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-   -   Waldorf Homeschoolers Thread (http://www.mothering.com/forum/50-learning-home-beyond/1120980-waldorf-homeschoolers-thread.html)

mary3mama 08-06-2009 04:40 PM

Are you waldorf or waldorf-inspired? Let's start a thread where we can offer support, advice, resources, etc.

I'll start: I'm Mary, mama to 3 children ages 10 (4th grade), 6 (kindergarten) and 2 1/2. We're transitioning over this summer from being mostly unschoolish to be full-blown waldorf homeschoolers.

I'm using curriculum guides from A Little Garden Flower and putting together lots of supplemental resources to help in the process.

We'll also be doing music lessons for the first time, utilizing curriculum written by Jodie Mesler and a penny whistle.

What else? We live in WV...very near to the metro DC area.

If you are an old pro at all things waldorf or just starting to consider it, please post and subscribe and get the conversation going.

Oh, almost forgot...since we don't have sig linkies anymore...my main family blog can be found at www.attachlings.wordpress.com but my new one where I can post/document our waldorf adventure is at: www.motherearthwaldorf.wordpress.com

Make sure you include links if you have them so that we can meet one another, see 'school' set ups and see what cool stuff each family is doing...

calynde 08-06-2009 04:52 PM

Hi!

We are also Waldorfy homeschoolers...starting next Monday already! My ds 6 is doing 1st grade. We live in Switzerland.

I have so many resources I'm pulling from, I've ended up with a sort of self-created mish mash.

We are working with:

Little Garden Flower 1st
Oak Meadow 1st grade syllabus
Learning About the World through Modeling
Painting in Waldorf Education
A First Book of Knitting for Children
Form Drawing for Grades 1-4
Earthways

and many other books for verses, stories, songs, etc.

We are starting Monday with a 3 week form drawing block, basically just taking it easy otherwise and trying to establish a good rhythm.

Good idea for a thread!

mary3mama 08-06-2009 05:01 PM

Hi!

We'll start in September. My middle guy just turned 6 2 weeks ago, and doesn't have any signs of readiness for 1st grade yet...so we're doing K w/ him.

I love Little Garden Flower materials as well as that form drawing book. Here's what I'm working w/ so far...still waiting for Melisa's math book to arrive:


Curriculum Guides:
*A Journey Through Waldorf Homeschooling: Grades 4 & K
*Living Music from the Heart

Inner Work:
* Rhythms of Learning
* Spiritual Tasks of the Homemaker

Festival Anthologies:
* Festivals, Family & Food
* Circle Round: Raising Children in Goddess Traditions

Reference Materials:
* Form Drawing: Grades One through Four
* Lono & Coco Boato
* The Nature Corner
* Festival of Stones
* Drawing from the Book of Nature
* D'Aulaire's Norse Myths
* Tree of Life
* Geometry Lessons in the Waldorf School, gr 4/5
* Making Waldorf Dolls
* Creative Play for Your Toddler
* Afterwards: Folk and Fairy Tales with Mathematics

onyxravnos 08-06-2009 09:31 PM

Hi all! I got a DSD (5) who i'm not homeschooling but will probably be doing a lot of waldorf-y stuff with since I'll have her after school everyday and I have my 2 1/2 year old who I do 'preschool' - ish waldorf with.

I loosely use little acorn learning, little garden flower, oak meadow and the stuff from Donna Simmons.

Hi all! : I love back to school season!

Picturesque 08-06-2009 09:40 PM

Hello, I'm just subbing for now. My DS is 2.5 and I have another due in September. I have been working very hard with a group of local parents and a certified Waldorf teacher to put together a Waldorf-inspired homeschool co-op. We plan to offer supplementary class choices to the local homeschool community. I plan to follow a very Waldorfy curriculum with my children at home, but haven't yet started. Will probably consider incorporating some structure to our home learning next fall. Great thread and I look forward to learning from other moms who've BTDT.

mary3mama 08-07-2009 08:18 AM



Here's something to get everyone talking...I think.

1) what is your biggest challenge implementing your waldorf homeschool plan?

