So….here is a follow-up I wrote, which I will share here….remember, this is a post from a yahoo group so those are the “questions” I am referring to…..

I want to apologize in advance that I am not the best on yahoo groups with
checking in and giving quick answers/having a conversation. I tend to wait
until something I am really passionate about, then write an essay. I am
really more of a “hey, here’s my phone number…want to chat over a glass
of wine (tea for some others) after the kids are in bed?!”
Seriously….that is how I started to talking to (name here) lol. And
unfortunately, I am not on facebook….after being on it for quite a while,
I realized it was one of those things that kind of sucked my time and
attention and didn’t enhance my homelife, or my good feelings about
others…..;-) I attempt here in one place to answer all the different
questions that came up in response to my Oak Meadow post, and a couple of
other posts.

Last night, Carrie http://www.theparentingpassageway.com reminded me in an email that this “Waldorf Way” and
developing it in the home, etc….is a slow process. Often the deeper I
get into it, the more I realize I DON’T know. That’s why I won’t even
pretend to put myself off as any kind of expert on Anthroposphy. I would,
however, suggest getting the blue and pink Kindergarten books. You can get
them at Bob and Nancy’s.

http://www.waldorfbooks.com/teaching-resources/kindergarten-nursury/early-childh\

ood-resources/inspiring-ideas
scroll down on this page, one is blue, one is pink lol. They are
collections of AWSNA articles that go much deeper into the Kindergarten and
its anthroposophical underpinnings (or it is written from that
perspective).That is a very good START. I also know that there are places
where you can listen to Steiner’s books and lectures read aloud in English
if you don’t have much time to read actual things on paper. It would be
near impossible to have a quick workshop on it. However, there are some
basic things to understand like the threefold nature of man, etc…so you
can understand more of the why’s and wherefores of his child development
theory. (actually human development theory….those 7 year cycles of
development continue on…and it would behoove you to know which one you
are in!!….I am in the “Sun” years.) Sometimes in Waldorf circles, you
will hear things like “he is still in the ether”, or “too fast to
incarnate”….and you need to understand what they mean by this, and what
it means for what is important for each child. I mean, why wouldn’t we
want our child to incarnate quickly…..our culture says quicker is better!

As far as “what to do”, I would suggest starting with what you already
have. I too have a kindergartener with two in the grades. I am not always
going to be able to prevent my youngest from loftier
concepts/words/activities than what he is “ready” for. We have cousins, we
have guests with older children come to our house….we have friends that
don’t have a single wooden toy in their house. Add on top of this, I am a
very choleric individual who has a super loud voice, a penchant for
sticking her foot in her mouth, acting like a stand-up comedian all the
time and an addiction to intellectual stimulation. I was a theater major in
college, and a singer….a powerful belter to be exact. When I would go
to a parent child class, and hear the sweet singong voice of the
teacher…”CHILLLLLLLL-dren!!!! WHOO-hoooooooo! All little birdies come
back to nest!”….I immediately felt that without having my vocal chords
removed, I would be unable to provide for my children that particular
Waldorf environment….that just by nature I would be incapable. Could my
children go into cryo-freeze until they were in middle school, where I felt
my particular “gifts” could be more useful and less “harmful”?

I made an amazing friend, whose daughter had been in a Waldorf nursery with
mine, and we both pulled them to homeschool. We started meeting once a
week, and I was amazed that there could be someone louder and
more FILL-UP-THE-ROOM than I. Seriously, she made me feel like a quiet
dormouse….and her demeanor with her children was often sarcastic and
quick, and her gestures over the top. She explained to me it was being a
“Russian Jew, child of immigrants”…..perhaps that might have some
cultural truth to it, but I knew better, it was just her temperament! Her
children weren’t fading under her great presence, they were bright eyed,
grounded and capable of deep deep uninterrupted play…….that sign we are
all looking for (in answer to “what to observe”?) to know that our children
are “doing well”. She threw a birthday party for her daughter, and read a
birthday story while her daughter sat in a throne with a crown on….read
it off of paper, with a huge dramatic flourish…completely unlike the
angelic slightly monotone voice of the practiced Waldorf story teller. It
didn’t matter….her daughter and all the rest sat in rapt attention…and
my children from that time on begged me to tell their stories (I thought I
had before…but they remembered this one!). SHe just approached these
activities without hesitation, without shame, without trying to put on a
“waldorf” fa├žade, imitating what she saw in a classroom. She was fully
present, and dove straight into the moment she was in.

