A Primer For Waldorf Homeschooling Success Part Two

One thing I hear a lot from mothers is essentially what to do all day with this child?  What can I do to entertain this child – this child is bored.  Or,  I hear, how do I fit all this household work into the day on top of homeschooling, being a wife, being a mother.

The answer is that children need to see work, real work done with your real hands, from birth onward.  And then your children need to work to have a sense of purpose.  And then your children need to help you because you cannot do it all.

For homeschooling mothers, I highly suggest you look carefully at such things as house cleaning, laundry, meal planning/cooking/shopping.

House Cleaning – There actually have been quite a few back post on house cleaning on this blog, I am sure if you use the search engine they will come up.

  • Step One to house cleaning is getting rid of things and de-cluttering things so every thing you own can have a place of its own. 
  • Step Two is to not put every thing you own out and to feel okay with that.  You may have many children’s books for your child who is under the age of seven, but that child only needs four to six books out per season.  Your child only needs ten to  fourteen outfits out per season.  Pare down and then rotate.
  • Step Three is to take tasks and break them down. For example, many of you know I have a little eighteen month old right now.  I wanted him to start partaking in work.  So, after meals, my middle child clears the plates off the table, my oldest daughter gathers the silverware and then supervises the littlest one dropping each piece of silverware into a bucket of soapy warm water to soak whilst the rest of the dishes are being rinsed or washed.  Break it down so your children can be involved and help contribute to the family. 

Laundry – Most homeschooling families tell me they do best if they do laundry almost every day: put a load in the morning after breakfast and switch it at a break and fold it before lunch. If days are skipped, families feel as if they are being buried under laundry. Again, involve the children.  You can have certain items collected (ie, napkins used at dinner, for example) and hand washed and hung on a line to dry and other items you wash in a more traditional manner.  It just depends upon how much time you have.

Also, perhaps think about where your laundry area is located; we have a small house and my school room is in what should be a dining room between the kitchen and laundry room.  Where should your school room space be in order for you to effectively be the captain of the ship in your home?

Meal Planning/Cooking/Grocery Shopping – Having a meal plan is exceedingly important; cooking should involve all children prior to meals.  Crock pots are exceptionally handy.  Many homeschool mothers like to grocery shop alone, but grocery shopping can also  be a time of comparison shopping, weighing and estimating and other mathematical treats if you plan it out.  So, think about what is right for you, and that may vary each week.

You may be noticing a theme of planning here.  I think there is also one other theme so obvious here that it is easy to overlook: one must be home in order for the laundry to be done, the meals cooked, things cleaned.  Be careful the number of days you plan out of your house each week!  Does your child need to take every lesson, every class, participate in every homeschool sport or event when they are seven, eight, or even nine?  If you do everything, what will be left for the teen years? Think ahead and plan!

Next post – homeschooling and parenting with a calm and quiet heart.

Many blessings,

Carrie

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8 thoughts on “A Primer For Waldorf Homeschooling Success Part Two

  1. Great post! I agree that kids need to see adults going about their work, and that they should be involved. My kids are my “put-away” crew. I do the washing and drying, but they are responsible for putting it away (whether it’s their clothes or not.) They are also responsible for animal care (a big job at our house!)

    Lately, I’ve been having them do more stuff in the kitchen, too. Kids can cook simple meals as long as they understand some basic safety rules.

    I’m trying to be better about menu planning–it’s not a strength of mine, but it definitely helps the week go more smoothly!

  2. When I was pregnant with my second child, I set about organizing my home so it would almost “run itself” or at least, be much more effortless for me. I began with meal plans, and found myself much liberated by it. Next I wondered what else I could organize in this way and, partly inspired by a back post here, made a schedule for cleaning. It is very simple. In addition to daily chores of laundry, dishwashing, sweeping, and straightening up, I focus on a different part of the house each day, with one extra job. For example, on Tuesdays I focus on the living room, and also do my “Dusting and Decluttering.” This is now my favorite day of the week, when I roam around the house with a box to fill with everything that has gotten in the way, is not serving a purpose, cluttering a surface, collecting dust, etc.

    This schedule has helped me in many ways–first of all, my house is much cleaner! I no longer feel like I am trying to do it all in one day. I have time each morning to get the day’s chores done, and then my daughters and I both know that once that is done, we can move onto the next part of our day. If something else needs attention, I know it will be getting it soon enough, and am able to relax a bit more. Our weekly rhythm is also emphasized better–each day has not only it’s set activity and meal, but also housework that we can all take part in. Also, my house is in general cleaner, less cluttered, and running more smoothly than before I even had kids. Which amazes me!

  3. i just love your blog carrie – it is so helpful to me at the wee stages of considering homeschooling to think if i can even do this. do you have any posts on homeschooling an only child? we would like to add more children to our family, but for now have a 4 year old only son. it is one of my concerns – homeschooling an only child. do you have any posts or places to send me with this question? my son has never been to any school or structured program outside of the home. we have limited choices in socializing with other kids here on the island (although that will change as we move back to america next week!) and he prefers to play with his favorite friend. he doesn’t like large groups and will not enter into a play situation with multiple children. do i need to be concerned? i worry…

    • Anushka,
      Many families who homeschool have one child. I do have at least one back post on the only child, so if you put only child into the search engine on this blog, it should come up. :) Many boys are not ready for groups until at least age four and a half or five and sometimes as late as age 7. Don’t despair, keep striving and doing your own work – your confidence will grow!
      Many blessings,
      Carrie

  4. you just put into print everything I’ve learned over this past year! Paring down, including kids in chores, staying home. Now I dread the days we have to leave b/c the routine is so much simpler for my kids when we manage to stay close to home.
    Thanks for sharing all this so concisely!

  5. thanks carrie for the encouraging words. i appreciate the support. i worry that other parents of mainstreamed kids are looking at us thinking we’re overprotective or that my son lacks in social skills. i know he’s a lovely boy and has wonderful manners – sometimes they’re not always in action because he’s only 4 and still learning (i think). it’s just hard sometimes when you never placed them in school in the first place to think how it might have been otherwise… i need to just trust more in myself and the decisions i have made as a parent based on my knowledge as a first grade teacher for 8 years as well as what my heart and soul are telling me.

  6. Anushka,

    I understand your concerns about your son. I have a soon to be 5 year old son. His ‘shy’ nature or ‘reserved’ temperament has been evident since his infancy. He would cry if a group of people came home. He would cry if we happened to be in a crowded area. He seemed to love open, calm spaces. He liked company when it was a familiar person. I would be embarrassed and agonised over his social skills. But now, after I did a lot of inner work, I have begun to feel comfortable with myself and am able to accept him for what he is – a lovely, friendly, warm, intelligent boy, who is shy. He still looks the other way when strangers talk / greet him, but chats away with familiar people. He goes to pre-k. I see that he is comfortable with his favorite friend and just gets along fine with everybody else. Now I feel I worried unnecessarily and should have just let him be. I have learnt not to force him.

    Here is something I found in Carrie’s blog (I have stuck these words in my kitchen). The link is http://theparentingpassageway.com/2011/01/10/fostering-maturity-in-children/

    “The key to activating maturation is to take care of the attachment needs of the child. To foster independence we must first invite dependence; to promote individuation we must provide a sense of belonging and unity; to help the child separate we must assume the responsibility for keeping the child close.”

    Here is another quote: “The first task is to create space in the child’s heart for the certainty that she is precisely the person the parents want and love.” Very lovely thought to meditate and ponder.”

    These words help me to accept my son’s attachment to me and love him.

    I hope what I have written is relavant to the concern you have expressed.

    Best Wishes,
    Sujata.

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