I wrote a post about “fearless Waldorf homeschooling” in which I talked about how despite our fears regarding homeschooling, we are enough. We really are. Every family has its own unique circumstances, family culture, family dynamics, strengths that interplay with the Waldorf curriculum at home to make it unique and able to meet the child in front of us so wonderfully. Homeschooling is full of possibilities, but it has to be sustainable for us as teachers and parents. And for that reason, our homeschool adventures will never look like, and should never look like a Waldorf School.
Here are ways I think we can fearlessly Waldorf homeschool, and leave our worries and doubts about this sometimes intense way of homeschooling behind!
Decide your priorities for homeschooling based on the amount of energy you have. Everyone has a certain amount of energy, and we all have a fixed number of hours in the day. Are you a low, medium, or high energy person? What does an ideal homeschooling day look like for you? Remember my mantra – the Waldorf homeschool will not, and should never look like a Waldorf School program! So what are the top priorities from looking at all the things that Waldorf homeschooling can bring that your children, and you, really really need? Resign yourself that you must likely won’t do all the things, and that is perfectly okay.
Design your priorities for Waldorf homeschooling around your strengths, and decide if the things you are weakest at is something that you actually want to learn and grow better at doing OR if this is something that you can outsource! For example, say knitting is hard for you. Do you want to spend your energy learning how to knit and then teach your child, do you want to learn together with your child, or do you want to send your child somewhere to learn how to knit in your community?
Build your homeschooling around rhythm, but remember to include self-care in your rhythm. I don’t know what that would like like for you, but I think for many of us, sustainable homeschooling involves being more than just the person teaching or keeping up everything around the house. It involves being a whole human being, and for many of us, we need some time either alone, with our spouse without children, or with our own friends in order to recharge. It might involve when you exercise, or when you sleep in or take a nap or meet a friend for tea. Whatever it is, plan out your self-care for the week on Sundays. Mark it in, arrange where your children will be, but do it. Generally, homeschooling is not sustainable into the middle grades without this piece. Burnout is real, and many people who start homeschooling and throw themselves into it with gusto either have to reinvent how they homeschool in the middle school grades or they put their children in school.
We must always teach to the child in front of us. What parts of these traditional blocks are of most interest to our child? What things do we need to include in the grades that are developementally appropriate , meet our family culture, meet the time and place in which we live that are different than the Waldorf Schools?
How do we deliver these lessons? Waldorf homeschooling is about more than creating main lesson books! There will always be children who hate to draw orwho hate creating main lesson books, and we must do more than just decide an education based in the arts, based around health and using sleep as an aid to memory, is not for them. In the home environment, we have so many creative options.
What is our end academic goal? I think far too many parents enter blocks without thinking about what they are trying to accomplish skill-wise – so think about this in your planning. This keeps you confident and courageous! What academic, social, emotional, physical and artistic skills is this material a springboard for? What’s the end point?
When in doubt, what will foster connection and responsbility in your child? Both of these are important, as the ultimate goal of Waldorf Education is that human beings once again learn how to live with each other, that we can connect with the “other”, that we see how things are interrelated, that we can serve humanity with love. It helps to begin with the end in mind.
Blessings and love,