There has been some discussion within the Waldorf homeschooling community about when (or if) to add in a mainstream math program as supplementary practice for the Waldorf homeschooled child. Homeschooling mothers often worry about daily practice in areas like math, especially if you live in a state where taking standardized tests or the possibility of your child attending public or private school is in the near future. Here are a few of my thoughts and experiences about the mainstream programs folks are using and a few thoughts as to *how* to use some of these resources. Mathematics in Waldorf Education has a developmental approach and often mainstream math programs do not share this same view so I think it behooves discussion and consideration in regards to how to add practice of math into the homeschool day. I have included Making Math Meaningful and Math By Hand in this discussion, as I think they could be used no matter how one homeschools and these guides, while based in Waldorf Education, also seem to have an understanding of what is going in math education in all realms.
Grades One and Two: I have seen Waldorf homeschooling parents use a mainstream math program in these grades, particularly if they were afraid they were going to have to put their child into public school at some point, or if they held allegiance to a particular math program (usually I see this in families who feel very loyal to Singapore or sometimes RightStart math from other homeschooling experiences). However, I honestly don’t think you need a supplemental math program for these early grades where number sense is being developed. Daily practice that you make up, along with the math blocks, should really be enough at this stage in my opinion so long as you are diligent with practice. If you need a guide to this, please let me recommend Jamie York’s “Making Math Meaningful” for grades one through five (blue cover) and also the book “Games For Math” by Peggy Kaye. If you really feel as if you need “something else” in this stage, Math By Hand is a Waldorf-compatible resource that has some lovely hands-on kits to help you bring math in a visual way with certain activities and stories. Math By Hand runs first through fourth grades. Continue reading
I am trying to post a little wrap-up of each week of grades seven, four and five year old kindergarten year throughout the 36 weeks I have planned for school this year. I hope this will encourage mothers that are homeschooling multiple children (or who want to but are worried!), and encourage mothers that even homeschooling children of multiple ages who are far apart in age is doable. You can find weeks two and three here. Week one is here. and further in back posts you can find a post pertaining to the first two days of school this year which gives insight to our general daily rhythm.
Our fourth week began with Continue reading
I am trying to post a little wrap-up of each week of grades seven, four and five year old kindergarten year throughout the 36 weeks I have planned for school this year. I hope this will encourage mothers that are homeschooling multiple children (or who want to but are worried!), and encourage mothers that even homeschooling children of multiple ages who are far apart in age is doable. You can find week one here. and further in back posts you can find a post pertaining to the first two days of school this year which gives insight to our general daily rhythm.
Weeks two and three were fruitful. Here is a glimpse into some of what we did during those two weeks:
Kindergarten – Our little four year old (soon to be five years old this fall) spent time with whittling under supervision, a simple circle with singing and circle games, watching puppet shows of the story “The Fishing Pond” from Suzanne Down’s work Old Gnome Through The Year.and working with our simple weekly rhythm of making salt dough, drawing or crafting, baking, nature walk and painting, along with cooking with his big sisters and housekeeping tasks. He also helped plant seeds and has been busy watering each day.
Fourth Grade – In weeks two and three, our fourth grader worked with Continue reading
(This is geared specifically to preschool/kindergarten ages)
Some Waldorf schools will send out a letter to parents of prospective children ages 3-6 to explain the goals of a Waldorf Kindergarten: to nurture a sense of wonder and curiosity, to instill confidence and discipline, and to encourage reverence for a world that is good. Letters such as these also often mention children that thrive in a Waldorf preschool/kindergarten environment may share certain traits. For example, this may include little to no media exposure, healthy sleep rhythm, the ability to follow and comply with teacher’s directions, being independent in the bathroom, etc.
I have been mulling this over quite a bit. What are the goals of a HOMESCHOOL Waldorf kindergarten? What kinds of families really thrive in using this type of education, designed and made for schools, at HOME? I am sure those of you who are experienced Waldorf educators will come up with many ideas! Please feel free to add to this list in the comment box as I think my list is just a beginning.
