I am a former public school teacher struggling to shift gears.

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Donna Simmons 11 months ago.

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    Hello! I’m so grateful to be here.
    We are beginning this journey with a 6-year-old, 8-year-old, and a 15-year-old. I taught in public schools for 7 years, and all the kids have attended public school (the littlest for kindergarten, the middle one through 2nd grade, and the oldest through 7th grade). We have purchased the 1st grade curriculum and are in the process of getting it for the other two.
    I have the 1st grade curriculum in hand. What I love about it is also the thing that is the hardest for me to adjust to. I love the Waldorf theory, I’m just struggling to put it into practice. For myself, I feel like I need more structure and guidance. I’m not interested in changing the lesson to a more structured lesson for the kids – I want to stay true to the Waldorf theory, but for myself, I need an objective so I know what I’m working towards as I’m teaching the lesson. I am absolutely bumfoozled as to how to plan the lessons. I’m sure this is a result of not only my time spend teaching with a very structured curriculum, but also just how I’ve been hardwired. I want to be able to break loose from that but I feel very overwhelmed and under-prepared for this.
    I know that this is a mountain that I can climb, I am just slipping around at the bottom and need a good foothold. Thank you so much for any guidance and advice you can give to me.



    Hi Amanda,

    It can be overwhelming to take in all the various elements of waldorf. First, relax, take one piece at a time. Find what is inspiring to you and bring it to your children. Then keep adding things. It is much better to begin slowly and Homeschool sustainably rather than jumping in over your head and giving up. So maybe you love form drawing, practice it yourself and when you are confident with the form, introduce it to your children.

    Waldorf pedagogy is based on the soul development of the child. The objective of the curriculum is to speak to the child on a soul level. So fairy tales for grade 1, saints stories for grade 2… the lesson highlights elements of the stories and weaves in language arts, history, math etc. Is it not so much splitting lessons into subjects and having objectives but that the subject matter arises from the story or lesson you have planned.
    It can sometimes feel like your fumbling around in the dark, at least it does for me. And honestly I feel more prepared for a lesson after I teach it! lol
    Inner work is an important part of waldorf education. Steiner said “You will not be good teachers if you focus only on what you do and not upon who you are.”
    Maybe for you this means trying to understand why you need structure and objectives and how you can let go and trust yourself.
    As you plan your lessons it can be helpful to keep in mind what kind of children your are aiming to raise. Is it important that your children have a good knowledge of history? Do you want your children to be athletic?
    For me working with waldorf extends far beyond my children’s education, it’s about how we live our life and being conscious of our choices.

    Does that help?


    Donna Simmons

    One thing, Amanda, that perhaps might help you is to get clear about what is homeschooling and what is Waldorf. Waldorf education was created with the classroom in mind – it is extremely structured (though not in the same way that conventional education is). So when you refer to less structure, that has more to do with the spirit of homeschooling than with Waldorf education per se.
    So I definitely agree with Sabrina in terms of your getting clear with yourself about what is important – but I would emphasize that you are new on two fronts–Waldorf AND homeschooling. That is a lot.
    My suggestion is that you initially focus on why you decided to homeschool and what it is about Waldorf education that is important to you.
    I also wonder how this major transition is for your older children, especially the 7th grader (who is likely, in Waldorf terms, to be a 6th grader). How did they feel about this?
    You refer to getting curriculum for these two older children…right now, we only have some elements of the curriculum for 6th/7th grade…and as s/he has been in public school for all of his/her education, you probably would want to keep with that with a dash of Waldorf…as Sabrina says, so much of Waldorf has to do with how we live our lives. It has more to do with the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ than the ‘what’.
    Two suggestions: we have an audio download entitled ‘Why Waldorf? Why Homeschool’ that might help plus a number of free audio downloads you might care to view.
    And you might consider getting our Waldorf Curriculum Overview which could help you with the big picture.

    Keep coming back and sharing with us!!



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