Which do you think offers the best Waldorf curricula? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 28 Old 09-14-2009, 07:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sometimes I feel majorly overwhelmed. We would like to combine Waldorf education with possibly unschooling or other methods. I've been briefly looking into Waldorf homeschooling curricula, and there are just so many choices.

A Little Garden Flower is so affordable, but does anyone know how that compares to Christopherus or Enki?

Of all the Waldorf curricula you've seen, which do you prefer and why?

Allison:  a little bit Waldorf, a little bit Medievalish, and always"MOMMMMYYYY!" to sweet Cecily since 12.22.05
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#2 of 28 Old 09-16-2009, 04:14 PM
 
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(toddler on lap spelling is just a suggestion)

ok so i'm a curicclum addict just so you know

i have ok meadow , little garden flower, the Christopherus stuff, little acorn and seassons of joy.

Now my kids are preschool but i use little acorn the most at this point but little garden flower is really lovely, i have their prek and k books but totally plan on buying all the grade levels. If i had to choose only one I would work with little garden flower for younger grades and progress to christopherus. but really both are fab. AND neither is too pricy....

i'm not sure that helps?

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#3 of 28 Old 09-16-2009, 05:33 PM
 
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I'm a little limited in my exposure, but from what I can gather I'd probably consider something like Enki more of a complete package whereas with A Little Garden Flower or Christopherus you're buying a "guide" that you would potentially need to flesh out a bit with other sources. I know Donna has a syllabus for each grade level, but then suggests that you purchase two or three other publications in order to "fully use" the syllabus.

tbh, if I were you and wanted to incorporate unschooling/other methods I might look into something like the Christopherus Homeschool Overview (which gives you a picture of what happens, when, etc in a Waldorf School) as that'd likely give you the basic form without a large number of specifics/methods - although she does have a fantastic list of additional resources you could use. I know it often comes up for sale on the Waldorf Curric Supply Yahoo group.

Based upon the cost/number of pages in the A Little Garden Flower publications I'd also suspect they'd be a good fit if you're looking for a more general guide rather than a do this when package (and cheap enough where you could potentially buy a little bit of both?).
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#4 of 28 Old 09-16-2009, 09:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for the responses. I'm getting to be a bit of a curricula addict myself. I'd like a guide for us to use in whatever way we felt best, not so much a "do this on x day" kind of thing. I'm using Seasons of Joy right now and love it because I use it as a springboard for fun ideas to incoporate into our day and enrich our lives, which is how I'd ideally like to use a curriculum. For now, unschooling within a Waldorf environment really works well for our family but I'm open to change if need be. I've been looking more into it and I think I may combine ALGF with some Christopherus resources. I've also heard of Waldorf Without Walls but haven't looked into that yet so I have no clue if that's a good one. In theory I like Enki but I've heard it's really expensive and you can't resell it, which is a policy I don't like. Hmmm. So many choices! Perhaps I should just flip a coin, LOL!

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#5 of 28 Old 09-17-2009, 02:39 AM
 
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What about Live Ed? Are they still around? I've seen some of their materials and been pretty impressed.

Just another option to make it even harder to decide.

Meredith, Waldorf teacher and mother of ds C (14), dd A (11) and ds L (7)
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#6 of 28 Old 09-17-2009, 11:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Shoot, I forgot about Live Ed. I really wish there were fewer options available!

I'm strongly considering purchasing the two books recommended for the pre-K Waldorf homeschoolers on the Christopherus site (one is Joyful Movement and the other is a pre-K idea book). I'm hoping to get a taste of what they offer from these. Ideally, I'd like to get ALGF, Waldorf Without Walls, and Christopherus Kindy guides and see which appeals to me most for the money, to know where to look for 1st grade materials. It's really hard to tell on websites how helpful they're going to be. At least I have a few more years to ruminate on this, as dd is only nearly 4!

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#7 of 28 Old 09-17-2009, 12:49 PM
 
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Both ALGF and Christopherus have a 7-day return policy, so you'd only be out postage as long as they can be returned in like-new condition. In any case, the resale value (at least for Christopherus) is very good. There's a yahoogroup for this: Waldorf Curriculum Supplies yahoogroup. With a little patience I was able to get ahold of Christopherus materials there, and though I resold them because it wasn't a perfect fit, I was still very impressed.

Given what you wrote in your original post, you might also want to consider Oak Meadow. Sure, it is not pure Waldorf, but it is gentle and flexible, and also has excellent resale value.
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#8 of 28 Old 09-17-2009, 10:09 PM
 
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Im curious which has a little more structure? Since I will be working part time, I'm might need something that tells me a couple of things to accomplish each week. Either a few lessons to get done, or book or something, to help keep me on track.

