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Please tell me i am crazy (or not!)...i keep considering Oak Meadow for my younger?


Halcyon
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I dont know why, but i keep considering Oak Meadow for my youngest. He will be entering 2nd next year, and is very artsy, craftsy, loves stories, reading, projects, hands on........he is also accelerated in most subjects, so i dont know if Oak Meadow would even work for him...we would stick with Beast Academy and Math Mammoth for math, and Lively Latin......

 

Thoughts? Could Oak Meadow be a fit for an accelerated 2nd grader?

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I dont know why, but i keep considering Oak Meadow for my youngest. He will be entering 2nd next year, and is very artsy, craftsy, loves stories, reading, projects, hands on........he is also accelerated in most subjects, so i dont know if Oak Meadow would even work for him...we would stick with Beast Academy and Math Mammoth for math, and Lively Latin......

 

Thoughts? Could Oak Meadow be a fit for an accelerated 2nd grader?

 

First of all: I have missed you! You have the most thoughtful posts and I always enjoy learning from you. I know, I know, you kind of have a lot going on but I'm pretty sure you're supposed to make the Hive your first priority, right? :tongue_smilie:

 

My dd (just turned 7) sounds so much like your younger ds. I don't think you're crazy at all because I have been going through the exact same thought process regarding dd. I've looked at Christopherus, Oak Meadow, Waldorf Essentials, and several Waldorf-homeschooling blogs trying to figure out how to incorporate more Waldorf-style schooling into dd's grade 2.

 

In the end, I decided against the whole-package deal since you never know how it will work with a child with gifted tendencies. (I say "tendencies" because it seems like you and I both have younger dc who will burst ahead and then float around for a while, checking out the scenery.) I have not seen Oak Meadow, but I just can't imagine that it would work as well for dd as I would hope that it would.

 

Honestly, though, I kind of hope you try it and tell us how it goes. It looks like such a beautiful program.

 

Here are a couple of Waldorf blogs I have been reading, in my search to add more of that kind of learning into dd's grade 2 studies:

 

Rhythm of the Home

The Parenting Passageway (I really love her fourth grade reading list)

Chant des Fees

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It's inevitable that you will be drawn to something that is like a window closing. If money is no object I say go for it. It's like decorating a nursery. You can't go back and put up a teddy border when they are 10; it'll be too late.

 

If money were no object and I had a 1st or second grader I'd buy the curriculum. I'm not sure how much I would end out using it, but...I'd need to own it and at least play waldorf with my kid while I still had the chance.

 

But...also, it would depend on who the siblings are and what they are doing. I don't remember the facts about other children. And then there IS the money issue, I'm assuming.

 

Tick, tick, tick goes the Waldorf clock as your baby outgrows it :lol:

 

EDIT: Okay, older brother by 3 years. I have no advice. Tick, tick, tick :lol:

Edited by Hunter
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For my money, I'd go for a couple of second grade units from Christopherus, ie Saints and Heroes (very easy to secularise - lots of heroes as well as saints) or animal legends, both language arts units. If your child is an accelerated reader (mine was at this age), you can make the reading content more complex, as well as increasing the written component. These units will give you a feeling for the Waldorf style, without you having shelled out so much money that you feel locked in. Then you can make an informed choice of where to go next. I will add this caveat: I haven't seen Oak Meadow's grade 2, only an old grade 4. I think its an excellent curriculum, but it lacks the full-on arts integration of Waldorf, and is probably less amenable to tweaking.

 

And if you end up continuing with Christopherus into grade 3, you'll have the most wonderful year - the Native American units, which integrate mythology, history, geography, science and art, are just wonderful!

D

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I dont know why, but i keep considering Oak Meadow for my youngest. He will be entering 2nd next year, and is very artsy, craftsy, loves stories, reading, projects, hands on........he is also accelerated in most subjects, so i dont know if Oak Meadow would even work for him...we would stick with Beast Academy and Math Mammoth for math, and Lively Latin......

 

Thoughts? Could Oak Meadow be a fit for an accelerated 2nd grader?

 

In my experience, no. We used Oak Meadow 1st and part of 2nd. My son is artsy and he loves stories. He loved 1st grade, but he was bored with the 2nd grade material. He didn't enjoy it because it just moved too slowly and he wasn't learning enough. We didn't even finish the second grade. Luckily, Oak Meadow has a great re-sell value so I got a lot of my money back, which went toward other curricula to finish 2nd grade.

 

Kim

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I consider it evey year for both my older dc as well, but then chamge my mind. I don't want to spend that much money on a boxed curriculum. I know myself, and while I would probably enjoy parts of OM, I would most likely add a bunch of other things.

 

The other issue is time. I don't see how I could everything done while also taking care of my 3 year old and my baby girl.

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First of all: I have missed you! You have the most thoughtful posts and I always enjoy learning from you. I know, I know, you kind of have a lot going on but I'm pretty sure you're supposed to make the Hive your first priority, right? :tongue_smilie:

 

My dd (just turned 7) sounds so much like your younger ds. I don't think you're crazy at all because I have been going through the exact same thought process regarding dd. I've looked at Christopherus, Oak Meadow, Waldorf Essentials, and several Waldorf-homeschooling blogs trying to figure out how to incorporate more Waldorf-style schooling into dd's grade 2.

 

In the end, I decided against the whole-package deal since you never know how it will work with a child with gifted tendencies. (I say "tendencies" because it seems like you and I both have younger dc who will burst ahead and then float around for a while, checking out the scenery.) I have not seen Oak Meadow, but I just can't imagine that it would work as well for dd as I would hope that it would.

 

Honestly, though, I kind of hope you try it and tell us how it goes. It looks like such a beautiful program.

