OH the Curriculum Choices~ need advice on k-1st 2nd - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 20 Old 09-08-2011, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am homeschooling and have a 2,4,and 6 year old. I am looking to purchase a K and 1st grade curriculum. I want it to NOT be religious but to have a Waldorf style. My oldest child already practices handwriting regularly and can read a little. So I need room for some of the harder stuff she wants. I am looking at Oak Meadow and Earth School right now but would love a list of MORE and why you like that one.... I am a little hesitant to buy used because I want to make sure were up to date should my child ever want/need to go to public school I do not want any of them to feel behind. The main reason I am needing this is b/c I need a Rhythm and flow to follow I am finding it difficult to plan my own things right now and would love something I can follow and feel nourishes everyones diff needs. Please be honest when giving opinions as I cannot afford to waste $ (thats why I am insanely researching!)  Thanks a bunches~ :)


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#2 of 20 Old 09-08-2011, 02:49 PM
 
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Hi!  We have been using  for a couple of years now, and really love it.  Way more "Waldorf" than Oak Meadow, and just better, too, imo.  I found Oak Meadow to be kinda boring, honestly.  We are using Christopherus 2nd Grade right now, and my son really responds to it.  The author really gives you so much information on "how-to," and there is lots of room to improvise, as well.  Not a strict schedule, per say.  Christopherus uses the Waldorf block method, where you do main lesson blocks with the focus on one subject every 3 or 4 weeks. If you have any questions, I would be happy to try and help.  Good luck!


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#3 of 20 Old 09-08-2011, 03:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Mountainsun, I had not heard of that one yet so I will check it out. Could you elaborate on what you did not like about Oak Meadow? Have you been using Christopherus for more than 2nd grade?

 

Thanks for the help~ :)


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#4 of 20 Old 09-09-2011, 12:52 PM
 
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Sure!  I used oak Meadow (loosely) for K & 1st.  I did like it, but found it monotonous.  Kind of "run of the mill."  I bit the bullet and ordered Christopherus Grade 1 and just fell in love with it.  I actually changed it up mid year and stopped using OM and went straight for Christopherus.  I felt like OM was catering to public school "standards" while I feel like Christopherus is a living, breathing curriculum that is catering to our homeschool.  I have learned so much from it, as well as their other guides.  I am just using Christopherus with ds2, and forgoing the OM.  I have now used Ch. Grade 1 & Grade 2.  

 

I am not saying that OM isn't a good curriculum, Christopherus just really resonated with me.  And for the record, we are not a "pure" Waldorf family by any means :)

 

They also have a book called "Christopherus Overview for homeschoolers," that may just help you find your flow ;)


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#5 of 20 Old 09-09-2011, 03:27 PM
 
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We used Seasons of Joy and Christopherus for Kindy and are using Christopherus for Grade One, with some added/substituted blocks I've either made myself or found online (Marsha's Yahoo group is a great resource...I think it's called WaldorfHomeEducators or something).  We also use elements of Charlotte Mason and I read a lot of John Holt to stay in touch with my unschooly feelings.

 

I like Christopherus for Grade One.  It's easy to understand and apply.  It covers all the bases.  It's not overwhelming.  I'm not sure we'll stick with that curriculum for years, but it's great for Grade One.

 

I have no experience with it personally, but many of our Waldorf homeschool group use and love Live Ed!


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#6 of 20 Old 09-11-2011, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all so much. I will definately be checking those out tonite. thanks.gif


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#7 of 20 Old 09-14-2011, 05:23 PM
 
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You are welcome~~Hope it helps!love.gif

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#8 of 20 Old 09-14-2011, 07:29 PM
 
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I have a kindergartener and we are just embarking on homeschooling.  I, also, am looking for a secular, Waldorf-y curriculum that will still meet up with Maryland's (pretty strict, I've heard) standards.

