What is Waldorf Homeschooling Simplified and How to Start a Waldorf Homeschool
A Waldorf education pushes back against the more common rushed learning that can happen when the emphasis on academics gets pushed earlier and earlier in children’s lives. Waldorf emphasizes play and “being a child” in the early years, building capacities at different age levels in line with three distinct stages of development: early childhood, focused on imitation and movement; middle childhood, focused on feelings and imagination; and adolescence, focused on independence and critical thinking. Waldorf centers on learning that is natural and based on the whole child, including development of the emotional, physical, spiritual, and intellectual self.
A Waldorf education is aligned with what children like to do—things like sensory play, exploration, storytelling, drama, visual arts, movement, and music—while de-emphasizing technology for young children. With a focus on a particular subject for 3-4 weeks, Waldorf uses what is known about the brain and integrates learning about the self and the world with academic content and the arts. The foundation for some schools since its beginnings, Waldorf education has also become the choice of many homeschool families. Read more about Waldorf to discover whether it may be what your homeschool needs!
|Benefits of Waldorf Education|
|How to Start a Waldorf Homeschool|
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What is a Waldorf Homeschool?
A Waldorf homeschool is one that follows the basic tenets of the Waldorf approach, but it may look different from one homeschool to another. Some Waldorf homeschools will include purchased curriculum and strict adherence to the philosophies involved in a Waldorf education, complete with the design and maintenance of a Waldorf environment in the home, while others will rely more on do-it-yourself activities in a looser interpretation of the approach. One great benefit of homeschooling is that you have the choice! Below are some resources to help you learn more about the Waldorf method, so you can make all those important decisions:
Frequently Asked Questions About Waldorf (Steiner) Education | Waldorf Answers
Check here for a list of detailed answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Waldorf education: What is Waldorf education? How is reading taught? What is anthroposophy and eurythmy? And more!
Understanding Waldorf Education: Teaching from the Inside Out $
By Jack Petrash (Author)
“Written by a teacher with more than 25 years of experience, this book offers a jargon-free view of Waldorf education and its philosophy of the importance of a three-dimensional education. Through learning experiences that involve all the senses, children use a variety of intelligences to develop thought, feeling, and intentional, purposeful activity. Whether you’re a Waldorf parent or teacher, or you just want to learn more about these innovative educational concepts, this book contains important ideas on learning that you can apply today.”
Waldorf Education | Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA)
“Founded in the early 20th century, Waldorf education is based on the insights, teachings and principles of education outlined by the world-renowned artist, and scientist, Rudolf Steiner. The principles of Waldorf education evolve from an understanding of human development that address the needs of the growing child.” Find out more here!
Waldorf Education: A Family Guide $
By Pamela J. Fenner (Author), Mary Beth Rapisardo (Author)
“Waldorf Education finds itself catapulted from its humble beginnings 80 years ago into the midst of the central educational and social issues of this decade. What draws parents and educators toward Waldorf Education today? Waldorf Education: A Family Guide offers a “first look” for parents and educators into the history, philosophy, curriculum, and traditions of this unique education. This comprehensive book is a collection of articles describing the world of Waldorf Education – the fastest growing independent school movement in the world.”
Benefits of Waldorf Education
Supporters of a Waldorf education claim that there are many benefits. By emphasizing play before academics in the early years, children can enjoy childhood, and the de-emphasis on technology and standardized testing during these years allows for natural, unhurried learning. More structured learning is introduced based on developmental levels with a focus on hands-on experiences, exploration, problem solving, and self-awareness, which are all important for engagement and the development of lifelong learners. Block learning and the use of “main lessons” enable children to dive deeply into a subject and examine topics from a variety of perspectives.
Waldorf students are also said to be more active in their learning, creating their own textbooks, in essence, rather than relying on conventional textbooks, and they have a varied experience that includes the basic subjects along with pursuits like foreign language, music, handwork, movement, and drama. The result is a well-rounded child that develops into a confident adult with a multitude of skills.