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#9 of 28 Old 09-17-2009, 11:33 PM
 
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nak

i have had/used enki, christopherus, oak meadow, and a little garden flower for kindy/first grade. there was a lot that i loved about enki, but in the end my favorite was christopherus. i felt like it was a really good structured waldorf curriculum.

if i had all the time in the world and only 1 child, maybe i would have preferred enki, but in real life, i thought christopherus was the best way to go.

i haven't used live ed (or even seen it in person) but i have heard really good things about it.

Chrissy, lucky mama to Noah (9), Lilah (6), Rowan (3) and Laney (1).
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#10 of 28 Old 09-17-2009, 11:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by chrissy View Post
nak

i have had/used enki, christopherus, oak meadow, and a little garden flower for kindy/first grade. there was a lot that i loved about enki, but in the end my favorite was christopherus. i felt like it was a really good structured waldorf curriculum.

if i had all the time in the world and only 1 child, maybe i would have preferred enki, but in real life, i thought christopherus was the best way to go.

i haven't used live ed (or even seen it in person) but i have heard really good things about it.
Ditto. I used Oak Meadow for first grade and ended up using Christopherus for 2nd this year.

You may also want to check out the waldorf home educators yahoo group. It is moderated by Marsha Johnson who is a waldorf teacher and her files section is FULL of great information. My friend is actually using her 3rd grade files to create her own curriculum this year (there is also some kindy stuff on there too).

Good Luck!

Tanya, wife to my best friend momma to Blake 2/02, Jacob 5/04, Parker 12/05 and MaKenna : 6/09
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#11 of 28 Old 09-18-2009, 12:52 AM
 
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I wanted to add another curriculum as well. It is called "Earthschooling" although it is Waldorf inspired. I am a lifetime member and I absolutely LOVE it. The owner, Kristie Burns, is constantly updating and adding new things. Such as MP3's of stories and songs, Yoga cards, Vintage books, Tons of videos. There are MANY options on what type of curriculum you get. You can get it month to month, or you can get one aimed towards a grade. Here is her website: http://waldorfenrichment.weebly.com/index.html

Elizabeth - Single mom to my 3 year old daugher and a full time graduate student . I support
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#12 of 28 Old 09-18-2009, 04:33 AM
 
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I wanted to add another curriculum as well. It is called "Earthschooling" although it is Waldorf inspired. I am a lifetime member and I absolutely LOVE it. The owner, Kristie Burns, is constantly updating and adding new things. Such as MP3's of stories and songs, Yoga cards, Vintage books, Tons of videos. There are MANY options on what type of curriculum you get. You can get it month to month, or you can get one aimed towards a grade. Here is her website: http://waldorfenrichment.weebly.com/index.html
See...and I didn't particularly care for what I've seen from Earthschooling. I love her Yahoo list and she does have a fair number of resources, but the curriculum aspect...not so much.
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#13 of 28 Old 09-18-2009, 09:22 AM
 
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The thing is that the Early Years are truly about creating rhythm, warmth and joy in the home. I think it is easy to turn into a curriculum junkie and research, research, research....Christopherus for the Early Years (the Kindy book) is not a day by day syllabus like the first grade or second grade, but has sections about putting together rhythm, lists of stories, ideas for festivals, etc...And Melisa Nielsen's "Before the Journey" book is similar, although told in fiction form from the perspective of four different families with different living situations and different spiritual backgrounds. Little Acorn is more day by day and nature inspired, Waldorf inpsired as it is written for home day care providers, many mothers are pleased with this. I have not seen Live Ed! but I imagine it also is geared day by day as it was by two classroom teachers..but it is very, very expensive and I have heard mothers say, at least about the grade levels, is that they needed quite a bit more time and energy and resources to flesh it all out.

Marsha Johnson has great free files on her yahoo group. I think if one can start with rhythm and then work toward a weekly rhythm that involves baking, gardening, crafts - the things that speak to you and plan it out, and add some festival celebrations you really can have a great year with a four year old or a five year old...Six needs longer stories and more complicated arts and crafts and things...

By First Grade, both Donna and Melissa's syllabi go day by day and such. Marsha continuues with a lot of free files. Perhaps go to Donna's forum and join, or Melissa's yahoo group and join, and see what voices speak to you and that will let you know what curriculum might appeal to you when the time comes.

