Give Away and Interview from Waldorf Books
Today I am excited to bring you an interview with Nancy Parsons and a Give Away from Nancy Parsons and Bob Lathe of Waldorf Books.
Nancy writes the Book Review Column for The Wonder of Childhood and co-manages the oldest online discussion group on Waldorf education, The Waldorf Education List and runs with her husband Bob Lathe the online book store, Waldorf Books , a treasure trove of information on Waldorf education where they love to answer questions about Waldorf education and anthroposophy. Nancy and Bob have translated about half of Rudolf Steiner’s pedagogical work that is currently in print in English.
What brought you to Waldorf education?
Fundamentally, the birth of my first child. I knew people who had trained as Waldorf teachers and had engaged in esoteric studies through my good friend Richard Koepsel in Madison, Wisconsin, but like so many parents, I had never given a thought to the question of “Education” before my first child was born. Interestingly, as this question was emerging through the fog of sleep-deprived newborn parenting, Werner Glass (founder and former head of what was then the Detroit Waldorf Teacher Training Center and then became Sunbridge College) came to town to deliver a talk on Waldorf education. My daughter was only 2 weeks old, so we got permission from him that I could bring her. Together we listened and I learned.
What I heard him say resonated so deeply within me that to this day I can recall it almost as a physical sensation. For me, this wasn’t just learning about another way of teaching; this was the first time I had ever encountered anything or anyone that seemed to so clearly address what I saw was the reality of child development and how education can (and should) relate to it. Literally, this one 2-hour talk changed the entire course of my life.
From that time on I worked with study groups, read voraciously, changed how our home was for our children and kept hoping and praying that somehow (think: miracle) there would be a Waldorf school for them. Five years down the line we were suddenly transported to Los Angeles where my children entered school at Highland Hall. I have never looked back so far as my commitment to the education is concerned, and continue to hold in gratitude that it is here and available to increasingly more children, whether at home or in schools.
What advice do you have for parents?
If I had one wish, it would be that parents could learn and then take to heart the developmental model that Rudolf Steiner presents in The Education of the Child. If more people could really live into the reality of what he is saying and couple it with their own experience, I think the world would be beautifully enriched and gladdened. And children would be raised and educated in ways that would empower, enwarm and free them.
What advice to you have for homeschoolers who are now planning the 2011-2012 year?
My key advice to homeschoolers, or to any parents really, is “never, ever do something for your children that you don’t really, truly believe in.” First of all, you won’t really be able to do it; secondly, whatever you do manage will be compromised by your own inner uncertainty. Regardless of how much you think something is supposed to be the right thing to do, if your heart doesn’t agree, it will not work on behalf of your children.
I personally believe that the Waldorf approach to educating growing human beings is the best available, but if you are uncertain, then please, please, do what you are certain of. Conversely, don’t allow yourself to be pressured into other methods of education is you really believe that Waldorf is best for your children. This is truly a place where “follow your heart” is much more than a catch phrase; it’s a necessity. With each year of my life, I can see this much more clearly, and this is what I would share with anyone who asked.
Thank you Nancy.
Nancy and Bob are offering a gift certificate for $25 for Waldof Books
To enter the Give Away, join our mailing list by signing up in the blue box below and leave a comment below.
The drawing for the winner will be announced here on this page on Saturday, June 4th.
The winner is… Crystal Wood, Congratulations Crystal !
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