to mix the waldorf with the cm, stir, shake and pour

So after my last post I have had some requests to know how we combine waldorf and Charlotte mason in our homeschool. I haven't really written about this much before because 1) I have many readers not interested in homeschooling so I don't want to write about it too often and 2) I am still learning. I still google "combining waldorf and cm" all the time looking for fresh inspiration. There is not much out there which kind of makes it a pain and I feel totally inadequate in giving advice on the subject. So. That's why I haven't talked much about it. But I have had enough inquirers, so I'm just going to write this thing. These are just my ideas and what we do in our home.

 I really think cm and waldorf combine beautifully and naturally. Even down to the ideas and mottoes behind each. Waldorf speaks of "thinking, feeling, willing" and cm's motto is "I am, I can, I ought, I will." In cm, education is defined as an "atmosphere, a discipline, a life" while waldorf education seeks to educate the whole child. They both embrace beauty and gentleness, focus on nature, shun textbooks and rely on the child's "telling back" in various forms. Handwork is seen as necessity not extra curricula,as is art.

There are differences but these differences compliment each other and can be intertwined.  I am not going to use this post to explain all of the intricacies of the two methods, {those can be found in numerous places... try here and here} but what I will do is tell you what we embrace from them and how we live and learn.

Charlotte Mason graces our home in the artist, composer, folk songs, hymns, poetry, nature study and living books.  Every morning we have a circle time of sorts where we read our Bible, poems, learn music and art and have a classic read aloud.  This is the one time of the day when our studies are all together, and this time {along with our afternoon quiet reading time} is a staple of our daily rhythm.

Waldorf is a method of education and a life atmosphere.  Where cm talks about education being an atmosphere, Waldorf creates that atmosphere.  Yes, our home is filled with nature, with wood toys, with dolls, dress up clothes, scarves, etc.  Real, open-ended toys which equal real, open-ended imaginary play.  This is a huge part of Waldorf education and a huge part of our early years.  For the grades we incorporate Steiner's recommendations for main lessons based on the developmental state of the child as opposed to Miss Mason's chronological history study.  I know a great deal of Steiner's beliefs and teachings and there are many things which I do not agree with him on, but I also believe that he was given a great deal of wisdom.  One area that he had great insight into was child development and I know this from watching my own children.  Waldorf education is designed to reach the child where they are and I do believe that the main lessons for each age do a wonderful job of doing that.

Thus, my 9 year old is currently going through an Old Testament main lesson while my 10 year old is reading the Norse myths.  My 5 and 3 year olds spend their days playing, working alongside me and being read to.  We add CM in by having loads of living books which my children and myself read through, narrate, and really drink in.  Waldorf does not really start teaching history until year/grade 5 and I do not require focused history study before then but with all of our reading my kids are exposed to all areas of history.  Both Layla and Josiah love history and have desired to read about it on their own.  {Layla is completely immersed in the middle ages right now, all of her free reading is devoted to it!}

So we follow Waldorf's main lessons for the grades and when history study truly begins with Greek and Roman history, we begin using AO's year 6 {terms 2 & 3} which fits right alongside.  Following AO from year 6 through the end of high school keeps right on track with Waldorf's history study and adds a bit more CM to the mix.  Main lesson books are continued, filled with long written narrations, summary and creative.

Wow, this is so much and I suddenly just ran out of steam.  I really hope all of this makes sense :)  I know some of you are really counting on my book and resource list so I will do a post on that in the next couple of days and that will be my last post on this topic for awhile.  And if you have any questions ask and I will answer them in the next post as well.


  1. This is awesome! I love peeking into your days (being nosy) lol ;)
    I think the way you work both methods together is really lovely!

  2. Found this post through CM Waldorf group. Great post thank you!