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Why Waldorf Homeschooling?

As I sit here about to begin our 7th official year of homeschooling I have settled into the knowledge that our family doesn't follow a rigid curriculum. I have long said, "Life is enough as long as you LIVE it!" and I abide by that through and through. Our homestead provides plenty of learning opportunities in our day-to-day life and the changing of the seasons. However, my boys have a tendency to find the days long without a little "formal" school time. So, I do choose to do about an hour or two of school work with the kids each day, four days a week -- ish. Since it's time for me to start planning our first month of school work, I can't help but remind myself why I chose to use the principles of Waldorf Education to guide my teaching, and my boys' learning. I will share more on this below but first, for those of you who don't know about Waldorf at all, here's a quick peek as to what it is:

Young boy, writes in school notebook.
Grade 1 Waldorf Math

What is Waldorf - a quick glimpse

Waldorf education was founded in the early 20th century by the world-renowned artist, and scientist, Rudolf Steiner. Steiner's educational philosophy focuses on human development and the needs of a growing child and therefore the Waldorf curriculum is developmentally appropriate, experiential, and academically rigorous. In Waldorf education, we focus on the whole child - head, hands, & heart. Each lesson is intentionally planned to reach each of these in each child. Music, art, movement, practical life skills, and intellect are all valued and incorporated into the lessons. There is also a focus on following a rhythm in each lesson, each day, each week, and each year! With time to "breathe in" - to be quiet, contemplative, and focused, and time to "breathe out" - be exuberant, loud, and moving. It really is such a natural and beautiful way to learn and live!

Young boy, in apron, mixes bread dough in large bowl, with his hands.
Making Bread Together

I could geek-out about Waldorf and get into the nitty gritty of it all but if you'd like a lovely overview I highly recommend checking out this 20 minute video all about it . Why did I choose Waldorf for my family?

When I was teaching full time in the public school system I just saw SO much potential in each child. Yet the curriculum standards didn't allow for each child to shine -- no matter how creative I was, I just couldn't make a developmentally inappropriate curriculum fit children who just were not ready to learn and master what was required. I saw children who needed to be outside, moving their bodies, stuck inside for hours on end with minimal recess and lunch time (many of which was deemed "indoor" because of weather), and minimal phys-ed classes each week. I saw children who had such an innate ability to be creative and artistic, yet their time lost in their art was interrupted by the bell, or by the sheer fact that it was time to go to another class. I saw bright lights simply dim because the system was just not set up to let them shine. So, when I became a mom, I studied Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy by distance education, and it quickly spoke to my soul. I knew I wanted this for my sons. It just felt right.

Young boy in silk cape, outside.
Imaginative Outdoor Play

Watching my boys' thrive in a world of beauty, and imagination, and nature through their early childhood years, validated my choice to use Waldorf with them. But as they grew into the formal academic years (which start at age 7) I saw them find the patterns that intertwine and cross subject areas, and saw how the curriculum matched where they were developmentally. Again, it has only further solidified for us that Waldorf just "feels right". Now, we are not a 100% Waldorf purist family. We do do screen time. The boys do worksheets from time to time. We only do an hour or so of work each day, so we don't follow a full-day curriculum like many Waldorf homeschoolers do. We skip parts of the curriculum: for example in Class 3 there is a farming block/unit -- we live a farming life so we don't bother with beating a dead horse. And we create our own units based on the boys' interest - such as our Celtic studies we do each March for St. Patrick's Day. But that is the joy of homeschooling: customizing the curriculum based on the interests, passions and desires of each individual student, and family, and parent too.

Boy sits on sofa, knitting, with a Harry Potter book at his side.
Knitting and a Good Book

Waldorf honours childhood, and doesn't rush children to "hurry up or fall behind". Pittsburg Waldorf School says it best: "By being free to develop according to their own natural rhythms, Waldorf-educated children enjoy full and rich childhoods, gaining the experiences they need to become healthy, self-actualized individuals." I have always strived to let me kids be kids; to retain the innocence and joy of childhood in a slow and unhurried manner, and a Waldorf education aligns perfectly with how we live our slow, homestead life. There are many wonderful Waldorf Homeschooling curriculums available for families. All are a little different and have their pros and cons. But, there are also plenty of free resources available online! For the majority of my homeschool-teaching career I've pulled together my own curriculum by gleaning information and inspiration from Pinterest, Instagram (hashtag searches), Google, Facebook groups, and youtube. Homeschooling doesn't have to be expensive and, for me, I strive to keep it as simple for myself and my boys as I possibly can. I have some freebies in the "shop" here, as well as some super affordable extras to support your Waldorf homeschooling life too. Receive children in reverence, educate them in love, and let them go forth in freedom.” Rudolf Steiner. If you have any questions about what we do, homeschooling wise, or about Waldorf please reach out! I always love chatting with anyone who's interested in our homeschooling journey.


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