You will find further testimonials under specific publications in the bookstore.
Donna, I just wanted to say how much I appreciate your work. I'm finding the whole homeschool thing very challenging, and one downfall of all this waldorf stuff for me is that I now have such high standards of how I want things to be. When things get hard, and I yell at the children, act like a child myself and totally lose it,(which is daily) I come back to your books, your audios and this forum [Waldorf at Home]. And now, as I read the books, I can sort of hear your voice and your intonations. I really like your sense of humour, and combination of common sense and yet strong opinions. Anyway, I just wanted you to know. Thank you.
Carla from Australia
Thank you SO much for your follow-up! I did receive both the order and the audio download. I was so impressed with each and every item that I ordered and am anxious to listen to the audio download. In fact, I am going to use the Christopherus Curriculum with my daughter! What I have read, so far, answers a multitude of questions and fills so many gaps that I am experiencing with [another homeschool] curriculum. Many, many thanks for providing such creative, thoughtful, fulfilling and practical ways to connect and teach my daughter! These resources truly exceed my expectations! (I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the schedule provided with each block, as well as the blocks, themselves.) THANK YOU!
I am so happy I have found Donna's work. Right now I'm using the Christopherus 3rd Grade Curriculum with my 9 year-old. I first used her texts during the 2nd grade and our home began to flourish (yes home, not just homeschooling). I have consulted with Donna and used her books and am delighted that the same person I talk to on the phone is the same compassionate, funny and wise voice I read in the books.
My experience has been that if something I read in one of her books raises a question in my mind, I undoubtedly find the answer in the next paragraph or on a subsequent page. If I want to know the least bit of information just to move ahead with the day's lesson I can find it...if I want to go layers deep in the same issue I can find that, too. She is so deeply knowledgeable about Waldorf education and what sets her apart, to me, is her ability to help me bring it home in a way that brings the best of both Waldorf and homeschooling. It is very rich, indeed. I believe Donna has found her voice and her niche. I am so happy for her...and me!
Alex Gorman, Charlottesville, VA
I found Christopherus a couple of weeks ago and it has been such a blessing. I think I read nearly every word on your website in the first few days! I've listened to several of your audio downloads. Your voice is so calming and reassuring, to say nothing of the helpful content. All I can say is that I feel inspired and empowered, in a word, nurtured, in my role as a mother and as a woman. I felt myself exhale. I hadn't realized I was holding my breath! It was like 'oh my god, somebody out there gets me. Somebody out there knows what I'm trying to do better than I do and she's done it, AND she's willing to share her insight and wisdom!'
Thank you! Thank you!
Thank you so much for the wonderful talk [the Third Grade audio download]. It has filled me with positive feelings for the coming year with my nine year old. I have been homeschooling for 3 years as a Waldorf inspired parent but I have always struggled with a sense that I was not doing enough for her - my idealism and sometimes the concerns of friends who are Waldorf teachers has weighed heavily on me and made it hard to teach with lightness and joy. Your approach to the curriculum has freed me from the weight of past years - I look forward to a long and rewarding journey of learning with you.
I'm absolutely thrilled with the books that I've purchased from you! We are into our Language Arts block, and Madison, my six year old, is loving every minute of the Prince's adventure with the Wise Woman. I am too. This is the most creative and fun way to learn! Maddie asked me today on her way down the hall......."Mom how does a "j" go again?"......and then before she turned the corner.....in the most satisfied voice she said, " never mind, I know, ....like the jester." My husband is in school full time right now, and very busy with his studies. Maddie can't wait to show him, when he comes home, her latest pictures in her main lesson book. She's so proud of what she's learned and of her artwork. It feels so rewarding to watch her shine like this. As I've shared with you before, we are new to the Waldorf approach, and I am continually grateful that we've found it, and you. What a difference your books have brought to our home. We love circle time so much more now that we've been using the Joyful Movement book. My two year old son and four year old daughter join in singing and clapping. Many, many thanks for all your hard work!
