Late To Waldorf? Overwhelmed?

If you are coming in late to Waldorf homeschooling or feel overwhelmed and overrun by dogma, I have a solution for you!  Please read the lectures given by Rudolf Steiner compiled in “The Renewal of Education.”  This set of lectures, given to a group of Swiss public educators only eight months after the first Waldorf school formed, is so accessible. The foreword is written by a favorite Waldorf educator of mine, Eugene Schwartz, in which he compares and contrasts Waldorf Education to John Dewey and Maria Montessori’s work and sheds light on the hallmarks of Waldorf Education:  the self –renewal and self-development of the teacher, the balance that feeling provides in education, and the approach of Waldorf education to the holistic child.

Waldorf education approaches the child from four different avenues. Continue reading

Lesson Planning: A Sample Form

In one post I shared my personal form for the rhythm of one of our days of the week, but I was recently thinking about a sample form or list that could help mothers plan their Grades One through Eight  homeschooling according to the eight pillars of artistic work of Waldorf Education that we have talked about in the past on this blog.  Academic subjects are taught through artistic work in Waldorf Education; this is an enlivening form of education for the child.

Please take this as a “I thought of this in quickly and you might be able to tweak it or use parts of  it or come up with something even better” kind of way, not as a definitive end product.  Smile

Anyway, this is what I was thinking: Continue reading

Children Who Dislike Everything

I was going through some papers this weekend and came across an article by Michael Howard that I had printed out called, “Educating the Feeling-will in the Kindergarten” and this quote just popped out at me:

“The defining characteristic of feeling will is the capacity to live deeply into the inner quality of something outside us, knowing and feeling it as if we are within it or it is within us. In the early childhood years a healthy child is naturally inclined to drink in the inner mood and qualities of places and persons.  It is one of the tragedies of our times that the ways of the world, including the life of the family and school, can dull rather than foster this natural soul attachment.  Tragically, many young children come to kindergarten with a sense-nerve disposition already strongly developed.  Their thinking has become prematurely intellectual and abstract, and their feeling life inclines toward strong personal like or dislike.”

I have been seeing so many tiny children yet with so many big opinions.  Have you been seeing this as well?  Continue reading

Relaxed Waldorf Homeschooling

I wanted to thank all of you who participated and left comments in regards to the post Donna Simmons of Christopherus Homeschool Resources on Catherine’s blog.  You can see the original post here (and do be sure to read the comments, because that is where the discussion really is, including an interesting side thread on forming the space between two siblings who are very close in age): Continue reading

Guest Post: One Mother’s Experience With A Waldorf-Inspired Third Grade

(This guest post is written by a friend of mine who lives in my region of the U.S. She writes in):


As I write this I am enjoying a homemade sourdough English muffin, topped with homemade cheese and homemade strawberry jam. This, my friends, is the real reward of doing a Waldorf-inspired third grade year! We have just finished Grade 3, and what a fun year it has been. Although I have always homeschooled my boys, this has been our first year using Waldorf-inspired methods. I began our year by meditating on my son, Vincent, who turned 9 this past December. My number one goal for him was to get him out of his head a bit (well, a lot), which meant less reading and more physical activity. I also wanted to try to calm his mind and focus him to finish a task. Lower on my list of things to accomplish was to teach him all 4 processes in math, as we had only done addition and subtraction previously. And of course, there is my constant quest as a parent to encourage reverence, empathy and connection in both my boys.

Continue reading

Finishing Up The School Year

This is the time of year when many mothers in the Northern Hemisphere are finishing up school and starting to think about summer and planning for next year.  Perhaps you only have one or two blocks left before your school ends for the year! How exciting!

I would love to hear what everyone is working on right now and what you have left.  Did this school year go the way you wanted?

Sometimes at this point in the year mothers can be really hard on themselves.  Learning really occurs all the time, so even if you didn’t get to everything (and that happens in school as well!), it is okay.  Children in grades one through three are still pretty little, and many of the concepts touched on in these grades are worked with and deepened in fourth grade, and other concepts are really honed in grades five through eight.  There is time, and I think when we homeschool with Waldorf Education, we can be assured everything is in there in due time.

Are you already thinking about summer?  Summer vacation is seen as really, really important in Waldorf Education.  To read more about this and some ideas of what to focus on this summer, please see this popular post: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/06/03/a-plea-for-summer-vacation/

I encourage YOU, especially if you are a homeschooling parent, to use the summer to get your homeschool planning and household organizing done.  

In our family in the summer, pretty much I work on the house in the morning in small spurts between fun with the children, in the afternoon we go to our neighborhood pool and swim until we are ready to drop, and at night, at least for four nights a week I do homeschool lesson planning or my own work for a little bit before my husband and I spend time together.  We also plan “fun days” of going to the lake, or taking in a puppet show, or berry-picking and canning, but we also spend a good amount of time at home.  I tend to have my husband run the errands, or I do them around dinner time for an hour here or there.  I try to limit errand-running as much as possible!  That is my typical summer in a nutshell; I don’t know if that structure would be helpful to you, but in this summer I encourage you to think how you could get organized and prepared for  fall.  You will be so pleased how everything will be ready come fall!

Here is one of my favorite back posts about summer and tips to survive increased sibling fighting that sometimes occurs in  the summer months:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/07/21/summertime-bickering/

My official view of The July Doldrums (yes, I coined that phrase myself since it seems to happen in my world in July): http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/07/05/the-july-doldrums-again/

And last but not least, a project for parenting, just for you this summer:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/06/07/a-summer-parenting-project-for-you/

Many blessings,

Carrie