I wrote a post awhile back about this whole notion of Waldorf guilt, and the dangers and impracticality of striving for perfection here : http://theparentingpassageway.com/2011/05/16/waldorf-perfect/
I find this is the time of year we need to re-visit this topic. Curriculum fairs are popping up all over, and mothers are starting to look toward planning for fall again whilst trying to finish up this school year.
I want to reiterate here that homeschooling is about family. It is about love, warmth, laughter and joy, and spending time together. If you find that your homeschool rhythm, or the things you are trying to learn or do with your homeschooling are consistently draining to you in your quest to be “Waldorf Perfect”, warning signs should be going off.
Waldorf Perfect is a perfect recipe for burn-out and for leaving Waldorf homeschooling altogether.
Yes, Waldorf homeschooling is about inner development balanced with doing. I see a lot of imbalance out there – mothers who are doing, doing, doing, doing and then that turns to drudgery, or mothers who are involved with inner work but no doing, or mothers who are just researching and not putting anything into action.
Please know that just as every class teacher has different strengths and weaknesses, so does each and every individual homeschool. We have to try and learn and expand in the areas where we are not strong, but I also don’t think we should abandon the things that make us feel joyous and nourished. I love to draw, paint, model, and make needle felted creations. I don’t love to knit; I do it when I need to in order to work alongside my daughters, but I don’t spend a lot of my free time on it. I like to try to garden, but my garden has its share of successes and failures. I love movement and being outside, and I love movement games with music. My homeschool reflects me, my joys, my strengths. Your homeschool will look different.
There is no perfect recipe for Waldorf homeschooling; but there are essential truths of childhood development to work with. Goodness, Beauty and Truth. Head, Hearts and Hands. Willing, Feeling and Thinking. There are skills to be worked with and learned. Most of all, there is an opportunity to know yourself, to know and observe your child and know what special things you can bring to your child to help them, guide them and teach them.
But there must be warmth, laughter, love and enjoyment. We are not creating a Waldorf school in our homes but our own family life with a homeschooling experience. Your religion, your culture, all of that should be reflected within your homeschool.
Don’t try to be perfect. Try to love. Try to learn. Try to strive and do better each and every day. Be faithful in the small things.
Have fun exploring each new seven year cycle and knowing that in respecting the child’s development, you will know what will come in when.