One thing that many Waldorf teachers do at night is to meditate on the children in their class. I think this practice is absolutely vital as a Waldorf homeschooling parent.
In the discussion write-up following Dr. Helmut von Kugelgen’s article “How Can We Find A Connection to The World of the Angels?” in the blue paperback book, “A Deeper Understanding of the Waldorf Kindergarten,” the question arises:
Q: What about thinking about children before we go to sleep?
A: “Freya Jaffke spoke to this question and said each person must find their own way with this. The picturing of children should not take too long, though one can then spend more time on a difficult child. For example, one can review a problematic moment with the child, make it “present” within one, picturing the “gesture” of the moment. How did the moment arise? What led up to it? What happened during the moment and what came afterwards? Also find a good moment that happened with the child. Make this picture “big” before your mind’s eye. Thus two objective pictures stand before you without any wishes. Then you can feel a real connection to the child. You may do this picturing several nights in a row. Maybe one picture will increase or decrease; or both may merge into equal strength. Then daily work will grow easier, for you are not fighting the one aspect. But be careful not to neglect the “good” children. Look at all of the children, and occasionally dwell on one or two who do not have difficulties.” (page 59-60).
How much easier this is for us as homeschooling parents – we have less numbers to meditate on! And in some ways, how much more difficult this is, as we are more emotionally involved and connected and attached and feel more deeply about our children’s behavior of the day than a teacher most likely would.
I personally have a practice of praying for my children every night before bed; I also meditate on them and see what I receive – those flashes of pictures as it forms. I also think about those more difficult situations that occurred during the day, and think about what I need to work on, and also what my children need to practice for living. I frame this in positive terms. For example, if my child is having a difficult time, I might think about what needs to INCREASE in my child in order for the situation to be better. Sometimes I look for virtues off this list:
and think how I can bring a particular virtue to my child in a sideways manner. Is there a pedagogical story I can tell? Can I work through rhythm, through other experiences?
I also use other things; I am a big fan of flower essences and homeopathic remedies to help balance things out. I look at warmth and how I am transmitting emotional warmth to my children. I look at what I am modeling myself.
These meditative techniques are a wonderful and necessary addition for peaceful homeschooling and peaceful parenting in general. Give them a try, and I don’t think you will be disappointed!