(As a Waldorf family, our instant answer to the question of computer gaming and children is “no”! Childhood lasts until age 21 and it is our job to protect our children. However, I also get mail from many families that are not Waldorf families, and their children are already playing computer games at young ages and playing a lot, so I asked my husband for some moderate thought on this issue. You will notice he advocates strong limits on gaming for teenagers and to not start until the high school years or longer if possible. There are many fun alternative ways to spend time, but for families who choose to have their teenagers participate in gaming, he lists the pitfalls to be aware of. I appreciate his insight here. – Carrie)
For the last five years my lovely wife Carrie has been publishing her thoughts, ideas and experiences to the world in this blog. In that five years I have supported her and this blog from both the emotional and technical side. That’s not only my role as her husband, but as the father of our children.
Throughout that time, Carrie would often ask guests to post and add to the conversation where it makes sense.The topic of computer gaming and its impact on children is a question that Carrie has received frequently, though in recent months the requests and comments about this subject have increased. Clearly this is a subject that should be addressed and Carrie has very nicely asked me to post on this subject. Continue reading
Here is the picture of the true physical being of a twelve year old:
The forces of growth now become active in the bony system of the body. The muscles, which were previously bound up with the rhythmic system, become part of the mechanical working of the skeleton….Limb activity appears clumsy when this process begins, and this is made more complicated by the further accelerated growth of the physical body. The girls have already shown growth in their height and weight, but now it is the boys who take a turn and begin to make visible changes. If you watch closely, you will notice that the girls start to develop hips and the indentation of the waist, also the breasts begin to form. Other changes that are not as easy to see are fuller lips and the cheekbones, which begin to emerge from the skull. – Eurythmy for the Elementary Grade by Francine Adams
Rudolf Steiner talked about how this time, the sixth grade year, is a time where the bones are first perceptible. The child is moving into a heavier, more muscular, time of development. In this way, things like copper rod exercises as done in eurythmy in the Waldorf Schools show that the rod is indeed the extension of this perceptible bone and provide the challenge and precision a twelve year body needs. This year of sixth grade and being twelve is a time of challenge, precision, looking forward.
Many twelve- year-olds seem to detest movement outside of a favored sport or two, but they also seem to love a challenge. Something specific such as hiking, or learning a skill such as how to paddleboard or kayak, can really fill the child’s need for challenge. They really need you as a model to get out and be physical, and to be outside and be physical as a family. They need you to help initiate it all. In Waldorf Schools, gymnastics becomes an adjunct for geometry (Bothmer Gymnastics). We cannot bring that at home, but we can do our best to bring in movement and also a social experience, so important for twelve year olds.
So, there is this heaviness of the child on the earth that I just described, but there is also Continue reading
This is an amusing yet sobering piece written by an anonymous person about the stranger living in his home growing up. It is well- worth the short read.
A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around
from then on. As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche.
My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey. But the stranger… he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies. If I wanted to know anything about Continue reading
This has been a season where the theme of freedom versus form has been coming up repeatedly in my life, and as usual, I took this as a sign that I should write about this subject for my readers.
During one of the first few weeks on her Yahoo Group for homeschool planning called “Sketching It Out” that in homeschooling, Lisa Boisvert Mackenzie wrote something to the effect that we have a freedom so different than what is found in the Waldorf schools in bringing the impulses of Waldorf Education to the home, but then we have to create the form. I have been mulling this thought around for several weeks now, where it has been germinating in my heart. I know from my own experiences in talking to so many mothers and families that creating the form seems to be the most challenging part for families not just in homeschooling, but in parenting.
A small example in parenting, for example, Continue reading
A large part of Waldorf Education includes an actual curriculum for games, that leads into sports in the middle school years. There is a wonderful book called, “Child’s Play 1 &2” by Wil van Haren and Rudolf Kischnick that goes through what games correspond developmentally with what ages, and I thought I would detail some of this for those of you planning your homeschooling year, or even just for parents who don’t remember many childhood games or what ages they played certain games!
I love this quote from page 114 of this book: True games are a source of health in which the child’s soul is repeatedly submerged, if he is not to miss our on the most valuable things. However, this is not the only requirement. In order to build up and play games and activities which are close to real life, it is important to have a thorough knowledge of the child’s essential core, on the one hand, and the moral value of the game relating to the particular stage of the child’s development, on the other. The metamorphoses in the child’s development sometimes require one thing, sometimes another. We should not lose sight of the child and his experiences of the world around him. In themselves, games are worthless if they are not played at the right time and with the appropriate spiritual attitude.
From about ages four to seven, Continue reading
I hear from many families who are interested in Waldorf homeschooling. I do think the home environment is much different than the Waldorf school environment; it is much like comparing oranges and grapefruit in a way. A Waldorf school and Waldorf homeschooling are related with Waldorf Schools giving us a model of the curriculum for the school environment but homeschooling has a different flavor!
It is also different because it is up to us, as homeschooling parents, to hold things – to really create that form for the day, the month and the year. Parents often become interested in Waldorf homeschooling because it is perceived as gentle, based in nature, the better-late-than-early category. It is those things, but there is more. We often hear how we take Waldorf homeschooling and what resonates about this with us and then it is Waldorf education. However, I think there is more than this.
Actually, I think there are five essential truths that should be worked with regarding Waldorf homeschooling. If you can get through these five things and feel like it resonates with you, then I think Waldorf homeschooling could be a success for you! Continue reading
I love the writings and musings of Elizabeth Foss and her mighty blog, In The Heart of My Home. She is a lovely mother to nine children of varying ages,and wrote this all-encompassing post about “Screen Rules”. I do hope you check it out: http://www.elizabethfoss.com/reallearning/2013/07/screen-rules.html
Some of these rules are really wonderful for all of us, especially as homeschooling mothers. Wouldn’t life in your home run more smoothly if your computer or phone was tucked away by 9 AM and not taken out again until school and chores were over? And, I really appreciate the integrity represented here as the public image created on the Internet should always be what a person really is in his or her heart. I know many of my readers have younger children, but this would be a great list to tuck away and bring out for discussion with older children when the time is right.