- The thing I love most about Waldorf, is the beauty of it. Making everything beautiful and approaching subjects artistically really resonates with me. I also like the attention payed to color, and how they effect our emotions.
- I LOVE the way Waldorf approaches early childhood. Everything about it really. I haven't encountered any other educational method that is as aware of the emotional needs of children as Waldorf is.
- The handicrafts are great. Everything is very clearly defined; not only what to do, but when to do it, and what materials to use. Using natural, high quality materials makes whatever the child works on look beautiful, and the handicrafts teach practical skills. Knitting, crocheting, weaving, and wood working, are skills you can benefit from your whole life.
- I like the block system. Illustrating your lesson on the black board, delving into that subject for two to four weeks, then moving on to something else is a lot how I naturally learn. I also really love main lesson books, and that fits into doing blocks.
- I like the stuff. OK, who doesn't. Silk, beeswax, wool, and smooth polished wood. These are luxury materials, and anything made with them is going to be sublime. Waldorf toys aside, (which of course are wonderful) Waldorf school supplies are nice. Usually made with natural materials, they are high quality, durable, and look like something you want to use.
- At the top of my list for CM is the books. Wonderful living books written by the words best authors. I don't have to be the best teacher in the world, and be an expert on everything. All I need is access to a book written by some one who is. And lets face it, I just love books, so a curriculum based on books couldn't be more perfect.
- I really like nature studies and the way CM recommends doing them. Not picking things apart, and destroying in order to learn about it, but using observation and respect for God's creation to learn about it.
- Narration. This is sometimes the hardest thing to implement, but it's so effective. Learning to narrate well not only helps you to remember what you're narrating, but teaches your brain how to organize your thoughts to effectively communicate.
- I like having my children exposed to the master composers and artists, through the use of composer and artist studies.
- I like the short lessons. I know this seems like a contradiction to my liking blocks, and it is sort of. The deal is though, that although I like the block system, Anna does better with short, varied lessons, and since she is the student, we will be sticking with short lessons.
I'm sticking with CM for the most part, but am going to add in a few Waldorf elements. For instance, CM recommends that children do handicrafts that are useful skills, so I will be following the basic Waldorf plan for teaching handicrafts. This is an instance where they combine easily. Where they are too different to combine, such as CM teaching directly from the source with good literature and living books, and Waldorf having the teacher tell stories in order to make them more personal, I will be going with CM. The kids love when I tell them stories, but I am not the best teacher in all subjects, and I really feel like reading strait from a good book is the best way to go.
We do wet on wet watercolor painting once a week, not just for their artistic benefit, but also emotional, as there is something very soothing in this painting method.
We read a lot, both for school and for pleasure. I try to make our days follow a rhythm. We have very limited screen time. The toys I choose for the kids are simple, natural, and generally homemade. I also try to limit how much stuff we have. Are all the kids toys "Waldorfy"? No; I still consider legos one of the best toys ever, and I don't refuse to let other people buy them anything that isn't made with 100% natural materials. I do refuse to have any electronic toy. Period.
The main thing I strive to do is to instill a sense of curiosity and a love of learning in my children, no matter what educational philosophy we follow. Of course all of this is pointless without God being the center of our lives. If I can teach the kids to love God with all their heart, soul, and mind, I will have succeeded.