Homeschooling parents are often faced with the challenging task of teasing out why a child would resist a time of instruction and then what to do about it. I was puzzling over this in the first part of this series and put forth some questions I always run through here.
I think there are two major thrusts to this – the part that YOU, as the parent and teacher, can change or put forth differently and then also the part of the child. Two separate but intertwined things that together can make a beautiful and fun experience or just lead to headlock.
In our home, I try to put forth a ho-hum attitude of “this is our life”, the idea of not talking too much (which sometimes I fail at miserably, especially with the child that tends to throw me the most resistance), the idea of expecting things to generally go well and that we must work together in order for this to be a successful experience, and that we are a team. I try to be careful about balancing the needs of three children of widely disparate ages within our school experience, and I try to be careful about what I expect. However, I also feel older children ( especially those post nine year change) should start to have a sense and idea about personal responsibility and the part they play in making homeschooling a success or not. This post is mainly geared toward those post-nine year change children. (If you have questions about children in the Early Years or grades 1-3, please leave them below in the comment box. Perhaps I can write a different post).
It seems to me that in Waldorf homeschooling and homeschooling in general that we often talk about the “teacher” end of it. What we should, could, be doing differently and how we should and could do that and we plan and plan again. What we often don’t seem to want to talk about is that some children are just not peaceful when it comes to this sort of thing.
Some Waldorf Schools seem to fail miserably in the area of what to do with the child who is disrupting the entire grades class, and some schools have gone on and accepted discipline policies that are very clearly outlined. Some Waldorf Schools now only give a child two or three chances in the grades classrooms before they are expelled from the school. Do you have a thought about what to do with the disruption and lack of respect by your children in your own homeschool day, and the consequences of that? What do you do? If someone asked you what do you do if your child misbehaves in school consistently and, would you have a consistent answer for that? Or would the response be just what you are feeling in the moment?
I often check myself by asking myself if I am letting them develop habits that will not serve them later in life at all? Am I giving them a false sense of freedom that will not hold true in the outside world? Am I instilling in them a sense that they are above any rule, request or idea and how will that serve them as they lead their own families? Is this such a bad habit that they are complaining about any contribution to not just homeschooling but family life in general? Charlotte Mason talks a lot about habits, Steiner talks a lot about rhythms and building the will. Are we doing our children favors in the way we approach our children’s resistance to things?
I think every family has a different way of dealing with situations such as these, a way that feels comfortable to them. I would just encourage you to find out what your way is, make the rule and consequence and that the children know that, and then follow through. This is beyond homeschooling and into building a healthy adult.
I think discipline, this guiding of each other and the idea of instilling inner discipline in general is part of how we grow up and live mature adult lives. So therefore, I am more Continue reading