When I had my youngest son, my husband and I decided that we would homeschool him. After putting my oldest through the public school system and working as an in school social worker, it became apparent that nurturing the emotional self was not the name of the game.
Neither of us could stand the idea of forcing him to fit into a mold, and instead embraced the idea of education through “soul unfoldment,” the basis behind Waldorf education.
We bought a Waldorf based preschool curriculum and signed him up for the local school’s early childhood playgroup. It was beautiful – everything we wanted and more for him. The teachers focused on emotional presence, and education was second.
Then we began to inch nearer and nearer to his 3rd birthday. It became impossible for me to set him up with enough play dates or out of home social interaction to suit him. He starting pulling further away, but I had no safe place for him to go. We are far away from family and while we have many friends, their lives are also consumed by the needs of their children.
As much as I would love to have the special relationship of homeschooling my son, he was very clear that he wanted no part of it. He is a massively social child and did not want the burden of my presence.
He is already on the waiting list for the Waldorf school in our community, but there is a good chance that he would not begin until Fall of 2017. We went with our second choice, a Reggio Emilia inspired school.
He begins tomorrow. I am both elated and sad. This choice was not my or my husband’s first choice. Our wishes clearly were not in his best interest, even if they were well meaning. This is our most profound parenting struggle. We work very hard on deciphering our child’s needs over our own needs. Sometimes we fail and sometimes we succeed, but we always strive to parent from a conscious place.
If there is one thing I have discovered in life, is that there is always an option that meets everyone’s needs of you are open to it. I feel astonished at the amazing number of very nurturing schools available to us in this community. My gratitude for this resource cannot be described, as it has helped us all come to an agreeable compromise as a family.
It also cannot be denied that if we listen, our paths are laid out before us. The more I listen and the less I resist, my life slips into a place of ease. I take a deep breath, and do my best to flow with it.
So today was our last day of official “homeschooling.” I had to make it special, mostly for myself and for my husband. We are both a bit distraught with the idea of our precious baby beginning school. He has no hesitation and expresses nothing but absolute excitement with the idea.
We had a picnic with our version of “junk” food: fruit, dates, raw cheese, licorice, sprouted grains, and lots of other goodies.
We enjoyed a beautiful hike at one of our favorite parks here in Nashville. This is my favorite shared activity with him. We hike several times a week and go on “adventures.”
Bless you my little child, for constantly forcing us to see your needs beyond our own. Oh, how we cherish your strong little soul and how much you enrich our lives. I can’t wait to watch you love your life in every stage that I am given the opportunity to witness. We love you more than language can ever express, and as hard as it is to see you grow, watching your beautiful soul “unfold” is the most cherished gift I have been given. Thank you for choosing us as your parents.