Hopeless With Waldorf?


(Addendum as of March 28, 2009:  This post has had 416 hits as of today which kind of cracks me up because I wrote it completely off the cuff in about 10 minutes!  If you are new to my blog, please do have a look around.  There are lots of posts about the developmental characteristics of the ages of children 7 and under, lots of posts on gentle discipline, co-sleeping, breastfeeding and more (and of course there are A LOT of posts on Waldorf homeschooling and life with Waldorf).  I am glad to have you as a reader today!  Thank you!)

I have recently talked to three separate mothers who are feeling hopeless and overwhelmed with Waldorf.  I would like to take this opportunity to shatter the Waldorf myths – excuse me while I go put on my silk, hand-dyed cape!

Okay, now I am back, so here goes:

1.  Being Waldorf does NOT mean that you will always walk around singing and as happy as a Mary Poppins on Valium.  It does mean you will do your best to take some time for YOURSELF and breathe.  It does mean you will try to set the tone for your home, because if you don’t do it, no one else will.

2.  Being Waldorf does NOT mean you can never have another plastic toy in your house ever again.  It does mean you WILL seriously pare down your clutter of toys and get rid of a lot of them.  It does mean you may take the time to set up inviting areas in your home for your kids to want to play in – maybe a kitchen area, a dress-up area.

3.  Being Waldorf does NOT mean you have to go and stand outside in sub-freezing weather everyday because “we are outside in all kinds of weather, no matter what.”  It does mean you will make a very concerted effort to get your kids outside on most days when this is reasonable and that you will try to make it around the same time most days.

4.  Being Waldorf does NOT mean you have to get rid of your TV, but it does mean you will not turn it on during the day and that your kids will not watch it if they are little.  It does mean you are going to work hard to NOT surf on your PC all day, except to read this blog 🙂

5.  Being Waldorf does NOT mean your house has to be perfectly clean and spotless with you standing there in an apron with your broom (although I personally love my apron).  It does mean you will make a reasonable effort to keep your house picked up by having several times during the day where you pick up, that you  will allot time at the end of an activity to clean-up with your children, and that you will try to clean your house and cook some homemade meals.  Baby steps – start small.

6.  Being Waldorf does NOT mean you will never go out during the week anymore, but it does mean you will work to be firmly entrenched in your home, especially if you have small children.  It does mean you will think about the number of playdates and classes and such a four-year-old really needs (my vote is for none!)

7.  Being Waldorf does NOT mean that you are sunk if you cannot make your own bread, knit, sew, paint, model and play pennywhistle, but it does mean you will try to learn little by little.  Maybe you will find other Waldorf homeschooling parents to learn from.  Maybe, gasp, you will attend a workshop or class without your children and learn so you can show them and be a better teacher.  The joy of being human is that we can learn, do better and we are not stagnate!

8.  Being Waldorf does NOT mean you cannot use an open and go curriculum. Melisa Nielsen creates one, and so does Donna Simmons.  It may mean that after you do this Waldorf homeschooling for awhile you may be inspired to create your own, and it is okay to take a few minutes each day to work on it before the next school year.

9.  Being Waldorf does NOT mean you have to honor every traditional Waldorf festival they would celebrate in a school.  Pick the ones that speak to you and your family, start small and add things to it every year.  This is a learning practice.

10.  Being Waldorf does NOT mean you cannot include your child’s interests in your homeschooling experience, but it DOES mean you understand the reasons of WHY Waldorf teaches WHAT when and you  can work with that.

11.  Being Waldorf does NOT mean that your children have to go to bed at 6:30 forever, but it does mean that you shoot for the same bedtime every night and the same awake time every day.  After awhile, you and your children will love this and it will not be a battle, but you have to persevere for at least 21 days!  21 days to make a new habit!  And, as a homeschooling mother, you will appreciate the time to yourself.

12.  Being Waldorf does NOT mean you will never get there, it just may take time!

Be easy with yourselves out there, start small and dream big!  Seek guidance from other Waldorf mothers and don’t just settle on something less than Waldorf if you feel Waldorf is really right for your family!  Make it work for you!

You can do this!!

