Waldorfish Families - Nichole Goff

Every few weeks on the blog, we spotlight a Waldorfish community family. You are a diverse and global group! We’re pretty sure you’d be bff’s in real life. Today, please enjoy our conversation with Nichole Goff!


Tell us about yourself!

My name is Nichole, I go by Mom most of the time. We have 3 boys in 7th, 5th and Kindy 4/5. We also own a small woodworking business, newly relocated. Our dreams are to have our shop and home on the same property, and our Vision is currently in process. Our shop is built, and we are renovating the home on site, but live in a rental 5 minutes away, while doing so.

How does your family start the day? 

We start the day with Kindy, then we move into 5th and 7th. My older boys co-op at our wood shop a couple mornings a week, as well. Outside time or movement helps before school.

Nichole Goff, Waldorfish Families

Give us a snapshot of any management/organizational strategies that are helping you flow through your HOMESCHOOLING days.

What has really helped me this past year is teaching my older boys how to use a planner. If they have their week planned out, including outside of the home classes, appointments, and even online art classes like Waldorfish. It helps our days flow better. It also encourages them to be self-starters, and get going on their subjects. And it helps them know when my “office time” is, which means my availability to teach or help them with their subjects. Boundaries and limits can be an issue with homeschooling. If I do not create those boundaries they may never understand when to have school work completed = deadlines. We are flexible, but as time goes on it is nice to teach deadlines, or school can get dragged out for weeks.

Movement has been huge for us. I have sensory seekers and avoiders, so for years we’ve spent time on helping them to balance that out and cope. So our sensory life has always affected our school life and so on, it is not separate. It’s dimensional.

What are some of your favorite resources? (Homeschool or otherwise)

Waldorf Essentials, Christopherus, Pinterest, IG accounts of wonderful mamas sharing, some FB groups, local activities. And let’s not forget Waldorfish Festival Year, Geometry 5th and 7th, and Weekly Art.

What are you currently reading? 

Where Two Worlds Touch, by Gloria D. Karpinski. With the boys we are currently using Frankenstein as a read-aloud.

What do you do when you are overwhelmed or stressed?

Salt bath, fresh air, CBD oil, prayer, breath work.

Please share some words of wisdom you've gleaned over the years.

Life is messy and hard and beautiful. Life is dimensional. I’ve learned that Perserverence is the hard work you do, after all the hard work has already been done. I’ve also learned that I’m a teacher and a healer, and that I’m doing exactly what I should be doing, at this moment, working in my backyard, helping to heal the Sacred Hoop.

Nichole Goff - Waldorfish Families

Tell us a bit about how Waldorfish courses are adding to your school year. Ready....Go!

Waldorfish has helped my boys with confidence, especially my 11 year old, who didn’t feel as talented at drawing. Waldorfish has also helped me as a mama-teacher. I feel less stressed about bringing the content forward. Waldorfish has helped us become consistent each week, spiraling forward within the learning framework of each block.

Top Tips from Experienced Waldorf Homeschoolers

Shared with permission from Jean Miller, at Waldorf-Inspired Learning.

The Waldorf Homeschool Conference is coming in March! I asked the presenters to share their best homeschooling advice or favorite things about Waldorf homeschooling. Check out these top tips from experienced Waldorf homeschoolers and educators. 

We’d love to have you join us for an immersive weekend exploring the Waldorf homeschooling movement and all it can do to enrich homeschool and family life at the Waldorf Homeschool Conference in Atlanta, March 8 & 9, 2019.

This conference will feature seminars led by Waldorf homeschooling experts from around the country, hands-on demonstrations of Waldorf methods, and an Exhibit Hall featuring Waldorf materials and curricula. 

Here are some tips and inspiration from each of the presenters. I asked each one to respond to one of these questions:

  1. If you could only give one piece of advice to Waldorf homeschoolers, what would it be? OR…

  2. What do you think is the best thing about Waldorf homeschooling?

(In the video, Jean shares the nuggets from the tips. Or you can read the complete tips and advice below the video.)

