The Waldorf style of homeschooling is a gentle, whole-child approach, based on Rudolf Steiner’s 100 year-old philosophy. In the early grades, there is a lot of emphasis on play, handwork, music, movement, art, and storytelling. Textbooks are not used. Instead, the children create their own books by drawing pictures and diagrams and writing summaries and stories in a Main Lesson Book. As children get older, teaching emphasizes a development of self-awareness, personal reflection, and reasoning skills.
Blocks and Art
Subjects are broken into blocks, which are usually a few weeks long, so all subjects are not done every day. There is a lot of emphasis placed on rhythm, seasons, holidays, and festivals. A normal day of homeschooling in the Waldorf style will start with circle time to light a candle, say an opening verse, discuss the calendar and the weather, practice a song or finger-play, and read a short story related to what will be covered during that day. It is common to study two main blocks each day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. This is the time to work on social studies, language arts, or math. Depending on the day, it is a good idea to include some sort of art lesson. It is common to use watercolors, modeling wax, or beeswax block crayons.
Music, Crafts, and Food
The early grades learn to play a pentatonic flute or recorder. Shoot for a lesson once a week and have time each day to practice. Work on different handwork projects. Sometimes, these are related to what is being studied, sometimes they are just to learn something new. It is usual in Waldorf education for children to learn crocheting, finger knitting, weaving, embroidery, whittling, and spinning in the early grades. It is strongly encouraged to cook and bake a lot! The children can get involved in growing food and preparing many different meals from scratch.
Display Work Beautifully
Wall chalkboards are a great way to display what the children are learning in a beautiful manner. They can also practice writing, form-drawing, and art lessons with chalk on personal chalkboards. Seeing, creating, and enjoying beauty is an important part of a Waldorf style childhood.
Learning should not be limited to certain hours of our day; however it is nice to incorporate a closing time at the end of formal lessons. Light a candle, review some songs, summarize stories, and have a closing verse. Waldorf education is not restricted to secular or religious homeschooling, but it is a great method to use to weave your religious or personal beliefs into the lessons. This method of homeschooling is reverent, focuses on kindness and beauty, gives children a strong sense of a comforting rhythm, encourages a lot of time for nature and play, and really helps families bond together.
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