Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Waldorf and Unschooling: noticing similar goals and philosophies...

I've been doing a lot of reading about unschooling lately, because I'm sure it's the way for us to go for our family in terms of learning. It feels familiar and rings true to my own beliefs about education and life--that it's best when created in freedom, and in the context of the family's current time and place. I've studied enough Anthroposophy and Waldorf philosophy to know that I believe in its principles--more on those below. And so, when I came upon unschooling and started to read, the concepts described and challenges that we've been having seemed to align with the benefits gained by unschooling while also meeting the needs of my children. The goal of Waldorf education is, in the most simple of words, to create happy people. In more words, it's to support children into becoming happy adults who know themselves and their own value in this world--and who are interested in their own world and the people in it, and thus they care for others and the earth with love and consciousness. This philosophy is the means to the ultimate goal, which is to further social renewal--to create a society that will be peaceful, and to create systems that support people and the natural world as opposed to teaching/forcing people into systems in order to support the system itself. On to the philosophy of unschooling which, as I've read it in several places, is the following: to help a child be who she is and blossom into who she will become. Unfortunately that will be my only direct comment about unschooling because I'm not experienced enough yet to give any opinion about how this is accomplished in-practice. But this desciption of the unschool philosophy goes to the heart of Waldorf philosophy. In Waldorf education, children are respected for themselves as well as for their potential as human beings. While guided by adults, one of the things that people notice first about Waldorf students is their ability to look adults in the eye and be confident in their communication. I believe this is because the teacher knows the students so well, and practices conscious ways of connecting with them on a daily basis. It's part of the Waldorf teacher's job to help discover where a child shines and where challenging him would help him know himself and the world around him; to help her learn about culture and history in a way that speaks to their inner being as developing humans while showing where we've been in a holistic way; to explore the world with children both in the classroom and out. In unschooling it's the parent's job to support the child's becoming. The other difference is more inferred from the description of the goals described above. Unschooling focuses on the child's experience of the world and herself as the means toward being happy, while Waldorf, also interested in the child's experience of the world and herself as the means to being happy, does this with a greater explicit goal for a community that cares for others and works together in a global community for peace and care of the Earth, our home. As a mother, I'm most interested in my child's future life and believe that's my job to care for it as much as possible. I see the years of their childhood as fleeting and want to foster the best possible relationship for them with themselves and due to our proximity, their parents. There is little that I can do directly to affect the fate of the world, but by doing my small part to help my own children with their relationship to and within it, I believe that they will be more open to the care of others. I think that this is implied by the goals for unschooling--happy people tend to have room in their hearts to care about others and be interested in the world around them. At the least, I'm willing to bet that this connection with the world is a side-effect of unschooling even if it never enters the parent's mind to value this for their child. Found quotes: "...Waldorf Method of Education strives to awaken and ennoble capabilities, rather than to merely impose intellectual content on the child. Learning becomes much more than the acquisition of quantities of information... learning becomes an engaging voyage of discovery of the world, and of oneself. Steiner maintained that the materialism underlying modern life was disastrous. He urged his followers to awaken to the spiritual origin of nature and destiny of the human being...A Waldorf Education is meant to be the beginning of a life long love of learning." ~WaldorfHomeschool.com --

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Revival

And ten years later, we're back where we started. I've had two kids attending Waldorf school for ten years now and recently decided to bring them home. We did not make the decision lightly or for one reason. The most important reasons are a) the kids asked for it, and b) it's what feels right for our family. I believe that recognizing when you need a change and constantly being aware of what brings you joy, interest, and a feeling that you're useful. That's really the fundamental goal for Waldorf education, as a part of the movement toward social renewal - developing in children (people) the deep knowledge of how to live a happy life. Life, love, interests and happiness are all ever-changing. And here we are again.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Michaelmas Play Date

Today we had breakfast, clean up, put in a load of diapers to wash and then circle. We played a bit, and headed out to the store to buy WW Flour for Dragon Bread! Then Dylan and I made the bread dough while Molly took her nap, and just as I was finishing kneading the dough, our friends Erica and Kai (almost 3) showed up for Dragon shaping and play.

