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waldorf approach and curriculums for home schooling

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does anyone have any personal experience with the waldorf approach to home schooling?  another member told me about a very inexpensive waldorf curriculum online and my oldest sister sent her three kids to a waldorf academy so i have a vague idea of what it is. 


so what are your thought and experiences about the waldorf approach to teaching children? 

by on Nov. 19, 2013 at 12:06 AM
Replies (21-30):
Boobah
by Nikki :) on Nov. 19, 2013 at 10:12 PM
This is true. My oldest taught herself to read before her fourth birthday, I did not even try. I was quite shocked when I found out she could read. Lol! I thought she had just memorized the stories so I gave her a new hook she hadn't heard before and she read it easily. We talk about letters and sounds in our home, but I don't expect my 4 year old to write sentences, do a bunch of worksheets, and drill her on what sounds A makes. I take the more natural approach, of learning as we live, and it works great - for us! I don't feel like learning should be stressful for the parent or the child, and when I did the classical/Charlotte mason style of homeschooling, it was stressful for both of us.

Quoting -Teeter-Totter-:


To me, it seems mostly like a case of personality preference on the kid's part.

My mom was against academics before school age (kindergarden age and up), so I wasn't really "taught" specifics like letters or how to read and write before i went to school. I was never denied knowledge, though, and was always encouraged to pursue questions and thoughts. We had a story hour every night. 

She just felt that learning certain things before the age of 5-6 does cause a loss of the "magic" things seem to posess to little ones. An example would be when you look at a something like a car as an adult, is your first thought one of wonder and admiration, or to label it by its make/model, how fast it goes, etc. 

She felt that, unless asked for the information, a child shouldn't be bombarded with having to know such specifics or letters/sounds, etc, and that it definitely shouldnt be forced upon them until after 5 or 6.

I feel that way too, although I leave it up to other parents to decide what they feel is best. 

But I truly believe that those children who pursue academia early on (of their own accord) would do so anyway. That those who tend to be more interested in that stuff are naturally just more inclined to do so, rather than hang out with others or play sports, etc.

I was that child. Even without being taught letters before school, I picked them up very quickly and loved listening to lessons/stories and asking questions about how things worked, rather than interracting with others.

I really think (unless it's a case of serious pushing on the parents' part) that its just the child's preference that leads them to be more academic or social/physical oriented.


Quoting AutymsMommy:


I would be interested in your sources for this - only because I've seen the opposite (not just personally, but also in studies), stating that children who attend formal pre-k programs fare better socially and with motor skills. On a similar note, my eldest does wonderfully in sports and socially, and started reading early. My 4 year old is learning to read currently, and is quite the social butterfly, lol! I can't speak for his motor skills, because he was born with serious medical issues that have caused delays in that area.


Quoting Boobah:

I love it. My kids love love love it and are thriving. I have seen such amazing, positive changes in them, and in our whole family.

We focus on the rhythm aspect, the doing things together, celebrating the holidays, festivals, seasons. I will be honest, I haven't looked into studying steiners ideals which is what most people have an issue with. We just love the natural and art aspect of it.

As stated in the others posters reply, it does honor childhood by not forcing academics onto children so early. It has been proven that children who are pushed into academics early have deficiencies in other places (gross motor, social, etc). This may not hold true for all, but it does for many if parents really open their eyes and aren't bias. I know my oldest, who began reading just shy if her 4th birthday, has a much harder time with physical activity, is a very nervous, and worried child, and has a much harder time socially.

Though the Waldorf approach is definitely gentle, it is still a very good way of teaching children and they learn all the necessary information - they just learn it when their minds are ready for it and they can fully understand it. In fact, my Waldorf schooled daughter is ahead of her public school peers in math already (she is 8).



Sorry to write a book, I am just SO happy we found this method so early on our journey and I wish I could share it with everyone. I love that I'm able to teach my kids life skills and learn at their developing pace, incorporate art and nature with all we do, celebrate life and the seasons the way it should be. We, as a society, are so out of tune with nature and the seasons and we are paying for it.







