Every few weeks on the blog, we spotlight a Waldorfish community family. You are a diverse and global group - We’re pretty sure you’d be bff’s in real life. Today, please enjoy our conversation with Carrie Dendtler of The Parenting Passageway!
Tell us about yourself!
I am a long-time homeschooling mother of three children ages 17, 13, and 9. My husband of 26 years and I have taken a conscious approach to homeschooling and parenting. Snippets of our life and ideas about parenting and homeschooling can be found on-line at The Parenting Passageway.
How does your family start the day?
With teens in the house, the day is often much slower to start than when all the children were small. We tend to snuggle with our two rescue dogs and eat a warm breakfast together as a family.
GIVE US A SNAPSHOT OF ANY MANAGEMENT/ORGANIZATIONAL STRATEGIES THAT ARE HELPING YOU FLOW THROUGH YOUR HOMESCHOOLING DAYS.
We are homeschooling high school, middle school, and elementary school! Due to our large age gaps, I think we have done less academic lessons all together than other homeschooling families, but have instead revolved our homeschool experiences around our experiences as a family, such as working as a family, helping each other, creating things for festivals, our spiritual life, field trips, and spending time in nature and at the farm where we have two horses. The organizational structure of our homeschool has remained the same since the children were very small, with that basic kindergarten Waldorf rhythm of work and activities each day. This year, our high school junior has had outside classes, so I planned chunks of time around the outside commitments.
What are some of your favorite resources? (Homeschool or otherwise)
I have so many favorite resources! For homeschooling, I love to read the lectures on education that Rudolf Steiner wrote. For children's health, my favorite books are "A Guide to Child Health" by Glockler and Goebel, along with the series by Ames and Ilg called "Your Six-Year-Old," "Your Seven-Year-Old," etc. For practical favorites of how to teach, Jo Boaler's "Mathematical Mindsets" comes to mind as well as "Waldorf Education in Practice" by Gottgens, and "Creative Pathways" by Auer.
What are you currently reading?
"Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics" by Walle, Karp, Lovin, and Bay-Williams.
What do you do when you are overwhelmed or stressed?
I usually have healthier options for short-term stress or overwhelm than long-term stress. For short-term stress, taking everyone outside, taking the day off, connecting with a friend in the moment, resting (or hidingin the closet! LOL), making plans with my spouse or a friend, lowering expectations and letting things go, deep breathing can all help. I will be the first to admit that going through really hard, long-term situations is much more challenging. I feel like I am just getting a handle on it now, this year, in the middle of homeschooling high school. I had to put a care plan in place for myself, and start using even stronger boundaries than I had before.
Please share some words of wisdom you've gleaned over the years.
Connection, love and warmth before learning is a mainstay of how I approach homeschooling, along with seeing what the child in front of me really essentially needs and knowing I may need to let my own baggage go in order to meet those needs whole-heartedly. Homeschooling is about understanding your child, your family's dynamics and what works and what doesn't, and understanding development. If we can let go of our own agenda and get out of our own way, life with homeschooling can flow beautifully.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT HOW WALDORFISH COURSES ARE ADDING TO YOUR SCHOOL YEAR. READY....GO!
I think what Waldorfish brings to our family is flexibility; it gives me a different way to learn rather than to wait for workshops on Waldorf art or geometry to come to my area (which I have attended many). So the flexibility to be able to learn in my own home is amazing! It gives me a relaxed pace that fits in with what our children developmentally need so I can bring them the best of our learning time together.