I think one of the main things that we can give our small children is a sense of life as a celebration. I don’t mean an all-out wild party, the way we often think of celebrating today, but a mood of joy, a mood of anticipation and wonder and a happy feeling that we are at one with nature and the world. A mood of celebration in the small child fosters a sense of unity and commonality with nature and others.
Ideally, once you have gone through cycles of celebration with the small child, with its wonder, anticipation and joy, these cycles will continue throughout the life of the people in the family and become an embedded part of that family;s particular culture. Continue reading
Whilst it is snowing today in some parts of the United States, the end to the school year is coming, and I look forward to Whole Days of Nothing.
Life, and the rhythm of life, moves in seasons. And summer is a perfect time to slow down, re-charge, re-evaluate and take time for the moments that matter. Continue reading
I didn’t expect studying botany with my fifth grader would change my world view of plants and their place in nature in so many ways, but it did. This was a block full of “a-ha” for me and my child too.
We used these resources, including: Continue reading
I believe it was in Kim John Payne’s book “Simplicity Parenting” that I read about reducing the amount of toys a child has by about one-third and perhaps one would then be on track to simplifying within the home.
I was thinking about this one-third estimate and have thought about how this might apply to those of us with commitments outside the home.
Whether you work a part-time job, or your children are in sports, or you spend time volunteering, or you spend a lot of time with all the neighborhood children at your home – what would it look like to have one third of that time back in your own home and with your own family?
A simple thought to ponder,
We are continuing with our look at Thomas Poplawski’s book “Completing The Circle”. Again, this book is available for free online at the Waldorf Library. Today we come to the chapter regarding consumerism and children’s toys:
Manufactured, ready-to-use toys are more present in our lives and in the lives of our children than at any time before in history. This is the result of aggressive product development, advertising, and marketing by large toy companies. These companies are primarily interested in toys that will sell and make a profit, not in toys that will foster the healthy development of children.
Research has shown the benefits of less toys, less structured toys, and a childhood based in play and song. Having less toys increases the chances that children will engage in social play. Simpler toys provides the child a chance to construct their own world of play. Continue reading
This is a question that NEVER comes up with other homeschooling methods. You never hear another homeschooling mother say, “Gosh, I don’t think I am Montessori enough.” or “Gosh, I wonder if I am Classical enough.”
What is it about Waldorf homeschooling that brings out this guilt?
I think it is because no one other form of homeschooling is so tied into the universal picture of child development and how the development of the human being impacts parenting and education. I don’t know as any other form of education has such a strong idea about what leads to good adult health in the future. It is also more teacher led, than say opening a textbook or workbook and reading that. It involves a certain initiative.
So, because of that it is natural to wonder if one’s efforts measure up.
“One’s efforts.” I think that is the first thing we need to ask ourselves when we are wondering if we “measure up” is:
Am I making an effort? What is my effort toward? I think almost more than any physical piece, like do I have a rhythm to my home, or do I teach Greek mythology to my 11 year old, the answer to this question lies in what initiation am I taking in adult education and learning about this subject? What are the why’s beneath the “Rhythm would be good” or “Greek mythology would be good around fifth grade”? Am I interested in learning more about how a subject that I am teaching would be approached by Steiner himself or by a teacher who really has studied Steiner? Do I care about the developing human being and do my thoughts on this leave open some room for what Steiner or other secondary Waldorf education literature/pedagogy have to say according to what age my child is? Does that resonate with me?
There is no “check-off” list for what is “Waldorf enough”. It is a subjective experience. So, when you ask yourself about “Waldorf enough”, I think all you can do is look at where you are, and where you want to go. How do you get there? Where are you on this walk, and is this actually the path you want to walk on to an extent?
Sometimes we hear in Waldorf Education that we have to digest things and then bring them to our children. I think that is why so many teachers are reluctant to endorse or write a homeschool “curriculum”, because Continue reading
Waldorf homeschooling involves feeling general themes that span several grades, as opposed to “looking in the curriculum for what is for that year”.
What Waldorf homeschooling can bring you, if you let it, is healing but also BALANCE. If you are interested in Waldorf homeschooling but lean more toward structure and skills and knowing what your child “can do”, Waldorf homeschooling can help you slow down and realize, for example, that an oral report in fifth grade could lay the basis for a discussion of literature in sixth grade. Waldorf education can put the academic skills children need for life on a timetable that is realistic for development and can place them at a point where these skills will not be like pulling teeth, but will be vigorous and full of vitality.
If you are more unschooling led, Waldorf Education can provide a beauty in form and also help with healthy development as to what nourishes each broad developmental phase through these broad themes. You have more leeway, I think than just “X story in X grade.” Waldorf Education leaves time and space for what the child brings, leaves time and space for “a-ha” moments, but this comes after careful preparation by the teacher within these broad themes and meditating on the child in question. If you are more unschooling led and you don’t feel comfortable taking the lead in teaching your child anything that the child might enjoy and find nourishing but didn’t think of it themselves first, then Waldorf Education might not be a good fit for your family. And that is okay!
Kindergarten through Grade 2 (grades one through two is ages almost seven through eight or so): A general theme of Continue reading