 

Here are a couple of Waldorf blogs I have been reading, in my search to add more of that kind of learning into dd's grade 2 studies:

 

Rhythm of the Home

The Parenting Passageway (I really love her fourth grade reading list)

Chant des Fees

 

 

Thanks so much! Something keeps drawing me to it--I think the artsy, organic feel to it which would appeal to younger. Sigh. I don't know!

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For my money, I'd go for a couple of second grade units from Christopherus, ie Saints and Heroes (very easy to secularise - lots of heroes as well as saints) or animal legends, both language arts units. If your child is an accelerated reader (mine was at this age), you can make the reading content more complex, as well as increasing the written component. These units will give you a feeling for the Waldorf style, without you having shelled out so much money that you feel locked in. Then you can make an informed choice of where to go next. I will add this caveat: I haven't seen Oak Meadow's grade 2, only an old grade 4. I think its an excellent curriculum, but it lacks the full-on arts integration of Waldorf, and is probably less amenable to tweaking.

 

And if you end up continuing with Christopherus into grade 3, you'll have the most wonderful year - the Native American units, which integrate mythology, history, geography, science and art, are just wonderful!

D

 

This is a very good idea. I am going to look at the Christopherus stuff and see what I think.

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I would suggest Live Ed accelerated by a year or so if you are interested. Christopherus is also good, but from what I've read about your ds' abilities, most Waldorf would be WAY too slow and behind for him. We did Waldorf for a long while, and I am still slightly influenced by it, but my kids ended up years behind where they should be. OM in particular is, IME, way behind. You would get it and realize you wasted your money (no offense-but for the OP's case).

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It's hard when they are advanced but still little boys. I remember looking through catalogs of brightly colored math manipulatives marketed for my son's age, but spending my money on Saxon Algebra instead, and feeling a profound sadness.

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We have gifted children. Kids that without any help, learned to read fluently at 3,learned to multiply and divide by themselves in preschool etc... Some of our SAT scores have been in the top 3% in the country. We have five children aged 7 to our oldest 19 ,in his second year at his university.

 

In my opinion, Waldorf will work for any family. My kids do go on learning tangents on their own but also fully enjoy the Waldorf curriculum. It's an error to think that Waldorf education isn't a rigorous education. You could say it starts "slower" because the method is interdisciplinary. It values integrating practical, artistic, and conceptual elements while also considering the child's development.

 

My husband is engineer. He is also in management and does interviews. These interviewees have degrees,certificates etc... He will tell you he sees a disproportionate amount of interviewees that have a head knowledge but not a working knowledge. In many educational methods,there are skills being neglected in favor of dumping of facts. I think Waldorf does an excellent job of connecting the kids to the subjects which makes a world of difference.

 

I am not great at putting together words so here is a site that says it so much better then I can.

http://www.pasadenawaldorf.org/2012/02/22/what-makes-a-waldorf-high-school-different/

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I think Waldorf education is easily misunderstood. They do start academics later, that is a fact. But once a child reaches the grades, what is emphasized is the lesson content...various themes and stories which meet the child developmentally and feed their "souls". The academic work that accompanies this content should be tailored to the individual child. So for first grade, perhaps there is a child still struggling to write their letters well so they focus on that and another might be an excellent writer and could write a short summary to go with each story, etc. You wouldn't jump grade levels, you would just step up the work that goes with each main lesson, or take it down a notch if that's what the child needs. Waldorf can meet any child right where they are with exactly what they need, but the one presenting it has to bring it to them. By way of necessity, any boxed curriculum has to try and hit a common denominator...but if you are given the themes and the basic content, one can adjust it from there. It doesn't come without a good amount of prep time, though.

 

Personally, I like OM. I like to have a copy of the syllabus, at our grade level. I pull lots of ideas from it. I could never follow a boxed curriculum lesson for lesson, but I like that it gives a do-able foundation and I can go from there...adding things in, substituting other things. Also, we do so many other things...foreign languages, music, Waldorf arts and handwork, extra math...I wouldn't want something so time consuming and challenging that I couldn't add our other stuff on top of it.

 

Good luck! Also, try to get a copy of the syllabus used if you decide to give it a try. I have always bought them that way....for WAY cheaper!

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Well, OM isn't really Waldorf so you could place him wherever he fits best. :001_smile: Have you looked at their sample lessons for each grade?

 

 

I have. He's all over the place, which is always the issue I have with boxed. Skill-wise, I would place him in OM 4. But age-wise and maturity-wise, he'd probably love the stories and projects in OM 3. Then again, he has already read Stuart Little, Pippi Longstocking and Peter Pan (3rd grade books), while he hasn't read most of the 4th grade books.

 

This is usually when I stop looking at OM, when I realize he's too all over the place.

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Well, OM isn't really Waldorf so you could place him wherever he fits best. :001_smile: Have you looked at their sample lessons for each grade?

 

Do you consider Christopherus to be "boxed Waldorf"? Anyhow, it's not neccesarily Waldorf I am looking for, just a more artistic, whole-to-parts approach to learning.

 

I have also been exploring Charlotte Mason more for him....

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Do you consider Christopherus to be "boxed Waldorf"? Anyhow, it's not neccesarily Waldorf I am looking for, just a more artistic, whole-to-parts approach to learning.

 

I have also been exploring Charlotte Mason more for him....

 

If that's what you're after, I would recommend just sticking with more Charlotte Mason techniques and introducing art across the curriculum more. That's really all you would need to do. Can you look at the OM samples online? It would be TOTAL overkill to do OM and stick with some of your other curricula. It's quite "complete", so there would be a lot to cull or you would be very overwhelmed. I do like OM, but I found Live Ed to be more rigorous, but still holistic and beautiful. The price will explain why, though! Maybe if you can find a really cheap old OM on ebay to read through before you splurge?

