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.
- Know the child in front of you.
- Ask the angels for help.
- 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.