Family Life and Parenting

  • Five Things Every Waldorf Homeschooler Should Stop and Consider…

    Posted by Donna Simmons

    By Donna Simmons I think there must be times in every homeschooler’s life when she (or he) wishes that she could just put the children on the couch and freeze them there for a year or two while she catches…

  • The Goal of Waldorf Education

    Posted by Donna Simmons

    By Donna Simmons   Greetings All, One of the most important and attractive elements of the Waldorf curriculum is the way children are led through an exploration of subject matter in an ever-deepening way. In accordance with her stage of…

  • A Book Journey-Chapter 4: Epiphany

    Posted by Amy

    A monthly book study by Amy McGehee-Lee Festivals of the Year: A Workbook for Re-enlivening the Christian Festive Cycle by Roger Druitt Epiphany We are filled with the light. It is time to shine! I began reading this chapter and…

  • Keep Calm and Homeschool On

    Posted by Christopherus

    by Barbara Benson Guidelines for homeschooling multiple ages of children   One of the most frequently asked consulting questions I receive is how to homeschool multiple ages of children and keep one’s sanity! It is a challenge and I remember…

  • Celebrating Third Grade and Native American Culture

    Posted by Christopherus

    by Amy McGehee-Lee     This is our family’s second time through third grade, and I can honestly say it just gets better every time. We are, of course, using the Christopherus curriculum. It is such a joyful way to…

  • Six Exercises for Basic Esoteric Development

    Posted by Christopherus

    Rudolf Steiner gave six exercises which are fundamental to his meditative work. No. 1 – The Control of Thought The first exercise has to do with the control of thinking. It is designed to keep our minds from wandering, to…

  • Rhythms of Learning

    Posted by Christopherus

    In Waldorf inspired homeschooling we talk about establishing a good daily weekly, monthly and seasonal rhythm. What do we really mean when we say rhythm? In Donna’s Waldorf Curriculum Overview, Chapter 7, she discusses the daily rhythm of ” active…

  • Working Moms and Homeschooling

    Posted by Christopherus

      In truth, every mom is a working mom. The job of taking care of a family is a large one. For those of us who add on paid employment, either outside the home or at home, the task of…

  • Transitioning from School to Homeschooling

    Posted by Christopherus

    Taking your child out of public school or a private school in order to homeschool is a major life decision for the family. In my experience as a consultant, this decision can often occur in early elementary, middle school, or…

  • Homemaking Together: Restoring the Family Ecosystem

    Posted by Christopherus

    by Lea Page Today’s parents have high expectations for themselves and for their children. They have an image of where they want their families to be, but daily hassles make that image hard to reach. And anytime we get caught…

  • Highlights and Challenges of Homeschooling in Sixth Grade

    Posted by Christopherus

    If you have been working with the Christopherus curriculum for a number of years prior to sixth grade, it can be disconcerting to go from a comprehensive yearly syllabus to a free rough download for the middle school years, reinforced…

  • Personal Growth: Awareness Exercises

    Posted by Christopherus

    By Barbara Benson Several people responded to my request for blog topics on the Christopherus Facebook support group, Christopherus Homeschooling Families, with suggestions such as personal development, personal growth and re-centering during chaotic moments. I thought I would share with…

  • Role of Non-Teaching Spouse

    Posted by Christopherus

      Many couples that do Waldorf inspired homeschooling share similar values on education and adopting a Waldorf inspired rhythm to homeschooling. There are times, however, when one person "discovers" Waldorf and is determined to augment it into the family lifestyle,…

  • The Rhythms of Reverence in Homeschooling Daily Life

    Posted by Christopherus

    By Barbara Benson The Rhythms of Reverence in Homeschooling Daily Life Why is it important to instill a sense of reverence into our homeschooling daily life?  Reverence is a fundamental ” mood of the soul”, a sense of love and…

  • What is a Trained Waldorf Teacher?