Kai and Dylan had fun playing with the dough for a while, I read the Michaelmas Story from All Year Round, and then Erica and I shaped the dragons. :) We put the dragons in to bake and the kids played while Erica and I had tea. Well, Erica had tea--Dylan tripped over my tea, which I had so thoughtfully placed on the floor. :( The recipe said that the dragons should bake for 15-20 min, but maybe that was for smaller dragons. Our dragons, 1/2 the dough each, took about 30 min. I had to put them on the lower shelf of the oven so that they wouldn't burn on their ridged backs.

After playing for a while, we lit the cadles on the table and had lunch--vegetable soup and some Oat Bread that I had already made since the dragons weren't done yet. The boys really enjoyed spreading butter on their bread with the spreaders from Michael Olaf!

When we were finished eating, Dylan washed up his dishes and then the boys played for a while and Erica and I cleaned up the rest of the kitchen. We also talked about getting a weekly Waldorf Play Group going--I would love to do a little preschool day with imaginative play, lunch and hand work for the mamas, just like the Preschool at Sierra Waldorf School that my sister Maggie and her son Julian attend. Dylan enjoyed showing Kai the sweeper from Michael Olaf too. :) Then we cleaned up, I put Kai's dragon in a bag for later, and they went home. I'm already looking forward to the next play date!

The kids just woke up from their naps, and my parents are on their way to visit. We're going to go have story time while we wait for them, and then have "tea time."

Dragon Bread

In celebration of the old festival of Michaelmas (Sept. 29), it's fun to
make Dragon Bread, bread made in the shape of a dragon and decorated with
green sliced almond scales, raisin eyes, poppy seeds and sunflower seed
teeth. The ancient legend of St. George and the Dragon tells that St.
George, a noble knight, slew a dragon and saved a princess.

You'll need:

a.. 1 cup warm water
b.. 3 Tblspns. honey or sugar
c.. 1 Tblspn. yeast
d.. 4+ cups whole wheat pastry flour (or whole wheat flour)
e.. 5 tsp. baking powder
f.. 1/2 tsp. baking soda
g.. 1 tsp. salt
h.. 1-1/2 sticks of butter, warmed
i.. Slivered and sliced almonds
j.. Sunflower seeds
k.. Raisins
l.. Green, yellow and/or red food coloring
You'll need:

1.. Combine water, honey (or sugar), and yeast.
2.. Combine 4+ cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3.. Cut in the butter.
4.. Add yeast and water and stir till stiff.
5.. Knead 5 minutes.
6.. Place dough on a cookie sheet, and shape into a dragon lying flat
(side view).
7.. Decorate dragon with sunflower seeds or slivered almonds for teeth and
spikes, a raisin for an eye, and dyed yellow, green or red sliced almonds
for scales.
8.. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes...probably longer! Check with a skewer or knife for doneness.
9.. Serve him for dinner!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

bare-skinned silk play!






ups and downs, and up again.

ahhh. another end to an eventful day. :) Dylan is really up and down with the defiance game, I'm really glad it's not constant though!! Yesterday was a really trying day, he just threw a lot of fits when I took him to the potty, told me "no" every time I said it was time to XXX. I honestly can't remember the details, I must have blocked it out or something. I just remember that it was a looong day. :) We did go jogging and to the park at the end of the day, and managed to be organized and get dinner ready a few minutes before Jupe got home. Small victory.

Today was completely different. We had a really nice morning with a fun circle time that Dylan did NOT want to end. yeah, we're still telling the billy goats gruff story, but Dylan wants it to be like the 6 billy goats gruff. I am wondering when to change the story at this point, that time is not in sight at any rate. Then we did coloring with our beeswax stick crayons for 30 minutes! Then we hung our pictures on the wall by the toy shelves. Dylan helped me clean the downstairs bathroom--he loves spraying the (natural) cleaning solution, and get this--scrubbing the toilet! LOL. Then we had snack, Molly went down for her nap, Dylan and I had play time, and then we went to meet Jennifer and Bryce (almost 3y) at Michael Olaf!

