Fifth Grade Botany

I didn’t expect studying botany with my fifth grader would change my world view of plants and their place in nature in so many ways, but it did.  This was a block full of “a-ha” for me and my child too.

We used these resources, including: Continue reading


Simplicity Monday


I believe it was in Kim John Payne’s book “Simplicity Parenting” that I read about reducing the amount of toys a child has by about one-third and perhaps one would then be on track to simplifying within the home.


I was thinking about this one-third estimate and have thought about how this might apply to those of us with commitments outside the home.


Whether you work a part-time job, or your children are in sports, or you spend time volunteering, or you spend a lot of time with all the neighborhood children at your home – what would it look like to have one third of that time back in your own home and with your own family?


A simple thought to ponder,


Sunday Books: “Toys Are NOT Us”

We are continuing with our look at Thomas Poplawski’s book “Completing The Circle”. Again, this book is available for free online at the Waldorf Library.  Today we come to the chapter regarding consumerism and children’s toys:

Manufactured, ready-to-use toys are more present in our lives and in the lives of our children than at any time before in history. This is the result of aggressive product development, advertising, and marketing by large toy companies. These companies are primarily interested in toys that will sell and make a profit, not in toys that will foster the healthy development of children.

Research has shown the benefits of less toys, less structured toys, and a childhood based in play and song.  Having less toys increases the chances that children will engage in social play.  Simpler toys provides the child a chance to construct their own world of play. Continue reading

Am I “Waldorf Enough”??

This is a question that NEVER comes up with other homeschooling methods.  You never hear another homeschooling mother say, “Gosh, I don’t think I am Montessori enough.” or “Gosh, I wonder if I am Classical  enough.”

What is it about Waldorf homeschooling that brings out this guilt?

I think it is because no one other form of homeschooling is so tied into the universal picture of child development and how the development of the human being impacts parenting and education.  I don’t know as any other form of education has such a strong idea about what leads to good adult health in the future.  It is also more teacher led, than say opening a textbook or workbook and reading that.  It involves a certain initiative.

So, because of that it is natural to wonder if one’s efforts measure up.

“One’s efforts.”  I think that is the first thing we need to ask ourselves when we are wondering if we “measure up” is:

Am I making an effort?  What is my effort toward?    I think almost more than any physical  piece, like do I have a rhythm to my home,  or do I teach Greek mythology to my 11 year old,  the answer to this question lies in what initiation am I taking in adult education and learning about this subject?  What are the why’s beneath the “Rhythm would be good” or “Greek mythology would be good around fifth grade”?  Am I interested in learning more about how a subject that I am teaching would be approached by Steiner himself or by a teacher who really has studied Steiner?  Do I care about the developing human being and do my thoughts on this leave open some room for what Steiner or other secondary Waldorf education literature/pedagogy have to say according to what age my child is?  Does that resonate with me?

There is no “check-off” list for what is “Waldorf enough”.  It is a subjective experience.  So, when you ask yourself about “Waldorf enough”, I think all you can do is look at where you are, and where you want to go.  How do you get there?  Where are you on this walk, and is this actually the path you want to walk on to an extent?

Sometimes we hear in Waldorf Education that we have to digest things and then bring them to our children.  I think that is why so many teachers are reluctant to endorse or write a homeschool “curriculum”, because Continue reading