This particular article below was taken from Jacq SunYoga’s Facebook page:
Parents, do read this.
My third son Jack has Sensory Integration Disorder, which is on the autistic spectrum. He went to a school that pushed him to go to University, though I fought with the head of sixth form on many occasions, telling him that Jack went to school for the socialisation and sports, not damn A’s. Anyway, Jack was influenced and wanted to go to University (because everyone else was).
I tried to make everything as smooth as possible for Jack. During exams, I made sure he had good breakfast, I made sure there was petrol in his car, I made sure he knew what he was supposed to revise, and I made sure he knew the time and date of every exam.
He scraped enough grades to get into a second rate University back in the UK.
And guess what? Because I was not there for his first year finals exam, he missed a crucial paper. And then he went on a downward spiral after missing one paper. To stay on the course, he would have to repeat the whole first year again. He dropped out, demoralised.
I had to spend a year rebuilding him and put him back on track. Today, he works for the Haywards Group and earns a six figure salary doing a job he loves without the degree that his school pushed him into just so that the school looks good on the league table. I unfortunately played my part and became a helicopter parent in Jack’s case.
Helicopter parenting does not work. Because what happens when you stop? And when will you stop? When your child is 18? 21? 25?
My 16 year old should’ve been in an exam this morning but we last saw her on the football pitch at 9.30am. Maybe in her infinite wisdom she has decided not to sit the paper. Who knows but she.
If you want to see Jack’s work, go to this website. He is the one who does the house designs.
Reading Jacq’s post on education prompted me to jot down my own feelings toward this subject.
Many people ask me why in the world would I put my children into Waldorf, my answer is simple. Mainstream education interferes with their learning. I’m no Tiger Mom, my children don’t need to know their ABCs by age 3, nor do they need to know programming by age 8. They only need to know the joys of learning, without social and peer pressure.
Why not let them be children? Let them climb trees, walk on balance beams, draw with a stick on the sand, or water the garden. There’s always something interesting to learn from these simple activities – watching that praying mantis camouflage among the leaves, putting your hands out can help balancing easier on a small plank, a shorter stick is easier to draw with than a ultra long stick, water helps the plant grow, etc.
Learning doesn’t have to come from books. Learning comes from the heart, it comes from what you see, hear and feel around you. There’s always something to learn about anything, anyone, and anywhere.
I came from a typical “mainstream” life. That includes schooling, social life, and well, life. But I won’t talk about social life and life in this post, I’ll leave that for another day. I went to mainstream education, had tuition (thankfully not all the time), studied enough to pass through all my subjects. Key word here being studied. Because quite frankly, I never really understood what I was studying. It wasn’t a requisite. I wasn’t encouraged to make sense of it, I was only programmed to memorise what I’m suppose to “learn” in order to pass my exams. It was peer pressure that I went on to Science Stream, because you were considered “smart” if you were in it. Once my exams were over, I would literally forget about them. Looking back, what was the point of learning my algebra, history, geography really? It’s something I never understood.
It is because of my own educational experience that has led me to parent my kids differently, to show them that there is a different route in life that they could take. They need to know that there is always a choice when it comes to life. Mainstream schooling doesn’t allow that. There is no choice. You either excel or you fail, and the ones in between just get through life doing what they hate, but don’t have the courage to pursue what they are truly passionate about.
I’m no helicopter parent either. Because if I was, Big Warrior wouldn’t be attending Waldorf, where she gets to jump on muddy puddles, plant gardens, climb trees, bake bread, and draw on the pavement with chalks. I’d be too worried about the dirt, the height, the lack of academia. But I’m not, so we’re good. Soon, Little Warrior will follow suit. I want them to enjoy the process of learning, to know that there’s more to learning than just text books. They learn how plants grow by actually witnessing the growth process from seedling to plant because they were the ones who dug the hole and placed the seed in to the ground. They learn how they reap what they sow. They learn that it’s okay to share their harvest, because they have the necessary skills and knowledge to source and grow more. They learn that it’s not the end of the world if there’s no TV or iPads, because Waldorf children are not encouraged to have any gadget or technology time during Kindy and Primary years. The earliest they can use a computer for their home work is when they reach high school. As a result of all these, my children are never dependent on technology to keep them entertained (they do get to watch movies on the weekends but they never demand for it), and they can be just as happy just playing in the garden looking for dandelions. For that, I’m forever grateful.
I get that I’m no tiger mom, and that’s okay. I don’t seem to have that urge to push my kids academically at this point (or ever, but we’ll see). I’m not so much of a helicopter parent as well, and that’s also okay. I let them fall, cry and pick themselves up, because the world isn’t always sunshine and rainbows and they need to understand that. I’d like to think I’m somewhere in between, somewhat of a lazy parent. LOL. I let them figure out how to entertain themselves when I’m busy, but I also try to spend time with them when I can. We co-sleep because I’m too lazy to sleep train them, and because I believe that they will eventually move out into their own room in due time. I still breastfeed my 18 month old because I’m lazy to wean her. I let them eat by themselves even though my Little Warrior still makes a mess most days because I’m too lazy to chase her around to feed her.
Being a lazy mom is tiring, and adhering to Waldorf teachings can make it even more tiring, because I can’t rely on the idiot box to babysit my kids. But this combo works for me, and the results are so worth it. My girls are happy, and that’s the most important. They are blossoming in their own way, and they are doing it beautifully.
Having said all that, as tiger parents, helicopter parents, lazy parents, we all just want what’s best for our children. If it feels right to you, and your children are thriving, then you’re on the right track. Have faith in your judgement and your parental instinct. After all, it is our human instincts that have allowed our species to survive for so many years.