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Classical Education combined with Waldorf Style?


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I am sold on the benefits of Classical Education. As a former ps teacher who was trained in Whole Language, learning about Classical Education really opened up my eyes and made sense to me. There were so many struggling children and I knew they were not having their needs met.


However, the one area that I do struggle with is incorporating spontaneity and exploration into my program. Classical Education, at least for the lower grades, does follow a fairly scripted, patterned program. I see the benefits of that. But I also want my children to explore, question, and test. I want my children to be outside and to be working with natural materials and interacting with their surroundings. I don't find that I am doing this as much as I want to because I get into the pattern of my classical program. Sadly, I don't even make a great deal of time for incorporating holidays and things. I guess I haven't learned the art of being flexible with a classical program yet.


Any ideas? I did plan on using the Handbook of Nature Study and Barb's Nature Study program, but it got bumped out of my schedule so often it never found its way back in!

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Have you looked at Charlotte Mason?


I allow this sort of deviation with art, music, and nature. :) We deviate by interest too. While the scope is fixed, the content changes and adapts to adjust. There are quite a few of us that are not what you would call a WTM-purist.


Reading or grammar, however, are not negotiable. I am sure you know why. However, reading selections are by choice in our house.


I script history, but for additional research, I turn dd loose in the library. :)

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Sharing Nature with children is an excellent book for inspiration.




That book has ideas for organized nature activities. You are talking about being spontaneous. What works for me is to incorporate lots of play time into the day. And walks.


Waldorf isn't really very spontaneous. I have worked in a Waldorf school. They are all about order and routine. I also love the natural materials, art and storytelling of Waldorf classrooms but I am not so into their pedagogy. I am also a fan of direct instruction and not so big on delaying academics (which is very important to pure waldorf people).


Charlotte Mason is a great suggestion. Also Enki. That's a blend of Montessori and Waldorf. I have never been able to justify the expense of it though.


What works for me is to leave lots of down time and things like nature and music just find their way into our routine. I am fortunate to live in nature and have kids who are into free play and looking for critters and such. You might need to be more scheduled about it. What is your backyard like? Even in town you can plant a garden and set up habitat for critters. I grew up in the city and I remember exploring my front yard like a regular naturalist.


Also look for good nature walks by your house. Get one of those magnifying eyepieces for each of your kids and let them look at things up close. Collect cool things. Learn the names of the plants and the birds in your area. Have a scavenger hunt. Get binoculars and look at birds.


Oh I almost forgot about this wonderful free resource



It's called "Opening up the world through nature journaling" It has some cool ideas for helping kids set up a nature journal.


Have fun.

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Yes, definitely check out Charlotte Mason. I was attracted to both Classical and Waldorf components and we have been very happy with Heart of Dakota, which is CM (it is Christian and has slightly more rigorous grammar). I'm not sure what age children you have but Wee Folk Art has a nice little CM/Waldorf Pre-K/K program for free. Also check out Closeacademy's blog here for a ton of Waldorf-related links.

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