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If that's what you're after, I would recommend just sticking with more Charlotte Mason techniques and introducing art across the curriculum more. That's really all you would need to do. Can you look at the OM samples online? It would be TOTAL overkill to do OM and stick with some of your other curricula. It's quite "complete", so there would be a lot to cull or you would be very overwhelmed. I do like OM, but I found Live Ed to be more rigorous, but still holistic and beautiful. The price will explain why, though! Maybe if you can find a really cheap old OM on ebay to read through before you splurge?

 

Live Ed looks good too--thank you for recommending it-I had never heard of it before. I think I will need to read more about CM this summer during planning mode, and actually PLAN to use that approach more. It does not come naturally to me and it's very hard for me to understand how to implement it. Classical approach, I get. CM? Not so much. But I do "get" that aspects of it would be a better fit for younger....

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It doesn't sound like OM is a good fit for you. You could always bring certain artistic elements to the stories and content you end up choosing for him. Have him draw, paint or model something from the literature, do puppet shows, etc. You could also add in some of the Waldorf stories for his grade as a nourishing supplement to the already good stuff you have in mind. For grade 2 there would be animal fables (Aesop's, Jataka tales etc) and heroes/saints, for example.

 

Christopherus is OK. I have used certain blocks of hers in the past couple of years when I wasn't on top of it enough to create my own content. It's definitely not bad, but the magic of Waldorf only really shines through when the lessons spring out of your own heart. :001_smile:

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"It's definitely not bad, but the magic of Waldorf only really shines through when the lessons spring out of your own heart. "

 

So true!! The one thing about homeschooling is often multiple grades need to be taught. At one point I was teaching five grades ugh! I've found reading books new to me on the subjects I'm currently teaching help me to become reconnected with the subjects so the "canned" lessons are a bit fresher.

 

It kind of feels like my 6th grader and I are in a book club as he usually likes to read what ever I bring home for me. So we end up discussing what we liked ,didn't like,learned etc...

 

Some day when our kids are grown and gone we hope to either foster or adopt. Then I will get the chance to totally immerse myself into the one grade,make my own lessons. What a treat that will be!

 

But you are right a vital part of the magic is when the teacher is connected to the subject themselves.

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So for those of you who think OM _is_ doable for an accelerated child....you wouldn't recommend skipping to Grade 3? That's where I was leaning, assuming I used OM.

 

In Waldorf (although OM is loosely Waldorf, it's moe about the age then the academic stories. 3rd grade stories are designed for the 9 year transition.

 

What I'm doing is using A Little Garden FLower's Waldorf curriculum (good, yet heap....$30 download)....and then adding in my own mathw hich is more on level with my son. Science, reading, etc. can all be tailored to the child's level, but the stories should not be changed (at least that's what I Was told!) :)

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Some Waldorf sources will base the literature read off of how long the child's limbs are compared to their torso, and how many teeth they have :-)

 

I'm not making fun. I actually think there may be some validity to this. My oldest ran significantly behind, and then a few years later was significantly ahead. Funny thing is that his body was totally in line with his academics.

 

At 7 he still had no arms and legs and was all torso, and couldn't read. At 14, he was well over 200 pounds, had a beard, was illegally working an almost full time job with adults, and doing 11th grade studies.

 

His physical and mental development between ages 9 and 13 was like something out of a science fiction movie, it was so rapid. If I'd known about Waldorf and could have afforded it, he would have been a Waldorf poster child. He was a natural born artist to boot.

 

The Waldorf curriculum is about so much more than academics. It's about the WHOLE child, mind, body, spirit. There is a big BODY readiness component. There are drawing and movement and ability to build considerations. Does OM include word working and knitting and movement, never mind drawing?

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There is a warning I would like to share with you about Oak Meadow's editions. The earlier ones are less meaty and have more of a Waldorf feel; the parent was expected to enrich the lessons on their own. I don't think you would be happy with an edition earlier than 2006. I have owned K-3rd in both the vintage and new editions; and while they both have pros and cons, the pre-2006 Oak Meadow would be a disappointment if you were looking for something similar to the samples on their website. Just an FYI if you are planning on buying it used. :)

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I dont know why, but i keep considering Oak Meadow for my youngest. He will be entering 2nd next year, and is very artsy, craftsy, loves stories, reading, projects, hands on........he is also accelerated in most subjects, so i dont know if Oak Meadow would even work for him...we would stick with Beast Academy and Math Mammoth for math, and Lively Latin......

 

Thoughts? Could Oak Meadow be a fit for an accelerated 2nd grader?

ETA: No. What exactly parts do you think you would use? He is way beyond just about every part of it academically and the other parts -- arts and crafts and so on, I feel pretty sure you don't need to get a Waldorf curriculum for.

 

 

You are not crazy to consider it, as it is extremely appealing, and I should know, I fell for it (or rather a Bricks and Mortar and other home package versions) myself. But ... there is a big but side to Waldorf. See my longer post on this thread http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?t=399040 And now that I know what school you went to, I would guess you have all the arts (and more) you need to lead that without anything from Waldorf, the arts part being the only part that I think has much going for it....especially for a gifted child. All the good parts of Waldorf were really there at St. Ann's--just remember back and recreate for home use as best you can what the lower school did, it will have the good parts of Waldorf, the academics suited for a gifted child, was not developmentally inappropriate so far as I could tell (a younger relative went there all 12 years like you), and also, I would guess, be more in line with your values.

