As a Christian Homeschooling mother throughout the years I've looked at various methods of homeschooling to see what they have to offer and whether or not they have a place in our own homeschool.
This post is mostly educational about the Waldorf Method but I will pepper it with my thoughts as a Christian Homeschool.
What is the Waldorf Approach to Homeschooling?
The Waldorf Method was founded by Rudolf Steiner back in the early 20th century. The first Waldorf school opened in 1919 in Germany.
The Waldorf Method is based on the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner which is called Anthroposophy. The Waldorf Method considers the entire child's body, soul, and spirit and uses educational methods which address each area. Waldorf education is also based upon the assumption that children go through specific stages of development, and it adjusts the learning to those stages. The Waldorf Method works to enable children to develop skills and abilities that they are born with while also being non-discriminatory.
Waldorf schools tend to emphasize the arts and the focus on spirituality teaches all religions are equal in the idea that the child will eventually choose what is right for them.
Why Parents Choose the Waldorf Method
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Many parents may choose the Waldorf Method for education because it allows children to learn at their own pace. Reading and writing are introduced slowly and a bit later than conventional schooling methods.
Children are introduced to letters and sounds in the First Grade.
With the Waldorf Method concepts are also taught through movement, music, art, and creativity to name a few things. Young children can really thrive with this sort of method as it seems less rigorous than traditional schooling.
Knowing how some parents get a bit frustrated and nervous about late readers among their children this method may work for many homeschoolers as reading is introduced at a more relaxed pace.
Man also like the Waldorf accoutrement which include natural toys and a limiting of digital resources. In this age of too much screen time this is a big draw for parents.
How Can You Homeschool Using the Waldorf Method?
How and if you go about using the Waldorf Homeschool Method is up to you. Some parents may choose not to use this method of homeschooling due to the founder's views on religion. While others may just use pieces of the Waldorf Method and dump the spiritual aspect altogether. I've linked to an article at the bottom of this post that explains how one may do that.
A lot of people that want to use the Waldorf Teaching Method start when their children are still very young in the primary years. A focus on the arts during those years is always fun.
When parents using the Waldorf Method purchase toys for their children they may seem very simple but they are made with natural fibers and of high quality like these Waldorf Dolls made with hand spun wool.
When I first look into using something I like to read about it and then read how others are using it. So here are some places I might start…
- Go to the source, Waldorf Education FAQs in the US.
- Homeschool.com lays it all out on how to homeschool using the Waldorf Method.
- And finally an example of a homeschool family using the Waldorf Method.
How is Waldorf Homeschooling Different from Montessori?
You may hear about the Waldorf Method and the Montessori Teaching Method in the same paragraph. The two methods are often compared because of their focus on the whole child. But they are decidedly different.
We used a modified Montessori Method with our daughter in her early years. I really liked the idea about creating an environment that was just her size. Montessori focuses more on creating real life situations in miniature while Waldorf is more about the fantasy and imagination. That's probably a bad generalization of both methods but this how I viewed them.
I talk more about the Montessori Method and how we used it in this post.
My Thoughts on the Waldorf Homeschooling Method
I actually didn't hear about Waldorf Homeschooling until my friend mentioned wanting to use it for her young daughter. ‘