One often reads in literature pertaining to Waldorf Education about a threefold structure occurring in something in nature or in life. As a Christian, I often think of seeing this threefoldedness in life, the Trinity as a reflection of the Divine in what I see. What you might not have thought of is a threefold approach to how we teach within our homeschools.
Jorgen Smit elucidates this beautifully in his book, “Lighting Fires: Deepening Education Through Meditation.” He writes about the polarity in education today. Some believe a teacher must have complete mastery of his subject and constantly developing these skills and be able to impart what he knows best to his students. Other people believe that the attitude, the world outlook of the teacher is what is most important and that this religious or ethical belief is what really gives a backbone to education. He goes through many examples of how these theories may or may not be true, but notes that one essential piece is what a person is doing right here and right now in their life. He asks us as readers, “For in an actual situation there always arises the question as to how I can take the substance of my life into my own hands, so as to develop to a new stage beyond myself.”
In teaching, it is not enough to master the material. It is not even enough to know the material and be able to impart that to the children. We must have the material permeate our souls, our lives, our thinking so it can be new and creative. And we must have a feel for childhood development and when it is the right time to bring in this knowledge, and how to bring this knowledge into practical life for the children. Steiner felt idealism would arise from experience and engagement in the world.
Anyway, the book I mentioned is wonderful book if you have not had the opportunity to read it. My homeschooling group will be discussing this book over the weekend and I am so looking forward to it. I hope to post some notes from our discussion.