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Waldorf Homeschoolers Thread - Page 5

post #81 of 397
Prairiebird- we used to have a perfect little shelving unit that was our "nature table" for a long time- I put little pictures up, nature things, seasonal things. Now we have a low table that is a simple nature table, baskets of stones and nuts and pinecones, beach glass, shells, sticks, etc. different places around the house depending on the season and activity.
I also do things like hanging pressed leaves or acorns above the cozy little nature corner, and I made a little simple mobile with a copper ring and some ribbons hanging down and little clips to hold pictures and little nature treasures. At least at our house sometimes this is the best way to keep our nature treasures visible and feeling accessible without actually being in the path of destruction.
I don't think it's so much the TABLE that matters so much as being conscientious about bringing nature inside and keeping it accessible to the kids, creating connections between the family rhythms and seasonal rhythms, you know?
post #82 of 397
Originally Posted by blumom2boyz View Post
I plan on using the large drawing pads and then for a final form drawing, smaller paper. All the forms will then be kept in a special place to be made into a book at the end of the year. For drawing the forms on paper, we will be using block crayons and then eventually stick.
I haven't had the chance to compare prices to see if you could find something locally for cheaper, but this site has a nice selection of different books (and other really neat stuff).

Originally Posted by blumom2boyz View Post
Ditto this. I have her kindy book and LOVE it. I think you will enjoy it very much and won't have any conflict with it at all.
Thank you so much for both replies...it's very reassuring as I'd like to go more along the Waldorf line, but without the Anthroposophy. I've read that it's possible (and understand that it does undergird methodologies), but am a bit apprehensive. I'm really looking forward to getting the book now!

Originally Posted by prairiebird View Post
If I do this, should I have a step stool near the shelf so even my 3 year old can interact with it? I just don't want my newly walking 14 month old to swallow shells or acorns or something!
I think that would be a fantastic idea! I've always pondered this for our family as well since dd is still putting things in her mouth and the new baby would as well. I did a quick search and found a few examples here (ignoring the text on the page, I thought the picture of the corner shelves was a nice idea), here, here, and here.
post #83 of 397
Our "nature table" is a shallow basket lined with a seasonal silk and therefore I can move it, set it up high or whathave you. Very handy! I have seen Waldorf families with "Nature baskets" on their counters or dining room tables or wherever depending on the ages of the children. SOme families feel strongly that the nature basket can be touched, and some families feel strongly that the nature basket is to look at, but not to play in.
post #84 of 397
our nature table is on a book shelf. it works great. and the lo does get a step stool to have a look at it and add things.


post #85 of 397
couple quick questions:
1.) about main lesson books... so do you get one for eavh lesson, ie math, writing, history, etc. or do you have one for everything? thanks
2.) anyone have any of the Wynstones books, and what do you think of them? worth the money?
post #86 of 397
MLB's -- When I was teaching I tried to group subjects in a way that made sense and put those subjects in the same MLB. History always filled up its own book (and then some!) but other subjects could share. Now that I'm homeschooling I've thought about using just one book so I'm interested to read other responses.

the Wynstones -- I bought all of them when I was teaching early childhood. I'd say they're useful if you're going to be in early childhood for awhile. They were my primary resource for early childhood circle material. But it's a lot of money to buy all of them and there might be other resources out there that are organized differently and therefore less expensive. (Wynstones has a book for each season, plus a book dedicated to transitions -- birthdays, mealtime verses, etc and another book that's mostly stories. A book with all the seasons in one volume would probably be more economical.) If you're looking for a resource that gives complete circles, with movement and all, Wynstones isn't it. Let Us Form a Ring and the second volume Dancing as We Sing are great for that. But I really liked the stories and verses in Wynstones (which the other two books also use) and didn't mind putting them together myself.

Have fun!
post #87 of 397
As far as Main Lesson Books, we do use one for each subject for the most part. If you have a child in Class One, I would shoot for the biggest Main Lesson Books you can find. You can also just bind together papers your child has done at the end of the block or the end of the year.

