How To Balance Your Child’s Education When You Choose Public School

You believe wholeheartedly in the need for creative and holistic education. You passionately want it for your children. Yet for one reason or another you have chosen to send your child to a mainstream school.

And now you don’t know how you are going to ensure your child gets all of those lovely learning opportunities you had dreamed of…

Educating the Whole Child alongside public school


If your family is like mine, both the travel time and the dollars involved put alternative schooling (like Steiner Education) out of reach. That often leads to family choosing to homeschool which is our current choice.

But what if you don’t choose to homeschool?

Maybe you have to work so homeschooling isn’t an option. Maybe your local primary school has some fabulous programs you want to take advantage of for your child. Perhaps you gave homeschooling a go and then your little one asked to go to school.

Or you were losing your mummy marbles.

Or your child has special needs you find it hard to accommodate at home, on your own,  on a full-time basis.

Or you plain didn’t enjoy it.

Maybe you just don’t want to full-time homeschool.

And that’s ok. No really, I promise you it is. If you have weighed up all of your options, listed your pros and cons, and have still come to the conclusion that public school is the way forward…it will be ok. Don’t let mummy guilt get you down.

Your choice is valid.

It is ok.

More than ok.

You don’t even need to give up your dreams of providing a holistic education for your children. Honestly! Because there is this cool concept you may not have come across yet.


Yep, afterschooling. For some this means sneaking in the academics they are worried their child is missing out on, but in the context of holistic education, afterschooling is a conscious striving for balance in your child’s life.

In holistic models of education, we aim to teach not just the head, but the heart and hands of our children too. Now school will take care of the head. It’s actually pretty notorious for it 😉 Many people (myself included) feel mainstream schooling focuses too much on the head aspect. So outside the hours of 9-3, Monday through Friday, you can bring the focus to the heart and the hands.

How do you do that?

By consciously focusing on the 3Rs of reverence, respect and rhythm.

By consciously choosing to forgo the cult of busy and the standard slew of extra curricular activities.

By consciously including stories, handcrafts and the arts in your daily life.

By consciously eschewing consumerism and instead focusing on imagination, free play and time in nature.

Rather than sign up for Saturday sport, perhaps you could spend the time hiking as a family. Instead of listening to the news on the radio for the drive home from school,  you could choose to listen to classical music or audio books. Perhaps you could leave off the TV and work together on a sewing project or play a co-operative board game.

A candle and a verse when you serve breakfast. A family tradition of rolling beeswax candles and having a bonfire to mark the Winter Solstice or enjoying another of your favourite Waldorf festivals. Enjoying meals prepared together with food collected from your garden. Baking bread together. Evenings spent listening to mama tell stories. A nature table given pride of place in the living room.

We each have to make the best choices we can for our families given our own unique set of circumstances. The trick is to make these choices work for us, rather than feel like they are something being done to us.  Learning doesn’t just happen in schools, so holistic education doesn’t just have to happen in an alternative school or homeschool either.

You have the power to offer your child all of the benefits of a creative and whole education.

School gets him for 30 hours a week. You get him for the other 138 hours.

Make the time count.




11 thoughts on “How To Balance Your Child’s Education When You Choose Public School

  1. Hello lovely
    So as you know we have been so confused about the whole homeschooling thing. But we realise that we just don’t have enough time to do homeschooling full time so like you have suggested we have decided after schooling is the thing for us. I guess many people already do this unconsciously – there are just not enough hours in the day to do absolutely everything you would like to do. I’m thinking that a theme or project they show interest in can be explored for a month or so during those home hours so they can learn in a way that suits them and we can be aware of the theme for that month so we can sneak it in anywhere we can. Hope to see you soon ?

  2. Love this post, and thank you for the ideas. Our little one is 3 1/2 and we’ve been doing more arts and crafts lately. We have a garden as well, though for some reason she just isn’t really into it right now. Lately she has been super into playing with dried beans, taking out all our bowls and cake pans and pouring the dried beans in and making “bean pie”. Oh, all mixed up with scrabble tiles, too. I love the idea of a nature table, though I’m not sure things would actually stay on the table. What I mean to say is, our house can become a mess really quickly–is this normal? LOL.

    1. Haha definitely normal, especially with little ones ? An interactive nature table that is available for play and exploration is wonderful at this age. We have a tray of nature finds for this purpose. If you wanted something more for beauty and reverence, you could try a display on a shelf just out of reach. I have seen some mamas display theirs in a glass bowl or fish tank to prevent little fingers from touching

  3. I really enjoyed this post too. Our son goes to a Public School. He absolutely loves his school, teachers and friends. Although he always complains there is not enough running around time morning tea and lunch time. We live in the bush so we don’t have much choice. We had a wonderful Waldorf playgroup for a while but no Steiner school in the area; it is 2.5 hours away. Our dear friends moved to the city so their children could go to the school. I try to do exactly what you said “afterschooling” or I have called it “unschooling.” I have thought of unschooling but my son is way too extroverted to stay home. If I had four children close in age it would work well. But I only have one other and he is 3 years old. I’m glad to see a post where people like me are represented because children’s education are not always black and white. If my husband looses his job here we would consider moving to the city and then both our children could go to the Steiner School.

  4. I certainly love this idea. I’m a public school teacher, and though I see many flaws in our outdated education system, I do believe there is hope yet, and I am not giving up. Though slowly, things are changing nonetheless. There is a greater focus on student-centered education, and innovative ways coming about to achieve this.

    Great thoughts here, especially that education happens everywhere and every day. “Make the time count.” Absolutely! Great post 🙂

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