Teaching my 8yo to read? - Mothering Forums
Waldorf > Teaching my 8yo to read?
ghostlykisses's Avatar ghostlykisses 04:23 PM 08-12-2011

 Ok. I am really conflicted.

 

 I have always believed that children needed to be allowed to be kids longer than they are today. I think making little ones sit in a desk all day is just wrong. BUT all of my family except my mother are mainstream types who know nothing other than public school standards and tehcniques. I only discovered Waldorf style education a couple years ago when my kids were all past the fun preschool stuff ;) So I have been homeschooling in a mainstream semi-unschool kind of way.

 

 My 8yo son is very spirited, creative, and energetic. He picks up and retains knowledge about things he is interested in very well. He has an amazing vocabulary and can express himself well. He has just never been able to focus on a normal school lesson. I don't blame him! So each year I get out the school books and the trusty Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons book and give it a try. When it does not work and we are both frustrated I have dropped it for a few months and tried again. Poor kid.

 

I am sick and tired of torturing my son with something that frustrates both of us and is obviously not working. This year I am using a Waldorf inspired curriculum with my 11yo dd. I am not sure I can afford two different grades (I am using earth schooling, and no I can't afford the lifetime membership). I am feeling like I need a plan though. I am trying to find out how reading is taught in Waldorf but all the information I find seems rather vague. I feel like I am looking for a black and white answer in a water color world KWIM?

 

 I sort of feel like I have been pressuring my son and maybe I should just go back to sqaure one with him and hope he heals and forgets the forced lessons. Get him out in nature, tell stories and ease into it. On the other hand he is 8 and even in Waldorf terms I think he is "behind". But then again I have the family members commenting "he still can't read?!?!?!?!". It is like our dirty little secret.

 

 Ughhhhhhh!

 

 Deep breaths!

 

 I would appreciate any insight, links, and suggestions you might have.

 

 



melissa17s's Avatar melissa17s 05:39 PM 08-12-2011

 Just a disclaimer, we are no longer active in our Waldorf community and my kids go to public school... I think Kristie from Earthschooling.com does do consultations, but there is a charge.  Waldorf does not teach reading in the conventional method, so your ds may really respond and I am pretty sure that Steiner felt children under 7 should not be taught reading.  On the other side of the spectrum, I would consider getting your ds tested for dyslexia.  Great memories and big vocabularies are common among dyslexics.  Of course there are other characteristics, but I would think you could ask your local district to evaluate his reading ability.  If they find that he is having issues with phonemes and phonics, then dyslexia is a real consideration (it is unlikely they will label a disability, but they will tell if and where he is having problems).  


ghostlykisses's Avatar ghostlykisses 06:38 PM 08-12-2011

 Interesting. Thanks for the response.


JudiAU's Avatar JudiAU 05:49 PM 08-15-2011

This is the only resource I know of... http://www.waldorfwithoutwalls.com/books/reading/ Hope it is helpful.

 

I know that children learn to read in lots of different ways but 8 is delayed, even by Waldorf standards.  If you are actively homeschooling and have a rich home life with lots of books and reading and he hasn't expressed an interest by this time or perhaps has expressed an interest but hasn't made progress, I consider contacting the local school district for IE services. He may have dyslexia or some other related learning or processing disorder that may require some special attention.

 

You might also consider having his vision evaluated by an opthamologist. There are many disorders of the eye that might make a bright child with a large vocabulary etc. have difficulty processing text.

 

Does he know the alphabet and letter sounds? Can he draw upper and lower case letters? Either might give you clues what the delay is associated with.


DimitraDaisy's Avatar DimitraDaisy 05:03 AM 08-16-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post

You might also consider having his vision evaluated by an opthamologist. There are many disorders of the eye that might make a bright child with a large vocabulary etc. have difficulty processing text.

 

Does he know the alphabet and letter sounds? Can he draw upper and lower case letters? Either might give you clues what the delay is associated with.



That. I'd suggest looking for a developmental optometrist too -- if you conclude that the issue might be vision-related -- but the first thing to do is to try and point your finger on what is that is stopping him from learning to read, and to even begin to do that we need more information. The questions above are good. Does he know his letters and sounds? When and how did he learn them? If he does know them, can he blend them at all? Does he have any sight words? How is his interest in books and reading? How about writing? I'm sure there's more that would be helpful but I can't think of it off the top of my head.

I'm a Waldorf teacher and to a certain extend I do agree that "8 is delayed, even for Waldorf," but it depends on the specifics. If I had an 8-year-old with no discernible learning difficulties who wasn't making considerable progress towards learning to read in my class, I would be concerned and looking for the cause, but that is a different situation where I know exactly what I would have 'taught' the child. I've no experience with "Teach your child to read" so I don't know what method it uses. Perhaps your son just needs to be taught a different way.

There really isn't a defined Waldorf method for learning to read, though. There is the much talked about pictorial introduction to letters, but in my opinion it's not as important as it is made out to be.

