Waldorf at home?

I just wondered if anyone uses any Waldorf methods or ideas at home?

I am very interested in the Waldorf approach. I had wondered if a Steiner school would be an ideal alternative to state education for my little one - recently I've had doubts though, and am planning to home educate.

There doesn't seem to be a consenus in the Steiner world as to whether one can home educate using Waldorf methods, but I'd like to incorperate the aspects that I think would work for us at home. Having a daily and weekly rhythm, and following the pattern of the year blends happily into our home life. And Waldorf activities such as baking, modelling, imaginative and outside play suit my pre-schooler very well indeed! :roll:


Hi Esther,

You can incorporate whatever you like into your day.

Home education is just about living, and Steiner principles fit quite well with that.

You asked me how we home educate (me with my teens). Sorry I didn't answer. At least, I did but the reply got lost and I didn't have the time to retype it.

We are autonomous. My two follow their interests. Eldest loves learning Japanese, music and loads of other stuff. Youngest is a real knowledge hound, surfs the net, has created two role playing games and is a digital artist. They do what they are interested in. At the moment, at the suggestion of eldest, we three are reading and studying Shakespeare, starting with MacBeth.

Autonomous learning (or child-led) has been found to be hugely successful, and it is certainly the way for us to go.

That sounds great! Thank you so much for sharing that with me. It sounds like your two are doing really well (you must be very proud!).

I find it fascinating to observe what kids will choose to explore when given the freedom they need. Milly's imagination is really taking off now - she loves to play by herself, role-playing the things we do together on a daily basis. A game she invented last week involves a make-belive sweet shop in one of our kitchen cupboards. She spends a lot of time measuring out '300 grams' of various buttons, using a washing powder scoop.


I do know several HE parents online who some of the waldorf principles, as far as it fits into their life and philosophies. The main bit I like is the encouragement of imaginative play although I don't take it to the extreme of only offering natural objects as "toys". I have compromised and the majority of the toys for Rye are wooden; he loves anything with wheels so he does have a fair number of wooden trains/cars/lorries but he also loves the treeblocks and just scaps of fabric we use for dressing up.

I like the combination, and again I do restrict tv - well I don't have a license, so actually it's dvds or stuff we watch online and it works for me and since removing the tv and dvd player from the lounge to my bedroom I've noticed Rye once again becoming a wonderful imaginative player and being very self sufficient.

The waldorf paints and craft materials are gorgeous, if expensive..but oh yeah they are nice :) I think, as with anything, you take what works for you as a family and disregard what doesn't.

Newbie homeschooling


I am interested in finding more about homeschooling and the best methods to use to comply with England's national standards to ensure that my children will be able to get entry into university? Do you know of a local group meeting that I can attend to learn more from the experiences of other people, near London area?

Thank you


Hey there,

Although I haven't 'officially' started with any particular programme, the boys and I paint and make clay creations inspired by their favourite toys and/or activities. We embrace experience, so all colours, textures, techniques and styles are played with, and we buy what we can afford.
I grew up with limited TV and no cinema until I was about 14: it meant I read profusely and adore words and language, and would spend hours daydreaming and visualising. However, I love movies to the point where I could easily (if I had the time) watch three or four movies in a row, and I watch favourites over and over. At varsity I 'studied' film theory, which was a dream, but had no bearing (whatsoever) on my future career in the film industry. Watching movies was my real education.
So, as much as I love the 'naturalness' of Waldorf and subscribe to that kind of world of imagination, I also feel that the world of media and technology has a place in learning, obviously within reason, moderation and always with supervision.
I'm with Joxy on this, and we don't watch tv either: hate being bombarded with materialist trash, and other propoganda.


I had a mad "waldorf" moment and donated just about all of my plastic toys to charity :rofl: I dont know what came over me.

The TV issue is a confusing one for me as we try to limit how much she watches. She maybe watches in total just over 2 hours aday. I think I love the convience of the television and being pregannt it allows me to have some extra rest when needed. I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to get rid of the tv completely xxx
What's the logic in getting rid of all "plastic" toys??
What makes a toy bad because it's plastic?

I'd say that ruling out Lego is a very bad idea!

