I am so excited to share one of our homeschooling tools with you today. It’s honestly a little hard for me to know where to jump in with this because it’s just all so good, but here’s goes. We are using a guide called Whole Family Rhythms in our home this year as we venture down the road of homeschooling. This guide is our anchor and foundation for our days right now, something that is of great help and creative guidance for all of us as we learn and grow and connect within the walls of our home.
For quite some time I had been searching for an intentional guide to give us direction and form what would be our schooling rhythm. I wanted one that would holistically embrace the Waldorf philosophies we have chosen for our family, while giving me plenty room to slowly integrate my own actives and lessons along the way as we flowed through our year. I wanted a framework that not only spoke to the importance of seasons and the natural world, but also one that gave me many options in the areas of meaningful handwork and time spent in the kitchen (among other creative pursuits). This guide does all of those things and then some. I feel blessed to have discovered it while our children are so young!
One of the most helpful things about this curriculum is the practical way it is organized. Whole Family Rhythms is broken down seasonally, monthly, weekly, and then daily, with simple but beautiful crafting ideas and seasonal recipes that you can do with your little ones at home. I love that it leans into both adult and child-led structure and imaginative free play, something I really believe in as former educator and a mother. Having both is so important and this guide echoes those values.
I have been following this guide this with the kids each day and they are loving it as much as I. I would consider myself a fairly creative person, but it’s wonderful to have a guide I can hold in my hands and follow along with when needing support of my own. It has been giving our family gentle direction. with hundreds upon hundreds of ways to connect and learn with one another as we homeschool. Each day offers something to be savored, and to give you a better idea, here is a little preview of one week in that falls in the month of October:
- Weekly Finger Game: Count down from five to the tune of the five little ducks.
- Weekly Story: “The Anxious Leaf”
- Weekly Hike: Nature Prompt
- Monday – In the Kitchen: Cranberry and Honey Muffins
- Tuesday – Watercolor Painting: Red & Blue
- Wednesday – Coloring: Leaf Rubbings In Autumn Colors
- Thursday – Crafting: Leaf & Stained Glass
- Friday – Beeswax Modeling: Red
Each monthly guide also gives you a master list of what you’ll need for said crating, baking, cooking, handwork, storytelling, finger games and beeswax modeling so you can be prepared without having to sift through all the days and what items you’ll need. Praise! It’s written in the form of a market list, so to speak, and then is broken down weekly so you can easily gather your tools and ingredients as needed each month. So simple but thoughtful. For those of you who are considering Waldorf homeschooling or are already doing so with your little ones, I hope this provides some inspiration or perhaps gives you a little starting point for your family. I hope you check it out and if you happen to use WFR in your home, or have other wonderful homeschooling tools/resources to recommend, I’d love to hear from you!
Liz Quick - We do family rhythm in our schooling. I am a “routine” type of mama, so having a rhythm keeps us on track and also gives me freedom for flexibility. Just this morning, I read “Among the (forest) People” to my kiddos and they all (8,6,4,2) drew what they were visualizing as I read aloud. It is such a gentle way to start school and also help check for comprehension in reading. Happy schooling, mama!
admin - Liz, I have heard of this book from a few people and will have to look it up! Can I ask…do you have any tips with regard to the age difference and home schooling your kiddos? How does your 2 year old fit into this? Any wisdom or resources are so appreciated. Blessings! Amanda
Carolyn - Hello! I recently started reading from “In the Heart of a Child” during meal times. It’s a book of verses that follows the year, one for each week, that my dad read to us when my sisters and I were little. It comes from the Waldorf philosophy, but when I do a google search I can’t find it! They might have it at a Waldorf school store. I’ll look up the author when I get home, if you’d like. I was surprised at how quickly my son recognizes the verses and even requests them (we also light a candle with our meals, which he requests now too!). I started doing some simple hand gestures with the verses (hand to heart, sign for eating, etc) and was surprised how quickly he not only mimed them back to me but anticipates them! If you can’t find the book you could read some other poetry on a regular basis during meals (or some other point in the day that works for you). I found that his table manners improve greatly when I read to him!
Carolyn - Oops! Got the name wrong. It’s “In the Light of a Child” by Michael Hedley Burton. You can find it on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Light-Child-Journey-Hemispheres-Children/dp/0880104503
That explains why I couldn’t find it before!
admin - Carolyn, thank you so much for this link…I really appreciate it! Blessings! Amanda
Alisa - I would love to know more about this book. My eldest in currently attending public school but we are striving to incorporate as many Waldorf rhythms into the home life for her and her 2 younger siblings as possible.
admin - Alisa, what would you like to know my dear? I recommend checking out the site as there are many more examples there as well! x Amanda
admin - Carolyn, I smiled so big when I read the part about your little one loving the candle at supper. We do this too and switch nights for when the kids get to blow it out. They love this little tradition and it has brought so much warmth to our table. Such lovely ideas here, thank you. x Amanda
Emily - Thank you for sharing, these guides look wonderful. It looks like you have hard-copy guides in book form. I think I am only seeing digital PDFs on Meagan’s site. Is there a source for hard copies? Or did you just print your own after purchasing the digital file?
