“The Christopherus Waldorf Curriculum Overview For Homeschoolers” by Donna Simmons is an engaging resource that will take you grade by grade, topic by topic, through what is typically done in a Waldorf School, and most importantly, how to work with this in the home environment and how to use your home as the advantage that it is within your Waldorf homeschooling experience.
Homeschooling with Waldorf is not about re-creating a Waldorf School within your home; being home as advantages in its own right. Donna Simmons writes in the preface of this work that she wrote this book “…because there seemed to be a distinct lack of material available to homeschoolers presenting Waldorf education in a meaningful, yet doable way. I wanted to help parents catch a glimpse of the depth of knowledge that informs Waldorf education and to also enable them to find their own way of working with it, preventing burnout and feeling of overwhelm.” She also notes on page 4 that “Waldorf-inspired homeschoolers, in my opinion, should not seek to copy what happens in Waldorf schools, but rather to understand how and especially why certain topics, subjects, methods and practice occur in Waldorf schools, and then find material that fits the bill.” I think those statements resonate with so many Waldorf homeschooling mothers! I like that the mission of Christopherus Homeschool Resources, and indeed this resource, is to help parents learn about Waldorf education and bring it into their homeschool experience, no matter what method they would label their homeschooling.
Part One includes chapters on Waldorf Education and Homeschooling, A Visit to a Waldorf School, The Waldorf Home, Homeschooling with Waldorf. Part Two includes a look at grade by grade and topic by topic (which includes tracing language arts, handwork/crafts/gardening, foreign language, math, music, history (including fairy tales, legends and myths), art (drawing, painting, modeling), geography, form drawing, science, and movement/games/sports through the curriculum. Part Three includes the chapters Home is not School, Nuts and Bolts, Questions and Answers and A Peek at the Future: High School.
Donna Simmons writes about the first three seven-year cycles of ages 0-7, 7-14 and 14-21 and provides insights into these phases that will shape your children for the rest of their adult lives. She provides a look into a Waldorf school grade by grade (grades 1-8) and then looks at “The Waldorf Home” in Chapter Three. This chapter has such important information regarding how to be a homemaker. This is one of my favorite quotes from page 42: “Play clips and pink cloths aside, it seems to me that there is a fundamental principle or understanding which surely must live in a home which strives to be “Waldorf”….Taking in, living with, thoughts around what is best for a child as she grows, what helps her develop and flourish, needs to be the basis of our family and home life as much as it needs to be the basis of our homeschooling.” She talks about developing a rhythm in the home, about discipline and how discipline looks different depending upon which seven-year cycle the child is in, views on media and how this changes as the child grows…really profound things for ALL parents to think about, not just Waldorf homeschooling parents.
She talks about love being the bedrock for the Waldorf-inspired homeschool, and the importance of self-development along with knowledge of child development. In the grade by grade section, each grade is discussed with a possible schedule for the year laid out. There are lists for resources of each topic/subject and suggestions as to how to bring these things at home. I like the chapter entitled “Home is not School” where the differences between home and school are thoroughly discussed. Donna Simmons writes on page 198, “To my mind, family is the number one reason to homeschool. I feel that for many people homeschooling is the way for them to build truly healthy families which nurture healthy individuals. Within such a setting wonderful educational opportunities can arise and by working with Waldorf, which is concerned with each individual’s health, we can watch our children and families flourish.’ Yes!
There are suggestions for child-led versus curriculum, working with multi-age children, designing a schedule. The Question and Answers section alone probably has many of things Waldorf-inspired homeschooling parents wonder about.
This is a resource that will help you through many years, and I think one you will turn back to over and over. It offers pearls of wisdom for beginner and veteran Waldorf-inspired homeschoolers alike. Here is a link so you may look at it for yourself: http://www.christopherushomeschool.org/bookstore-for-waldorf-homeschooling/essential-christopherus-publications/waldorf-overview-for-homeschoolers.html