Waldorf Education and Homeschool Inspiration

Waldorf-Inspired Curriculum

Many of you know that we are using the Enki Education curriculum. We are thrilled with the results that we see.  Sometimes I think I should blog solely about Enki and how much it has changed our lives!

Since Enki is Waldorf-inspired, I’ve been reading about Waldorf education and the writings of Rudolph Steiner again.  Fifteen years ago, when I was in graduate school learning about how children learn, I studied Steiner’s work. I studied the work of those who thought the primary importance was to teach kids how to become life-long learners. This is why I became an educator!

Many years passed between then and now and today. Enki has re-inspired me all over again and I know it can inspire you too. The best part of this is that I can bring what I believe in to my own children, the way I want to, and have FUN every day while doing so.

Remember What’s Important

For me, the Enki principles keep me grounded in my faith in knowing that we are doing is what’s best for our kids.  Keeping my eyes toward holistic education keeps me reverent.  It helps me remember what is important in our lives.

A Waldorf approach helps me to remember that family rhythms and the rhythms of nature are the foundation at this point in our homeschooling journey.  It helps me breathe deeply when I wonder if I am doing “enough” with my girls; if they should be enrolled in yet another extra-curricular activity; if we should be running around day to day from activity to activity just because so many others are doing so.

While Waldorf is not a “curriculum,” the principles of holistic learning and family centered education can be implemented in any home, at any time regardless of what curriculum you use.  It is my belief that incorporating any of the holistic principles in your life and home can only enhance it.

I hope this inspires you as well!

 

Do-Over Day!

This blog post was taken from our original site and was published in 2009. Even though it’s an old post, the content is still relevant.

Please comment and let me know if you can relate to this first-day-of-school scenario!

​Today was the first day of public school. Even though I have been gone from the classroom for long enough not to feel the usual excitement and anticipation of new beginnings, and even though my daughters did not go off to school today, and even though we’ve been into our homeschool rhythm and routine for months now and did not take the summer months off, I still can’t help but perceive this day as somehow new and different.  

Many of my friends’ children and my daughters’ friends went off to school today and I could not help but think of them all day.  I wondered how the kids were doing, what activities they engaged in, whether they were having fun, how they enjoyed the bus ride.  

I wondered how the moms were doing, did they take a lot of pictures, did anyone shed tears, what cute things did they pack in the lunch boxes, and mostly, how does it feel to experience the <em>freedom</em> that comes from having someone else care for you children for a large part of the day? 

Don’t get me wrong.  I love homeschooling.  For thousands of reasons.  But some days I wonder what it would be like to have a quiet house for the day.  I like to fantasize about what I would  do.  Would I relax and read?  Would I write?  Would I go back to teaching and actually make a real salary again?  Would I go get a different job?  Would I take riding lessons again, get another horse?  Would I finish this Ph.D. in half or a quarter of the time it’s been taking me now?  Would my house be cleaner?  Would I be more organized? Would I just rest?

A friend once told me that she felt that one needed to “be called” to homeschool and I believe this is true.  I have received that calling but sometimes wish I hadn’t.

Today we began our Monday morning like we always do with snuggles, breakfast, a short play time then our circle time, story and learning time.  By 9:45 this morning it was already clear that we were not having a smooth flowing morning.  My eldest was already lying on the floor tantruming, her sister close behind, and I was ready to quit.  I threw up my hands, walked out of the room to regroup and suddenly it hit me: we can have a Do-Over Day!

So I returned to our learning area and explained the concept of a do-over.  This was met with enthusiasm and smiles and we continued on.  What else could we do?

I can’t say that the rest of the morning went smoothly right away.  It didn’t.  We actually needed three do-overs today; but that’s okay because we homeschool and we CAN have do-overs!  We can regroup as many times as we need to during the day.  

Oh, and I burned the dinner just now as I was absorbed in my writing.  Some days are just like that.  Time for yet another do-over I guess.

How-To #1 ~~ Teaching The Young Child To Write


​I am often asked the question, How can I teach my child to write?  Since reading and writing go hand in hand, the best way to start “teaching” writing is by reading.  A lot.  

Scribbles Are Important

Early writing really begins with drawing or scribbling.  These random marks on the page are very important beginnings to the writing process.  If you watch your child, you will see that these “scribbles” soon turn into long wavy lines resembling writing.  This usually happens between the ages of 2 and 4.

Next in the development of writing at this age, you’ll likely see your child making letter-like markings.  These won’t really be true letters, but represent them.  

Letter Strings

Around age 4 or 5 you’ll start to see real letters in strings on the page.  They may or may not make real words.  More often than not, they are simply the letters your child enjoys making in non-phonetic blocks and lines.  Don’t be alarmed if many of these are backward.  This is totally normal.

Inventive Spelling

When <a href=”http://www.homeschoolinflorida.com/emergent-writing/”>inventive spelling</a> emerges on the page, (usually around age 5 or 6,) the fun begins! Now your child is using his or her own spelling according to how he or she makes the letter sound correspondence.  This is my very favorite stage of writing and children are so excited to be able to put their sounds to paper and have others decipher it!

Sharing

Children love to share their writing.  Ask you child to be an author and sit in an “author’s chair” – a special chair designed for the sharing of the written word.  Ask your child to sit in this chair (or wear a special hat, or other special thing to signify author’s time).  Be an active listener.  Invite the whole family.  Ask questions about the story.  Comment on what you enjoyed about it.

What Not To Do

It is very important not to correct a child’s spelling or grammar right now.  Let them enjoy the free flowing feeling of writing without worry whether it is “right” or not.  Spelling is one of those skills that is best acquired over time and does not come by rote memorization, constant correction or practice writing words correctly over and over again.  (I’ll have much more to say on this subject in later posts.)

Conventional Spelling

Around age 7 is when children begin to use more and more conventional spelling in their writing and spells most words correctly.  Now is the time to teach simple grammar rules, which we’ll talk more about later on too.

Useful Books to Remember:
Using Word Walls to Strengthen Student Reading and Writing at the Emergent Level

​Playful Writing: 150 Open-Ended Explorations in Emergent Literacy

Literacy-Building Play in Preschool: Lit Kits, Prop Boxes, and Other Easy-to-Make Tools to Boost Emergent Reading and Writing Skills Through Dramatic Play 

Soaring with Reading and Writing: a highly effective emergent literacy program 

Beginning Writing

Helpful Websites
Get Ready to Read (GRTR)

International Reading Association (IRA)

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL)

Reading is Fundamental (RIF)

Reading Rockets

Swine Flu ~ Are You Running Scared?

Those of you who know me personally, know that I consider this to be a massive fear-mongering campaign. It saddens me to think that this could perhaps be one way for the government and Big Pharma to make a lot of money in a crumbling economy.

Think I’m crazy? Have a look at this. Educate yourself. Don’t believe everything you read.

Do you know that this happened in 1976 too? Yes, and more people died from that vaccine than from the flu itself. The pandemic? Never happened.

Be assured that soon you’ll be hearing of a new vaccine designed to keep you from getting this flu. Before you rush out and start making appointments for you and your children educate yourself first. The last time people died from the hastily-made vaccine, and many lived the rest of their lives paralyzed as a result.

In the meantime, keep on living your life. Do not succumb to the fear.

Bringing The Alphabet To Life

Check out this really cool idea! You don’t have to be homeschooling children in the early childhood years – – I’m thinking this would be a fun photography project as well.

I saw this on another blog and just had to ask if I could post it here. I think it’s super creative and I imagine really fun to do!

Read about it here.

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