Journeys In Waldorf Homeschooling — Melisa Nielsen from Waldorf Essentials

This week on the blog, I have planned a series on Waldorf homeschooling and have asked four Waldorf mothers and homeschoolers to each share a bit about their experience with using the Waldorf education method with their children and in their home; what made them choose Waldorf and the benefits that they see it bring to their lives.

Today I welcome Melisa from Waldorf Essentials to my space to share a bit on her journey with Waldorf homeschooling. Melisa is a mom to five children, ages 18 down to 4. This year Melisa has one Waldorf homeschool graduate, a ninth grader, a third grader and a preschooler. Melisa also has a son that lives with his father and attends public school. They see each other often and have a wonderful relationship.

 

I began my journey with Waldorf many years ago although I didn’t know it was Waldorf until I was an adult.

 

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As a child I spent four years in Germany where my birth father was stationed in the US Army. My mom was a young mom in her 20’s and I was an only child at the time. She soaked in all that the teachers at my little German preschool had to teach her. Handwork. Festivals like Saint Nicholas. Low media. A quiet pace of life. These are the things that marked my childhood. Later when we returned to the United States my mother kept these things going, even through the turmoil of a hard divorce, she kept me anchored. It never had a name, it just was our life.

 

Many years later I was at the library with my then small children and my little girl (now not so little!) pulled a magical book off the book shelf. A Child’s Seasonal Treasury. I opened the book and it was like I was coming home. I excitedly took it to my mom. She laughed and said, “I didn’t know it was called Waldorf, I just knew that it felt right.”

 

My children were four, two and about six months at the time. I knew I would homeschool them even before they were born and homeschooling with Waldorf felt natural. I had looked at some other homeschool options and was not impressed with pushing academics at such a young age. I learned more and more about Waldorf. Back then there were not many options. I had to read Steiner to understand the method. I was part of a few Yahoo! groups. Little by little I learned. By the time my oldest was in first grade, I had a pretty good grasp of the method. I had been to a few conferences put on by Rahima Baldwin Dancy, I had a good deal of confidence. My oldest struggled with ASD and I worked hard to keep our home calm – the way my mother did. Calm was food for his soul. By the time my oldest was in second grade, I was asked by others to help with their lesson planning. I spent two years peer counseling. After my 4th child, I took the plunge and we became a business. That was almost nine years ago.

 

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I love Steiner’s work. Steiner was my anchor when my life was bumpy – he was always the man I could depend on – when I lost my relationship with my father he was there, when I divorced my first husband he was there – he was my constant. I turned to his vast expanse of work to keep my center, to parent my children and to teach them.  I feel with all my heart that this is the world’s curriculum, it belongs to the Divine. That doesn’t mean that Waldorf is a religion but it does mean that it is touched by the Spirit. Steiner’s view the the developmental stages is genius and perfectly feeds the child’s soul.

 

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I am raising children with Waldorf. I am inspiring my marriage with Steiner’s ideal. I am walking with six of the most awesome people on this journey of light and laughter.

 

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