2) what is your best resource...what you would recommend to others?

~~~~~~~~~~~
1) My biggest challenge is my 2 1/2 year old daughter.
She is very pushy, demanding and intrusive. I'm working on helping her to be more patient by showing her that I will read to her once I finish reading with her brothers. I am also working on our daily/weekly rhythms in general so that she knows more what to expect when. But, what can I say, she's 2 1/2 and difficult to distract or redirect.

2) Best resource? Melisa Nielson's A Little Garden Flower homeschooling guides. They are insanely well-priced for what I get. And her yahoo discussion group is a gem. I've found so much inspiration, insight and empowerment there.

LuxPerpetua 08-07-2009 01:21 PM

We are Waldorfish unschoolers but I'm not opposed to using various parts of curricula for inspiration in the future (dd is only 3.5). For those of you who follow a curriculum, at what age did you start? I've heard great things about A Little Garden Flower, and some of you have said that you use this. What do you like about it?

mary3mama 08-07-2009 02:59 PM

When to start depends alot on the child/ren, IMHO.

Melisa (A little garden flower) has a book called Before the Journey which covers everything up to kindergarten, I believe.

My middle guy just turned 6 and already knows how to read, but I don't deem him ready for 1st grade...he has lost no teeth, still is very imagination-oriented and has none of the other signals of readiness for academic work.

That said, another child might be not yet 6 but be thoroughly ready. I totally believe in not rushing the academics and let them move into it when they are ready.

There's a blog that I love called The Parenting Passageway. It's a great blog, IMO, to read and research for learning more about what smaller children need, as well as what can help with using waldorf in the home at any age. I particularly like this post: A Mother's Job in the Waldorf Homeschooling Kindergarten for understanding what things I can and should be doing to be ready for this journey. This has been particularly helpful for working with and understanding my 2 1/2 year old.

HTH...looking forward to others' opinions.

eastkygal 08-07-2009 04:09 PM

I'm so glad to see this thread starting! We are going to use Little Acorn Learning to start a homeschool pre-school with DD1 (4) on Monday. I am a little nervous about the whole thing, but very excited. We are off grid, and the decision on what to do about school public, home, or unschool has been hard for me. When we lived in the city for awhile, we attended Waldorf School of Louisville and the Parent/Child classes. They were heavenly. I fell in love with Waldorf education and being a former public school teacher saw the benefits of Waldorf immediately. Had we still been there, she would still be going.

DH will help us with the art and music portions of our curriculum, and hopefully I'll learn more in those areas as well. I am a very words and literacy oriented person, so books are my big thing. It will be a hard transition for me to try to focus on other things in a "school" situation, so I think the key will be slowly making it a way of life for the early years.

My biggest challenge is Waldorf in the home. I am a writer and DH (artist and musician) and I both work from home, so it has been easy for me to allow 30 - 1 hour TV time daily to get work done. Our rhythms are not consistent at all. DD2 is a very spirited child. (I think Little Acorn will be perfect for the both of them.) What I need now is a book or website that is a quick read (for DD2's sake) that outlines what I should be doing at this point and why. I am going to work on cutting back TV time as I am spending more time actually making an effort to incorporate my girls into my daily chores and activities. I think July's E-book is perfect as it will ease us into things.

Our next biggest obstacle is finances. I can't possibly spend $300 - $500 yearly on curriculum. I'm going to have to learn how to make my own Waldorf curriculum using cheaper resources. So, it is imperative I have some educational philosophy books and books of stories, verse, and songs.

Thank you for posting these resources. I really hope this thread stays active. There are few homeschoolers in our Kentucky mountains and none that I know of are Waldorf. Most are classical educators.

calynde 08-07-2009 04:19 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by mary3mama View Post


Here's something to get everyone talking...I think.

1) what is your biggest challenge implementing your waldorf homeschool plan?

2) what is your best resource...what you would recommend to others?

~~~~~~~~~~~
Hmmm...biggest challenge is homeschooling in a regulated place, with periodic testing and language instruction requirements (German).

My best resource? I don't know. I love bits of lots of things, but something always sort of lets me down a little in the end, too. Maybe I'm weird that way. The one Waldorf book that I adore and that I buy for every new mama is Heaven on Earth. LOVE LOVE LOVE that one!

