The Waldorf Homeschool Conference is an annual live event where homeschoolers can gather, learn, and share. I asked the presenters from 2019 to share their best homeschooling advice or favorite things about Waldorf homeschooling. Check out these top tips from experienced Waldorf homeschoolers and educators.
We’d love to have you join us for an immersive weekend exploring the Waldorf homeschooling movement and all it can do to enrich homeschool and family life at the next Waldorf Homeschool Conference. Two have been held so far: in May of 2017 in Orlando, and in March of 2019 in Atlanta. Maybe you want to help coordinate one in your neck of the woods? Check out the conference page to be in touch.
These conferences feature seminars led by Waldorf homeschooling experts from around the country, hands-on demonstrations of Waldorf methods, and an Exhibit Hall featuring Waldorf materials and curricula.
Here are some tips and inspiration from each of the 2019 presenters. I asked each one to respond to one of these questions:
- If you could only give one piece of advice to Waldorf homeschoolers, what would it be? OR…
- What do you think is the best thing about Waldorf homeschooling?
In the video, Jean shares the nuggets from the tips. Or you can read the complete tips and advice below the video.
Top Tips from Experienced Waldorf Homeschoolers
Jean Miller of Waldorf-Inspired Learning
The Waldorf approach fosters connection with our children more than any other teaching approach I know of. And at the same time, homeschooling with Waldorf allows children to cultivate creativity and wonder about the world. I want to encourage parents (mothers especially) to embrace this experience as a journey of discovery for the whole family! Rather than perfection, aim for connection.
Carrie Dendtler of The Parenting Passageway
The best thing about Waldorf homeschooling is thinking of the whole child, and using the foundation of the arts, movement, and the senses to help your child unfold into their place in the world.
Brian & Robyn Wolfe from Waldorfish
As homeschoolers, an intimate understanding of our children allows us to take what we understand to be the essence of a particular grade or block, and then INNOVATE responsibly. Achieving the same goals, but with entirely different, child-driven means than another Waldorf family might use. As Waldorf homeschoolers, we are perfectly situated to work from this place of freedom that Steiner indicated was the basis of this entire method of education!
Jodie Mesler of Living Music
My advice for homeschooling parents? Commit to mentor sessions and participate in annual conferences! Sometimes, when you homeschool, you feel isolated because Waldorf homeschooling is not mainstream. When you talk to a mentor, you feel validated, refreshed and excited to teach throughout the year. You get new and fresh ideas to help enliven your homeschool experience. When you go to conferences, you get to meet other like-minded parents and make great new friends who will support you year round, not to mention the great education you take in. The Waldorf Homeschool Conference gives you all of that!
Judy Forster, Handwork Teacher
I’d like to offer some Waldorf Homeschool Advice. Having homeschooled my son using Waldorf curriculum for three years (he’s now 29), having taught at 2 different Waldorf Schools, and having taught Waldorf homeschoolers for over 20 years–here is my advice:
Don’t be too hard on yourself. I have often worked with homeschool parents who beat themselves up because they can’t do the form drawing just right, can’t seem to fit in all the curriculum, don’t know how to knit, or something like that. There’s this great quote–I think it’s often attributed to Teddy Roosevelt–“Do what you can with what you have where you are.” It’s in the striving that you will find what you and your child/children need. It doesn’t have to be “perfect.” Do what you can manage and enjoy the journey!
Sheila Petruccelli of Sure as the World
My answer to both questions is the same: Story. Story. Story. Allow yourselves to get lost in a way of learning that honors the rich imagery and deep symbology of stories throughout the grades. It’s healing to the spirit and enlivening to the soul. Story time is the one practice that has remained constant throughout our many years of homeschooling, which looks *nothing* like when we started. In years to come, we may not remember box and whisker plots (actually, I hope we don’t) but we will remember Charlotte’s Web, Inkheart and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Melisa Nielsen from Waldorf Essentials
I really have two pieces of advice for Waldorf homeschoolers:
- Planning is your best friend. Learn how to plan and you will have more opportunities to really enjoy the journey. Planning sets you free, gives you wings and brings confidence. Always.
- Don’t take yourself so seriously. Have fun. EVERYDAY. While Waldorf appears to have a lot of rules, making them work for you and having fun while you are learning will make it the most enriching journey you have ever taken.
Anne Cleveland, new owner of The Waldorf Connection
My advice is to keep it simple and remember that less is more and that quality reigns over quantity. Modern life is so full that it’s easy to think that the job of a teacher is to download information to your child. The truth is that making a strong impression through a story or the telling of a personal experience that accompanies a lesson can be more memorable than “memorizing facts.” As you plan your lessons, look for the gems, the ideas and stories that will stand out, that will fire the enthusiasm, anecdotes that you can build your whole lesson around, that might even be seeds for a lessons down the road.
One of the amazing things about Waldorf homeschooling is that you have the freedom to develop your curriculum and your teaching at your own pace. There is a structure provided for what to teach but that within that structure you have the flexibility to choose what will best support your child’s learning journey. And you can change things around and experiment to see what really works best. Sometimes that can be the most challenging part because there are so many possibilities, but at the same time this flexibility gives you the freedom to work with the curriculum in a creative way.