 

 


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#9 of 20 Old 09-14-2011, 08:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok so I am looking at a homeschool store in Kirkland tomorrow (they sell used and new curriclm) they do not have much waldorfy stuff but we shall see. I also am meeting up with a lady selling used Enki and OM, so I am excited to see those in person. Enki also told me they would give a scholarship if I apply soon. Not full by any means but still every lil bit helps. Whew I hope to have made this decision by friday so we can get going! It would be great to be coming home with something tomorrow~praying.gif


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#10 of 20 Old 09-16-2011, 02:28 PM
 
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I'm getting to be a Waldorf curriculum junkie myself!

 

This is the low-down from my perspective:

 

Oak Meadow--Waldorf-ish but some people have said it's boring.  They do have a good website and you can see samples.  Looking at their samples I think it still looks pretty good for a basic, holistic curriculum.  I like that it isn't laid out "day by day" but rather in a weekly style, and the illustrations are in color.  It is secular, which for our family is a detriment but doesn't sound like it would be for you.  For grade 1, it does not use Grimm's fairy tales but Oak Meadow adaptations.  They have really good customer service, I've heard.  Check on this, but I think you can return it within 30 days in a new condition, plus shipping.  If you were really torn over this, you could order it and then send it back if you don't like it.  http://www.oakmeadowbookstore.com/returns-10.html .  The nice thing about the OM grade 1 curriculum is that you can buy parts separately--so if you don't want a book about beginning the recorder, then you don't have to get it.  You can also buy (very affordably I may add) just the fairy tales, which is helpful if you want fairy tales with letter pictures but don't want to buy an entire syllabus.  OM has pictures for upper AND lower case letters, and it is the only curriculum I know of that does this.  It also has a word families book, which looks good.  OM math is included in the syllabus, so if you want that you have to buy the syllabus, which is $190, but if you have an alternative for math, then you could skip OM math and just buy the fairy tales, word families, and beginning recorder book for $50.  Here is an overview for grade 1:  http://www.oakmeadow.com/curriculum/overviews/first-grade-overview.pdf .

 

Earthschooling--Waldorf e-books (no hard copies).  From what little I've heard through the grapevine, they are supposed to be really good.  Looking at the samples, though, it seems lacking in something.  For one I really like the Waldorf way of drawing letters that are hidden in pictures for grade 1.  In the ES curriculum, you are just told to draw the letters and then turn them into something else.  I dunno.  That doesn't resonate with me.  I also am not a huge fan of e-books because I don't think you can resell them.  The upside is that it is rather affordable ($85) and it includes painting stories, which are pretty impossible to find.  I still go back and forth over this.  My honest impression is that overall it is better than ALGF but not as good as Christopherus.

 

Live Ed--As pretty as the illustrations are in the curriculum, I didn't find that it had a lot of meat.  (I bought this for grade 1 and resold it.)  The section on letters, for example, is simply the book LMNOP with suggested Grimm's fairy tales that you must buy separately and they tell you that you'll have to change a lot of things in the drawings because they don't correspond to the tales.  There is a lot of Waldorfish, ethereal language presented--"As you and your child set before the blank page, think of the soul qualities of the paper--how thousands of years ago a Chinese man watched how wasps eat wood pulp and then make paper for their nests"--I don't really like to be spoken to in an airy-fairy way and there was a lot of that going on here.  And as a totally surface quibble, one of the (male) writers of this curriculum is named Rainbow.  It just strikes me as a bit off and it's very pricey.  Maybe their other guides have more "guidance" than grade 1, but I can't say.  

 

A Little Garden Flower--As a very basic Waldorf curriculum this is decent but it lacks a lot.  Though Grimm's fairy tales are included in the new version of grade 1, it is still very basic.  Form drawing is not discussed much at all, for instance.  You are told about beeswax modeling but there is no instruction.  A lot of space is given over to a discussion of what Waldorf is, which bothers me because I already know what Waldorf is and am looking for substance.  For $40-something, though, it is the most affordable, and I think with some creative legwork and blog time on the internet, you can make a good grade 1 out of it, but it will take time and effort.

