Using only some bits of Waldorf? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 14 Old 08-22-2009, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not posting on the Waldorf board because the Waldorf purists would say this is impossible. And we are homeschooling, so I'm posting here.

Is it possible to only use pieces of Waldorf, but not embrace it fully. I have read many Waldorf books and know all the philosophy behind it all. But I can't really embrace it all. We love the art aspect around here. But I cannot get into circle time and singing all day long. I'd rather play cd's for them (totally not Waldorf I know, but that's what works for us.) I'm not an especially big fan of all the festivals, I like to have an extra focus on Advent and Lent, but don't really get into all the others. I am thoroughly intrigued by the actual curriculum though. The subjects, order, and how they are taught. I'm not a big fan of Waldorf math or rather using the whole to parts concept in math. Don't mind the gnomes, just not introducing all the processes at once. It would not work for my dd.

Most curriculums however, have the philosophy embedded into them, when I read them, I think "oh yes, this makes so much sense" and then I start to feel guilty that I can't really pull that off in reality. I just can't. It doesn't work for our family, and I'm okay with that. I've accepted that I have a more eclectic philosphy. And what we are doing right now, homeschool-wise is working well for us. But I wouldn't mind working in some of the Waldorf subjects/units over the next few years. Is that possible? Can I just ignore the other parts?

Anyone do this?

Alisha, Army wife to Nathan , Homeschooling mama to Scheeli (May 2003) , Bronwynn (Nov. 2004) :, Piper (Nov. 2007) , and Wesley (January 2010)
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#2 of 14 Old 08-22-2009, 02:48 PM
 
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We're not purists in any way, shape, or form. Doesn't work for dh and me, doesn't work for our kids. I use bits and pieces of Waldorf, Montessori, Oak Meadow, pagan resources, odd books I find at the used book store, Kumon workbooks, articles I read online, ideas from friends...pretty much anything that strikes our fancy. The eclectic, flexible approach really works for us.
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#3 of 14 Old 08-22-2009, 05:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by earthmama369 View Post
The eclectic, flexible approach really works for us.
Us too! I tried Oak Meadow as the main resource last year for our first part-year of homeschooling since I got it free to borrow from a friend. There was a lot I liked about it curriculum-wise, but it definitely didn't meet all our needs. And I agree with the PP re: circle time vs. play cds.

This year we're going to do some Waldorf-type things with knitting and handcrafts and rhythms of nature, and adding a bunch of classical-type things like Story of the World.

I think it's totally possible to pick/choose from various curriculums, but I also think it can be more work, sifting and weeding and reflecting and organizing... repeat after observing what's working/not. For a curriculum nerd like me though, it's a lot of fun, too.

gardening : SAHM to ballerina (6/15/02) and son (5/18/05) still for my husband. Independent Childbirth Educator
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#4 of 14 Old 08-22-2009, 07:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by scheelimama View Post
I'm not posting on the Waldorf board because the Waldorf purists would say this is impossible. And we are homeschooling, so I'm posting here.

Is it possible to only use pieces of Waldorf, but not embrace it fully. I have read many Waldorf books and know all the philosophy behind it all. But I can't really embrace it all. We love the art aspect around here. But I cannot get into circle time and singing all day long. I'd rather play cd's for them (totally not Waldorf I know, but that's what works for us.) I'm not an especially big fan of all the festivals, I like to have an extra focus on Advent and Lent, but don't really get into all the others. I am thoroughly intrigued by the actual curriculum though. The subjects, order, and how they are taught. I'm not a big fan of Waldorf math or rather using the whole to parts concept in math. Don't mind the gnomes, just not introducing all the processes at once. It would not work for my dd.

Most curriculums however, have the philosophy embedded into them, when I read them, I think "oh yes, this makes so much sense" and then I start to feel guilty that I can't really pull that off in reality. I just can't. It doesn't work for our family, and I'm okay with that. I've accepted that I have a more eclectic philosphy. And what we are doing right now, homeschool-wise is working well for us. But I wouldn't mind working in some of the Waldorf subjects/units over the next few years. Is that possible? Can I just ignore the other parts?

Anyone do this?
Yes. You can. You have permission That's the beauty of homeschooling!

We are following the Waldorf course of study and a modified block schedule; we do lots of art all the time. Emphasizing our family rhythm is very important here. Math is an open lab free for all---we do all four processes; we have plastic linking cubes, jewel counters, wooden rods, workbooks and Main Lesson Books.

We start with the cd player 'cause it draws her attention into the living room We don't sing all day but do use verses, songs, and blessings in our learning (Mother Goose, Journey thru Time..., Silverstein). I read stories AND tell them---we watch documentories, she's known her uppercase/lowercase forever (now she's mastering forming the letters), we are doing two foreign languages (not taught separately tho, ASL/Spanish words/phrases together---I love it).

We are definitely not Waldorf purists, but what naturally lines up with my family is what we are doing. I really think it's okay to pick and choose! Come visit the eclectic thread. Ideally, I'd like to use a relaxed classical approach in a waldorf-y atmosphere.