Despite the potential benefits, there are also some strong critics of the Waldorf method, like those in the organization PLANS, who feel that they have been misled about the Waldorf philosophy and techniques. In opposition to the critics, those who are supportive of the Waldorf method share their explanation of what they call the myths about Waldorf education and anthroposophy. Being aware of the various viewpoints surrounding Waldorf may be important if you do choose to begin a Waldorf education in your homeschool. The good news about homeschooling is that you can take what you want and discard what you don’t!
How to Start a Waldorf Homeschool
With all the (sometimes conflicting) information out there regarding Waldorf, you may feel overwhelmed or confused about starting your Waldorf homeschool. Never fear—there are homeschoolers and organizations willing to help with advice and ideas. Here are some places to find information from the families and groups who know homeschooling and Waldorf best:
How to Homeschool with the Waldorf Method | Homeschool.com
Discover the Waldorf view on the whole child, delayed academics, storytelling and art, technology, and spiritual science. See an example of a typical Waldorf homeschooling schedule.
Resources for Waldorf Homeschooling
“WELCOME! I’m Jean, a longtime homeschooler and mother of three. I put together this comprehensive list of resources for Waldorf-inspired homeschooling to help you navigate through the wonderful Waldorf journey. Want help creating a homeschooling plan from all the resources? Click here to get the mentoring and support you need to make homeschooling work for you and your family.”
Waldorf | The Magic Onions
“We are a Waldorf inspired family. The Waldorf way of life has brought us so much joy. From parenting through the early childhood days and now, into the teenage years, I am eternally grateful for the magic it infuses into our days. Anthroposophy and Waldorf philosophies have been an anchor for our family in this uncertain climate, and I can’t recommend this way of life highly enough. If you are wanting to bring Waldorf ideas into your home, I share exactly how you can do this, easily and effortlessly, in my Waldorf Workshop.”
Waldorf Books and Homeschool Curriculum | Nature Homeschool
“Today I’d love to share with you some resources for adding Waldorf into your homeschool. While our family isn’t a 100% Waldorf homeschool, I use a lot of Waldorf books and resources, especially in the early years. I would say about 1/3 of our homeschooling is Waldorf inspired.”
Waldorf Homeschool | Time4Learning
Discover what Waldorf homeschooling is, what is unique about Waldorf homeschool curriculum, and how Time4Learning can work with a Waldorf-inspired homeschool.
Waldorf Style Homeschool | The South Carolina Homeschooling Connection
“Let’s talk some more about Waldorf Style Homeschool–with someone who has done it. I had a chat with my friend Laura R. about how and why she implemented Waldorf in her homeschool.”
The Wonder of Childhood
“The Wonder of Childhood arose from a desire to bring together parents, teachers, childcare providers, homeschoolers, and others who seek a deeper connection with others who walk this path, to share and celebrate this work, as parents, as teachers, as homeschoolers, as community, as a global community, to recognize and support the sense of wonder in childhood. Contributors include long time teachers and teachers of teachers as well as parents, some of whom are now grandparents as well as young parents who are just starting out on this journey. I hope to spark wonder, conversation, sharing and connection here, and explore questions and concerns in a warm, lively environment. All voices are welcome.” Sign up to receive the free monthly magazine.
Support for Families Using Waldorf Education for Homeschool
Sometimes the best way to learn about a new way of doing anything is to directly network with those already doing it. Try accessing Waldorf families within your local homeschooling support groups or find mentors and families to share ideas through an online groups like these:
A Waldorf Journey | Resource Room
“A Waldorf Journey Resource Room is a group for Waldorf classroom teachers and homeschoolers to support each other and receive mentoring feedback.”
Steiner Waldorf Homeschooling Hub
“A group for Steiner Waldorf homeschooling families to ask questions about how to get started on, or how to progress on, a Steiner Waldorf educational path. […] This group is aimed at Steiner Waldorf home education for families with children aged between 5-18 which covers Kindergarten right up to Class/Grade 12.”