Top Tips from Experienced Waldorf Homeschoolers

Jean Miller, Waldorf Inspired Learning

Jean Miller of Waldorf-Inspired Learning
The Waldorf approach fosters connection with our children more than any other teaching approach I know of. And at the same time, homeschooling with Waldorf allows children to cultivate creativity and wonder about the world. I want to encourage parents (mothers especially) to embrace this experience as a journey of discovery for the whole family! Rather than perfection, aim for connection. 

Carrie Dendtler, Parenting Passageway

Carrie Dendtler of The Parenting Passageway
The best thing about Waldorf homeschooling is thinking of the whole child, and using the foundation of the arts, movement, and the senses to help your child unfold into their place in the world.


Brian & Robyn Wolfe, Waldorfish

Brian & Robyn Wolfe from Waldorfish
As homeschoolers, an intimate understanding of our children allows us to take what we understand to be the essence of a particular grade or block, and then INNOVATE responsibly. Achieving the same goals, but with entirely different, child-driven means than another Waldorf family might use. As Waldorf homeschoolers, we are perfectly situated to work from this place of freedom that Steiner indicated was the basis of this entire method of education!


Jodie Mesler, Living Music

Jodie Mesler of Living Music
My advice for homeschooling parents? Commit to mentor sessions and participate in annual conferences! Sometimes, when you homeschool, you feel isolated because Waldorf homeschooling is not mainstream. When you talk to a mentor, you feel validated, refreshed and excited to teach throughout the year. You get new and fresh ideas to help enliven your homeschool experience. When you go to conferences, you get to meet other like-minded parents and make great new friends who will support you year round, not to mention the great education you take in. The Waldorf Homeschool Conference gives you all of that!


Judy Forster

Judy Forster, Handwork Teacher
I’d like to offer some Waldorf Homeschool Advice. Having homeschooled my son using Waldorf curriculum for three years (he’s now 29), having taught at 2 different Waldorf Schools, and having taught Waldorf homeschoolers for over 20 years–here is my advice:

Don’t be too hard on yourself. I have often worked with homeschool parents who beat themselves up because they can’t do the form drawing just right, can’t seem to fit in all the curriculum, don’t know how to knit, or something like that. There’s this great quote–I think it’s often attributed to Teddy Roosevelt–“Do what you can with what you have where you are.” It’s in the striving that you will find what you and your child/children need. It doesn’t have to be “perfect.” Do what you can manage and enjoy the journey!


Sheila Petruccelli, Sure as the World

Sheila Petruccelli of Sure as the World
My answer to both questions is the same: Story. Story. Story. Allow yourselves to get lost in a way of learning that honors the rich imagery and deep symbology of stories throughout the grades. It’s healing to the spirit and enlivening to the soul. Story time is the one practice that has remained constant throughout our many years of homeschooling, which looks *nothing* like when we started. In years to come, we may not remember box and whisker plots (actually, I hope we don’t) but we will remember Charlotte’s WebInkheart and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Melisa Nielsen, Waldorf Essentials

Melisa Nielsen from Waldorf Essentials
I really have two pieces of advice for Waldorf homeschoolers:

  1. Planning is your best friend. Learn how to plan and you will have more opportunities to really enjoy the journey. Planning sets you free, gives you wings and brings confidence. Always.

  2. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Have fun. EVERYDAY. While Waldorf appears to have a lot of rules, making them work for you and having fun while you are learning will make it the most enriching journey you have ever taken.


Anne Cleveland, The Waldorf Connection

Anne Cleveland, new owner of The Waldorf Connection
My advice is to keep it simple and remember that less is more and that quality reigns over quantity. Modern life is so full that it’s easy to think that the job of a teacher is to download information to your child. The truth is that making a strong impression through a story or the telling of a personal experience that accompanies a lesson can be more memorable than “memorizing facts.”  As you plan your lessons, look for the gems, the ideas and stories that will stand out, that will fire the enthusiasm, anecdotes that you can build your whole lesson around, that might even be seeds for a lessons down the road.

One of the amazing things about Waldorf homeschooling is that you have the freedom to develop your curriculum and your teaching at your own pace. There is a structure provided for what to teach but that within that structure you have the flexibility to choose what will best support your child’s learning journey. And you can change things around and experiment to see what really works best. Sometimes that can be the most challenging part because there are so many possibilities, but at the same time this flexibility gives you the freedom to work with the curriculum in a creative way.

