Monday, October 19, 2015

Chalkboard Drawings aka "Am I Waldorf Enough?"

This is my 1,000th post!

Whew. I've been a homeschooling mom for a while but it doesn't seem like THAT long.

available online for free - with step by step directions and illustrations

My current passion is Chalkboard Drawings. I've been researching them like crazy. and Pinterest are the two main sources for inspiration. What could be more beautiful in our home than a "real" Waldorf chalkboard drawing? The Waldorf Today website is also amazing for main lesson book pages, as are personal blogs from around the internet-world.

International resources also abound..., for example.

So, I'm collecting all of these images, and finally got myself set up on Pinterest, which turns out to be very useful, but it brings to mind the ever-present question: "Am I Waldorf Enough?" The internet has pros, but one of the cons is that you have a far wider pool of people with which to compare yourself. Inevitably, you will find yourself falling short in some capacity. Over the past few days, I created my first "real" Waldorf chalkboard drawing. It was inspired by this one:

which I pinned to my Man and Animal board.

I changed it slightly. First of all, it is NOT 12 Kingdoms. These are Phyla. And I modified it to create some more accuracy... separating "Worms" into Platyhelminths and Annelids. This is the Montessori coming out in me. Lower Elementary always has precise nomenclature, and the parts of the Porifera isn't something I personally learned about in first grade in the U.S. public school system... but they do in Montessori!

My 12 are Porifera, Echinoderm, Cnidaria, Platyhelminth, Annelid, Mollusk, Arthropod, Fish, Amphibian, Reptile, Bird, Mammal.

Here is my first "real" Waldorf chalkboard drawing, sitting proudly in my living room!

I try HARD but I do sometimes have that little niggling voice... is this "Waldorf enough?" Everyone knows that voice, right?

And I want to share the things that reassure me when that voice comes up. First of all, when I feel judged and start to swirl, my husband stops me from swirl-chatter and asks me, "Are you having fun?" If my immediate response is yes, then that calms me down.

Second, Alan Whitehead wrote a book called "A Waldorf Homeschool?" and in it he says that (in his opinion) homeschooling can actually be closer to what Steiner intended than a Waldorf school can, because it is truly personalized. It is 100% individualized to meet the needs of your child. He also writes that Steiner's opinion was that if it comes from an understanding of anthroposophy, it is Waldorf, plain and simple.

Lastly, Whitehead writes that Steiner had indicated that eurythmy was crucial to Waldorf and not all Waldorf schools are able to have a eurythmist on staff, so technically that eliminates them from being "real." He says this a little bit in fun and just to prove a point. I think we would all consider them to be Waldorf schools but maybe they don't even consider themselves to be "real" Waldorf schools!

I use "real" in quotes, obviously, to show that this "real" stuff is a matter of some opinion. And that we all just need to calm down and do our best for our children. A parent who dives in and starts to do it all the REAL WAY from the start quickly gets overwhelmed and burned out, and then they leave the method. That serves no one well and certainly doesn't help the pedagogy to spread. In my experience, start where you are and then you will get more and more interested in the WHY and learn more about Steiner, child development, anthroposophy, and so on. You get more Waldorf-y with practice. I think that reading a fairy tale is fine. Later on you will have the confidence and the urge to memorize it and tell it orally. I think that watching a video for your own background is fine. If I give a video link, watch it for yourself. Or watch it with your child. The choice is yours in the end, isn't it? I love Waldorf and I love supporting people in trying Waldorf and I think that a little Waldorf is better than none, so have at it!

The Education of the Child in the Light of Anthroposophy by Rudolf Steiner

FREE online at the Rudolf Steiner Archive

1 comment:

Catherine said...

When we first started out in grade one I would dutifully draw a chalkboard picture pretty much every night whilst my husband did the bedtime routine. By second grade I was doing a drawing once per week, sometimes fortnightly, by third grade once per block. I have found that drawing my chalkboard takes me about 2 hours on average. Who has time to do that every day? Not I, anyway. We "homeschool" in our lounge and our block drawing sits above the fire on the mantle piece. It sets the mood for the block and is an ever-changing piece of art in our home. It has evolved into that and we all love it, yet it rose out of my own failure to be "perfect".
I absolutely agree, start where you are, make it your own, be true to yourself and your family, take what resonates or what you can do realistically and let the rest go - without guilt. Surely the great gift of homeschooling is that we have choices and can create something which really works for us - not someone else - but our unique family.