Donna Simmons is pretty much is the be all – end all (in my opinion) when it comes to Waldorf Inspired Parenting and Education. She is highly respected and valued in the Waldorf community and having her spend a week on my blog, interacting with all of you, is truly a very special occasion.
Donna and her husband founded Christopherus Homeschool Resources in 2003. Since then, it has become the go-to site for everything related to Waldorf curriculum and conscious parenting, especially for the early years. Donna has a lifelong connection to Waldorf education as a student, grades teacher, early years teacher, high school teacher, parent educator and, crucially, homeschooling parent. Her aim in all of her materials is to help parents to an appreciation of the depths of the Waldorf approach as well as to make working at home with Waldorf doable.
- Getting started with Waldorf homeschooling;
- Waldorf 101;
- Waldorf Curriculum;
- A Bookstore bursting with some very insightful books;
- Personal consulting for your parenting and/or homeschooling journey; and
- A rich vault of resources that is unmatched anywhere.
Two of my personal favorite features of the website are the Early Years resources and the Email Newsletter. I have found both to be invaluable as I have taken this journey as a mother.
Donna also authors the Homeschool Journey Blog which is rich with insight, inspiration, and information guaranteed to help you in your parenting and homeschooling journey.
Perhaps what Donna is know most for is the forum she moderated which allowed parents from all over the world to convene and support each other as parents and homeschool educators. The forum was wildly popular, especially with those parents of children under 7 years of age. When Donna shut the forum down, there was a huge void of valuable insight and experience from those in the trenches offering support to mothers like me, just starting our journey. Not one to deprive a community of something so treasured, Donna put together a publication titled The Journey Begins At Home: A Waldorf Early Years Guide. Honestly, this is THE BEST parenting book I have EVER read. To this day I refer to it for inspiration, support, motivation and ideas almost weekly. Yes, it really is that amazing. Every parent needs this book.
Here is a little more about this jewel:
Arising from eight years’ worth of intimate and lively conversations on Donna’s yahoo group and then internet forum, this book is unlike any other. Largely based in a Question & Answer format, Donna and her circle of wise and supportive colleagues help parents work their way through a myriad of challenges, joys and questions that confront everyone during their first years of parenting. From what to expect from developmental changes throughout the early years to understanding the root cause of most discipline problems (and how to find creative responses!), the wisdom in this book is a great gift to all parents interested in what a Waldorf perspective can offer during the early years. Though most of the riches in this book are inspired by the words of parents who homeschooled (if only part of the time), it is of relevance to all parents with children from birth through seven years of age. This whopping 400 page book covers all the bases of early childhood, offering practical Waldorf-based support from one mother to another. Many voices contributed to this work and there are therefore numerous different approaches to questions of, for instance, potty training, the family bed and creating the “Waldorf home”. Such an approach enriches what is presented as there is, of course, no one right way in parenting! Scattered throughout the book are also a number of articles written by Donna on subjects such as childcare and first grade readiness. Donna also prefaces each section with commentary, drawing from her 25+ years’ experience as a Waldorf teacher, youth worker, parent educator and parent.
Again, I highly recommend that you visit Christopherus Homeschool Resources. You will not be disappointed.
And be sure to check back here on Monday, January 23rd when I will give you a brief introduction to the topics we are going to start conversating about with Donna. Both topics are ones that I receive a lot of emails about. In addition, start thinking up questions you have that you would like Donna to address. They can be parenting related, homeschooling related, or Waldorf education related. She will be checking comments frequently and will respond to each and every one.
Squeeeel! I am just bursting with excitement! I cannot wait to see where this conversation goes!