Waldorf Homeschool Program
Academic and Artistic Enrichment Classes for Homeschooled Students – First through Eighth Grade Level Classes
Waldorf School at Moraine Farm is pleased to announce registration is open for the Homeschool Program on our beautiful Beverly, Massachusetts campus.
Courses offered this upcoming seasons include Fine Arts, Handwork, Outdoor Science in Nature, Music, Theater and Circus Arts for ages 6 to 10 and Cyber Civics for ages 11 to 14. All courses are facilitated by one of our experienced faculty members.
The Winter session begins December 5 through February 6 and the Spring session begins February 27 through April 30. Both sessions follow the Waldorf School at Moraine Farm school calendar. Please see course descriptions below or email firstname.lastname@example.org for questions.
In our homeschool program registration, choose one of three course bundles. A course bundle includes two subject classes. The top course bundle will be the two subject classes offered to all homeschool registrations each season. Two weeks prior to the start of the season (November 21 & February 13) , we will inform each family of the top course bundle we will offer that season. If you do not want to participate in the top course bundle offered in the season, we can credit your deposit and registration towards the next sessions offered.
Courses include all supplies and facilitation by one of our experienced Faculty members. There will be a pre-planning meeting to learn about the individual students and ensure the course will meet the needs of the particular group. At the conclusion of the course there will be reports shared and conferences offered.
The following course overviews give a glimpse into the types of subject matter and classes that we offer. While we do adhere to what is developmentally appropriate for each age level, as you will see indicated in the course overviews, we can work with groups to meet their individual needs, abilities and areas of interest.
Homeschool Course Overview
Each season we offer different subjects. During the registration process, select two subjects you would like to receive. The top two subjects will be offered per season/course.
Circus Arts is a discipline that ranges widely with the ages of participants. In our homeschool program activities will include ‘juggling’ with scarves, working with spinning plates, rolling and tumbling. These activities bring the child into motion, helping them experience the directions of space around them and gently integrates these into their proprioceptive system.
This course is designed for students ages 11 years and older. It is a crash course in digital citizenship. Designed to teach students about basic ethics, critical thinking, and media literacy. We tackle all the messy online issues everyone is talking about right now—cyberbullying, privacy, fake news, social media manipulation, sexting and digital addition—using fun, creative activities, art projects and discussions about the real things kids are seeing around them in the world, on the internet, and in their homes.
Each class has a different theme:
- Class One is all about online identity and how we express ourselves online. We’ll talk about we use avatars and selfies to represent ourselves, and how those representations don’t always line up with who we are. We’ll play an avatar creation game, and create self-portraits. We’ll also talk about the digital trail we leave with every post and examine how others use those trails to learn about us with a “digital background” activity as we figure out what is okay to share and what is not together.
- Class Two digs into ethics and what it means to be a good citizen. The kids will imagine creating their own apps/online communities and explore what it would be like to be a CEO in charge of their own social media site in a “Shark Tank”. There they’ll figure out what the community rules will be and how they’ll protect the people in their community. We’ll also play a game where the students judge different scenarios and determine for themselves if an event was helpful or harmful, intentional or unintentional. My students this past year loved this game because it gave them a chance to discuss some of the things they were already starting to run into online. It also deals with the behavior with adults online, not just students. The day caps off with a discussion of cyberbullying and online drama and drawing comics about how to protect yourself from both.
- Class Three goes into striking a balance with our devices and using them safely. The kids will be challenged to go without using our phones for the duration of the class. The first half of the day examines how we spend our time during the day, both on screen and off. We’ll look at how not all “screen time” is created equal, because using devices for creativity like making art, music, programming, or even starting a business is far different from simply watching YouTube all day. The second half will deal with the basics of online safety—protecting your identity and information, creating good passwords, and figuring out how to deal with people you don’t know (yet) that you meet online.
- Class Four is all about fake news! We start out with how to find good information on the internet, with the basics of how sites like Google and Wikipedia work. We’ll also create a “human internet” game before talking about “C.R.A.P. Detection”, a method that uses Currency (how recent?), Reliability (can I trust it?), Authority (who wrote it?), and Purpose (are they trying to scare me or sell me something?) to evaluate information that we find online. We’ll look at misleading websites and try to evaluate news articles to figure out if they’re fake or real. We’ll also talk about urban legends and how rumors get spread (online and off.) My students during the school year LOVED this unit.
