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
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
I have written about my fascination with the forest kindergarten/farm school movement in back posts with detailed links. I recently found this link interviewing Erin Kenny, founder of Cedarsong Forest Kindergarten. You can read that interview here: http://www.safbaby.com/forest-kindergarten-a-better-way-to-teach-our-young-children.
I think the models we have for this movement within Waldorf Education are places such as Nokken with Helle Heckmann (please see back posts on Nokken on this blog and also this link regarding farm-based educator inspired by Waldorf Education: https://www.biodynamics.com/farm-based-educators).
The major benefits of Forest School, as listed in the book, “Forest School and Outdoor Learning in the Early Years” by Sara Knight are increased confidence and self-belief; social skills with increased awareness of the consequence of their actions on other people, peers and adults and the ability to work cooperatively; more sophisticated written and spoken language; increased motivation and concentration; improved stamina and gross and fine motor skills; increased respect for the environment and increased observational skills; ability to have new perspectives and form positive relationships with others; a ripple effect to the family.
I have been thinking lately Continue reading
Here are some great links this week to make you stop and think. Let’s all be the change we wish to see, advocate for our children, and keep the momentum I see happening in so many places at the grass-roots level in different states keep going. This is how change often happens in the United States. Be the change!
Do American parents have it backward? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christine-grossloh/have-american-parents-got-it-all-backwards_b_3202328.html
This article is a MUST-READ for all parents of small children. Children do need rhythm, repetition, time to be outside, time to play in an unstructured manner. They do not need lessons, or rigid adult-created games. The adult is there primarily to “un-stick” play and to guide, to provide help for the ideas the children create, to have the environment and the rhythm in place. Read more about the differences between what the differences between academic and play-based preschools bring here: http://www.janetlansbury.com/2012/06/dont-let-your-preschoolers-forget-how-to-play/ Continue reading
Here are some lovely links for the end of May.
This one from Sheila over at Sure As The World for second grade: http://sureastheworld.com/2014/05/20/the-canticle-of-the-sun/
Homeschooling children who are adopted: http://simplehomeschool.net/adopted-child/
Kara’s post about the joys of older children: http://simplekids.net/lets-hear-it-for-the-big-kids/
An interesting article here (scroll down) by Dee Coulter about Montessori and Steiner: http://www.waldorfresearchinstitute.org/research-from-waldorf-education/
Please share the blog posts and articles you have been finding inspirational lately in the comment box below. I would love to hear from you!
“I also did not like the word “preschool” since it implies that somehow the learning done before age 5 is not valid. In my mind, there is no such thing as “pre” school. In most European countries, there is not even such a word as preschool. The children attend daycare until age 6 and then start formal education at age 7. When I attended an international conference, the European participants thought it was quite humorous that I kept referring to our young preschoolers as students. This showed my cultural bias in that we think of even our youngest children as responsible for measurable learning.
- From “Forest Kindergartens: The Cedarsong Way” by Erin K. Kenny
If you are planning for preschool, (and you can see more about what I think about “preschool” here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/11/11/waldorf-101-waldorf-preschool/), focus on a strong component of rhythm to your days being present together at home. The things that preschoolers are working on – washing themselves, using the bathroom, the gentle rhythm of setting things up for a snack or lunch and then washing dishes and clearing plates – those extraordinary moments of everyday life is what the core curriculum for preschoolers should be. Continue reading
It is that planning time of year again, and I wanted to share with you all six books that I have found really indispensable on this homeschooling adventure. All except one will carry you through all of the grades, so here goes! Continue reading