    Posted by Christopherus

    For the first time in 12 years of business, my lack of having a certificate from a Waldorf teacher training institute has been queried. How interesting this whole question is to me! First, thank you to the homeschooling mother who…

  • Summer Learning

    Posted by Christopherus

    This article first appeared in the Homeschool Journey newsletter, July 2004 About a week after I wrote the last newsletter, I realized that what I had written was potentially open for misinterpretation. I had written that although we do not formally “do school” during…

  • Christopherus Homeschool Planner

    Posted by Christopherus

    For years homeschooling parents using our Christopherus Syllabi have been asking for a planner and now we have one for you. With the help of Barbara Benson, Christopherus’ Consultant, and Christopherus’ Homeschool Journey readers (Thank You!!!) , Amy McGehee-Lee, homeschooling mom…

  • Immunization… a parent’s decision (or not)

    Posted by Christopherus

    I'm more then disappointed with California's recent passage of bill SB277.  The law takes away the basic parental right of deciding what is right for their child if that child is enrolled in a public or private school. For now…

  • Tea with Donna Question and Answers

    Posted by Christopherus

    The Transition from Kindergarten to the Grades This is a really good question for homeschoolers to put some thought into. Although part of the point of the kindergarten years is to create healthy forms which can then be the basis…

  • The Newtown Tragedy : A Simple and Ongoing Response for our Children

    Posted by Christopherus

    We are so very grateful to Kim John Payne for sharing  this article about parenting, teaching and caregiving in these challenging times.  Click here for a printable copy to share with friends.   By Kim John Payne, M.ED & Davina…

  • Communication Blackout

    Posted by Christopherus

    By Donna Simmons My sons have left home. They are now 18 and 20 and live in England, which is where they were born.  They are tall, strong, articulate young men, deeply concerned with the inequalities and tensions of our…

  • Respecting the Child

    Posted by Christopherus

    This piece was written in the middle of my guest appearance on the blog, “Catherine et les fees” so as to clarify and deepen some things which had come up during our conversation. A link to this thread is found…

  • Children and Social Networking

    Posted by Christopherus

    At the bottom of this piece is an article that all of you who have children heading toward an awareness of social networking – or those who are involved with this already – might need to read. The article is…

  • Resisting the Lure of Electronic Games

    Posted by Christopherus

    The following was written by Alison, a Waldorf homeschooling mom who started a thread on my online discussion forum about electronic games and gave a version of the following story. I liked it so much I asked her to write…

  • Death in the family

    Posted by Christopherus

     The following was kindly written for me by my friend, Marianne Dietzel. Marianne lost her eldest child in a car accident in 1996 and has, along with her husband and two sons, been on a long journey of healing. One…

  • Creating Boundaries for Children

    Posted by Christopherus

    Below is an article I wrote which appeared in an issue of Lilipoh magazine last year. It is a subject that I often speak and write about – one that often strikes deep chords in parents but which is surrounded…

  • Trusting the Child?

    Posted by Christopherus

    In my recent blog where I wrote about our middle grades curriculum, I referred to Waldorf Unschooling. What follows is from a discussion on our (now closed 2014) discussion forum where a member asked a question she entitled "Waldorf vs…

  • Hiking the Appalachian Trail

    Posted by Christopherus

    The following is from my neighbor, Sheila Sherwin, who, to my great admiration, began her homeschooling journey with her son by hiking the Appalachian Trail with him and another 11 year old boy (both boys were 12 by the time…

  • Drowning in Dialogue

    Posted by Christopherus

    Just the other day I was in our local co-op (center of life here in our small Midwest town – especially now when there are two feet of snow on the ground) bobbing about doing my shopping when I became…

  • Follow Up to Teens and Texting

    Posted by Christopherus

    Thank you to all who responded to my earlier blog on Teens and Texting. I think this is a huge topic – one which I will return to again and again. And if you haven’t responded to my original blog…

  • Teens and Texting

    Posted by Christopherus

    Beware! My goodness – how those innocent looking little machines can take over one's life! This is a plea for parents to think very, very carefully before getting their teenager a cell phone. As for those parents contemplating getting one…

  • A Job for Samuel

    Posted by Christopherus

    Sometimes it can be so easy for parents of young children to forget how simple it actually is to keep them engaged and pleasant to be with. During Advent I was at my Church helping before the Advent spiral. Some…

  • Imagination and Discipline

    Posted by Christopherus

    by Donna Simmons Today I had an opportunity to remember how one needs to develop one’s own imagination so as to deal creatively with a potential discipline problem with young children. What happened was both typical and easily dealt with…

  • Protecting the Heart of the Home

    Posted by Christopherus

    When our children are little, it can be reasonably easy to create the kinds of rhythms and forms in our homelife which support their growth and which nurture our family relationships. Having sit-down meals together, saying a verse or blessing…

  • Lisa and Family Hit the Road

    Posted by Christopherus

    As many of you know, most of our Christopherus consulting work is done by Lisa Marshall and Barbara Benson, two very experienced Waldorf homeschoolers who, between them, have 8 children and – well…many, many years of parenting and educating under…