Thank you Donna for writing this book! [The Christopherus Waldorf Curriculum Overview for Homeschoolers] What a treasure it is! I wish I had this book two years ago when we began our Waldorf homeschooling journey. The Overview is thorough, comprehensive, encouraging, supportive and very user-friendly. It does such a fine job of addressing the needs of the homeschooler who is working to adapt what is taught in Waldorf schools to the home environment. You show how homeschooling with Waldorf is indeed accessible and need not be overwhelming. Reading this book helped me put things into perspective and see things in a whole new light. In reading this book, I have come across many things that resonate deeply - they are just what I need to "hear". I am highly recommending this book to my friends and anyone else who is looking to homeschooling with Waldorf..
Warmly, Kathy (Florida)
Donna, I am very excited to learn you are writing a kindergarten book!! I have recently received my edition of the Waldorf Curriculum Overview you wrote and am so pleased! Although I am only in the middle of it, I am enjoying it thoroughly. I have to say how much I love what you say about the stay-at-home parent/homemaker/educator. I have never received so many positive, thoughtfully expressed ideas from any other source. This book is just what I have been searching for, with great frustration, for several years now. Thank you thank you thank you!!!
Elizabeth in TX
Reflecting back on all the wonderful Christopherus works that I own, Joyful Movement, the overview, the nature book, form drawing, the Kindergarten book, the drawing book, several of your second grade materials (animal legends and the math book), and now Living Language, I just wanted to send another big thank you to Donna and the entire Christopherus gang. You make homeschooling do-able.
Two years ago we started our homeschooling journey with Enki and I was overwhelmed! I loved the story materials, but the guidance was very lacking. Without Donna's materials I would have never figured out how to use the wonderful Enki stories. (and I'm a self-educated, intelligent gal! I just didn't have the time to wade through all those binders and binders of resources and read through the vast amount of theory. And I lacked the teaching experience to be able to turn all that theory into something useable and do-able).
I find Donna's take on Waldorf, homeschooling, and unschooling echoes my own very closely, and so I find comfort in her practical, down-to-earth guidance. She has helped me to be able to navigate our own course on our homeschooling journey. I just want to make sure she knows how much I appreciate these materials, and the heart and soul that she and her entire family have poured into them. Thank you so very much.
I've been meaning to post about Joyful Movement and never seem to have the time! My youngest is 8 years old and was diagnosed 18 months ago with Asperger's/ADHD. We have a team of therapists working with our family on an almost daily basis. Since summer, I've been sharing more and more about the Waldorf philosophy with them. Our daily therapist (who has been w/us since May - our old therapist went back to law school!) comes to our home, and she's been interested simply because our home has such a different feel than the other homes she's in. (Our 16 yo dd and 12 yo ds are also homeschooled.) Our daily therapist is a sweet, gentle person who helps Gracie by coming along side her and modeling. She has not only been open to but has embraced much of Waldorf. After I showed her Joyful Movement, she took it to a staff meeting and they all were very impressed. Our therapist has begun an hour each morning of small motor, large motor, movement, tongue twisters, bouncing, cross-midline, brain-gym, yoga and memorization with Gracie each morning, most of it from Joyful Movement. (Different things on different days, obviously! Not everything each day.) She mentioned that the other therapists all wanted the author/title info so they could get their own copies, too.
Some mornings I find them out walking chalk spirals on our driveway. They've been drawing with their toes, passing beanbags around, bouncing, tricking each other with tongue twisters and riddles, forming shapes with dough behind their backs, etc. Our "team" of therapists are traditional behavioral therapists, provided by the State by law, who have various psychology or special ed degrees from bachelors up to doctorate. They've been very impressed with everything Donna has suggested for Gracie (we're subscribers to Donna's service) and all the materials they have seen so far - particularly Joyful Movement. It is exactly what Gracie needs right now, and they found that her coping skills, attention, communication, and maturity skills have skyrocketed in the past 4 months of doing an hour daily or Joyful Movement. Last week our daily therapist's supervisor came for an audit - she has a master's in art therapy. She was very impressed by the crossing the midline exercises and the dough-shaping exercises in Joyful Movement. She said something like, "Where did you learn about this? Most people don't realize how effective these [simple-looking exercises] really are! They think they're a waste of time but they're SO necessary."
