When I first started my homeschool journey, my days all ran together with chaos. Finding structure and a schedule was something I struggled with immensely. My children were all over the place, anxious, and suffered from my lack of organization. I could see that something needed to change, but I just didn’t know how to go about it.
I signed up my daughter for a cooking class, and while I was waiting on it to finish, I spoke with another mother. She mentioned that she just heard of Waldorf homeschooling and described the beautiful nature of the lifestyle. She had my full attention when she told me about how they live off of rhythm versus a schedule. It sounded like something my family really needed to survive these homeschool years. As soon as I got home I started researching the Waldorf philosophy and I knew it was what I had been searching for.
Waldorf is based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner and he believed in nurturing the whole child- body, mind, and spirit. As an artist, I fell in love with how it nurtures the creativity of the child with hands on learning, crafts, arts, and being one with nature. We have been using Oak Meadow for 2 years and recently added in Earthschooling curriculum as well this year.
A rhythm is the foundation for how I manage to get through the day with enough time left to nourish my own needs. A rhythm is a timeline for how our days should unfold. While it is a schedule, the times are completely lifted off and there is a sense of freedom and security for the child to guide themselves throughout their days. The child knows what to expect so meltdowns and tantrums are cut down to a minimum. Children thrive in a secure environment. It has solved many of our behavior issues, especially with my young son, because it is just “what we do.” In our early homeschooling days, we were an unorganized mess, and his behavior showed how stressed I was making him. Now our days and his behavior are under control by creating a steady rhythm each day.
The activities are planned in a “breathing in and breathing out” pattern which also helps balance his energy and focus. Having our days unfold in this way also benefits myself because I have less stress and more energy. Knowing I have it together provides a peace of mind for myself. It isn’t always perfect, but I have learned how to roll with the punches.
I have more focus on how I am spending my time, therefore I am able to get more done in a day and still have time for myself. By knowing what is happening next during our days, I can be a more mindful and present parent vs. thinking of errands I need to run or an email that needs sent.
Do you need to be a Waldorf homeschooler to keep a rhythm? Of course not! Anyone can keep a good rhythm in their home no matter what kind of homeschooling they do. A rhythm has become the heartbeat of our home and it helps our days unfold in a stress freeway. Like you, I wear many hats. Mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, farmer, homesteader, business owner. It can be a lot to take on. Throw in taking responsibility of my children’s education and you are sure to have a recipe for disaster. But not anymore. Our rhythm is looking a bit like this right now, but I'm always revaluating myself to make it better for my family.
Our weekly rhythm is as followed:
Having a rhythm has been a blessing to both myself, and my children. It requires less energy from me because I always have time to get all of my jobs done, prevents struggle from my children which results in a happier home, and supports the activities of our family. It does require a bit of inner discipline, but please know the outcome is worth the sacrifice.