The inspiration for this post comes out of the initial frustration and paralysis I felt when trying to choose resources that would help me to homeschool with Waldorf-inspired methods. This is my third year doing this, and I have found I return again and again to a very small set of resources. I have recommended them to homeschooling friends in real life. I have recommended them to people through this blog and also people who have emailed me privately. One or more of the resources listed below can usually be found on my desk at any given time. These are the resources I use to do the bulk of my planning – both long-term planning and that last-minute “oh-no-what-are-we-going-to-do-today” planning. (Which, despite my best intentions, still occurs.)
Just a note: I am not associated with any of the companies listed below, nor am I given any royalties, favors or brownie points from any of their Waldorf Empires. All prices listed are for new items and do not include shipping.
Start with the general curriculum: I don’t use a scripted curriculum, and I just want to say that up front. I have purchased several and wind up looking at them, getting completely “spinny” in my head, and then quickly reselling them. I would be embarrassed to admit how many times I have done this. That said, I would recommend starting with some general resources that provide an overview of the Waldorf curriculum tailored specifically for homeschoolers. Especially in the beginning, and especially if you are coming to Waldorf late, I cannot recommend these 2 books more highly. They are wonderful and provide a solid grounding in Waldorf homeschooling.
- The Christopherus Waldorf Curriculum Overview for Homeschoolers, Donna Simmons (Grades 1-8) $56 (new; Christopherus)
- A Journey Through Waldorf Math, Melisa Nielsen (Grades 1-5) $18 ebook (new; Waldorf Essentials)
Add in some extras: Either of the first 2 books will provide more ideas than anyone could ever accomplish. They are chock-full of verses, crafts, recipes and stories all arranged seasonally. They make it easy to put together a daily circle time, a weekly baking day or a special festival celebration. I actually think that either one could be an early years or kindergarten program on its own. I have also thought if we ever needed to take a year off from formal homeschooling, we could structure a year around the seasons and festivals using either of these books as a spine. Anyway, I own both of them, and it varies as to which is my favorite. (Just a note: the recipes in All Year Round are written for a British kitchen and have no conversions for those of us across the pond.)
The second suggestion is an updated and expanded edition of The Waldorf Student Reading List, which used to be the best $9 you could spend. I don’t have the newer version yet (it is on my wish list though), but since it has been compiled by the same people, I feel confident it will be full of solid suggestions for read alouds that coordinate with the anthroposophical view of child development and the various main lessons for a given year. I keep The Waldorf Student Reading List in my library bag, and consult it almost every time we go to the library.
- All Year Round, Ann Druitt, Christine Fynes-Clinton and Marije Rowling $17 (new; Amazon)
- Family, Festivals and Food, Diana Carey and Judy Large $16 (new; Amazon)
- Make Way for Reading, edited by Pamela Johnson Fenner and Karen L. Rivers $18 (new; Amazon)
Get a few art supplies: Don’t feel pressured to buy a ton of art supplies all at once. (I have written more about this subject here.) I think block crayons and watercolors are the most versatile and least intimidating. Drawing with block crayons imparts a soft, gestural picture with few details. You don’t have to worry about things like facial expressions or hands. In the beginning, wet-on-wet watercolor should just be a study in color. Don’t worry about introducing form until you are comfortable with the paints themselves. This took me over a year, but some of our early color paintings are still my favorites.
- Stockmar Watercolor Paints (3 primary colors) $22 (new; A Small Green Footprint)
- Stockmar Block Crayons (3 primary colors) $3.50/set (new; A Small Green Footprint)
Total cost – if you purchase everything – is around $140 without shipping. All of the books and supplies are useful for multiple grades, which I think increases their value even more. If you have a favorite resource or suggestion for getting started with Waldorf that is not listed above, tell us about it in the comments.