Every summer, at the beginning of August, I begin my planning for the next the homeschool year. I spend some time reviewing my journal of what worked and what didn’t this year. I meditate on each child and where they are at developmentally. I watch and observe them. I tell them stories and take note of their reactions or their feelings or any questions they may have. And finally I re-read Rhythms of Learning, the selected lectures by Rudolf Steiner and edited by Roberto Trostli.
For the last four years, I have focused my energy looking at my child and the curriculum that I need to deliver to meet their needs. But this time, I am focusing on my role as a teacher.
In Rhythms of Learning, Trostli writes:
Waldorf teachers recognize that we affect our students not just through the curriculum and the subjects we teach them, not just by the methods we use, but by who we are. Every Waldorf teacher therefore wonders: Who am I to stand before my students as a representative of humanity? How can I, with all my faults and limitations, guide my students toward their higher selves? We must remember that what is most important to our students is not our achievements but our striving. Each of us is engaged in a process of becoming. Our students are often our teachers in this process, for they force us to face our shortcomings and limitations and inspire us to continue to strive to transform ourselves. By working on ourselves, we work on behalf of our students. By coming to know ourselves, we learn to know our students.
This is even more true of parents and children, regardless if you homeschool. As a parent, you are their primary teacher and guide through childhood and adolescence. I often think that my children are my greatest teachers – my mirror and my conscience.
I want to focus on this type of prep this summer. I want to do what I have been doing over the last few months – cultivating a practice of self-care in order to be fully present in my process of becoming. I want to shine a light in my darkest corners and take note. I am willing to see myself – raw, fragmented, and messy.
How am I striving? Am I engaged in a practice to help me become more patient, loving, and peaceful? What commitment do I make to inner work so that I can be a good teacher and a good parent?
I am striving by having the awareness of asking these questions. I am striving because I know that I need work to do on myself in order to be the best teacher for my children in more ways than one. I am striving because I struggle with my own emotional triggers and have dedicated myself to a morning practice that gives me enough stillness to witness it and forgive myself. I am striving because as I get to know who I am right now, I am getting to know my children and their relationship with me at this moment in time.
It’s exciting to begin homeschool prep with trying to learn a lesson or two about myself. I have so many questions. But I am learning to, as Rilke put it, to love the questions and to live everything because in the end, this is the greatest lesson that I want my children to learn.
100 scribbles…hurriedly writing the here and now.
Craft supplies for my Book of Hours: this notebook from Moleskine (graph paper, XL); and the stickers and most of the washi tapes are from Paper Plus Cloth. Neither are affiliates. I just love their stuff!