The last post I wrote about language arts through the Waldorf homeschooling curriculum brought out some terrific comments by veteran homeschooling mothers regarding finding differing expectations between Waldorf homeschooling curriculums. One of my long-time readers wrote this brilliant comment:
Thanks again, Carrie, for your thoughts on this. There can be such a discrepancy not just between what’s done at school or home but also in comparing home ed. curriculums. Looking at Live Ed, say, or Path of Discovery, and then comparing it to much of what Christopherus suggests is do-able at a certain age for example. The expectations of the child, not just in language arts but in all areas, are quite different.
I agree with what you say about home educated children – I think they develop to their own individual time-tables, regardless of what experts might say or what other children are doing.
Perhaps being allowed to linger in a stage of development allows them to really complete it in a way that being hurried on to the next thing does not.
Yes! Oh, yes!
So always go back to basics: read Steiner’s lectures and look at your child. Know the general ideas of artistic and academic goals for each grade and know that if you are using curriculum, they do vary fairly significantly at points. Most of all, look at the child in front of you because when it comes down to it, that is what you have: the child in front of you and where they are and you can only build from there! That is the reality of teaching!
Why is it that you often hear about children in the homeschooling environment (and not even just Waldorf homeschooling, you ofen hear this across homeschooling methodologies unless a child is really being pushed in the academic areas or the child is just naturally brilliant) is that sometimes a child didn’t read until 12, or they just didn’t get math until all of the sudden when they turned 14, etc. ? I think this may, like my reader suggests above, have to do with the time and space that homeschooling affords. In my experience, it seems that many times the only children that meet many of these “pre-set milestones” are the eager beaver first-born girls. Maybe in a group some of these children would be the little ones sort of ahead of the class in general or who get it easily and help their classmates. Maybe it has to do with a more esoteric reason, such the guiding hand of Spirit over homeschoolers as a group across the land. I don’t know, other than it just seems to be.
So, be careful with curriculums. They can be a great guidepost to help brand-new mothers who have never seen a Waldorf classroom nor heard transition verses nor seen main lesson books. However, I notice many mothers coming up are buying ALL the curriculums. ALL the different curriculums on the market! Are you the type of the mother that can sort through all of this? Is there one that really matches your family better and where your child is?
At the point you are sorting through all of this, why not buy resources and make your own curriculum since the curriculums are all different anyway? Yes, each curriculum has its gems, each one has its own voice. But so do you! You have your own voice, your own style – and this is EXACTLY what happens in a Waldorf classroom with a teacher. Every teacher is different and brings their own twist to the subject material. Every teacher will design a block in a different way.
Being a homeschooling parent means being a teacher. You are learning to be a teacher, and it will come.