curriculum, education, hampton roads, home education, homeschool testing, homeschool transition, homeschooler, homeschooling, new homeschooler

Just Discovered… A Waldorf Education

As often as I find it, I will post a new homeschool philosophy, curriculum, or teaching methodology. As with any new thing, my critique is neither a recommendation nor a condemnation, merely an opportunity for us all to explore a new discovery.

I found Waldorf while doing some research on Montessori. They do seem remarkably similar in philosophy, but there are some differences. For instance, I don’t think Montessori advocates waiting to read as long as this particular philosophy. Have you used Waldorf or are currently using Waldorf? Tell me what you think of it so far….

Waldorf and Learning to Read
Reading is not required in Waldorf schools until the end of grade 3. The Waldorf curriculum is based on the developmental interests of children, rather than skill levels, and does not require reading in the early grades. Material is presented by the teacher in dramatic, interesting ways and the children make use of the material in their play and hands-on dramatic and artistic activities.

Waldorf on Science
by Barbara Dewey
Western culture has created a powerful wealth of scientific knowledge, based on total objectivity. This objectivity means that the observer must be isolated from the observation. It also means that we must ignore, as scientists, a humanly meaningful occurrence such as “a warm smile.” To measure it instrumentally would be ludicrous, because all meaning would be drained from it. For this reason, humanists in our culture have given up any claim of “knowledge.” And science gives up the meaning of being human. As Stephen Edelglas states in The Marriage of Sense and Thought (a book I suggest all parents read), “If we systematically think of a world in which human beings don’t exist, we should not be surprised to find ourselves creating a world in which they can’t exist.”

A Waldorf Perspective on Math
Math with Musical Notation by David Darcy, ddarcy.com
(David’s website includes a blog with lots of information about Waldorf homeschooling)

The following activity is an unorthodox way of using musical notation, but it might be a fun challenge for students who are familiar with note values (e.g. whole note = four beats, half note = two beats, etc.) and who like to solve puzzles. It requires that students decipher a code as they solve a math problem. If you are homeschooling, I suggest that after introducing the idea, you let your student create more of these puzzles and exchange them with friends.

The game is to write out math problems using notes as “code” for ones, twos, threes, fours and halves, or to solve such a problem. (Answers should just be written as numbers.) Since this typing program doesn’t allow me to write out notes, I will write w for whole notes, h for half notes, q for quarter notes and 1/8 for eighth notes. I also need to use / for division.

Please note: Since eighth notes get half a beat, 1/8 is code for _. The code for writing 3 is a dotted half note, which I will write h(d). Problems must be solved from left to right regardless of the “priority of operations” which is used in mathematics.
Below are examples of math problems written in numbers and in “musical notation code.”

4 / 2 + 3 = 5
w / h + h(d) = 5

h(d) q x w q = 7
3 1 x 4 1 = 7

q + h + w x h + h / w = 4
1 + 2 + 4 x 2 + 2 / 4 = 4

And this one is a bit of a doozy:
2 x 3 x 4 / 2 x 4 + 2 / 2 3 2 / 4 = 5
h x h(d) x w / h x w + h / h h(d) h / w = 5
David is willing to email scanned copies of his latest pentatonic recorder songs (Mr. Squirrel, Playing in the Rain, A Winter’s Fire) to anyone who writes him at ddarcytx2000@yahoo.com

Free Waldorf Curriculum and Related Websites!
Here are sites for information and online books in tune with the Waldorf curriculum.
www.waldorfcurriculum.com
www.waldorffamilynetwork.com
http://www.mainlesson.com This is a part of the Baldwin Project, to bring classical children’s literature to today’s children. Many of these old books are out of copyright and can appear online in their entirety. It is organized according to the Waldorf curriculum, by grade. Some are for sale, but most are free. A great resource!

http://www.amblesideonline.org/ This is an adaptation of the Charlotte Mason Curriculum, which is very close to Waldorf. It is also covered at mainlesson.com.

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curriculum, homeschooler, new homeschooler, Uncategorized, virginia, Worry

Transitional Anxiety

We Love To Worry!!
We Love To Worry!!

I’m in Virginia, and today it was an absolutely gorgeous day! My kids and I spent the day enjoying nature and each other. We took a break from homework and curriculum and seized the moment. I remember my first few months homeschooling. Oh, I would have never dared to stray from the many lesson plans I had charted for my kids. I had so much anxiety about making sure they passed the end of the year test; that they were as smart as the public and private school students; and that my relatives didn’t think I was just a slacker. I had to try and get to everything everyday. Oh, perfection is soooo exhausting. Nobody told me that sometimes all your children needed was your time, not your curriculum. I could have saved myself so much anxiety and many anxious moments. Since then my children have miraculously tested well above their grade levels. I cannot take the credit. I delight myself in the Lord, and he has given me the desires of my heart. More than anything, I have learned that anxiety and anxiousness are sure signs of my weak faith and have no bearing on God’s awesome ability to answer prayer even when I am less than deserving. Are you having a bit of transitional anxiety today? I challenge you to cast your cares to God and start enjoying your children and your family.

Blessings always,

Homeschool Newbie