Waldorf Homeschooling- Excerpts from Simplicity Parenting

“Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful”- john maeda

Here is a wonderful section from Kim Payne’s talk on Simplicity Parenting:

And in the book I wrote a lot of issues, some of which you’re listeners might have read, I talked about the gift of boredom, like if my kids came up to me and said, “Dad…we’re bored” and then I grew up on a farm, so it’s a really weird
statement, you know I had to first get up my mind around as a kid growing up on a farm, but I, and they said “Dad…we’re bored”, and I, not very often they said that mind, but how do I settle it, “That’s a really pity love”. And they come back to me and say, “Dad we’re REALLY bored”, “Well that’s a REALLY pity”. You just gotta be more boring than the boredom, so that you become the most boring thing in the room, and within, you know most parents notice, within ten or fifteen minutes, they’re off and they’re playing beautifully and creatively for hours. Whereas if you had tried to invent something for them, they’d say “No, I don’t want to do that”, and then maybe they’ll do that for twenty minutes before they come back and want you to invent something else, because honestly, you’re providing really good entertainment.

Donna Ashton: Yeah so you’d have to be the entertainment rather than them.

Donna Ashton: Find something to do themselves, you go “Oh find something to do, you know”. “No we won’t” / “Oh yeah you will”. But then like you said in a matter of just a few minutes I just sit there and like just stare at the wall, then they go off. And now, “Oh she’s not gonna help me, I better go find something else better to do”.

Kim Payne: (Laughs) And so that gift of boredom is a wonderful thing and to not over schedule our kids, you know, to not too many sports, not too fast just slow it all down, make it rhythmical, make it predictable, pull back on the scheduling, particularly with home schooling you know it’s as you know, we home school our kids. And it’s sometimes tempting to think “Oh we gotta get them involved in all these kinds of stuff or otherwise they won’t socialize”, and it’s like treating kids like dogs. Dogs socialize, and we’ve got a lifetime of socializing. As human beings we socialize in a much slower time frame. Socializing for children up to the age of nine or ten years old, I believe is largely done through the family and family values and of course; you know they need their play date. But honestly Donna, did you ever have a play date in your life?

Donna Ashton: Never. I never had a play date! (Laughs)

Kim Payne: You know and you’re ok aren’t you? I never had a play date, and we’re alright aren’t we? We survived and there’s a lot of pressure for home schools on this whole socializing thing and they honestly make too much of it and it really pulls at our guilt, and I think the main way children learn to socialize is in the home, and they learn it through caring for brothers and sisters, and being with mother and father, and they do it particularly up until the age of seven through being little workers in the home and making contribution. Now, they do it through imitation, they do it through work. That is socializing for a young child and we tend to you know, people around the neighborhood, we’re not socializing. And yet home schooling children are often the most friendly, natural kids you’d ever wanna see. And some people come up to ask me, “How is that? When they’re not in school, socializing?”
Well you know what, they really are, but young children socialize through imitation and work, and work meaning meaningful activity not just on a computer all day but working with mother and father and doing things that matter in the home. And you know children, nine, ten, or eleven; maybe the kids have to get a little bit more involved coz that is a time when you want children to be able to be team players. But still, there’s no
need to fly into a flurry of guilt driven activity because of home schooling. Then the last layer, the fourth layer, this last one has to do with screening out the adult world, it’s got to do with being really careful around media, and television, and computers, game boys, all that kind of stuff; but it’s also got to do with being careful with what you say in front of children.