There are many, many back posts about homeschooling Waldorf Kindergarten on this blog.
First of all, many families are just trying to decide about whether or not homeschooling is right for them period. If that is the case, try this back post: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/04/01/how-to-make-a-decision-about-homeschooling/. Are you concerned about homeschooling an only child? https://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/11/13/parenting-and-homeschooling-the-only-child/
Perhaps these back posts would also assist you: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/09/09/more-about-social-experiences-for-the-four-year-old/ and here: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/09/07/social-experiences-for-a-four-year-old/
I think it is very important to get clear about what Waldorf Kindergarten really means. Waldorf Kindergarten in the school setting used to start around age four and a half, and now the age has dropped to age 3 or even younger, with “Morning Garden” classes for toddlers to age 3 in many schools. For more thoughts on this, try this post: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/03/30/waldorf-homeschooling-versus-waldorf-school/ Both Donna Simmons of Christopherus Homeschooling Resources and I have a strong dislike of where the Waldorf schools are headed in terms of taking younger and younger children out of the home. Waldorf Kindergartens work to emulate a loving home, and this is something that we obviously can work on at home for far less cost and for far more personal development than perhaps would occur if our child was at Waldorf school. Having your children with you 24/7 forces your own spiritual growth! Ask any homeschooling mother!
I think in the home environment really we need to do “Waldorf Kindergarten” around the five-year-old year and the six-year-old year. These are the ages for increased attention, increased ability to do artistic and creative work in a focused fashion. It is just a thought; I know some will disagree.
Many families are attracted to the idea of homeschooling Waldorf Kindergarten because they like to spend time outside or they like all the natural toys. There is a bit more to it than just those things. Please read this article by Marsha Johnson, Waldorf Teacher, from this blog: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/01/15/the-waldorf-kindergarten/
What you may gather from the article by Marsha Johnson is that there is a progression in Waldorf Education, there is a sequence, and every single thing builds on each other. There is nothing random in the curriculum at all. It is all in there in due time when it is developmentally appropriate. So, I think part of getting educated about Waldorf Kindergarten entails at least having an idea as to what first grade would be like. There are posts about first grade on this blog for you to look at. Here are some other places to learn more about Waldorf Education: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/11/28/i-am-new-to-waldorf-how-can-i-find-out-more/
Academic skills are introduced when the child is six and a half or seven in first grade. I think one has to really get on the same page as one’s partner or spouse and discuss if together you are both really okay with a child not starting to read formally or do math formally. The oral basis of language is being laid in the kindergarten in an extremely rich way, the body is being prepared in a rich way to promote academic success, foundations of math and science are being laid, but the formal sit down and write part comes later. Are you okay with that?
Here are a few things to work on in the years before starting Waldorf Kindergarten in your home:
- Work on your own ability to nurture and enfold your child into life.
- Establish a rhythm for your child, your family, your life. If you are still struggling with rhythm when you hit homeschooling for the grades, it will be difficult to focus on teaching. Remember though, rhythm is not a schedule but a flow.
- Establish health of your child through protection of the 12 senses, use of warmth, establishing rhythm.
- Repetition! It is what little people need!
- Play, singing, interaction
- Including your child in household chores
- Outside and sensory experiences
- Fostering the imagination through oral storytelling
- And this famous post:
More nuts and bolts:
Here are some other blog posts that may interest you as you consider this decision:
A review: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/02/13/a-review-kindergarten-with-your-three-to-six-year-old-by-donna-simmons/
Another review: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/12/17/favorite-waldorf-resource-1-joyful-movement/
More Early Years books: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/02/09/which-early-years-book-should-i-buy/
Thanks for this post.
Our oldest is turning 4 in January and we have decided to keep him at home for at least another 1-2 years (and then we will see what we do). Part of the reson is that I am enjoying having the kids at home.
We have been attending a waldorf playgroup one morning a week – I enjoy the contact and building a community of like minded parents.