I'd be happy to say more if you have specific questions.
sprinkle pocket's Avatar sprinkle pocket 09:36 PM 08-21-2011
Maybe you could afford just the Live Education part that walks.you through introducing writing/reading
Its more whole.body and includes the creative aspects to allow whole body memories. Not just intellectual learning. And try it, if he's not ready now, tuck it away for a few or six months. You'll know when hes ready! Also, you might want to look at the book Brain Gym. There can be ideas in there to get everything in the body working on the same page, so to speak. I have friends who themselves or their kids were homeschooled and didn't read until 10 or later. Just didn't. I personally wouldn't get my kid tested in the public schools. I say that having worked as a pediatric O.T. for years in them. I would let him be free for now. Also, finding a competent classical homeopath or radionics practitioner can help a lot! A friend unschooled her kids and they are both now in college. The older one didn't read at all until she was ten. I wouldn't recommend a homeschool program for him that's "waldorf-inspired". I get the feeling he would benefit from the whole kit and kaboodle, not just some watered down version. Best wishes, mama!
sprinkle pocket's Avatar sprinkle pocket 09:41 PM 08-21-2011
Oh, and if you can avoid caring what your family thinks and comments, that'll be a huge gift to your son! You know.what I mean? He will totally feel your support in him and know that the truth is, he's amazing no matter what
He will feel your strength and know.that comments don't.matter. because they really don't. Him living to the best of his ability is what matters. I hope this came.out right. I mean it in the most supportive way for you and your magical son!
sprinkle pocket's Avatar sprinkle pocket 09:55 PM 08-21-2011
Try going to http://knoll.Google.com/k and do a search for waldorf curriculum. A lot of Eugene schwartz's work is there. In the first grade section he names a book that might interest you down in the reading part. Have you done handwork and finger plays with your son. That can help assess readiness as well as prepare. And there may be a therapeutic eurythmy person in your area with whom you could consult. Just some thoughts.
mamoonkay's Avatar mamoonkay 12:32 PM 08-23-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post

This is the only resource I know of... http://www.waldorfwithoutwalls.com/books/reading/ Hope it is helpful.

 

I know that children learn to read in lots of different ways but 8 is delayed, even by Waldorf standards.  If you are actively homeschooling and have a rich home life with lots of books and reading and he hasn't expressed an interest by this time or perhaps has expressed an interest but hasn't made progress, I consider contacting the local school district for IE services. He may have dyslexia or some other related learning or processing disorder that may require some special attention.

 

You might also consider having his vision evaluated by an opthamologist. There are many disorders of the eye that might make a bright child with a large vocabulary etc. have difficulty processing text.

 

Does he know the alphabet and letter sounds? Can he draw upper and lower case letters? Either might give you clues what the delay is associated with.



Thanks for the link.


DharmaDisciple's Avatar DharmaDisciple 07:55 AM 08-29-2011

I think you should ask your question on the learning at home section, you will get lots of ideas. My 6 nearly 7 year old can only read simple things and is building up his sight words. But 8 does not mean he has learning difficulties.

 

In Donna Simmons Language Waldorf book it gives an overview

  • writing precedes reading
  • introduce letters in an imaginative, pictorial way
  • write whole sentences which your child copies into his book
  • you read aloud sentences and words you've written on the board, then read aloud with your child. when he's ready ask him to read alone
  • pracitce verbal/aural skills working with alliterative verse, reading aloud stories and poetry and gently introducing word families
  • work with word families as well as sight words. continue to write sentences and later short paragraphs summaries of story material. read them to your child and have him read them back
  • introduce lower case letters
  • once your child is comfortable with word families, some sight words and is enjoying and 'getting' reading back to you, not necessarily fluently- start him on simple readers

 

There is loads more in her Christopherus Living Language book, i love it!

 

Hope this helps xxx


MamaSeasons's Avatar MamaSeasons 03:22 PM 08-29-2011

As it pertains to Waldorf education, reading/writing does infact begins early but looks different than flash cards and workbooks and early reader and phonics and all of that. The oral stories and verse/song memorization do make them better readers later (particularly reading comprehension, which is what most of these "early readers" in public school have problems with a few years later in elementary school and high school). Did you start with the form drawing and pictoral letter figures of the 1-2 grade curriculum? Steiner himself did not read until 10 or 11 I believe and he said that until all the forces are integrated, a child will not be able to do so. 

 

Below is a GREAT article on teaching reading/writing/spelling that I have passed on to my family who asks the same question. This person holds an MD and has experience with learning disabilities and curative education. She talks about the physical and psychological reasons to WAIT until the child shows all the readiness signs. It is a great read for those who want to push for early reading and can't grasp why they shouldn't. She also has a lot to say about learning "disabilities" and why the majority of children, esp boys, will not be able to integrate (crossing the mid-line, etc) until the 7 year change but often not until 9 or even later at times, esp if there has been anxiety created around reading or they have some sensory perception issues that need to be healed:

 

http://www.youandyourchildshealth.org/youandyourchildshealth/articles/teaching%20our%20children.html

 

 


maszat85's Avatar maszat85 05:31 AM 09-04-2011

Hi, I am not sure if you are still looking for ideas, but being A waldorf teacher, and having taught grades 1-3 recently, I'd be happy to tell you how I approached it. I think every waldorf teacher/ people who look into waldorf see it a bit differently, but there are a few things I think that you can easily apply without actually reading all of Steiner's works. :D Just let me know if you are interested in chatting.

Good luck!

Orshi


bethcw's Avatar bethcw 03:05 PM 09-13-2011

I am interested in

 

the comments regarding 8 being 'delayed by Waldorf standards".  My dugheter is currently just starting grade 2 in a Waldorf school, and the curriculm in grde one was still wokring on hte alhabet and some of the sight words....  most of the kids in the class do not read yet, and many are 8 or about to turn 8...


bethcw's Avatar bethcw 02:15 PM 09-22-2011

BUMP - interested in more comments about 8 being delayed - it doesn't seem to be at our Waldorf school.....


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