It is indeed a grievous feature of present-day life that when man meets man there is no understanding between them.” (Rudolf Steiner, 1924, p. 91 – The Roots of Education)
As the new school year is dawning, and I am thinking about how to fit in “track classes” (ones that run all year) and subjects taught in blocks for our ninth grader, plus two other grades, rhythm is at the forefront of my mind. But it really isn’t an intellectual function, a head function, to look at rhythm, is it? It is a function of the heart and being able to breathe. The breath is something mentioned in Waldorf Education over and over again. Our physical breath comes from movement, but perhaps it is safe to say that the breathing of our soul forces come from rhythm and the balance that rhythm brings.
It is a function of our love and our kindness toward our families to have unhurried time, unrushed time and to be able to give our children the gift of long periods of time at home in which they can sink into play and rest and dreams. The most fundamental deep place where rhythm comes from is the cosmos inside of us, and from love and kindness. This post from Cedar Ring Mama in 2012 has stayed with me for some time. If you haven’t read it recently, you can find it here.
In a world where we cannot seem to connect to the understanding of each other and humanity of us all, rhythm is a good place to nourish health for our children who will be leading and hopefully changing the world for the better one day soon. We must begin with the health of these children in mind. We encourage the base of indepedent thinking through experience when we give time in our rhythm. We see the humanity of all mankind inside ourselves.
So, I can tell you about how I make a little chart with the 12 months on it and ideas for festivals, or how I choose subjects for blocks and look at the development of my child and where those blocks fit. I can talk about how to plan blocks and make individual lessons breathe. I can even tell you how I fit all the things my children need in a school year for learning into each day. That is important in homeschooling. But, if I don’t think about the overall rhythm to my family and how homeschooling is a part of this bigger picture of family love and kindness and healthy development, I have not led with my heart.
Kindness and love, the things that happen in unhurried time, is what matters in parenting and in homeschooling. May all of our values be protected in promoting and encouraging our children to just be and to take time. May they see and find the cosmos and the unity of humanity within themselves this school year so that we may all understand each other in love.