Happy and in love with my family!
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#5 of 14 Old 08-22-2009, 07:27 PM
 
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Using bits of Waldorf is totally fine! Waldorf is all about using your intuition and responding to the students you have in front of you. If something isn't working, don't use it.
I've been a Waldorf teacher for years and I'm just starting homeschooling my daughter and there are definitely parts of the traditional Waldorf rhythm that I can't imagine doing with my daughter. For example, I don't think I could ever feel quite right about doing circle with my daughter. Somehow it would just feel strange and forced to me to do it with just one other student, though I know it works perfectly well for lots of people on here!
As for festivals -- it's important that you do what works for you. There's nothing sacred about celebrating Advent, Michaelmas or St. John. For me the important thing is to recognize the cycle of the year with little touchstone moments. The first blackberry of the year can mark the cycle of the year just as well as anything else.
Anyway, do what works and leave the rest.
Meredith

Meredith, Waldorf teacher and mother of ds C (14), dd A (11) and ds L (7)
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#6 of 14 Old 08-22-2009, 11:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for permission everyone! And for sharing your experiences. I wanted Waldorf to work for us last year. I had a lot of guilt over it not really working, tbh. Then we swung towards an eclectic approach with perhaps a classical leaning, if anything (Sonlight, MUS, Artistic Pursuits, very structured, lit. based) and it's working well for us. But I am so drawn to the beauty of Waldorf and the organization of how the subjects are taught and introduced. So, I've considered trying to add back in some elements slowly, with no guilt attached, ideally.

Alisha, Army wife to Nathan , Homeschooling mama to Scheeli (May 2003) , Bronwynn (Nov. 2004) :, Piper (Nov. 2007) , and Wesley (January 2010)
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#7 of 14 Old 08-23-2009, 02:06 AM
 
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I shall pass on the best advice I heard at my local hs conference recently:

"You have the permission to change your hs'ing method every second, if that's what you need to do."



We were looking for Waldorf to work for us, but it doesn't. Now we've moved to more ecletic/ unschooling methods. And that's fine.
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#8 of 14 Old 08-23-2009, 02:24 AM
 
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I am a cafeteria Waldorph person. I take what I like and leave off what I don't. I like celebrating the seasons and many Waldorph techniques but it can be too much. Waldoprh is great in doses but it can take over some people's lives. I am just not comfortable with everything but I also love a lot of it.
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#9 of 14 Old 08-23-2009, 04:28 AM
 
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We're eclectic unschoolers with lazured walls, and we pay attention to the rhythm of our days. We have fairies and do handwork and tell stories about math operations and pay attention to the wheel of the year. Because it's beautiful and FUN! Nevertheless, we spend a lot of time on the computer and so forth, and Steiner can bite me.
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#10 of 14 Old 08-27-2009, 11:53 PM
 
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Everyone I know who uses Waldorf uses only what works for them.

Are you really suppose to sing all day? : I have never really read anything on that. I would faint

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#11 of 14 Old 08-28-2009, 10:52 AM
 
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I just take what works for me.

I love the festivals, and ds is involved in a Waldorf enrichment program where he gets painting, music, handwork, drama, eurythmy (or yoga). We are going to study the Saints this year. I like reading about my child's developmental age thru a Waldorf lens and studying a little bit of anthroposophy. But I'm past believing in the guilt talk that I am going to mess him up if I don't do everything a certain way. We're humans evolving and growing together.

I love our math-u-see program, plan to study astronomy this year AND we are involved in a Classical Conversations class. Eclectic or crazy - who knows but its working for us way better than trying to fit any mold.
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#12 of 14 Old 08-28-2009, 11:53 AM
 
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I pull things from a lot of learning philosophies, and Waldorf is one of them. I like the idea of it, but I could never make my home the correct environment for it, and honestly, some of the things suggested are out of my price range just to get them into my home (ie, the box of Crayolas are a quarter at Walmart, the beeswax crayons um, aren't. Not that they aren't cool, but if I could only use beeswax crayons or model with beeswax, we couldn't hack it.).

I think as homeschoolers, we're kind of creating our own little family philosophy of learning, and if it pulls ideas from a bazillion other theories, so be it!

nature and art loving homeschooling mom to a half-dozen little treasures.
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#13 of 14 Old 08-28-2009, 12:52 PM
 
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Yep, what they all said!

We started homeschooling because we don't have a Waldorf school any where near us, and we KNEW that was what we really wanted for our kids. It felt like a huge compromise; I felt sad that my kids weren't going to get the best, you know?

Now I can't imagine even wanting them to be in a Waldorf school. Homeschooling is way nicer, way more adaptable, way more personal than any school could be. Parts of the Waldorf curriculum that don't work for us we leave out. Things not included in the Waldorf curriculum but important to one or the other of us, well, we go ahead and teach it!

I can add a Waldorf flavor to all of it, we do the festivals in a quiet, cozy way, we have a nature table and use beeswax crayons and all the yummy things, but lots of the lessons we have aren't Waldorf, and certainly there's plenty about anthroposophy that I just can't embrace and don't even really try to.

There are people out there who take a very fundamentalist view of Steiner and his works, of Waldorf, and everything, but I think Steiner was a great thinker and a very creative and adaptable person. I seriously doubt he would have wanted people hanging their whole lives on his every word and not thinking and figuring out for themselves how to take his ideas and keep them living and growing, adapting, to their real lives and times, you know? So I feel comfortable being inspired by his ideas, using the ones that feel right and work now, and mesh nicely with our family's values and beliefs, and setting the rest aside. The same thing I do with EVERYTHING else I come across.
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#14 of 14 Old 08-28-2009, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You all have made me feel much better! I sat down last night and pulled bits from OM and Sonlight and created lesson plans for next week. I was really happy with my final result. We'll see how it all comes off next week. But I totally want to do some of the waldorfy things (baking bread, learning rhymes, taking nature walks and learning about science naturally at my girls ages, seeing the letters in nature and around us, etc.), but I know that much of the Sonlight stuff is actually working for us. As well as Math-u-See, which I won't be giving up. In fact, I'm really not going to be doing any Waldorf math at all.

Alisha, Army wife to Nathan , Homeschooling mama to Scheeli (May 2003) , Bronwynn (Nov. 2004) :, Piper (Nov. 2007) , and Wesley (January 2010)
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