Edited by Pen
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Hi Halcyon,

without knowing you, it sounds like you really don't want a curriculum in a box, which Oak Meadow will give you. Earlier additions were more tweakable, from what I have seen. Live Ed is a visually stunning curriculum: the art work is spectacular. We used it for fourth grade and I loved trying to make our work live up to the pictures in the curriculum (I am fairly art-challenged!). However, it is not a complete curriculum. It covers the main lessons only - the "head" lessons in Waldorf. You are left to do the middle (heart) and block (hands) lessons yourself. Given that you have classical bent, this may not be a problem: you can cover maths revision, writing, foreign language, arts and crafts etc, yourself. You definitely need to supplement the maths. I did have problems with some of the science aspects, though. Live Ed is more steeped in anthroposophy than Christopherus. Christopherus, if you buy the grade package, is a full curriculum: it covers the whole day. It is also much more practical and less esoteric. The science is much more solid (and scientifically valid). It certainly is not as artistically advanced as Live Ed and the author is very open about this. I have used it for grade 2 (before the full grade package was available), full package for grade 3, supplemented grade 4, full grade 5 and now a few history units and the rough guide in grade 6 (there is no grade package beyond grade 5). I am a compulsive tweaker: I add a lot and vary the reading to match my son's abilities, and I add Australian content. It is very easy to increase the difficulty of the content and your expectations.

HTH

D

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ETA: No. What exactly parts do you think you would use? He is way beyond just about every part of it academically and the other parts -- arts and crafts and so on, I feel pretty sure you don't need to get a Waldorf curriculum for.

 

 

You are not crazy to consider it, as it is extremely appealing, and I should know, I fell for it (or rather a Bricks and Mortar and other home package versions) myself. But ... there is a big but side to Waldorf. See my longer post on this thread http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?t=399040 And now that I know what school you went to, I would guess you have all the arts (and more) you need to lead that without anything from Waldorf, the arts part being the only part that I think has much going for it....especially for a gifted child. All the good parts of Waldorf were really there at St. Ann's--just remember back and recreate for home use as best you can what the lower school did, it will have the good parts of Waldorf, the academics suited for a gifted child, was not developmentally inappropriate so far as I could tell (a younger relative went there all 12 years like you), and also, I would guess, be more in line with your values.

 

adding:

 

A few things you might want to add for a bit of "Waldorfy"-ness on the positive side would be: Do some more home cooking with the children that is regular and that you do not now do (like weekly bread making, or perhaps in Florida, ice cream making). Start a garden , if you do not already have one. Use it for some science, math and nature study, all hands on. Tell stories out loud rather than reading them (for grade 2 the Waldorf stories are mainly fables like Aesop, Jumping Mouse, etc., and Saints stories, like St. Christopher, St. Francis of Assizi, Santa Lucia--but you can add some others to make it more multicultural, the idea is to have them be in the realm of still somewhat myth and fantasy, rather than stories of someone like Gandhi or Martin Luther King, which are too real and would put the children too much in their heads and cause them to be too intellectual too early (Waldorf is against that, hence Beast Academy at age 6 would be frowned on as causing possibly irreparable spiritual damage)--the idea is to only gradually wake them from being in their dreamy early childhood state). (4th grade's main story area was Norse myths.)

And actually do a lot of art. I feel pretty sure that being from St. Ann's you had exposure to all sorts of arts, but making a commitment to actually do them in your homeschool is perhaps another matter. The art, like the stories, are also kept kind of dreamy for the younger years and gradually develop (the Live-Ed website examples will show this pretty well). The fairly recent cover of a St. Ann's Times that showed a whole bunch of pictures of 3rd graders flower buds paintings, could well be on a Waldorf display, but would not be done until a later grade such as 5th when the children do plant pictures as part of "botany". At 3rd grade that would be considered developmentally too early to do something that realistic and "intellectual".

And then, finally, all of you could take up a handwork practice to do together such as, typically, knitting woolens--or something more suited to Florida weather.

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adding:

considered developmentally too early to do something that realistic and "intellectual".

Ironically for Waldorf Education the time has arrived that they can stop defending their methods. There are more and more studies coming out on how children do learn better through play or you could also call it cognitive development or less "intellectual" work, in the early years. The studies show that kids that still believe in Santa , imaginative characters etc... at later ages like 9 (3rd grade) have developed in ways that help them learn better in the long run. So it's understandable why Waldorf education methods try to shelter that imagination. There are many more years to Waldorf Education then just the first three if you look over the entire curriculum it's a rigorous classical education.

A good site where you can learn more about cognitive development

http://www.cognifit.com/science/cognitive-skills

also a great book http://www.amazon.com/Einstein-Never-Used-Flashcards-Learn/dp/1594860688/ref=pd_sim_b_4

 

I think the quibble is over the use of the word intellectual. I honestly wish Waldorf would choose a different word because the curriculum certainly is rich in the development of knowledge. But the knowledge is taught in an imaginative,hands on way. It's kind of like thinking music is unimportant for learning. Then you look at some of the world's greatest mathematicians and there is clearly a correlation between them and music. So many of them were,are musicians. Drawing,painting,handwork are all developing spatial intelligence. I could go on because obviously I am passionate about Waldorf methods and hate to see them misunderstood but I'll stop:lol:.

 

I should add that there are things that I don't agree with in Waldorf (I'm a Christian so some of their spiritual beliefs veer greatly from mine)but I think it's shame to not utilize the good part of it which is plentiful.

Edited by beachrose
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I've been looking at OM3 for my second grader. I am pretty sure I'd keep my own math, but add in activities from OM where they fit. It looks like it would be easy to increase the writing if needed and add additional reading. It seems like it will be rich and promote deep thinking.

Edited by Karen in CO
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I've been looking at OM3 for my second grader. I am pretty sure I'd keep my own math, but add in activities from OM where they fit. It looks like it would be easy to increase the writing if needed and add additional reading. It seems like it will be rich and promote deep thinking.

 

Let me know if you get it, Karen. I am going to keep my eye on the used curriculum board.

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I just heard on the high school board that OM high school is accredited from the same board as American School and Keystone, and that they share credits.

 

To be able to do OM high school I'd think that it would be advantageous to have used the earlier curriculum too?

 

I know almost nothing about Waldorf in the later years, or about OM's accredited program. But that post, and a private e-mail with a member from here, has left me with questions.