So, if you're even considering beginning to put movement into your mornings, I can highly recommend it as a parent. I can also tell you that over a dozen therapists were really blown away by the ideas, the effectiveness and the whole approach. Our daily therapist is working on a degree in special ed, and she's taken stuff she learned at my house and used them in her class work, and her professor was really impressed. So I just wanted to share what a truly therapeutic, restorative - but easy - resource it is. Even my older two will gladly get involved with the group things - lots of giggles, lots of fun! This is a very unpolished and choppy review - but I wanted to get it written and sent off while my barley soup was cooking! :)
I have been using your 1st Grade Syllabus, and almost every other book in your homeschool series that is age appropriate for my 5 and almost 8 year old daughters! I am thoroughly enjoying the whole concept, and experience, of teaching this way, even though I had had no previous experience with Waldorf at all. You have done a super job and really made our first year of homeschooling a great experience. Our almost 8 year old was in public school for 1st grade last year and I took her out of there in March because it was not working well, to say the least, for her. She was actually diagnosed with anxiety, but her teacher had repeatedly talked to me because she thought my daughter had Asperger's syndrome or something along that line due to her behavior. We are all at home now and everything is going great!
I just placed an order for Saints and Heroes and 2nd grade Math. I was trying to get along without ordering them, using the many other resources that I have, but I was realizing that I was missing your voice, conciseness and direction. I constantly struggle with the balance of unschooling and getting in the Waldorf framework. Your books make me feel like I can check off certain Waldorf principles balancing it with our natural family rhythms and my dd’s interests.
I've listened to your discipline download twice
now thank you :)
Some of the things have had me go "hmm ... disagree" but then I've gone back or thought over it and had "aha ... yep, get it now" or thought "well I do that differently but yes that's a really good way of looking at it". I've also had a few "oh I wish I'd thought of that" or "definitely need to improve on that in my own parenting" moments.
Basically, I reckon that anyone who is having thoughts about "why is my message not getting across with my little one?" would find the discipline audio download very useful...
Kind regards, Kite (UK)
I've just ordered three more of your books... I have had time to look through the [First Grade] Syllabus more thoroughly and I am even more impressed. My deepest gratitude... to you for all the dedication and love-filled work that went into these publications.
Carey (New York)
I also have Donna's stuff and I agree that it is very well put together! The resources at the back of each section have been very helpful and I feel as if she is speaking directly to me when I read them. Her first grade syllabus is wonderful for the layout and the scheduling worksheets have been an inspiration...
... As a former traditional school teacher Donna's books have helped guide me through waldorf in my new quest for educating myself. I feel her prices are affordable and her books will not only provide much for my children but for me also.
Misty Nielsen (Larkspur, CA)
I have to give you another great reason for the audio downloads-- husbands! I've been unsuccessfully trying to synthesize all the reading that I've been doing for mine. After listening to you for an hour, my husband was enthusing about Waldorf and completely on board!
I was up until 3:00 this a.m., attempting to absorb as much of your wisdom, through your latest work of art!! I received it yesterday and decided to just browse through it last night, I couldn't put it down.........you did it, wonderful teacher! You've pulled together your wisdom, experience, resources, patience and humor to share with the homeschooling community......many, many kudos to you!! It's easy reading, great resources, inspiring ideas and very supportive.......a very heartfelt thank you to you and your family, as I am sure they were giving of their time. The extensive resource listing alone must have taken a lot of time to pull together! I really appreciated your gentle reminders throughout, of the importance of balance/middle way and of the need to respect each child's speed of development. As a mother of a "late" reader it is a constant struggle against that which has been ingrained (through my schooling) and societal expectations. Again, thank you so very much my friend for all of the thoughtful work you have put into your Waldorf Curriculum Overview!
Lots of love and laughter!
Thank you so much for your informative and encouraging website. I've been receiving the newsletter for some time, and it is such a relief to hear a "kindred spirit" in this day of intellectual and social push for such young children.
LOVED it!!! [The Third Grade Audio Download] Thank you Donna for pulling together so many of the threads of the nine year old child and the third grade year. You not only helped me feel good about what I am already doing, but you really gave me some solid ideas for ways to expand or bring in elements I hadn't even considered.
I have found that moving beyond the early years of homeschooling a child in a waldorf manner (without buying a package) becomes really challenging as the majority of terrific resources focus on the younger children. I have been planning our third grade year for a while now and I am so excited about all the wonderful experiences that the ninth year brings in. I have been, however feeling rather alone in my planning and grasping of different lessons such as the Old Testament, or even that reading subject. I must say that your talk was really helpful in reminding me about what I'm doing and why and now I am just filled with excitement for this great adventure we have ahead of us.
