Monday, August 31, 2009

A School Year Begins

Three weeks ago, on August 10th, school started in our districts and our home. For most children, and indeed, for our oldest three, the start of a new school year is marked by the smell of new pencils, a backpack freshly packed, a noisy bus ride, and a long day of new teachers, old and new friends, and tons of papers to sign. It's an exciting time of renewal and adventure mixed with a little dread, knowing that the carefree days of summer have come to an end and now begins the jam-packed school days of marching band, soccer practice, football games, and homework. Exhausting, yes, but the rewards are worth the effort!
For our youngest two, the beginning of school had a different tone this year. It began with the sound of goats bleating and soft bunnies excitedly hopping around for their morning feeding; the gentle tunes of German children's songs, the soft glow of candlelight, the feel of blowing through a recorder and learning to make music, and the sweet smell of new beeswax crayons. Yes, after much prayer, studying, and thought, David and I came to the conclusion that a true Waldorf education is the right choice for Robin and Elsa. And so, a new journey has begun...

Why did we choose Waldorf, and what is that anyway? There are other sites that will explain in depth, but briefly, here is our take on it: Waldorf education is based on the teachings of the early 20th century German philosopher Rudolf Steiner. It is a developmental curriculum that aims to educate and unfold the whole soul of a child - not just the intellect. The arts play a strong role, and subjects are carefully chosen with the consideration of the age of the child and where they are developmentaly. David and I have been studying the philosophies and benifits of Waldorf education for nearly 10 years (off and on) and have been greatly impressed by not only the incredible beauty, but how very accurately it maps child development and current studies in neurology. We are so happy to be able to teach our youngest children with what we believe is the best possible method for our family. And although there are difficult days when we question our sanity in homeschooling (lol!) we never question our choice of curriculum. It is true, beautiful, and right.


fawndear said...

I homeschooled my girls two years ago and it was the most rewarding and frustrating time I've ever spent with them. I hope to be able to do it again someday. Finances and me going back to work have thrown a huge wrench in my plans but I'll get there.
I am definately going to start researching the Waldorf education because I think it fits our creativity and imagination areas perfectly.
Thank you for posting your thoughts.

Jane said...

I so enjoyed how you explained the Waldorf Education it is so beautiful. I keep coming back to it as I keep learning more! Finding the Little Flower Garden helped so much with understanding it better : ) Thanks for the lovely post!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post, I enjoyed reading your thoughts on Waldorf homeschool and how your school days at home began with the bleating of goats, soft bunnies and candlelight... we share our homeschool days together in gentle and beautiful natural ways as well, it is lovely to hear of your journey.

renee ~ heirloom seasons said...

Beautiful watercolor painting, and beautiful words. I just discovered your blog and look forward to visiting again!

Linda said...

I so enjoyed reading your post and the beautiful watercolour painting is lovely. We also love our homeschooling journey and thank you so much for sharing yours :)



suzanne said...

Dear Beth

It is so wonderful to hear that you have chosen the Waldorf Way. I know there are many other ways that are equally as rewarding and beautiful but we have followed this journey and have have found a place where our family have grown so much. I find the teaching methods so gentle and nurturing. I hope to be able to share schooling days with you. Our days start like yours everyday. Clucking chickens, collection of eggs and picking a flower or two on the way...Happy learning..

Warm regards