I enjoy your blog so much Amanda. I have a girl and 2 boys also, ages 7, 5 and 1. We love cooking, we love crafting and creating, we love nature, and I love making our home more organized, thoughtful, and beautiful. your blog is always such a source of inspiration for me, thank you! I am going to make some blueberry crisp tomorrow morning!
Meagan - Hi Emily, the copy I have and Amanda has were ordered from blurb separately. Once you’ve purchased the guide upload it at blurb.com and choose magazine format. It’s about $30 each guide. I wish I had the resources to have them printed and sell directly from the website… Not yet! Thanks so much for your interest and inquiry. In Light, Meagan.
admin - Emily, yep…just as Meagan said right now there are only PDFs but you could totally print your own or do a binder as others have done to make it easier to navigate through. And thank you so much for your kind words. They are heartwarming. Enjoy that crisp! x Amanda
Jessie - This is JUST what I’ve been looking for! Nerding out over it all! I just ordered the Autumn season set and I am so so excited. Thanks so much for the tip, friend. Big hug <3
admin - Jessie, nerd away mama, neeeeerd away! It’s lovely. x Amanda
Brianna Blacklock - I cannot thank you enough for sharing this! What a great find. It’s exactly what I’ve been searching for(and more)! Love it. Are you finding it difficult to keep up with managing the various books/supplies each week or did you collect the majority in advance? Are you starting any of this with your youngest? Mine’s not quite two, but trying to prep a bit ahead of time!
admin - Brianna, I am finding that with all the other things we have going on that this curriculum is the perfect speed for us. It gives me so much inspiration and the boys are loving it. We do this with Stella as well when she gets home from school and on the days she does not attend outside of the home. I think you could totally do a lot of this with your little one who is one. I have been doing one month of Waldorf parent/child lessons outside of our home one day a week with him and Theo and he LOVES it. It’s fun to see him thrive in that environment even though he is still so young. I also don’t have all the supplies but have been collecting here and there and will be getting the rest for the kids for Christmas. I still need to get my hands on felt! The beeswax modeling is really fun for adults, too. Let me know if there are any other questions you have, dear. I am so happy to share this all with you fellow mama! x Amanda
sarah - so much good! our little is only five months old but i’ve already thought about going the waldorf route when the time comes (there are lots of actual schools around us since we’re in the country where it was founded!) thanks for the lovely post! xoxo
AJ - Hi Amanda!
Wondering if you could share why you chose homeschooling over your kids attending a regular school. Earlier this month you shared about Stella attending school outside of the home. Have you pulled her out of that school? Or are you doing both? Do you plan on homeschooling through elementary and highschool as well? Would love to hear about your thoughts & motivations! xo
admin - AJ, we are doing both! It sounds a little odd to be doing both given that it is an untraditional method but we found a school that allows us the opportunity to do so and it just happens to be the perfect fit for our family right now. I would love to homeschool full-time but having such small children that are so dependent on me it is one of those things where I just don’t feel as though I would be able to give Stella my all. We are doing a blend of Waldorf and Montessori and I do a few curriculums at home on the days she does not attend school outside of the home and I do the WFR with the boys each day. It’s different, but we love it. We decided not to send her to public school for so many reasons, but the main one was the mainstream directions they are taking and it not being one that we feel is in the best interest of our children. With so much focus on testing (among many other things) we feel that our children’s creativity is being stifled and that they are not getting the support they need to thrive and become true problem solvers. As a former educator, I felt like I was teaching with my hands tied. Anyhow, this is a long answer…and I am learning SO much along the way, but it is so wonderful to know that there ARE many opportunities out there if you feel the current system is not a fit for your family. We are going to continue a blend of both throughout all of their schooling, yes. Hope this sheds some light on the topic and thank you for inquiring! With Care, Amanda
Courtney - This is exactly what we need in our home. Question though, How did you get actual books? When I go to the website she only has PDF download copies… I’m a lover of having an actual book to hold over reading on the computer xxx
Ashton - I love this, Amanda! So inspiring and helpful. I’ve been struggling internally with what to do with Eden’s future education….mostly if I am competent enough to teach her well. And this really encouraged and inspired me. Homeschooling is so different (in a good way) from when I was growing up and being taught at home. Do you think a little one as young as 2 1/2 could start this? Thank you for sharing my friend!
Shannan - I felt so encouraged to pursue Waldorf principles more fully after reading this. I have read bits and pieces of Waldorf education, and from what I have read, it really speaks to me. However, our family has had many hardships and I cannot realistically see how to embed this into our daily lives. My eldest daughter is homeschooled right now and she has Autism and SPD. I also have a 2 year old and a 3 month old.
I am really searching for a wholesome curriculum.
admin - Shannan, I love that Waldorf philosophies are so wholesome and can really fit the needs of every family. So happy to be of some new light and encouragement to you mama. x Amanda
Nicole - Wonderful post, thank you for sharing. After homeschooling these past few months out of requirement, I am realizing it has been really good for my son. He has been struggling in public education- he’s a creative little soul and the structure and testing doesn’t serve him well. He would often come home overwhelmed.
My question is about your blend of school and at home days. How many days a week does Stella go to school and how many at home ? I am thinking some days at home learning might just be the thing my son needs, I just never thought of it as an option before.
Erika - Thank you for your post! I’ve tried searching for these guides but can’t seem to find them. Do you know of a place I could look? Any help is appreciated 🙂