Thank you for expanding into the older elementary years. I will eagerly await the fourth grade talk!!!
I have just recently looked over your science overview. You have, by far, the clearest and most accessible materials out there... I'm learning as I go and put together my own materials by and large, but I commend you on the wonderful work you are doing. I imagine it is making Waldorf-inspired homeschooling possible for MANY people. I'm so glad. These days, even a little is a lot.
Kristen, Silver Spring, MD
I am so glad I bought your first grade curriculum. So far homeschooling has been a joyous and therapeutic experience for our family because of the encouragement we receive in the Waldorf at Home forum and through your curriculum.
...This is our first year homeschooling and in the past weeks I have sometimes doubted our decision to do this. But when I doubt I take out my girls "Good Books" and see their progress and marvel at the beauty of this form of education. Thank you for helping us make Waldorf a reality in our home.
Donna Simmons' curriculum materials are so clear and accessible. I often recommend them, both as a starting point for new parents who are just beginning to study Waldorf Ed., and to more seasoned homeschoolers looking for curriculum ideas.
Donna's words are like an offer of a reassuring hand, to make me feel: "I can do it" and to help me relax and know that my instincts are right.
She deeply understands developmental readiness, and her encouraging words have often helped me to observe my child with a fresh perspective, and to relax, knowing that I don't need to push the learning process ...
... Having Donna's books to refer to is like having a wry and witty best friend, just an arm's length away, ready to share her wisdom and encouragement.
Thea Bodger, homeschooler and Waldorf early years teacher
We've been working with your curricula for 3 years now and are loving it! We've also steered a whole bunch of others your way - we really like the tone of your writing, the heart of your meaning, and your adherence to Waldorf principles in combination with real life/natural learning...
Personally I want to thank you for the considerable contribution you are making to the homeschool movement in general, and Waldorf in particular. You have a real talent for making the stuff accessible, and I'm not sure that I, or others I know, would have had the courage to take the plunge with our children had it not been for your curricula.
Sasha Addams, Denver, CO
I just want to give a plug for Donna's Pre-K and Kindergarten talks. They have given clarity to many Waldorf practices for me-- the why behind the how. And as for practicality, last night I tried a simple technique mentioned in the Kindergarten talk for putting my daughter to bed. For the first time in forever, she made barely any protest and slipped right off to sleep. Hurray!
Your discipline recording is fascinating and helpful. I have already had success using some of the ideas you presented, and some are good review put into everyday language that has helped me solidify some concepts.
I had been waiting for a long time to be able to get my materials! I'm so excited! I recommend Donna's books to all homeschoolers I know and to tons of parents. All that have checked any of her books have been engaged!
In my family, we treasure our Chirtopherus books.
Director of The Enrichment Circle, Inc www.enrichmentcircle.com
A non-profit organization for the advancement of education
[At the Atlanta conference] the material was awesome! The concepts and theory were integrated with practical application and instruction. I loved that not just school needs but relationship and development of whole self and whole family were also addressed... I feel so fulfilled and rejuvenated for my journey ahead as the educator of my children.
Diane Baetz, GA
I was expecting [at the Atlanta conference] much more repetition of things I already know yet I felt you went into depth further than I anticipated....You are such an amazing resource, truly a living example of thoughts warmed by the heart and activated through your sharing. Thank you!
I felt affirmed and supported by an incredibly knowledgeable and experienced mentor. Thank you, Donna.
First, I would like to send a huge THANK YOU. A few years ago you helped us through consultation. Our oldest daughter, Grace, now 8 1/2, was diagnosed with an Autism realm disorder called PDD. We felt strongly that her challenges were due to immunizations. You encouraged us to seek the help of a homeopath, which we did. You also encouraged us to have a peaceful homelife and to incorporate Waldorf philosophies into our homelife. Which we did. The healing Grace has experienced has been a wonderful blessing! I could to on and on! I recently met with a school psychologist who was reviewing Grace's history and asking me about her current behavior. She just kept saying, "Interesting, kids don't just get over autism".
