I have posted on this in the past, but feel the need to bring it up again since it has been a little while since I last wrote on it and it is that time of year when people are looking for resources and asking about which Waldorf curriculum they should buy. Some people have asked what I use personally. I have box (es) of materials for each grade ( grades 1-9 so far plus Early Years) because I make up my own curriculum for each grade for each child. If you came to my house and looked through my boxes, you would see I own pieces of most major Waldorf curriculum providers for each grade ( at least for grade 5 and under; the pickings get more and more slim for grades 6 and up and for high school there is not much at all) and many of the resources from Rudolf Steiner College bookstore that Waldorf teachers use. I am reluctant to “recommend” anything because I find it to be such a completely subjective experience – what I love and what works for me and my family absolutely may not work for you. So I really refrain from giving recommendations, but I have in the past mentioned pieces that were helpful to me in particular blocks for a particular grade for a particular child. It changes year to year as I go through each grade three times because each child – and our family dynamics at each stage – is quite different.
So, this is what I recommend when thinking about Waldorf curriculum in general:
Look at the curriculum writer’s experience – do they have background in anthroposophy, the educational lectures of Steiner AND do they have background in homeschooling and teaching? Have they gone through Foundation Studies or Teacher Training or both? (This is a plus, I think, even in the homeschool environment). Have they attended workshops to further their own understanding and also to be tied into the larger Waldorf educational community? Have they worked with other children besides their own? (this is a huge plus! Their child is not the same as your child!) Have they homeschooled through all the grades, or just a few? Do they have a big picture of where the curriculum is headed or not (ie, high school!)?
Look at what YOU need – do you need something to riff off of, so to speak, just to get started? Do you need a full curriculum with lots and lots of ideas? Do you need help implementing things practically in your home? Do you need help with the artistic pieces? Everyone asks for a completely comprehensive, organized by the minute Waldorf curriculum, and I understand the “want” for that in getting started due to fear or inexperience. However, most of the curriculums written by experienced Waldorf homeschoolers/teachers will give suggestions that you have to flesh out as Waldorf Education is an art. And quite frankly, at some point if you are going to stick with Waldorf homeschooling, you will be piecing things together. Commit to try and do something original for each grade, even if it is to just write a few poems and stories for first grade or some riddles for second grade or make up some stories, etc. For sixth grade and up, I think you will be writing and piecing together an awful lot of your own things. Which leads to…
What are you willing to invest? It takes time to develop your own skills in drawing, painting , and modeling. It takes time to learn about things and the more complex subjects of the upper grades take time to flesh out and understand before you try to present it to your child. So, what are you willing to invest in time and will the curriculum help guide you?
What are the goals for your family? What are the dynamics for your children and family? How will this curriculum assist in that? Remember, homeschooling is about family and relationships first and foremost. And, when you talk to other people, they may or may not know what you need and what your family dynamics and rhythms are. Know yourself and your family first!
Can you see the curriculum in real life? It really helps to see what you are feeling drawn to if that is possible! It helps you find what voice as an author reaches you and makes you feel empowered to homeschool.