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There is something to be said for prepping the mind instead of repetition (I know, not a wholly classical notion). But IME if you teach a child to learn and think, even if it seems less "intellectual" or "information/skill dense" in the long run you may end up ahead.

 

I taught my HS aged niece and my 8yo algebra and biology together. The teen had 2yrs of algebra, my dd none, but had been after me to start teaching it. For algebra, I gave my dd a 20min pre-lesson at 7am, before classes. For biology, both girls spent 1 week doing a unit at the MS level (normally a month worth), then 2-3 weeks completing the HS-level unit, then another week doing university level work, for 3 units. The teen completed the worksheets faster (more experienced extracting info for homework), but at the end with the exception of quadratic equations, (and I will deny saying this if asked by either of them) my 8yo pwned the teen across the board (retains what she learns). :lol:

 

What does that say? Well, aside form that ps kids are taught to do hw and get thru tests rather than learn, IMO it says that a child who has been exposed to a lot and taught to think, can absorb astounding amounts of information AND retain AND put it in perspective of other knowledge. The ps districts here have the teaching of the proper use of a comma broken down over a 4-5 year period. WTH??? My 1st learned all her grammar rules early, my 2nd none except exposure until after becoming a strong reader and later. By then (end of first grade), I just told her about commas in 5 minutes and she hasn't made a mistake since.

 

Anyway, I'm not saying what will work for all kids, and this post isn't specifically about OM or Waldorf. The same discussion comes up with MM and Singapore which don't teach math topics over the same sequences as standard US. Just a reminder that sometimes what seems like "rigorous" may just be repetitive or inefficient (to some). The end point isn't 2nd grade, so unless you are intent on putting your child back in ps in the K-3 years it shouldn't be an issue with OM (which does adhere to its state's guidelines).

 

Just humbling that sometimes the less I try to be rigorous the more my kids learn, especially my Waldorfy middle child. :lol:

Edited by ChandlerMom
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Waldorf -- that which really is Waldorf, not that which is just sort of Waldorf inspired -- has a lot to do with an idea of what a child's developmental stages are and what the child should be doing at those stages. I do not think it is always correct in this, but I think it is sometimes correct.

 

I think it is possible that too much emphasis on the "intellectual" side and on "reality" too early may be damaging. I think we also see this in SWB when she cautions at the start of SOTW vol. 4 not to use it with children younger than 4th grade. I would question whether it is appropriate for a 7 or 8 year old even if that child were capable of doing 4th grade work.

 

I would suggest that people who are thinking about using some of Waldorf on top of what they are otherwise doing, or using Waldorf for a grade ahead of where their child would be according to Waldorf's idea of development consider that they might not be getting the benefits they might want.

 

For example, for OP's 6 year old, it might be worth contemplating that traditional Waldorf would only be done for a half day, would include lots of arts and movement and stories and handwork and outdoor time--the idea would be to let the child still be a child, to protect the realm of childhood. It would not include Latin, nor 3rd grade level math. If one really wants to give a child that experience for their childhood, and oneself the experience of it as a teacher/parent, possibly it would be better to do that fully and experience what that is like, rather than to try to meld the "accelerated idea" with the "Waldorf idea" at the same time, as the two are in many ways very much contradictory.

 

ETA: The Waldorf goal for a 6 year old (or 7) really still has to do with a focus on fully incarnating in the physical body, it really does not have to do with promoting deep thinking. 3rd grade materials and methods would not be considered to suit the true focus goals for a younger child--even if the child were capable of doing the academic parts. Think of a flower where first the roots go down, and then the stem comes up, and finally it is ready to flower.

Edited by Pen
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Waldorf -- that which really is Waldorf, not that which is just sort of Waldorf inspired -- has a lot to do with an idea of what a child's developmental stages are and what the child should be doing at those stages. I do not think it is always correct in this, but I think it is sometimes correct.

 

I think it is possible that too much emphasis on the "intellectual" side and on "reality" too early may be damaging. I think we also see this in SWB when she cautions at the start of SOTW vol. 4 not to use it with children younger than 4th grade. I would question whether it is appropriate for a 7 or 8 year old even if that child were capable of doing 4th grade work.

 

I would suggest that people who are thinking about using some of Waldorf on top of what they are otherwise doing, or using Waldorf for a grade ahead of where their child would be according to Waldorf's idea of development consider that they might not be getting the benefits they might want.

 

For example, for OP's 6 year old, it might be worth contemplating that traditional Waldorf would only be done for a half day, would include lots of arts and movement and stories and handwork and outdoor time--the idea would be to let the child still be a child, to protect the realm of childhood. It would not include Latin, nor 3rd grade level math. If one really wants to give a child that experience for their childhood, and oneself the experience of it as a teacher/parent, possibly it would be better to do that fully and experience what that is like, rather than to try to meld the "accelerated idea" with the "Waldorf idea" at the same time, as the two are in many ways very much contradictory.

 

ETA: The Waldorf goal for a 6 year old (or 7) really still has to do with a focus on fully incarnating in the physical body, it really does not have to do with promoting deep thinking. 3rd grade materials and methods would not be considered to suit the true focus goals for a younger child--even if the child were capable of doing the academic parts. Think of a flower where first the roots go down, and then the stem comes up, and finally it is ready to flower.

 

Although I agree with a lot of this (Waldorf's value can be undone by pushing too far), I would avoid the word "damaging" :D and point out that Waldorf was based on one man's idea of child development as understood at the turn of the century (about the same time as Jung and CM and folks were doing their things, too). Waldorf uses different metrics besides age to tell when kids are moving twix stages and it is very Waldorf to customize an education to *meet the child where they are* head, heart, and spirit. Parents of accelerated kids, including those teaching 3rd grade (or higher) math to younger students aren't pushing their kids, just meeting them where they are. ;) I have a 3yo who reads books (taught himself letters and sounds at 2) and knows addition facts thru 12 (from listening in to his sister) -- can I really start him with "this is capital A" and "let's count THREE beads" in 2 years? Does he have to forego OM because he doesn't fit the Waldorf dev model?

