As Waldorf homeschoolers, there are so many moving pieces and parts to consider. We can get lost in a sea of swirling ideas. That’s why over the years, I’ve developed mantras to help me remember what’s important. And today, I want to share with you my 7 powerful mantras for Waldorf homeschooling Mamas.
To remind you that the work you are doing is helping to make the world a better place. Repeat these 7 mantras to yourself often.
- Go Deep, Not Wide
- It’s the Doing that Counts
- Who You Are is More Important than What You Teach
- YOU Are Who Your Children Need
- Make it as Lively as Possible
- Stories & Books Make Wonderful Teachers
- Beware the “It’s Time to Get Serious” Trap
7 Powerful Mantras for Waldorf Homeschooling Mamas
Go Deep, Not Wide
As an educator, I find it helpful to make comparisons between teaching methods. So when people ask me to describe main lesson blocks, I like to say that they are similar to unit studies. Only different.
A unit study is a collection of activities around a theme that incorporates many different subjects. Broadly, a main lesson block could also be described this way.
But the way most homeschoolers and even teachers plan and execute unit studies is to pull in as many related subjects as they can to cover as much information as possible. An approach that is both broad and wide.
A main lesson block, on the other hand, delves deeply into one topic. Yes, this can be interdisciplinary, combining subjects like language arts, history, social studies, and geography. But the topic is very specific, like local geography for example. The Waldorf approach is built on the premise that it’s better to explore one small piece of a topic really thoroughly than to skim the surface on a variety of subjects. Go deep, not wide.
It’s the Doing that Counts
We all do it! We keep searching and searching for the perfect story or poem or picture idea. The Waldorf approach is full of so much activity. There are the stories and seven lively arts, handwork and other specials, rhythm and inner work to consider.
And in this day and age, we have 24/7 access through technology to so much, including seeing or hearing about how others handle a particular block or aspect of the main lessons.
But at some point, we have to stop searching and just jump in. Because it’s the doing that counts more than the searching, considering, or thinking about how we’ll do our lessons. This is what we focus on in Plan It Out, my online group coaching program.
Who You Are is More Important Than What You Teach
And even more important than the doing, is the being! How we bring the lessons to our children is what matters most. Our relationship with our children is the utmost priority.
In his lectures to the first Waldorf teachers, Rudolf Steiner said, “You will not be good teachers if you focus only on what you do and not upon who you are.”
This translates into good self-care and inner work! Because in order to be fully present with our children, and maintain a strong bond throughout our days, we need to feel centered and present. The practice of inner work can help with this.
YOU Are the One Your Children Need
Whether you believe that your children picked you to be their parent or not, you are exactly who they need to guide them into adulthood.
After all, that’s our job. To help our children discover their gifts and then go out into the world to share them. And the person perfectly suited to do that is YOU! If you are having doubts, read this post Make Your New Mantra: You Are Enough.
Stories & Books Make Wonderful Teachers
Stories form the foundation of the Waldorf approach. As Steiner said, “Stories are communication from soul to soul.”
In our main lessons, stories are the vehicle for presenting all new material because the stories help us to make a heart connection with our children. You can read the stories or memorize them (both are perfectly acceptable!). Just remember to treat them as sacred. Choose wisely and share generously.
Make it as Lively as Possible
After the foundation of stories comes the lively arts. Steiner developed the Waldorf method to combat abstract teaching. And he believed that the arts bring us joy and help to make the learning memorable. Here is a post on this, Make It As Lively As Possible.
Beware the “It’s Time to Get Serious” Trap
This last mantra is for you Mamas who have children at certain milestones. We tend to fall into the trap of “it’s time to get serious now” when our children enter first grade. Or when they start middle school, or reach 8th grade, or begin high school. We feel like our homeschooling has to (suddenly) get more rigorous, more serious, more academic.
My advice from homeschooling three children through every one of these milestones is to beware of this feeling! It’s often a trap that sends us down the road of being the taskmaster who becomes fierce and demanding.
We fall into this trap out of fear. We are afraid we haven’t done enough, that they aren’t prepared, that others will see our failings as a homeschooler.
And suddenly our self-worth is tied to our children’s performance. Believe me, no good ever comes of this!
Instead, we want to think of ourselves as partnering with our children. And gradually weaning them over many years’ time so that they can become independent learners. And discover their unique gifts. Check out this post Weaning Our Children to Nurture Independent Learning.
I hope that these 7 powerful mantras for homeschooling Mamas support and inspire you. I encourage you to commit these mantras to memory. And say them to yourself often as you navigate the wonderful journey that is Waldorf homeschooling.
Which of these mantras resonates with you? Please let me know in the comments.