AngelBee 08-07-2009 04:27 PM

:

calynde 08-07-2009 04:29 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by LuxPerpetua View Post
We are Waldorfish unschoolers but I'm not opposed to using various parts of curricula for inspiration in the future (dd is only 3.5). For those of you who follow a curriculum, at what age did you start? I've heard great things about A Little Garden Flower, and some of you have said that you use this. What do you like about it?
Lux, I read your post in the unschooling forum....extremely well put! I follow along similar lines.

I have Little Garden Flower guides for K-2. I don't know. For me they aren't magical or super inspirational BUT they have their undeniable strengths. First, they are practical. If one knows little about Waldorf and just wants to get started with a simple (like WAAAAAYYYY simple), laid out guide...this is the one. Second, they are very very affordable. I have drawn ideas from them for sure, but I don't follow any of it as it's laid out. I would think there is little inspiration there for an unschooler, but I could be wrong. I also love how approachable she is and how she reaches out to so many with her radio shows and you tube stuff.

mary3mama 08-07-2009 05:58 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by eastkygal View Post
I'm so glad to see this thread starting! We are going to use Little Acorn Learning to start a homeschool pre-school with DD1 (4) on Monday. I am a little nervous about the whole thing, but very excited. We are off grid, and the decision on what to do about school public, home, or unschool has been hard for me. When we lived in the city for awhile, we attended Waldorf School of Louisville and the Parent/Child classes. They were heavenly. I fell in love with Waldorf education and being a former public school teacher saw the benefits of Waldorf immediately. Had we still been there, she would still be going.

DH will help us with the art and music portions of our curriculum, and hopefully I'll learn more in those areas as well. I am a very words and literacy oriented person, so books are my big thing. It will be a hard transition for me to try to focus on other things in a "school" situation, so I think the key will be slowly making it a way of life for the early years.

My biggest challenge is Waldorf in the home. I am a writer and DH (artist and musician) and I both work from home, so it has been easy for me to allow 30 - 1 hour TV time daily to get work done. Our rhythms are not consistent at all. DD2 is a very spirited child. (I think Little Acorn will be perfect for the both of them.) What I need now is a book or website that is a quick read (for DD2's sake) that outlines what I should be doing at this point and why. I am going to work on cutting back TV time as I am spending more time actually making an effort to incorporate my girls into my daily chores and activities. I think July's E-book is perfect as it will ease us into things.

Our next biggest obstacle is finances. I can't possibly spend $300 - $500 yearly on curriculum. I'm going to have to learn how to make my own Waldorf curriculum using cheaper resources. So, it is imperative I have some educational philosophy books and books of stories, verse, and songs.

Thank you for posting these resources. I really hope this thread stays active. There are few homeschoolers in our Kentucky mountains and none that I know of are Waldorf. Most are classical educators.


I have a friend who has been using Little Acorn for a while now and really loves it. She's moving into using A Little Garden Flower these days and finds that they flow into each other well for her purposes.

As for finding your rhythm and knowing what to do with children the ages of your two, I'd have to recommend The Parenting Passageway again (link in a previous post.) That's the blog that actually led me to considering A Little Garden Flower materials. Carrie (TPP blogger) has so much excellent information and she writes from an AP perspective as well. Now it's not all hugs and kisses and encouragement...she writes it like she sees it and there's a good bit of encouragement to do what you know you must even when it's not easy...but I kinda dig that part of it...it helps me get motivated.

Next, finances. One of the things that kept me from seriously considering waldorf for several years was cost of the curriculum itself to get started. Then I found A Little Garden Flower. (Seriously, ladies, I get no kickback or compensation for promoting her materials. I've not met Melisa and only know her through her site/blog/yahoo group.) I was amazed by the value. I think I spent less than $40 on the ebooks for K and 4th. Even the hard copies are well-priced. Yes, you might need some other materials...but maybe not. Alot of it depends on how good/accessible your library system is.

Where we are right now the library collections are, um, small...very small. But if were doing this in one of our previous home areas, in Indiana or Maryland, where we had fantastic libraries, I wouldn't have needed to buy other books. One of the things I've appreciated about Melisa's books is that she does try to integrate much of what you need within them. For example, the 4th grade book includes the entire text of "The Book of Odin" for use. That's cool, and one less thing I need to get.

