When I first came to Waldorf, I was so overwhelmed by all the information out there. Some days, I still can be. Below are the resources that I feel I have gotten more than my money’s worth and have helped me the most to homeschool with Waldorf-inspired methods. I turn to them first during my planning sessions and frequently throughout the year.
Personal Consulting with Melisa Nielsen: I love Melisa. She has been my consultant since I came to Waldorf in 2009. I probably talk to her about 4 times a year, and email her with a personal concern about once a month. She is always quick to respond and right on target with her advice. When I first came to Waldorf, I waited too long to ask for help. I feel like I wasted a lot of time trying to figure out everything on my own. It is such a huge learning curve – even if you have been homeschooling from day one. Melisa knows what it is like to homeschool everyday with multiple children. Check out her website.
Thinking, Feeling, Willing: I wrote this review for The Parenting Passageway when TFW first debuted. Since then Melisa Nielsen has expanded the original scope of the program and it is much more comprehensive. In my opinion, this is a great way to begin to learn what you need to learn to homeschool with Waldorf-inspired methods in a measured and guided fashion. You can find more information here.
The Christopherus Waldorf Curriculum Overview for Homeschoolers by Donna Simmons: I like to have a physical book on my shelf to go to, and this is a good one. Donna Simmons details both the why and the what behind the Waldorf curriculum up to grade 8 and really makes it accessible to homeschoolers. She is a wealth of information regarding resources (both Waldorf and non-Waldorf) that make pulling together an individual block or even a whole year easy and fun. I would say this is a perfect primer; it gives you enough information but doesn’t inundate you.
Joyful Movement: A Resource for Nurturing Balance, Movement and the Senses by Donna Simmons: I pick up this volume at least once a quarter for new ideas to incorporate movement into our days. I think this book is targeted to kindergarten and the lower grades, but I would say it is just as valuable with older children – especially if you are coming to Waldorf late. It is also a great rainy day, plans-flew-out-the-window day, my-kids-are-extra-squirrley day resource too.
Living Language: A Language Arts Curriculum by Donna Simmons: This is my favorite resource by far! It could be because I could talk about books and poetry all day long, but really this is just fantastic. I love Donna Simmons’ approach to language because she sees it as living in the everyday and vital to our humanity. Her booklists per block and per grade as recommended throughout are spot on. I comb through this volume frequently throughout the year and write down ideas and book titles. This volume covers grades 1-5 and I hope there is a new one in the works, as I am teaching grade 5 next year.
Family, Festivals and Food by Diana Carey and Judy Large: I think it is very possible to overdose on festival and craft books. I know I have more than I need on my shelves, but this is the volume I always turn to for a story, a recipe or a craft related to a particular day of celebration. To date, I have used this book in a very piecemeal fashion, but I plan to read it from cover to cover this summer and really make it a part of my curriculum for grade 1.
A Child’s Seasonal Treasury by Betty Jones: I turn to this book again and again to plan my seasonal activities and monthly circle times. It is full of verses and finger plays, songs and stories. Like craft and festival books, I think it is easy to have too many resources for songs and verses. My advice is to pick one and really use it thoroughly.
Homeschool Teacher Training at Taproot Farm: This is kind of a wild card and not really a resource at all, but I wanted to put it here, because it does help me so much with my planning and also inspires me throughout the year. Barbara Dewey runs a homeschool teacher training at her farm in Ohio. I went last year and have already registered again for this year. There are many good things to say about Taproot, but the best is being with so many other moms who are homeschooling with Waldorf. Singing together, doing Eurythmy, talking about curriculum and just meeting others who do what I do everyday is so fortifying and inspiring. I now think of it as my annual retreat. You can find registration information here.