Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Homeschooling, Waldorf Education and Teens.

Into High School is a nine page online booklet on homeschooling teens with a Waldorf influence.

I really appreciated some of the author's thoughts - especially :

I have come to believe that it is
more than okay for siblings
to be best friends.

I have come to believe that it is
more than okay for parents
to enjoy their teen-aged children.

My kids really are friends. Yes, they fight and get annoyed with each other. But because they also spend a lot of time together, they share an intimacy - familiar jokes, shared memories and experiences.

An example. Last week, I printed off a discrete maths activity for Thomas and Anny to try. A spider web mapping game, from Mathwire. When I was upstairs getting changed out of workout gear, I heard them laughing and having fun with the game - really getting into it. I smiled.Friends and brothers.

And this smile leads me into my enjoyment of my kids - the boys (and my dh) are some of my coolest friends. We like the same movies. We share books. We laugh and talk - and even when I am in lecture mode , we get along.

Like tonight, when, at our parish Advent programme, I told Jonathon to sit up straight. His posture need remediation. :-) He gave me a wry smile and I passed him a note with a funny comment. We both smiled. We understand each other ( well, most of the time).

The online booklet, "Into High School", shares many other gems.

* It was as important to be spontaneous as it was to be prepared.
* It was essential to remain flexible.
* It was imperative to keep talking.
* It was even more imperative to keep our sense of humor intact.

Why mention only these points? What about curriculum and academics?

Yes these are important, too. I am not one to downgrade academic skills - a passion for learning is one of the things that drove me into homeschooling and unschooling.

Successful learning, however, always starts with relating to the student as a person. I have found this to be of even more importance when learning and living with teens.

Once our relationship is established, and worked on as an ongoing commitment, then comes academics. "Into High School" has suggestions here.

Our own suggestions?

Currently ~ living books; real, whole books by authors passionate about a topic. Some judicious use of textbooks. Religious books. Biographies of saints. Hands on Science and Art. Projects. Community work. Involvement in groups, homeschool or other. Lots of writing. Maths activities. Using the internet and the library. Movies. Open University. Life. Faith.

Living books? For Thomas this week, it is " Ivanhoe" by Sir Walter Scott.
Thomas was reading this book yesterday, while we were at the surgery of his orthopedic surgeon.

The surgeon looked at the book and said "Oh, they are making you read Ivanhoe, are they? I could never get into it at school".

Presumably "they" was a reference to teachers - or, in this case, to Thomas' homeschooling parents.

Thomas looked surprised. No-one is making him read "Ivanhoe."

He said "No, I just like Sir Walter Scott and the whole knights scene."

This is how living books presently work in the education of a thirteen year old boy.


Anonymous said...


I just posted about my children dancing with each other over at my blog! Too cool! I think the relational aspect is one of my favorite things about homeschooling!

Nice post!

Fr. Benedict M. said...

And here I was thinking that you and Jonathon were passing notes to distract me! ;-)

Leonie said...

Maria - I'm off to read your blog -too cool! Relationship is important.

Fr - hope we weren't too distracting! lol!

Anonymous said...

This post ties in to another earlier one Leonie that I lost my response too (forgot to log in properly then lost the lot).

The other post reflected on the 'required stuff' in our homeschool, that doesn't detract from the natural learning aspirations we have.

Relationships within the family building trust and respect for each other. That trust enables us as parents to 'require' certain things of our children (whether it be brushing teeth or learning their Catechism) and the children recognising that we are not enforcing a whim of ours, but ensuring that what we as parents truly believe to be in the best for family is happening.

THis cannot happen if we are not on the same 'wave length, if the relationship is not right - our motives can be misunderstood. If we are not growing in relationship our communication hasn't that easy flow you spoke of - that ability to raise an eyebrow mid movie and just know what the sibling, parent, child is thinking.

Thank you for sharing so much of your life with us Leonie - you always manage to draw me into deeper analyses of 'where we are at' in our family.

BTW - anyone going to see Eragon and anyone seen The Nativity?


Leonie said...

Hi Shannon, Super to hear from you! Will you be at the farm for Xmas?

You describe the trust and relationship very well - and I like how you marry them with certain requirements. How the requirements draw on the relationship.

We haven't been to the movies for ages so haven't seen The Nativity . Saw the previews of Eragon and thought it looked a bit like the Dungeons and Dragons movie. Would probably like to see both - and also Santa Clause 3. :-)

Anonymous said...

Great post, Leonie and loved the site, too.

Yes... I do love it that my boys are friends.. and that I love being with them. What gifts.

and HI Shannon! Miss you!

LYL said...

I *love* Ivanhoe! I found the first chapter hard to get through, but I couldn't put the book down after that!


Leonie said...

Cindy - we all miss Shannon. :-)

Louise, Thomas will be pleased to find another how lives Ivanhoe.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.