The other thing that had me not finding my way to waldorf homeschooling before now is that I thought (wrongly) that it was all about gnomes and fairies and playsilks. That didn't resonate with me and I knew that it would be a hard-sell for my boy-children. But as I've learned more and been digging I've discovered how deep and rich the philosophy is behind it all. And now I understand where the gnomes and fairies fit in and it's all good. My boy children may not dig it all...but I still have wee girlie to plan for.

Now one does not have to buy all the stuff that Steiner believed to do waldorf, I suppose. But understanding where it all comes from has been important for me. The book Rhythms of Learning, which is a well-edited collection of Steiner's lectures, has been great. It really has helped me to see where the curriculum timeline and emphases come from. And from my limited knowledge of all of this (since I am new to it, I do not suggest I am an expert) I have to say that Melisa's curriculum materials are 'spot on' to Steiner's intent and beliefs.

I told dh recently that as I've been reading about how much work teachers in waldorf schools must do to ready themselves, I've been absolutely impressed. I told him that if there were a waldorf school near us and we could afford it, I'd enroll the boys without hesitation. That's huge for me as I've never wanted the children to be 'schooled' anywhere but home.

But there are no waldorf schools anywhere near us out in the country, in the mountains here...so I'll just do my best to provide them with an enriching experience here at home.

mary3mama 08-07-2009 06:04 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by calynde View Post
I have Little Garden Flower guides for K-2. I don't know. For me they aren't magical or super inspirational BUT they have their undeniable strengths. First, they are practical. If one knows little about Waldorf and just wants to get started with a simple (like WAAAAAYYYY simple), laid out guide...this is the one. Second, they are very very affordable. I have drawn ideas from them for sure, but I don't follow any of it as it's laid out. I would think there is little inspiration there for an unschooler, but I could be wrong. I also love how approachable she is and how she reaches out to so many with her radio shows and you tube stuff.
I'd like to hear more about this. I find the guides, um, not inspirational maybe but excellent and motivating...? Not sure the right words.

I agree that they are very well laidout and very affordable!

I started in with the guide to 4th grade and was hooked. It's wonderful and organized.

But I love that it is a skeleton of sorts for me. For a mama who wanted it to be, it would be a full curriculum. But my passion is in absorbing it all and then presenting it to my child from me...so that, in Steiner-speak, it is alive and not something dead from the page.

AngelBee 08-07-2009 06:23 PM

I also have the guides K-2.


AngelBee 08-07-2009 06:25 PM

Here is the blog for A Little Garden Flower

http://waldorfjourney.typepad.com/

mary3mama 08-07-2009 06:30 PM

The yahoo group that Melisa started is awesome. Great resource! If anyone wants a link, please PM me. I don't want to violate the UA by posting it here.

AngelBee 08-07-2009 06:31 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by mary3mama View Post
The yahoo group that Melisa started is awesome. Great resource! If anyone wants a link, please PM me. I don't want to violate the UA by posting it here.
I don't think it violates the UA to post it. You don't own it or make a profit off of it so it should be fine.

mary3mama 08-07-2009 06:48 PM

Ok, I went to read the UA again. Here's the part I was sorta remembering:

Quote:
6. Do not post to invite MDC members to other communities, blogs or message boards for adversarial purposes or link to discussion about MDC at another site. Do not negatively discuss other communities or discussions elsewhere (this includes blog comments), regardless of whether or not you link to that discussion or community. This is to maintain and respect the integrity of our own and other communities.
So, I don't think this would be adversarial, no negativity...so I think it's ok. The UA, to be candid, confuses me all the time.

Here's the link: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/homeschoolingwaldorf/
Homeschooling Waldorf
It is Melisa's group, but she encourages lots of talk about anything waldorf (except selling curriculum as there's a separate yahoo group just for that) and has a wonderful, non-judgmental spirit about her.

onyxravnos 08-07-2009 10:09 PM

I also use a little garden flower - AND Little acorn.

