you have to find the courage to live it.
This has been a week of soul searching, so to speak. Though we had a nice week of homeschooling, so much of it felt disengenuine. (Is that one of my made up, "trust-me-I-was-an-English-major" words? If so, forgive me and chalk it up to my path-forging creativity, please. =) =) ) I really had to stop and reevaluate what kind of homeschooler I was and what is important to me - and most importantly, what I wanted for my little Bean.
I found out about Waldorf two years before Bean was born and fell in love with it in a heartbeat. I just knew that this beautiful, gentle, magical educational philosophy was the environment I wanted for my children. Then, of course, you have children and it's time to "start school." Droves of my friends and relatives children are off to KINDERGARTEN. This is when you start to question - well, I was forced to question an educational philosophy that advocates no formal learning before age 7. That's two years away. Two years of relatives and friends discussing what their children are doing in conventional school, making my husband convinced that Bean is falling behind. I begin to either look remiss as a homeschooling parent or lazy. Or totally nuts. Why isn't she reading? doing math? Such and such is learning this. Shouldn't Bean be learning that by now?
The parade of future questions was a bit overwhelming. So I took time to examine what I thought to be important for my child, as far as her education is concerned. The conclusions I came up with were as follows:
1. She LOVES to learn.
2. She is allowed to learn at her own pace, free from the pressures of what "everyone else" is doing.
3. She is a creative, happy, KID, who loves to run and laugh and get dirty and tell stories and play.
I could go on, but that's really enough. This week, I remembered what made me fall in love with Waldorf in the first place. Childhood is a beautiful, magical, amazing time of wonder that flies by in a flash. It should be cherished. Childhood is where we get our inner strength from, our character, our outlook on life, our ability to hope and dream and become, and it is gone in a blink, no matter what we do to try and slow that down. So, what I realized is - what is the rush??!! Higher math at 5 years old, drilling writing, numbers, even geography and science. What are we rushing them towards? Adulthood will come, bringing with it bills and jobs and insurance payments and co-workers who drive you nuts and credit card debt and all that stress that comes with it. Why are we rushing children through childhood? So they can sit in traffic that much sooner. So we can educate the magic and wonder of childhood right out of them? You know what, adulthood is lurking just around the corner and it will be here far too quickly. In my opinion, an amazing childhood is one of the best gifts I can give my children and I just think higher math and reading can wait a bit longer while she plays with dolls and tells stories and gets dirty and climbs trees. That was my week.
A mother and friend from one of my online groups has this quote in her signature and when I saw it this week, it really seemed to encapsulate my week of introspection, so I thought I would fly it as my banner, my mantra and my battle cry.
If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.