This is definetly my tribe.
I do post in this huge Waldorf forum, because I feel like the people here are the ones that will most likely understand how we live, how we do things. But we are certainly not purists.
I am a mom of 2: a 2yo girl, and a 4yo boy. Before having even heard the name Waldorf, I, as a person, was already on my way to having a Waldorf inspired way of doing.
My job is nature oriented. So it has been a while since I have changed my philosophy about consumerism, and protecting nature. This was already in place before my kiddos were born.
Then, the birth of my children made me want to stop and smell the roses, wanting to have a family life more then a career. Si I stopped working full time, to take time to "have a family" as I always said.
When I was a kid myself, my grandmom and my mom taught me, to knit, sew, cook, make new with old, and do all sorts of crafts, and I learned, not because they were teaching me actively, but because it was done, and I was part of it: there was always some kind of a creating project that was on the way: fixing a special meal, preparing festivals, making clothes for special event, or even just for random days, making quilts decorations... basically, many things that are encouraged in the Waldorf philosphy (even tough my mom and grand mom were nothing of waldorf) All of those things, I started to want to do them again once DS was born. For some reason, I felt like this was the right thing to do. We started celebrating festivals that we had put aside for a couple of years, since the magic wasn't there any longer at that point. But now, wth a family, we felt like traditions needed to be transfered.
When my DD was born, I was scared having a girl, for the most ridiculous reason on earth. I didn't want to deal with the crappy girl stuff, Barbies for instance. I absolutely refused to consider to have Barbies in my home, or even accessories that goes with it. As a kid, I hated them, so just to think that I could be stuck with those being a parent was a terrifying idea to me. But then, we had decided that plastic was not allowed anymore on our house for safety reason and also from an ecological point of view, and that included toys. We started always finding better alternative, and started being really happy with this new choice. And from there, it all quickly escalated to the point we are right now. After purging the plastics, we purged everything else, and started to simplify everything. And that is when I stumbled upon Waldorf. it felt like home for so many things, andvery different for other.
What we did take out of Waldorf:
-The nature oriented minding. Being a scientist that works in nature to protect it, this is VErY important to me. DH is from a rural area, and nature means also a lot to him. Our kids go outside a lot, and we try to really make them conscious of the importance and the beauty of nature. We go hiking regularly, we gather things from outside, we watch the seasons, and the changed that comes along with them. We study animals, plants and all of those things. What I want to incorporate more is gardening.
- The rhythms: That is something that has always been a part of me. When my rhythm is thrown off, it bothers me still, and so since we had kids, I always automatically had some kind of a rhythm. I am working right now at implicating the kids more into it though.
- the open ended natural toys: I was on my way to find this when I stumbled on Waldorf theories. We have ditched a long time ago the plastic toys, again, for security reasons, and because they were getting on my nerve. As a kid, I didn't like plastic toys, I didn't like the clutter and the noise that came with it. So the wooden toys took over quite rapidely when I started feeling that way again. Waldorf opened my eyes to the open ended side of them though.
When DS was young, we had the "normal" plastic toy collection, and it was always just bothering me. I feel *SO* god since we have changed this, and I just even better since the open ended concept hit our house. I love the toys we have and the clutter and noise free home it gives us.Toy shelfI'll add the playroom as soon as I have a chance
-protecting the senses : That I also beleive in, although maybe not entierly as Steiner defines it. I love the saturated but gentle hues that Waldorf promotes. I don't like all those too bright colors that things are made of right now. I feel like something I get overstimulated by that. And getting rid of the plastic toys (that are usually very colorful, like almost too much) really really helped. I feel like the atmosphere in my house is calmer now. I beleive in keeping them warm, and making them touch beautiful materials, real and natural materials. We buy cotton clothes, and I make wool stuff. No polyesters of synthetic fabric as long as it is possible. We go for wooden toys, or woolen ones. I rather have less toys, and have ones that I feel good seeing, using, touching, and my kids playing with.(read the more expesive ones of course...
) I believe in gentle music, and calm.
- Arts. Even if my mom and grand mom were rather artistic persons, I was not raised in an artistic mindset. My dad was a scientific person, and did not let much space for art. I realise how I missed that being young. So I provide my kids with every opportunity to be able to do arts like they want to. Will I limit myself to Wet on wet watercolors? No. But I surely will provide my kids the chane to do it as much as they want. (and I want ot learn it too!!). Will I only supply my kids with only Stochmar wax crayons? No, but I have a set of blocks, and I love them myself
, and I will provide them with good art material.
-The slower pace, and the focus on family
The things that don't work for us:
- the concept of Anthroposophy.
- The boxed in type of education: DS is currently attending a Montessori school, and we are all very happy with that. "Follow the child" is something I strongly beleive in, and I am a Montessorian at heart for that. My son does really well in that environement, and so I don't think he will ever be able to ttend a Waldorf type of school because of that. But the Waldorf like philosophy at home works wonder.
- The gnomes and fairies: We don't believe in that, but they sure makes wonderful stories that even I enjoyed as a kid. So not entirely against...
What I love the most about all this, is being able to customize a philosophy that works for us. Waldorf has rocketed us to where we were going already. It just made it real, and attainable. It gave us so many good ideas, other views of a similar way of thinking, and I am grateful for that. But I doubt that we will even attend a Waldrof facility.
Sorry for this long post.