Love to all,


18 thoughts on “Hopeless With Waldorf?

  1. oh my gosh….. i love you and i have never met you. you seem to be speaking directly to me. thank you so much. I have purchased Melisa’s curriculum, I have a 6 year old, 4 year old and 7 month old, I was never in a waldorf school, but it has spoken to my heart since my first pregnancy. I have put so much pressure on myself to be the perfect waldorf homeschooler, that i may have been missing so much of the journey…… thank you…

  2. Thank you, than you, THANK YOU! I am going to print this out and stick it somewhere I can see it every day.
    Perfect for someone who is a perfectionist and gets easily overwhelmed (like me!) 😉

  3. Regarding numbers 5 and 6, I have been thinking recently about the peacefulness of home and trying to create a peaceful environment in the home. I was thinking about this especially when there are babies and young toddlers present, and how they are more demanding. A few days ago, I was hoping to mend a couple torn hems in my daughter’s clothing while she did some drawing, cutting, and gluing. I thought it’d be nice to sit alongside her and work on my own project… but the 1 year old had other ideas! She cries if not in my lap while I sit with my older child, and she grabs everything in sight if on my lap. There are some things I have to do, like cooking dinner, even if she is not content (neither on the floor or in a sling)… and I just go ahead and do them, but it sure doesn’t help to create a peaceful environment, lol! I have talked with lots of moms who think their day with a baby or young toddler goes better when they get out of the house and go somewhere, because it gives the baby a new environment. I see the point there in that my baby is generally less bored when somewhere new… I think there is a difficult stage somewhere between 9-18 months where the baby cannot really do a lot of things (for instance, I give her a crayon when her sister is drawing, and she eats it as well as scribbles, lol), and they begin to be less content to just observe.

    Just wondering about any perspectives on this… I truly like to just stay home all day w/ my almost 4 yr old now, but it is more difficult with the baby. I’m always interested in ideas for this in-between stage of not-quite-baby but not a big kid yet either!

    Thanks as always for the thought-provoking posts!

  4. Hi Carrie, saw your blog mentioned on Marsha Johnson’s homeschooling Yahoo group. What a great post! I especially like #10 — one thing that seems very common is for people to be drawn to Waldorf (either schools or at home) but not to learn the foundations. So they follow the curriculum (or not) but don’t know why. And I also like #3: getting outside can be a challenge for so many adults these days. And it can be intimidating if you don’t have a magical yard full of stumps and hidey bushes and a sandbox! I’ve found that if your kids have had their imaginations and bodies nurtured, they can play with a pile of woodchips if that’s all you have 🙂

  5. Thank you for a wonderful post. There are times when I am feeling so burdened by not being “waldorf-y” enough and reading this reminds me that baby steps are fine.

    Parenting is such a rewarding, wonderful yet challenging journey…your post was like a roadsign on this journey to let me know I’m doing OK on this path 🙂

  6. Pingback: Waldorf Guilt « The Parenting Passageway

  7. I am a Charlotte Mason mama and always will be, but still all your Waldorf posts encourage me in all I’m doing. I cannot get enough of your bloggy wisdom!!!! (((((HUGS))))) sandi

  8. Pingback: Coming to Waldorf Late? « The Parenting Passageway

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  10. Dear Carrie,

    I want to thank you so much for all of your wisdom and words that you freely share with all of us to create a better world for our precious children and their parents. Your an oasis in a world struggling to find its compass and wonders why we are so lost and that only hard power can fix. I do have a question for you. We have a lovely 4 year old girl and both my stay at home wife and I feel a need for a break. We both have different needs and desires and we find it hard to find time to balance our needs and the needs of our child. Not only do I work full time, but I also have two freelance pursuits, one that pays and the other working to make financially viable (not to mention general finacial worries). With out going into great detail, I feel that all of our needs need to be met and my wife believes that our child is the most important thing and that we have to forgo some of our desires, thus creating conflict. I contend that ALL of our needs are important and that we need to find a way to accommodate everyone. My wife sometimes finds the day challenging and looks to me when I get home for that, but honestly sometimes I ned a break too and don’t seem to get it. Whatever wisdom you can impart to us is greatly appreciated.

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