May 2020
Dear friends,
 
Welcome to the May 2020 edition of the Christopherus Homeschool Journey newsletter!

The last two newsletters have been focused on the current world crisis. In our March newsletter I wrote about the importance of staying calm and not embracing fear. New subscribers can read that piece here .
 
Last newsletter I was more focused on my concern about how readily people are taking up technology as a substitute for being with others or, far worse, to educate children or to work with spiritual substance. I have never written a newsletter that got so much positive feedback, with most folks applauding its content. Two readers were upset, one because of what she referred to as ‘politics’ and the other because I had spoken out against Facebook acting as a self-elected censor.
 
Over the more than 17 years of Christopherus’ existence, I have been struck by how many people write saying they feel ‘validated’ by my work. What a wonderful gift people have given me, letting me know how my words and what I do has struck a chord. But to be validated is even deeper than that—people have felt able to listen to that voice within that tells them what is right and what is wrong. My words—on why home is the best place for young children, why 5G technology should be shunned, why we need to remember that 12 year olds are still children—these simply stem from common-sense. There is no mystery here. But if I can help by jiggling folks so that they remember to listen to what they actually think and feel—well, I can feel the great sense of joy that comes when one’s heart’s work is needed in the world. I am deeply grateful for that privilege.
 
The following was written in response to last month’s newsletter:
 
I just wanted to extend my gratefulness for your words from your latest newsletter at this time. I have been homeschooling my children with your curriculum since 1st grade (now 12 and 15), and I have always gathered great solace from your words and your work, and I have never properly thanked you for the positive influence, support, and solidarity I have felt from your insights. I have felt that you have always been there, providing guidance, and I am deeply grateful. 

I, as well, am very concerned, and truly offended that the authorities in institutions are sending a damaging message to our children (and adults) that says we can only feel whole and social and connected by the use of digital and virtual technology. And the pressure it puts on children and parents to follow this path is so sad. In our family, we feel blessed for this time of adrenal reset. I have a 12 year old who is feeling better than ever at this time to not have to get carted around for athletic practices and music lessons. He has built a beautiful woods shelter, has been making fires, armor from plant pots, and middle age weapons (our middle ages main lesson is so perfect for this time!) and is truly happy. I can feel his freedom and lightness return from not having to commit to obligations. My 15 year old does not have a phone, nor instagram or FB, and is somewhat struggling with the messages he gets from his coaches and some teachers that preach the message that says that we can only be human and make it through this time with social media. So, we have a lot of conversations around that, and I can feel his pull and struggle. But at his core, I feel his freedom blossom as well, and feel that this time and space is a beautiful gift for him to truly discover what he loves. Do what you love is the mantra right now. 

It is hard to witness friends with children in school who are needing to follow the curriculum involving virtual schooling, and their struggles. It is truly making children feel worse, more isolated, irritated, and amped up. 

So, we needed your words to validate our thoughts and feelings....Onward, ho!
Wishing you a vibrant Spring.

In light,
JS, Vermont
 
Interestingly, at the same time I got a number of emails from customers grateful for Christopherus’ work. I thought I’d include a few here:
 
Before my husband and I had children, I taught as a Class Teacher at Green Meadow Waldorf School for five years. Once our two girls came along, I began working part-time at Sunbridge Institute as the Director of Education. Last spring, swift changes in New York State laws pertaining to vaccination requirements turned our world inside out practically overnight. As reluctant homeschool parents, the thing we did have going for us was familiarity and experience with Waldorf education. But after some time trying to navigate the terrain of homeschooling a second grader and a fifth grader, I recognized that I needed help and I turned to Christopherus. 
 
After working with the Christopherus curriculula for much of this school year, I can reflect that it helped me in so many practical ways. I completely trust the content, which is rooted in the ideas and ideals of anthroposophy and Waldorf education. The materials are extremely well-written, the selection of stories and suggested resources has saved me many hours of preparation, and the helpful advice and considerations for shaping time together allowed me to relax and enjoy the manifold gifts that come with homeschooling. Beyond the practical support, my experience with Christopherus has enabled our family to thrive in new and unexpected ways by changing something that seemed overwhelming into a rich experience for all of us.   

Anna Silber, NY
We're using the 6th grade curriculum and are listening to the recordings on Rome. I just have to say THANK YOU, Donna. You are the teacher I'm striving to be and it's wonderful to be able to actually listen to the way you tell the stories. My daughter is enjoying them too, (though she rarely admits to liking anything these days... I can tell because she laughs and listens.) xoxo

I think especially because we started homeschool in 6th grade, I was very overwhelmed by the idea of assimilating and understanding enough to be able to create lectures or do inspired story telling. I was actually crippled by the gap between what I had envisioned and what I was able to eek out as we began. Added to that, I now had a 6th grader who didn’t want do beautiful water colors or use a main lesson book or do any of the Waldorf-y things I love. I was not prepared for her painful lack of enthusiasm and resistance and it took quite a while to find our rhythm.


I wish I had had your lectures for the entire history curriculum. Or that I had thought to listen to Rome before we started because it really gave me a better idea of how to put the material together. I know I would have done a better job with Greece.

I would have happily paid extra for more of your recordings. My daughter likes them so much that she actually asked if we could just keep listening. And she’s absorbing the information!

You are such a wonderful teacher and story teller. You remind me of my favorite college professors. I remember being amazed in college to discover that a great professor made me fall in love with their subject even if I thought I had no interest in it.

You have even helped with our Greek history by bringing up the Greeks again in the Rome recordings.


I’m sad that you don’t have 7th grade since it now looks like we’ll be home again next year.

I hope that Christopherus thrives because what you are sharing is truly wonderful.

Thank you again,
Teresa Peters
I would like to let you know how much my 13 year old son and I are enjoying your beautifully done Earth Science curriculum. We have never used a "workbook" before, and I am finding the experience to be absolutely amazing! Not only is the "workbook" beautifully done, it allows my son to do specific assignments and readings on his own, while the teachers guide gives me the Christopherus experience that I absolutely love (a very detailed guide that also allows me the freedom to add whatever I want! It also inspires me to be the best, most creative homeschool parent I can be, within a framework that keeps me realistic about my goals)! This marriage of a tangible, ascetically beautiful "workbook" for my son who is craving independence, along with the guide, really is exactly what my family needed for middle school. Please make more!
In gratitude,
Nancy

It is so important for me to receive feedback from people—and I am grateful that a teacher of Waldorf teachers as well as two parents using our middle grades materials have shared their experiences. Feedback from our friends, critics and customers is always welcome!
Looking for in-the-flesh homeschool friends? Have a l ook at our Networking page to see if there is anyone near you or send us contact info to add.

Need a bit of a pep talk from an experienced Christopherus homeschooler? Contact one of our Christopherus volunteers for a bit of help.
On a last note…the Christopherus office is sending out orders as quickly as ever (Wisconsin deems us an essential business) but the post office is definitely slower than it used to be. Please do be patient. Look for the email from us with your tracking number if you want to see the progress of your package. But do know that once orders leave our office, they are the responsibility of the post office and we can offer no help. Take your tracking number to your local post office and they can assist.
 
Til June,
Blessings on your homeschool journey!
Donna