These are some of the questions left by mothers on this blog that I thought I would try to answer in this post. If you left a question that requires a longer answer, please expect to see a blog post coming up!
Q. Where can I find the “Curative Education” booklet by Carlo Pietzner you reviewed?
A. Hhmm, well I got it at Bob and Nancy’s around Christmas, and now it does not seem to be there. I also checked at the Rudolf Steiner College Bookstore, and it does not seem to be there either. My suggestion is to email Nancy Parsons at Bob and Nancy’s Bookshop and ask for it.
Q: What edition of Mother Goose should I use?
A: I have several, in some the language is “old” and in some the language is updated. I find it easier to memorize the ones with the more updated language, but like the completeness of the edition with the older language (ie. “hath” for “has”, etc.). Example of a modern-day English one is here: http://www.amazon.com/My-Very-First-Mother-Goose/dp/1564026205/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1263467609&sr=1-3. This is an example of one I have with less modern language: http://www.amazon.com/REAL-MOTHER-GOOSE-CARTWHEEL-BOOKS/dp/B000OQKEAQ/ref=sr_1_17?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1263467724&sr=1-17. I think it is personal preference, you also may end up owning more than one, and you also may find a bunch of these verses on-line. I say whatever is easiest for you to memorize.
Q: What do I do with my child that goes outside and just stands there?
A: I addressed this a little bit in this post: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/01/13/waldorf-in-the-home-with-the-three-and-four-year-old/
and I also thought this book had some good ideas to get your creative juices going: http://www.amazon.com/Natures-Playground-Activities-Encourage-Children/dp/1556527233/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1263467982&sr=1-5
In general, for small children under age 7, I would think of what fairies and gnomes might need for housing or things in their houses, what we would do to create an outside room for ourselves.
This book may also be helpful to you: http://www.amazon.com/Sunflower-Houses-Inspiration-Children-Grown-Ups/dp/0761123865/ref=reg_hu-wl_list-recs (or really any of the books by this author!)
Q: What do I do with my four year old child that is wanting to know how to write her name or copy words?
A: Ho-hum attitude. Let your child copy words if they initiate that themselves, help them write their name (a proud moment for many four year olds!), don’t say anything negative, keep trying to steer into typical Kindergarten activities, don’t worry about inversions of letters or numbers. There is a big difference between wanting to write one’s name and being ready for formal academic main lessons in Waldorf.
Q: But my kindergartner is so advanced! They are already doing x, y, z! Shouldn’t I just go ahead and start First Grade?
A: The Waldorf Curriculum is based upon development of the human being in all aspects. The subject content is really made for the seven-year-old in First Grade, the academic end of it can be adjusted up or down. The reverse would be true if you have a 10 year old at a 6 year old academic level, you would still need to bring in the Fourth Grade stories as those are age-appropriate.
Q: What do I do when I try to set up great play scenarios on a larger scale for my 4 and 5 year old and my toddler ruins it?
A: That is challenging! Sometimes doing it during nap if the older one is no longer napping works, building some of it yourself the night before so the little one is not so excited to see *you* building (after all, the toddler is just trying to imitate you), building a scene for said toddler, playing with toddler whilst older one builds, give ways the toddler can participate in the building, using a sling if toddler will stay there, and most of all realizing this is a phase that will pass.
I think another thing that happens here frequently is that mothers feel guilty the older one is building on their own and they can’t help as much because of the toddler. Please try to reframe that in your heart and mind, because the older one really does pick up on that and starts to see the little one as this intrusion who not only is ruining the game but is taking mommy away from helping! Cultivate the attitude that what your older one creates on their own without as much of your assistance is a great step developmentally and in no time at all you will have two little builders and isn’t having a sibling wonderful and you can show your little brother/sister what you have built? They are so interested in you, Big Brother. Use this opportunity as a time to build up their relationship rather than viewing it as a negative, it sets a great foundation!
Q. How do I become a peaceful parent? Why does it always come back to me, why do I have to be perfect? How do I start this Inner Work stuff?
I know it is such hard work, challenging work! Sometimes we all feel grumpy that we have to be the one to set the tone and hold the space. You don’t have to be perfect, but now that you know much of this rests on you and the rhythm and the words and actions you take to create your home, the intangible home for your spouse and your children, it does become a place to start your work.
There are many posts on Inner Work and also on rhythm on this blog. There are also posts on anger in parenting, kindness in your home and realistic expectations for each age.
For Inner Work, I suggest just setting aside time to meditate or pray in the morning. Then, one night a week, I suggest you wet on wet paint, or draw or sculpt or create music for an hour. This is also development of the soul. Finally, you can start looking at your own biography. Tapestries by Betty Staley is a nice place to start with that, and there are reviews of each chapter of that book on this blog.
With rhythm, start with getting up at the same time each day and getting to bed at night. Then work in rest times and meal times and then branch out to the other areas.
Seems like there were more questions, but at least that is a start. Keep those questions coming!