Thursday, February 5, 2015

To Waldorf or Not to Waldorf...

            That is the current question of the hour. If you've been around for awhile, you have probably noticed that my tastes in things can sometimes change like the shifts in wind. You may have also seen that I was interested in Montessori education for awhile. While I haven't completely abandoned the Montessori educational philosophy, I have been re-introduced to the Waldorf method in the past year and have to say that, now that I've researched into it some more, it seems much more in-line with our beliefs and way of life.
            Some of you probably think I'm crazy for even researching as much as I do (which I still feel is not nearly enough!) into "alternative educational methods" since Myka just turned two in October. After all, she won't be officially homeschooled until she's what, 5?! But, knowing the kind of person that I am AND being a LITTLE bit on the OCD side, it's best I start investigating into educational options now for what seems to work best for Myka (and the way she learns/her personality) and how I can get away from the "traditional" schooling methods. If I wanted to do things "by the books", I would send her to public school. (I'm really not meaning that as a put down to those of you who have children that go to public school. I understand that not everyone has the time, money, patience, or desire to homeschool. That statement was just simply how I feel about homeschool vs. public school as a parent who is willing and able to homeschool to diverge from "the norm".)

            While personally I still kind of like Montessori better, Myka is very much our child and has a mind of her own. I think she will be better off with Waldorf to start off with. Even at two years old, we encourage her to use her imagination and show her new or different, out of the ordinary, ways to play with her toys, especially when it seems like she starts getting bored with them. That is the main thing I DON'T like about Montessori: Children are only supposed to play with toys/manipulatives in the exact manner they were intended for, from what I have gathered. For instance, children wouldn't be allowed to stack puzzle pieces because that is not "the right way" to use them. For us, this thinking seems a little extreme (especially for young children!) and we don't want to hamper Myka's creativity or imagination.
            Some other aspects of Waldorf education that we like are that it includes a lot of time exploring outside, natural toys, and arts and crafts type activities. As I'm sure many of you have noticed, we LOVE doing crafts. Actually, I can't wait until Myka gets older so she is more into it because I have hundreds of ideas saved on Pinterest! ha ha All three of us also like spending as much time outdoors as possible. While this winter has been relatively mild compared to last so far, it's been very odd this year not being able to go hiking and fishing during the winter since we are back in Indiana! We also have tried limiting plastic and/or battery powered toys since Myka was born, so the whole "natural toy" business is nothing new to us.
            I still have a lot of reading and researching to do, but I'm sure we'll have an interesting combination of Waldorf and Montessori materials and learning as Myka gets older. How about you? How did you come to your decision on what works best for your homeschooled children?

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