- Class Five we explore media by creating a parody ad for our “Shark Tank” app/site. First we’ll discuss how advertising works and how it uses stereotypes to sell to us and look at how advertisers use our data to track and target us online and manipulate images (both photos and video) to persuade us. Then we’ll design an ad, do a photoshoot, and use Photoshop to create a final piece to be printed up and shared online.
The visual arts permeate the Waldorf elementary school experience. These include the two-dimensional arts of drawing and painting and the three-dimensional arts of modeling or sculpting. Fine art is instructed through teacher-guided lessons. In first grade, the teacher leads the students by doing each step before their eyes and showing them explicitly what to do in order to imitate the teacher’s work. As much as possible, teachers ignite the imagination through spoken story. Simple stories can lead the class from one step to the next, such as in color stories in wet-on-wet watercolor painting, or in evolving forms that are done in beeswax and clay modeling. Group instruction in fine art can lead the student through moments when their individuality purposefully shines through. The teacher may guide the class to create a scene and then allow students time and freedom to add details or embellishments. In addition to following guided drawings and paintings, students also have opportunities to create their own artistic representations from their imagination of stories presented.
In the upper grades modeling by the teacher may include showing a sample of a possible finished outcome. Teachers in the middle school provide opportunities to draw or model from observation, such as through still-life displays, landscape drawing, nature sketches, and modeling their own hands and feet. They may copy a painting or drawing masterpiece and learn about the biography of the artist.
Ages 6-10 years
- Introduction to basic elements of drawing: coloring and shading with beeswax crayons
- Wet-on-wet watercolor painting: 2-3 color experiences and color stories
- Beeswax modeling: seasonal, story-based forms
- Form drawing line exercises to support cursive penmanship
- Follow guided drawings from the blackboard with increasing mastery as well as create their own artistic representation from their own imagination of stories presented
- Different shading methods introduced, this may include slant line drawing
Ages 11-14 years
- Colored pencil illustration, with a continued focus on shading techniques
- Freehand geometric drawing
- Watercolor painting: wet-on-wet or wet-on-dry techniques; landscape paintings
- Beeswax and clay modeling: concavity and convexity, plant-forms
- Landscapes in relief
- Black and white charcoal drawings: shadow, light, value
- Drawing three-dimensional forms from observation
- Proportions of the human face
- Clay Modeling, Coil pot/ bowl, hand and foot
- Perspective drawing
Handwork has been taught at Waldorf schools since their inception. At the time of the founding of the first Waldorf school, technology had begun to widely influence man’s relationships to the objects around him. Practical items that once were made by hand such as clothing, furniture, pottery, and household items, were beginning to be made by machine. In addition, machines were beginning to replace the work that was done by man himself. Through the growth of technology, humans became increasingly separated from their work, and also from the understanding of how things are made. This ignorance can lead to a lack of interest in such processes, thereby putting the individual at arm’s length with the world; an imbalance is created.
Handwork is taught as an antidote to this separation from the use of our hands, not only to build an artistic sense in the students, but also to maintain the ability to use our hands to create practical and useful objects. In today’s world, with so much focus on analytical and academic skill, handwork is the balancing element to intellectual activity. Through working with their hands as part of their day-to-day education, students are able to have a harmonious school experience.
Ages 6-10 years
In handwork class, the students learn to knit. Knitting utilizes both hands, promoting differentiation that is necessary for students to write. Following the yarn, as well as tracking stitches and rows in a knitted piece, builds eye strength that is required for smooth tracking when students learn to read. This new skill is brought through story and verse. The students practice finger plays and string and clapping games in order to promote finger dexterity and build patience. Students spend the year knitting simple flat shapes, which are sewn up to make useful objects or toys. Projects can include animals, bags, recorder cases, simple scarves, balls, dolls and other toys.
As mastery of knitting continues, the students will learn how to purl, bringing an additional challenge that is needed. Crocheting is also introduced, which emphasizes the use of one hand instead of two – a skill that requires a new focus. Students will also process a sheep’s fleece from raw wool to fabric.
