Ready for Another Year

**This is an archived blog post from July 20, 2012**

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It is time for another school year! I am beginning early this year to allow for more breaks within the school year and to create a more “year round” schedule of learning for J.J. I have several goals for myself as a parent and teacher this time around, now that I know more about homeschooling with a Waldorf-inspired curriculum.

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Haven’t heard of a Waldorf Education? It is based around the education philosophies of Rudolf Steiner, a great thinker of the late 19th and early 20th century. A Waldorf Education aims to harmonize what the child learns and experiences with the different developmental levels and spirit of the child. If I could describe this method in one word I would say it is “holistic”. I love it for several reasons, but mostly because it seems to embody the way I want to raise and educate my children. It is creative, nurturing, and it puts a lot of emphasis on nature.

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The particular curriculum I use is from Oak Meadow — an online school from which you may also choose to purchase only the materials in order to teach your child on your own, which is what I do. I find the syllabus and accompanying materials to be very reasonable in price, especially for the quality you receive. Also, they compose their lessons on a weekly basis instead of daily, so it gives the parent/educator more flexibility and freedom in their daily rhythm and schedule with their child. They do give recommendations on how to set up each day, such as beginning each day with a “Circle Time” in which you read an Opening Verse (a simple rhyme to be used for the whole year), a Movement Verse (to be chosen by you or your child from a large compilation of different songs, rhymes, and fingerplays), and a Closing Verse (another simple rhyme to be used the whole year).

Throughout this summer I have been doing more research about Waldorf Education, as I went into the first grade curriculum last year knowing next to nothing about it. Since I plan to keep using a Waldord-inspired curriculum, I figured I should know more about it so that I may use it to its fullest potential. So far, I have read “You Are Your Child’s First Teacher” by Rahima Baldwin Dancy and I am currently reading “Waldorf Education: A Family Guide”. I would also like to do more research on Rudolf Steiner, as he had many valuable views and philosophies about several aspects in life.

I plan to post more about the curriculum, Waldorf Education, and Rudolf Steiner as I learn more. I am always aiming to better myself as a person, mother, wife, and teacher. The introduction to the Second Grade Syllabus from Oak Meadow says it well:

“We believe that, as a Home Teacher, you should be continually striving to unfold the potential within yourself so that you can respond more deeply and spontaneously to your child. In working with children, it is never the techniques you have learned through the years that cause children to develop their capabilities. Rather, it is the strength of your being, the light of your understanding, and the love you have for them as fellow beings that draws the latent spark of individuality within them into active manifestation. It is this that makes teaching such a difficult endeavor. To be an effective teacher you must persistently seek to unfold and refine your own strengths before you can ever hope to unfold and refine the strengths in your child.”

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I whole-heartedly believe every word of it, and it is for the sake of my children above all that drives me to “seek to unfold and refine” my strengths. They are my love and my life.

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