This year I have found a new teaching philosophy called Waldorf. I am still a Montessorian at heart but I am finding Montessori (as far using the materials) difficult in the homeschool setting. Waldorf Schooling is based on the ideas written by Rudolph Steiner. He, like Maria Montessori, based his ideas of education on child development. However, it is much less disciplined! Many people hear Montessori and think undisciplined. However, it is the complete opposite of undisciplined. In fact, it has a lot of order and rules. In a Montessori classroom, the children have a lot of choices in the work they choose, as long as they have had a lesson on the work. The lessons are given in a particular order although the lessons are given as the child shows interest. (Montessori teachers, please elaborate as much as you can).
Waldorf appears to me to be much more arts-based once you go beyond the early years-meaning, beyond pre-k and kindergarten. The lessons are taught through stories and through child inquiry. This works nicely with the way my children have learned in Montessori because they all enjoy researching items. In my previous post, I had pictures of Sawyer’s research of the saints and Sims’ research of coyotes. They are given an area to research but also the freedom of what specific thing they want to research and how to present the research. I have not visited a Waldorf school yet, although I do plan to at some point. We are following a homeschool Waldorf curriculem from Waldorf Essentials. So far it is working very well with our other chosen curriculems including Montessori and First Language Lessons and All About Spelling.
One of my favorite parts of the Waldorf curriclum we are doing is that the curriculem is told in the form of a story. The story is about a family. Parks is doing the first grade story, Sawyer-second grade and Sims-fourth grade. The fun/coincidental part is that earlier this year, my hubby told Sims that he could research a few places that he wants to go. Then for his tenth birthday, the family would decide upon one of Sims’ choices and go on a journey in the spring. Well, low and behold, this is exactly what happens in the fourth grade story. When Sims and I began reading the story, we both started to laugh. Obviously, we are on the same track as someone else in the universe.
With that said, throughout my future posts you will see several things integrated. Montessori material will be used as necessary. For instance, Sawyer is using the stamp game to learn addition and subtraction with carrying, and all of the kids love the metal insets. Waldorf focuses more on form drawings for handwriting. My kids were not drawn to this but they do pick up the metal insets and use them daily. We will use the Waldorf stories to guide us through our curriculem. Parks is going through the folk stories and fairy tales (actually all of them are as they all put their work down whenever I begin to read one). Sawyer is doing saint research and some fairy/folk tale work. Sims is studying animals presently and will begin to study the Norse myths. We will continue with the Charlotte Mason philosophy of nature study and short lessons.
This is one of the best parts of homeschooling-we can pick and choose our curriculum. We can also change it as our needs change!