 

The special challenge parents of highly accelerated kids have when it comes to implementing Waldorf is exactly how to do this when there is this disparity and when curricula assume certain maturity or ages for certain levels, which is often an issue. I find OM a wonderful platform (at or near grade level) from which I can accelerate in math and explore topics more deeply (like science). I also find MCT LA a good match in style.

 

So although I do think it is good to caution against people haphazardly piling stuff on top of Waldorf to make it "more rigorous" (unnecessary in general), I don't believe Waldorf is all or nothing.

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, I don't believe Waldorf is all or nothing.

Totally agree I have a dd that loves workbooks so she has some. My kids love math so have them do teaching textbooks on the computer for their practice ,very much a Waldorf no no. But having raised two to adulthood.... I totally see the value of protecting their childhood and how important it is to not kill their natural love of learning. Which is why I am very attracted to Waldorf methods but like someone said Waldorf methods are based on one man's ideas. I seriously doubt one man holds the key of how best to teach every child. ;)

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The special challenge parents of highly accelerated kids have when it comes to implementing Waldorf is exactly how to do this when there is this disparity and when curricula assume certain maturity or ages for certain levels, which is often an issue. I find OM a wonderful platform (at or near grade level) from which I can accelerate in math and explore topics more deeply (like science). I also find MCT LA a good match in style.

 

So although I do think it is good to caution against people haphazardly piling stuff on top of Waldorf to make it "more rigorous" (unnecessary in general), I don't believe Waldorf is all or nothing.

 

This was very nice to read. My 4 year old son is very accelerated and yet he is such a little boy. Finding the balance of what is appropriate to offer in the way of academics while also respecting his age and maturity level has been somewhat challenging for me. I have been using MP's K level with him and he loves it but it lacks... creativity... I hate to say. I've pulled the Christopherus K 3-6 year old book off my shelf and have been using that for ideas as well as doing some of the Little Acorn activities that are based on the month/season.

 

I'm now trying to blend MP 2nd grade with Christopherus. It is finding the balance that is challenging and figuring out what I truly think is more important in early childhood development - that the child is prepared for more strenuous academics later based on a traditional educational path or preserving the beauty of early childhood. I'm not easily finding a balance and it turns out that I am something of a box checker and a notorious tweaker, which doesn't help.

 

Halcyon, hope you find an OM guide on the used boards and can figure out what you want to do. I feel like I am in the same boat here!

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Although I agree with a lot of this (Waldorf's value can be undone by pushing too far), I would avoid the word "damaging" :D and point out that Waldorf was based on one man's idea of child development as understood at the turn of the century (about the same time as Jung and CM and folks were doing their things, too). Waldorf uses different metrics besides age to tell when kids are moving twix stages and it is very Waldorf to customize an education to *meet the child where they are* head, heart, and spirit. Parents of accelerated kids, including those teaching 3rd grade (or higher) math to younger students aren't pushing their kids, just meeting them where they are. ;) I have a 3yo who reads books (taught himself letters and sounds at 2) and knows addition facts thru 12 (from listening in to his sister) -- can I really start him with "this is capital A" and "let's count THREE beads" in 2 years? Does he have to forego OM because he doesn't fit the Waldorf dev model?

 

The special challenge parents of highly accelerated kids have when it comes to implementing Waldorf is exactly how to do this when there is this disparity and when curricula assume certain maturity or ages for certain levels, which is often an issue. I find OM a wonderful platform (at or near grade level) from which I can accelerate in math and explore topics more deeply (like science). I also find MCT LA a good match in style.

 

So although I do think it is good to caution against people haphazardly piling stuff on top of Waldorf to make it "more rigorous" (unnecessary in general), I don't believe Waldorf is all or nothing.

 

I agree with just about everything you wrote here. I think my own post may have been confusing as to what I meant. I did not mean parts of Waldorf cannot be used (I am eclectic and do incorporate some that is Waldorf myself). I meant OP might perhaps consider various other possibilities.

 

The part of Waldorf that I personally think is at its best is the arts part. And personally, I think in some of the arts parts, the Waldorf ideas about development do have some merit. I think there is something to be said for beeswax in the K and under stages--as determined by things like age, change of teeth and various factors, but not especially to be determined by accelerated cademic level, not because they cannot use clay then, but because beeswax is warm and nurturing. I think there is something to be said for, say, knitting a puppet for grade 2 (7-8 years) stage, not because they cannot do a grade 3 project then, but because the knitted puppet may fit the emotional development stage, and so on. I don't know what the projects for OM are, I am using examples as from the materials I do know.

 

I think that to use Waldorf based methods or materials, if one is going to, in ways where it is at its best, may (may not does, just, something to be considered) mean looking carefully at that aspect of it where it is trying to fit the emotional and physical etc. developmental stages of children, and may mean at least considering (considering, mind you, not accepting) that it may have some merits in some areas, that it could (could, could, only could) be that OP's son would better fit Waldorf at his age level than at his academic level (which may not be a fit at all) for those areas like arts and crafts which seem to be what OP is most seeing might be a fit for him. Similarly the stories areas may (again may, just may) be a better fit for the, say fables and heroes and heroines stories aka Saints stories, than for OT stories, again to choose typical difference between 2nd and 3rd grade. Or not.

 

As to the "damage" issue, okay, maybe too strong a word, but there were parents at my son's b&m Waldorf who were volunteering in the pre-K and K classes because they felt that they had missed out on those early levels of nurturing and development by being pushed too hard intellectually too early and were trying to help fill in the holes they felt were left by experiencing the atmosphere getting to hear the stories, play with the art supplies and so on.