As far as the Wynstones, I have liked them and have used them more and more. They do NOT have complete circles, so for circles you can try Let Us Form A Ring, the sequel to that mentioned in another post or the Movement Journeys and Circle Adventures. The other caveat I feel the need to mention is that ALL of these books involve music, and if you can't read music that makes it rather difficult. If you are looking mainly for verses or songs, Suzanne Down may be a resource for you - her Autumn Tales and Spring Tales are great for the six and under crowd and no music reading involved. You can try the used waldorf curriculum yahoo group and see if anyone is selling any of these items and try to get a cheaper deal as well. I buy a lot of Waldorf related books and it is amazing to me how expensive the books are and they are usually small with less pages than I was anticipating. I try to put book reviews on my blog, as do many Waldorf homeschooling mothers with blogs , so folks know what they will be getting.

The other thing is if there is a Waldorf homeschooling group near you, they may have a "curriculum fair". Our group has one every year where people bring what materials they have so mothers can look at it and decide if they want to order it for themselves or not.

Hope that helps,
post #88 of 397
thank you very much! that is what i wanted to know. is the book of stories... can't recall the title, have alot of music in it also?

post #89 of 397
THe Suzanne Down books do not have music in them, they are based around puppetry and stories and verses. She also has a website at Juniper Tree Puppetry.
THere are other wonderful sources for stories, you can check the free www.mainlesson.com
Many Waldorf mothers also put what story they are doing on their blogs as well.
post #90 of 397
I have the Autumn book from the Wynestones series. I like it a lot and plan on getting the other books in the series, adding in one at a time. I agree with Carrie though, and it isn't enough to give complete circles. I rely on additional material (Sing a song of seasons, Donna Simmon's Joyful Movement, and online sources).

For MLB, we use one for each subject as well as a seperate one for spelling and word families. We don't use a MLB for our nature block though. I bought the larger sized ones from Paper, Scissors, Stone for fairly inexpensive.

When is everyone starting their school year? We are starting on Monday and I am so excited!!!! My 2nd grader on the other hand is hoping to hang on to summer a little longer
post #91 of 397
It is a good point that you do not need a Main lesson Book for each block per say. It just depends how you design the block. Third Grade, the year of doing, especially comes to mind!

We are starting on Monday as well. We were going to start the day after Labor Day but the kids are just ready to start!
post #92 of 397
We'll have main lesson books pretty much for each subject:
Norse Myths/Vikings/Beowulf will be in one (four blocks worth),
Man and Animal/Zoology, Character study, US History, Writing/Poetry, Form Drawing, Human Body/Health, Math, and Nature. Some are thin, some are fat, with lots of pages, some are from main lesson blocks, and some are from extra lessons. The nature journal is a fat spiral bound book, and there's a steno-book for spelling.

I haven't any of the Wynstones boooks, though they always SEEM nice....
post #93 of 397
how are you all setting up your day? do you really do a circle at home? how does that work? how many kids do you have?
do you all plan on doing "school" at home all day long? just wondering... no judgment. lol
and what are "blocks"? do you sort of have all of your subjects come back to a topic? like math and lit and history, etc all involving lets say rome?

post #94 of 397
Yep, we really do circle at home. We start with a walk, a little one, then come home and have our circle. Here's our September and October circles planned out. It's a nice way to turn the focus to school time, to memorize painlessly songs and poems. I always include a hymn, a folksong, some seasonal stuff, a couple movement games, we move our bodies or hands the whole time, though, really. The kids love it. And I love hearing them singing little hymns to themselves throughout the day.
I have a 9yo, a 3yo, and a 6mo, all boys. We have, at various times, had other children included in our circles, and they all love it.
The blocks? I used to bring everything back to the main lesson, or, rather, try to include most everything in the main lesson, but with more than one kid that became really exhausting. Plus there started to be things I wanted or needed to teach that just didn't fit well with the main lessons for that age, so it seemed kind of forced, squishing things in where they didn't really fit.
This year (4th) these are our main lesson blocks. And here is our weekly lesson template. It looks a little more frightening than it really is- a lot of the lessons overlap and compliment each other, and many of them are very short- 15 minutes or less.
I do feel like we're learning all the time, and our school rhythm is a really naturl part of our daily rhythm at this point. We're doing festival prep and rearranging our nature table, cooking and baking (maybe recipes inspired by our lessons), folding laundry, sewing, tromping around the neighborhood, all of that is at least as important as our actual "school" lessons, I think. So I suppose you could say we're doing shcool all the time....
post #95 of 397
I visited the Rudolf Steiner College yesterday and noticed my kids playing in some of the landscaping on the way out. they were simple native grasses but they seemed to be set up for just that purpose....It made me wonder if that is a part of Waldorf....does anyonwe have any suggestions for my small but wide open front yard. I would love to design a fun, playful space for my kddos....

