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These are homeschooling tips from ACTUAL Waldorf teachers' and homeschoolers' blogs and forum posts:
Pretty early on, I learned the outward symbols of Waldorf did not impart any of the intentionality, spirituality and simplicity I wanted in our home. Because, trust me, I tried to just “buy” Waldorf in the beginning. I spent a lot of money – this is not hard! – on art supplies, child-sized German brooms and dust pans, anthroposophical books that were (and still are) beyond my comprehension and a myriad of other wooden, silken and beeswax-covered items. I scattered these things around our home and hoped, like fairy dust, they would work their magic. Surprisingly, this did not happen.
Many of us find it easy to dive into new things with gusto. Once we’ve made the decision to try something new, like homeschooling, we want to learn everything we can so we can be really, really good at it. We make big plans—we’ll work our annual trip to the seashore into a unit on oceanography!—and create rosy images of winter days with our children studiously bent over their books at the kitchen table while we bake homemade crackers and upload photos of the latest clever homeschool project to our blog site.
"If you put on a play, you should cast the characters according to the temperaments of your students. You might, for example, ask your cholerics to play Julius Caesar, and you might cast your sanguines as the messengers, since they would enjoy running in and out with the news. The melancholics love philosophical roles. ... The phlegmatics, on the other hand, like the parts where they can sit and think, removed from the central action of the play."
(From "Waldorf Education - A Family Guide" - p. 65-66 The Role of Temperament in Understanding the Child by Rene Querido)
The fifth graders and I are loving the stories of the Greek gods! I’m doing things a bit different this time around, thanks, in large part, to the popularity of Percy Jackson. I couldn’t imagine telling my students the stories of the Greek gods, pretending that they were all new to them.
Q. What about restrictions on the colors that children are “allowed” to use? No black and no green? Primary colors only, but without true red or magenta or rose?
A (by Steiner). In lectures for adults, I included black, green, magenta, and white as “image colors,” as opposed to the primary “luster colors,” but I never said children should be limited in their experience of color. You certainly should not overuse black, and you may want to consider when you introduce it and the other image colors, but I never spoke of a restriction on color when working with children.
A mother wrote to Rahima: I have read books (You are Your Child's First Teacher, and lots of Steiner) and listened to two audiotapes from this site on parenting the young child in the first 7 years of life. I became more conscious of changing the way I parented my son when he was about 3.5 years old. He is now 6.5. In general, I take a loving authoritative approach, I don't offer a lot of choices, and feel confident steering the boat.
My problem is engaging him in discussions. Despite knowing what I ought to do when we come into conflict, I cannot seem to STOP speaking to him with concepts and engaging him in discussions, explaining, talking it out, etc. (It was how I was raised and so much a part of me, and I was precocious, "such a mature young girl").
It seems like half the time I do address him appropriately and half the time I react through the intellect. Lately, I can see how much he is like me and getting the comments from others like, "He is so verbal. So smart. So mature." While some might think this is desirable, I know what I am depriving him of by having instilled this in him through all the conversations we have.
I really need help in learning ways to re-program my impulses to hold discussions (not just about talking about feelings, but talking about everything!). And more importantly I am interested in knowing what I can do from this point out as he is entering the second phase of childhood. Is it too late? Your help is greatly appreciated. --H.C.
Rahima writes: Old habits die hard, and since you have success about half the time, I'm not sure there is anything else you can do--besides not be so hard on yourself. Your son probably has good genes and is naturally bright and awake. You both can't cause that and can't avoid it. So pat yourself on the back for not taking that up and running with it, as many parents with bright/gifted children do.
What else can you do as he comes out of the first phase of childhood? Continue to value balance, and give him as large a dose of the arts as you can. This is one of the things the Waldorf approach is very good at, teaching everything artistically between 7 and 14. If you aren't near a Waldorf school, then this would involve bringing as many of the arts to him as you can through after-school enrichment and/or home schooling using a Waldorf approach. Our DVD on Creating a Waldorf Enrichment Program might give you some good ideas. You can start now, letting him do the wet-on-wet watercolor painting and Coloring with Block Crayons.
Be sure to keep providing many opportunities for creative play--both inside and outdoors--rather than filling up his life with lessons as he gets older. Read Simplicity Parenting--it's the book that takes up where mine leaves off.
At six-and-a-half you can also bring your son a rich serving of fairy tales. Buy a copy of The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales (not the "as told by," watered down versions) and read through one of the more complex ones to make sure that it resonates with you--if you react against that one, choose another. You don't have to memorize it-- it's okay to read it to him--but I would read him the same story every night for a week so it really has a chance to go into his sleep and dream life. Maybe make Sundays the night you change stories so there will be a rhythm and he'll know what to expect.