I see many families who start along the path of Waldorf homeschooling. Some embrace it fully, some families weave in and out of it for quite some time. Some families choose to go a different path, some go a different path and then steer back towards Waldorf homeschooling around the time their children go through the development shifts of ages nine and ten. And yes, some become absolute haters of Waldorf education, which I frankly feel many times is not due to Waldorf education in and of itself, but how that family approached it all. Are there ways to avoid pitfalls in Waldorf homeschooling?
I don’t know for sure, but I do have a few ideas. So here are my Top Ten Ways to make Waldorf homeschooling work for you!
1. Do not get so hung up on the “right and perfect way” to do Waldorf education or the “right and perfect curriculum” that will be the “magic” for your home. YOU are the magic. In the home environment, there are few guideposts and roadmaps. The main thing is to know development, observe your child and strive yourself, have joy and keep things vibrant. If you are trying for “perfect” it is all drudgery and you will soon abandon Waldorf Education.
2. In the Early Years, be wary and careful of doing way too much way too soon. Far better to live within the rhythms of the year, the seasons, the liturgical year, your own home and develop those things fully than to spend hours creating perfect handwork projects and charming things for your children (unless creating perfect handwork projects is part of what nourishing YOU). Do not stress over every little thing trying to make it “Waldorf perfect.”
3. Remember the wisdom of the forest kindergarten movement. I really feel this is where a child birth through aged five or so should be centered more than anything, in nature and in that movement, in the musicality of creation. Around that shift of five and a quarter, five and a half I think is where you can really observe your child and see what skills they still need to develop in order to be successful in the early grades. You can search “Nokken” in the search engine on this blog and learn more.
4. Look ahead. Yes, there are differences between a Continue reading
In homemaking, one thing I would like to encourage is to give value to the innermost experiences of your soul, not just the outward. In other words, homemaking is not just about whether or not the house is picked up or the everyone has clean underwear (although those things are nice, ) , but how you feel about your family and your home during each season. How does your homemaking reflect the seasons of your soul.
This is the eve before Lent begins in the Western Church. Before you decide to click off this page because you are not Christian or anything else, realize that Lent is a season that anyone can celebrate. It is a journey of the heart and the mind, a time of examination and stillness, a time of renewal of life, of renewal of mind heading into a spring that right now seems so far away. For me, Lent is a time where I deliberately examine my own choices – how I am using my time, am I serving my family, am I taking care of myself? It is a time to find a renewed source of strength.
I would like to walk through these days with you with my favorite friends: some of the Celtic Holy ones. I love the Celtic Saints, or you can just call them your Celtic Holy Companions, because they were so very interesting and inspiring and I do think they represent a point of commonality amongst all Christian denominations and form a bedrock of Western Civilization. In Advent, we often travel through Advent and mark St. Nicholas Day and Santa Lucia Day for cultural reasons, for religious reasons and for personal reasons to find light in the darkest of days. Why not do this in Lent? There are wonderful holy people to be celebrated during Lent to inspire you to renewal.
Here is a brief background, based on my understanding of the early Celtic Church, that might help you understand the Celtic Saints a little better: Continue reading
It is hard to believe I will have a sixth grader in the fall! I have started gathering some Waldorf resources to use for grade six.
First of all, here are a few things that I know my local Waldorf School covers in Grade Six and a few notes with what I plan to do at home:
Main Lesson Blocks:
- Roman empire, medieval society and history (at home, I plan on covering Rome this year and will save medieval for seventh grade. In Eighth Grade we will do the Renaissance and voyages of discovery, and then move into Asian and American history probably more in Ninth Grade. I just feel this is a more realistic timetable for home, and since we plan to homeschool in high school, I feel I can stretch the middle school subjects a bit.) Resources: Christopherus Roman History and Charles Kovacs’ Ancient Rome, Dorothy Harrer’s book)
- Compositions, book reports, research projects, speech work, oral presentations, discussion, debate (see Eric Fairman’s Path of Discovery Grade Six for some neat project ideas) — I am putting in our year a two week block of literature. I have not yet decided what book look at in-depth during this time. I also intend to take our daughter to see some plays during this time.
