Donna Simmons' curriculum materials are so clear and accessible.
I often recommend them, both as a starting point for new parents who are just beginning to study Waldorf Ed., and to more seasoned homeschoolers looking for curriculum ideas. Donna's words are like an offer of a reassuring hand, to make me feel: 'I can do it' and to help me relax and know that my instincts are right.
She deeply understands developmental readiness, and her encouraging words have often helped me to observe my child with a fresh perspective, and to relax, knowing that I don't need to push the learning process ... Having Donna's books to refer to is like having a wry and witty best friend, just an arm's length away, ready to share her wisdom and encouragement.
Thea Bodger, homeschooler and Waldorf early years teacher
We received our books this morning. They are absolutely fantastic.
We feel blessed to have come across your website under Waldorf homeschooling. Have always wanted to incorporate Steiner into our lives, but had no access to the school itself and found some Steiner books over my head/ hard to read. Everything in the books I have skimmed through rings so true and feels so right. They incorporate humor and give me all the ideas and info that I have been seeking in this technocratic world! Thank you so very much for these books.
Anneke and Craig
I just wanted to say how much I appreciate your work.
I'm finding the whole homeschool thing very challenging, and one downfall of all this waldorf stuff for me is that I now have such high standards of how I want things to be. When things get hard, and I yell at the children, act like a child myself and totally lose it,(which is daily) I come back to your books, your audios and this forum [Waldorf at Home]. And now, as I read the books, I can sort of hear your voice and your intonations. I really like your sense of humour, and combination of common sense and yet strong opinions. Anyway, I just wanted you to know. Thank you.
Thank you SO much for your follow-up!
I did receive both the order and the audio download. I was so impressed with each and every item that I ordered and am anxious to listen to the audio download. In fact, I am going to use the Christopherus Curriculum with my daughter! What I have read, so far, answers a multitude of questions and fills so many gaps that I am experiencing with [another homeschool] curriculum.
Many, many thanks for providing such creative, thoughtful, fulfilling and practical ways to connect and teach my daughter! These resources truly exceed my expectations! (I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the schedule provided with each block, as well as the blocks, themselves.) THANK YOU! Sincerely,
You make homeschooling do-able.
Reflecting back on all the wonderful Christopherus works that I own, Joyful Movement, the overview, the nature book, form drawing, the Kindergarten book, the drawing book, several of your second grade materials (animal legends and the math book), and now Living Language, I just wanted to send another big thank you to Donna and the entire Christopherus gang.
Two years ago we started our homeschooling journey with Enki and I was overwhelmed! I loved the story materials, but the guidance was very lacking. Without Donna's materials I would have never figured out how to use the wonderful Enki stories. (and I'm a self-educated, intelligent gal! I just didn't have the time to wade through all those binders and binders of resources and read through the vast amount of theory. And I lacked the teaching experience to be able to turn all that theory into something useable and do-able).
I find Donna's take on Waldorf, homeschooling, and unschooling echoes my own very closely, and so I find comfort in her practical, down-to-earth guidance. She has helped me to be able to navigate our own course on our homeschooling journey. I just want to make sure she knows how much I appreciate these materials, and the heart and soul that she and her entire family have poured into them. Thank you so very much.
Chris Ohio, USA
I just placed an order.
I was trying to get along without ordering Saints and Heroes and 2nd Grade Mathematics, using the many other resources that I have, but I was realizing that I was missing your voice, conciseness and direction. I constantly struggle with the balance of unschooling and getting in the Waldorf framework. Your books make me feel like I can check off certain Waldorf principles balancing it with our natural family rhythms and my interests.
I found Christopherus a couple of weeks ago and it has been such a blessing.
I think I read nearly every word on your website in the first few days! I've listened to several of your audio downloads. Your voice is so calming and reassuring, to say nothing of the helpful content.
All I can say is that I feel inspired and empowered, in a word, nurtured, in my role as a mother and as a woman. I felt myself exhale. I hadn't realized I was holding my breath! It was like 'oh my god, somebody out there gets me. Somebody out there knows what I'm trying to do better than I do and she's done it, AND she's willing to share her insight and wisdom!'
Thank you! Thank you!
I can't tell you what your work has meant in my life, and I can't imagine my life without the many gifts of Christopherus.
The Overview, especially, has been my guide since the day I first held it in my hands, and although we drift off to this and that, it's the backbone of what I do here at the Egan Family Homeschool. How can I ever thank you?
I listened to the therapeutic talk yesterday and it was so interesting, and then, at the end, you said a sentence that knocked me off my feet and made me remember why I chose Waldorf and why it's healing "powers" are so important in this day and age. My youngest daughter is "gifted" (whatever that means) and is nowhere near appropriately incarnated into her body. That's what happens when you let in-laws and "experts" and fear lead you astray from what you know is truth. Thank goodness for your voice of reason Donna. You help me in more ways than I can ever express.
And as to the Overview, when I'm feeling a little overwhelmed I often just flop it open and pick a phrase or sentence that will inspire me in that moment. This trick has *never* failed me. Never.
