Since birth I’ve homeschooled my children. I see homeschooling as life learning and for the last 7 1/2 years that’s what we did. We started as unschoolers and transitioned quite naturally into Waldorf homeschooling incorporating the lovely curriculum of Oak Meadow.
When we made the conscious decision that our kids would be homeschooled a semester a time (we always took it one step at a time), I envisioned that I would homeschool through Jr. High. And we were active in our homeschooling community both here and also when we lived in Illinois. So, it came as a surprise to me when in the middle of 1st grade my daughter began to ask about “school” and later asked to go.
I resisted her desire to go to school for the rest of the year and one day realized that part of our homeschooling has always been following their interests. This is how my children learned best – and learning they did. And if her interest, her journey called her to school than this too I should follow.
And so during the late Spring/early Summer of her ending her 1st grade we began to search for a Waldorf (here is a lovely page about Waldorf in Donni’s The Magic Onions blog) school that we could love. Our closest Waldorf school is quite established but the classroom sizes are also large at 30 students per teacher. And as my children have always been in smaller groups of children, I wanted the transition to schooling to be more natural. I also longed for a school where the parents were an active part of the community and as a lover of grassroots efforts, I wanted it to be well… more grassroots with a lot of community building.
And then one day my husband told me that he thinks he found another Waldorf school about 30 minutes away that began only 2-3 years ago. Hmmm…sounds interesting! We called and visited the school, Maple Village Waldorf School, and from the moment we stepped into the school I felt that pull of home – that we had found our school. It was simple, creative, natural and I had the sense that the school was being held in the energy and the love of the teachers , the parents and the students all together in the desire to create a local Waldorf community.
My kids also fell in love instantly enjoying the classroom as we talked to the teacher. They felt at home having similar toys and being in a space that felt familiar to them.
A few weeks later we found ourselves part of this community. While the transition was easy for my daughter, it was a little harder for me. It had been her desire to go to school and one I respected – but I missed her at home. A friend helped me when she reminded me this was my daughter’s journey and that I needed to be in this with her. And from that moment on, the change happened in me as well and I began to be in the presence of what is my daughter’s path.
(picture from the Sunflower kindergarten class at Maple Village Waldorf School)
We’re now halfway into the school year and I’m happy to be a part of such a lovely community. Our Waldorf school is grassroots, it’s built with love and efforts of the teachers, parents and children. And also important to us…the classroom sizes are small and intimate. My daughter loved it from the first day and continues to do so. And shortly after the school year began, my middle child asked as well to join the school and is now part of the magical kindergarten class at Maple Village Waldorf school.
We moved closer to the school but are considering moving back as we really loved the city we lived in. But despite the distance we’ll continue at Maple Village as long as my children desire.
We’re taking schooling one step at a time and enjoying the journey.