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Boobah
by Nikki :) on Nov. 19, 2013 at 10:17 PM
I can't believe I left that out! We LOVED www.weefolkart.com!!! And it is FREE!! I'd highly recommend it over any purchased curriculum. We used it loosely last year for my 3 year old (we read the books, did the crafts, the recipes, etc but not the letters or math) and it was fantastic. You HAVE to try the apple bread recipe in the harvest curriculum. I get requests for it all the time from my family. :)

Quoting -Teeter-Totter-:


I agree. I think my mom and I both about died laughing when we saw the advertising for that. Even my husband who is very academically oriented, and often jokingly teases me about why our babies don't know physics yet, snorted at the thought.

His response was "Why don't they just come up with some way to teach everything to babies in the womb, so they can walk outta there with a PHD?"

I agree with wanting to teach your kiddies (as early as humanly possible even-not my thing, but I get it ) but that's just craziness.  

Oh! I have a link for you! I stumbled on this site about a month ago. Very sweet and cute! Its a free waldorf-inspired kindy curriculum:

http://weefolkart.com/content/homeschool-companion-guides




Quoting tansyflower:

my sister is a teacher and HATES "my baby can read" or whatever that infomercial program on tv was that they were selling to parents for their infants.  the goal of reading is comprehension, and while you might be able to teach a small baby what a word looks like and to recite it, it is meaningless if they dont comprehend what it means. it also hurts them later on because they essentially skipped all the phonics prep.  there is no reason that a one year old has to be able to read period.

Quoting -Teeter-Totter-:


But I trust your judgment with your kiddies, and from your replies wouldn't think you one to make them miserable with it. You sound like you have a great way of making it fun :)

Even having stated my feelings, my DS started asking me to teach him the letters and their sounds at 3 1/2. So, i nabbed the Starfall curriuclum (which we already used for their musical renditions of nursery rhymes-love 'em!)and am playing with that for fun. I mix and match the lessons to our preference, but we're definitely working our way through the alphabet at his pace.  

Some kids are like that, and want to know!

Regarding that scenario, my mom encouraged it and her policy in that instance was letters at 3, sounds at 4, then reading when they're ready. (She did that with my sister-I guess I had no interest in letters just the stories themselves, but definitely had to be taught whether i liked it or not in kindy). 

I guess I was envisioning something more to the effect of parents forcing their 1 and 2 year olds to whiz through flashcards and watch einstein videos or something. I met a mom like that once at a playdate, when I asked what her days were like, she said something to the effect of running through their daily routine of an educational video and half hour of flash card time (our babies were 1 and a half at the time). That just made me really sad :(


Quoting AutymsMommy:


Valid... but my children aren't pursuing these things on their own - I'm actively teaching them these things, and they're no worse for wear, lol.


Quoting -Teeter-Totter-:


To me, it seems mostly like a case of personality preference on the kid's part.

My mom was against academics before school age (kindergarden age and up), so I wasn't really "taught" specifics like letters or how to read and write before i went to school. I was never denied knowledge, though, and was always encouraged to pursue questions and thoughts. We had a story hour every night. 

She just felt that learning certain things before the age of 5-6 does cause a loss of the "magic" things seem to posess to little ones. An example would be when you look at a something like a car as an adult, is your first thought one of wonder and admiration, or to label it by its make/model, how fast it goes, etc. 

She felt that, unless asked for the information, a child shouldn't be bombarded with having to know such specifics or letters/sounds, etc, and that it definitely shouldnt be forced upon them until after 5 or 6.

I feel that way too, although I leave it up to other parents to decide what they feel is best. 

But I truly believe that those children who pursue academia early on (of their own accord) would do so anyway. That those who tend to be more interested in that stuff are naturally just more inclined to do so, rather than hang out with others or play sports, etc.

