Sometimes I see mothers post on different forums regarding their child who is ‘’resisting” doing much of anything the parent/teacher presents. I think sometimes bloggers are reluctant to blog about this because perhaps they too, are in the trenches of it all and don’t feel as if they have much to offer than to say, “It happens here as well.” (Which in and of itself can be nice to hear, too). No one really seems to want to talk about when things implode, or that bad days do occur, even in blogland. Andrea over at Waldorf Salad and Cottage Fries wrote a great post here about what happens when homeschooling becomes a battleground and how to make adjustments.
I have been thinking a lot about this. I think the things that help me the most is to know myself, know my child and to know the curriculum. I am a good teacher, and I am an even better teacher if I don’t have to spend my time dealing with children who are resisting everything and we spend our morning more in a headlock over what they don’t want to do rather than what we can do together to learn and have fun. I am sure many of you feel that way!
Here is my list of observations regarding when things aren’t going well – something homeschooling has given me lots of practice with!
- Look at your child. How does he or she learn, what does he or she like? If you are a Waldorf homeschooler, how does that child fit into the curriculum? How can the curriculum meet the child? It doesn’t have to be story-main lesson book, story- main lesson book…Which leads me to……
- How active is your homeschool? I find some of the curriculums on the market beautiful and inspiring, but more geared toward “sit down and write/paint/draw”. That is wonderful and part of the Waldorf educational process, but I also think in homeschooling we need to think carefully about the active part out in the world before we think about sitting down. This is part of homeschooling, and it is different than a school. What field trips and experiences tied into the block? Ideally, when we plan a block, those would be the first things that we would plan. We need to think about movement, oral recitation and speech, skill practice in the doing, and then after all of that, think about the sitting down.
- How much room do you have for play? Sometimes, especially with older children, it is easy to get into “we have to get this done and then in the afternoon we have [x scheduled activity]. Where is the spontaneity for play, the extra room in the block for this? Scheduling extra time into each block is helpful.
- Is this attitude of being uncooperative just for school or is it toward helping out in the family in general? How nice is everyone being to each other in general?
- Too many late nights and too many activities? That can dampen any momentum towards getting going in the morning…
- Are you carrying this as the authority? Does the rhythm help carry you? Can you adjust your rhythm to better fit your family?
- Is your child dealing with something bigger – a learning disability, dyslexia, ADHD/ADD, visual or auditory processing challenges? That can really affect things as well and being uncooperative can be an attempt to hide things that really need to be sorted out and things that need attention. Resistance can be thinly masked frustration on the part of the child with learning challenges.
- Developmental age – I often see on mainstream homeschooling boards about small children who don’t want to sit down and do school. That is appropriate for small children and academics, but the kindergarten years in Waldorf Education are a time to put forth the effort in rhythmic activities each week that your child can depend upon and join into. If you take this time, first and second grade will go much, much better…In first and second grade, the child is learning how to be a learner and needs strong authority and rhythm with experiential and kinesthetic learning. Third grade is often a time of resistance and distraction, and often also needs to be as hands-on as possible.
- If a child is coming out of a school environment and “resisting”, they need time to de-school. Hike, play outside, read to him or her, work with wood and fiber and art, do seasonal activities, and be together for awhile. To me, that is not ‘’resisting school” but part of de-schooling.
In my next post, I will detail how I think about the child that resists school from the framework of my own experiences.