As I’ve been facing so many changes in my life over the past two months, one question I find myself constantly asking is this: how does one gracefully extricate oneself from something that is just no longer working?
It’s a question without an answer, I fear.
When I worked at Mothering.com as a moderator for all those years, I observed that people who became disenchanted with natural family living and attachment parenting as billed by MDC generally took one of three paths when they decided the community was no longer for them: they flamed, flounced, or faded out.
The flamers were pretty easy to spout. With a flurry of expletives and namecalling, they announced their self-imposed exile from the community, usually while calling into question the motives and morals of everyone else who was staying.
The flouncers were similar, although they tended to make it a bit more personal. They were hurt and it was everyone’s fault except their own. And so they too left.
The people who faded away always left me the saddest. They slowly posted less and less, leaving their stories hanging with no ending. As they found they had less and less in common with the community, they slipped away, never to be heard of again.
I’ve noticed this in the Waldorf homeschooling blogging community as well. The flamers change their mind about the entire exercise and leave with many harsh words about how misled they were. The flouncers lock up their blogs, leaving in their wake accusations and hurt feelings. And the faders just kind of disappear, never to be heard of again.
I don’t want to choose any of those options, so I am trying to forge my own path here.
I love Waldorf education. I love the beauty of it. I love that it’s so deeply rooted in storytelling. I love the deep, deep respect for children and their abilities. I love so, so much about it.
And I just can’t do it anymore.
I’m not going to make blanket statements about how it is impossible to do with large families. Indeed, I know several large families who manage quite gracefully. But I just can’t. Or maybe I won’t. I’m not sure. All I know is I was becoming so stressed trying that it wasn’t enjoyable anymore. And while I’m not so naïve as to believe that everything in life needs to be a load of laughs, I do think that when something becomes a constant chore, it might be time to let it go.
I love the emphasis on rhythm and routine, but I am finding myself being held hostage to it. It’s impeding my family’s ability to just pick up and go do something amazing when the opportunity presents itself, and in a big city like this, amazing opportunities abound.
I no longer have the time, energy, or, to be honest, desire, to spend hours and hours planning main lesson blocks for 4 different children. Again, I know that there are some mothers who can manage it. But I’ve been trying to manage it for a year and failing miserably.
Without going into too much details, certain aspects like the color and grain of the day were setting off my OCD.
I’m not crafty, so there are several “sacred cows” of Waldorf education that never really resonated with me. This isn’t simply a matter of me not trying hard enough, as some have suggested. I truly have motor issues that make knitting anything other than a lumpy dishrag just about impossible, and I fear my children have inherited this as well.
There are parts of Waldorf education that seem overly adult-led, and I’ve always been a big believer in child-led curriculum. I do believe in strong parental leadership, but I would also like to have a little more freedom to let my kids take the reins.
And my kids really, really like Webkinz.
So… where does this leave me? Well, we’re probably going to stick with Oak Meadow but I am going to stop killing myself trying to make it “more Waldorf”.
My oldest is doing a cyber school and my first grader might be doing one next year too because they’ll cover speech. And I’m not feeling all that guilty about it.
I’m going to stop worrying so much about what everyone else says my homeschool should look like and spend more time making it work for my family.
I’m going to keep writing Seasons of Joy but worry less about how it lines up with other Waldorf “curricula”. It was never meant to be a curricula. It’s a seasonal guidebook for loving families and that’s what I would like to see it continue to be. I have found so much joy in it and I wish to continue to share that with others.
I’m going to give up Waldorf Wednesday. There are some other lovely link-ups out there and I hope you will post to them instead.
I’m also going to stop blogging for a bit. It’s feeling forced lately. I still have a lot to say and I’ll probably be back. But I need a break.
I also am going to cancel the Spring Faire. I feel terrible about this, but I just couldn’t pull it off alongside everything else that’s going on.
And before I step away, I’d like to send a giant thank-you to four amazing friends I’ve made in the blogging world:
Sheila at Sure as the World
Carrie at The Parenting Passageway
Kara at Rockin’ Granola
Melisa at Waldorf Essentials
I will miss this, I think, and hope that I’ll returned refreshed in a month or so. Meanwhile, if you find yourself missing me, feel free friend me on Facebook via the badge over on the left sidebar.
Blessings to you all on your journeys. I wish us all peace and joy and tons of love and energy as we travel this path with our families.