Today I’m heading into the list of questions that I’ve received from listeners in the past few weeks. Hope you enjoy.
What do you think about unschooling vs. Waldorf education.
Though I’m no expert when it comes to unschooling, I’m happy to share some of my thoughts about the merits of the Waldorf curriculum, which is a far cry from unschooling. Some of the things I talk about . . .
- Free-spirited, non-traditionally educated parents finding a home in Waldorf and expecting it to be a bit freer and more alternative than it really is. Waldorf is definitely not unschooling.
- Waldorf as a developmental curriculum. The genius of Waldorf is that it brings just the right content at just the right time for the developmental stage of the child. The child’s own interests may not lead them in that direction.
- The importance of will-development. There is value in finding something difficult and pushing through and doing it anyway.
- All education is self-education. I believe in this statement and perhaps this is the place where Waldorf Education and unschooling overlap.
Struggles with limiting media due to outside influences (friends and relatives with more media exposure.) Child asks for movies and video games all the time.
The struggle is real! It’s not going to go away. There used to be a time you could get rid of your TV and pretend that it just didn’t exist. It is a rare family that can manage that these days. This means you have to handle things differently.
- Make media access times as rhythmic as possible. Often this rhythm will solve the problem on its own. But if not . . .
- Try to view it as an opportunity to for parenting. You get (yet another) opportunity to remind your child that you care enough to set a boundary (as exhausting as it may be.)
- Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t feel like your child “shouldn’t” be asking to use media again. If they’re asking, all it means is that you get to answer again. It doesn’t mean that you’re somehow failing as a Waldorf parent.
- Don’t be afraid to use consequences and rewards. If you are really tired of your child asking for access to media again, set a boundary. Maybe asking 3 times outside of the regular media access time means time is reduced.
Finally — fight the good fight. This is definitely a cause worth getting behind. Reducing media will make a huge difference for your child.
- Jean’s list of resources at Waldorf-Inspired Learning is the best (she’s why I haven’t created an exhaustive post of my own.)
- If you’ve got a school in your area, try to make a visit happen. Even if you can’t enroll your child yet, you can make connections and find out about educational opportunities.
- If you don’t have a school in your area, see about visiting one for a special speaker night.
- See about attending a training course at one of the Waldorf teacher training institutes. I highly recommend Sound Circle Center in Seattle and Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento. Even their weekend courses for parents are fantastic and a great way for parents with young children at home to access some Waldorf inspiration.
- If you’re looking for books, check out my other site — Waldorf Reviews. I haven’t updated in awhile, but there are some good resources there. (I recently found a post I wrote years ago about the resources I used for my anatomy block. It got me going in the right direction for my block prep!)