Ages 11-14 years
Students will learn the craft of embroidery which requires more alertness from the students, with its short threads, deliberate stitching, and sharp needles. They will learn a variety of sewing stitches used in construction including running stitch, back stitch, invisible stitch, and whip stitch. In order to meet the student who is at the beginning of the journey to discover oneself, we return to the most ancient of crafts: felt-making. The existence of felt pre-dates modern record keeping, and felting was the first way that man was able to make warm clothes and other simple household items. Felt-making requires the use of judgment to notice through the sense of touch where more work needs to be done in order to complete a project. The process of felting requires patience, careful observation, and arm strength. Felting helps develop an understanding of process and a flexibility that is still emerging in a seventh grade student.
Learning songs, dances and different instruments that coincide with the seasons, different countries that promote movement in the body and a strong sense of self will while learning to be apart of a group.
Science in Nature
This program takes advantage of the rich natural setting of Moraine Farm. With goals of cultivating interest, attention, observational skills, and activities throughout the year. These skills will support the students as skilled scientists with strong observational skills who ask questions and are motivated to explore their world. Each season we take advantage of what is happening in the natural word.
Fall is an ideal time for garden work. This can include helping with weeding, watering or cutting colorful flowers for bouquets to take home. We also take a deeper look at the soil and its role in the garden, learning about the different soil types and the nutrient cycle. We have a composting worm bin and learn about the work of the worms in aiding the nutrient cycle. We explore the Moraine Farm property and adjacent JC Phillips Preserve. By encouraging exploration of the outdoors with their senses, a heightened experience of the world will occur. These meaningful experiences will translate later in life to stewardship and care for the earth.
One of the highlights from the fall is when we find Monarch caterpillars which are brought inside and cared for through their final stages as a caterpillar and through the transformation into a butterfly. This extra care greatly improves their rate of survival and is a very meaningful process for the students to be able to experience.
Winter highlights include the maple sugaring season in February and March, when we collect sap and learn about the sugaring process from beginning to end. We also focus on what happens to the plants and animals during the winter season. There are many activities that demonstrate how different animals use their adaptations to survive. We discuss how birds survive winter and distribute seed bird feeders. Play observation games and learn about different animal tracking styles.
Spring brings us back to the garden where we prepare and plant for the growing season. We turn and amend the soil, start new plantings and maintain and supplement the pollinator flower beds which include many perennials. In addition to the garden work classes continue to hike and explore Moraine Farm and adjacent JC Phillips Preserve.
A theatre production offers an opportunity to work deeply with a story that may address a student’s developing feeling life. A play can be intentionally chosen for them to enhance their curriculum, foster social-emotional growth and be a gift to the community.
Taking on the role of a character gives the opportunity to develop empathy and social understanding. When casting the parts for a play much thought is given by the teacher. Sometimes a part is given to a student that is the opposite of their natural disposition; such casting can be a powerful and life changing experience.
Plays provide an opportunity to deepen speech work, which helps students develop communication skills and also works on their developing feeling life. Speech can be a transformative experience, as an expression of one’s deepest self. It can be powerful to speak in public. Memory, self confidence, self esteem, group cohesion and closeness are often strengthened through doing a play together.
The most important aspect of a play is not the actual performance but rather the practice and process leading up to it. Everyone in the group must cooperate and overcome a challenge working as a team, which is a social learning experience for all involved.
We have a wide variety of costumes, sets and staging, as well as the venue to host the play in its final production.
Through the preparation of a short play students will work on speech and Language Arts. The play is largely choral speech, with some individual lines, depending on the readiness of the particular group. The play is often a fairy tale, which offer images of good, evil, perseverance, justice, and so forth. Emphasis is placed on clear articulate speech, appropriate gestures and facial expression, fluid movement, awareness of the audience’s line of sight, and appropriate response to other actors during the play. Students assist with the set and costumes as appropriate.
“With a growing population choosing to homeschool, we wanted to create a specially-designed program that would bring core aspects of a Waldorf education to these families. As a Waldorf school, our teaching is built on allowing students the time and space they need to learn in an unhurried environment, while inspiring them to trust themselves and develop their own gifts. Our homeschool program now brings these qualities to a new population and we’re looking forward to bringing Waldorf to this community.” – Interim Executive Director Caroline Horner
Programs run from 10:00 am to 12:10 pm, Thursdays. Each course is a eight-week session, meeting once a week. Each day there will be two 45-minute subject classes. Students can choose to take one or two courses in the same 8-week session.
Cost: $250 per student per course (two subjects) and includes all supplies.