(Up to date as of 2/4/2017)
This topic comes up over and over again on Facebook groups, Yahoo Groups and in real life. There is even a Facebook group devoted to sharing information about the different curriculums called “Waldorf Homeschool Curriculum Discussion”.
If you as a homeschooling mother have investigated Waldorf at all, then you probably realize that for the Early Years, under the age of 7, life and being home is the curriculum. Play, meaningful work, rest, stories and songs and verses and being outside, along with seasonal activities IS the curriculum. It is living and changing. You don’t need to buy a curriculum for this, but if you feel you need verses, songs, or seasonal ideas, there are plenty of books, Pinterest boards and the like to demonstrate ideas. You could also attend an open house if you have a Waldorf School near you and see a puppet show. This is the time to develop your own skills, learn to be able to set a rhythm in your own home, and be a gentle leader in your own home if you plan to homeschool in the grades. There is no “homeschooling” a four year or five year old in Waldorf! You are living a beautiful life! Life is the curriculum!
If you have investigated the Waldorf curriculum for the grades, you probably have seen there are certain subjects that Rudolf Steiner indicated as part of the development of the holistic human being by age, and there are some things built up in secondary pedagogy over these years as being done in certain grades. You have to know enough to see how this curriculum can be adapted to your own unique geographical environment (look at the manuals from the East African Waldorf teacher training curriculum and see how they adapt the curriculum for their country and continent) and most of all, to the unique child standing in front of you. LOOK at the child right in front of you. This is homeschooling, and homeschooling with Waldorf means you are a TEACHER. It is not “child-led” but it is sensitive to the child based upon Rudolf Steiner’s view of development and how you, the teacher, brings it!
So this type of homeschooling takes work. And that seems to scare many. I also feel many parents are interested in Waldorf Education because they perceive it as gentle (it is), child-led (it is not), nature-oriented (it is), easing into life in a more gentle way that is unhurried (it does, but then the other grades become VERY rigorous indeed). The early years of play silks and wooden toys don’t last forever and wooden toys do not an early Waldorf childhood experience make. Waldorf Education is about protection of the child, but it is also about bringing things at the right time developmentally and that does mean the world opens up, especially after the age of twelve.
The curriculums currently on the market (and this is just a list; I am not endorsing any particular curriculum since different things work for different families) include Celebrate the Rhythm of Life Living Curriculum Program, Live Education, Waldorf Essentials, Earthschooling, individual offerings from Rick and Jennifer Tan at Syrendell and Marsha Johnson at her Yahoo Group firstname.lastname@example.org and her on-line store The Magic of Waldorf, and Christopherus Homeschool Resources, Inc. I am not really including Enki and Oak Meadow as they were written by former Waldorf teachers; Enki is closest to Waldorf pedagogy out of the two, but each are there own distinct programs with their own scope and sequence. So these are more “Waldorf-inspired”. Little Acorn Learning is aligned with Lifeways of North America, and is nature-based. There are several websites with free information, including Waldorf Inspirations. Jean Miller’s website Waldorf-Inspired Learning and Meredith over at A Waldorf Journey have some products available depending upon block/topic. Also, please do not forget the myriad of resources available to Waldorf teachers that are also available to you through booksellers such as Rudolf Steiner College Bookstore or Waldorf Books. There may be other resources I missed or didn’t include, but I think these represent the majority of the curriculums that are out there that cover grades 1-8 in some capacity.
If you are not piecing together your own curriculum, (which I recommend you try to do, especially in the early grades when it is easier and you can get the hang of it), then you will have to sort through all of these options. Most mothers I talk to say they would love to have enough money to purchase more than one curriculum because each one has its gems, its loveliness, and they like to combine pieces and resources. In the upper grades, where there is much less in the way of curriculum to pick from, you will have to do this anyway.
If you want to see my criteria regarding choosing curriculum, I suggest you look at this back post. You can also look at this post about how to learn more about Waldorf Education and the suggestions there. Look carefully at the credentials of the people writing the curriculum and how much they have extensively worked with children in real life . If you are writing a “Waldorf” curriculum and using that word – where is your training, Foundation Studies, workshops that helped train you in this method? I think all of these things combined make a “curriculum” worth looking at.