Part Two of “Contemplating Homeschooling For Waldorf Kindergarten”?

I think it is a sign of our times that I see mothers getting so very anxious, so very worked up about what to do, what curriculum to use for their three, four and five year olds, even in a Waldorf-inspired environment.

Please don’t.

Your main job with small children under the age of first grade (six and a half or seven) is to have a healthy home life and to do your own inner work and personal development in order to help set the tone for that healthy, joy-filled home life.

You might be wondering how to get started on inner work and personal development.  I have encouraged mothers over and over to really look carefully at discerning a spiritual path and to get involved in the DOING of an active spiritual life at a place of worship with a community. This is so important for your children as they grow, especially heading into the grades. 

Some parents have told me they have no idea what spiritual path to even try.  I suggest talking to your partner or spouse about your spiritual leanings or desires and comparing notes.  Possibly then you could make a shorter list of possible spiritual matches and go visiting alone or together as a couple  if it is hard to visit different places each week with small children in tow.  Sometimes the visiting process is confusing to small children, and discerning where you need to be as a family is important to do alone or as a couple and then involve the small children. Of course, with older children, visiting as a family can be a lovely experience.

A spiritual path can help direct your prayer life, your meditative life, your hours of the day and the festivals of the year.  Many religions have a Daily Office where certain things are prayed at certain hours, and a year of feasts and festivals to deepen one’ walk of faith throughout the cycle of the year. 

I have a large number of Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Anglican readers on this blog, along with quite a few Jewish and Islamic readers (and other spiritual paths!).  Perhaps they could comment as to what has been most meaningful to them on their spiritual path over the years in the comment box.  Not as a religious debate, of course, but as an example of personal journey!

Another way to work with personal development, I think, is to work with the concept of biography.  Where have you been, where are you now, where are you going?  Look at your seven year cycles and where you have been; I have many back posts on the book “Tapestries” on this blog that details each seven-year cycle through adulthood and also the stages of marriage.  You can find them by putting “Tapestries” into this blog’s search engine.  (And with close to 750 detail-packed posts, this blog needs a search engine! Ha!)

Love to all,

Carrie

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8 thoughts on “Part Two of “Contemplating Homeschooling For Waldorf Kindergarten”?

  1. I think this is challenging for parents. I see how my recently turned three year old has this new level of understanding and engagement in the world and I’ve been worried, oh no! am I doing enough for him now? Is this simple home life with lots of free play really enough? Will he be behind his peers if I don’t school him in some way? Yes, I try to calm that voice.

    And then there’s the spiritual path. I’ve been a practitioner of buddhist meditation for many years, but my local center is not geared towards families (most members don’t even have children), so that is not really the place for us. I see how my son has a deepening awareness and interest in spiritual life – even though he doesn’t even know the word. I just see and hear it in his gestures and observations. I see clearly how I need to offer him some space to explore and nuture that. It may be with an intentional community of friends who have similiar values. It would be something that we would think about and plan. If only we were not about to move! But that’s where I’m headed, that if I can’t find an institution that speaks to me, I’ll create a spiritual circle of friends with children with whom we gather and celebrate in meaningful ways for us.

    I’ve always wanted to read The Spiritual Life of Children, btw. Any other good book suggestions on spirituality and children?

    • Yes, that feeling of not doing enough! Yes!! It is so hard to quiet that voice sometimes and to see the bigger picture; when your children are older and such I think it is easier with subsequent children to look and see how tiny three is ….
      Thank you so much for sharing your Buddhist path! I am not familiar with that book, and to be honest most of the books I have read regarding children, religion, spirituality, morality have left me disappointed. There was one I reviewed awhile back on here that did speak to me about the development of morality versus spirituality…

      Many blessings Elizabeth, I was just thinking of you today. I think you were the very first subscriber to this blog. :)
      Carrie

  2. Carrie you hit the nail right on the head! Taking this time to care for ourselves is the most important thing and biggest gift we can give to our family.

    You know, we wrote “Before the Journey” just for moms in this age group to show that you can have young children and just BE. We wrote the book as a work of fiction covering four families through four seasons – families of different sizes, ages and stages in their lives – my aim was to show that you can do this and not follow the mainstream, just enjoy your child and work on yourself.

    Our Beacon program is multi faith and was created just for moms to work on themselves and open to new levels of peace in their lives. It really is the foundation of motherhood – living and loving with your child AND your partner.

    You have given such great advice!

    Blessings.

  3. Timely post! My husband and I have just been discussing this subject. He is Roman Catholic and I am….well…I have not quite found my niche in a formed community. I seem to find myself in the “spiritual but not religious” category, although I do wish I could find a place to land that feels right.

    We are concerned about confusing our son with our differing spiritual views. I converted to Catholicism so that our family could have a “united front” — I attended mass weekly for a few years, but just recently stopped, as I felt I was just going through the motions. Do you have any thoughts on couples with different spiritual paths? My husband is very, very happy with his church of choice so there will not likely be an exploration of other options as a couple. Sometimes I think I should continue to attend mass for the sake of uniformity. I’d be happy to do so, but am also concerned with sending a message to our son that is not entirely genuine.

    Another big question of late is when it might be appropriate to take children to church. Our son will be 4 in April. My husband is not interested in taking him to church until he is at an age where he can more consciously understand what is happening. However, he wants to expose him to his faith in a way that is age-appropriate. Any thought on this? I’ve seen so many young, young children attend mass very quietly ever week, but our son is quite vocal about not wanting to be in church, and the times we have taken him have ended up in the “cry room.”

    We both love your blog. I forward your posts to my husband and he shares them with his co-workers. You have advised us through many a question! Thank you!

  4. thank you for this reminder…i feel the pressure from all sides to get our 4-year-old “ready for school” with some kind of program (little do these people know i am hestitating about school for next year!!) even though i too, even now sitting here typing, feel so overwhelmed with not doing enough for my son…i need to remember that i am primarily MODELING in these years and working through my growth and development is key to that…
    thanks.

  5. A good friend recently turned me onto this blog and it is fantastic. I am trying to “convert” homeschooling my just six year old son to a rhythmic Waldorf way. I had him in so many organized activities in the fall that neither of us knew whether we were coming or going. It has been a tough transition for both of us but it seems as though we are connecting a lot more than we used to when I was driving and he was in the back seat of the car all day. My struggle now is that most of our homeschooling community wants to see us at least once a week…it’s hard to keep my son from his friends (and keep me from my friends as well.) I am learning a lot and thank you for your efforts.

    Regarding beepsandclicks comment…I grew up in a home with a very strict Roman Catholic father and a non-denominational, Protestant mother. My siblings and I were raised Catholic but I feel that I really learned my spirituality from my mother’s quiet ways. I don’t belong to any particular religious group now, but I don’t think growing up in my “mixed” home was confusing; unless of course you ask my father who cannot understand why I am not Catholic!

  6. Good morning Carrie. I didn’t know where to write my request, but can you prompt where can I find good verses and activities for children of all years. “Good” means about nature, angels, luminaries and etc. Thank you so much.

    • Margaret, If you put verses and songs into the search engine on this blog, many posts should come up. Some of this would depend upon the age of your children, but a place to start may be the seasonal Wynstones books, although one has to be able to read music to use the songs in those books or Candey Verney’s The Singing Day or The Singing Year that comes with CD’s, or Lorranie Wolf’s CD’s. Naturally You Can Sing is another website you can check out..
      Blessings,
      Carrie

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