Edited by Pen
to fix grade 2 as "7-8 years stage" rather than "6-7 years"
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.

 

As to the "damage" issue, okay, maybe too strong a word, but there were parents at my son's b&m Waldorf who were volunteering in the pre-K and K classes because they felt that they had missed out on those early levels of nurturing and development by being pushed too hard intellectually too early and were trying to help fill in the holes they felt were left by experiencing the atmosphere getting to hear the stories, play with the art supplies and so on.

 

Waldorf methods are being used in some recovery facilities and teenaged detention centers. I have used Waldorf methods in my own recovery process and with my adult tutoring students and friends.

 

Even gifted students sometimes need REMEDIAL Waldorf instruction, rather than acceleration.

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Originally, I thought OM was way too easy for my dc, and have bought & sold various levels several times.:blushing: I finally figured out the hows & whys of OM, and wish I had just stuck to it/with it. It totally builds upon itself, and is very deceptive. If you actually do all of the things that it asks you to do, it does cover a lot. And even if they know some of the things already (for us, it was a lot of the science/nature stuff), it's okay, because it is review, plus they are learning how to record things in their Main Lesson Books, and learning narration. Waldorf & Charlotte Mason have a lot of similarities, and while OM isn't calling it narration, that's what they are doing.

 

Anyway, once they get to OM 4th, you will be amazed at how the learning increases, and by 5th, the difference is huge. They really, really are heading towards them being able to research, plan, and think on their own. The assignments are fantastic, and I cannot say enough about it, especially the writing that they have them do. In 3rd grade, they have them start "gently" journaling, and that helps the transition into 4th, where they are doing formal journaling, as well as writing book reports. Then, the writing really steps up in 5th.

 

That's why I wish we would have stuck with it, because while my dd is capable of all of the reading and science that OM 5th does, I don't feel that she is at all ready for the amount of writing & thinking independently that is required.

 

I know I'm babbling, but I had to chime in here, because you can really beef up the grade levels. If you call OM, they are so helpful, and will give you a lot of good ideas. They encourage not sticking rigidly to the manuals as written! I wish I would have had my dc do OM 2nd, and I would have just added a lot more books about animals, and science that were related to the learning.

 

Good luck with whatever you decide.:001_smile:

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...

As to the "damage" issue, okay, maybe too strong a word, but there were parents at my son's b&m Waldorf who were volunteering in the pre-K and K classes because they felt that they had missed out on those early levels of nurturing and development by being pushed too hard intellectually too early and were trying to help fill in the holes they felt were left by experiencing the atmosphere getting to hear the stories, play with the art supplies and so on.

 

I wanted to edit the above to explain "holes" but it got way too long (!!!! yikes!!! and because so long, I am going to split it into two parts)

 

Part 1:

 

ETA: by "holes" above, I mean something like holes in the heart, holes in the psyche, and to use Waldorf's own ideas, yes, even, and perhaps most importantly of all, a sense of spiritual development holes.

 

I mean by holes, something potentially very serious and important, not just a hole in the usual academic or educational sense of didn't cover fractions well and need to relearn it, or missed any Latin at all or really are ignorant about the effects on health of all the electricity around us (though I do consider that last hole rather serious for most people right now).

 

I also don't mean just arts and crafts holes, because the arts and crafts in Waldorf is not about arts for arts sake, or crafts for crafts sake, but rather it is related to trying to develop the whole person as an, ultimately, whole spiritual being--which takes into account the physical incarnation in the body, the emotional realm, and the thinking realm...

 

Indeed all of Waldorf has that as its philosophical underpinning, both for good when it is good, such as in my opinion its arts areas are extremely good, and for ill when in my strong opinion it is, sadly and dangerously, extremely for ill as when it gets toward racism, anti-semitism, etc, ...though it may look on the surface similar to classical, it is not the same underneath.

 

I have studied anthroposophy for some years now. There are things I agree with, things I do not. Certainly even things I think would have been different had Steiner lived longer, perhaps at least through WWII, and perhaps into seeing some of the ills of modern life now, maybe some of the changing Zeitgeist would have changed parts of his personal ethos that got into Waldorf. But, he lived when he lived, died when he died, and what he believed got codified and reified by those who came after as being scripture almost.

 

I think it is okay to use parts of it in an eclectic mix. But I also think it would be easy to use parts of it in a way that might not be of long term benefit in the really important ways that I am trying to get at when I speak of "holes" above, by not understanding much of what it really is. Even, in a sense, eclectically used, it could make the important "holes" for the child worse, because the parent does not know what parts of a child's development to look at when deciding on level of Waldorf materials, does not really understand what Waldorf is about.

 

I believe some PP back on a page I cannot now see wrote about looking into a 3rd grade level of Waldorf for a younger accelerated student, and that OP thought that was an interesting idea.

 

At age 6-7 Waldorf is about helping a child to incarnate fully into his or her body for this lifetime on earth (even if you do not believe in reincarnation, even if that sounds like mumbo-jumbo, likely you can get some sense of the idea of a child being fully present, vital, and alive, comfortable being in his own skin as it were, and substitute that for the idea of incarnating)--it is not about learning to think deeply.

 

It is the Waldorf view that it is too young yet to be emphasizing deep thinking and that the effect is like forcing a plant to bloom before its time at the cost of being able to develop strong roots.

 

And so too using the wrong level of a Waldorf based curriculum could be like pouring garden amendments meant to increase fruiting on a mere seedling which still needs appropriate amendments to help grow strong roots.

 

And so, in that sense, it could possibly be worse than letting the plant grow as it would normally without having added either the appropriate or the inappropriate amendment for the growth stage. (I am not saying this is necessarily correct, but it is what Waldorf is about in many ways, and it might be worth considering, just considering, not necessarily accepting, that there is validity in these views--just as it might be worth considering that a bag of soil amendments might be best used for the stage of growth the bag indicates.)