Hope that helps, I know how hard it can be in the begining when we just want to see what is out there and collect resources, but there is also a lot to be said regarding just the doing. The doing is how you get to know what works in your own family, with your own child, what stories really resonate (oh, and don't forget the free www.mainlesson.com for free seasonal stories). In Kindy the stories can be kept for two weeks to one month so you don't have to have that many!

Blesssings!

Warmly,
Carrie
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#14 of 28 Old 09-18-2009, 11:12 AM
 
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I have most of those curriculums. Enki is well worth it and good for unschoolers, IMO, but extremely hard in that it takes TONS of prep time. Oak Meadow is laid out for you, but fairly mainstream and also a bit jumpy. If that makes sense-no real blocks, but it reminds me of how public schools jump around in subjects. I am selling mine and buying Christopherus 2nd and 3rd grade as soon as I have money!

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#15 of 28 Old 09-18-2009, 01:46 PM
 
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And especially for the younger crowd that the original post was about - a four or five year old?- Oak Meadow jumps into academics whereas pure Waldorf jumps in at First Grade....So, yes, you are right, one has to be careful with not confusing the curriculum's base if you are searching for pure Waldorf or not....And if you want to be eclectic or just some "Waldorf flavor" these curriculums just might be fine!

Warmly,
Carrie
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#16 of 28 Old 09-18-2009, 05:12 PM
 
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#17 of 28 Old 09-18-2009, 06:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Lots of good ideas here. Thank you!

I think I may not have originally been clear in my post that we are already a Waldorf-inspired family so we are already into daily, weekly, and yearly rhythms. I have a pretty firm foundation in Waldorf philosophy, at least for the earlier years, and a working knowledge of the childhood and later years. We're currently interspersing Little Acorn and Seasons of Joy for enrichment ideas--just so you know where we're coming from. We're very relaxed in our implementation and like to follow dd's interests and lead as much as possible.

I'm mostly looking at curricula for when we start a more academic direction. We're also unschoolers so I'm not sure when that will be, but my guess is somewhere between age 5 and 7, depending upon dd's wishes. I'd like to delay a lot of structure until age 7, and even then I don't know how "structured" we're going to want to be. Right now I'm just trying to get a feel for what options are out there to have on hand around kindy age. I have no idea at this point how unschooly versus Waldorfy we're going to trend, as right now in the early years the two ideologies combine rather well. As dd gets older, I think we're going to need to head more in one direction.

One of the difficulties we're facing is that dd already has a full working knowledge of letters (child-led fully; and it's really neat that she naturally takes the Waldorf path of making learning multi-sensory on her own--she builds letters out of blocks, recognizes letter shapes in a nature or in her surroundings, traces letters in sand, etc., without any prompting on my part). She also has an understanding of numbers=quantities, and can do some basic addition and subtraction. She's beginning to get interested in multiplication. Again, all of this is child-led and within the boundaries of a Waldorfish home--she literally figured all of this out from playing with blocks, nuts, looking at books, etc. I really like the idea of integrating art and stories into her learning but one difficulty is that dd's natural progression seems to be much faster than Waldorf pedagogy allows. I'm a little worried that by the time she's 7 she's going to be totally bored with stories about letters, but then again she may find that these stories enrich the knowledge she already has.

I'd really like a source that suggests books, materials, craft ideas, as well as a more natural approach to the sciences. I want to continue focusing on the seasons and natural rhythms of the year, just in a more structured and sophisticated fashion. I would love ideas for things we might be interested in studying more in-depth.

I'm still leaning toward ALGF and Christopherus. I worry that Christopherus would be too structured and that ALGF may not have as much detail and information. Hmmm . . . . I might see if I can find a used Christopherus Grade 1 Syllabus and purchase ALGF Grade 1 book and compare from there when the time comes.

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#18 of 28 Old 09-19-2009, 10:47 AM
 
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Okay, in that case there are some great books out there, but none really put together in a day by day format by Season except the ones you mentioned. Obviously there are festival books, nature books such as Earthways, books for circles like Movement Journeys and Circle Adventures, the Wynstones books for verses and songs, A Child's Seasonal Treasury puts verses, songs, baking and some crafts together by season but probably not enough to carry you through a full season.

