It was such a delight to have Melisa Nielsen come on the show to speak with me about Waldorf homeschooling. I’ll be honest, I was intimidated to cover this topic since it’s something I know almost nothing about. So many of you requested that I cover Waldorf homeschooling and I didn’t even know where to begin. I asked the Waldorfy social media audience, who they would like to hear from on the topic of Waldorf homeschooling and overwhelmingly the guest that the most people wanted to hear from was Melisa. I personally didn’t know Melisa and because I’m always trying to bring you all the very best of guests and info surrounding Waldorf methods and ideas, I actually sent her an e-mail that practically grilled her on her credentials. I’ve since come to find out she is one of the pioneers of the Waldorf homeschool movement with years of experience as a homeschool parent and mentor to families pursing Waldorf homeschooling. As she discusses in the episode, she has five children herself and really went through it all learning to meet each of her children and their needs with Waldorf curriculum. I was so impressed with her knowledge and experience. Now I know why so many of you wanted to hear from her!
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For those of you who aren’t familiar, Melisa has been a Waldorf homeschooling parent for nearly 20 years. She and her husband Erik have five children and live in San Diego. Years ago when Melisa wanted a Waldorf education for her children and there was no school in sight, she began to study and eventually wrote her own curriculum. She now supports families all over the world with her resources at Waldorf Essentials. She has many free resources, including a weekly podcast where she talks about Waldorf education at home as well as parenting and partnering challenges. She and Erik are more than just homeschool mentors, they are also marriage and family coaches, happy to help families grow closer together.
Together in this episode Melisa and I discuss many common questions surrounding Waldorf homeschooling. One of the things I wanted to speak about was how Waldorf homeschooling is not just an option because attending Waldorf school is inaccessible for a family, but it actually offers, in some ways, more than what a traditional Waldorf education in a school can provide. There’s obviously the flexibility component, but beyond that there is the huge piece that you the parent are able to offer being both parent and teacher. A Waldorf teacher’s job is to work to meet the needs of each child in their class. They observe the children, learn who they are, what kind of temperament they have, and reflect on what gifts they bring, to educate them as a whole human being. Imagine however, you the parent are the teacher. Who really knows a child better than his or her parent? This could actually be seen as a huge plus of Waldorf homeschooling.
As many benefits as it has, Waldorf homeschooling is not without its struggles. Melisa and I touch on quite a few of these including, how to juggle schooling children of multiple ages, and how to manage a baby while schooling a grades school aged child at the same time.
One of the things that intimidates me most about homeschooling is all the planning. The planning however is where Melisa really shines. She’s a homeschooling planning pro and even leads a course on how to manage the planning side of homeschooling.
I think my favorite part of our conversation was when Melisa got to speak about how she met each of her children with Waldorf curriculum. Particularly I loved when she spoke about working with her son who is on the autism spectrum. I was just about brought to tears hearing her speak about how she worked to meet his needs and develop his will.
Melisa is really a Waldorf homeschool master. I hope you learned as much from this episode as I did! I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
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