Most of WLR classes are hands-on. When students are immersed in engaging activities, learning is fun! By focusing on the experiential aspects of learning, WLR instructors maximize class time by leaving most skilled-based activities to the home educating parent or caregiver who knows the child’s strengths and areas that need extra support. So for instance, if a student is challenged with fine motor skills, writing a single word or sentence may take 10-20 minutes. Rather than use class time, this is an activity better suited to the one-on-one attention he/she is receiving at home.
However, there are several ways that parents can extend WLR lessons into their home learning environment, using the WLR lesson as inspiration for continued learning at home. Below are a few suggestions.
- Telling back/oral narration. This is a common practice in Waldorf schools as well as those who use Charlotte Mason methods. It is simple and lays a strong foundation for composition as the child grows. How? Simply ask your child to tell you what he did in class. Avoid the temptation to interrupt with questions, but rather let the child “narrate” as if telling you a story about his/her day. In Waldorf schools, the telling back usually occurs the day after the lesson, allowing the images from the story or lesson to enter the subconscious during sleep; with Charlotte Mason methods, this is done shortly after the lesson. Telling back/narration is an excellent practice while the student is still developing the fine motor skills required for writing – especially when the hand cannot keep up with the mind! Narrating what he/she did in class or learned reinforces that learning and helps it to sink in. In addition, your child is naturally practicing the skills required for basic writing: sequencing of ideas, sentence composition, using adjectives, etc. The process strengthens the memory and speaking skills as well.
- Written narration. This is similar to #1 above, but can be done on paper. You can actually have your child do the oral narration first and then at another time, they can do the written narration. Again, this will extend and reinforce what has been covered in class. Depending on the child’s age and development, they may write for 2 – 20 minutes about their learning experiences in class. Rather than marking or grade the composition, simply observe any misspelled words or other errors that you can focus on during a separate lesson.
- Drawing or other artistic activity – In a Waldorf school, the main lesson often includes a teacher-led drawing from the story or subject matter. At home, you can simply have your child draw a picture related to what was learned in class that day or the day before. Alternatively, your student can sculpt, paint or engage in another artistic activity to help extend and reinforce the lesson.
- Creating a lesson book. If desired, your child can compile his/her written compositions and/or drawings into a lesson book, with a card stock cover that can also include an illustration and a title.
During the Fall 2017 Session, we have a number of classes that will work well with any of the above ideas including:
- Science – Meteorology
- Science – Rockets!
- Hands-on Geology
- Math: History & Mysteries
- Nature Stories & Crafts
- Storytelling & Drama
- Handwork: Farm to Fiber
- Hero Stories
- Musical Theatre
- Clay & World Crafts
- Learning is Fun K-1 program
For any of our art-based classes, you may prefer an oral or written narration since the artistic activity has already been done in class.
You know your child best, of course. Modify any of the above ideas to your child’s developmental age, skill level, interest and any other considerations. Ideally, any of these activities will be a joyful extension of your child’s experience at Wholistic Learning Resources.