(Was it your wee girl who came and played with the boys' Lego at New Lanark and burst into tears when the play had to stop? :) )




Oh there is nothing wrong with them I just think wooden toys are beautiful - everything in a waldorf playroom is made of natural materials – wood, stone, metal, cotton, silk, and wool.


I love the way waldorf playroom are set out.

Yes that was my girl she was mighty sad when they took the lego away. bless her

oh p.s she does have lego I didnt have the heart to throw it away


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See now, to me that is not a play room. That looks like an adult's view of what a stylish playroom should look like. I think children need bright colours and a variety of toys, and that includes annoying noisy plastic toys with no off switch! ;)
See now, to me that is not a play room.
I generally agree with Marie but there are two contradictory things going on here.

1) HE'ers tend to provide their children with "space to dream and think" , eg no TV , no Disney/Bratz. (Which I think is good).

2) Modern life is one where the problem is the ability to cope with (and process successfully) "too much" information. (This is analagous with food. 150 yrs ago here, and now in much of the world, the problem was/is how to survive when food was/is scarce. The problem for us is how to stay healthy when there is too much food.)

Kids need to learn how to process the information overload. Not sure that "Waldorf" prepares you for that. Is it like cavalry school in the age of the Gatling gun?




Each to their own I say. Personally for me I cant stand commerical bright plastic toys but thats just me. To me a playroom is not about lots of bright flashy colours. Also from experience my daughter tends to play with these things a handful of times then gets bored.
Waldorf Playrooms are far from boring rooms If you look at the link I provided you will see that.

My idea of a playroom is a beautiful haven that my child can explore and use her imagination. I have alot of friends whos children are the same age group and when they see my playroom always comment how beautiful it is and their children love it.

Children are like us they love beautiful things :)

I like most homeschooling families pick and choose the ideas I like.


Each to their own I say. Personally for me I cant stand commerical bright plastic toys but thats just me. To me a playroom is not about lots of bright flashy colours. Also from experience my daughter tends to play with these things a handful of times then gets bored.
Waldorf Playrooms are far from boring rooms If you look at the link I provided you will see that.
Having worked in a nursery for many years I used to have to set up the playroom every morning, there was always a mixture of toys - plastic i.e. Lego, meccano and wooden toys and each toy had their place for various reasons mainly to develop the children's imagination and creativity.
I have also found having had my own children that there are certain toys like you said which they play with, then quickly get bored off, even if they are brightly coloured or noisy, it is normally because they have one use and imagination is not needed. To be honest I prefer wooden toys especially with the amount of recalled plastic items from big company's like Fisher price because they had lead-based paint is a bit worrying.
The playroom certainly does not look boring it provides space imagination and is brightly coloured with various textiles and a vast variety of play options, I'd probably add a few other things like a box of Lego, meccano etc though! ;)
You made a great point when you said homeschooling is about picking and choosing ideas that you like, we have the privilege of creating our own unique learning path which may incorporate a bit of Waldorf, Steiner etc so if whatever you choose works for your family good on you this is the joy of not being tied to a certain curriculum! :peace:


Well put Nina I had forgotten about the lead in plastic toys aswell. lol I'll just blame it on my pregnancy brain xxx
My three weren't interested in playing with anything but Lego and Playmobil. They had a few lovely wooden toys which they would arrange up on a shelf like ornaments. They must have been the only kids that could go into a huge Toys R Us and walk past everything heading for the Lego section! My middle one in particular was Lego mad to a point where family would not ask what the he would like for Christmas but would ask what Lego to buy!
The other thing that mine did was to hoard junk - pioneers in recycling before it became in vogue. LOL! No boxes were ever thrown out and they seemed to be able to see how every bottle top, carton etc could be turned into. They were also surrounded by all the natural materials too and incorporated them into their creations along with plastic or whatever took their imagination. That is the total opposite to me as I can't bear clutter! But I had no choice - if I had limited them to only the things that I liked I would have been imposing my taste on them and not allowing them to develop their own ideas, likes and passions.
I have some great photos of my youngest and the wee girl next door as toddlers out in the garden playing with real bricks from a fireplace we removed from the house. One December a neighbour was throwing out a huge cardboard box which had held a newly delivered TV. The boys just about lived in that box for weeks, it was a castle, a fort and goodness knows what else - they even insisted on eating lunch inside it. I did wonder why I had just spent money on presents and whether I should have just gone round friends asking for any packing boxes they had spare.
We had a visit by our ed adviser and as she arrived the kids went fleeing down the drive on a bogie (go-cart) made from bits of washing machine, their buggy and odd bits of wood. They explained that they had stripped down the old machine to see how they worked then sorted out the bits they thought they could use. Her comment was that this was real technology and how kids in school just don't get the same opportunities.
We visited a Steiner school just before my eldest was 5 and while there was a lot we liked, the boys comments were quite revealing esp in the Kindergarten where they made a similar comment to Marley. They said it only contained stuff that adults would like you to use.
I wonder if laying aside my own personal preferences on the lovely wooden toys that I would have chosen for them and having bin bags full of junk that I disliked and allowing them that freedom to explore materials, to have access to what they chose to work with is the reason that they are all passionate about design in all forms and are all studying Graphic Design.
BTW, Their other passions were, and still are, books, art materials and music!
Sorry I forgot to mention that when I first started home ed I set out to try to incorporate a Steiner approach, however I found that mine don't fit into Steiner's very structured confining boxes of when children are supposed to be ready to be taught specific things. What the kids did like was their use of colour when writing.


Finding out more about Steiner everyday: Not entirely my philosophy. I believe in nurturing spirit and have similar views, but also have differing opinions...and that's allowed.
Think some of R. Steiner's ideas are just plain wacko, but then some are inline with my own ideas: I like the idea of celebrating a birthday with a 're-enactment' of a soul crossing a bridge to come to their perfectly chosen parents, but I wouldn't go haywire on the candles, and I may add my own version of going to the hospital and all the excitement and grandparents waiting for news, and dogs sniffing the new arrival..etc.
I like the combination of what we think is real and what we think is spirit and what we think is imagination.
As far as the material experience of Waldorf: I'm all for freedom to choose.
What about the idea of myths as history? My opinion is that our 'real' history is all made up anyway...:wink:
Love the idea that gnomes are real, have you ever seen a walking talking real life gnome? There are other 'beings' in our cosmic consciousness that we also have never seen... well most of us, anyway. Yes, I do believe in angels, so why should gnomes, leprechauns and fairies be any different?
Also love the idea of telling stories with movement and music (some call it eurythmy, some call it ballet, oh and then there's hip hop). And love baking, knitting and crafts in general. And what about rhythms and cycles? Love that, but remember rhythm and habit are different...at least, I think so.
Found this site called Waldorfcritic.org ....interesting, and remember that another point of view, love it or hate it, gives us a better picture.
What I didn't know is that Steiner has strange theories about 'race'(related to hair colour and pigmentation) and 'intelligence'.
And I also don't agree with aged-based learning.
Finding my way around and developing a style method and philosophy that works for us, as a family and as individuals. Right now the Creative is hooked on Buzz Lightyear and has oodles of fun racing Buzz around on the playstation...not quite my old-fashioned idea of education, but he knows left and right, X, circle, triangle, square, and is control and aim are incredible (better than mine sometimes), and he begins to recognize words like 'start' and 'exit', et al and numeracy!! He counts laps, and gathers treasure hunt stuff with Shrek!!. Hey, the abacus might have looked like a cool toy at some point.
So, no judgment, man, just fun. And he also 'reads' picture story books about the Transformers (he makes up the stories based on what he sees in the pictures). So, he may not find the cure for cancer, but he might just design video games for a living, and wake up everyday with enthusiasm and a yippee attitude towards 'work'.
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I tend to be led by my children about what I give them to play with. I take Kaya to the ELC and see what she likes playing with, I see what she shows interest in when we're out and about (eg, she loves animals so she got toy animals for xmas). With my baby, I know a lot of research shows that babies need bright colours and different textures, so some toys are plastic and bright and colourful while others are wooden spoons or potato mashers! We have a spare room that doubles as a playroom and it has a TV, bright walls with cartoons and posters on them, a couple of gerbils (lol), wooden toys, plastic toys etc. Variety is key in my house.