I was that child. Even without being taught letters before school, I picked them up very quickly and loved listening to lessons/stories and asking questions about how things worked, rather than interracting with others.

I really think (unless it's a case of serious pushing on the parents' part) that its just the child's preference that leads them to be more academic or social/physical oriented.


Quoting AutymsMommy:


I would be interested in your sources for this - only because I've seen the opposite (not just personally, but also in studies), stating that children who attend formal pre-k programs fare better socially and with motor skills. On a similar note, my eldest does wonderfully in sports and socially, and started reading early. My 4 year old is learning to read currently, and is quite the social butterfly, lol! I can't speak for his motor skills, because he was born with serious medical issues that have caused delays in that area.


Quoting Boobah:

I love it. My kids love love love it and are thriving. I have seen such amazing, positive changes in them, and in our whole family.

We focus on the rhythm aspect, the doing things together, celebrating the holidays, festivals, seasons. I will be honest, I haven't looked into studying steiners ideals which is what most people have an issue with. We just love the natural and art aspect of it.

As stated in the others posters reply, it does honor childhood by not forcing academics onto children so early. It has been proven that children who are pushed into academics early have deficiencies in other places (gross motor, social, etc). This may not hold true for all, but it does for many if parents really open their eyes and aren't bias. I know my oldest, who began reading just shy if her 4th birthday, has a much harder time with physical activity, is a very nervous, and worried child, and has a much harder time socially.

Though the Waldorf approach is definitely gentle, it is still a very good way of teaching children and they learn all the necessary information - they just learn it when their minds are ready for it and they can fully understand it. In fact, my Waldorf schooled daughter is ahead of her public school peers in math already (she is 8).



Sorry to write a book, I am just SO happy we found this method so early on our journey and I wish I could share it with everyone. I love that I'm able to teach my kids life skills and learn at their developing pace, incorporate art and nature with all we do, celebrate life and the seasons the way it should be. We, as a society, are so out of tune with nature and the seasons and we are paying for it.

















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Boobah
by Nikki :) on Nov. 19, 2013 at 10:24 PM
I was a year member of tfw, mine just expired in October. Lots of useful information! But if I had known there was a monthly option, I'd have gone that route. I get pretty intense when I research things and I had already done a ton of research before becoming a member so I knew a lot of it. I have a file folder on my computer filled with podcasts and articles to read later from tfw. Also, be sure to download the awesome music resources before your month is up!!

Quoting -Teeter-Totter-:


I have been absorbing everything I can from that site all day now (we're all a little under the weather today, so we're catching up on Pingu ;p) and I love it!

Thank you so much for the recommend, Boobah!

( and sorry I hijacked your thread Tansyflower...  )embarrassed


It's exactly what I was looking for but hadn't quite found regarding Waldorf (and for such an awesome price compared to what's out there...)

Her samples are great! Think I might try the TFW course for a month and see if its something we'd like to hop into :)



Quoting tansyflower:

this is the waldorf website that i was recommended.  and yes, her prices are fantastic!  i was thinking about ordering the early years...and the jjourney through waldorf?  by oldest is 3.5 years old so i am not really sure what i should be ordering.  did you order her yearly curriculum's on top of the journey through waldorf?

Quoting -Teeter-Totter-:


I was just about to ask you for your links and favorites regarding it :)

Right now ours are little (2 and almost 4), so we use a mash of things including a weekly waldorf rhythm and mostly play.

We love the calming gentleness of it (at least the crafts, rhythms, stories-we don't apply steiner's thoughts on it).

DH wants me to use something a little more rigorous when they get older, but I think we'll always allow that waldorfy-ness to seep into our days, we enjoy it too much-makes me feel like a kid again!  


