Can you believe it? We are almost finished our series, WAIT! THERE’S MORE THAN ONE HOMESCHOOLING METHOD? We learnt about Eclectic Homeschooling (a mixture of everything out there that’s your own style), Classical (based on the Trivium) as well as a DOUBLE DOSE of Montessori. Today we have Andrea from Waldorf Salad and Cottage Fries. Let’s walk.
According to Andrea
Before I jump into why our family chose a Waldorf Inspired homeschool approach, I thought I would give you a brief over view of Waldorf Education.
Rudolf Steiner in 1919 developed Waldorf Education based on a developmental approach that addresses the needs of the growing child and maturing adolescent. TheWaldorf pedagogy distinguishes three broad stages in child development. The early year’s education focuses on providing practical, hands-on activities and environments that encourage creative play. In the elementary school, the emphasis is on developing pupils’ artistic expression and social capacities, fostering both creative and analytical modes of understanding. Secondary education focuses on developing critical understanding and fostering idealism. Throughout, the approach stresses the role of the imagination in learning and places a strong value on integrating intellectual, practical, and artistic themes.
When we decided to homeschool our children, my husband & I were overwhelmed with all the different curriculum choices. Nothing really spoke to us or our children so the first eight months or so we did a lot of worksheets and reading. Then I started learning about Waldorf education and found some yahoo groups that shared what Waldorf homeschooling meant. The more I delved into this approach the more I liked it. What really spoke to me was how the curriculum clearly followed the development stages of the child.
The second reason was the curriculum not only worked with the mind of the child it fed the body and spirit too; this was something we felt we were missing with other curriculums. What we realized very early on was that Waldorf education was not just a curriculum, it was a lifestyle.
For example, creating a rhythm to your day (this is spoken about often in Waldorf circles), limiting screen time and playing digital games- these styles of play are discouraged. Outside play and creative play is strongly advised; this was a welcomed change for both of our children.
Another area that we felt was important for a curriculum was creativity; music and art are used daily in the Waldorf approach. Our days consisted of an hour and half of centered learning, music, art & tons of outside play! Our family embraced the change. The only issue was limiting screen time and the removing the computer. Since, we came to Waldorf very late in our homeschooling journey this was a bit of struggle. On the other hand, this transition was made a little easier when we found others in our community that followed the Waldorf pedagogy; our kids met other kids that had no screen time or computer time. One woman by the name of Kelly, who had been following the Waldorf path since her children were born, provided our family with a wealth of information. She stressed not to rush this shift but to take one step at a time.
Waldorf changed our family’s lives. We have all grown spiritually too; it has deepened our love of history, literature and the arts. But now that we have been following this approach for over three years we have found that if you were to label us now we would fit in the category of Waldorf/ Unschoolers. Now that our children are older the one way or the highway concept was not working. I still follow the blocks suggested for each of the grades but how I construct them to meet the needs of our children is a little different from the defined parameters of Waldorf.
WANT TO GET STARTED?
If you’re interested in the Waldorf approach here are a few simple ways to get started.
- Find resources that can help you to better understand Waldorf Homeschooling. One piece of advice that I would share is to take baby steps; the change does not have to happen overnight (especially for those of you coming to Waldorf late). Barbara Dewey of Waldorf Without Walls, Jean Miller of Waldorf Inspired Learning, Donna Simmons of Christopherus (she offers an amazing, easy to follow curriculum) and lastly Melisa Nielsen of Waldorf Essential to be the BEST resources out there.
- One baby step you can begin today is to work on your daily rhythm. The best advice I ever received was from Melisa Nielsen of Waldorf Essentials she stressed the importance of “Getting Up Early”! This was not easy for me. I am not a morning person but she encouraged me to get up have some “me” time, go over the blocks for the day and prepare a wholesome breakfast for our children. This simple change had a huge impact on my day and our kids.
- Try not to get too caught up in with what other Waldorf homeschoolers are doing! ( those who can’t do, teachJ) I went over the edge when I first came to Waldorf; I spent hundreds of dollars on books, art supplies and handwork items (I still can’t knit).
- Lastly, really research and know the material for each block before you present. I have realized when we go deeper as teachers the passion we have for each subject is contagious.
If you’re looking for a curriculum that inspires creativity, deep connection with subjects and addresses the whole child, I urge you to consider Waldorf Homeschooling.
Barbara Dewey http://waldorfwithoutwalls.com/
Donna Simmons Christopherus http://www.christopherushomeschool.org/home.html
Jean Miller Waldorf Inspired Learning http://waldorfinspiredlearning.com/
Melisa Nielsen http://waldorfessentials.com/