Now is the time of year to go over some quick tips for Waldorf homeschooling success. I do this every year, and it always revitalizes my commitment to homeschooling using Waldorf pedagogy.
Success lies in reminding ourselves why we do what we do, and how we can plan and organize to make homeschooling life successful. I believe homeschooling, especially homeschooling multiple children in multiple grades, can require and demand a large degree of organization to go smoothly
One suggestion I have is to re-visit the benefits of a Waldorf Education AND homeschooling. Waldorf Education is an education that addresses the development of the child right where that child is. It is an education that really provides for an almost Renaissance experience of well-roundedness, that respects the unfolding of development and abilities. It is academically rigorous and progressive. It makes art the vehicle for teaching and enlivens every subject. If you need a further pep talk regarding this subject, I highly recommend you try reading Rudolf Steiner’s “A Modern Art of Education” for parents with children in the grades. If your children are under seven, how about reading “Kingdom of Childhood”?
Why are you committed to homeschooling? Homeschooling is first and foremost about family. What is helping you keep your commitment to homeschool and what is hindering it all? Head back and read the posts on this blog from the book “Hold On To Your Kids; Why Parents Need To Matter More Than Peers” to inspire you again!
I think one thing to really focus on with homeschooling is to realize that we may SAY we are homeschooling because we want to put family first, but then if we treat every day in an angry, complaining, whining, “this is so difficult” kind of way, we are defeating the primary goal of homeschooling. Just defeating the beauty of the whole thing. There will always be bad days when we homeschool, just like when you worked every day was not the perfect day, but we have to keep striving and moving forward.
What we need to fix this is an active life of personal development and prayer and meditation.
What are you doing for your personal development as a parent? What are you doing to work on your weaker or more challenging areas of being a parent? May I humbly suggest this ever popular series on this blog: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/09/17/20-days-to-being-a-more-mindful-mother/
I recently started to keep a little journal. I am writing down every single thing that I find irritating or upsetting during the day. I had three things today that upset me. (I know some of you are laughing right now because you may feel as if your list would have a hundred things on it! You could still do this though – it may help whittle down what is major and what is really only minor). I plan to do this for forty days, and pray and meditate during this time so I can meet the things that personally bother me (that probably wouldn’t bother other people at all) with a gentle spirit, a positive attitude, a closed mouth and an open heart. If you approach things with a hardness of heart sometimes, perhaps something like this would work for you as well.
The other thing I think is very important is to understand where your child is developmentally. Every age from birth through the nine year change is on this blog; “Soul Economy” by Rudolf Steiner goes through each age, and “Education for Adolescents” by Rudolf Steiner is excellent for those of you with the upper grades aged children/children in the high school years.
The third thing that will bring you success is to get organized inside and out. Are you organized in your house? How many toys and clothes do your children have and can you de-clutter? Do you need so many dishes and glasses and towels and sheets? Can you open all the closets and drawers in your house without things falling out? Could you make it a priority this summer to hire a mother’s helper from the neighborhood or arrange with family members to play with your children for a few hours each week so you can get your house under control in time for the new school year?
Things such as knowing what day you will shop for groceries, what day you will run other errands, when you will clean what and having a meal plan will go a long way toward keeping your homeschool from being buried under a mountain of laundry with no snacks.
More about cleaning and children and homeschooling in my next post.
Love to all,