There is an interesting article entitled, “Sleep As A Task Of Waldorf Education,” by Peter Loebell available here. If we view sleep as an essential component not only of education, but as a way to gain inspiration and intuition from the spiritual realms, how much more vital is sleep and rest for the homeschooling parent who is not only parenting 24/7 but teaching multiple main lesson blocks to children of different ages?
The three ways this article discusses engaging children in the curriculum in order for it to carry positively applies to us as teachers as well. The three conditions are:
- Use of creative tasks that require symmetry and sense that the child, (or we), want to “finish.” This implies, that we, as teachers, should be finding time for our own artistic pursuits – music (singing and instrumental), form drawing, drawing, painting, sculpture, movement, and having an impulse to finish things. The article mentions: “The active urge to finish incomplete forms stimulates the body of formative energy to pulsate further during sleep. The child has, through this, the tendency to finish what was begun so that through the night a permanent ability can be attained from the practiced activity.”
- Engaging both the physical body and the life-forces of the body through an outer activity such as eurythmy. We often don’t have eurythmy at home, but we do have physical activities as part of rhythm, and we do have use of the word and gesture through poetry with movement. These things can be carried into sleep and help form the next day’s energy.
- Lastly, we teach ourselves when we are preparing for a lesson and we carry this into how we present things to our children. ” If we do not stimulate the children to their own physical activity during a lesson, then there is a third aspect to consider. We must stimulate the deliberate, understanding perception of the children when we teach from a phenomenological science experiment or describe a historical event in such a manner that they direct their full attention to the lesson content so that they are constantly coming to conclusions.” This is also why we often have a day that invokes “feeling” work (artistic work in a Main Lesson) and another day for the formation of concepts, the academic work. The work we do with our children can inherently be restful to ourselves so long as we are not rushed. If we have many children who need main lessons, we combine as much as possible, and then we can also choose to offer main lessons three to four days a week so we have no more than 2-3 main lessons on a day. Many mothers say they cannot teach more than two main lessons; I personally know many mothers, including myself, who have to teach three main lessons. It is doable, but only with rest as a priority. I do not think teaching more than three main lessons would be doable for anyone; and many could not teach three separate lessons, so combining down to two lessons would be the best way to do this if possible. If you would like ideas about combining main lesson blocks for grades, please email me at email@example.com
Joy, creativity, learning, and rest are all interwoven. We chose to bring the artistic component into our own inner work and lives in order to become better teachers and better human beings.
I really enjoyed this post. As I began homeschooling more children, I had to make myself more of a priority so I would have more to give. Little things like an hour in the middle of the day to re-fuel myself and scheduling a firm time where I am unavailable for school so I can workout and then cook dinner have worked wonders for our family. Thank you again for the reminder of how important these habits are.
Thanks for articulating these thoughts. I really struggle with making time to rest and to do things that I personally find rewarding.