We’d love to see you in Atlanta at the Waldorf Homeschool Conference!

Responsible Innovation - Waldorf at 100 (Growing Old or Growing Wise?)

We recently participated in a local meeting with members of our regional Pedagogical Section Council, Waldorf class teachers, and administrators. The topic of the evening was Waldorf at 100 - Growing Old or Growing Wise?

Many schools and teachers (and Waldorf related organizations) are still not sure how to include Waldorf homeschoolers in these larger conversations - we always appreciate being invited to the table. We consider one important part of our work to be bridging this gap. How do we help homeschooling families gain access to training resources, and, how do we help local Waldorf schools find ways to include homeschoolers in their offerings?

Art credit: Waldorfish ©2019

Art credit: Waldorfish ©2019

The evening’s conversation was rich. We touched on questions such as:

  • What does it mean for the future of Waldorf education that the students of today aren’t the students of a decade ago, let alone of 100 years ago?

  • How do we meet the children of today and stay true to the underlying essence of Waldorf education?

Clearly the answers require more than one night of discussion. However, it’s more important than ever for those of us who love Waldorf education to talk openly about these (sometimes uncomfortable) questions.

There is a real danger of things becoming stagnant - becoming “things we do in Waldorf because that’s what we’ve always done.” One part of the discussion that we personally resonated with was this question:

What happens to our thinking if we change Waldorf from a noun to a verb?

Instead of saying “we do Waldorf” or “we use the Waldorf method” how different does it start to feel (and look) if we instead say “this is how we Waldorf” or asking the question “how does your family Waldorf?” Suddenly it shifts from being a stagnant Thing, to being alive and breathing!  Always changing based on the child in front of us, which was Steiner's goal all along.

Freedom in Anthroposophy means acting out of love - Acting from a place of deeply knowing the child/ren in front of you. As homeschoolers, this intimate understanding of our children allows us to take what we understand to be the essence of a particular grade or block, and then INNOVATE responsibly. Achieving the same goals, but with entirely different, child-driven means than another Waldorf family might use.

*We write more about this idea here.

Waldorf at 100.png

Waldorfish Families - Maya Corinne

Every few weeks on the blog, we spotlight a Waldorfish community family. You are a diverse and global group - We’re pretty sure you’d be bff’s in real life. Today, please enjoy our conversation with Maya Corinne of Pollen Institute!

Tell us about yourself!

 Hi I’m Maya, a creative who’s also your biggest fan! When I’m not homeschooling my 5, 10, 13, & 17 year old boys, I’m teaching global icons, beacons, & angels how to sustainably create freedom + plenty, showing college student-leaders how to make an impact free of gross unconscious consumerist patriarchy, or figuring out how to make some traditional feast, or making fences for my animals.

How does your family start the day?

I take our 5-year old, Saki to pick fresh & dried herbs for his "specialty" (special tea.) He distributes them into mugs while I heat the water & get breakfast started. When we pour the water over the herbs, we whisper prayers into the steam, for the elements to deliver. Usually it's, "May all be giggles," and that kind of thing. Micro-traditions are everything. The middle boys, Lake & Mekhi, sleep for another hour or two, then roll into their novels until it's time to help make beds. We always, always make the beds, as a matter of dignity & discipline. Mahal, our 17 year-old, wakes super-early even though he'd love to sleep in, & makes his bed, too. His internal motivation & will is beyond.


We are Waldorf-ish homeschooling kindergarten, 5th grade, 7th grade, & a graduating junior. So yes, kindergarten, grade school, junior high, & high school! I use a few different systems for sure. Trello is where I keep resources & passwords, as well as idea boards for each boy. I use Evernote to plan projects. I keep a separate planner for 5th & 7th that includes subject-specific check-lists, while the 11th grader runs his own education like a baller. I help manage his state-issued homeschooling budget (we are with Inspire Charter School in California), & he raised his own additional educational funding & found his own instructors for each subject. So he's taken himself to countries around the world & runs his own online businesses, as well.

The kindergartner falls into a standard Waldorf rhythm organized around food, music, creative, & outside time. It's not as cozy as it would be in a standard Waldorf classroom, there's astral energy (teen vibes) everywhere. So I'm eager to focus on that.

