I have recently signed up for the Waldorf connection expo. They are speakers that speaks about a part of the Waldorf education/philosophy. I have hear some very interesting lectures on waldorf education, and I feel like I still, at this point, have some things to get from Waldorf to incorporate in our lives.
One of the speaker was Tammy Takahashi, author of the blog Just enough and nothing more, and of the book Deschooling gently. Her speach was not focus on Waldorf education, but rather on homeschooling. Wow, was this lecture interesting, and really made me think about HOW to homeschool. Many questions were arised, and answered, or at least direction were given to find your own answer. But one point was brought up that I am still chewing on right now:
Homeschooling, is not the same as having school at home
I have been repeating this many times a day since having heard this. Homeschooling is NOT the same as having school at home.
Tammy was saying how when she started to homeschool, she basically brought school at home. She had it all, letter on the wall, blackboards, and even a bell for recess! And one comment that arised from that was, “you might as well just let them go to school if you are to bring school at home”
And that has me thinking since.
We have the advantage of being in a house, and living in a home setting, why not use this to our advantage? Why try to creat a school within the house? I know Maria Montessori really described what are the actions that should be performed by a “teacher” and how to do, and react, and what the environement should be. But then, this was described with a school setting in mind, and not for a home. I wonder what she would have suggested for homeschooling parents. I was writing a little while ago about anxiety, how I felt when I went back to our school room because I felt like I was not up to the standards that were set by Dr Montessori. And this feeling of anxiety always passes upon me when I go to our school room, without me knowing exactly why I feel that way.
And then I got it with the rest of the presentation that Tammy gave. She wrote a book on Descholing gently. And at first, I was not sure how this would be relevent for me since my kids have not really been schooled, aside from the experience Pea has with Montessori. And so I wasn’t sure how I could help with by “deschooling” him. But honnestly, the deschooling program is more for me, for us, parents, that have been living in the standard schooling systems for too long. We are used to seeing school and learning as being done in a setting, with a blackboard, chalk, bells, and everything that comes with it. We have been brainwashed that way. But looking at both my children, they have both learned to walk, talk, count, and do oh so many other things without the use of a blackboard, and a classroom. They did it on their own, with the influence of us, parents, in an environement that promoted that. For everything else that needs to be learned, do I really need a school room?
Do I really want a school within my house, or a house where my child learn?
I stumbled on a great post by Meg at Sewliberated where she was presenting her house, and all the nooks and crannies that she created for her son. What better environment to learn? Learning then takes place everywhere, not only in a confined place, learning just become what it is supposed to be, integrated in one’s life, and not a special activity that needs a room and a blackboard.
After hearing this conference, I admitted to myself that I am still strongly influenced by my experience of being in a compulsory school environment. And my mind is still not free from this brainwashing that I went though. I still realize that eventhough I want to provide my kids with another type of education, I am still roaming in my thoughts within the boundary of my imagination as they were defined and set by the constrictive school system that states: “School should be that way, and you have to learn that way’ I need to let go of all this, and just expend my imagination, broaden my horizons and see all the potential that learning in the home can allow.