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September 20, 2007




I have been chewing on this since you posted. There is definitely a problem in this area with gentle teaching methods. Knowing when and how to provide appropriately increased challenges can be difficult. Yet it is not loving ultimately to leave a child unprepared.

More guidance about making that transition from slow and gentle to appropriately rigorous, particularly in a mixed grade homeschool, would be well-recieved I would expect!


Hi Kim,

Thank you for your comments....I agree - leaving a child unprepared is not doing them a service. Or, phrasing it somewhat differently, not meeting their developmental needs is doing them no service. And I firmly believe that being challenged, being stretched, being intellectually stimulated and never, ever dumbed down is part of the birthright of every child, no matter what their interests or inclinations. It is a fundamental developmental need. Their brains need exercise and stimulation as much as their bodies do ! But the point from a Waldorf perspective is that only if their bodies have been properly prepared so that the child is grounded and balanced, can the intellectual work really begin. And the corollary to that is that premature intellectual work is counterproductive.

Of course, there appear to be exceptions. We all know of children who seem to be all brain - who excelled at this or that by the time they were three, have been burdened with the dubious title of "gifted", are singled out for a particular kind of intellectual training. But... if we look carefully at the majority of those children over time - if we spend as much care looking at their spiritual, physical and emotional health as we might look at only one shade of their intellectual expression, then we are sure to see a state of unbalance and disharmony - ie ill health of one kind or another.

I could go on...I have a real bug bear about this....And I have gone off on a tangent which does not speak to what you wrote!! Sorry!

Yes - how to do this? What are some strategies.... Let me chew over that (had to laugh, Kim, when you used that phrase as I use it all the time!) and post some more!

One thing I can say for now is that our work at Christopherus is certainly created with an assumption of academic excellence and academic preparation. As a high school teacher and one who spends a lot of time researching other forms of education, I am certain that parents who buy our materials will be pleased at our high level of academic expectations. As always, feedback on this is very very welcome!!

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