And BTW, my daughter was reading on a third grade level when we did Waldorf First Grade and she LOVED it. The curriculum, as you probably know, has the stories and things that really speak to a child's soul when they are mainly 7 for first grade and so many more wonderful things, so many new ways to look at things. She read well, didn't love writing, and 6 and a half year olds to seven year olds fatigue pretty easily as far as writing and attention and such. Waldorf first grade really was perfect. I have a dear friend who just experienced the same thing - she has a first grader who can read, has bounced around from unschooling to some classical stuff to Waldorf stuff and her child just complained complained complained about school and she started with the Christopherus alphabet story and boom! suddenly her child likes homeschooling again! I am not saying that will happen to you and your family, LOL, I guess I am just saying it can be hard to second guess where you will be at that point and what direction you will take and what will speak to your child!

I admire your tenacity in researching though!! I see your name on this board a lot and know how hard you have been working to piece everything together...It is such a journey?

Warmly,
Carrie
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#19 of 28 Old 09-19-2009, 09:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, in that case there are some great books out there, but none really put together in a day by day format by Season except the ones you mentioned. Obviously there are festival books, nature books such as Earthways, books for circles like Movement Journeys and Circle Adventures, the Wynstones books for verses and songs, A Child's Seasonal Treasury puts verses, songs, baking and some crafts together by season but probably not enough to carry you through a full season.

And BTW, my daughter was reading on a third grade level when we did Waldorf First Grade and she LOVED it. The curriculum, as you probably know, has the stories and things that really speak to a child's soul when they are mainly 7 for first grade and so many more wonderful things, so many new ways to look at things. She read well, didn't love writing, and 6 and a half year olds to seven year olds fatigue pretty easily as far as writing and attention and such. Waldorf first grade really was perfect. I have a dear friend who just experienced the same thing - she has a first grader who can read, has bounced around from unschooling to some classical stuff to Waldorf stuff and her child just complained complained complained about school and she started with the Christopherus alphabet story and boom! suddenly her child likes homeschooling again! I am not saying that will happen to you and your family, LOL, I guess I am just saying it can be hard to second guess where you will be at that point and what direction you will take and what will speak to your child!

I admire your tenacity in researching though!! I see your name on this board a lot and know how hard you have been working to piece everything together...It is such a journey?
You are very kind, Carrie! I love reading your blog, btw. I saw it recommended on the Waldorf homeschooling thread and you have given me lots of inspiration.

Did you use Christopherus for your dd?

Allison:  a little bit Waldorf, a little bit Medievalish, and always"MOMMMMYYYY!" to sweet Cecily since 12.22.05
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#20 of 28 Old 09-20-2009, 12:16 AM
 
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I would not suggest OM or ALGF, then. Enki would be good, and then supplement more math activities if they're slow for her with Harrer or Wilkinson's book or those Knights of Knowledge or something. Christopherus is good, too, from what I've seen. We are somehow waldorf and at times unschooly depending on the kids moods and my own. I don't require anything and we always study what they want to-but it's never been an issue with waldorf except OM being boring.

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#21 of 28 Old 09-20-2009, 11:45 AM
 
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Hi there!
Thanks for reading my blog, that is kind of you!

As far as our own curriculum....Well,,, I am such a gatherer of books, such a book junkie that I made my own curriculum. I used bits and pieces of Christopherus but also a lot of other things, made up a linking story for the fairy tales that would speak to my daughter (My own made-up story involved Queen Bluebell of the fairies but also involved using love and different good character kinds of qualities to overcome the trolls and earn the right to wear the Princess Crown at age 7, etc), I made up my own math story to introduce the four processes, we probably did a bit more "science" than is typical - we did river life for form drawing, a whole block on the 12 months, four seasons and all the things associated with the seasons.... and we did a lot of form drawing.

I try and write the whole year over the summer, although right now I am finishing April, May and June for our second grade year...Got a bit behind with being pregnant. but I do feel good at least I am set until the Spring for right now for Second Grade/Kindy for my two girls.

I think Waldorf homeschooling can be and take many forms if you understand the why's of what comes when.... It really can, the stories so speak to their souls no matter what academic level the child is, and you really see where their strengths and weaknesses are...knitting did not click at all for my daughter until this year, and she is flying now! The writing didn't start to click until the end of first grade, not because she couldn't write sentences or didn't know anything but it just fatigued her to no end. She was much more interested in the hands-on, whole body kinds of activities, the stories, all the wonder. It was beautiful.

I think what I am learning is not to second guess it all so much. For example, people get upset about the saints, you can pick saints and heroes from any culture and you don't have to mention anything about church or even the title "Saint" if you don't want to! - but boy, those saints and tricksters really speak to an 8 year old who is discovering life.

I really love Waldorf, I think it has so much to offer....

Many blessings to you all!