But I have really felt the pressure of enrolling him into the Kindergarten.
I am looking forward to dip my toe into ‘Kindergarten’ and will be reading all the back post suggested.
Thank you so much Carrie! I think you must have answered every question I ever had! : ). So many wonderful resources. I really appreciate you taking the time to write this and link to all those backposts. Meagan.
I really think that all the energy I felt that I needed to expend in “doing kindergarten” was much better spent doing my own inner work. Now I will have a six-year-old in the fall (and a 4yo, 2yo, and new baby!), so I’m sitting down to plan our first real year of kindergarten and taking my inner work ahead into that first grade year! All that inner work really pays off, as I feel like I’m entering our first kindergarten year with grace and confidence. Thanks for all your posts, I’ve had them up on my computer screen for the past week while I plan 🙂 xo!
Kyrie — Yes, yes, yes….I don’t think there is much to do until the five year old year at the earliest if one is chomping at the bit, other than working on yourself and your homelife, and then the six year old year is where is really all comes together! I can’t wait to hear about your plans!
Love, love you!
This is a great post Carrie! I get clients all the time wanting to push through their little ones… we have to take time – really understand Waldorf and give the children the space they need to grow.
I do think that the some of the Waldorf schools pushing early child ed programs are part of the problem, when I get some moms, their little ones have been in a Waldorf program for 1-2 years already and they are expecting to move on with a more academic kindy. It is hard to help them understand.
My biggest frustration comes when we do all there is in the first year and then there is nothing new to do! lol… taking our time is the best remedy.
these two last post of you are really encouraging. How I wish there was such a support in my country but most of all in my language and culture. You know I’m not sure at all my mssion would be to homeschool (add to that I’ve got an only child: a daughter!!), it might anyway not be my path, but I cannot feel like giving it a try because here in Italy it would be really hard…
thank you SO much for listing out these posts…i could spend hours exploring your blog resources! so appreciated!
i will be meditating on them and how to weave some of these ideas into our day…perhaps starting with a story w figures in the morning and a candle lighting before lunch? (i have a four 1/2 year old and an almost 2 year old) the idea of waldorf at home for my son next year so resonates with me..
again thank you!
I am happy homeschooling my 3 yo, however, in September his friends will be go to full-time mainstream school, and I will find it very very difficult to find him friends of his age to play with. I know I can go to the park, etc but it isn’t the same as having a group of friends he knows quite well.
Do you have any posts/advice on this issue? I can’t stop thinking about this as it goes round and round my head all the time!
I love your blog, it is such an oasis!
Love and blessings
Ps There are no homeschoolers in my local area.
Three is really, really small and probably the need for social interaction is actually okay being limited at this point to some extent. 🙂 I would suggest, though, that you look for La Leche League toddler meetings in your area, Attachment Parenting meetings, put up a flyer in a health food store or a yoga place and see if you can connect with other mothers of 3 and 4 year olds…you may find mothers who are not officially homeschooling nor plan to homeschool, but some families decide to keep their little ones out of preschool for varying reasons.
Thank you for reading, I love having your voice hear and enjoy your blog when I get the chance!
Thank you for your great blog! So much of what you say resonates with me. We made the choice to keep our 4 yo home this year and next year too. I keep saying that I’m taking the homeschooling journey “one year at a time” – not quite ready to commit but your blog is really helping me understand, and work through some of the issues that might come up. It just feels so right to keep my little one at home and to resist the temptation (read social pressure) to sign up for tons of “enrichment” classes. I decided to focus this year on healthy rhythm and outside time. I’m adding my own “inner work” to the list for the second half of the year. It is reassuring to me that I still have a couple of years to continue to focus on getting myself grounded and creating a healthy, nurturing home before we need to get serious with planning any sort of curriculum. It is difficult though, I must admit, to choose a path so very different than the rest of my friends have chosen for their children. I appreciate the support and encouragement your blog provides!