september-10

So I thought I would write more about incorporating waldorfy/enki-ish things back into our days, since that’s what I’m thinking about a lot of the time as I organize and plan our homeschool lives.

This summer, as our big adventure was nearing its end, I started doing some homeschool planning. We were staying in the sweetest little apartment in Italy- my favorite of all the spots we stayed, and it had this beautiful teeny writing nook.  I spent a good chunk of time taking notes, writing in my journal, researching things on my phone and starting to form a plan.

 

nook-1

This is what I started to realize from my sweet little nook:

That I missed a lot about what we left behind by putting aside the enki/waldory methods, but I did not miss the stress and expectations I had carried when I was trying to follow the curriculum to the letter.

So I started sketching out a plan for our year that incorporated the things I felt we were missing, but leaving out the stuff that wasn’t going to work for us- keeping it very simple and guilt-free.

So this is what we are focusing on:

1. Simple Mainlesson blocks for each of my boys  (plus very simple pre-schooly seasonal “blocks” for my 3-year old), based on the developmental understandings of waldorf and enki, and choosing blocks I know will nurture and interest my kiddos.  This was so fun for me to put together- researching what is typically studied in the grades and the reasons for those, choosing and adapting topics and creating blocks around them. This is where my inner teacher-nerd comes out strong. I love doing this. It makes me a little giddy.

september-13

 

2. Mainlesson books. I really missed this ongoing, careful, beautiful representation of what they are learning. And seeing how my boys are both working with great dedication in their books this year, I think they did too.

3. Well chosen projects that I know they will enjoy and that I know I can reasonably fit into our lives. No, we will not be building a life-sized replica of a traditional First Nations dwelling (not joking. that’s in the curriculum.) But we did go out and harvest fiber from nettle stalks and twist it into rope. Fun, manageable, hands on. Good.

october-6

4. Stories, stories and more stories. We’ve always had a ton in our home, but I think we all missed having our special homeschool stories, and really think that stories are what make these philosophies shine. Basing learning around story just makes sense. It’s how we humans are wired. And besides, I love making them up, and telling them, and researching good ones that have already been written, so it’s fun for me too.

5. A good rhythm. We currently have a good rhythm groove going on where I am able to have focused one-on-one homeschool time with each child, and still allow plenty of time for exploring and playing too. We have a lot of outside activities that we have to squeeze in carefully to still manage good chunks of time at home. It feels full and busy but manageable right now.

september-8

6. A nice hodgepodge of math strategies. Using a mainstream math curriculum as our base and doing a couple waldorfy math blocks for the bigger concepts like place value and fractions and long division that lend themselves nicely to that visual, story-based style. I’m having fun waldorfying the mainstream math too. More teacher-nerd-dom.

7. Fitting in bits and bobs of the other stuff where it works for us. Form drawing will slip into the borders of our mainlesson books here and there. Recorder lessons are replaced by a plethora of fiddle music and music-making together. Circle time has been utterly rejected by the boys but they love a good walk in the woods, and they are happy to do do a daily “fun run” where I can sneak in plenty of yoga and and sensory integration stuff. No memorized class play, but we will keep reading and reciting poetry over breakfast. We still love nature walks and seasonal book baskets and natural toys. And we love lego and robotics and minecraft too.

october-24

 

Purists we are not. But I should say, that I have nothing against follow these methods closely.  I still have dreams of taking my waldorf training, and teaching in a waldorf school one day- I love these methods!  But homeschooling is a different beast altogether, and finding a way to make these methods work in our own particular homeschool setting feels like a triumph.

I’m planning to write more about the details of how this all works in our home, and I’d love to hear from those of you who are adapting waldorf or enki into your homeschool lives. I have loved hearing from those of you who have sent me personal messages on this subject and those of you who have encouraged me to write more about it- thank you! I’m pleased to know I’ve struck a bit of a chord. Please feel free to comment here or on Facebook or Instagram too. We’ll keep talking!

Love,

Taisa

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5 responses to “How We Are Making Waldorfy Homeschooling Work for Us”

  1. Dimitra says:

    Awesome, thank you for writing this! I think it is my own inner teacher-nerd that wants to know all the juicy details of curriculum research and planning. And –I will keep saying this– homeschoolers commonly say ‘oh, this stuff works in the schools, just not at home’ and personally I think a lot of doesn’t work in the schools, at least not as well as it could do. Just imagine how cool it would be if all Waldorf teachers were doing what you are doing — taking the developmental principles and then improvising based on their own interests and abilities and the needs of each specific group of children and the resources available! Just imagine the variety and the richness! And, frankly, I think it is only when one can do this that one really demonstrates an understanding of those developmental underpinnings. Otherwise the Waldorf curriculum becomes just a list of things to do, like any other.

    • Taisa says:

      Thank you Dimitra, its so great to read your comments and know there are other teacher-nerds out there, thinking these thoughts! And thank you for your kind words. I am hoping to write some more of the “juicy details” (I love that you think of them that way! ha!) of how this is all working for us now, so stay tuned! 🙂

  2. Dimitra says:

    It’s funny, because what I ended up doing after five years of teaching a class, and/or what I would do now if I had another one, is not very far from what you have ended up doing. And I arrived at some it in different ways… for example, I did circle time through Classes 1, 1/2, and half of 2/3, and I think the children would have been happy to continue, but I had really had enough with the learning and memorising it required and figured the same needs could be met in other ways — and that worked just fine too, while enabling me to focus more of my resources on what went on during the main part of a main lesson. In a way the less I *had* to prepare and present, the more I could be present with what went on in lessons. And I remember going through this process of, oh, I really do want to fit in poetry somehow, what can I do? And I ended up reading a poem every day before snacktime. Sometimes simple is really the best!

  3. Dimitra says:

    I can go on about these things forever, as you can see. 🙂

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