When I started homeschooling my five/six year old (the first year I really count, that six year old kindergarten year), it was 2005-2006 and resources for Waldorf homeschooling were sparse. There was Marsha Johnson’s Yahoo Group (remember those?), Donna Simmons was coming out with some products, Melisa Nielsen was coming out with products and there was Live Education! There were some books you could get by mail from the Rudolf Steiner Library and you could order Steiner’s lectures. I actually found Waldorf Education because I had seen Waldorf homeschooling mentioned in a library book and I read Steiner’s educational lectures first before I even saw a Waldorf school or curriculum.
As homeschoolers, we were hungry for knowledge and how to do things, and the school community was happy to have us come experience a community festival at a school, but there wasn’t much else offered in terms of support. Most of us couldn’t afford a Waldorf School for our multiple children, and that was that.
Today, there is a (relative) explosion of resources out there.
I am saying this because I think Waldorf homeschooling is very strange in a way. You don’t hear of any other kind of homeschooling method where people seem to prey on the fact that this type of homeschooling is “hard” and there are proper ways to do things and you will never be enough (so you should spend a lot of money to figure this out). You don’t hear that in classical circles, you don’t hear it in Charlotte Mason circles – why in this circle? Over an educational method Dr. Steiner started for the children of workers in a cigarette factory? Where he gave some weeks of lecture, and off the first Waldorf teachers went with his indications and created something that was obviously special and grew around the world? It is special – but I think Dr. Steiner wanted it to be accessible ! You can learn to do this! Dr. Steiner’s lectures were good enough for the first Waldorf teachers, and they can be good enough for you too!
You are enough. You can do this. If you feel as if or if you have been told that this way of homeschooling is so difficult, I want you to instead focus on your own strength and tenacity. Your own hunger for this way of living and education to heal yourself, heal your family, and to provide your child with amazing benefits to be well-rounded and to be a healthy adult.
Do you need help? Look at the back posts here. There are maybe 13 years or more of back posts on here! Every grade, block, age is covered. And it’s free! Ask on the Waldorf homeschooling FB groups where there are seasoned, veteran homeschooling mothers who can help you. There are free resources for the early grades online.
No, it is not going to look exactly like a Waldorf School. We as homeschoolers tend to be broader and have to combine things for our multiple children because trying to do three main lessons or more a day is too much – and that is ok! Look at Steiner’s original indications for subjects with child development – much broader than the narrow grade at a school. It’s okay.
Do you need help with art? The art is about creating and the process. Yes, the finished products can be beautiful but that’s not all there is. Maybe you are terrific at math. Or gardening. Each homeschool will have its own flair. I am still terrible at handwork, but I can sing, paint, draw, model, and play instruments. Find your strengths, you can find resources in your community for the rest. Practice daily! You will get better.
What is the first step? Rhythm – which will look different in every household, and understanding biography, development. Look at your family, and the child in front of you.
Sometimes the best way to go with Waldorf homeschooling is to jump into it.
Did I chose the right sized main lesson book that first year for form drawing? Nope.
Did it ruin my child’s life?
Was I incredible at handwork? Nope, but I could do other things!
Did I nail every finer point of a block the first time I went through it? Nope, but I sure learned a lot.
Many of us did this for YEARS with no help, on the outside of even the fringes of the Waldorf School movement which was already an alternative movement anyway. We used library books to make blocks, ordered things we hadn’t seen in person, got art supplies, and did our best. This way of homeschooling, while different because it has a distinct spiritual view of the human being, subjects to correlate with the development of the human being, and is based in the arts IS different but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it! And you can figure it out as you go along. Let go of your perfectionism and the school picture. This is homeschooling, which is separate in my mind from a school setting.
I don’t think Dr. Steiner would have wanted it any other way. Waldorf homeschooling has the ability to be accessible, to help heal generations, to help us know ourselves deeply and to see and be goodness, truth, and beauty.
Beautifully said, Carrie! Your point of view has been such a support to me on this journey. I feel that the path of Waldorf homeschooling is helping me and my children to heal traumas of generations before ours’. This only comes from making our own deep connection to the material, not from buying the right products. I love having the company of your thoughts as we all move along the path and grow 💗
Aww, thank you Abby! That is one of the nicest things someone has ever said to me! Big hugs and many blessings, Carrie
I always tell families… if you are not having fun then you are doing something wrong! Breathe deep and enjoy this journey. It can be full of pitfalls, but no more so than your parenting so just soak it all in!
Hi Melisa! Wise words as always! Blessings, Carrie
This is so important! Resources can often feel quite commercialised and far away from the essentials now, and actually the blocks I’ve done really from myself and my understanding of my children, with resources we had on hand, are generally the ones that we loved and got most out of. Trust in our own capacities is essential and can be eroded by that ‘this is so hard!’ attitude. Thank you for this post Carrie x
Hi Jess! Yes, exactly – build our own capacities through our own work. You totally get it!
Thank you for your grounded perspective, Carrie. I have been teaching Waldorf homeschool for 8 years now and learn something new every time I read your posts. Thank you for sharing your vast resource lists, experiences and knowledge. They are much appreciated and helpful!!
Gosh, Sonya, that is so kind of you! Thank you so much! Blessings, Carrie