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Part 2:

 

Grade 3 Waldorf is supposed to fit with what is called "the 9 year change" (which does not always come at exactly age 9, but is generally somewhere close around that time)...while I realize that OM is more Waldorf inspired than true Waldorf, it is nonetheless a Waldorf oriented curriculum--whether a 6-7 year old's needs would be best met by what is meant for emotional and otherwise typical "9 year old" stage development, no matter what he can do in reading, math and Latin, is a big question.

 

In fact, depending upon whether your (Halcyon) son is just barely 6 now or about to turn 7, and whether his physical and emotional maturity is typical, ahead or behind, there might even be a very big question of whether in Waldorf (or even just Waldorf inspired) developmental terms his needs would be better addressed by the arts and other materials and methods meant for 1st grade. (According to Christopherus: "Ideally, the first grader is seven years old." But that generally means 7 at some point in that year, not needing to be 7 at the start of it, though some are.)

 

First grade still mainly uses the primary colors in beginning level watercolors paintings--exploring and feeling into the colors--form not yet being considered as important, though it begins to be used in first grade. It uses both warm beeswax modeling still extensively and also begins (cold--but one of the early exercises done many times is just to form a ball and feel it warm up in ones hands) clay work, extends crayon work through blending of colors and more advanced work (than in K) generally depicting the first grade fairy tale and nature stories. Knitting begins with simple projects like a drawstring bag, and so on, again, typically, I don't know specifically for OM. There is a lot of emphasis on developing motor skills through play ('games' was a class and used tag, jump rope, etc.), handwork, form drawing and other means.

 

First graders typically make their own alphabet book as a Main Lesson project, which no doubt, seems like it would be something way way way below the level of OP's child--probably seems silly like the idea of working on A when the child has been reading for years. But an illustrated alphabet book can be whatever the child can do--it could have a rhymed poem with alliteration for the letter on every page if the child could do that, or extraordinary advanced art, for example, and that may actually be appropriate for OP's child at the wholistic development level, even if he is an excellent reader already and knew his ABC's when he was 2.

 

This is part of why I made the suggestion that perhaps (perhaps, once again mind you, this is just a perhaps, just something for you to consider or contemplate) a year of a Waldorf based curriculum, if that is what you, Halcyon, OP choose, could be just that--sort of like a Unit Study, or a trip to a foreign country for a year instead of trying to do a both/and or a tweaked approach. Perhaps you might instead, dive in fully and get the whole experience, an immersion in another culture as it were. Perhaps even with both the children. If you do do it fully, it is a lot--even just setting up the art and doing it as a model and then having the child do it, learning the stories by heart, and then having the child narrate them, do art from them, act them out, work on Main Lesson Book (again reference is to typical Waldorf, not OM) is a lot-- for both child and also for the parent/teacher.

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I just wanted to say that I agree that serious thought should be given before "skipping levels" in Waldorf (e.g, OM K thru 4), because there is built-in a lot of ideas about child dev at each level. However, modern developmental neurobiology has shown us that there really is a wide range of "normal" and I don't think it is so simple. So I don't feel bound by Steiner's plans any more than I feel bound by anyone else's. ;)

 

When you start talking about the accelerated child, those children whose nature is to think abstractly and deeply at very young ages rather than being pushed to do so, it can be a bit harder sometimes to find the sweet spot where you are maintaining the childlike wonder and exploration without boring them to tears. An example is my dd for whom the WTM cycles would be torture because she has a nearly didactic memory and finds repetition painful -- basically, I've only got one shot at each period in history but can go to any depth and she'll retain it and be able to recall and integrate it with later learning. Totally shot my initial lesson planning! :lol:

 

I have OM1 and OM2, I think both are lovely, and think the best way to tell which is best for a child is when OM is kind enough to send extended samples so you can try it out for a couple weeks. :D I personally do tend to keep the level near age and add on any head acceleration by going to greater depths, so I do understand the argument for matching level to age. OTOH, I recognize the individuality of each child and can see that there may be reason to move up or down a level to fit. :)

Edited by ChandlerMom
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  • 5 months later...

I just wanted to say that I agree that serious thought should be given before "skipping levels" in Waldorf (e.g, OM K thru 4), because there is built-in a lot of ideas about child dev at each level. However, modern developmental neurobiology has shown us that there really is a wide range of "normal" and I don't think it is so simple. So I don't feel bound by Steiner's plans any more than I feel bound by anyone else's. ;)

 

When you start talking about the accelerated child, those children whose nature is to think abstractly and deeply at very young ages rather than being pushed to do so, it can be a bit harder sometimes to find the sweet spot where you are maintaining the childlike wonder and exploration without boring them to tears. An example is my dd for whom the WTM cycles would be torture because she has a nearly didactic memory and finds repetition painful -- basically, I've only got one shot at each period in history but can go to any depth and she'll retain it and be able to recall and integrate it with later learning. Totally shot my initial lesson planning! :lol:

 

I have OM1 and OM2, I think both are lovely, and think the best way to tell which is best for a child is when OM is kind enough to send extended samples so you can try it out for a couple weeks. :D I personally do tend to keep the level near age and add on any head acceleration by going to greater depths, so I do understand the argument for matching level to age. OTOH, I recognize the individuality of each child and can see that there may be reason to move up or down a level to fit. :)

 

 

 

I agree with you here. I have two PG daughters and also use Waldorf curriculum as a base. THey both learn very, very fast and I struggled with how I was going to go about teaching Waldorf without grade skipping. The solution I cam up with was to combine the Waldorf curriculum with another curriculum, keeping Waldorf at their age level and the other at their learning level. For example, I combine Christropherus and Earthschooling at grade 4 with Alpha Omegaat grades 5 and 6. This might be controversial and taboo in the Waldorf community, but it helps me give my girls the Waldorf approach while catering to their academic needs.

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