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Intellectual Development & Waldorf Education

By Reverend Brenda Hoffman

According to the Webster's dictionary, education is an action, a process, a stage which results in knowledge.

In previous times, children were simply living and working with their families, playing whenever there was time, watching, imitating, observing, and participating. Nearly all of the daily activities were directly related to the sole purpose of sustaining life. People spent their time gathering food, protecting themselves, creating adequate dwelling space, finding mates, caring for one another, and creating community. All children lived this way, except for the wealthier children who had much more time in which they were able to learn how to read, write, and master other higher subjects, generally after about age the age of 7. Of these wealthy children, 1 or 2 very bright ones were sent off to the larger urban areas for further study, often with the religious institutions or political organizations of the times.

So, what did the younger children do? They played and worked with their families. They spent their time next to their parents, helping or playing a few simple items from nature or contrived toys such as corn cob dolls. These children also heard and listened to numerous stories that helped carry history down through the ages. This is interesting considering that people can retain about 10% of information that they hear once, more if they read it, and most of it when they do it. Thus, the repetition of oral traditions, vastly increases the retention of material by human beings. The best time for children to learn these stories is when they're under the age of 7, when there is a very strong natural urge and interest in repeated stories. These children NEED oral stories and repetition.

When presenting these stories to your children you should NOT dumb down the vocabulary. We should be using the words that were originally present and repeat them. Children will master these words which in and of itself is a good education. This is the developmental part of education which has been abandoned by our public education system who only strives for better test scores. An education system that focuses upon training the mind while paralyzing the body as kindergarteners are made to sit at desks, use pencils, write and copy, and give up recess because there isn't time for it.

Developmental education is critical for healthy balanced adults. We must use all the various parts of our physical bodies on a daily basis. This means that all the aspects of our bodies - the head, the heart, and the hands - must be well educated. This is something that Waldorf educators truly believe in. These educators work diplomatically and lovingly to assist parents to see the realities of what happens when we place children in work that is not appropriate for their stage of development.

Waldorf homeschooling can be easily accomplished since you are the the creator of your world. While homeschooling you are the master of your home, your schedule, your possessions, your choices, your stories, your food, your tone of voice, your joy and creativity, your child's universe, everything. As such, you can select and create elements that will shine upon everyone around you, now and into the future as well.

About The Author

Reverend Brenda Hoffman has been delivering holistic health and wellness advice for over 7 years. As a home-based professional and mother of 1, she operates a holistic wellness and homeschooling network. Learn to enjoy a healthier lifestyle and richer relationships with your homeschooled children through the range of resources at


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