Edited by superbeans - 4/10/12 at 11:31am
Hello! It sounds like you are already doing some wonderful things at home. We are also 99% TV free and we have really worked on reducing 'stuff' in our home over the past three or so years.We are a Waldorf inspired family and my older girls goes to a 'regular' school, so we incorporate many Waldorf values in our everyday life. I write about our journey on my blog, but it is against the rules of these forums for me to post a link to it I'm afraid.
I would strongly recommend you read 'Heaven On Earth' and 'Simplicity Parenting' and 'Mitten Strings for God'. These are my absolute top three books for living a simple and more Waldorf inspired home life.
Here is a link to my flickr photostream so you can get a feel of what our home life is like:
Goodluck on your journey, we started our Waldorf journey over three years ago now and we are still living and learning now, it is lovely. I feel so blessed to have 'found' a Waldorf way of life.
I haven't read simplicity parenting, and perhaps it would be good for older children, but Heaven on Earth is a really good start too - I don't think it's only for young children, you can take a lot of the concepts from there for older ones. I particularly like her chapter on creating a family culture. I like the way she talks of the family as the "container" - structure but with freedom for the children to grow into themselves. This container is strengthened by a five pointed star, as she describes it: the two legs, with feet grounding the family are !) family work and play (sharing the workload and playing together) and 2) family rhythms (this, I think, is at the heart of the approach). Then the arms reaching up are 3) child's play (imaginative indoor spaces and exploratory outdoor spaces) and 4) child's artistic expression. Then the point 5) is discipline (firm and kind, simple, non-emotional statements - and BE THE SUN). You'll have to read it to understand that bit - bringing light and warmth to your child, etc.
I think you can do loads on this basis while your children are at a state school. Have a look through this forum and at some older grade homeschooling blogs perhaps?
Perhaps look at the school they're at and find out about creative subjects (art, music, drama) and foreign languages and see how that can be complemented at home or in extracurricular activities. The value of learning a foreign language should not be underestimated. Maybe even go to a local Waldorf school and talk to the teachers and try to work out with them how you could provide more of Waldorf Education for your children at home. I'm sure they would be helpful - try an open day or perhaps a spring festival? They are often open to people outside the school. Perhaps even take up a creative pursuit yourself - crafts, music. Also think about how they can interact more with the natural world around them.
And remember the importance of modelling for children, but don't be harsh on yourself if you feel you can't always model the sort of behaviour you would like to see in your children - it is the striving that they see and learn from.
I forgot one other point - it can be a lonely road if you don't know anyone who is like minded - see if you can meet other families who are on a similar path - perhaps through the local Waldorf school? It's so much easier when you know your children are visiting somewhere where they won't be playing video games the whole day.
I try to return things first if I can, then I donate. Honestly, most people don't even notice what they get or what toys are where. If anyone says anything explain that you were trying to switch over to Waldorf and that is why you asked for no gifts. Since they chose not to respect your wishes, you gave them to others to enjoy them.