Topic | waldorf to CM

This topic contains 10 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  labellavita 6 years, 3 months ago.

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  • amypixie

    Hey everybody, I have a 9 yo and we have been using waldorf since kindergarten. He went to a waldorf school for a few years and now we are homeschooling with waldorf. We are steeped in this lifestyle but I am overwhelmed by the artistic and hands on stuff that I feel the teachers at school are better with. My son is also getting real interested in history and geography which up to this point is very light in waldorf.

    We recently started going to an Orthodox church and I am beginning to take a more Christian approach to our studies anyway. I found a wonderful CM inspired Orthodox curriculum to use. Yet, some things put me off such as teaching Shakespeare to nine year olds or having them study famous artists and composers. That seems more like a classical approach to me. I’m really big about age appropriateness and not having him too much in his head quicker than he needs to. Some things about CM look similar to the gentle approach of Waldorf and then some seem more advanced.

    Has anyone else transitioned from waldorf or blended the two together? I’m just trying to decide if this will work for us and what differences I should expect.

    Sara B.

    I can’t help you with the Waldorf side of things, but one thing I learned in my search for a way to teach that fit our family (how I found CM, in other words) is that CM is actually a branch off of classical.  However, instead of rote memorization and boring repetition, CM does it gently through living books that make the kids excited to learn the story.

    Also just wanted to say that you don’t have to do everything the way it’s spelled out in the Curriculum Guide.  It’s there as just that – a guide – for you to do with as you will.  🙂  I won’t do Shakespeare until my kids are in 7th grade, for the same reasons as you – I don’t feel they’re really ready for that kind of thing until they’re older.  As for artists and composers, the artists don’t take long (10-15 min once a week to read a story about the artist, 5 minutes or so looking at their paintings), and the composers we read a book (again, 10-15 min. a week) and listen to their music while we do copywork for 5-10 min. every day.  Others just listen to the music in the car or wherever works.  So it’s not rigorous by any means.

    I hope this helps!


    We have been homeschooling since kindy and my daughter is also 9, but in 3rd grade.

    We blend the two together, and I find they go really well together hand in hand. Because of our beliefs we don’t ascribe to Waldorf and Steiner philosophies, but we’ve taken what I feel is the best of the two and combined them. I use a mix of Oak Meadow christopherus, and CM with our lessons.

    I try to follow the guidelines for each age and keep things gentler and lighter on the history approach. We focus a lot on handiwork, and nature study also. The books we do read also I feel are more age appropriate than some of the heavier content books that some CM sites suggest.

    As far as composer and artist study, we do do this, but we take about 6 months to go through one for each. Composer study is not formal around here, we play the music when we remember, and I will read a short living book and that’s it. For pic. Study, we choose artists that are going to be more appealing to this age group, and we do a short study once a week,

    I also run a CM/ Salford inspired coop. We meet outdoors, rain or shine for circle time, nature study, nature walks, playing in the creek, and handiwork, so it’s easy to blend the two together.

    There is also a yahoo group that’s helpful with this.



    Oops lots of typos, typing on my IPad! Sorry!


    New here, just wanted to offer my opinion. I am starting CM with my younger children this year, and I have taken courses on education and so have studied Waldorf topically. I think that CM is very gentle, and the main point of the education is really to instill in children a love of learning and education. The idea of introducing Shakespeare and art/music is that it inspires the child naturally, because of the beauty in it. If it is introduced gently as recommended, the child will be interested in it. It is about offering as much quality material as possible, and letting the student absorb what they will. One of the most important aspects of a CM education is nature studies, which is very relaxed, she only advocated teaching the child the name for an object (type of tree, ie Grey Birch, Sugar Maple) when it was in front of the child to see.

    As a side note, I have loved Shakespeare since I was in elementary school, and read it for myself after school well before it was required in the public school I went to. If your child is interested in history, perhaps start with one of the historical plays (King Lear, etc) and compare them to the actual history of the time and persons. Also, to keep it connected to your past schooling, consider that these were plays, meant to be performed. You could consider acting out just some of the scenes to see if your child takes an interest.

    I personally think it is easier to add more hands on to a CM style education then to try and add extra topics & structures to the more relaxed methods. KWIM?

    At first I was a little overwhelmed by CM and not sure it would fit my personality/preferences but the more I have learned the more I love it.

    You have to remember that even though CM recommended covering lots of different subjects with the children (“liberal” and “varied”) it is all done with very gentle lessons. For instance, if you look at the curriculum guide it may seem that you could never cram in so many topics without overwhelming a young child but actually if you break it down at your daughter’s age no subject (with the exception of nature study) would go more then 15 or 20 min, some would only take 5 min or so and some are only once a week or even once a month vs every single day……..very do-able.

