A few days ago, I received an email from a parent on the path of transitioning from Homeschooling with the Steiner Waldorf curriculum to Unschooling. I was honoured to read her story which moved me. It was so honest, authentic and beautiful. I asked if I could share her words on my blog as I believe they will help other families who may be just starting out on their unschooling journey. She agreed.
I discovered your blog while reading an article on psychology today by Peter Gray. After following several links I saw the title of your interview and the word Waldorf:) I am currently using Waldorf Essentials to homeschool my 7 and 6 year old sons. I also have a 3 year old daughter and 2 year old son.
Well, I should say that we are not really following the curriculum any longer. After Christmas we did school for about 2 weeks and it went pretty well after I threatened to take away the legos:( Awful, I know. My oldest son is VERY headstrong and while I see this trait as being a wonderful characteristic of his personality, it wasn’t making homeschooling easy. Coming from a Waldorf perspective and just following my own intuition I have always been pretty anti-screens. My kids get cartoons a few times a week….other than that, no phones, ipads or video game players, whatever they call them these days:) I am starting to question this. I have been reading a ton about Radical Unschooling and just self-directed learning in general.
I still feel my kids are pretty young for tech stuff. I am also starting to see how I have at times, instead of encouraging a love of something, may have discouraged it because it’s not what I thought my children should be interested in. I am also seeing all of the amazing things that are coming from the kids when just left alone. My oldest son really does learn things in his own time frame and if he is pushed, he shuts down. My others kids(and oldest too) are just playing and I am happy with that. I don’t feel at this age that they need a whole lot more.
I am just trying to get over the hump of thinking I should go back to a curriculum, because each week I think that I should or that maybe I will. I just can’t push my oldest son away any more by forcing something on him that he doesn’t want to do. I am so aware right now of ways that I have been controlling as a parent and am trying to be really mindful of respecting my kids choices. Having said that I don’t think I can go full on radical unschooling. We have a pretty good rhythm right now with regards to meals, bedtimes and tv. I think that we have had the same bedtime ritual since day one so our kids have never really had to be forced to bed, they are usually more than ready. Just in general, I am trying to be more conscious of what my kids want and need. I have really tried to be a peaceful parent, which isn’t always easy but I think we’re doing our best. My husband is willing to go on this journey but he needs work:) His instinct is to yell or say things like “right now” or “get over here”. He really is a great dad in so many other ways. I think he would be fine if the kids were in school and we were living the same way as everyone else but I respect that fact that he is willing to support me in the different paths that I am finding for our family.
Sorry that was just a big block of rambling. I am trying to get this done while littles are napping! I have a lot of questions. I have been researching this for about a month and a half now and I feel like it’s getting easier to suppress the urge to go back to the curriculum. I am trying to be present with my kids and really watch them but that can be hard with 4 little ones and keeping all the other things done. I am just paying attention and trying to watch and observe and find out what they are loving. Sometimes harder than what I thought it would be. Anyway, this is probably way more information than you needed but,well, there you go!