I think my ideal Waldorf curriculum for homeschoolers would stick closer to Steiner’s original indications from his educational lectures, especially the indications found in “Discussions With Teachers” and “Practical Advice to Teachers.” What I love about these sources is that it breaks down the Waldorf curriculum so simply. The Waldorf Schools have much more in the way of speciality staffing, and more children and more hours to fill than we do in homeschooling. Therefore, I think we can stick to the simplicity that Steiner laid out originally rather than trying to attempt all of the blocks that the schools bring in a year.
I personally feel we cannot do eurythmy at home but many instead substitute movement with verses and songs; I feel foreign languages are very difficult for most American homeschoolers unless they already happen to be bilingual; and music (flute in particular) can be hard even for the musically talented homeschoolers. Many homeschoolers will sing with their children, but progression in music really comes with the community groups when children are old enough to be in a community orchestra, band, or choir. I have come to the conclusion that these areas can be left aside until opportunities in the community present itself, and unless these areas come easy there are plenty of other things for homeschoolers who love Steiner’s indications to focus upon.
Ages 7-9 – Fairy Tales, Animal Stories, and Old Testament stories for drawing, writing from drawing, and then reading from writing. Math. Foreign languages (although this is terribly hard for the majority of homeschoolers unless they themselves are fluent in multiple languages); drawing; painting; modeling; music. To these indications, I would add nature studies because homeschoolers do such a great job with that at home!
Ages 9-12 – Scenes from Ancient History, (4th), Medieval History (5th), and Modern History (6th) (grades for the United States added by me; original indications by Steiner). Grammar, the world of animals, the world of plants, geometry, physics, geography. Arthimetic, drawing, painting, music, foreign languages.
Ages 12+ – 15 Knowledge of the varying tribes and races of the world; knowledge of the people of the earth. Grammmar, minerals, physics, chemistry, foreign language, history, geography, math, drawing, painting, music.
It sounds so simple laid out here like this, with long 6-8 week blocks to really sink into the material.
I think where homeschoolers get bogged down is in all the things the Waldorf Schools do, which we can never do at home, and in their own ideas of not being qualified to carry out an artistically-based curriculum. It seems overwhelming, but really one must just try it. The more you actually do it instead of think about it, the more things will come together. 🙂
I promise it is not that hard. It can be simple. I think we make it much harder than it is should be. It shouldn’t be more difficult than other other methodology of homeschooling. More insights from my re-reading of Steiner’s lectures to come.
YES! I wish I had truly embraced this from the very beginning of my homeschooling journey. It would have saved me so much self-doubt and worry.
Thank you (again!) for writing such a relevant post. I’ve been striving for homeschool days that don’t exhaust me and my children, and needing to let go of the unrealistic expectations I have, looking at not only Waldorf schools but also other homeschooling families with different children, parents, lifestyles and so on that allow different levels of achievement. These guidelines are very helpful and I look forward to your other posts. Jessica
Thanks Carrie for this. A few years back, I really knew nothing about eurythmy and bought a lot of books on the subject. Then one day I decided that I could easily substitute movement through dancing and yoga and that would be great for my child. When I could finally let go of trying to implement eurythmy, something that felt very foreign to me, I felt so free. I experienced dancing and doing yoga with my little one very special and just right for him.
I’m so glad you mentioned the flute as well. I play the piano to my son each morning and we sing songs. I can read music, but teaching him the flute/recorder just wasn’t working for us, so I’ve wanted to let that go as well and when he’s ready sign him up for lessons on an instrument as I did for his older brother. I just haven’t yet been able to let go of it. You are so right, simple is better and I feel when we do that and modify to make it work for our family it is so beautiful. Thanks for helping me let go of flute/recorder and do what works for us.