  • Launch of the Madonna Cloak Project

    Posted by Christopherus

    Now that our new website is up, we are pleased to announce the launch of the Madonna Cloak Project, a new initiative from Christopherus aimed at supporting  stay-at-home mothers and challenging the creeping assumptions that care of children by their…

  • Boundaries

    Posted by Christopherus

    One of the biggest challenges of life is the struggle to understand boundaries. Everywhere we meet another person, every social encounter we have, we meet boundaries. What is my boundary – what am I comfortable with? What is your boundary…

  • A Change of Clothes

    Posted by Christopherus

    Recently, in church, I sat considering why it is that some parents do not insist that their children dress nicely for church. Obviously, there are issues with getting up late, avoiding an argument and so on….but I wonder if perhaps…

  • Introducing the Madonna Cloak Project

    Posted by Christopherus

    Over the past year or so I have become increasingly aware of the need that many Stay At Home Mothers (SAHMs) have for support and encouragement. Women on my discussion forum, women who consult with me, friends and neighbors….. I…

  • Early Years Rant 3

    Posted by Christopherus

    (So if this was a movie, I’d entitle it Early Years: The Rant Continues……!) Do have a read through my original piece on this topic and then the follow-up. There have been many wonderful contributions by readers as well – which I…

  • The Gesture of Giving and the Gesture of Taking

    Posted by Christopherus

    Yesterday was Halloween, one of my favorite days of the year. I love the sight of children roaming freely through my town, (even if their parents walk behind or with them or, with older ones, drive along slowly near their…

  • Follow-Up – Early Years Rant

    Posted by Christopherus

    Well, well, well – I have been bowled over by the responses to the Early Years Rant I wrote last month. It seems I have hit a chord. I am honored to be able to hold a safe space for…

  • Early Years Rant

    Posted by Christopherus

    Every once in a while a thread on my discussion forum hits me in such a way that I let lose with what basically amounts to a rant…. Most of my “sensitive spots” have to do with issues having to do with societal …

  • Dealing with Anger

    Posted by Christopherus

     Following on from my last blog entry about inner work and personal development, here is an excerpt from a series of threads on my on-line discussion forum dealing with issues like forgiveness, slowing down, ensouling the home and so on. And…

  • Unending Personal Development

    Posted by Christopherus

    There are three things which Rudolf Steiner said were necessary prerequisites for someone to be a Waldorf teacher: 1) knowledge of anthroposophical child development; 2) knowledge of the particular children in the class; and 3) a commitment to personal development….

  • From Chaos to Form

    Posted by Christopherus

    This is a rather short reworked post from my Waldorf at Home discussion forum. An exhausted forum member wrote in, asking for help with transitioning her 7 year old daughter from total unschooling to a more Waldorf – ie formed…

  • When A Child Kills A Pet

    Posted by Christopherus

    By Donna Simmons (2008) (this is a post from our discussion forum. The thread was from a distressed forum member whose 3 year old son killed their pet rabbit. She was concerned that he did not seem to show any…

  • Daddy Central

    Posted by Christopherus

    Here’s a post from my old yahoo group on a popular question : how to cope with the chaos that Daddy’s daily arrival home wrecks on the peaceful pre-bedtime routine?! How to honor Dad’s need to see his children -…

  • Helping Little Ones with Manners

    Posted by Christopherus

    Here’s another reworked post from our Waldorf at Home discussion forum…. If this is a topic which interests you, do consider purchasing my talks on Good Manners and on Talking Pictorially to Young Children for more practical help with this!…

  • Steiner and Breastfeeding

    Posted by Christopherus

    (Here’s an excerpt from an interesting thread on my discussion forum about Steiner and breastfeeding)  Steiner never talked about things like breastfeeding per se – he talked about the development of the human being – it has been up to other…

  • Caring for a Cat

    Posted by Christopherus

    (I am now starting to put selected posts which I have written on my discussion forum here on my blog… I can’t re-print the whole conversation which we have, but just a few snippets here and there which I think…

  • A Bit of Benign Neglect

    Posted by Christopherus

    Sometimes parenting can get so intense that one comes to a realization that something has gone wrong, that all is not quite right. One can become aware of feeling suffocated, that one’s sense of autonomy and one’s center has been…

  • Christopherus Family Camps

    Posted by Christopherus

    Christopherus is growing! Our work is expanding and deepening on a number of different fronts – I would lie to share one of these possibilities with you. We are currently exploring the possibility of hosting a Early Years Family Camp in…

  • New Year’s Resolutions

    Posted by Christopherus

    Happy New Year to all of you! Let us hope and pray that 2008 will be a decisive year of steps toward healing the often overwhelming pain and darkness in our world. Here at Christopherus, we like to think that one…

  • A Teen Across America

    Posted by Christopherus

    There’s a lot of quiet excitement in this household as our eldest prepares to take a train alone across continent to stay for a week with older friends in Washington State. Basically we paid for 1/2 of the price of…

  • Living Crafts

    Posted by Christopherus

    Just a quick note to tell you all about a new magazine which will thrill many of you! It is called Living Crafts and the first issue is available now. It is devoted to Waldorf-style handwork and is full of…

  • So How Do You Manage All Day at Home?

