Sunday, July 04, 2010

Work, School, Conundrums

Because we are bringing home a three-year-old as a baby, it turns out we have to think about school a lot sooner. I'd never thought I'd home school, but now I'm keeping that option open. Mostly this has to do with the fact that I'm a hippie weirdo, and I prefer Waldorf education, but there's no Waldorf school in Kansas City that I know of. If we move to either location that is desirable and likely, the only obstacle will be a financial one, which still means I need to keep that home schooling option open. So much of what the Waldorf method espouses--play as the child's "work," structure and routine, an atmosphere of warmth, teaching by example, etc.--match closely with my own child-rearing philosophies. It's the kind of education I want for our children.

I find myself feeling as if I'm on the defensive lately when it comes to my preferences for how we raise our girl. I'm not a fan of television for children, I don't go for toys that require batteries (particularly of the sound-and-light-producing variety), and I'm not into academically structured preschool. I am into reading and storytelling, imaginative play, and getting familiar with other children through play groups and story times. I realize that I am a hippie weirdo, but come on, do you really expect anything else from someone who makes her own deodorant? I know that what I would like to do with our daughter is outside the realm of the American norm, particularly in the case of television. But I have experience with these things (which I gained by practicing on others' children, of course), and there was never such peace in the house as what descended after I banned television while the children were in my care. I dig that kind of thing. I love it when kids go outside and play or drag puzzles into the hallway and work on them, when we have conversations and sing along to songs and have impromptu dance parties to good music. And by saying this, I am not saying that if you allow your children to watch television, that you are wrong or horrible or anything of the sort, or that you don't like those things that I like in addition to a little TV time for the youngsters; I'm just saying that I choose to do things a little differently. You can feel free to roll your eyes at me; I won't see you from here.

I'm also mulling over the idea of being at home with Nola most of the time, and I feel a little pressure in that area as well, as if I need to explain exactly why I'd want to do that. I just want to. That's it. I have done well with the work set before me, but more and more I find that I am happiest tending to my own household and home. My Saturdays are magic, since I can bring my work home with me, so to speak, and let her play while I work in the house. She often follows me from room to room, and there is always plenty to occupy both of us. I will continue with that work for certain, but the rest...I suppose I would like to heed the advice given to every currently-working mother awaiting the arrival of her child and just wait and see what both Nola and I are able to handle. Honestly, I hope to stay home more. But we'll see.

About all of it.

We'll see.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mary,

You have my complete support in whatever you and Jarod choose to do as you raise sweet Nola and any siblings she may have. The time I was able to not work outside of our home were the best and ended much too soon. I pray that everything will come together so that you can create the environment for your family that you so desire. I love you! Mom

Liz said...

I don't have a TV either, though Elfe and I do watch videos on You Tube fairly regularly - Sesame Street, clips from nature programs, that kind of thing. I do think she and I are better together when we get a break from each other during the work/school week - and I LOVE her pre-school - but I am trying my hardest to figure out how to have more time with her and still be able to support both of us. Good luck figuring out your own balance!

Anonymous said...

OMG I LOVE Waldorf! I have friends who are sending theirs to a Waldorf in Santa Cruz. Hello! Great program.

If you do homeschool, when you are reading for a reading program, I have a great phonics-based one to recommend.

Elli