Dear Parents and Teachers,
Kimberly Wilson Parsons, a homeschooling parent who runs the delightful Waldorf oriented online store Hearth and Gnome https://www.hearthandgnome.com, recently wrote:
“For many of us in the United States, our school year is winding to a close (or did a few weeks ago), and we are planning ahead. This year’s annual review and planning feel so very different. We just survived (and are still surviving) a pandemic – where do we go from here? I re-read A Gift of Wonder by Waldorf class teacher Kim Allsup recently, and wrote about it
It was not just some comfort reading, it helped me clarify what our family needs going forward. Maybe it will for you, too?”
As an author, I was, of course, so pleased to see a review by someone who liked my book well enough to read it and review it a second time. Here, Kimberly explains why, after a year plus of pandemic homeschooling, she decided to re-read A Gift of Wonder:
“I wanted to re-read it first and foremost because the stories are so lovely. I need some lovely things now more than ever. I need mental images of care-free children, field trips in the forest, campfires, fuzzy kitties. And yes, A Gift of Wonder has all of these (and many more).
I also feel the deep need to remember what school can look like. Because this last year? Not a model year! My best friend here is newly homeschooling and jumped in with both feet to a Waldorf-inspired path. I keep apologizing to her, telling her I am a rotten model this year – we were just treading water, you know? We crawled to that finish line barely breathing. I need to reconnect with what is possible. Kim hit some potholes herself, but things just seemed to come together, to meet the kids needs every time. And I need to be reminded that I can do that, too.
I was also hoping to find some new “how-tos.” Although there is no chapter called “How to Get It Together After It All Fell Apart,” I found plenty of helpful ideas.
The review mentions a number of these ideas. You can read it
I want to close this post with a special message to parents, classroom teachers and homeschooling teachers. As I look back on my classroom teaching and homeschooling years, I realize that my ability to support my students’ wonder, curiosity and eagerness to learn was rooted in taking time to find my own sense of wonder, in allowing myself to be curious, in keeping alive my own eagerness to learn.
The pandemic has put enormous demands on parents and teachers. I keep reading reports about parents and teachers feeling frazzled and exhausted. Had I been teaching (at home or at school) during these demanding times, I’m sure I would have felt overwhelmed as well.
So, I close with one piece of advice that comes from my own experience of being overwhelmed: Make time for your own wonder. Close the books and open the door and step outside. Look at your to do list and cross off anything you can. Now look at it again and cross off something else. Instead, sit by a river. Watch your child play. Hold a flower in your hand. Watch your child sleep. Listen to the rain. Gaze at the beautiful spider’s web in the corner of your kitchen without even considering sweeping it away. See these moments, these hours, these days of reconnecting with the wonder as the most important preparation for your parenting and your teaching.
With love and hope,
PS A Note about Kimberly Wilson Parsons: Kimberly Parsons is a Waldorf-inspired homeschooling mother of two, a musician, and curriculum author. She is also a certified public school teacher with B.A. and M.M degrees from Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
PPS My wish to support parents and teachers was one of the reasons I’ve been writing and posting a free read aloud story https://bit.ly/3gxwjnl. For kids age 5 through 12.
PPS The publisher now places A Gift of Wonder in more stores than ever. Click here for an updated international list: https://childrengrowing.com/2020/08/17/amazon-cant-keep-it-in-stock-inspiration-for-covid-homeschoolers/