I often find myself remembering comments that you made during your workshop. Your understanding is reliable, sensible, and full of practical wisdom. Thank you for bringing it home for me. I know I have a mentor with whom to share this journey. Your charismatic, candid presentation offers reassurance and balance on the how's and why's of creating a Waldorf setting at home. May you return again and again.
Fondly, Stacy Hillegas
Thanks so much for traveling to The Woodlands and sharing your wisdom and experience with us. I have had trouble being flexible in my homeschooling and have felt that if I didn't follow the curriculum my child was not getting the Waldorf influence I wanted for her. Its probably because much of Waldorf doesn't come naturally to me. I don't feel very creative, I'm still searching for my spiritual connection to this life, rhythm doesn't come easily to me...
But the messages I found most valuable from your workshop are:
The character your child develops in her home and school life is so much more important than the content of her school lessons. (It will take a lot of work for me to remember that point and bring it into our daily living).
Duplicating a Waldorf school at home won't work
Setting a mood for main lesson and stories etc is important. (We often rushed through work to get to the next thing that had to be done).
Donna Simmons was a great resource to me. I wish I could continue forever, but at some point we all have to venture out on our own! Donna has been prompt with her replies and always ready to answer my many, many questions. I am beginning to believe that I could do this without a " boxed" Waldorf curriculum after having Donna's help and reading her books. My son will be in 1st grade next year and I am anxiously awaiting her first grade book! We have a bit of a 'special situation' in our home as my 4th grader is bipolar. I wondered if Donna would be up to the challenge, and she was. She was willing to help me with behavior issues as well as school issues. And all her information was practical and she gave me ideas that could be put to use immediately! If I decide to do this without a boxed curriculum next year, I will definitely use Donna. I have used other consultants, but Donna was the most helpful and the most responsive.
I just wanted to tell you that your workshop in Houston gave my teaching a soul. I had some ideas as to what Waldorf was all about. However, after getting the information you shared it is a part of me now. I understand on a soul level my job as their mother. Thank you.
In love and light,
Every parent embarking on the homeschool journey should have a mentor, a guide who has traveled a similar path. I am heartened to know I have such a knowledgeable, wise guide who is just a phone call away. Thank you, Donna, for your support.
Copland Rudolph (Michigan)
Thank you so much for coming to Grand Junction, CO to discuss teaching and the Waldorf way. I was particularly impressed by your session on teaching science and the emphasis on observing the natural world. Observation is the key to truly understanding science and all that goes with it. Your method of honing the child's powers of observation is the secret to spawning an awareness of science and can make interesting such mysteries as why rain falls and how that drop found its way into a cloud in the first place. I look forward to my kids learning math and science by such captivating means. Thank you and we hope to see you in Grand Junction again.
Travis Cox, Grand Junction, CO
I just wanted to let you know that I think the Christopherus Curriculum is outstanding and we are so enjoying it. I am especially very appreciative of all the effort and extras you have put into the manual.
As a teacher who is charged with the responsibility to teach fourth grade students, there is possibly no better resource than the Christopherus Fourth Grade Curriculum.
I would highly recommend this Steiner/Waldorf based curriculum because it has many elements that make it an outstanding resource. The teachers’ notes and lesson plans will also make integrating of the resource into the existing school curriculum much easier. The whole curriculum is teacher friendly, easy to navigate and picks up on all they key main lesson topics of fourth grade in a Steiner School. It is also reassuring as a teacher to know that this resource has been used by many Steiner/Waldorf teachers in Western Australia.
The Christopherus Fourth Grade Curriculum gets to the heart in a wonderful way, both through the main lesson material, and through the carefully thought out activities which creatively introduce the children to the fascinating world in which we live. It is a curriculum which is rich with ideas, but at the same time acts as a catalyst for the teacher, inspiring further investigation and sparking fresh ideas.
Helena Trainer, 3rd and 4th Grade Teacher, Golden Hill Steiner School, Australia
For us at Escuela Caracol, the Christopherus curriculum materials have been fundamental guides for our teachers. They are filled with clear and practical indications that are easily adapted to a variety of contexts. Though written for homeschooling, the academic curriculum translates directly to most classroom situations, and the recommended activities are living and easy to put into practice in a classroom. The general advice and pedagogical discussion is down-to-earth and exceedingly valuable in supporting and working with parents. When an idea or activity is not feasible in a classroom, it still serves as a great suggestion for follow-up at home and encourages parental involvement. Donna Simmons has created a virtual treasure trove of curriculum materials that are a vital resource in any educational context.
