***All opinions in the post are my own and are without compensation. I'm just sharing the joy I found through this curriculum :) ***
A year ago, I made the best homeschooling decision I have ever made.
I switched to Waldorf from a more classical approach.
And I didn't know what I was doing.
After spending time on some of the Waldorf facebook groups, I felt like I needed to buy so many things to make our new lifestyle a reality. I felt overwhelmed by the "must dos" and "do nots" I was seeing all over the computer screen, I thought that maybe this wasn't going to work.
But after digging through the superficial blogs and facebook posts, I found a blog that really resonated with me.
One of the very first things I read about homeschooling the Waldorf way that made me feel confident that it was a path I could take was this blog post, written by Kelly from Lavender's Blue Homeschool.
It centered around music and movement in the kindergarten years, one of the things I was aching to add back in to our lives after a very stressful classical year.
After spending the night reading through every. single. blog post Kelly had written, I knew not only that Waldorf was the way I wanted to go, but that I really wanted to try her Kindergarten curriculum.
My main concern though, was my rising first grader and my newly four year old. Would I be able to use the kindergarten curriculum with both of them? After many emails back and forth with Kelly, where she answered all of my million questions with warmth and understanding, I knew that this was the curriculum for me.
Kelly's Kindergarten Curriculum is a four season curriculum, with each season lasting 12 weeks. Each season starts with a general introduction to building a Waldorf - inspired homeschool and life style. I knew right away that Kelly was a great fit for my family when I read this, just five pages in:
"Teaching kindergarten is more about creating a healthy home life than anything else,
and the essentials will express themselves differently for every family. They don’t lend
themselves to a structured curriculum - they will come from the heart and soul, culture
and traditions of your own unique family. The goal is not to be some kind of clone of
what you think a Waldorf family looks like or what you see at the local Waldorf fair, the
dreamy online toy catalogue, or the gorgeous blogs and books that you read.
I will give you ideas to think about, but then you can rely on your heart and intuition to~ Kelly Erhman
decide what works best for your family and helps your child thrive. You will learn this
by doing it, living it, always observing your child, and adjusting as you go."
I immediately felt that this was something I could do, and something that I could tailor to meet the needs of my family, and not make our family meet the needs of a curriculum (although I didn't need to change anything at all to meet our families needs!).
Kelly gives an introduction to all the major aspects of a Waldorf kindergarten, taking you through the how-tos of things like beeswax modeling, water colour painting, telling stories, and handwork. Her explanations are simple and easy to follow, and really leave you feeling like you can do it. Most importantly, Kelly focuses on how to create a joyful and magical kindergarten experience, by building the home life and creating a strong base that will carry you through early childhood and beyond.
The curriculum focuses first and foremost on creating a rhythm in your home and centers around circles that are full of beautiful folk tales, songs, painting and modeling, finger plays and hand crafts that are seasonal, but secular. What I really loved about the circles is they are something that has grown in to a tradition for our family. My children eagerly anticipate the stories each week and spend the whole week re-enacting them and singing the songs from circle.
My concerns about blending kindergarten and first grade were unfounded.
My first grader enjoyed the circles and activities just as much as my kindergartener, and the curriculum has taught me how to carry a circle so well that I feel confident I will be able to continue for all the upper grades as well. The weekly painting and modeling activities have all been hits with my children and the hand crafts have gently built my children's ability to the point where they often pull out supplies and make things on their own. The hand crafts have also become a special way for my children to create a home made gift for the ones they love.
What I gained more than anything else was an understanding of Waldorf beyond the pretty toys, gnomes and Elsa Beskow books. Kelly's curriculum gave me the base that I needed to build a strong rhythm for my family, a home life that centers around calm and joy, and a mindset that sees the wonders of early childhood and embraces it. The ongoing support I receive from Kelly has been invaluable and it got me through those first weeks of transition and through any time that I have felt like I needed help getting back on track.
I have recommended Kelly's Kindergarten Curriculum to many of my friends, and now I have shared with you the joy it has brought to our family!
I am especially excited to announce that Kelly has worked hard and long all year long to put that same care and gentle guidance in to a grade one curriculum!
To celebrate the launch, I an honoured to host a giveaway, my first here on the blog.
The giveaway is for a complete kindergarten OR first grade curriculum! You get to choose :)
All you need to do is leave a comment below about why you think a Lavender's Blue Homeschool curriculum would be a good fit for your family.
This giveaway will run from Sunday July 20th to Wednesday July 23rd, 2014. A person will be chosen at random and announced here on the blog on Wednesday evening, 8:00pm ET.
Please note: Anonymous posts will be disregarded, so make sure to put your first name and last initial!
Kelly is also offering a great discount on her first grade curriculum. Until Thursday, July 24th, enter the coupon code YES and receive 50% the purchase of the first grade curriculum! A great deal! Click the button below for more information on the first grade curriculum :)