Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Transitioning to Waldorf-Inspired Classical

I've posted both here and on the Well Trained Mind boards about our decision to reincorporate Waldorf back into our homeschool. A decision that came about both because of our feeling like we were just doing subjects and because my youngest is not quite ready for real schoolwork despite the fact that she is of Kindergarten age.

So what does this mean for our school?


Instead of writing down the next thing out of textbooks or trying to figure out how to fit everything in we will be doing block scheduling. In a true Waldorf situation, the class will concentrate on 1 main topic for a certain period of time.

For us, we will be picking topics for each month. For instance, in July we will be working with money in math. So we will also study the history of math, do math related science and dollar bill origami.


It means that instead of using Tapestry of Grace and Story of the World and doing history chronologically that we will be doing more unit studies. Basically, we will be reading historical fiction at bedtime and may do some related projects once a week during seatwork time.


We have had a hard time finding a happy solution here. So we will just take science as it comes and do experiments once a week. We do spend time in our garden and at the park observing and interacting with nature. We also enjoy books on various science topics at bedtime.

Language Arts:

We are pulling back from intense grammar. This year we will just work in Easy Grammar and the year after work on 1 grammar topic per month using Living Grammar books and exercises from the KISS grammar site. We are going to read many of Aesop's Fables and about Saints this year and learn how to summarize and then rewrite them in our own words adding description and dialogue (this is an activity where my daughter will compose but I will write her words on paper.)


This is where block scheduling really helps. We can decide to spend a certain period of time on a math topic. So we can spend 2 weeks on the 6 tables or a month on measurement and really delve in and learn the skill. If the skill needs more work then it can go into the review book or can be visited again once the concept has had some time to sink in.

The Arts:

Music, creative expression, handcrafts, etc. have all been tied to history studies and we have not felt up to doing them at the end of the day because we have been so tired after pushing through the rest of our studies. With the new block scheduling we will have a certain "art" that we will study each month twice weekly.

We are finding that Waldorf will both allow us to relax our schedule and delve into topics deeper and spend more time developing skills. It also allows me to let my younger child grow and mature a little more before teaching her.

In my research of Waldorf education I have found many parallels between it and the Classical method. Waldorf start more slowly but by the time the children are in upper elementary they are studying the same subjects at the same depth that children taught using the classical method are. Basically, we will take our time to wander more as we ramp up slowly toward the rigorous education that a classically educated child receives.


Lorna said...

Our children are aged ten and twelve and we use the Well Trained Mind for them now but I really concur with your decision to go with a Waldorf inspired education at this age. I believe it gives a far more solid foundation, benefiting a later Classical education. I really recommend looking at the book 'One to One' and the website http://www.freedom-in-education.co.uk/ for excellent articles and ideas at this age. Best wishes

CloseAcademy said...

Thanks for stopping by. I will see if I can find that book and the website looks very interesting. We've been doing a little Montessori in the home as well. Thanks.


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