    Posted by Christopherus

    Following on from my last blog which I wrote earlier today I want to help parents think through how they actually can mange to be at home all day with tiny children if they too believe that this is what…

  • From two to three – early ed for tinies

    Posted by Christopherus

    A few weeks ago I gave a talk to parents in our community about early years parenting. Most of the parents attending had their children part time at one of the local Waldorf-inspired  in-home nursery or day-care providers here. The…

  • A Change of Clothes

    Posted by Christopherus

    Earlier today I had a conversation with a client about Daena Ross’ cd on the Twelve Senses (read my review here). This is an enormously important topic with important ramifications for the health of our children – and we will…

  • Free: Recording on Therapeutic Waldorf

    Posted by Christopherus

    For me the most important aspect of Waldorf education is its potential to heal and to make whole. As a truly holistic form of education, one which has a unique understanding of the journey each human being takes during his…

  • Review: Living into Dying

    Posted by Christopherus

    Every once in a while one reads a book which feels, from the first page through the last, as if one has been handed a great gift. One feels honored that the author has shared her story, has even bared…

  • Sword and Gun Play

    Posted by Christopherus

    (The first part of this entry is a re-worked post from my old yahoo group… I then went on to discuss gun play….)  I think the key to a lot of the questions around sword play is “can my child rise…

  • Birthday Loveliness

    Posted by Christopherus

    A couple of weeks ago I celebrated my 45th birthday (huzzah – Happy Birthday to me!). My 14 year old wanted precise instructions for what I wanted for my birthday. He also took it upon himself to coordinate his brother…

  • Museum Baby

    Posted by Christopherus

    A few weeks ago my husband Paul and I went to New York for a family visit. I am a native New Yorker but my mother now lives across the bridge in New Jersey. Whilst in NYC Paul and I…

  • Self Development as a Parent

    Posted by Christopherus

    Steiner said there were three absolutes which every teacher must undertake as part of his essential task of being a teacher: to understand child development; to strive to understand the particular children one is working with; and to work on…

  • Isolation or Family?

    Posted by Christopherus

    In the past few weeks I have come across a variety of articles in a variety of magazine which have given me real pause for thought about what is happening in modern American – or perhaps Western – families. In…

  • One Step at a Time

    Posted by Christopherus

    One of the things that often strikes me in the course of consulting with clients or reading through what people say on my discussion forum (or my old yahoo group) is how by making just a few simple changes to…

  • Let’s Hear it for Hats!

    Posted by Christopherus

    It’s getting warmer outside – our subfreezing Wisconsin winter is passing into beautiful Spring days of sunshine and balmy temperatures. Neighbors I haven’t seen for months have emerged from their winter dens. And children are everywhere – on bikes and…

  • Helping Children When You Move House

    Posted by Christopherus

    Apparently, the average American family moves an average of 6 times over the course of the children’s growing up period. Everyone knows that people are always moving – you just settle in somewhere and your child’s best friend announces he’s…

  • Passive Learning

    Posted by Christopherus

    A concern that many people express is about children who do not seem to want to engage in play or who prefer to stand aside and to watch. As our society values a “get ahead” and assertive attitude toward life…

  • Computers – When?

    Posted by Christopherus

    This is a rehashed post from my old Yahoo group. It was part of a discussion about computers and children. The following is mainly about what we did as a family. We simply did not have a computer before our…

  • Penni Sparks Parenting Resources

    Posted by Christopherus

    Many of you will be familiar with Penni Sparks, a dynamic presenter who often participates in Rahima Baldwin’s Informed Family Life Conferences in California. Penni is a friend and a colleague and I want to warmly introduce you all to…

  • Friendly Teens

    Posted by Christopherus

    It always amazes me – and saddens me – when I hear about or read about parents who have no idea who their teens are, who cannot communicate with them or who are at a loss as to how to…

  • Dependency – Appropriate and Inappropriate

    Posted by Christopherus

    The time has come in my family for us to start looking at Life After Home. Will my eldest (presently 15) go to college? Might he travel and work first? Or might he go back to England to live? We…