- Percents and business math, metric system, (Probably will use a mix of Making Math Meaningful, and The Key To Series….Also may pull from more standard sources for practice problems)
- Physics, geology, astronomy, botany Continue reading
It is not just about Main Lesson Books. And in fact, in homeschooling, we have much more leeway for how we approach subjects than probably even in a Waldorf School.
Many times people want to compare a Waldorf School and Waldorf homeschooling. I don’t think it is that simple. In fact, it is a bit like comparing apples and oranges, as the saying goes…or perhaps it is more like comparing grapefruit and oranges. You know, we are related a little, we are all in the same fruit basket, but there are very different things about grapefruits and oranges!
Here is some of the “Very DIfferent”:
Waldorf homeschoolers are first and foremost homeschoolers. We homeschool to put family first, and if we have multiple children, we might have to bend the way schools do things. Rejoice in that! Embrace that and live! That is part of health! I was thinking the other day about astronomy in sixth grade and how this is a “block” and there is this main lesson work…and how at home it might be more like camping out under the stars in the backyard, it might be watching the sunrise with a cup of tea, it might be about doing this over the summer too, it might be about going on field trips to museums or the local astronomy club in town, and it would certainly include telling some great fables about the sky and the stars. I guess what I am trying to say is that Waldorf at home sometimes is a bit more loose, it may not fit into a Main Lesson Book. And that is okay!
When we Waldorf homeschool, we put our family culture first and foremost because homeschooling is about family. So whether you are Jewish or Christian, roaming travelers or love to be home, musicians or gardeners or bakers..your homeschool has the unique flavor and culture of you! I guess this may not be much different than a teacher who imprints themselves and who they are on a class, but it is different in terms that we are building a family culture through homeschooling. Continue reading
I was recently looking through Michele Borba’s book, “Parents Do Make A Difference: How To Raise Kids with Solid Character, Strong Minds, and Caring Hearts,” and this sentence jumped out at me:
“The kind of messages we send our children is critical. Expecting little from our kids limits their success, because they lose the incentive to try new possibilities. Unrealistic expectations can also damage our kids: “Why didn’t you get all A’s?” “How did you not make the team?” “You got a 98 percent – which two did you miss?” Pushing our kids because we want the best for them may be misinterpreted by them as “You’re not good enough.” Successful expectations gently stretch our children’s potential to become their best without pushing them to be more than they can be. And these expectations never destroy children’s feelings of adequacy.”
The author goes on to discuss using the parameters of “developmentally appropriate, realistic, child-oriented, and success-oriented” as barometers for whether an expectation is healthy or not.
I talk a lot about development on this blog, and have included realistic expectations as part of the developmental posts for each age. You can access many back posts to look at that. However, here is a quick rule of thumb: Continue reading
“An angel comes down to earth, conceived and received within the womb of her mother. There she grows the garments for her new home, and henceforth, she will wear the heavy robe of a physical body. After the months that this process takes, she emerges into a startling world of bright lights, cacophonous sounds and strong smells. With that first breath of terrestrial air, a visitor of timeless pure being is born into the temporal matter of earth. And with the tasting of mother’s
milk, so begins the education of this angel we now call child. For in this sweet substance of milk, the child first brings the outside world into herself.”
And so begins the book “Completing The Circle”, written by one of my favorite authors, Thomas Poplawski. Here is the link to the ebook: http://www.waldorflibrary.org/index.php?option=com_booklibrary&task=view&id=1202&catid=133&Itemid=3
This book asks the important question of how we prepare a child to meet these times of hurry, sophistication, and technology whilst preserving the unique gifts, destinies, and callings that all children have? Continue reading
Look for the positive things in your child, and love and encourage your child. There is a saying of something to the effect that we do not teach a toddler to walk by berating them every time they fall, but we encourage them when they make it onto their feet and stagger a few steps. This is the same for older children; the things they are trying out and doing are different than learning to walk, but they are still learning to be a part of humanity!
Here are some encouraging words:
I knew you could do it! Continue reading