As you know, I love to buy your books - for myself, as gifts, and for any reason I can think of! I will continue to support Christopherus this way as long as I can. I couldn't do it without you.
I'm absolutely thrilled with the books that I've purchased from you!
We are into our Language Arts block, and Madison, my six year old, is loving every minute of the Prince's adventure with the Wise Woman. I am too. This is the most creative and fun way to learn! Maddie asked me today on her way down the hall......."Mom how does a "j" go again?"......and then before she turned the corner.....in the most satisfied voice she said, " never mind, I know, ....like the jester."
My husband is in school full time right now, and very busy with his studies. Maddie can't wait to show him, when he comes home, her latest pictures in her main lesson book. She's so proud of what she's learned and of her artwork.
It feels so rewarding to watch her shine like this. As I've shared with you before, we are new to the Waldorf approach, and I am continually grateful that we've found it, and you. What a difference your books have brought to our home. We love circle time so much more now that we've been using the Joyful Movement book. My two year old son and four year old daughter join in singing and clapping.
Many, many thanks for all your hard work!
I've been meaning to post about Joyful Movement and never seem to have the time! My youngest is 8 years old and was diagnosed 18 months ago with Asperger's/ADHD. We have a team of therapists working with our family on an almost daily basis. Since summer, I've been sharing more and more about the Waldorf philosophy with them. Our daily therapist (who has been w/us since May - our old therapist went back to law school!) comes to our home, and she's been interested simply because our home has such a different feel than the other homes she's in. (Our 16 yo dd and 12 yo ds are also homeschooled.) Our daily therapist is a sweet, gentle person who helps Gracie by coming along side her and modeling. She has not only been open to but has embraced much of Waldorf. After I showed her Joyful Movement, she took it to a staff meeting and they all were very impressed. Our therapist has begun an hour each morning of small motor, large motor, movement, tongue twisters, bouncing, cross-midline, brain-gym, yoga and memorization with Gracie each morning, most of it from Joyful Movement. (Different things on different days, obviously! Not everything each day.) She mentioned that the other therapists all wanted the author/title info so they could get their own copies, too.
Some mornings I find them out walking chalk spirals on our driveway. They've been drawing with their toes, passing beanbags around, bouncing, tricking each other with tongue twisters and riddles, forming shapes with dough behind their backs, etc. Our "team" of therapists are traditional behavioral therapists, provided by the State by law, who have various psychology or special ed degrees from bachelors up to doctorate. They've been very impressed with everything Donna has suggested for Gracie (we're subscribers to Donna's service) and all the materials they have seen so far - particularly Joyful Movement. It is exactly what Gracie needs right now, and they found that her coping skills, attention, communication, and maturity skills have skyrocketed in the past 4 months of doing an hour daily or Joyful Movement. Last week our daily therapist's supervisor came for an audit - she has a master's in art therapy. She was very impressed by the crossing the midline exercises and the dough-shaping exercises in Joyful Movement. She said something like, "Where did you learn about this? Most people don't realize how effective these [simple-looking exercises] really are! They think they're a waste of time but they're SO necessary."
So, if you're even considering beginning to put movement into your mornings, I can highly recommend it as a parent. I can also tell you that over a dozen therapists were really blown away by the ideas, the effectiveness and the whole approach. Our daily therapist is working on a degree in special ed, and she's taken stuff she learned at my house and used them in her class work, and her professor was really impressed. So I just wanted to share what a truly therapeutic, restorative - but easy - resource it is. Even my older two will gladly get involved with the group things - lots of giggles, lots of fun! This is a very unpolished and choppy review - but I wanted to get it written and sent off while my barley soup was cooking! :)
Joyful Movement is a wonderful book written for us for first through third graders. .. Donna's wisdom rings true and comes across clearly as usual... She addresses the senses and how to work with them, calming down a child, getting them into their bodies (a subject close to my heart), hand dominance, math, nature and gardening. Then comes the verses, songs and finger plays organized by time of day, sleep, baking, counting, seasons, fantasy, tongue twisters, and even a chapter on groups of children. I have found the book to be very important for developing circle time activities for my first grader. We do lots of stomping, hopping, jumping, play leap frog to help him get into his body to overcome a slight speech problem (which is pretty much gone now). He is learning clapping games, songs (and he hates to sing, but loves these songs). My 10 year old enjoys circle time too! Oh, and due to this book I am working on teaching both of my children to skip, a lost art as Donna calls it!
I highly recommend Donna's latest book......it's been invaluable for us.
But, I think the most important page in the book is that Donna addresses GUILT! I think the hardest thing for me with Waldorf is all the information I have, the books, the workshops, the songs, emails, etc., etc. where I read what is "supposed" to happen. But it never happens quite that way at my house, and I feel guilty. Seeing someone deep within Waldorf address that we don't need to feel guilty for what we have or haven't done is so refreshing......something I think we all need! Don't waste time feeling guilty, just move forward from where you are!
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