Today, I have the HUGE pleasure of welcoming Ariella to Discovering Waldorf. If you haven’t already found Ariella’s blog, CHILDHOOD MAGIC, you are in for a special treat… it is a rainbow of pure delight. Ariella Waldorf homeschools her two beautiful children and, here, she shares their experiences.
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Waldorf Inspired Homeschooling by Ariella
Hello, my name is Ariella and I am here to share with you the ways in which we have incorporated Waldorf philosophy into our daily homeschooling activities — also known as Waldorf Inspired Homeschooling. This is a particularly exciting topic for me as I was raised as a Waldorf(ish) homeschooler, so we are now in the second generation of this whole thing, which is very exciting to say the least!
Waldorf is a beautiful philosophy that truly resonates with me, pretty deep down into my soul. It’s an education that encompasses many things (too many to ever cover!), but the aspect that speaks to me most is the way it approaches education as a holistic, ever expansive experience, a journey for the mind, body and soul of the child. Great emphasis is placed on strong family connection, oneness/understanding of nature, development of the imagination and senses, health and nourishment, creativity, play, art, beauty and daily/seasonal/yearly rhythms.
Rudolf Steiner had an interesting and unique view of the young person’s life, which he saw as a spiritual unfolding, separated into three distinct cycles. Birth to 7, 7 to 14 and 14 to 21 years of age. The first seven years is considered a very special time of magic and wonder. This “dreamtime” is considered a highly valuable time in life — a time for uninterrupted creative play, exploration, imitation, and cultivation of the awesome power of imagination. At this time, little or no emphasis is placed on “academic excellence.” A time in life to just be, not to be messed with! What will this imagination do for you later on in life? It will turn you into a great thinker of course! It is the hopes of Waldorf that the imagination developed in the first seven years of life, in conjunction with the academics and spiritual evolution of the later two cycles will develop a thinker who can operate both inside and more importantly outside of the “box.”
What does all of this mean, and how have I logically transferred this into our homeschooling life? I have some photos to share that I hope will convey the beauty and emotion of our daily projects and adventures.
I want my children to respect, know and be in awe of nature,
to play in the branches,
and adventure to new places.
I want them to love and cherish animals,
even the tiny ones,
and find joy in the sea with her beautiful waves and shores!
We spend much of our days creating/crafting. You’ll find simple and natural fibers play a big role in the materials we use—
A bit of Earth
paper, paint and light!
We learn to bake and cook! Nourish ourselves and take care of our bodies.
We have fun and creative indoor play
play in the dirt, grow gardens
and enjoy the simple pleasures of our own backyard.
We lay quietly, reading stories
and play with friends!
Last but certainly not least, I need to share with you the glue or the “backbone” that holds this whole homeschooling thing together. It is our weekly routine or “rhythm.” Each day of the week has a theme, and each day follows the same predictable pattern. We have times to play and learn, times to rest, times for meals and times for sleep.
I truly believe my children thrive and feel safe when they know “what’s next,” having rhythm in the home is comforting to them and helps them to find a greater understanding of their world! Not only that, but it brings order to our homeschooling lives and peace into our household. Of course, I try not to be too rigid about it, lots of days will bring differences and possibilities, so things can change— but I generally like to keep it pretty dependable!
You’ll notice the chart is very simple (I promise you there are many more things that go on in a day). I intentionally kept it simple, there is no need to write down every single thing we do in a day. It’s meant to be a loose guide that reminds us of our morning theme and an answer to the never ending question “what are we going to do today?!”
I am thinking I’ll talk more about this rhythm/routine chart on my blog soon— there are many points about this that I’d like to discuss!
Click on the photo to get a closer look
I’ll finish this post by saying this — does doing all of this mean that you’ll be the perfect mom, with the perfect kids and that your days will pass stress free? No. I can guarantee you there will always be days of whining, jangled nerves and feelings of inadequacy all around. But, in addition to all of that, you’ll also have more magic than you could ever dream of!
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Thank you, dear Ariella. You really do embody the magic that is childhood! You make me want to drop everything, pack the family into the van and come to live with you! Thank you for inspiring me.
Donni Webber is the mom behind the popular natural living Waldorf website and blog, The Magic Onions - where the magic of nature and the wonder of childhood collide to make each moment a precious gift. She is a photographer, writer, crafter, wife and mother of two inspiring young children. Her work has been featured in many popular publications, including HGTV, Better Homes and Gardens, Disney and Apartment Therapy.