I am broken-hearted about the situation in Haiti. I am concerned for all the people there, especially the children and elderly. It has been on my mind quite a bit from wondering how someone like Pat Robertson could feel justified in making the embarrassing comments he has made, to hoping for peace for them, to wondering how a mother like myself could help. Today, I saw one mother’s solution to that wondering and wanted to share it with you. Shivaya Naturals has reopened her Etsy store with 100% of the proceeds going to Haiti relief. Please visit there today if you are able and contribute. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Haitians and those around the globe helping to meet their needs.
I have had Deladis on my mind quite a bit lately. Her reactions to it being a “school” day, her temper with me and hitting, and whether or not she should be watching television and how much. I think about when she was a baby and the two of us would traipse all over Louisville (well, the familiar parts ;)) going to parks, play dates, Gymboree Play and Music, and Waldorf Parent/Child. Her favorite place to eat was Whole Foods and she would clean her plate. We would laugh and play games. I didn’t raise my voice at her. We had a wonderful time. Motherhood was still new and I was consumed enough to be meticulous about so many things.
Recently, I posted to a Waldorf Homeschool Support Group about Deladis losing heart with our schooling. As Ivy grows more able to participate in our Circle Time and enjoys the activity, Deladis seems to be losing interest. In the past, I have tried to eliminate television completely from her world until she is older, but since moving home, that is a lot harder to do. Our family enjoys TV, and so do John and I. We don’t have cable here at the cabin. In fact, John and I have only had cable 6 months in ten years of marriage, but we do enjoy movies, documentaries, PBS, and certain TV shows, and we subscribe to Netflix.
In the last months, I have limited television viewing to weekends. A few weeks ago, Deladis started asking me if it was a school day or a watching day. When I would tell her it was a school day, she would become disappointed and not participate well in our activities. I, then, decided that there should be no difference in school days and weekends, and since our TV would remain in the home, she could have one program a day during the time in the evening when I cook supper (when the girls are not at their best).
I posted to the support group wondering what to do about Deladis’ seeming non-interest in singing, or reciting verse or fingerplays with me and I called her downhearted. The truth is I was projecting my feelings onto her. I have been disheartened that my attempts at a Waldorf home for my family has not worked out as I had envisioned. My home is not TV free. It is not simple and tidy. Deladis’ favorite toys of late is Littlest Petshop and she spends hours in imaginative play with those, so I have allowed them to be bought for her this Christmas. The truth is, I don’t know where we fit in the big picture of the world of Waldorf.
I know Waldorf education works. I will never forget when we toured the Waldorf School of Louisville and I found myself teary eyed passing through each classroom and seeing all the beautiful, safe, and pure learning going on in each of them. The clincher was walking into the fourth grade classroom seeing a room of engaged students reading from a chalkboard the most beautiful cursive handwriting without missing a beat. They were learning the fundamentals that so many students coming through our public schools today miss, as they vie for teacher’s attention and fumble their way through computer games and busywork. (Please don’t take this the wrong way. I was a public school teacher, my great grandmother was a public school teacher, my grandmother worked for the Board of Education and was a substitute teacher at times, and I have many friends in the world of public education. I believe it is the environment that government run schools have created for students that are the disservice.)
I was reminded of the stories of my great grandmother and grandfather (Golda and Luther Johnson) and their school days – plain, simple, and fun. I compared it to my daily experience in the public school system as both a student and a teacher, and knew I had to bring the Waldorf educational environment to my children. If I could not send them to a Waldorf School, I had to bring it to them.
At this point, I am unsure of what is next for our little home “school”. I am dedicated to Waldorf philosophy and I am going to be diligent about coming to a better understanding of it. But more, I want to find how it will fit into our family. Each family is unique and has its own special culture. We are individual and I believe that is what is wonderful about homeschool. The educational experience can be just as unique as we are. I can still be within Waldorf educational philosophy and not look like the Waldorf of other families. This blog has given me hope of that.
The great thing is, I have two more years before I need to start academics with Deladis. So, technically, I’m not schooling yet. In the meantime, I’m going to explore this further. I’m going to read some Rudolph Steiner, take some free online workshops, and keep reading the many great Waldorf inspired blogs out there. I’ll get it figured out. But, most importantly I need to reconnect with Deladis. I need to make some time for just me and her. I need to observe her, meditate on her, and meet her needs.
Some of my favorite Waldorf inspired blogs: