Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: North of Boston, MA
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Sorry it has taken me so long to respond, things have been odd around here... Anyway, we started out with Oak Meadow's first grade curriculum for my then-five-year old daughter. From the information and outlines available on-line it seemed that she was already familiar with the material presented in the Kindergarten curriculum. We got off to a pretty good start. She loved the fairy tales, we made a seasonal table, and we sang lots of songs and lit lots of candles. Then the problems started. First, we made a wind-vane. The thing didn't work. That sort of screwed up science for a while, as the curriculum expected that you would be able to use your wind-vane to chart weather-stuff. Needless to say, the non-functioning wind-vanes were a major disappointment. Then, the child who constantly begged me to read extra fairy tales discovered that her love for fairy tales was dwarfed in comparison to her hatred for word families (the language arts activities that follow the fairy tales). My own frustration began with the math. Again, everything starts out great-- there are three (I think) stories about the gnomes Plus, Minus, Times, and Divide and their great King Equal. DD loved these stories and drew beautiful pictures of the gnomes. Then the stories just stopped. It seems that I am supposed to stay up night thinking up new gnome stories to teach my child mathematical operations. Silly me, I thought that is what I PAID them for... They also suggest that you know how to play the recorder before you attempt to teach your child. When, exactly, they think a homeschooling parent is going to be able to learn to play the recorder without their child is something they don't explain.
I hope this hasn't sounded too negative. I really love the idea of Waldorf education, but parts of it just "aren't us," if that makes sense. Many of the rituals and verses are probably great in a classroom with lots of kids participating, but I found them to be sort of awkward with just the few of us. Some of the movement activities seemed a little weird to me as well. However, I really enjoyed the "Home Teacher's Process Guide," and "The Heart of Learning." You can buy these without purchasing the entire curriculum, and I would recommend them. Going forward, I anticipate using "Waldorf Education, A Family Guide" to construct my own "Waldorf-inspired. unschooling environment."
As an aside, we have also been using Power-Glide for Spanish, and we LOVE it.
Hope this helps; let me know if you have any other questions.