Quoting Boobah:

Good websites:

Www.waldorfessentials.com

Www.simplicityparenting.com

Www.frontierdreams.com (blog)

Www.parentingpassageway.com



Good books:

Simplicity parenting by Kim John Payne

Beyond the rainbow bridge - can't remember the author

Seven times the sun

Heaven on earth



Good curriculum:

Journey through Waldorf (this is what I use, super inexpensive)

Christopherus

Enki

BEarth institute

Live education

Oak meadow (not strictly Waldorf, but Waldorf inspired, gentle, and slightly more academic than true Waldorf)



A good guide is the Waldorf homeschool overview by the authors of Christopherus.



I have seen several of these curric, and in my opinion, though they are all much pricier than journey through Waldorf, none of them are better, more complete, or as well laid out. :)








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Boobah
by Nikki :) on Nov. 19, 2013 at 10:29 PM
And now that I've taken over the post, I'd like to say I am in no way an expert on Waldorf. We have only been doing this method for two years, but I fell in love with it at first sight. There are times I question if I'm doing enough, and then I look at the big picture. I see how much my daughter has learned in math by telling it in a way she understands. I see her express how she feels about a story or lesson through drawing, painting and modeling. We act out a story, and she feels connected to it so it's something she will remember. We celebrate the seasons, use more natural materials, and are learning to simplify our lives so we aren't so self absorbed and can focus on others, and the earth.
Yes, I'm doing just fine. :)
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celticdragon77
by on Nov. 20, 2013 at 5:34 AM
1 mom liked this

I have friends that own a csa farm and the wife is a teacher at a nearby Waldorf school. They have a lot of people at the farm that are teachers and professors - some of whom also work at the Waldorf school. My experience has been that they are beautiful people. I have heard and seen some wonderful things about the Waldorf education through them. 

I have heard mixed things about the Waldorf schools and did some research into it. The one around here doesn't seem as strange as some of the rumors I have heard.

It is very nature and art inspired. I used some of their toys, arts, rhymes, and such when my kids were smaller (prior to 2nd grade). Their methods, for the main part, just werent what I felt was right for our family. 

If it works for your family, and is what feels right, then go for it and try it out. You can always change paths if you later decide. 

Remember that there are all kinds of different people. For some, this method would work wonders for. 

I wish I had some useful links. Its been awhile since my kids were that young and I have since forgotten and deleted any related information that would be useful.

tansyflower
by Member on Nov. 20, 2013 at 7:10 AM

this is my goal!  right now i have just expanded my garden (i have roughly 6,000 sqaure feet of garden beds atm) and we have been building the infrastructure to grow pasture raised animals for sale :)

just this year alone my three year old helped me pick tomatoes, peppers, cucumber and beans.  he also helped butcher chickens and pigs lol.  whenever dad is outside he is always underfoot and you can tell he LOVES it! i think having a program centered around nature totally fits into our lifestyle.

and i was  a teacher for a few years....but never for children.  i taught anatomy, physiology, muscular skeletal palpation and kinesiology classes.  i hope that dipping my foot in the water back then will give me enough experience to teach my little ones and do it well :)

Quoting celticdragon77:

I have friends that own a csa farm and the wife is a teacher at a nearby Waldorf school. They have a lot of people at the farm that are teachers and professors - some of whom also work at the Waldorf school. My experience has been that they are beautiful people. I have heard and seen some wonderful things about the Waldorf education through them. 

I have heard mixed things about the Waldorf schools and did some research into it. The one around here doesn't seem as strange as some of the rumors I have heard.

It is very nature and art inspired. I used some of their toys, arts, rhymes, and such when my kids were smaller (prior to 2nd grade). Their methods, for the main part, just werent what I felt was right for our family. 

If it works for your family, and is what feels right, then go for it and try it out. You can always change paths if you later decide. 

Remember that there are all kinds of different people. For some, this method would work wonders for. 

I wish I had some useful links. Its been awhile since my kids were that young and I have since forgotten and deleted any related information that would be useful.


