My summer was dedicated to learning all things Waldorf. I read several books on this wide and deep educational philosophy. I watched any YouTube video or documentary I could find. I joined online groups, talked to parents who sent their kids to Waldorf schools, and spent several hours reading blogs written by Waldorf homeschoolers. I was immersed in Waldorf, and I loved every minute of it. After researching the different Waldorf homeschool curriculums available, I decided to go with Christopherus and purchased the first grade curriculum. When it arrived in the mail, it was like Christmas morning. I quickly devoured the overview book and moved on to the other books that came with the set. I was in love. Truly. Everything just resonated with me. I felt like I found “the one” curriculum that reflected how we live and not just how we educate. It was awesome.
I was still on cloud nine until about two weeks before our homeschool year was to begin. My intuition told me that something was off and that I needed to step back and reassess my approach for the year.
Some background: In Waldorf, the first grade is akin to preschool, except for the starting age, in most traditional settings. Children begin to have more formal lessons (learning their letters and numbers and such) and are typically around the age of seven years old. This age is important because it’s around the time that children become more grounded and are developmentally ready to sit still longer and focus on more structured and in-depth learning. My oldest sun, B, is almost seven and knowing this makes me really want to make sure that my approach is the right one. These are crucial times, people!
So, I went back to the drawing board and decided to be Waldorf-ish. I love the foundational aspects of the philosophy. It stresses the importance of family rhythm, self-care and understanding where your children are developmentally. As someone who believes in wholistic parenting and homeschooling, this is key. So, I’ll be using the information I learned as a basis for everything else we’ll do this year and beyond. I’m big on setting a good foundation for life and those are definitely characteristics to impress upon children. I’ll still be leaning on the Christopherus curriculum, just not exclusively. With working full-time, preparing for a new kiddo, and infusing additional subjects not covered into our days, using the curriculum as is isn’t really going to work for us. Maybe it’ll work when Z, my two year old, is ready, or maybe when the new baby is ready. Who knows. The good thing is that the information is timeless, so it can be used for years to come.
I feel good about following my intuition on this one. So far, our first week has been fun and educational at the same time. I haven’t gotten the push back that I got when we started with worksheets and forced reading of last year. I’m more open to infusing what he wants to learn and feel more comfortable in doing so. I also have returned to listening to what my spirit tells me we should learn about instead of letting his grade level taking the lead. As the year goes on, we will tackle more formal subjects like math, but for now, handwork (like working with modeling beeswax), watching movies on the topics that he likes, drawing, and having him listen to me read aloud is where its at. And that’s fine.
All is well.