by Amy Tjaden
Homeschool.com News Editor
As I’ve explored the various homeschooling methods, I’ve recognized each one. I did not necessarily know anything about each method but I had at least heard of them. The method I’m going to look at today is one I had never heard of until I stumbled upon it in my research.
The Waldorf Method is based on the educational philosophy of Austrian, Rudolf Steiner. The first Waldorf School opened in 1919. I found the history fascinating and more can be found here.
The basic idea behind the Waldorf method is to encourage free-thinking and imagination. Components of the Waldorf method include, keeping a rhythm. This means building a routine that a child can count on. Another component is staying relaxed. This means teaching in a loving, nurturing environment. In our fast-paced world, children are often pushed into academics before they’re ready. The Waldorf method allows children to work at their own pace.
The Waldorf method implements unit studies. This means integrating all topics into one lesson. The method also uses multisensory techniques. Manipulatives are used. Every activity includes music, art and things like knitting and woodworking.
The main distinction of the Waldorf method is Steiner’s idea that children’s capabilities unfold in seven-year cycles. Each cycle has its own focus and emphasis. Birth to age seven includes the growth of the physical body, the process of imitation, the virtue of goodness, learning with the hands, the physical realm.
Ages 7-14 see the focus shift to the strengthening of once life forces, the process of imagination, the virtue of beauty, learning through the heart, and the feeling realm.
From ages 14-21, the emphasis is on the development of cognitive skills, the process of inspiration, the virtue of truth, learning through the head, and the astral realm.
For more on these cycles check out this link.
If you use the Waldorf Method, I would like to hear about it.
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