    Let us know what you think as you continue to explore CM :o)

    Melissa Henson

    I had to chime in here because this is EXACTLY how I homeschool ~ combining CM and Waldorf.  I spent two years swinging back and forth on the pendulum, as if I had to choose one or the other before finally realizng that I could do what I wanted.  Isn’t that one of the many reasons we homeschool?  I can create my own method ~ take what I want from each and leave the rest. I still struggle sometimes (mostly when I get caught up in blogs or forums) with starting to get caught up in one or the other, but I think I’ve gotten MY method down.  Let me share it with you if it will help you.

    I have two children ~ 8 and 6, almost 7.  Technically, this past year they were 2nd and kindy.  I feel strongly about the Waldorf delayed academics, so I didn’t do official stuff with my youngest.  Though, she LIKES it, so she did do some handwriting and join in for the family stuff and she WANTED to read Bob Books.  But, I still intend to start Waldorf Grade 1 with her in the fall (Fairy Tale intro to letters and numbers … I have the Christopherus Grade 0ne syllabus).  She has also started working through the Delightful Reading program available here at SCM ~ she LOVES it!

    I like to use Waldorf to tell me WHAT they should be learning and hearing at what age, to speak to them developmentally.  Then, I like to sort of go about it in a mixed CM/Waldorf way.  We read living books and narrate, but we also draw and summarize and do crafts.  I like to use Main Lesson Books and beeswax crayons … I like to recognize the seasons and some of the festivals.  I like copywork and nature study and Artist Study.  I like to read aloud good, quality literature to them.  I like to take the best of each and leave the rest. I also love to use the BLOCK format.  It just makes it easier for me!

    For me, this means in grade 2 when my daughter should have heard Saints and Heroes and Animal Fables (as per Waldorf), we did that.  But, we did that with books.  I would check out good stories from the library and we would read them together.  My daughter would tell me the story again the next day (narration as per CM, revisiting as per Waldorf) and she would draw it in her MLB (as per both methods, really … CM says children can narrate via illustration).  She would retell it to me again the next day and we’d come up with a summary together.  She would copy that summary into her MLB.  I would find a related poem for her to copy into her MLB one stanza per day (copywork ala CM, related to Waldorf story).  We’d do some sort of craft for it (she made the Wolf out of sculpy when we did St. Francis and the Wolf, we made bird feeders out of pine cones, peanut butter and seed when we did St. Francis talks to Birds).  During this LA block, we still had 15 minute math lessons, she read to me from Reading Literature Second Reader (Harriet Treadwell).  We never quite made it to spelling, but I intend to fit that in in the fall.  I have All About Spelling which really isn’t either philosophy, but is supposed to be EXCELLENT.

    As a family, we did Nature Studies together.  We have been working through the Outdoor Secrets Companion and love it!  We take walks every morning before we start school.  For Artist Study, we read picture books about Monet, for instance, and once a week we look at a print (I found some old calendars at Tuesday Morning that have artists’ prints in them) and they narrate it back to me.  We then hang that print in our dining room/school room for the week.  Obviously, you have the liberty to skip any prints that aren’t appropriate for children.  Or skip Artist Study altogether if you wish.

    So, here are my plans for the coming year:  1st & 3rd grades as per Waldorf, done my own CM/Waldorfy way …

    1st Grader:  Christopherus Grade One Syllabus (blocks of Letter intro, Number Intro, reading/writing, 4 processes); Delightful Reading Program; Singapore Math 15 minutes a day and FAMILY WORK (listed below)

    3rd Grader:  We will cover Native American stories and Old Testament stories in our LA blocks (I will do the same blocks with each child to make it easier … i.e. if I’m in a LA block with Grade 1, we’ll be in a LA block in Grade 3, etc.)  , but in the ways mentioned above.  I want to get Hurlbut’s Story of the Bible and read & narrate the OT portion and check out good books from the library for the Native American stories; Also might get the Red Indian Fairy Book, read Naya Nuki.  We’ll continue with daily math practice, but will also cover Time, Money and Measurement the Waldorf way.  We’ll use the books by Shemie to do shelters (and combine these with Native American and Old Testament stories where applicable); As for farming/gardening, we’ll try to visit farms, work on some, go to the Farmer’s Market regularly, read Farmer Boy and Ox Cart Man aloud, plant our own garden and work in it, visit the Living History Musem to see old Farming tools & machines, check out books on farming and farm animals, etc.; During our 1st grade Nature blocks, we’ll also study weather (outside, of course) … maybe make some MLB pages about it; for Practical Projects, she is going to complete a couple of building and woodworking projects with Daddy on the weekends; We’ll add in Cursive, All About Spelling and Queen Language Lessons for the Very Young; She’ll continue reading independently and doing handwork (knitting, sewing, etc. and we get together for a Handowrk group once a week during the school year where she’ll learn to crochet); we’ll cook and maybe I’ll get her to make her own cookbook/main lesson book of recipes

