Rhythms of Learning

sunsetIn Waldorf inspired homeschooling we talk about establishing a good daily weekly, monthly and seasonal rhythm. What do we really mean when we say rhythm? In Donna’s Waldorf Curriculum Overview, Chapter 7, she discusses the daily rhythm of ” active and quiet work, of play and rest, of receiving and giving.” (202). She goes on to discuss the 2-day homeschooling rhythm of learning ” where material is given, slept on, then recalled and further worked with.” (202) By “sleeping on” the material the child ( and the adult) ” deepens his experiences and works on them in the spiritual worlds, allowing for a better understanding of material and for the powers of intuition to assist in learning.” (202) Donna further states that “an added bonus.. is the avoidance of premature opinion-forming.” (202). By allowing our children to digest material in sleep, there is much less of a rush to judgment on a topic. We often refer to this as letting material breathe so that it can be better internalized without rigid opinions.

This idea of a breathing rhythm to a day is so important in homeschooling. We rhythmically move from focused in breath to expansive out breath activities like play. We focus on morning head work, then heart, then hands craftwork in the afternoon. By making sure that our daily, weekly and monthly lessons” breathe” we can all feel more peaceful and balanced, and certainly less judgmental.

It is especially important for stay at home educators to have a strong sense of rhythm because the homeschooling rhythm is more internally structured. One is not consistently going away to an external school then returning home at the end of the school day. Homeschooling allows for greater flexibility and greater relaxation in a learning environment, but it does call out for a good sense of awareness about the breathing rhythms of learning. Amy McGehee-Lee ‘s Daily Rhythms Homeschool Planner that is designed to accompany the Christopherus Curriculum is a great tool to help parents remember to incorporate rhythm into daily, weekly , monthly and seasonal homeschooling.

In the broadest sense, ” rhythm is strength and strength arises where time and life are formed rhythmically” as Manfred Schmidt-Brabant notes in The Spiritual Tasks of the Homemaker” (23). We live within the greater time sequence rhythms of Nature and it is a human being’s task ( and joy) to feel strengthened by an individual and family rhythm within that whole. Our repeated actions and our conscious pauses, when created with intention and joy, bring a sense of peace and rhythmic strength into our homeschooling.

Blessings on your journey,

Barbara Benson


Posted on April 7, 2016 in Barbara, Family Life and Parenting, General Homeschooling, Waldorf Education

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