Much of what I might say in this post is from, or inspired by, these sites:
Please, note, though, that what I type will be primarily my impressions and interpretations of these good and wise words for my family. In order to really benefit from them, I encourage you, gentle reader, to visit their sites.
This week I’ve been seeking to be observant and then gently-directive in my days. I’ve been determined to see what are natural rhythms are, and where they are functional and less so.
As I’ve already posted, this has brought more peacefulness to our days.
So yesterday, whilst the boys played together and Whinnie slept, I dug into the aforementioned sites more.
One page that I particularly liked is from The Parenting Passageway:
A Mother’s Job in the Waldorf Homeschool Kindergarten.
This is a wonderful list with ideas for what to do to prepare children for this educational approach…with specific ideas about what they can do, and what a homeschooling parent can prepare to do.
- Are the boundaries of people respected in your family?
- What is done for the good of the whole family?
- If someone has a need for rest, is this respected?
- How about the ability to finish a sentence uninterrupted?
- Is your child learning manners, learning reverence, learning gratitude, experiencing things throughout their bodies and their senses?
Within the various references to boundaries, I found descriptions of my boy-children, especially Nic. These are children who are pretty self-confident, very talkative, even quite charismatic…but maybe too much ‘in their heads’ with all their verbal acuity. They read well, know much, but maybe have had their sense-of-self limited by too much head-work and not enough body-work. Hmmmm.
What children need:
I also jotted down these notes about what children (especially very young children…under 7 years old) need to do this important body-work:
- children (esp. under 7) need to be in their home environment
- less words
- music, singing, verses
- less stimulation to their senses
To accomplish this:
- Focus on the environment
– declutter the house
– establish routines for cleaning
– establish routines for home-cooked meals
Remember: 15 minutes of quality work done in a peaceful manner is wonderful for a child to see.
After the home is in order:
- begin building towards a storytelling time
- begin preparation for festivals
Then move on to the ‘Mothers’ Job’ skills list.
On starting a Waldorf approach with a child over 7:
1 – consistent schedule with nap/bed/mealtimes
2 – think about warmth…emotional, spiritual, physical
3 – talk less
4 – learn to distinguish random comments
5 – give HOURS a day to just be
6 – no media, no screentime…be a model of not too much screen time
7 – plan fun family activities
8 – after the rhythms have been established, start looking at the festivals of the year
9 – do your own inner work
Get comfortable with the idea of Spirit/Source/God as a foundation of your Waldorf homeschooling experience and what htat might look like in your home and family life. (from a Melisa Nielson workshop)
Teaching within the context of Saints being other-worldly people who did extraordinary things.
Explore ones own ideas of faith and spirituality
What virtues does your family live by?
Waldorf curriculum studies the teachings of nearly all the major world religions and religious/spiritual figures
Waldorf based on the acknowledgement that the child is a spiritual being on a spiritual journey in this earthly place.
Whew! That’s a lot of not-quite-random stuff. And that is just some of the more coherent and relevant items from my 9 pages of notetaking.
I wondered as I was typing why I was putting all these details in this post. I think it is because this is a journey that I will be blogging about in days and weeks to come. And it is ok, I think, to include the beginnings of such a journey.
I do not recommend jumping on a bandwagon, educational or otherwise, because someone else does. I believe that there are many, many ways to the truth…or to the path that is best for any individual or family.
I do recommend looking, critically but open-mindedly, at those ideas, themes, concepts that one returns to time and again.
Many times over the last 3 years I have looked at the idea of Waldorf education. But it is only in the last few weeks that I have started looking into what distinguishes Waldorf from other philosophies.
And at this particular time, I find the Waldorf emphasis on rhythms to coincide with my own.
So I return to the topic of the week, even if rather circuituously, of rhythms.
Yesterday I continued to look at those rhythms of active times followed by quiet times; of together times followed by solitary times; of talking times followed by listening times. And then I took the additional step of ‘less talking.’ I spent a lot of time not saying what lept to my tongue…whatever it was. If I still needed to speak after a few moments of considering my words, I spoke. But about 70% of the time, I estimate, I chose to not speak at all.
Less talking allowed me more time to choose a wiser path.
Less talking certainly got Nic’s attention.
Less talking helped me to observe more.
Today I endeavor to integrate a little more of what I typed above. I am doing my own personal inner work, I am looking at our rhythms, I am thinking of ways to engage their senses more than their minds.
Hopefully the sun will be out more today and we can celebrate all the new life that the rain has brought, by taking a nature walk.
peacefully…and with less talking,