Waldorf & Forest Homeschool Friends
“Welcome to this little group of posts about all things that delight me about Waldorf and forest homeschool inspiration. I hope you find inspiration and food for your heart, mind, and spirit as you navigate these years, and maybe find some magic to sparkle up your path.”
Waldorf Early Childhood & Kindergarten at Home
“There are Waldorf Schools around the world, run, taught, led by people of every race and culture and as Waldorf is readily adaptable to a person’s situation…we’d love to hear how you are using Waldorf.”
Waldorf Inspired-Forest School Inspired-Homeschoolers
“The intention of this group is to create a close-knit community for families who share a spiritual interest in celebrating the seasons and the EARTH and its elements. We welcome all backgrounds! This group is a very gentle and wholesome group as its main focus is raising young children as well as nurturing mothers (and families) spiritual development as a whole.”
Waldorf Homeschool Grade 1 & 2
“We welcome all Waldorf-inspired home educators, regardless of specific Waldorf curriculum. We also welcome veteran Waldorf home educators or teachers who wish to join and actively participate in the group to share with us their knowledge, experience, and wisdom. The intention of this group is to build community, share ideas, and support each other on our homeschooling journeys.” Other similar groups are available for Grades 3 & 4, Grades 5 & 6, Grades 7 & 8, and Grades 9 & 10.
Waldorf Homeschool Curriculum Discussion
“This is a discussion group for Waldorf-inspired parents to explore the Waldorf/Steiner education philosophy in the homeschool context. This is a place where members can share their homeschooling experiences as well as seek reviews, get suggestions, and make comparisons of specific curriculum.”
“Founded in 1996, we offer Waldorf resources and support for Waldorf-inspired homeschooling parents. We are proud to be the largest and most comprehensive Waldorf Homeschooling site and invite you to join us!”
Waldorf Homeschoolers Using “Live Education”
“A place for Waldorf families to share their journey using Live Education, sharing tips and techniques, main lesson ideas and book work. A place to ask questions and share personal experiences.”
Waldorf Homeschooling Around the World
“In this group you can share everything connected to Waldorf Homeschooling in English or also to learn other languages.”
Waldorf Homeschool Newbies
“Welcome all families brand new to Waldorf homeschooling! Come chat, ask questions and get inspiration. Find daily inspiration, guidance and fun! We are a friendly and supportive place to share ideas and ask questions about Waldorf Homeschooling. We welcome all Waldorf inspired home educators, families, and Waldorf teachers who wish to join, actively participate in the group, and share their knowledge, experience, and wisdom. Let’s create a safe space to build community, share ideas, and support each other on our homeschooling journeys.”
Waldorf Homeschool Parents Chat
“This is a discussion group for parents who use Waldorf methodology in their homeschool. We hope to be a place for members to share their experiences, ask questions, explore the method, and develop community within the context of the Waldorf approach to child development.”
Waldorf Inspired Homeschooling for Beginners
“A group for anyone interested in a Waldorf-inspired approach to homeschooling. Whether you are Eclectic and looking to add a little of the Waldorf magic to your homeschool or you are all in with the Waldorf approach, and whether you are new to homeschooling or a seasoned pro, you are welcome to make yourself at home, find support, ask questions, find great resources, and share your adventures with a community of like-minded homeschooling families.”
Waldorf Storytelling Community
“This is a home and a community for those interested in storytelling for young children. Please join us for tales of all kinds and from all parts of the world. We are working to preserve the art of the oral tradition and keep with those principles of awe and wonder, legend and adventure, gratitude and truth developed in the Waldorf schools.”
Now who needs more resources? Check out our Waldorf Homeschool Resources page next!
Are you a veteran Waldorf homeschooler? Let us know what has been working for you in the comments below….