    AS A FAMILY:  We’ll continue Outdoor Secrets until we’re finished, we’ll read aloud the Burgess Bird Book (and do the coloring pages and activites mentioned at Satori Smiles); We’ll read aloud the Burgess story books (adventures series) and the Clara Dillingham Among the ______ People books; We’ll continue our Artist Study and reading aloud literature at night and before Quiet Time; I plan to find a way to incorporate Art, Spanish and PE (possibly via Co-Op) and lots of field trips

    Sorry for so much detail.  I just wanted you to see how you can weave the two together and make it work… choose what speaks to you from each, and if something just doesn’t seem that imortant to you from either, don’t do it … and, most importantly, DON’T FEEL GUILTY about not doing it!

    I’d be happy to answer questions personally if you want!

    Many blessings on your journey!





    I’m sorry it has taken me so long to respond. Thank you for all the thoughtful replies. Iriemomma, I know what you mean about reading blogs and getting caught up in one method or what I call the purist approach. I’ve decided not to do that anymore, even with CM. We just finished 3rd grade and it was very overwhelming. Just reading your plans for hands on activities and field trips reminded me of how difficult it was. Part of it is finances. Buying curriculum supplies is half the expense. Then you have to pay for all of these extra craft supplies and field trips. Even if the field trip itself is free there is usually a gas expense if it is a distance. Add that to sharing one car between a hubby who works all the time and suddenly I’m asking myself if using this curriculum is really benefitting my child if I can’t physically do all of these hands on things. That is the main reason we are changing things up. If he were in a waldorf school they could do all of that stuff but it just isn’t within my means or skills a lot of the time.

    I am right with you on the age appropriateness of subject matter. My son loves to read so the living books and then narration is a really good fit for him. I’m still not sure I understand the artist study, especially from a waldorf perspective. It seems to me that at this age kids should be immersing themselves in the experience of art itself as creativity, not studying technical aspects of famous artists and how they created art, which to my understanding has even squelched the creativity of aspiring artists in art degree programs.

    My 4 yo won’t be starting school anytime soon and we’ll be taking a waldorf approach with kindy anyway. I imagine that we will use waldorf for her in first grade as well and use it as long as it fits or works for us as a family. I just sensed this year with my son that we were moving away from it and the expense/expertise (or lack thereof) on my part was not working for us at this level.


    We just look at an artist work for a minute or two and turn it over to see what they remember seeing.  We giggle over it and put the picture up to see for a week.  We never discuss technique or anything that would “squelch” their creatvity interest.  We do sometimes talk about whether or not we like a work – usually the reponse is along the lines of the color is too dark or I like the water type thing.  However, I choose to do artist study in addition to our art stuff so my children have better things in their minds eye than Spongebob or other inappropriate cartoon characters.  Just like I choose to read living literature so that they have something besides cartoons in their minds…my goal is eventually the gentle exposure to these things will help them make good choices about what they view, do or read.

    We also have a weekly scheduled “art” time that allows us to get out more than the usual amount of creative “stuff” and allow the kids to make their own thing, in addition to the avaible whenever you want it stuff.   It is so important for a person to be able to explore their world at their level and make their own connections, whether it is in music, art, science, math or language.  The fact that CM encouraged this so gently and openly was one of the strongest appeals to me.  I haven’t studied Waldorf, but really wanted to encourage you to take the beat of both and combine it to your family’s needs.  You will be happier that way, and feel more peace.  There is not one of us on this site doing exactly the same thing ever, even if we were using the same books.  That’s the beauty of it all…=)


    there are some things about Waldorf that I absolutely love, there is a gentleness, a wholeness, I don’t know how to explain it, there is “something” that just seems to be missing from other methodologies.  I discovered it too late to create that type of natural rhythm to our day.  I LOVE mainlesson books!  Then are things about CM that I absolutely love too, she had much, much wisdom about children too.  They are very good, just different!  For my children, I wish I wouldn’t have gotten them into their heads as early as I did.  And you know, I don’t know why, but for some reason handicrafts from a Waldorf perspective didn’t seem so overwhelming as handicrafts from a CM perspective.  People argued w/ me about that one time on a CM loop.  Can’t explain it, it just DOES! (to me Wink)

    Anyhoo, I said all that to say that here is a group where homeschool moms take what they love about both Waldorf and CM:

    That may be helpful. Hope so.  Smile


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