Our family formation has also shifted in a way that's required them to have less classes, & sports than usual. So we will be finding some new ways to integrate their community engagement time so they have their own very important social spheres.

My favorite strategy is something that always, always works: Lower the bar. Whatever the external standard, drop it. Choose what each child actually needs. Make sure you are well.

Waldorfish Families - Maya's Boys.JPG

What are some of your favorite resources? (Homeschool or otherwise)

We use all of the Waldorfish offerings, & I also love Christopherus. We join local Waldorf schools for festivals, & are definitely active members of our local library, aquarium (California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco), raptor center, & museums. We are also members of the Oakland Zoo because we love their ecology programs & feel good about their awareness, & how they raise awareness. We attend farmer's markets, & are also very close to local farmers & fisherpeople, who trade work, food, & food stuff (plant starts, eggs, fish, feed, etc) with us. Many of my alumni are herbalists, crafters, & medicinekeepers, so there's an amazing rotating apothecary/gift shop that comes thru the mail. Which requires us to make things, too.

Waldorfish Families - Community.JPG

What are you currently reading? 

Decolonize Your Diet by Luz Calvo & Catriona Rueda Esquibel.

Mom's House, Dad's House by Isolina Ricci. (It's priceless!!)

Planetary Herbology by Michael Terra.

Afro Vegan by Bryant Terry.

The Balanced Mom by Bria Simpson.

Full Moon Feast by Jessica Prentice (again & again).

The Organic Artist by Nick Neddo.

What do you do when you are overwhelmed or stressed? 

Sit in my closet. Lol. Still. I take long showers & sit on the bathroom floor. I sing. I dance. I go for barefoot medicine walks outside, every day, & make sure to see the horizon. It always reminds me to be right sized, that my life is so insignificant in the larger rhythms, & so there's also room to swing large, to make big mistakes & create big, spectacular messes. I also cook like I'm famished. Giant stews with 20 ingredients, & 10 toppings. They comfort me & bring me a sense of abundance.

I have a tight circle of creative, smart, conscious, next level friends who are parents that build businesses that are also movements (like Robyn & Brian Wolfe.) I tend to be extremely private. So it's not me to reach out for problems or commiserating.

These kinds of friends include real life while also understanding my impulse to convene, collaborate, & co-create. In our pajamas of course.

Waldorfish Families - Family.jpg

Please share some words of wisdom you've gleaned over the years. 

Don't worry about self-love. Surround yourself with stellar people & let them hold your self-esteem. You hold theirs, & love on them. If they contract in your space, they aren't your people, choose those that expand. Don't focus on how you want to feel, or you'll always be wanting. Fill up on the qualities that are *who you are* as a contribution. Mine are magic, flow, warmth, & awe. They are my prayers for myself, my children, my work, & society. So I fill up on those things. Now I have more than enough to give, regardless of how I feel. This is the ancient way. We had our roles.

Oh yes, & don't manage time. Manage your roles. Batch your tasks. Don't wait on your children. And if you never say no to them, they will be the kids all the other kids think are bullies. They can handle a firm container, & will honor you for it. They will also appreciate the freedoms you give them without taking you for granted.

This I know as a mother of color. We can't have entitled children. Unchecked privileges turn into violence in men. So chores are noble. Showing up for the family is a gift they want to give.

Please share 3 or 4 sentences about what Waldorfish courses have added to your family/school year. Ready....Go! 

My 5, 10, 13, & 17 year olds love how Waldorfish courses bring them together. The elder boys get to share many of the art techniques & funny moments they had live when Robyn & Brian were their actual Waldorf teachers. The middle two enjoy expanding their math & art skills, while the kindergartner likes the quiet, settled presence of his kuyas (big brothers) when there's a lesson.

Of course he's picking up everything. Waldorfish classes help us to keep a living home, not just a worksheet & sports factory, but a home that’s filled with work we are so proud to have up, & that they are so proud to have up. It hones their aesthetics so that their lesson books are meaningful. Thank you. We love every last Waldorfish course.

Where can we connect with you?

Website: www.pollen.institute

Instagram: @urbanorganica and @saturnssister