Joshua Wilson, Founder and Director of Escuela Caracol in Guatemala
In the winter of 2008 I felt strongly that my 8th grade students needed the experience of a different adult standing before them as a main lesson teacher. Donna Simmons was the first person that came to mind. I was aware of and impressed with the teaching and mentoring work she had done at the Youth Initiative High School. Her colleagues and students described her as a teacher that genuinely enjoyed working with adolescents, a person who understood and respected the learning process of the adolescent....I observed Donna working with the class and was impressed by her ability to establish a warm, energetic and inquisitive learning environment early on...I was impressed by the thought-provoking dialogue and discussions that Donna directed with the class. I asked one of my students what made Donna's lessons so interesting. The following is a paraphrase of the answer I received from a young woman in my class: Donna asks the right questions to draw out what we already know and are interested in about the topic and then she uses our knowledge and interests to take us deeper. These are clearly the comments of a young person that felt met, understood and challenged by the adult standing before her as a teacher...As a teacher I found observing Donna's teaching style to be very helpful and inspiring. I also found our personal conversations and review of the lessons to be very informative. I was impressed by the keen observations Donna made about some of my students. She has a talent for recognizing the different learning styles of students and adapting her lessons and interactions with individuals to best meet their needs.
Christiane Babb, Class Teacher and Former Faculty Chair, Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School
I worked closely with Donna as a colleague and I can say that I learned a great deal from her about teaching and mentoring young people. She is an educator with profound experience and insight and she played a critical role in the development of our school...Her classes consistently received very positive evaluations from students and parents and the work the students created in her classes was rich, beautiful and extensive. She formed a close bond with many of her students that extended beyond the classroom and enriched the life of the school overall. Donna's service was particularly important and profound in the cases of several students with special challenges, either from learning disabilities or problems outside of school. Donna's experience and character allowed her to have a major impact on the lives of these students and allowed YIHS to serve these students beyond the ordinary capacity of a small school like ours.
Jacob Hundt, Program Director, Youth Initiative High School
Ms. Simmons educates beyond expectation by taking extra time to nurture individuals as she forms bonds of mutual trust. She displays insightfulness as well as an ability to reach out to/build relationships with troubled/challenged youth. I count my son among such youth, and appreciate her mentoring him these past years...throughout his time in high school, she voiced clear and concise ways to help resolve many conflicts and stresses. Over the course of the 3 1/2 years that she worked with my son, Donna shared a contagious enthusiasm for learning and achievement. My son has very evidently benefited from her tutelage and I continue to be grateful for her involvement.
Antoinette Schneeberg, Viroqua WI
Thank you so much for the wonderful class that you constructed and produced for G. and her classmates this year. She really enjoyed working with you and it is obvious that she learned a lot. I was grateful for the consistent high standards you set for the class in both content and behavior, and I saw G. really strive to meet your expectations. She also appreciated your warmth and humor, and felt supported and encouraged to do better, even when she did not do her absolute best on the first round. Thank you for everything, your class has been a real gift this year and we will miss you next year.
Imagine a mother who is an avid reader, a first daughter who can't put a book down and a second daughter poised to run in the opposite direction when asked to read. After B's freshman year struggling with the reading load between main lesson blocks and other subjects, we felt she needed some additional skills in this area. Last summer, we asked Donna to work with Brenna to enhance her reading skills and evaluate her reading comprehension. Donna demonstrated skimming skills and other reading strategies (change this terminology as needed here) for B. After practicing for weeks while completing the book "Cry, the Beloved Country" Donna asked B to write a few short essays
to help determine B's comprehension skills. B felt she benefited from these skimming skills so she could move through the reading assignments at a quicker pace, take notes, and still comprehend the material. As a sophomore, B feels more equipped to handle reading assignments from multiple subjects without getting stressed. Donna brings an easy-going presence when working with teenagers and plenty of humor. This doesn't mean that B loves to read now, only she has improved reading skills to make homework less stressful.