This is the plain and sad but true fact: many of us have invested many hours and dollars in vocational training or college degrees, but many of us never go on to spend much money or time to develop ourselves personally after that.
For example, in college, you probably spent hundreds and even thousands of dollars on textbooks and classes and hours of time reading. But after college, have you spent any money at all on your own personal development? Have you spent any time reading to learn? Have you taken any classes regarding parenting? Sought out any mothers who parent the way you want to parent?
We all are busy, and some of us do carry harder burdens than others. That is true. However, we can really bless our families by choosing to educate ourselves. I know it is hard, but you must have been drawn to parent differently than your parents for a reason. You must have drawn to Waldorf homeschooling for a reason. Honor that intuition; commit to it and own it. Can you read for five minutes in the morning after you get breakfast done and cleaned up? Five minutes while the kids play outside? Five minutes before you go to bed? Set a timer if need be, but can you try just for five minutes a day?
This is the thing: I know you want to be a great parent. I know that because otherwise you would not be here reading this blog! You may be reading this because you want to homeschool. I am here to tell you no matter what method of homeschooling you choose, Waldorf or not, you will have to do some planning! Yes, there are things that are “open and go” but you will still have to tailor things for your child, and if you take the time to really holistically evaluate your child and plan around that, the experience will be so much richer. If you are a Waldorf homeschooling mother, take the time to read and decide for yourself such things as will the order of these blocks work for my child, will they work for where I live geographically? Take the time to figure out what the curriculum is saying to your child at their developmental level.
.So, please, in this time of renewal between Easter and Ascension, please, consider making time to read a little bit. Make a commitment to plan for your child’s education next year. Your child and your homeschooling experience is worth your time in planning. If you start and do an hour a week now plus a little bit of reading each and every day, you will be all ready by the end of summer!
You might be wondering, well, what should I read?
Here are my suggestions, please do take what resonates with you or add your suggestions in the comment boxes below!
For parenting and gentle discipline, see here: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/11/27/favorite-books-for-gentle-discipline/
For the six/seven year old change, try “You’re Not the Boss of Me! Understanding the Six/Seven Year Transformation” edited by Ruth Ker, and available here at Bob and Nancy’s: http://www.waldorfbooks.com/edu/child_development_health.htm (scroll down)
For understanding Waldorf Education in light of child development, I recommend “Soul Economy” and “The Education of the Child”
For Waldorf grades one and two (and three! and beyond!), I recommend “Practical Advice to Teachers” and “Discussions with Teachers”
Many of the parenting books can be found at your local library or used on Amazon or other booksellers. Many of Steiner’s works can be found for free on-line.
Read, learn, plan and enjoy!
Much love to you,
Carrie – this is wonderful advice! Our children see that we are always learning, ourselves – what a great example and how good for our soul!
I also wanted to thank you for the book recs. I checked for Practical Advice for Teachers and found the whole book free in the archives section here:
Click to access practical_advice.pdf
Discussions wtih Teachers can be found here:
So I’m going to take that challenge and read a bit a day 😀
Thanks for the great recommendations!
I think I have to get the book about the 6/7 year old change. I think it’s really difficult to find Waldorf/Steiner information that relates to having a 7 year old – he’s 7.5 and could be the poster boy for the 7-year old book by the Gesell Institute 🙂 Living Waldorf-inspired life has been so easy with a smaller child compared to this. Where to now?? I’m really grateful for everything you write about the school-aged children, it is such a wonderful adventure watching him grow and develop but it’s also very – new. I feel unprepared sometimes. Please keep blogging about the big ones too 🙂
Stella, I would add that we all have parts of the parenting journey that are more comfortable to us than others..Some mothers are so good with small babies, some mothers are so good with teenagers..I think when we are in this spot where we really need to “think” we must meditate on our child at night and really make a conscious effort to focus on that child and connect to that child in a warm way.
