Wednesday, August 31, 2011
From kindergarten through sixth grade I went to a public school. The summer before I went into seventh grade my mom decided to pull my younger brother and I out and home school us. This past July I registered my own home school with the state of North Carolina and, beginning next week, Kaiya and I will begin our very first year.
I'm really not feeling much pressure about this. She is six and a half and, in my mind, still very young and not ready for much in the way of academics. This is just a personal philosophy and I know others may feel the need to get their children started reading and counting as early as possible. But I will be taking a much more organic approach and leaning toward... this sounds like an oxymoron but I don't know how else to what I mean... structured unschooling. By that I mean keeping my feelers out for what she's ready for/interested in, while, at the same time guiding her toward what I feel is age appropriate. Guidance being key, I really want to focus on child led learning, and trust my children's own inner guidance and the true, natural love of learning that, I feel, dwells in us all.
I wasn't schooled this way at all. My mother used a very traditional approach with curriculums and tests and lessons that left my bottom hurting from sitting at the dining table for so long and my mind constantly wondering.
This is new territory for me, but at the same time, it feels very natural and like I already know just what to do. I'm digging into the Waldorf way of learning, very excited about that. When I first discovered Waldorf the main draw for me was the deemphasise of academics for young students and emphasis on art and beauty and nature and sensitivity and development of the soul, things I feel are essential for the spirit of a young child (or anyone, for that matter). Before I came upon Waldorf education I knew that the traditional approach to schooling left so much lacking for me. So much the growing child should be learning about that is being completely ignored in favor of academics and memorization. Such a huge chunk of what makes us human completely overlooked and the whole child not kept in mind. In my mind, all possibilities are planted inside of a child at birth. But when certain seedlings are left untended, they wither and die.
So, I will try to strike this delicate balance between my child's leading and my own guidance. We're not gong into this with handbooks or textbooks or folders and #2 pencils. We're going to take this one day at a time and add things where we both see fit.
Also, where I live there is no Waldorf community, the nearest school just opened over an hour and a half away, in Asheville North Carolina. But I do have one friend with a three year old daughter who thinks very much like I do and we are discussing and making plans to form a small co-op, to teach and expose our daughters to various things together. Right now, I am making plans for our first venture into this, a wool 'workshop'. More details on that to come.
That's the plan, one day at a time! I'm very excited to begin this new journey with my daughter.
And So We Begin