Warmly,
Carrie
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#22 of 28 Old 09-21-2009, 03:43 AM
 
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I think the other thing I liked about Christopherus was that Donna does find some value in some aspects of unschooling and is pretty up front about what in Waldorf school education may not be a good fit for homeschoolers. Plus, as one who is more "waldorf-inspired" and not accepting of anthroposophy, I appreciate that she includes the whys behind what takes place in Waldorf education. I find I'm more informed on it which certainly helps me clear up my own personal reasons for why we do what we do - and more free to avoid things if they don't jive with our beliefs.
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#23 of 28 Old 09-21-2009, 07:50 PM
 
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Pampered Mom, those are some great observations. Donna helped me write a post about anthroposophy for my blog and she is a great resource and is very understanding of what works and would not work for many folks...very down to earth!

Warmly,
Carrie
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#24 of 28 Old 09-21-2009, 10:45 PM
 
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I got great advice with this question from Melisa Nielsen (A Little Garden Flower) on her radio program about Waldorf homeschooling planning: that all of the major Waldorf homeschool curricula (Christopherus, A Little Garden Flower, Live Ed) and the Waldorf related (Oak Meadow and Enki) have great things to offer, yet you have to find the VOICE that speaks to you. She also cautioned against being a curriculum collector vs. a curriculum doer, and how overwhelmed you can get trying to integrate it all -- boy did that speak to me! I have been a major collector and gotten overwhelmed with all the choices. Personally, I have Donna Simmons' stuff and A Little Garden Flower and the "voice" that speaks to me is Melisa's from ALGF. Live Ed is beautiful and wondrous and if you have great creativity and will to create your own program it is marvelous, yet more expensive. I think any curriculum guide you buy you will need to supplement with other materials, from my experience. Best of luck! What a rich path we're on...

ETA: I recommend Rhythms of Learning by Roberto Trostli for the WHYS behind what we teach and why as Waldorf educators...being grounded in the essence of what we are delivering to our children at each level of development helps us in our own inspiration and creativity...
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#25 of 28 Old 09-22-2009, 03:23 PM
 
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Great post! I love Melisa Nielsen as well...
Sometimes we just need to step away from the curriculum and DO IT and see what works for our family and adjust. As a homeschooling parent we know our children best and what will work, and also if you read Steiner for yourself and understand why what comes when you know where you can deviate, where you can add in, etc. It becomes a truly creative and holistic journey for the family.
Rhythms of Learning is fabulous, I also like Steiner's Soul Economy for the different developmental stages. Excellent!

Great post and thread,

Warmly,
Carrie
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#26 of 28 Old 09-23-2009, 02:21 AM
 
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Sorry to butt in! I am interested in some getting started kind of curriculum for a new homeschool family with a 3rd grader. We'll be pulling him from public school at the end of the year -- if all goes well and I have something prepped. Hubby needs me to be prepared, not just pull him and find something later. Sooo..

He's most interested in being creative and seems drawn to the Earth. He seems like a perfect candidate for Waldorf curriculum, though I am not absolutely stuck on that either. I don't mind mish mashing things.

I see a lot of the curriculum is for the younger kids. What would be good for a 3rd grader and a new homeschool parent?

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#27 of 28 Old 09-24-2009, 09:06 PM
 
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Well, I think it sort of depends on what voice speaks to you, and what you need. Probably the "big three" for third grade would be Melisa Nielsen's A Little Garden Flower, Donna Simmons of Christopherus Third Grade Package, and Live Ed! Third Grade. You could join Melisa's list or Donna's paid forum (there is also a LOT of information on the Christopherus website as well). Marsha Johnson also has a lot of free files available for each grade once you join her Yahoo Group.

Those are at least places to start. You may want to consider a consultation with one of the national consultants by phone if you are totally new to Waldorf. There is a lot to it, and third grade is a rather fun but pivotal year.

Warmly,
Carrie
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#28 of 28 Old 11-13-2009, 04:14 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LenasMommy View Post
I wanted to add another curriculum as well. It is called "Earthschooling" although it is Waldorf inspired. I am a lifetime member and I absolutely LOVE it. The owner, Kristie Burns, is constantly updating and adding new things. Such as MP3's of stories and songs, Yoga cards, Vintage books, Tons of videos. There are MANY options on what type of curriculum you get. You can get it month to month, or you can get one aimed towards a grade. Here is her website: http://waldorfenrichment.weebly.com/index.html
What a WONDERFUL resource! Thank you for sharing this!!!
Blessings,
Kelly

Kelly, mom to Goose (DD 16) and Sweet Pea (DD10)

 

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