As I stated yesterday, as of last spring, I was 100% turned off to Waldorf education. Several things came about to change that view. Firstly, Dora had become very resistant to working with our Montessori materials. Secondly, I was feeling frustrated by how hard it was for me to present each Montessori lesson correctly, I did not find the materials intuitive in any way. Thirdly, storage had become an issue. Fourthly, I did not feel Montessori was matching Dora’s learning style. I briefly flirted with the idea of a Charlotte Mason or Classical approach, but ruled those out as well. I then contemplated going with our tried and true, eclectic approach, but honestly I felt that I wanted something that was more cohesive. I wanted something that met Dora’s needs academically and my needs emotionally. After two decades of homeschooling, I was tired of constantly having to research curriculum for each and every child, for each and every subject, each and every year. I wanted a system that I could rely on to get us through all of Dora’s years of schooling (some minor tweaking would be okay).
I had also begun to be attracted to Waldorf, by Waldorf-inspired blogs, which I did not even realize were Waldorfian at first. They showed me that Anthroposophy was not as crazy as I had come to believe, that a Waldorf-inspired education could be done with a secular or Pagan system of beliefs. Yet, part of what was attracting me to these blogs was a spiritual connection they were making in me at the time. This was during the time period when my potassium levels were dangerously low, unbeknownst to anyone. There were days that I honestly thought I was dying. It was not a panicked sort of feeling, but a great sense in me that without some major change, I would soon leave my body. I began to have experiences that I could only describe as “spiritual” in nature. My secular readers may squirm at my words or may believe that my “experiences” were simply a matter of my brain misfiring some electric signals as my body was too deficient in potassium to properly operate. Two years ago, I would have agreed with my secular readers, whole heartedly. Now, not so much. Having lived through these experiences, having felt on three separate occasions that my soul was trying to leave my body, but could not, due to a strong tether to my heart (why my heart? I do not know, perhaps because my heart knew I still had to be here for my loved ones, or perhaps because my heart is the strongest part of my body, or perhaps because that is how my brain was misfiring,?), I find that I am no longer able to dismiss the idea of a soul or of there being some sort of greater being that has had a hand in our creation. Does this conflict with my beliefs in regards to evolution or the Big Bang? No. Am I becoming a Christian? No. Do I believe in an after life? Not necessarily.
What my experiences have lead me to is more questions than answers. What Waldorf education, and by extension Anthroposophy, have brought to me is the possibility of some sort of spiritual reckoning or understanding, at a time when I have no choice, but to look my own mortality in the face. I may yet live to be 100, but I have come close enough to the “other side” that I will never be the same again.
So, I hope that I do not lose my secular readers as I do not intend to use this blog to preach anything or to discuss spirituality in any form, beyond these posts where I am attempting to at least partially explain a major change in my life and my educational approach to our homeschooling. Though I may, on occasion, have to offer some sort of spiritual explanation for certain aspects of Waldorfian methods.
I also hope that I do not lose any of my religious readers. I do not mean to imply that any religion is better or worse than another. As always, I respect everyone’s right to religiously worship in his or her own way.