(More about the Christopherus Curriculum - including publishing schedule)
1. Who is the Christopherus Curriculum for?
Our curriculum is for people who wish to work with an integrated, holistic, inspiring and flexible curriculum based on Rudolf Steiner's work (which most commonly finds expression in Waldorf schools).
2. Is it a Waldorf curriculum?
Our curriculum is based on the educational methodology and progression of lessons found in Waldorf schools all over the globe. We feel that the Christopherus Curriculum builds upon this tradition, whilst honoring the very different needs of home learning. Rudolf Steiner's educational principles and the practices developed in the Waldorf schools (also known as Steiner schools) around the world are a source of inspiration for our work with homeschoolers.
3. How does it differ from the curriculum in Waldorf schools?
Differences arise because it is written with the needs of homeschooling families in mind. A key aspect of the Christopherus philosophy is that home is utterly different than school and that it can be both counterproductive and extremely frustrating to try to apply group pedagogy to the home situation. However, Rudolf Steiner's teachings about child development and the nature of the human being are applicable in any situation and it is on this we base our work. Thus many of our suggestions and teaching recommendations are based on the real-life scenario of you, the parent, sitting across the dining room table from your child - and very possibly other siblings right there or nearby (i.e. nothing like a school classroom!).
4. Does your curriculum work for a large family?
We have taken care to offer multi-age suggestions throughout much of our curriculum. However, it is impossible to factor in all the permutations of family life, so our curriculum will usually read as if it's for one child. It is up to you to adjust the curriculum to accommodate the needs of your family and we are proud to say that our materials are extremely flexible and user-friendly, always offering multiple suggestions for material covered. Having said all this, it could be that homeschoolers with large families consider starting with our Waldorf Overview for Homeschoolers which is specifically addressed to people needing to combine different aged children and not go crazy!
5. I'm in Australia/South Africa/Japan... Is the Curriculum relevant to my family?
Throughout all of our materials we are always mindful of our customers across the globe. We feel that Rudolf Steiner's work is applicable to all children in any culture, from any religion, in any country. However, in using our materials, being a native English speaker will be a huge advantage! And, as we always seek to ground our materials in our experience and not be abstract, you will find that our number work, for instance, is in dollars, ounces and miles; that we use North American animals like deer and blue jays for nature stories; and that the year has four distinct seasons. However, throughout the Curriculum we make suggestions for improvisation and translation and feel confident that the liveliness of our material will inspire you to easily use wallabies, kiwis, meters, yen, etc. as necessary.
6. What makes this curriculum different from others?
Our work is clearly and firmly based in the Waldorf tradition. We make no compromises with the demands of regulating bodies and others who would restrict how parents choose to educate their children (though we do offer suggestions for how to meet the various State criteria). We believe fervently in the sanctity of childhood and in the rightness of "late" academics and therefore, as with all Waldorf schools, do not introduce academic work until 1st grade. Our materials are very user-friendly and do not require the enormous amount of parent preparation that other curricula do. We acknowledge (and celebrate!) the limitations that real live parents have and seek to gently empower them to feel that they can do this Waldorf thing!
Waldorf education can be extremely intimidating. We do not believe in creating little schools at home and we feel that every parent is creative and can find their own right relationship to Waldorf. We do not seek perfection - we seek to inspire parents to learn and grow; to focus on their abilities and interests; and not to feel inadequate! To this end we prioritize the following in all our materials:
Explaining not just what is done in the Waldorf curriculum but why it is done, so parents can understand and then see what is right for their particular families.
Explaining how one might work with the material and often explaining the difference between how it might be done at school and how one can do it at home.
Giving many teaching lessons and explanations of how to work with different situations. This ranges from how to tell stories to what to expect in math from a 2nd grader; how to deal with children who refuse to write to how to recognize when something is normal and when it could be a red flag; what to do when things go wrong - and much, much more!
7. What else can you tell me about the Christopherus Curriculum?
One of the most important reasons why we do the work we do is because we recognize the healing potential of Waldorf education - not just for children with specific challenges, but for all children. Increasingly, the nature of modern life necessitates forms of education that are therapeutic, counteracting the unhealthiness of our culture. Donna's particular interest and talent lies in helping people really tune into the particular needs of their individual children and to then learn to take what they need from Waldorf pedagogy and bring it to their children.
We take great care to emphasize the therapeutic and healing essence of Waldorf education in our curriculum. We do this by:
stressing the elements we feel are especially important at each stage of development;
explaining how to nurture your children's senses;
explaining how to teach via art and movement;
and really helping parents work with and understand such healing tools as knowledge of the temperaments, form drawing and puppetry.
8. Can I view the Curriculum?
As we continue to write the Christopherus Curriculum, more and more material will be available to read. At present you can read about:
9. Am I on my own with music or does the Curriculum provide guidance?
In Waldorf education music, or musicality, holds a venerated position, penetrating and enlivening all aspects of teaching, learning and living with children. We speak of the importance of rhythm in the child's life, of working harmoniously with the child, of breathinginto the day. These are all musical terms and if one achieves nothing other than understanding how to work meaningfully with these, then one has achieved an enormous amount.
Singing is a very important part of our Curriculum and we encourage you and give guidance for different ways to sing with your children depending on their ages. Playing a musical instrument is an essential part of Waldorf and in our Curriculum we suggest the recorder (or pentatonic flute) from first grade; the pentatonic lyre in second grade; and another musical instrument from third grade on. Throughout our materials we give guidance based on Waldorf pedagogy on how to choose, play and generally approach music in our homeschool. Here is further information about choosing instruments. Clearly your family's particular circumstances and the resources available in your area will largely determine your choices as regards music.
Further information see our Curriculum page.