I wrote a post awhile back about this whole notion of Waldorf guilt, and the dangers and impracticality of striving for perfection here : https://theparentingpassageway.com/2011/05/16/waldorf-perfect/
I find this is the time of year we need to re-visit this topic. Curriculum fairs are popping up all over, and mothers are starting to look toward planning for fall again whilst trying to finish up this school year.
I want to reiterate here that homeschooling is about family. It is about love, warmth, laughter and joy, and spending time together. If you find that your homeschool rhythm, or the things you are trying to learn or do with your homeschooling are consistently draining to you in your quest to be “Waldorf Perfect”, warning signs should be going off.
Waldorf Perfect is a perfect recipe for burn-out and for leaving Waldorf homeschooling altogether.
Yes, Waldorf homeschooling is about inner development balanced with doing. I see a lot of imbalance out there – mothers who are doing, doing, doing, doing and then that turns to drudgery, or mothers who are involved with inner work but no doing, or mothers who are just researching and not putting anything into action.
Please know that just as every class teacher has different strengths and weaknesses, so does each and every individual homeschool. We have to try and learn and expand in the areas where we are not strong, but I also don’t think we should abandon the things that make us feel joyous and nourished. I love to draw, paint, model, and make needle felted creations. I don’t love to knit; I do it when I need to in order to work alongside my daughters, but I don’t spend a lot of my free time on it. I like to try to garden, but my garden has its share of successes and failures. I love movement and being outside, and I love movement games with music. My homeschool reflects me, my joys, my strengths. Your homeschool will look different.
There is no perfect recipe for Waldorf homeschooling; but there are essential truths of childhood development to work with. Goodness, Beauty and Truth. Head, Hearts and Hands. Willing, Feeling and Thinking. There are skills to be worked with and learned. Most of all, there is an opportunity to know yourself, to know and observe your child and know what special things you can bring to your child to help them, guide them and teach them.
But there must be warmth, laughter, love and enjoyment. We are not creating a Waldorf school in our homes but our own family life with a homeschooling experience. Your religion, your culture, all of that should be reflected within your homeschool.
Don’t try to be perfect. Try to love. Try to learn. Try to strive and do better each and every day. Be faithful in the small things.
Have fun exploring each new seven year cycle and knowing that in respecting the child’s development, you will know what will come in when.
Thank you for this re-post. I remember last time I read it feeling so convicted but this time I see that I have grown and am giving us more grace and being at peace with “good enough”.
QUESTION: I’m starting prep for Waldorf “preschool” next year. I’m looking for a book that covers a little of everything. I need help with repetitive stories, when so we start this or that….not to get Waldorf perfect but Waldorf is so new to me and my friends that I just need a primer. What do you suggest. I’ve read “you are your childs frist teacher” but it seems mostly philosophy and less nitty gritty.
How old are your children?
I love your perspective on this Carrie. As mothers we can really share our strengths, joys, and passions with our children, and it’s wonderful to challenge ourselves to learn new skills but I love your image of your homeschool reflecting who YOU are and what your family culture is.
Thanks for this post! So good to keep my thoughts in line with striving with joy and love at the center and not perfection. Waldorf police be gone!
I recently subscribed to your blog and I really enjoy reading your posts. This post resonates with me. The whole idea of imperfection frightens me. I can sometimes push through it but I get bogged down so easily. I am definately the mother who researches and struggles to put things into action for fear I might not do it right or there is something better that I didn’t think of. How do you move past this and come to a place of peace? And finally get to work and do something?
I think we forget that we are also spirit-becoming – works in progress rather than the finished item. Great reminder, Carrie.