It turns out that Michael Olaf is primarily a catalogue store, but they have open warehouse evenings for parents the 2nd Friday of every month. I was a little disappointed, but the lady in the office was really nice, and she said that if we didn't let the kids run around, we could go back with invoice forms and pick what we wanted while writing down the SKU and price! It was soooo cool! There were people back there filling orders with us. Dylan was a little angel. He listened, stayed close to me, and was so excited to show me all the cool items! He picked out a little enamel ware cup and a spreader (like a small butter knife) set of two. I also *broke* down and got a child's carpet sweeper, broom, , mope and apron and a beautiful cotton "Under the Nile" rug that was on sale from $32 to $15.

When we got home, Dylan helped me make lunch, wearing his new apron, by spreading Hummus on pita bread with his new spreader while I heated his cous cous and beans. He wanted soy milk, not juice(!) in his little blue enamel ware cup--think those blue and white camping mugs practically everyone has? And make it about a third the size. :) Molly had her Super poridge with banana and water in her cup. When we finished, Dylan washed his cup, plate and spreader, and then we went upstairs for nap. We sang baby beluga a few times and then they took about 45 min to get to sleep. I hate naps like that. Oh well, it couldn't be a perfect day! ;)

When Dylan woke up I had all of the ingredients out to make lentil-rice-tomato soup and Brown Bread (self edited Vegan version.) He put his apron on and went to work helping me pour..and lick the bowls clean. When the bread was in, we sat down for tea and scones--"tea time" is our new afternoon snack and we *all* love it! Jupe likes it on the weekends too. :D Then Dylan made a bee line for his carpet sweeper and ran around calling it a vacuum until Jupe came home from work. I left for school and that was our day.

I might not have mentioned before, I'm a born again Vegan. Okay, I went Vegetarian about 2 months ago and vegan 2 weeks ago. But I LOVE it. I've been told by several doctors and health professionals that I'm allergic to dairy, and that it can cause circles under eyes and moodiness--I have both. Well, since I've been off dairy, I've been a new person. More energy, WAY better moods, and a generally better attitude about life! I have been so happy...it's probably really annoying. Oh well. So I'm not positive that it's the no dairy thing *yet,* it could be just a strange bipolar episode or something. I'm giving it a month. If I'm stil feeling good in a few more weeks of no dairy, I'm going all Vegan. And the cooking is sooooo much fun! I haven't made the same thing twice yet. I happened to have a bunch of Vegetarian cook books around, although I'm not sure where they came from! But I've tweaked a ton of regular and veggie recipes to make them Vegan with great results. Turns out, in all of the cases I've tried, you really don't need milk, eggs OR butter!

Okay, this is getting long, but I wanted to leave the post with the recipes for the soup and bread we had tonight cause they were gooood.

Tomato-Lentil-Rice Soup

2T Olive Oil
1 Med Onion (chopped)
1 C uncooked Lentils
1/2 C uncooked Rice (any)
4 C Water
1 can tomato paste or 1 C tomato puree
1 can diced tomatoes
salt to taste
pinch of dried basil
more water to desired thickness

Chop onion, saute in oil until golden. And lentils and rice, stir. Add water. Simmer covered until lentils and rice are done (30-40 min.) add tomato items, sald and basil. add water to thin if desired. Serve it up hot. :)

Vegan Brown Bread (adapted from Sunset Cookbook of Breads) makes one loaf

Tightly wrapped in the fridge, this bread stays fresh for several days.

3T Vegetable or Olive Oil
3/4 C firmly packed brown sugar
2 T lemon juice
2 C Soy Milk
2 C whole wheat of graham flour, unsifted
1 C all purpose flour (or more whole wheat flour)
1/2 C wheat germ
2 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 C each of raising and chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F. Greast a 9x5 inch loaf pan. In a large bowl, beat (we mixed by hand with a wisk) oil and sugar together. Put lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup and add soy milk up to the 2 Cup mark. Mix molasses and buttermilk into the sugar mixture. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour(s) wheat germ, soda and salt until thoroughly blended. Add to buttermilk mixture and mix until completely combined. Stir in raisins and nuts. Spoon batter into loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 15 minutes, check for doneness w/ knife or skewer. Let cool in pan 10 min, turn onto a rack and cool completely.

