Sunday, November 13, 2011

Standing Firm

We are the only Waldorf home learners within our local homeschool community, and while I know a few people with younger children who are interested in Waldorf education I have never met someone locally who actively uses Waldorf.  I knew one local family that chose to buy and use Enki after seeing my materials, but they weren't really interested in creating a Waldorf home.

We know one other slow living homeschooling family.  It's interesting to me that we both came to this place organically, not because it started becoming trendy (a very small trend).  It is who we are.  Limited outside activities, lots of free time, placing a premium on being together as a family, and always asking if something we might want to do is integrating and supportive of our family goals if it is disintegrating and unsupportive.

Sometimes it is hard to be different.  At first there are people who have opinions about the decision not to hit hard academics at age 5.  There are family members who are worried when a child is reading fluently at 6 years old.  There are other homeschoolers who question your decision not to join outside academic classes.  There is the chiropractor who wonders (out loud, of course) if your children get enough socialization.  It goes on and on.

In the midst of this I imagine myself as a boulder in the river, the safe place for my children to rest and experience the world as the mainstream goes rushing past them at breakneck speed. They are in the spring of their lives and the waters are fast and furious. Ahead of us and behind us are more boulders, more people who have chosen to go against the mainstream (although we certainly dip our toes in from time to time). We offer each other support and safe harbor, affirmation that the lives we lead are not completely different from every other person we know.

The children will grow, the waters will slow, and there will come a time when they jump in feet first and give the mainstream a try (because they are ready). Perhaps that will work for them or perhaps they too will become boulders in the river, making the decision to stand firm in the face of family and societal pressures. Perhaps their children too will grow up wonderfully different, shining individuals in a river full of sameness. Perhaps I will still be a boulder in the river, offering support and safe shelter to that next generation, standing firm.

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