The Waldorf education philosophy originated in the early 1900s with Rudolf Steiner, who believed that child development could be grouped into three distinct stages of roughly seven years each. He proposed that:
- Early childhood education should focus on creative play and active, hands-on learning
- Elementary education is the time to introduce academic instruction, while teaching students to increase their imagination and manage their emotions
- Secondary education should focus on critical thinking, empathy, and community service
The Waldorf philosophy (also called the Steiner education philosophy) has become a worldwide movement that has gained significant popularity in the United States in the last decade, with dozens of new Waldorf-inspired schools having been created in that time. This trend has extended to homeschooling, as well, with many families adopting a Waldorf/Steiner approach to education. On this page you will learn more about this homeschool approach, discover what Waldorf curriculum homeschool families use, and find out why Time4Learning is a popular tool for these families.
What Is a Waldorf Approach to Homeschool?
With the worthy goal of educating the whole child (body, mind, and spirit), it is no surprise that many homeschooling families have embraced the Waldorf philosophy for their educational model. Some of the benefits of the Waldorf teaching method for homeschool include:
- The Waldorf approach to early childhood education de-emphasizes academics
- A focus on age-appropriate learning
- Art, music, gardening, and foreign language are key focuses in the elementary years
- No textbooks are used in the first several grades
- No formal grades are assigned during the elementary years; instead children are assessed by progress made
- An integration of the natural world into all aspects of education
Waldorf Homeschool Curriculum
One of the unique things homeschoolers discover about Waldorf education is that curriculum can be quite inexpensive. Because the focus of the program is on learning through play, exploration, and the natural world, homeschool families have most of what they already need right at their fingertips or just outside their doorway. Anything that cultivates imagination and creativity can be used as part of a Waldorf curriculum plan.
For formal learning, the Waldorf approach recommends teaching curriculum subjects/topics in “blocks” of 3-6 weeks of in-depth study each. This keeps children focused on one subject at a time, rather than switching gears multiple times a day. Main lessons are taught in a multisensory fashion that balances listening and seatwork with active learning.
How Does Time4Learning Work with a Waldorf Inspired Homeschool?
Time4Learning is an online, standards-based program that combines interactive lessons, multimedia reinforcement activities, printable worksheets, learning games, and assessments with reports into one homeschool curriculum. Some of the ways that families have used Time4Learning to complement their Waldorf education approach include:
- One sibling works independently on Time4Learning lessons while a parent works 1-to-1 with another homeschooled sibling
- Parents pick and choose the multimedia activity from Time4Learning’s lesson plans that best corresponds with what their child is learning about that day
- The emphasis on world languages in the Waldorf method is accommodated by Time4Learning’s option to add online language learning to your subscription at all grade levels
Although the Waldorf method expressly advocates against overuse of media in children, we live in a world where knowledge of technology and computer proficiency is still important for students to master. Future jobs, high school online learning experiences, and many teenage social experiences involve technological advances that may not be satisfied with a traditional Waldorf curriculum alone. Computer proficiency opens the door to the vast stores of educational information available online and paves the way for the technological demands of college and future careers. Children benefit from learning how to navigate the computer, and Time4Learning can fulfill that need in a fun and engaging way.
Additional Resources on Homeschooling Styles
Want to know even more about the different approaches to homeschooling? The following pages can help:
- Homeschooling Styles Overview
- Eclectic Homeschooling
- Traditional Homeschooling
- Classical Homeschooling
- Montessori Homeschooling
- Homeschooling with Unit Studies
- Charlotte Mason Homeschooling
Welcome to Homeschooling Guide
Download this FREE resource where experienced homeschoolers share their stories for how to begin homeschooling, understanding your child academically, planning your days, and much more.