 

Christopherus--For us, I am leaning more toward Christopherus.  For one, Donna Simmons is really well respected in the Waldorf homeschooling community.  I have several of her other books and she has a firm grasp of Waldorf pedagogy (she was raised in Waldorf and I think taught in a Waldorf school for a while) and also a good sense of homeschooling since she hs'd her boys.  The downside to Donna, I think, is that she can be a little snide in her writing, and she also has very strong opinions which she shares.  Christopherus seems to have more meat than ALGF, to be more spiritual than OM, and to be less airy-fairy than Live Ed.  If you can afford the curriculum, I think it would be a good buy.  There are also Christopherus message boards, and I think Donna also does consultations (but check the website because I'm not certain).  The drawings are all black-and-white and are not as detailed as in OM, but they may be more easily reproduced for a 1st grader.  I can't tell, but it looks like you will need an outside recorder and knitting resource because these do not seem to be included for grade 1.  I would email Donna, though, and ask first.

 

Enki--I can never quite decide about Enki.  It is ridiculously expensive and the author says it is illegal to resale her materials, but people do.  I have heard rave reviews by people who have used Enki, but everytime I look at her website I feel overwhelmed.  The nice thing is that you have a nice big buffet of things to choose from, but the downside is that you have to wade through that whole buffet.  I think what would work well is to buy her foundation guide and/or her Homeschooling Grade 1 Manual and then use the Enki methods with cheaper curriculum materials.    She has a good movement book but it's $125 by itself.  You can buy BrainGym materials for much cheaper than that and adapt it yourself.  A lot of what she talks about is basic to Waldorf, so if you are already familiar to Waldorf you can find similar information elsewhere.  Her stories are really well done but you can also buy those separately if you don't want to do a package.  Her stories for grade 1 include nice pencil sketchings for each letter.  I honestly think, though, with 3 kids, this curriculum may be too much.  It is definitely not open-and-go.  I just noticed this--Looking at their samples, it does not look like the vowels are introduced pictorially, only the consonants.  

 

My honest opinion is that if you want an open-and-go curriculum, then probably Christopherus or Oak Meadow would work best.  I would look hard at both websites and see what resonates with you.  Best wishes!


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#11 of 20 Old 09-16-2011, 04:48 PM
 
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Wow, Lux, great info--priceless. Wish I'd had it two years ago (as do you, I am sure!!).  I have had OM kindy (bought new) for a few days and I can see it being monotonous, I think given that it is only 1-2 hours of our day, that's okay.  Our bedtime is monotonous, you know.  But from meals to play to errands to social time to rest to homeschool to bedtime--that is what breaks the monotony for us.  I  don't mind if the homeschooling hour or two is somewhat similar in format from one lesson to the next.  Well, I don't THINK I mind, we'll see. Christopherus would not work for us, though if you asked me 3 years ago it would be THE ONLY WAY.  The fact is (and I know you get this Lux) we can't work with a Waldorf purist--I spent 2 years feeling guilt over my precocious kid doing mental math at 2 and memorizing letters from signs on the highway at 3, despite how much we tried to keep this stuff from him.  It's just him, and he may read at 5, he may not read until 8, whatever.  I won't initiate teaching him until he's 7, assuming we get that far without him doing it himself or begging to be taught.  Actually, one of Waldorf things I read says that you should check for bilateral integration (communication between left and right brain) to ensure a child is developmentally ready to read.  The suggested way to gage this is if the child can skip with alternate ams to leg, and do this very naturally--without trying at all.  My son started skipping (arms crazy) at 3.5 without hardly ever seeing anyone skip, on his own added the alternate arms at 4 (very natural) and now at not-quite 4.5 he skips with alternate arms while whistling better than many adults can.  I'm still not teaching him to read because he is not showing he's ready (interest, attention), but you get my point. I like that OM is slower than current mainstream schooling goes but is faster (well, earlier) than traditional waldorf. So we're actually doing OM kindy at 4.5 and what we'll do at 5.5 I have no clue (going on to OM 1 is possible but not planned for expected).  I would not like him to be a year ahead all around past 1st or second if I can help it.    

 

Sorry, SOOOOO OT and not responding to the OP.  I really came in to say that Lux did such a good job with that review!!