Thank God for this friend! She gave me permission to realize that “quiet”
in my home (and certainly hers) would have a different decibel level that
others. When I have had other children here for co-op, many of them who
come from naturally quiet mothers, have physically shirked from me the
first few times I spoke to them with such authority and vigor. I look at
them and have to remember, “oh right, quiet is actually really quiet in
other peoples homes and I am probably freaking this poor kid out”.

In a waldorf kindergarten, the teacher is meant to be an archetype of
“Mother” (that is one reason why even male K teacher wear an apron). Now,
as homeschoolers, we are ACTUALLY mother, and can never fully embody the
archetype because we have full relationships with our children, that
include our human temperments etc…. We are like
frontiersmen/women…..what does “waldorf” or anthroposophical theory
actually LOOK like growing from the soil of my own individual home and
family? We have the great privilege of creating and discovering this
together! The moment we by rote apply a material system of waldorf on
ourselves, we will never make it to the Promised Land!

So, I say all this in response to….”I have older children, public school
children, etc….how do I still preserve my child’s innocence and keep them
out of intellectual activity”? You can’t entirely. But you can be sure
that when you are there with your kindy child….that you are fully present,
that you carve out some relatively quiet time for him every day where you
leave him alone. Or you let him follow you in your tasks with a song on
your lips and very little verbal direction. And if a little one “wants” to
read and learn letters…let them, but if they come to you asking for you
to “teach them to read” tell them firmly and lovingly, “no, now is not your
time…..you will begin that after you have had seven springs!!!!” Your
child does not know what they are asking for. We don’t want to serve the
devil “want” in our children, assuming that just because they want
something or are interested in it it is somehow the best thing for them. A
lot of children, without guidance and through imitation and play, will
indeed teach themselves to read before the first grade. But if they do
this entirely on their own, that is one thing….if we as parents take
their playful imitation of reading and writing as a need to “start them
learning to read because they want to”….we begin to awaken their
intellects in a way that we don’t want to. My 9 year old didn’t read until
she was 8 and a few months. She jumped from sound recognition to reading
chapter books in the period of a few weeks. Many of her homeschooling
peers, who have been doing “reading” work since a very young age because
“they wanted to” are already burnt out, and equate all things reading and
writing for school as “work” and a task they just have to push through to
get to the more fun stuff.

So……I think that the following questions might help you make a clear
idea of a day for you in your own home:
-What tasks do I need to do every day? (make bed, brush hair, cook, laundry)
-what moments to have throughout the day/week/month to be able to quiet
down and carve out a non-intellectual sanctuary for my K child? (hint,
those moments might be found in the above tasks)
-how can I begin taking the “things” I have learned from waldorf into these
moments that already exist….(ie, a washing the laundry song? singing
folk songs while walking around the block? Giving my child a knife and
having them cut the zucchini?)
-which moments are the MOST troublesome to me regarding what my child is
exposed to? How can I try to dial it down just one notch for them in those
moments? (ie, teenager can only watch tv/play video games in his room or
in family room with door shut….hence the joke of the “tv in the closet”
at waldorf schools….making sure that the kids spend at least one hour
outside when you visit the cousins, etc….)
-put on an apron when you are working in the home! And research “why
waldorf teachers wear aprons”

Once you start trying to enrich what you have, instead of scrapping
everything that makes your family and home your family and home, and
replacing it with a “beautiful waldorf curriculum” you will start to see
fruit….ENRICH what is already there! You could really take the MOST
mundane day at home and turn it into a magical journey for your child with
a little enrichment It is this approach, and only this approach, that
brings peace to the whole family, and doesn’t colour your waldorf path with
frustration, bad feelings and even possible divisions between your family
and others (like the in-laws). I promise…..the more you live this life,
as the children get older, the in-laws and friends start to see that
something is “different” and won’t be so critical of your strange ways.

Anyway, there is my big huge ramble of a bunch of thoughts…..I really
want to write a blog post called “Leave Your Children Alone”, as I think
sometimes this is the key to a lot of our questions….perhaps after the
kids are in bed lol. Right now, I am completely ignoring them! Time to go
make sure the kids did the barn chores!!