I remember hearing a critical comment float through our local Waldorf community last year. It was said that a real Waldorf school experience could not be duplicated at home. A caveat was always added that perhaps one or two moms could actually pull it off, but in general it was impossible as homeschoolers. I’ll admit to being a little irked. My homeschooling mom friends and I worked really hard to bring Waldorf education to our children as authentically as we could.
A year later, I look back on that experience and chuckle. I chose to home school! I didn’t choose to Waldorf school. I will never have twenty students in my classroom for singing and ring games, and they won’t get eurythmy, but I am completely happy doing the best I can to meet my children developmentally and do all the Waldorf-y things I can with regard to curriculum, art, etc.
With that in mind, I wanted to talk about planning the nitty-gritty things that pop up when children get older and need more instruction, and more practice, and more individualization, than they can get from a mom with multiple children and multiple main lessons. What I’m finding as I plan for my seventh grader are some of the following things:
- Older students will do more independent reading of main lesson materials. Let’s face it, it gets harder and harder to present the main lesson materials each year in a thorough lecture format. It’s nice to be able to say, “Read this,” and then discuss it and do art work or main lesson book work together.
- Older students need daily practice for some topics – especially math; often writing, grammar or spelling – and lots of Waldorf homeschooling moms use NON-WALDORF materials to accomplish that! I’ve heard of Waldorf homeschoolers who use Saxon math, Singapore math, Rod & Staff English, Brave Writer, Rosetta Stone, etc. Remember, we don’t have all the extra teachers that a Waldorf school has, and we are often teaching multiple grades, so it is necessary to make decisions about what we need support for to cover effectively!
- Older students can help out with younger students. I saw a post on Waldorf Essentials today in which Melisa mentioned that her eighth grader will be teaching the flute to her second grader. Terrific! This coming year, I have plans for my older students to take turns playing/drawing/prepping lunch with my three-year-old while I do main lessons. I need their help. They need to help to make our home school run smoothly.
- Older students often begin taking more classes outside the home, so try to align your outside activities so they coincide with one another. I try to do this as much as possible, and it reduces time spent in the car and allows me to be at home more. When I am home, I make better meals and the house stays much more tidy.
- Older students are still children. They are still learning how to behave. I am trying to keep this in mind as I navigate the hormones and the new behavior challenges.
One more thing I’d like to mention is that many Waldorf moms use non-traditional Waldorf resources for their home school and Waldorf-ify them. The book I’m planning to use for Teal’s Joan of Arc block is a book I found on a Charlotte Mason list. I love looking at the Charlotte Mason books to see which ones go along with our main lessons. You can find Charlotte Mason book lists at amblesideonline.com or please look at this fabulous collection on pennygardner.com.
Thanks for visiting today! Please share any resource you can’t live without in the comments!