Monday, September 25, 2006

In seach of Bliss..

Well, I'm sure all of my posts up until this one have sounded so peaceful and flowery and "everything's perfect in Waldorf land.." but that's because we had such a meaningful and blissful weekend, and I was still floating on joy. Well, actually last week was mostly wonderous floaty peaceful moments with Dylan, and I treasured each one. But. Today was one of those whiny, angry, "NO"ing preschooler days. I inhaled slowly and deeply so often I could have hyperventilated. I try so hard to keep my cool, to move slowly, go down to him, be understanding...but damnit sometimes I just want to run out the door screaming and slam it in his crying whining face! ugh. exhale....

I got my copy of All Year Round today, and I spent the evening drinking tea and eating Vegan Tapioca (I made the recipe up myself! recipe below) on the couch with the festivals, dreaming about how I'll bring the magic into our home and family life year round. My only small issue will be that I am not Christian. So I'm going to integrate some of the ideas w/ the Pagan Festivals.. more specifically with the natural changes of the seasons and stars.

Just before coming upstairs to blog and go to bed, in a moment of inspiration, I stacked another shelf on the nature table to baby proof it in leiu of Molly's mobile-pulling up phase. (She choked on a beautiful-red-and-orange-fall-maple-leaf this morning.) Then I re-decorated the nature table with Autumn colored silks and got rid of the dried up ferns. I put Molly and Dylan's babies into "bed" in one of the baskets, covered with mini-silks for blankets, and put the silk basket with the clips and the Redwood Rounds and felted balls--made by myself and various special people in our life--front and center to invite play. Now, if those darned drop shipped play stands will get here...! I'll try and take some pics tomorrow.

Oh! I also ordered some Beeswax Tapers from Natural Earth Farm--they have such good prices on beautiful hand dipped double tapers! I can't wait for the aroma to fill our house. Just thinking about it reminds me of hand dipping in 6th grade. mmmm. It is not easy to make nice smooth candles, let me tell you! mine were very lumpy, but I can't wait to try it again! :D Now I want to order some dipping wax. I need to slowwww dowwwn.

Back to the point of this post. I've been savoring every moment of bliss these days. This weekend was almost perfectly blissful. Today, my *moment* was during tea time, between Dylan whining for soy milk and crying because I didn't make a sandwich out of his grahm crackers and peanut butter at tea time. I mean, give me a break! I didn't put them together cause I thought he'd have a fit, and it'd be easier to put the together than take them apart. shows what the heck I know.

What is bliss though? How do we *get* it? I've felt blissful while sitting quietly; while breaking my back planting trees; playing with my children; talking with my husband; driving in my car; walking in a beautiful place! I never know when it will come, but I'm trying to find one small moment of bliss in each day. I'd like to come up with a definition of my own, because I like no nonsense order like that.

*yes, yes--sunshine, rainbows, everywhere!!* ;p

Anyway, may you have at least one moment of bliss today.

<3 Katie

Recipe for Vegan Tapioca by Katie:

This tapioca tastes like the Fall Harvest version of Tapioca. :) Enjoy!

3T Tapioca pearls
2C Soy Milk
1T ground flax seeds
1t vanilla

Mix tapioca, soy milk and flax seeds in a medium sauce pan, let sit all soak for a few minutes. Turn the burner on Med. heat and stir constantly until it comes to a rolling boil. Remove from heat, add vanilla and stir. Let sit for 20-25 minutes (it thickens as it cools.)

