Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Outward struggle becomes the inner struggle

So we have been having some behaviour issues with the Bean. It has not been fun or happy. Over the past few weeks I have really been trying to figure out what the root of these issues is. I have come to a difficult conclusion. She's bored. Now, for the most part, I don't have issues with a bit of boredom. I think it fosters creativity. However, she is bored with homeschool. No matter how many Waldorf-inspired ideas I present or create or try to engage her in, she's not connecting with them. I have tried several different approaches and have read countless books over the years that I have turned to recently, but it's just not speaking to her heart. In fact, during one of our stories, she said "Can I do workbook pages now?" Hmmmmm.

So, here's the rub: I believe in my heart that Waldorf is a beautiful educational philosophy and lifestyle. I love it. I love the gentle, holistic approach to education, I love the head, heart and hands focus. I love it all, but it's just not working for my child. So the question is - do I stick to my Waldorf principals and make the child meet the curriculum, so to speak, or do I take a step back and reevaluate and meet her where she is - which is one of the reasons I chose homeschooling in the first place.

Obviously, it is time to reevaluate. I pulled out all my homeschooling materials, Waldorf and non-Waldorf last night and put them out on the sofa with every intent to go through them after the girls were in bed. But, I fell asleep with Love Bug at 8pm - and I feel MUCH better this morning. =) =)

So my plan for the next few evenings is to create a hybrid educational path for my little Bean. Something that will hold true to the head, heart and hands approach that I love so much, but also tries to meet the needs of my little Bean who, obviously, I love so much more.

I'll keep you posted.


Penny in VT said...

Check out Oak Meadow - it really is very Waldorfy in the early years, but has a fair bit of traditional academia as well - it's very project and art oriented, still uses MLB and math gnomes... maybe it would be a good mix? Just a thought - and FWIW I live this struggle everyday - how can I LOVE something (Waldorf) so much when BOTH of my Dd dislike the approach? It's been a disappointing (and expensive!) few years, Waldorf wise... our homeschooling is VERY different from what I thought it would be!

Good luck! Penny

Patience said...

I admire your wisdom. I had exactly the same struggle with my dd. Ultimately what I chose was to homeschool her in the way appropriate to her, but parent her according to my Waldorf-inspired principles. It seems to be working, giving both of us the balance we need. It is important to me that my child does not live entirely in her head as she would prefer, but at the same time I must honour how she learns.

Merriconeag - Place of Easy Passage said...

Thank you both! I agree that it is possible to mix them a bit and love the explanation of parenting within a Waldorf framework. That is exactly what I was thinking.

Thanks again!

thegoodwitch said...

I have the exact same problem with my Biggie, age 6. So here's how I've handled it: she teaches herself the academics, as early as she wants. If she asks a question, I answer it: how to spell, what makes what, etc. If she's proud of her work, I'm proud of her work. I don't correct her spelling and grammar, etc. Our "lessons" are the creative, imaginitive Waldorf stuff, because in her academic precocity, I see that her imagination is suffering.

I think a Waldorf Homeschooler (as opposed to a rigid Waldorf school teacher) will admit that this is the beauty of homeschooling. You know your child better than anyone else in the world!

Good luck.

big mama said...

It's interesting that you are describing your decision as one between Waldorf and meeting your daughter's needs. In teacher training, what we are told over and over again is that we are teaching children and not a curriculum. I believe that you can find myriad ways of meeting your daughter's needs within a framework of the Waldorf approach to child development. I'm not sure the age or grade of your daughter (first time visitor), but how about instead of telling her "curriculum" stories, you tell her stories from your life that bring across a similar point as much as possible? Also, it's winter. I usually spend a good chunk of time in January and February doing creative work - a play, a puppet show, a story telling block in which we work on our own stories and build dioramas etc.

Good luck, Kirsten

Tara said...

We found ourselves in the same boat. We started teaching Waldorf at home because we came from a Waldorf school but quickly found that not all of it rang true for us. Now, as I make plans to homeschool again next year, I find myself pulling from a very wide variety of materials... basically whatever works. I guess that's the beauty of homeschool.

Poppy & Mei said...

I'd love it if you kept us posted, this is very interesting...Xxx