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Holiztic View Post

Wow, Lux, great info--priceless. Wish I'd had it two years ago (as do you, I am sure!!).  I have had OM kindy (bought new) for a few days and I can see it being monotonous, I think given that it is only 1-2 hours of our day, that's okay.  Our bedtime is monotonous, you know.  But from meals to play to errands to social time to rest to homeschool to bedtime--that is what breaks the monotony for us.  I  don't mind if the homeschooling hour or two is somewhat similar in format from one lesson to the next.  Well, I don't THINK I mind, we'll see. Christopherus would not work for us, though if you asked me 3 years ago it would be THE ONLY WAY.  The fact is (and I know you get this Lux) we can't work with a Waldorf purist--I spent 2 years feeling guilt over my precocious kid doing mental math at 2 and memorizing letters from signs on the highway at 3, despite how much we tried to keep this stuff from him.  It's just him, and he may read at 5, he may not read until 8, whatever.  I won't initiate teaching him until he's 7, assuming we get that far without him doing it himself or begging to be taught.  Actually, one of Waldorf things I read says that you should check for bilateral integration (communication between left and right brain) to ensure a child is developmentally ready to read.  The suggested way to gage this is if the child can skip with alternate ams to leg, and do this very naturally--without trying at all.  My son started skipping (arms crazy) at 3.5 without hardly ever seeing anyone skip, on his own added the alternate arms at 4 (very natural) and now at not-quite 4.5 he skips with alternate arms while whistling better than many adults can.  I'm still not teaching him to read because he is not showing he's ready (interest, attention), but you get my point. I like that OM is slower than current mainstream schooling goes but is faster (well, earlier) than traditional waldorf. So we're actually doing OM kindy at 4.5 and what we'll do at 5.5 I have no clue (going on to OM 1 is possible but not planned for expected).  I would not like him to be a year ahead all around past 1st or second if I can help it.    

 

Sorry, SOOOOO OT and not responding to the OP.  I really came in to say that Lux did such a good job with that review!!


Thanks, Holiztic!  I have often felt we were in similar boats--except that both my parents and in-laws are the antithesis of Waldorf (I can't remember if it was your parents or in-laws who were super Waldorf--sorry!).  (Just saying that I'm watching your hs-ing journey--or at least what you post on MDC!)  I truly hope OM kindy works well for you!  I'm torn between Christopherus grade 1 and OM grade 1--and probably we'll do a mixture of both.  My dd (5.75) is gifted too and I have felt so much Waldorf guilt.  She isn't one of those dreamy kids who lives in fairy land, though I think our Waldorf approach has helped round her out in this regard.  My hubby is an engineer and so is my child, and gosh darn it if she isn't attracted to everything electronic.  The other day she picked up a long book off our shelf and read it to me.  She knew her letters at 16 months, started picking up sight words at 2, did mental math--just like your son.  And in spite of what I read last night that Donna Simmons said in her Waldorf overview book, my gifted child is AHEAD on gross (and fine) motor abilities.  (Sorry, but Donna totally irks me in her treatment of mentally precocious kids--this is my biggest caveat about Christopherus.)   I hope my OCD obsession with Waldorf curricula can help out others.  I go through serious bouts of second-guesses and obsessions.  Keep me posted, Holiztic, on your thoughts for grade 1.  We're doing kindy plus this year and it's going really well, very Waldorfy with hands-on logic games thrown in (check out some of the Thinkfun games on amazon---my dd loves them--hands-on and creative but totally non-Donna Simmons approved).

 

OP--have you made a decision?  I'm curious as to what you've picked!

 


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#13 of 20 Old 09-16-2011, 06:13 PM
 
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It is my DH's parents and most of the waldorf guilt I have felt starts with her. She has a terrible way of 'helping' people and offering advice. It goes some like this:  DS says "this (half-eaten) pretzel looks like an upper case M" all smiley and having fun. And then MIL shakes her head with a grave look on her face and says, half under her breath but loud enough for everyone to hear, "That is so abstract" (huff, puff, long blink and head shaking with a deep sigh and frown like we're beating him and she can't stop it), and then "he really should not know that"  THEN she will tell him it's a mountain and when he insists it's an M she argues with him and gets upset like we've ruined him.  Fun!  Luckily she hasn't done this in a while, but I am sure it'll come back at some point!

 

On a brighter note---I also love following your posts and I too see you as our (year ahead) counterpart!

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#14 of 20 Old 09-17-2011, 10:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Whew! Thanks for all the responses! Well I am somewhat decided, I def will not do Enki. I am sure it is wonderful but it is way too much, I might revisit it in the future but at this point it would be way too overwhelming for me. I did not go with her OM either. I decided if I am going to do it I want the newest revision. Hers was 6 or 7 yrs old. I am going to check out some of the other ones you all suggested this weekend. I think the hardest part is I am not sure where my oldest fits, she knows all her uppercase and reads some. I think what I will end up doing is incorporating a few things which may seem confusing but I bought a teachers manual to write myself a daily curriculum incorporating these diff things. I think it is the only way to get my age groups working together but each meeting their full potential individually as well.

I will let you know what I am doing by Monday as I have set myself that deadline.

 

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#15 of 20 Old 09-17-2011, 08:22 PM
 
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I have a ton of the Christopherus materials, and if you want non-religious, it might not be your best bet.  I use only what I want to use, but it's pricey to buy a curriculum that's going to go against the grain as far as religious issues.  (We're humanists, so religious slant is a huge issue for us, as well). 

 

You've had a lot of good reviews in this thread, and I hope you find a system that works for you.  For our kids, I had to wing it with piecemealing for years.  I still sort of do (using Christopherus math in some lessons, but Teaching Textbooks in others, and Right Start in still others...same for history, literature, art, everything). 

 

Good luck!

 

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#16 of 20 Old 09-17-2011, 08:25 PM
 
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oh, p.s., I found that I can really work Moving Beyond the Page into our more Waldorf-style days.  My 10, 7. and 5yos are all using MBtP as their main curriculum, with Story of the World as well for history.  We sort of mix up the math, art, and lit stuff so they do waldorf-style drawings for our readings, map work and listening from SOTW,  and science from all over the place. :)

 


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#17 of 20 Old 09-18-2011, 04:14 AM
 
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Another vote for Christopherus here! The only bad thing about it is it is definitely Christian, as are most Waldorf curriculas, I just leave out any mention of God and tell my kids Jesus was a great man but not savior.... And I like to add in things from other religions.


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#18 of 20 Old 09-18-2011, 11:33 AM
 
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LuxPerpetua -- THANK YOU!  Fantastic comparisons and descriptions.  

 

That is all... ;)


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#19 of 20 Old 09-18-2011, 11:56 AM
 
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Actually, that's not all.  Heh.  I have a question about Christopherus maybe someone can answer.

 

I was just looking at Christopherus again, considering the grade 1 course for my daughter.  I already have the form drawing and joyful movement books.  So the only book (other than the actual syllabus) still required would be "Learning About the World Through Modelling".

 

Is this *really* required?  It says it's used in the first block.  It's 230 pages for one block of one grade?  Or is it truly comprehensive as a reference book for all ages?  

 

The samples are things like "Forms gently arise in the special space between the two hands as they converse and organically work together to discover new possibilities" and "Many pieces can be modeled in the air and in the space created by the two hands in front of the sternum and heart region. Elbows should form comfortable angles to the ribs. The arms form four sides of a pentagon emerging from the trunk side, reflecting the fiveness of the hand’s geometry" -- the kind of airy-fairy talking ABOUT the subject that I don't need either.  I already get the why's.  I just need to know, for instance, what sorts of things they should be modelling to go along with a particular lesson, I don't need 200 pages of lectures on how modelling elevates the soul...  

 

So, is the book actually *practical*?  Or can I likely 'fake it' without it?  I'd love the input of anyone who has used it.  :)


Heather, mom to Caileigh 12/06 and aspie ADHD prodigy David 05/98 :intact lact
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#20 of 20 Old 09-18-2011, 06:01 PM
 
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tankgirl73: I would say it is more of a reference guide for all ages. Personally I think you would be fine without it, you may want to check the book out for yourself just to be sure though.


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