A conversation about Waldorf Schools

with Pixievixen:

Pixievixen: i went to waldorf in northern cali for 7th & 8th grade. interesting experience. i really like a lot of the philosophies, but there are things i am less fond of. i dig the "less is more" aspect to the playroom and such, and a lot of the daily routines... the delaying reading thing bothers me, as i was a really early reader because i ASKED to learn, and anjolie is well on her way to that as well... and i also saw the sort of long-term effects of that... kids learning simple grammer, like basic sentence diagramming in 8th grade (when i'd previously learned it in 4th & 5th?)... made the transition to regular high school pretty bumpy (our waldorf only went to 8th grade).

again, i really dig a lot of it, but i'd likely implement other things to adapt it more to her personal needs. unfortunately i don't see myself being able to continue being a stay-at-home momma... so she'll have to actually attend a school soon... and i doubt i can afford waldorf on my own, we'll see. i have been planning to undertake a big overhaul of the playroom when we move though... i figure the transition will be easier in an all new room. plus, i want to simplify & make the change known before birthday & christmas come along & the plastic crap floods in.

Me: I do think that you should follow your child's cues (it must be that AP mind set ;) and if they are ready to read, I say by all means!

For me, learning to read came mostly from reciting books that my mom and dad read to me. I don't remember it ever being hard or anyone ever actually TEACHing me, beyond the alphabet and sounds in Kindergarten (public school.) I started Waldorf School in 4th grade, and could already read well, so I mostly read at home, and wrote for main lesson books, etc. I think the poetry and song recitation in the Waldorf Curriculum also fostered my excellent memory, instinct for wording and grammar, and helped with reading too. I guess I was lucky, and I'm not sure how Dylan will be, but I guess we'll see.

The way I see it, Waldorf should be like anything else: take what you love, scrap the rest. I also think that Waldorf Schools vary drastically in their implementation of the philosophy. Our school was very relaxed, but I've heard of ridged schools that sounded a little scary.

Right now, I'm only planning to preschool and maybe kindergarten Dylan at home. Then, we'll continue to do the "magic" and fantasy of Waldorf at home, but he'll probably go to a Waldorf School, and I'll need to research and feel out the schools to steer clear of the "scary" ones. ;) I'm hoping that we'll be moving up to Oregon by then, and I am thinking of starting Waldorf Teacher Education. Then I can get free tuition for the kids, and be there all day if they need me. I know that's not for a lot of ppl, but lately, I can see myself doing it after I graduate with my BS! I never would have guessed that I'd say that back when I graduated from Waldorf School. LOL.

I am lucky to have a very understanding family and friends, and I'm hoping that putting up a "wish list" will help them give gifts when they feel that they are apropriate. Otherwise, we'll probably donate maintstream toys. :) I know this sounds extreme, but for now, I really want to keep it to simple nature toys. I think that's what's best for our family.

Pixievixen: i grew up spending a lot of time with my grandparents... and my grandmother had taught (special needs children specifically) for years. at the age of two i was taking the books and saying "III read it!". between that & other signs of readiness, my grandmother pulled out some of her teaching supplies & taught me to read. there was never any pressure, i was itching to learn it.

i don't believe kids should be pressured to read early if they aren't ready, but i knew second graders who could barely read... that seems a bit much. anjolie & i have been working on letters lately. we tested the waters for about 6 months before it really clicked, but there was never any pressure. she is constantly asking what things say now & wanting to learn. i think that listening to your own child's cues is always the key, no matter what school your child is in. as parents, its our job to meet all the needs that schooling cannot.

i wish i knew someone close to me with the same beliefs about education who would be willing to take on anjolie while i had to work. it would be mutually beneficial i think, allowing anjolie the benefit of a more personal ly tailored daily rhythm & helping another stay at home momma to be able to afford her lifestyle comfortably. maybe i can find that when i move... we'll see.

my family is really pretty good about sticking to things that fit our needs, so hopefully that will continue. i already make waldorf dolls and little flower faeries.. i am hoping to supplement my income by selling some of those, giving me more time at home with miss anjolie.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Pictures of Playthings

Silks and Play Clips on the shelf



Redwood Rounds (more to be sanded)


Our Nature Table and Elves

The Shelves with Playthings

A Waldorf Wish List

Since we've decided that we won't have plastic toys in our home, I know that my family will want to know what they can give. Here are things that will help us in our Waldorf Home. I'll put our wish list here and link to it from my profile. :) I'll suggest retailers for some things, but mainly for the photos or description.