DS 8, DD 4, twin DDs 2
post #96 of 397
Certainly having access to the natural world, and simple, uncluttered outside space is a Waldorf thing. We have some bushes (lilac, mock orange) that I let hang and droop over, and the kids love to play under there. We have a single swing in the Maple in the front. There's a rockborder all around the planting areas, and we add in pieces of petrified wood, fancy minerals, shells, little treasures we find, and make little fairy houses and things, too. I'd love to get a couple-three big boulders and plant them with lots of mulch and some little trees. They spend hours playing in the mulch that's already there! I'd also like a water feature of some kind.
In the backyard we cut some tree branches and trunks into different lengths, and dug them into the ground a little, and they like to balance and climb, hop from one to the other, and use the "stumps" as little table, balance boards and log disks on them, clip cloths to the taller ones to make sails and roofs.
They have a sand-area, surrounded by rocks, and sunflowers grow up on their own every summer so it's kind of hidden and shady by late summer.
post #97 of 397
<wiggle toddler boy on lap, spelling is only a suggestion... )

So someone post this awsome link to a site that gave some waldorf training.... i think it was a homeschool waldorf moms site (maybe?) and she wasn't too pricey for a little waldorf teacher training... I've missplaced the link though and can't find it.....

post #98 of 397
OK, I'm in. I'm Annette, and we're probably more Waldorf-inspired than Waldorf purists. This year, I am homeschooling a fifth grader, a third grader, and a kindergartener who turns six in September, all with a two-year-old underfoot. I have some Christopherus and some A Little Garden Flower stuff, but mostly I look at the typical Waldorf course of study for each grade and cobble together my own curriculum. It's a lot more work, but I feel more connected to what I'm teaching that way.

It's getting harder each time I add another child to the mix. I've been working on the first main lesson blocks. My ten will be doing a review of fractions and intro to decimals. My third will be doing a review of the four processes with a focus on multiplication. Since my five is turning six, but still really kind of young for first, I've decided to do the fairy tales this year with a focus on letter recognition but not on writing. Next year we'll just do it again with different fairy tales and writing, I think. Anyway, he's starting off with A/Star Money.

What's hard, is I get so connected to each lesson as I plan it, and it's difficult to move in and out of subjects like this.

It's also hard because with so many kids, school takes up pretty much all day and there's not a lot of time for around-the-house stuff until after three.

Our days go like this:
8:30 Devotions (we're doing one with different hymns this year)
8:45 Circle time (my ten really doesn't want to do this anymore, and I can't blame him)
9:00 Nicholas, my kindergartener, has his time with me. The older two have independent stuff to do.
9:30 We do something together that's quick-- a quick craft, a song, something physical, look at art
9:45 Katie Grace's main lesson. Michael works independently or practices cello or piano. I'm going to fill workboxes with Waldorfy stuff for Nicholas, because he's just too much of a lose canon to let him run around the house unsupervised, LOL!
10:15 Snack
10:30 Do something little together. This is really a time to (a) fit in those little things I don't seem to have time for and (b) check in with everyone
10:45 Michael's main lesson. Katie Grace finishes her stuff, practices piano, plays with the baby
11:15 Check in and a ten minute tidy
11:30 I try to get some time in with Daniel, telling a story or playing together. To be honest, though, if we're behind, this gets pushed back
NOON Lunch
12:30 Everyone helps clean up, dinner prep, free play
1:00 Read aloud
1:30 Story of the World
2:00 Science (this is really just for fun exploration) or an art project or we just quit for the day

It does feel a bit like running on a treadmill to fit everyone in.
post #99 of 397
post #100 of 397
mama-aya: when i was looking over your weekly schedule i was wondering something, is the "main lesson" the block subjects?
thanks for all the info btw! great blog!

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