You will be seeing posts about those ages, also you can look through the back posts, there are quite a few on age 7/first grade Waldorf.
I’d like to suggest another great book on parenting to offer support for this difficult job, “Break Free of Parenting Pressures,” by Debbie Pokornik. We all benefit by having support at some point in our parenting journey, and this book offers that. There’s even a free parenting pack — you become aware of hte parenting tools you use and what makes tools effective (or not! — and isn’t that good to know?) and how tools help you build a relationship and mutual respect. It helps you take the tools you use now and adapt them so they’re effective and they work.
Liz, I am unaware of this book…If you read this blog, then you will know I work from an attachment parenting perspective and also a perspective of seven year cycles. I do not know if this book is compatible with that?
Stella, the 6/7 year and first grade really are a time of great transition for the child leaving early childhood (birth to seven) and moving into middle childhood (seven to fourteen). The books that Carrie recommends and Jen links to above have lots of information for the school age child. The child leaves the realm of learning through imitation and moves into the realm of learning from authority, the teacher (or parent) as author of the truth being taight. It is a huge shift. It is a birth of sorts. I have a child there right now and I have one at the other end 14 years old, and it is fascinating to observe. Both are consumed sex, the younger talking about it in an external and innocent way, naming parts and scanalizing older brother, the older thinking about it all the time yet blushing and turning red if I mention the three letter word s-e-x. What is out there for one is internalized in the other. The older is revolting frm childhood and wanting to drive, work and take on the world, the younger is saying “you’re not the boss of me” (excellent resource for this age as Carries mentions above) I’ll look on my book shelves to see if I can recommend any other books for you. Hold tight, it all comes together with time. Warmly, Lisa
Re: Carrie and Stella’s comments~ It is right there in those sticky places that our own inner work can shine light on what it is that is hard for us and why, maybe a place where we were not met or seen in our childhood and then free us to see our child’s needs and meet our child where s/he is at and heal ourselves in the process.
Stella, you will find answers to questions on child development if you look at the Waldorf curriculum for it is based on child development.
In looking at my bookshelf for books that go beyond early childhood, I found:
Teaching As a Lively Art by Marjorie Spock (goes from 6 to 13 years old, also has chapters on the temperament and the teacher)
Encountering the Self, Hermann Koepke’s book which is on the nine year old change, still a ways off for your child
I like the Gessell guides, often go back to them and find them reassuring. I sometimes woonder if we make more of children’s behavior, if it is because the veils between the world of adults and children have come down so much that we over focus on children’s behavior and do not have realistic expectations for children’s behavior, especially when we drag them into what used to be (in my childhood) the adult world.
For adolescence I have lots of books but few between that and early childhood.
Lisa, I think I need to write a book for that age range!
Go for it Carrie!
Another good resource is The Waldorf Parenting Handbook by Lois Cusick.
Yes, long one of my favorites.
Great information in so many comments – thank you all so much. Carrie – you should absolutely write a book, I’m sure it would be terrific! (I work as an editor in a publishing company, if we were in the same country I’d publish it!)
Hey Carrie, Jen, Stella, How about a study group on any of the above mentioned texts with a commitment to regular reading even if it is five minutes a day and a commitment to once a week comment on the text?
(I want it make it simple and accessible)
Another text that comes to mind is the essay, Education of the Child in Light of Anthroposophy?
I’ll set up a yahoo group and wait to see if and what the interest is? Would you be interested?
Lisa, I would be interested but I am up to my eyeballs in reading Steiner due to preparing for third grade, counseling homeschooling mothers and a long distance course I am doing in anthroposophy that requires intensive reading..Whew! But some of the texts I have probably already read and would be happy to review and talk about 🙂
I just set it up , if you wish to do it:
Carrie, that’s super! just click the link and sign up. I’m open to whatever the group would like for the text, it is the group work that entices me, I’m all for SLOW and steady, a page a day and a weekly check in or comments about what one finds moving or challenging,
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