  • From our friendly local Montessori Store, Michael Olaf (pdf)
food:

*Snack preperation set or any of its pieces
*Cutlery Set
*Set of small wooden bowls
Good children's books are always a cherished gift! We prefer non-TV/character oriented books.





This weekend--woodworking



We had a full and purposeful couple of days. We made Dylan's wooden playthings, lovingly scavenged from the Redwoods, cut, ground and sanded by Mama and Daddy, and termed "Redwood Rounds" by Daddy. :)

We also kept with our routine from last week so that Daddy could get the hang of it, and everything has been going harmoniously. ;) Jupe and I are working on remembering the new "habits," like always going peepee and washing hands before eating, telling Dylan that it's time to wash his dishes before he leaves the table (and makes a beeline for the playthings or the door!) but we're getting there, and I just love the way things are going.

Our Playthings

We have culled all of the plastic toys from our house. The only toy that has a specific function that remains available to Dylan is his Thomas Train set. This is in the garage, and he asks for it every few days. When he asks for it, he plays with it for about an hour! He never used to do that. He used to just throw all of his toys around, skip from one thing to the next, it was like he didn't know what to play with!

Our new playthings:

  • Shells, pinecones and stones
  • Redwood staffs and arches that we found in the Sequoia Park, cut and sanded smooth with Daddy's help this weekend.
  • "Redwood Rounds," (term coined by Jupe) that are slices from Redwood branches of different widths.
  • a "knot" doll for Molly and a "rag" doll for Dylan, made by mama.

**Photos to come**

So far, Dylan loves the new playthings, he has shown so much imagination in the last week or so with these things! He hasn't asked for ONE of the missing toys except for the Thomas Train. Acutally, he hasn't asked for that in a few days...I'm curious to see if he will miss them or continue to find new things to do with his new toys that teach.

Our Rythm

We actually haven't altered our routine drastically, but I've changed what we do in the slots of time that we have a little bit. Since we've been doing this for about a week and a half already, I'll put up an example of our day(s.) This is long, since our preschool is our day--That includes waking up and going to bed! :)

I wake up at about 5:30 or 6, hopefully before the kids are awake. I take a shower and then Dylan wakes up. We get coffee and Dylan's banana and head upstairs for coffee and family time in bed. Then I get dressed, and get the kids dressed. **You would be amazed at how much more time I have and how smoothly the morning goes if I'm showered and dressed with the kids dressed before we go down to have breakfast!**

We go downstairs and I make Jupe's lunch for him to take to work. Jupe showers and gets dressed, the kids play in the living room. Then I make breakfast and we all sit down and eat together, unless it's one of the days Jupe has to leave early.

Jupe leaves for work, Dylan and I wash the breakfast dishes and Dylan plays at the sink for a while.

Then we have Circle time:

our autumn 3 billy goats gruff circle


We put a colorful silk on the floor with a candle in the center and various natural items like pinecones, stones, leaves, etc. Lately Dylan really loves to hear "The Three Billy Goats Gruff," so we have 3 pinecones of 3 different heights, a blue colored mini silk as the stream underneath a curved piece of bark that serves as the bridge, and a knobby stick that is the Troll. We light the candle (Dylan likes to blow out the match) and we sing morning verse:



Good Morning, dear earth; Good Morning, Dear sun!
Good Morning dear stones and flowers every one!
Good Morning dear busy bees and birds in the tress!

Good Morning to you and Good Morning to me!


Then I tell the story--I do plan on changing the story periodically, but I think it's good for Dylan (at this age) to get to know one story for a while so that he can think about it and learn it and not be confused by lots of other story images--then Dylan blows out the candle and we put the circle things away on the Nature table, which will change now and then but currently holds ferns, shells, stones, pinecones, fall leaves and four little elves that I made from felt and wool.

The Troll is going to eat Dylan up!

Our first Paintings



After story, we do some sort of hand work or art activity. This week we did painting, coloring, playdough (since we don't have modeling beeswax yet) and cooking corn muffins (two days.)

Then we have free play or outside time while Molly taks her morning nap.

Then it's house work time--just one "chore" a day, we try to make it fun.

