Homeschooling preschoolers: life is the curriculum

The following post was written by contributor Sarah Baldwin of Bella Luna Toys, and was originally published on September 9, 2011.

When I am asked by homeschoolers interested in Waldorf education to recommend a curriculum for their 3- to 6-year olds, I tell them, “Relax! Life is the curriculum for the young child.”

Young children will learn everything they need to know and be prepared for formal learning later by participating in family life, household tasks and receiving nurturing care.

Being conscious of what children need to grow in body, mind and spirit, allows you to provide them with everything they need during these early years through daily living.
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Waldorf Homeschooling: Learning to Let Go

Written by Sarah Baldwin of Bella Luna Toys and Moon Child

A note from Jamie: This post from Sarah is such a great reminder around this time of year, as sometimes we all need to let go of our expectations and go with our guts. It first published August 23, 2010. Enjoy!

While my two boys, Harper and Will, spent most of their schooling years in a Waldorf school, we spent two years homeschooling. I am a trained Waldorf teacher and prior to this I had been teaching at the Waldorf school that my boys attended.

I spent years in graduate school studying education and had many years of teaching experience, but I learned more about how children learn during those two years than I did from all my teacher training and the plethora of books I’d read on the subject.

The Challenge

Being devoted to Waldorf education, I was determined to give my children a true Waldorf experience at home, so when we started, I did what I knew. I created a mini-Waldorf school at home, complete with lazured walls, wooden desks, and a large blackboard. It was beautiful!

Since I had also agreed to homeschool my niece, I was committed to offering the curriculum to three different grades, as it would be taught in a Waldorf school.

During the first couple of months, I would routinely stay up until midnight, sometimes later, preparing three different lesson plans and drawings that I would expect my students to copy into their “main lesson books” the next day. I had a curriculum and a daily schedule and I was determined to stick to it.
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Opposition in the Homeschool: Dealing with the Grumbles

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

I had an incredible summer blogging sabbatical, and totally enjoyed the guest posters and contributors who shared in this space while I was away. I know you did, too!

It’s nice to “see” you again here, and I have a question to ask:

Do any of you ever find the grumbles have infiltrated your homeschool?

I hope it isn’t just me. There are different types of grumbles: sibling rivalry grumbles, complaints about chores, hearing ourselves grumble about our own role, or grumbles about schoolwork in general.

Recently we’ve entered a season of sibling rivalry grumbles, which is a subject for another post! But as I’ve been learning how to deal with this newest test of a mother’s fortitude, it has helped me to remember that we’ve gone through other trying seasons and come out of them successfully.

Take this winter, for example. I found myself in a bit of a rut, and really not enjoying the day-to-day routine and the grumbles that accompanied it. Hoping for some inspiration, I flashed an email off to my friend, contributor here, and Waldorf educator, Sarah Baldwin of Bella Luna Toys.

It went something like this:
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When Should My Child Begin Music Lessons?

Written by contributor Sarah Baldwin of Bella Luna Toys and Moon Child

As a Waldorf early childhood teacher, and the mother of two young musicians, I have been asked many times over the years what the ideal age is for a child to begin music lessons.

I’ve been asking myself the same question for as many years. In my quest for an answer, I have asked many music teachers and experts.

Waldorf Education and Suzuki Music Instruction

As a young mother I became familiar with the Suzuki method of music instruction, in which children as young as three or four begin to learn an instrument. When my children started music lessons—older son Harper played piano, young son Will played cello—I chose Suzuki teachers for both of them, and as a result have become a strong supporter of Suzuki methods.

Because I am also a Waldorf teacher, I was struck by the many similarities between Suzuki and Waldorf education.
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Resources for Early Learning (2011 Curriculum Fair)

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

Ages of my children: 7.5, 6.5, and 6
Educational Philosophies I Pull From: Waldorf, Leadership Education, Unschooling

When I had two children, both still toddlers, I planned out their entire education for the next 15 years. I spent hours drawing charts, researching, thinking about socialization, and narrowing down curriculum options.

We haven’t followed any of it.

Since then I’ve found a better strategy is to plan for tomorrow, not next week or next year. I don’t mean you should never look ahead; I just mean that when stress or overwhelm kick in, that’s your clue to stop.

Today I want to share not only the resources we’ll be using in the upcoming year, but also what we’ve used in the past. Hopefully this will help those of you with younger children as well.
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