10 First Steps
If you and your family are just getting started with Waldorf homeschooling, here are ten first steps. Keep it simple and make one or two changes at a time. Pretty soon you will see what a difference these changes can make!
- Focus on rhythm rather than on perfectly planned and executed blocks or lessons.
- Yearly rhythm includes seasonal celebrations & festivals;
- Weekly rhythm includes, for example, different activities on different days such as bread baking on Fridays or painting on Mondays; and
- Daily rhythm includes meals, chores, lessons, bedtime.
- Take a deep breath! You don’t want to rush through daily life activities just to get to the lessons. Activities and chores are as much a part of the “lesson” as the lessons. The whole of your day and how it happens is a lesson in itself.
- Make a simple plan for chores, and include all family members. Do the same for meals.
- Keep the TV and computer off. If this is new to your family, consider no TV on school days and evenings; maybe introduce family pizza and movie night on the weekend.
- Go outside every day. Unstructured time in nature is crucial and so nurturing.
- Create a Nature Table inside. Bring items in from your walks to display on this seasonal table.
- Read aloud every day. All kinds of stories about nature, animals, the seasons, good people. Stories form the foundation of our lessons.
- Establish a rest time each day. Children can nap or read on their own beds or at least in their own rooms, depending on their ages. This can be helpful all the way up through age nine or ten!
- Tell or read a story one day, and then retell it, act it out, or paint it the next.
- Begin to incorporate The Seven Lively Arts into your lessons and your days – drama, drawing, movement, music, modeling, painting and speech. All in addition to stories, of course! If you want specific, actionable ideas for how to weave the arts into your lessons, click here to get your Checklist for Lively Arts Homeschooling.
In Waldorf Homeschooling Simplified, I give you a great overview of the Waldorf approach and how to bring it to life in your homeschool.
Wondering what the most critical supplies are for getting started?
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If your children are still in kindergarten, focus on simplifying and providing natural playthings. Begin reading about Waldorf education and incorporating lots of songs, and movement games, seasonal activities and stories into your days.
- Buy three books:
If you need help establishing strong rhythm and routines, and want to understand why this is so important for children, read Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne.
If any of your children are in the elementary grades, I recommend the following Waldorf-specific supplies:
- Buy good beeswax crayons. I recommend Stockmar, a mix of stick and block crayons.
- Buy good quality watercolor paint like Stockmar.
- Buy a set of good quality colored pencils; Lyra is great.
Other supplies such as paper can be found locally at a craft or art supply store. For paper, I suggest the Strathmore 300 series.
- Watercolor paper (140 pound is good for painting)
- Drawing paper to create main lesson books, or you can buy main lesson books pre-made, or simply use an artist’s sketch book.
Next, make some bean bags, one for each member of the family. You can read a simple description of how to make and use bean bags here: Movement Games for Children.
I recommend the following four books for the simplest start to Waldorf homeschooling lessons in the elementary grades:
- A Path of Discovery (for the specific grade) by Eric Fairman
- Creative Pathways by Elizabeth Auer
- Form Drawing for the Homeschooling Parent by Barbara Dewey
- Waldorf Homeschooling – Simplified: Your Toolkit for Grades 1 – 8 by Jean Miller (that’s me!)
You might also be interested in my video Waldorf 101 for Homeschoolers.
Are you looking for instruction in the Waldorf arts of crayon drawing, watercolor painting, and chalkboard drawing? My recommendation is Waldorf Art for Beginners from Waldorfish. You can read my review here: How to Learn Waldorf Art.
Want to learn how to teach your child a beginning instrument at home? I recommend the online courses from Living Music. Jodie has a program called The Magic Flute, volumes 1 and 2, that teach you how to teach your child recorder, penny whistle, or flute. Complete with videos, songsheets, and mp3 recordings.
You can homeschool your child with Waldorf. Just remember to keep it simple with these 10 steps and supplies.