We sit and read a book before we wash hands and have snack. I think reading a story makes the transition from play to sitting and eating a lot easier. After snack, we wash our dishes and clean up the food, and get ready for our morning outing. (at this point, it's about 10 or 10:30.)

Our outings are usually play group, mommy and me preschool, grocery shopping, trips to the farmer's market, play dates and/or trips to the park.

We come home from our outing around noon. We wash hands and make lunch together, then sit down and eat. Afterwards we clean up and wash our dishes and then go upstairs to read a book and have nap time.

After nap, Dylan is usually a little clingy and grumpy, so we do another circle story time and then we wash hands and have tea with a snack.

After snack we have free play and then either go outside to play, or jogging (and then to the park,) or out to town again, depending.

We try to be home by 4:30 or 5 to make dinner, Dylan helps and then we have a story or play while it cooks. I also usually fold laundry at this time.

We have dinner between 5:30 and 6.

A simple Autumn center piece
We do outside play with Daddy until 6:30 and then quiet play until 7pm. Then it's bath time and then book and bed. :)

What is Waldorf?


Please see this link to WaldorfHomeschoolers.com for an eloquent overview of Waldorf Phylosophies:

What is Waldorf?

excerpt:

"...Waldorf Method of Education strives to awaken and ennoble capabilities, rather than to merely impose intellectual content on the child. Learning becomes much more than the acquisition of quantities of information... learning becomes an engaging voyage of discovery of the world, and of oneself.

Steiner maintained that the materialism underlying modern life was disastrous. He urged his followers to awaken to the spiritual origin of nature and destiny of the human being...A Waldorf Education is meant to be the beginning of a life long love of learning."

Why we're bringing Waldorf home.

I have been dragging my feet about sending Dylan to preschool for a year. I have looked around and thought about it a lot, but now he's almost 3 and a half, and I still haven't found what I'm looking for. What am I looking for? A Waldorf Preschool. Even a once a week thing would be great, but I haven't been able to find that. When it comes to my children, I know what I want and I won't take less than that. There's Montessori, but they don't focus much on imaginative play and even less on fantasy. I think it's important for my children to have a magical childhood. I believe that it will help them begin their journey with a far less cynicism toward their world and environment. **See this link for a (slightly biased) comparison of Waldorf and Montessori.** Most important, I don't want to send Dylan to school. He's three. I have this amazing opportunity to stay home with him, KNOW him like nobody else can, guide him, and share my days with him. We can weavewaldorf philosophy and rythm into our life, and Jupe and I will experience the magic and wonder with Dylan and Molly.

So. We've started a Waldorf Preschool routine at our house. We've been at it for a week, and it's very busy, fun and exhausting. Each day this week has been so full of meaningful things! I love the routine. We have circle time with a candle each morning, and after the morning verse, Dylan insists on his new favorite story, "The three Billy Goats Gruff" in which I use 3 pinecones as goats, a knotty stick as a troll, and a curved piece of bark as a bridge over a blue-silk stream. He loves the candle, and loves the lighting of it almost as much as when he gets to blow it out! He hasn't mastered sitting still around the candle, so I have to stop the story fairly often to keep him from flailing into the candle in "fear" when the troll comes out from under the bridge and roars! :)

Dylan helps me with everything from folding laundry to sweeping and vacuuming, and the best new habit I'm starting? Getting him to wash his own dishes every time he's finished eating. Even snack! And the great part about it is that he really likes it. He says he's done, so I tell him it's time to wash his dishes. He dumps his plate in the trash (he actually got mad at Jupe for eating his leftovers today because it "goes in the trash!" heh. and then we pull a chair over to the sink and he washes. He usually wants to play for about 15 minutes at the sink too, so I try to leave time for that before we have to go anywhere.

Okay, we're working on making DYlan wooden log-pieces and staffs to play with, so we need to go outside. I'll put up some pictures of our adventures soon.

I'll leave you with a link to the most helpful Waldorf Resource Site I've found, Waldorfhomeschoolers.com. I'm still wading through the wonderful articles and I find something inspiring there every day!

Katie