Destination: Taproot Farm

I leave Thursday to attend a homeschool teacher training that Barbara Dewey runs at her home, Taproot Farm in central Ohio. I have mentioned it before in this post and also here. I consider it my annual retreat – even though this is only my second time attending. It is wonderful being surrounded by so many people who homeschool with Waldorf-inspired methods. Singing together, doing Eurythmy, eating together and just talking shop is a real treat. Not to mention getting to spend 7 hours (both ways!) in the car with my one and only, real, live and in-person homeschooling friend. (Hi Andrea!) That is a lot of gab time, and I have no doubt we will fill it.

My time at Taproot last year had a radical impact on my resolve and attitude toward homeschooling with Waldorf. It made me “get my head in the game” as they say. Before I went to Taproot, the majority of my Waldorf study time was spent online via yahoo groups. (Now let me just say, these groups were a lifeline to me in the beginning. I am eternally grateful to everyone who answered my queries and questions – especially Melisa Nielsen and Lauri Bolland on Melisa’s yahoo group.) However, these daily digests were becoming a combination Trojan Horse/Rabbit Hole (Trojan Rabbit, perhaps?) to me. I would read the messages, click links that had no bearing on what I was doing, get caught up in the little dramas that seemed endless last summer and basically waste a bunch of time. Returning home from Taproot, I realized if I wanted to homeschool with Waldorf in any meaningful way, I needed to do some serious reading and some serious inner work. For me, this was not going to happen online. So I dropped out of all the yahoo groups, cleaned out a bunch of stuff I didn’t need, and began to follow 3 rules I was given at Taproot.

  1. Know the child in front of you.
  2. Ask the angels for help.
  3. Be aware of the world around you.

I don’t know if these dicta are direct from Steiner or a distillation from his lectures, all I know is they shifted the center of my universe and connected me to all that is essential: my children, the heavens and the earth. The rest is really just fluff. Big Lesson.

This year I have no expectation of another Big Lesson, as I feel the one I received last year will keep me busy for years. I signed up to take classes on grade 5, form drawing, painting and child development from an anthroposophical perspective. I am hoping those fifth grade ancient mythologies will permeate my understanding a little better – because let me tell you, they are not really resonating with me right now. Being able to think and plan for next year without anything else demanding my attention feels absolutely luxurious. Oh and I am also looking forward to being completely unplugged. There is no cell service or wi-fi at Barbara’s house, so expect a double “Habit: Reflective Friday” when I return. If you are signed up to attend Taproot, please, please, please leave a comment. And if you’re not, please, please, please think about attending next year. You can find more information here.

12 thoughts on “Destination: Taproot Farm

  1. Sheila,
    Taproot sounds wonderful, I am very envious. Being able to talk Waldorf homeschooling with a bunch of other people who are as interested as I am would be fabulous.

    I really like the 3 rules you were give at Taproot last year. I can see how they could really change everything. Perhaps, when you come back, you could write a blog post about them?

    I can also relate to the yahoo group Trojan Rabbit……….I’ve put my yahoo groups on “Special Notices” again to get some space from other people’s voices and, as you say, the rabbit hole of THE LINK. (oh dear, I have to confess I am very guilty of being poster of THE LINK). I have learnt such a lot from the web, but, as you say, it does take time away from the focus of homeschooling and being present for our children, and attending to everyone else’s voices leaves no space for our own – or the angels.

    Have a wonderful time at Taproot, and tell us all about it when you get back!

    • Thanks for the good wishes, Cathy. Taproot is wonderful. The connection with real, live Waldorf homeschoolers is so enriching. Yes, I will expand on those rules when I return – I’m sure I will have some further insights as well.

      I am guilty of “the lure of the link” too. It is hard to limit online time, especially when there is no regular, live substitute. The other voices, however, do tend to drown out my own. I guess, like everything else, the answer is in balancing it all.

      I’m glad you’re here.

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