I also mix and match with lots of 'idea' books and the stuff from donna simmons and oak meadow

Lets see hardest part? well right now it's getting into a rhythm.... i try to at least make tus painting day - wed coloring.... etc but i'm bad about it.... I hope that this winter we will get into a better jive and I'll be at home more often so i hope we can really get a nice family rhythm going.

treehugginhippie 08-08-2009 12:51 AM

Subbing for now as well I have a 5.5 yr old that I'll be Waldorf homeschooling this year. My biggest challenge is getting into a good rhythm and that there's almost no one close to me who Waldorf homeschools. Oh and I have a baby who doesn't want to be put down. It's so hard when you feel like you're the only one. I went to Donna Simmons in GA recently. I have some of A Little Flower Garden too.

green_momma2007 08-08-2009 11:50 PM

Subbing....I'll introduce myself a little later.

mary3mama 08-10-2009 09:45 AM

It's a new week, Mamas!

Let's bump up this thread and get the conversation going!

When are you starting school this year?

I know that lots of families do year-round schooling and we have too for several years. But in the Waldorf philosophy it is considered important (for parents and children) to take the summer off to play and just be. And that's exactly what we've done.

Our school year officially starts the day after Labor Day.

I feel mostly ready, but I have several things to do before then, including watching the 'teacher lessons' DVD for our music program and start my form drawing self-lessons so I'm ready.

What is everyone else doing to prepare?

saphire 08-10-2009 12:45 PM

I have 2 dd's, ages 10 and 7.5, that I've unschooled with Waldorf leanings. That's worked really well- my oldest is very artistic and a kinesthetic learner, while my younger dd is slightly more interested in literature.
I really feel like I'd benefit from some support- dh and I just got done spending the last year building a house and our daily flow was seriously disrupted. I need to get back on track with everything- sleep routines, meals, and homeschooling. Even though we've hs'ed for years, I almost feel like I'm starting over.
I've btdt with the younger years, and I will attest to the joys of waldorf hs the younger set. I've always drawn from multiple sources- Oak Meadow, Five in a Row, the typical waldorf books... I've lost some of my bookmarks or I'd list other resources. I'd be really interested to hear what other families are doing with somewhat older children? I too don't have $300-500 to spend on a packaged curriculum, although even if I did, I'd still probably pick and choose like I do now.
I'd like to get started in Sept too, which will take the form of a daily flow developing. My biggest obstacle it that our learning materials are mostly still packed up in boxes and our learning room looks like a tornado hit. I need tables to sit at in there, as well as some comfy seating to snuggle and read together.

mary3mama 08-10-2009 05:39 PM



How can others here in the thread help to inspire you?

clane 08-10-2009 06:04 PM

The millennial child website has a wealth of free information to those mamas commenting on the cost of waldorf curriculum. The Little Flower Garden guides (esp. the ebooks) are also quite affordable. I am reading through gr 1 for dd now and I have fifth grade oak meadow for ds.

saphire 08-10-2009 06:52 PM

I'm inspired by blogs and other websites- it helps to just keep my focus on homeschooling. That's important for me right now while I have so much else pulling at me. Plus, things have changed quite a bit in just the past 5 or so years since I started hs-ing, so there are new materials that I still haven't seen.

calynde 08-10-2009 07:18 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by mary3mama View Post
When are you starting school this year?
We started today! :

We're doing a 3 week form drawing block....very relaxed and trying to see what sort of rhythm develops.

mama-aya 08-11-2009 03:43 PM

Hi!
We're waldorf homeschoolers, too. I have three boys- 9 (4th grade), 3, and 6mo.
We don't follow a pure Waldorf curriculum, for various reasons, including but not limited to DH's ongoing worries about "keeping up", but I try to approach all of our lessons, even the ones not in sync with the Waldorf progression holistically and gently.
I really like the Little Garden Flower books, too. They're simple and doable, though, like everything else, I use them more as simplification-tonic and for the lesson ideas than as a real lesson plan to follow strictly.
I have a blog just for our school stuff, called lower case learning that I'm always working on in the middle of the night- it's still new.
GReat idea to start this thread, btw! Thanks!

RomanCarmelMom 08-11-2009 03:48 PM

I thought this might be the best thread to ask this question. I hope you don't mind...

What exactly is Waldorf? I've followed a few links before, but haven't really found anything that explains the basic principles of it, and why those principles are followed. I'm just curious, and most likely won't practice it, so I don't want to invest in it by buying any books.


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