PinkButterfly66
by on Nov. 20, 2013 at 7:20 AM

My daughter was in a Waldorf school for 2nd and part of 3rd after spending kindergarten and 1st grade in public schools.  The curriculum was slow and boring for her.  Ruldolf Steiner did not advocate teaching reading until 2nd grade and she was reading in kindergarten.  The emphasis on making sure the kids get recess and hand work crafts (water color painting, knitting and bees wax sculpting) was one of the things that drew us to the school.  But honestly, the curriculum is out dated (note:  I have no experience on curriculum for upper grades -- we left because the school was holding her back).  The curriculum was based on bible stories and mythology.  Math was only really taught 2x a day which caused my daughter to lose ground in math.   Waldorf bases its curriculum on 90 year old ideals of a man who had no background on childhood education, childhood development or child psychology.  My advice would be to pick and choose carefully and supplement your curriculum with bits and peices of the Waldorf program.  

AutymsMommy
by Silver Member on Nov. 20, 2013 at 11:16 AM

Not offended at all - and please, call me Aimee!

I meant to convey curiosity. Stats always fascinate me, because there are so many on either side - I don't tend to listen to any completely, lol.

Like you, I did very well academically in my early years - but I was also a very social person, good at sports (competitive gymnast, soccer, etc), and well rounded. My husband the same - he was always advanced and involved heavily in baseball and band.

I suppose I only mean to say that I believe that how a child fares socially or athletically stems more so from personality and genetic traits - not so much when academics are introduced. Pre-k and kindergartens have been around, as formal education options, for a very, very long time - and people have thrived with them (and without them).


Quoting Boobah:

Hi Autymsmommy, it sounds like I offended you. I apologize if I did. I will have to come back with the link on the info for you :) and just like anything else, there are exceptions! I can't go over all that Waldorf encompasses, etc here, but it's more than just gross motor and social. I cannot remember offhand but I remember reading it and nodding my head pretty hard. ;)
I, too, was an early reader and pretty academically focused at an early age. I was never good at sports, and though I am a talker around my friends and family, I have a hard time making friends, talking to groups, being in social situations, etc.


Quoting AutymsMommy:


I would be interested in your sources for this - only because I've seen the opposite (not just personally, but also in studies), stating that children who attend formal pre-k programs fare better socially and with motor skills. On a similar note, my eldest does wonderfully in sports and socially, and started reading early. My 4 year old is learning to read currently, and is quite the social butterfly, lol! I can't speak for his motor skills, because he was born with serious medical issues that have caused delays in that area.


Quoting Boobah:

I love it. My kids love love love it and are thriving. I have seen such amazing, positive changes in them, and in our whole family.

We focus on the rhythm aspect, the doing things together, celebrating the holidays, festivals, seasons. I will be honest, I haven't looked into studying steiners ideals which is what most people have an issue with. We just love the natural and art aspect of it.

As stated in the others posters reply, it does honor childhood by not forcing academics onto children so early. It has been proven that children who are pushed into academics early have deficiencies in other places (gross motor, social, etc). This may not hold true for all, but it does for many if parents really open their eyes and aren't bias. I know my oldest, who began reading just shy if her 4th birthday, has a much harder time with physical activity, is a very nervous, and worried child, and has a much harder time socially.

Though the Waldorf approach is definitely gentle, it is still a very good way of teaching children and they learn all the necessary information - they just learn it when their minds are ready for it and they can fully understand it. In fact, my Waldorf schooled daughter is ahead of her public school peers in math already (she is 8).



Sorry to write a book, I am just SO happy we found this method so early on our journey and I wish I could share it with everyone. I love that I'm able to teach my kids life skills and learn at their developing pace, incorporate art and nature with all we do, celebrate life and the seasons the way it should be. We, as a society, are so out of tune with nature and the seasons and we are paying for it.






