DISCLAIMER : Waldorf Purists need not be triggered by someone thinking differently. You are free to do whatever you like in your own waldorf homeschool. Just like I’m free to delete your ridiculous comments on my blog. Want to share your opinion? Get your own blog. Have a great day!
I knew when I posted about the upcoming creation and release of our Waldorf Curricula, I would get messages and comments from people disagreeing, so I’ll chat about it here for those that misunderstand or for those that would enjoy some clarification.
Waldorf education focuses on teaching to the whole person of a child, not just the head or academic. You can, indeed, teach to the whole person of your child, that is mind, body and spirit from a Christian (Catholic or protestant) faith perspective. As with any curriculum or method of education, you can absolutely leave behind the stuff that us people of faith find weird in a Waldorf school.
There are things about child development that come from a scientific perspective and they happen to be true. Science was and is created by God – science also confirms the existence of God – so there’s nothing wrong with believe the truths from the field of science and research.
We know that children all develop at their own pace generally but there are some general things, educationally, that when you wait until the right age to introduce them, do so much more for the child. An example in my own children : unless it was of particular interest, they remember NOTHING from history class until like 7th/8th grade. They got a LOT out of history, I’m talking about modern world history and war events, in high school – which just so happens to be when those topics are covered in traditional Waldorf schools.
Instead of going over the same historical events, ad nauseam from grades 2-12, just the once through in depth high school course was so enriching for them. The conversations we had were had great value to them academically and to our relationships with each other. I also don’t remember much history from grade school unless it was a field trip, to be honest. 😬
Today and recent society pushes kids too much too soon academically which has usually been to the detriment overall. Kids already grow up too fast, let’s linger in childhood a bit longer, shall we?
TL:DR – wait until they’re older/ready and it’ll sink in better and with more interest and value for everyone involved.
What will my curriculum do that is traditionally done in a Waldorf education? That’s a great question, I would love to tell you #ElyseMyers #IYKYN :
- Delay start until 6/7 years old. If your kid is already reading at age 2.5, cool, I had one of those too, but they still need the fun imaginative learning that I remember from kindergarten even in public school – ya know – before there were tests in kindergarten. Kids love stories and fables! Nothing bad happens from skipping kindergarten. I promise. I just graduated our first homeschooler.
- No/Low tech. I get it, tech is everywhere, but it doesn’t have to be so invasive in childhood. Too much tech is where imaginations go to die. True story. I’ve watched my kids for years be MUCH more productive and imaginative when I take back the tech in our home. We are the first generations raising children that grew up with tech at their fingertips. This area would be my greatest regret with my eldest three children, that I have revised with our younger children.
- Lots of stories, fables, gnomes, fairies, imaginative play, block crayons, main lessons….
- Teaching head, heart and hand with Christ as the center.
- 9 Subjects/Topics taught in Blocks that follow the same sequence as a traditional Waldorf School. For example botany is taught in grade 5 [approx. age 10/11] at every Waldorf School. It will also be taught in our waldorf homeschool curricula in grade 5. Literally every topic follows the same sequence with very little variance – see the third point in the section below.
- Main lessons with main lesson books : in Charlotte Mason homeschooling that would be similar but not the same as a unit study. There is a specific flow and rhythm to the day.
- Learning about Saints & The Maccabees. A lot of people incorrectly assume that traditional waldorf education is part Catholic because it teaches about saints. For the protestants reading this, we will learn about Saints and the Maccabees. Please know that these people are Christian and they love God very much and did great things that we can absolutely aspire to. People like : St. Joan of Arc, St. Patrick, St Hildegard, St. Nicholas of Myra, St. Lucia/Lucy, and so many more.
- Festivals and seasons we will learn about/celebrate : Advent, Christmas, Easter, Martinmas, Hanukkah [Jewish Christians celebrate as part of their culture], Passover, St. Nicholas Day, St. Valentine’s Day, and more. If you don’t want to celebrate a holiday, don’t. As with any curricula you are always free to use the parts you love and skip what you don’t. As for celebrating the seasons, God made those.
What will my curriculum not do that is traditionally done in a Waldorf education? I’m glad you asked!
- Hold to every teaching of anthroposophy. This alone might make the purist waldorf teachers say that it can no longer be called a waldorf education. I wholeheartedly disagree. I am both well versed in Christian faith and Waldorf education – having deeply studied theology at the collegiate level, I know there are important issues with anthroposophy.
- If you are familiar with waldorf education, anywhere you find a woo-woo “spiritual” earth-worship type of take in a waldorf – yeah, we won’t be doing that. Not even a little. God is creator of all and everything else flows from that. If I hold it up and it doesn’t gel with God, it doesn’t make the cut. You can be appreciative and caring in nature without making it some weird God. Not sorry. I’ve seen this occur in the “morning verses” they do in waldorf schools. We will be reciting Scripture in full replacement.
- I do find it of great importance to learn about other faiths, however, there is a way to go about it and I don’t agree with the way traditional Waldorf Curricula goes about it. We DO need to learn about other faiths and we need to do it respectfully, however as Christians, we do know that Christ is the answer so we aren’t able to teach it as if those other faiths are also the right path to God. What we CAN teach is what exactly, and honestly, what people of other faiths believe. We always follow that up for why we don’t agree. What does this do? It means your child can have kind, intelligent conversations with people of other faith, without insulting them. The other person might walk away not thinking all Christians are jerks. It plants a seed. We need more seeds.
- If you have a different faith, you are fully welcome to substitute. What I can’t do is remove God.
None of this is by any means an exhaustive list. I hope that it just brings some clarification as to my focus and purpose for doing this. Again, purists might call this a waldorf education that isn’t “true” – there is a plethora of curricula on the market for them. This is for the rest of us.