Call and Response

I’ve been absent for a while.  I’ve been absent because I have been pondering.

I have made a very good friend through my blog.  Amazingly enough, she has my mind, in a body I have never met, living somewhere in Florida.  She has become a wonderful friend, a great sounding board, and also a reminder.  A reminder of who I am.  She wrote this post for me.  It is called “Ode to My Twin“.  If you don’t have time to read it.  Well that’s OK, although her blog is fantastic and I would take the time. However if you don’t have time, here’s the skinny “Be You”.

So, that’s what I’ve been pondering.  How to “be me”.  Not at home, not with my family, with you, my readers.  So here’s the thing.  I jumped the Waldorf ship.  I jumped the ship for more than a few reasons.  The curriculum was moving too slowly for my inquisitive son, I wasn’t fostering his development, I was holding him back.  Daily life was not a beautiful rhythm it was stressful, and painful.  My son was not enjoying the slow pace he was learning at, he would start to get so upset if he even saw a main lesson book.  He was constantly asking questions that I wasn’t “supposed” to encourage.  Well forget that.  We jumped.  We jumped into my own version of the right curriculum for my son.  We are doing math.  We are still learning about the qualities of numbers, but we are learning them in a broader context.  I am so happy that my twin at You Know What Mama turned me on to Math-U-See.  My little monster wanted to read so badly, I did tons of research to figure out the most painless way to make that happen.  I discovered Explode the code.  Then researching even further, I found Explode the Code online.  Well, that was a goldmine!  Let me tell you, my boy, he loves computers.  I know, another Waldorf no-no.  And I’ve done my best, I tell you.  But the world of technology, it is calling to him.  He loves to entertain, to make movies, to watch the movies he makes.  What am I going to do?  Hold him back?  He has been using the Explode the Code online program for two weeks, and he’s reading!  Yup.  This is coming from the same chickie who wrote “No he’s not reading yet, and he’s not knitting either“.  We have also discovered Unit Studies for history, geography and social studies.  We create lapbooks, and he loves them!  Who wouldn’t?  This is creativity while learning, and not in a way he can’t comprehend.  I found a great website with FREE unit studies, FREE!  You can also search YouTube to see how to make LabBooks, it’s pretty cool.

Ok, so.  That’s the beginning.  I have created the right curriculum for my son.  I am fostering his love for American history, his desire to read, and to take electrical things apart.  I am letting him be him.  Alas, that is not the only reason I jumped the ship, so stay-tuned.  My battery is going to die in 11 minutes.  So I will continue this conversation.  I would love to hear what you are doing in your homeschooling or learning journey.  What is working for you?

  • I’ve always hated the expression — “What’s best for children.”

    There are a good number of things that are Best for People — like sleeping and drinking water. “Children” need these things too because, thinking back to the SAT — If all people are people, are all children people? Yes. So, do the “good for people” thing applies to kids too.

    But it’s those “Best for children” expansive statements that I’ve always found to be well….wrong.

    “It’s Best for Children to live in absolute learning freedom.” Unschoolers

    “What? No! People De-vel-op and Therefore! it’s Best for Children to be given only very specific information at each development stage.” Waldorf.

    “Here! Here! Well said!” Well Trained Mind. “Wait! What specific information at what developmental stage?” Well Trained Mind rethinks.

    “Well, obviously, it’s Best for Children to wait to learn to read until they are 7 or 8. Before then, you cannot talk about letters until they’re 6 and only in the context of centuries old fairy tales and only orally taught and only with letters vaguely hand drawn by you on a chalkboard in the shape of something else for them to copy on their chalkboard as nearly as closely as possible. The rest of the time, you incorporate art into everything you do — as long as what you are doing is not in anyway plugged into the wall. And make sure not to permit them any information that would pull them from their dreamlike developmental stage. And…” Responds Waldorf.

    “What? No way!” interrupts an apoplectic Well Trained Mind. “What’s Best for Children is to learn to read as soon as possible. They are little sponges waiting to soak up everything you say and read. You waste their lives if you don’t get them reading as early as possible. And then, until they are x age, you give them isolated information to memorize with catchy tunes and jingles — like all the ancient Chinese dynasties to “Here We Go Round the Mullberry Bush”. And *Stop* do not think about that. This is just a time when you are hanging information on the pegs of their grammatical level mind. When they develop to the logical level, THEN you start putting everythign into context. And make sure that you limit art to once a week if you Must do art at all because it’s a waste of their beautiful minds.”

    ….

    Of course I could go on.

    There is a well articulated, thoughtful ideology for just about everyone.

    What I’ve finally figured out is that it is NOT “what’s Best for Children”, it’s
    “what’s best for MY children”

    So, here’s a life preserver called “Glad you figured out what Isaiah thrives doing and keep on floating until y’all need a different ship to jump onto”

    You Rock. You do. Not not-you. You. Keep on Rockin’ Twin Sister xoReplyCancel

  • Life is too short to do things that don’t feel right. If every day is a struggle and your heart is not in it and you feel like you are constantly trying to float upstream? No. Go with what speaks to you in that deep quiet place.

    That Mama, she’s a good one, huh?

    Wishing you the best, always.
    SheilaReplyCancel

    • She sure is 🙂 I learned so much from Waldorf that will always be a piece of me, and for that I will always be grateful. And you know your blog and other Waldorf inspired blogs are still indispensable sources of information and inspiration to me. I think that my learning experience these past years has helped me to create a unique blend of homeschooling methodologies that integrate so many positive influences I have encountered. It is an on-going learning experience, but I feel like we are in a good place.

      Thank you for being an inspiration to so many of us!
      JenReplyCancel

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