The goals of a Waldorf HOME kindergarten program, in my opinion: Continue reading
After I wrote my last post about the first two days of school, I had a comment by one of my sweet long-term readers who asked if every day went as smoothly as those two days. Those two days did go smoothly, but certainly it is not always smooth. Sometimes it is super rough and awful. Or one child is having a hard time and it is impacting the flow of all the other children and our day. That is life homeschooling multiple children.
Part of life in homeschooling is also just life. This week involved going to the barn, our family attending (and me leading) a breastfeeding support group session, numerous calls and emails and such that needed to be returned after said meeting, two visits by friends to our home on separate days, a run to the allergist and grocery store, a visiting aunt who is here through the weekend to teach machine sewing and work on a mini-quilting project with my seventh grader (which is normally more eighth grade in a Waldorf School, but this particular aunt lives far away so I am happy to take her up on it now!), (our fourth grader also doing a mini project to help brush up on measurement skills and look at textiles and then will have a turn machine sewing in eighth grade for her very own), a husband who traveled out of state the majority of the week, and the pet care of two hamsters, fish, frogs, and a large dog plus meals and housekeeping. That is all life and part of homeschooling as well. Especially as your children grow older, they may have more activities or passions they are investigating and have distinctly different needs than the children in grades one through four. Life may expand outside the home, but being within the home is still the basis of homeschooling and the more you are home, the more smoothly things will run, in my experience.
So, how does one manage life and homeschooling? Continue reading
People who are curious about homeschooling always want to know how it rolls with multiple children and how it works teaching multiple grades using Waldorf Education at home. It is undoubtedly different than a Waldorf school, and yet I feel indebted to the schools and the resources the Waldorf school teachers use as I gleam so much from the teachers and their resources.
We celebrated our first day of seventh grade, fourth grade and kindy (our four year old will be five in October, so this is his five year old year) yesterday. What follows are two days in the life of our homeschooling adventure.
On most of the “first day of school” in years past our older girls would dress alike in something new or wear something pretty from what they already had. This year they dressed up in something they already had, took the dog and their little brother for a quick walk (all barefooted) and came back and we took first day of school pictures (still barefooted). They quickly checked on their hamsters, fish and frog and then came to the school room. We opened our school day around 8:15 with prayers and confession, and then a reading from “Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends” (Christian book). We are alternating this book in the morning with some of the writings of St. Theophan the Recluse. Next we moved into singing and fingerplays for our four year old and ended with a story from Juniper Tree Puppets’ Old Gnome Through The Year book. I had wet on wet watercolor painted a very large background with a pond and frog puppets on sticks that move within the painting and had needle felted a gnome for the telling of this story. The older girls then grabbed their folders of independent work (fourth grader reviewing coinage in math and seventh grader reviewing United States geography) and the little guy and I went downstairs. He worked on tying his apron in the front, measuring ingredients, and stirring with one and then both hands to make a big batch of yellow, lemon essential oil scented salt dough. After we cleaned up, I took him outside (still in his heavy apron) to hunt for beautiful sticks and presented him with a very small pocketknife. (If you would like to know more about this, please see the writings on the Forest Kindergartens in Germany and Europe, and also the woodworking book for 3-5 year olds by Master Waldorf teacher Marsha Johnson.) I demonstrated and modeled the use and care of the knife and how to whittle and he very carefully whittled the bark off the end of a small stick to be a fishing pole for the Old Gnome puppet in our story under supervision. Once the whittling was complete for the day, I put the knife away in a very safe place. Our seventh grader then took over the supervision of her brother whilst I worked with our fourth grader.
Our fourth grader began with Continue reading
Here in the Deep South, many homeschoolers will be starting school again in a few weeks. I love this time of anticipation of fall, and am looking forward to heading back into some more rhythm. The children seem ready as well, so we will continue to enjoy nature and all her summertime glory (and fall glory too, with camping and trips to the beach in the fall), but I am feeling more ready to get going!
I wanted to share with you some of my favorite resources for planning: Continue reading