(PS> Catherine had a great point below in the comment section; this post can sound negative if you read it the wrong way! The concerns I have listed at the bottom with three more challenging types of situations does not mean you cannot homeschool! I mean to encourage you and say you can do this, stop collecting curriculum and START! Do what you need to do to get support, but also do the work that YOU need to do for your family!!
Love to all! Carrie)
Do those of you who homeschool have this conversation all the time?
Stranger: Where does your child go to school?
Mother: We homeschool.
Stranger (fascinated and horrified at the same time): Oh, I could NEVER do that. I am not patient at all, and my children just don’t listen to me!
Your children never listen to you?
That is going to be really difficult and make for challenges throughout your parenting lifetime.
Yes, homeschooling mothers can be patient, but I doubt if you rounded all of us up and tested us for an extra patience gene that we would be any different than the regular population.
The secret is that we have more opportunities to work on developing our patience. That’s all. If I need to develop patience, I can almost guarantee I will be put in more situations and opportunities where I can work to develop that trait. No one said growth was easy!
Rudolf Steiner once said, “This is what causes one such heartfelt concern today, that people have not the least desire to know something.” So, if you as a family are open to striving, to learning, to trying, to growing, to persevering, then homeschooling is for you.
You will develop your own will, you will learn so much about yourself, you will develop new abilities. You will develop your family culture like never before and the ties with your children and the ties between your children will be stronger than ever. Your children will learn not only academics, but practical life skills and they will assimilate your family’s values at a rapid clip.
However, I do feel there are two categories of families who can homeschool but that might need extra support.
One is the hopelessly disordered and chaotic family. You have to be able to work out time to plan, and you have to have a plan. Planning will save you every time. Even veteran UNSCHOOLERS plan to the extent that once they have identified their children’s passions, they bring their child to the library, they strew materials about their home, they plan experiences revolving around the children’s interests. That takes planning! I often hear mothers say this time of year that maybe they should just “follow their child’s interests, Waldorf (or Classical or whatever) is just too hard. We should just unschool.” If you need a break, take a break, but don’t fool yourself by thinking unschooling is no work. The veteran Unschoolers I personally know work hard to help their children learn.
For Waldorf homeschooling families, I feel NOW is the time you should be matching a skeleton outline of blocks you are going to teach up with a calendar and start looking at resources for the fall. You can then order your resources around March, have time to read through it all and plan over the Summer. You need to do this even with an “open and go” curriculum.
The second category of families I worry about with homeschooling are those parents who are truly afraid to be an authority in their home. A nice, loving authority, not a mean dictator, but an authority who has an idea what the rules of the house are, and what is acceptable and not acceptable. I have so many, many posts on this blog about this. This is so important.
Where is your Family Mission Statement? What are your values, what are your rules? What are you doing for inner work? Are you actually home and working on developing your patience and strengthening your family ties together or are you just running around every day? To homeschool, you actually need to be home! What outside activities are your children involved in and do they really need to be involved in them? I don’t think a child under six and a half or seven really needs classes. Children under four and a half or five don’t need playdates either. Waldorf Kindergarten used to traditionally start at four and a half years of age. This still makes sense developmentally!
The third little thing I need to throw in is that I do worry a bit about the mothers homeschooling only daughters. I think mother-daughter relationships can get really tangled and picky. I am NOT saying I don’t think mother-only daughters should not homeschool, I am just saying this situation may require some extra planning so the whole thing doesn’t become too intense. In this case, some outside experiences and play time and the like within a supportive community may be helpful.
Just a few thoughts!