We are in a unique position as parents and as homeschooling parents in that we get to work with the development of the unique child in front of us daily. It’s a large task to be able to see a larger picture of development, and the very unique, personal development of the child in front of us and to be able to weave this into the fabric of family life.
After many years of parenting and homeschooling, I have a few suggestions when you start to lose the forest for the trees. The first one is to look at rhythm. Rhythm is very important in sustaining family life in a healthy way and in sustaining development in a healthy way. A recent example in my own life is that our ten year old had been quite cranky as of late, and I realized today how much his behavior improved when his audio books were cut off. His mood improved dramatically, and he become engaged and involved in other things. This is an example of something you think you know after raising a certain number of children, but we still have to stop and think. Are we keeping consistent rising and bed times and rest times? Are we having healthy meals? Are we all getting outside enough and moving enough? Are we connecting? Am I gently leading and guiding in a way that is appropriate for the child’s age? Rhythm provides that ebb and flow of work and play, rest and activity, caring for ourselves and caring for others that helps us be strong and flexible for the every day life we face.
My second suggestion is to truly understand human development. If you do, you will understand the stages that are fairly typical and be able to keep your ho hum attitude. You will know there are profound changes generally around the three year mark, the 6/7 mark, at 9 years, 12 years, and at ages 15/16. We also know some ages are louder, more aggressive, brasher like age four and age eight, and some ages can be more inward and anxious like at age nine. This is where I started this blog, with the concept of childhood development and how that fits into parenting and homeschooling, and ten years later I am more convinced of its importance than even when I was starting out.
Lastly, the third suggestion is that love and connection is what makes the family go round. Having times of rest, play, ordinary rituals, sharing a spiritual life and purpose together all make things ready to grow and bloom.
Many blessings and love,
Love the Carrie! Can relate to everything you speak of here! Definitely agree with the behavioral issues from too many audio books! I have also found lego to have the same effect! Too much tense /intense focus and not enough body movement to balance the processing is what ive put it down to…
we’re limiting the audios and lego at the moment! and more nurturing family time. Always tweaking our rhythm to suit whats going on for everyone 🙂
Hi Marja! Nice to hear from you! So true – Blessings, Carrie
Thank you for this reminder. I couldn’t agree more about how important rhythm is, very tricky in the summer months when there’s more travelling/ family visits, etc. I find that holidays involve lots more organising for me in terms of food, bedtimes and just the flow of the day.
I’m still rather new to Waldorf, could you recommend any particular books that talk about the changes and typical behaviours at different ages? Thank you!
I think my blog is a good resource as I mix traditional childhood development resources from my physical therapy background with ideas found in Waldorf Education. What age are you looking for and I can post some links for you? You can also use the search engine box or the header that says Development and pick the age from the drop down menu – birth through 18 is on here, ten years worth of posts! Or you can choose the homeschooling header and pick a grade from the drop down menu. Happy Hunting! Carrie
Thank you! Your blog is such a great place. Like a rabbit hole sometimes too, one post leads to another and before I know it an hour’s gone by 🙂 I was wondering if there is a comprehensive introduction to child development birth to 21 and beyond in any of Steiner’s work or is it scattered throughout his books?
One of my favorites is Soul Economy by Rudolf Steiner. Also, The Developing Child by Willi Aeppli and Phases of Childhood by Bernard CJ Lievegoed
Such important reminders, Carrie.
Thank you for this , Carrie! Rhythm is huge thing for my kids. I learned the hard way this spring how prolonged intense focus wreaks my kids when their schoolwork abruptly shifted from mostly in person to 100% online with their homeschooling program. Lots of digital detox and outside play slowly remedies the damage, but still. I learn so much still after 10+ years of homeschooling, about my kids and myself.