  • A Child Who Hits

    Posted by Christopherus

    (This is a re-worked post from my yahoo group, Waldorf_At_Home. The subject was what to do with a child who hits  her siblings) In a hitting situation – in any situation with little one – under 6/7’s – one first…

  • Speaking and Reading to Little Ones

    Posted by Christopherus

    (Here’s another reworked post of mine from my yahoo group, Waldorf_At_Home) In this thread I have not been saying that we shouldn’t talk to our children!! What I am saying is that there is balance needed – that parents who…

  • Review: Autism: A Holistic Approach

    Posted by Christopherus

    Life works in mysterious ways. Life takes circles and weaves spirals  – it goes one direction and then doubles back on itself. This is how I am feeling these days as I contemplate the work that I do via Christopherus…

  • Review: “The Real Truth About Teens & Sex” by Sabrina Weill

    Posted by Christopherus

    In preparation for the Life Skills class I am teaching at the local Waldorf high school here, I ploughed through a variety of books for both parents and teens on topics such as sex, gender, suicide, and drugs. Good resources…

  • A Lovely Day of Nothing

    Posted by Christopherus

    My 12 year came down the stairs this morning at around 10 am, hunted around for cereal and then joined me in the living room where I was sprawled on the couch. “What are we doing today, Mama?” he asked….

  • “Working with Anxious, Nervous and Depressed Children”

    Posted by Christopherus

    (yet another article gleaned from my yahoo group Waldorf_At_Home – again, it has been slightly edited) I have been reading a wonderful book recently which deals with issues around the senses, movement, balance etc.  It is called "Working with Anxious,…

  • Discipline Questions

    Posted by Christopherus

    (this entry has been adapted from my Waldorf_At_Home yahoo group) The topic of discipline in Waldorf circles can seem elusive – this is mainly because discipline as such is rarely talked about. Rather, discipline is understood as something which arises…

  • Little Ones Who Chatter

    Posted by Christopherus

    (the following is adapted from a message I posted on my yahoo group “Waldorf-At_Home”) Fundamental to a Waldorf understanding of young children is therecognition that they are in  the imitative phase of their lives. Everything that goes on around them…

  • On Boys and Toilet Paper

    Posted by Christopherus

    What is it about boys – and men, eventually – that makes them unable to change rolls of toilet paper? This is a question I often find myself contemplating as I am yet again confronted by a naked toilet paper…

  • TV for Teens

    Posted by Christopherus

    Recently I have started to teach a Social Studies path class at our local Waldorf-inspired high school – sometimes when I am away from teaching for a time I forget how much I enjoy it! Thirteen squirrley, enthusiastic and friendly…

  • The Out of Sync Child

    Posted by Christopherus

    This article first appeared in the Homeschool Journey newsletter, July 2005 As preparation for our latest Christopherus publication, Joyful Movement, I have read a number of books, including The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Integration Dysfunction  by Carol…

  • Keeping One Step Ahead

    Posted by Christopherus

    This article first appeared in the Homeschool Journey newsletter, April 2005 One of the new and exciting challenges of living in town (as opposed to our former life on our farm) is the phenomena of friends. It seems obvious and…

  • Discipline and Inner Work

    Posted by Christopherus

    This first appeared in the Homeschool Journey newsletter, January 2005 No whining or nagging! Identify what makes you slip into either of these and      then do something to correct it. If you hear your mother’s (or father’s) voice…

  • In Praise of No Praise

    Posted by Christopherus

    This article first appeared in the Homeschool Journey newsletter, January 2005 When my family and I returned to the US from Britain, we came to live in an anthroposophical intentional community which, amongst other things, hosted visits from school groups,…

  • The Role of the Homemaker

    Posted by Christopherus

    This article first appeared in the Homeschool Journey newsletter, December 2004 When I was watching TV the other evening (yes – I watch some TV. I tell my 11 and 13 year-old sons that I like to keep an eye…

  • Raising Compassionate and Socially Aware Children

    Posted by Christopherus

    This article first appeared in the Homeschool Journey newsletter, November 2004 The following are excerpts from the keynote talks I gave in Fair Oaks, CA and Ann Arbor, MI at Waldorf in the Home conferences. The entire talk would be…

  • Communication/Conversation

    Posted by Christopherus

    This article first appeared in the Homeschool Journey newsletter, March 2004 With horror I read an article entitled ‘Now You’re Talking: For more parents, communication with their kids is getting a lot easier, thanks to instant messaging’ in the St…

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