I am a Home Schooling, Vaccinating, Non spanking, Nightmare Cuddling, Dessert Giving, Bedtime Kissing, Book Reading, Stay at Home Mom. I believe in the benefit of organized after school activities and nosy, involved parents. I believe in spoiling my children. I believe that I have seen the village and I do not want it anywhere near my children. Now for the controversial stuff:  we're Catholic, we're conservative, and we own guns (now there's no need to ask, lol).             Aimee















tansyflower
by Member on Nov. 21, 2013 at 9:18 AM

my niece went to a waldof school (from 3rd grade on) and she also thought is lacked science and math.  my sister (her mother) thought the academy itself was a bit strict with things that she didnt like.  for example, they were not allowed to mix paint colors and taught the young children at that school that brown and black should not be part of a painting.  that REALLY bothered her (she is an artist) and she felt like it was extreme.  but they lived in Milwaukee and the public school system there was downright dangerous so they stayed with the waldorf academy after my sister had to go back to work and could no longer home school.

the things i like about waldorf is how focused it is on art, music and nature.  my children love all these things and its my hope that i can use incorporate those aspects when teaching them reading, writing, math ect.  i am not sure i would ever be able to stick with  one curriculum 100% since i already lean more towards child led learning (unschooling) and am more focused on finding lots of different teaching resources to pull information from.  i also really like the idea of teaching children to a rhythm rather than a time table.  but thats just me :)

Quoting PinkButterfly66:

My daughter was in a Waldorf school for 2nd and part of 3rd after spending kindergarten and 1st grade in public schools.  The curriculum was slow and boring for her.  Ruldolf Steiner did not advocate teaching reading until 2nd grade and she was reading in kindergarten.  The emphasis on making sure the kids get recess and hand work crafts (water color painting, knitting and bees wax sculpting) was one of the things that drew us to the school.  But honestly, the curriculum is out dated (note:  I have no experience on curriculum for upper grades -- we left because the school was holding her back).  The curriculum was based on bible stories and mythology.  Math was only really taught 2x a day which caused my daughter to lose ground in math.   Waldorf bases its curriculum on 90 year old ideals of a man who had no background on childhood education, childhood development or child psychology.  My advice would be to pick and choose carefully and supplement your curriculum with bits and peices of the Waldorf program.  


PinkButterfly66
by on Nov. 21, 2013 at 9:25 AM

Yeah, they do not like black at all.  Can't wear it, can't color with it either.  Although, ironically, I did make a stuffed black wool felt cat for their holiday bazaar.  

Quoting tansyflower:

my niece went to a waldof school (from 3rd grade on) and she also thought is lacked science and math.  my sister (her mother) thought the academy itself was a bit strict with things that she didnt like.  for example, they were not allowed to mix paint colors and taught the young children at that school that brown and black should not be part of a painting.  that REALLY bothered her (she is an artist) and she felt like it was extreme.  but they lived in Milwaukee and the public school system there was downright dangerous so they stayed with the waldorf academy after my sister had to go back to work and could no longer home school.

the things i like about waldorf is how focused it is on art, music and nature.  my children love all these things and its my hope that i can use incorporate those aspects when teaching them reading, writing, math ect.  i am not sure i would ever be able to stick with  one curriculum 100% since i already lean more towards child led learning (unschooling) and am more focused on finding lots of different teaching resources to pull information from.  i also really like the idea of teaching children to a rhythm rather than a time table.  but thats just me :)

Quoting PinkButterfly66:

My daughter was in a Waldorf school for 2nd and part of 3rd after spending kindergarten and 1st grade in public schools.  The curriculum was slow and boring for her.  Ruldolf Steiner did not advocate teaching reading until 2nd grade and she was reading in kindergarten.  The emphasis on making sure the kids get recess and hand work crafts (water color painting, knitting and bees wax sculpting) was one of the things that drew us to the school.  But honestly, the curriculum is out dated (note:  I have no experience on curriculum for upper grades -- we left because the school was holding her back).  The curriculum was based on bible stories and mythology.  Math was only really taught 2x a day which caused my daughter to lose ground in math.   Waldorf bases its curriculum on 90 year old ideals of a man who had no background on childhood education, childhood development or child psychology.  My advice would be to pick and choose carefully and supplement your curriculum with bits and peices of the Waldorf program.  



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