similar: http://www.elizabethfoss.com/reallearning/2012/08/lets-talk-about-learning-with-little-ones.html   Enjoy!)

,,,,of all the things Elizabeth Foss has written.  Go and check it out!

http://www.elizabethfoss.com/reallearning/2011/07/lets-talk-about-learning-with-little-ones.html

 

How is that for lovely heading into the weekend?

Many blessings,
Carrie

What Stories Should I Use In The Six-Year Old Kindergarten Year?

I would love to hear your favorite stories that you tell to six year olds during the six year old Kindergarten year; leave your picks in the comment boxes.

I love those  repetitive stories such as The Gingerbread Man, Chicken Licken, etc, but not to reach the heart and soul of  the six year old.  I truly think that for most six year olds, these tales are enjoyable (just as they are for we the adults!)  but I am not certain these will  meet the child’s needs if  for he or she really is  in the throes of real and distinct developmental change.  If he or she is changing, really what is needed are stories with a little more “meat”, a little more good versus evil where good wins.  

I hear about children who cannot handle fairy tales well; this does happen.   I wrote about that here in 2009: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/08/16/what-do-i-do-my-child-cant-handle-fairy-tales/  You really CANNOT bring a tale to your child that does not resonate with you or that makes you uncomfortable, so do NOT pick that one.  However, you can read a tale for two or three days, and really sleep on it and see what comes to you before you just dismiss it as well.   I  personally love nearly all the Grimms Tales, and am very comfortable with them, and I think that completely comes out in my storytelling. 

So, without further ado, here are some stories we have enjoyed in my family in the past, or I have known families whose children enjoyed these tales; this list has my detailed notes as to each story: Continue reading

Guest Post On First Grade Readiness: A Comprehensive Look Through High School

 

(7/16/2011 – Comments on this post are now closed!  Thank you for all your comments and questions!)

Our guest post today comes from Donna Simmons of Christopherus Homeschool Resources (http://www.christopherushomeschool.org/home.html).  This is a very comprehensive look at the topic of first grade readiness.  This article includes her perspective as a Waldorf educator, but also as a parent and homeschooler, and includes a deep understanding of the foundation of Waldorf Education, but also includes more mainstream resources for those of you seeking those.

This article is long, but I encourage you to read all of it.   Donna will be answering your questions left in the comment box in regards to this post, and we both look forward to hearing your thoughts. 

Here is Donna….. Continue reading

Deconstructing the Six Year Old Kindergarten Year

Have you ever heard of a deconstructed salad? It is a salad that has all the components separately instead of mixed all together.  For those “When Harry Met Sally” fans, it is kind of all “on the side.”

I think the six-year-old kindergarten year is a bit like that; sometimes we have to really analyze the separate components and tailor those components.

This last year of kindergarten need not be intense, but I  think six- year -olds do need something “more”.  And we are fortunate that in the home environment we able to meet our child where they are. Continue reading

A Yahoo Group For Waldorf Early Childhood

Experienced Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher Lisa Boisvert Mackenzie has created a warm, safe and welcoming space for those parents with questions pertaining to the Early Years over at 

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorfearlychildhoodbringingithome/

This group is currently being revitalized; you are welcome to participate!

Many blessings,

Carrie

Part Two of “Contemplating Homeschooling For Waldorf Kindergarten”?

I think it is a sign of our times that I see mothers getting so very anxious, so very worked up about what to do, what curriculum to use for their three, four and five year olds, even in a Waldorf-inspired environment.

Please don’t.

Your main job with small children under the age of first grade (six and a half or seven) is to have a healthy home life and to do your own inner work and personal development in order to help set the tone for that healthy, joy-filled home life.

You might be wondering how to get started on inner work and personal development.  I have encouraged mothers over and over to really look carefully at discerning a spiritual path and to get involved in the DOING of an active spiritual life at a place of worship with a community. This is so important for your children as they grow, especially heading into the grades. 

Some parents have told me they have no idea what spiritual path to even try.  I suggest talking to your partner or spouse about your spiritual leanings or desires and comparing notes.  Possibly then you could make a shorter list of possible spiritual matches and go visiting alone or together as a couple  if it is hard to visit different places each week with small children in tow.  Sometimes the visiting process is confusing to small children, and discerning where you need to be as a family is important to do alone or as a couple and then involve the small children. Of course, with older children, visiting as a family can be a lovely experience.

A spiritual path can help direct your prayer life, your meditative life, your hours of the day and the festivals of the year.  Many religions have a Daily Office where certain things are prayed at certain hours, and a year of feasts and festivals to deepen one’ walk of faith throughout the cycle of the year. 

I have a large number of Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Anglican readers on this blog, along with quite a few Jewish and Islamic readers (and other spiritual paths!).  Perhaps they could comment as to what has been most meaningful to them on their spiritual path over the years in the comment box.  Not as a religious debate, of course, but as an example of personal journey!

Another way to work with personal development, I think, is to work with the concept of biography.  Where have you been, where are you now, where are you going?  Look at your seven year cycles and where you have been; I have many back posts on the book “Tapestries” on this blog that details each seven-year cycle through adulthood and also the stages of marriage.  You can find them by putting “Tapestries” into this blog’s search engine.  (And with close to 750 detail-packed posts, this blog needs a search engine! Ha!)

Love to all,

Carrie

New To This Blog and Considering Waldorf Homeschooling For Kindergarten?

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:

http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/03/09/a-mothers-job-in-the-waldorf-homeschool-kindergarten/

More nuts and bolts:

http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/06/13/summer-planning-waldorf-and-the-early-years/

 http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/08/22/waldorf-in-the-home-with-the-five-year-old/

http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/02/23/the-six-year-old-waldorf-kindergarten-year-at-home/

Here are some other blog posts that may interest you as you consider this decision:

A review:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/02/13/a-review-kindergarten-with-your-three-to-six-year-old-by-donna-simmons/

Another review:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/12/17/favorite-waldorf-resource-1-joyful-movement/

More Early Years books:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/02/09/which-early-years-book-should-i-buy/

http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/03/10/resources-for-the-waldorf-kindergarten-years/