The Waldorf-Inspired Discussion Thread - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 109 Old 09-19-2009, 09:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all, and welcome to the thread for those of us who are inpsired by but not fully on board with Waldorf philosophy or practice.

I'd like this to be a safe space for us to bounce ideas off each other and for discussion about how we weave (or unravel, if the case may be) various aspects of Waldorf into our families. I want this to be a guilt-free space where no one has to fear the "Is it Waldorf enough?" yardstick. I promise that I will not think you are doing a disservice to your child if you opt for Legos over a set of handmade wooden blocks, and I hope that you will show me the same mercy.

So . . . let's begin.

Allison:  a little bit Waldorf, a little bit Medievalish, and always"MOMMMMYYYY!" to sweet Cecily since 12.22.05
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#2 of 109 Old 09-19-2009, 10:35 AM
 
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Hello! I wanted to join this thread. I hope thats OK?Thank you for starting it
I would say we are a Waldorf inspired family rather than a fully Waldorf family in that we aren't fully into all the different aspects of the Waldorf philosophy...part of the reason for this is b/c I haven't done enough reading around it all to have a full understanding of it, I guess it just all takes time. As a family, we pretty much cherry pick all the elements of Waldorf we love and leave the rest...maybe forever or maybe just for now.

I would say that right now we are pretty purist when it comes to all the natural toys, but that is just a personal choice thing and I know that things will probably change as my DD's get older and start requesting things... so i would be nice to hear from people who are waldorf inspired but kind of mix up the toys....it will be interesting so see how familes make waldorf work for them!

We are pretty waldorf from the angle of having a daily and yearly rhythm and we sing throughout the day to help with transitions. Also, as a family, 95% of our food is made from scratch and we grow as much fresh produce as we can during the summer.

Sorry for rambling, I hope I made a bit of sense

A UK Waldorf blogging mama!
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#3 of 109 Old 09-19-2009, 11:03 AM
 
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I'd like to join! Right now I'm mainly in research mode, as I've decided this is the year once and for all to decide if 1) we should homeschool (ds is currently in public school), 2) if we should "do Waldorf" and 3) to what extent. I'm incorporating a lot of Waldorf things into our home life with my 3-year-old dd and 7-year-old ds, and they are responding really well to it. I've been intrigued by Waldorf for many years and over the years have dabbled in different elements of it, but now I'm trying to really decide how I feel about it.

The more I delve into it, the more conflicted I feel. The things I love, I REALLY love. But I'm certainly not convinced about everything. I lurk on a Waldorf homeschoolers email list, and some things I am really enjoying, other things I know are not for me. (Mainly the really anthroposophical things...)

So I'm researching curriculums and trying to figure out what I'd use if we homeschool. I think I'd prefer Enki but for many reasons that's not going to be practical (cost, the fact that they only go up to 2nd grade, etc.). I'm trying to figure out how I'd use a lot of the content of various Waldorf curriculums but not necessarily the rigid timing of teaching various skills.

Anyway, that was a long story, but I'm just really glad to lurk on a thread like this!
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#4 of 109 Old 09-19-2009, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It seems sort of proper to start with an introduction. My name is Allison and I have a 3.75 year old dd named Cecily. We discovered the world of Waldorf here on MDC when Cecily was a little over 1.5 years old. In many ways at that time it was like a breath of fresh air. I fell in love with the slow pace, the immersion in the natural cycles of the year, the going back to a time when a person showed his/her love through manual work.

By profession I'm a former medieval historian so I'm not all that particularly keen on modern life: I own a very cheap cell-phone and I have no idea how to text anyone to save my life, LOL! I think there is much beauty in Waldorf practice, but as we learned more and more about Waldorf some things I found to be lovely on paper but impractical in our lives. Also, as a Christ-following Christian, I have major qualms with the foundation of Anthroposophy, which was founded by Steiner through clairvoyancy. This is strongly opposed by my religious faith, so in our lives it is paramount that we separate our love of a more natural, slow-paced life from the Anthroposophical roots of Waldorf. Someone once told me that the lifestyle we lead is less "Waldorf" and more "traditional Germanic" and I think that's true; the difficulty lies in finding community, which is important for anyone. Seeing as how I don't live in Germany nor can I become Amish, I must find that communal sense among Waldorf circles, which can be tricky since, in the words of St. Paul, I must be "in the world but not of the world." I currently say that we live in the world of gray, where we don't fully fit in with the mainstream world nor can we fully fit in with the Waldorf world.

How we apply Waldorf to our lives:

~ Family Culture. I believe one of the most lovely aspects of Waldorf is its creation and preservation of a family culture. I think having family traditions, foods, and festivals is part of the basic framework of the human existence, and our modern world has abruptly divorced humans from our cultural past. I think it's imperative for people's psychological well-being to be connected to each other through wholesome rites of passage.

~ Connection to the Seasons. Like culture above, I think that a connection to nature and the rhythm of the seasons is part of our human heritage that we have lost. God called his creation "good," and I think that by appreciating the natural world we are giving the glory due to God for his handwork. I think also there are some beautifully poetic truths to the cycle of the year: birth, bloom, fading, and death. Focusing on these has enriched our lives immensely.

~ Story-telling. I love books, as does my dd, but I think there is something wonderful about listening to a storyteller bring a story to life with words. We try and tell lots of stories at our home, and this is constantly an area in which I'm trying to improve in myself.

~ The Sacredness of Manual Labor. I love that Waldorf places such a strong emphasis upon handwork, which I define in the broad sense of just "creating with one's hands." The act of baking by hand, wood-working, cleaning one's house, doing paper crafts like origami or hand-crafts, etc. In our faith, even the amazing St. Paul who traveled and evangelized throughout the Roman world was a tent-maker to support his ministry. In our world that devalues human labor and disconnects us from our fruits, I think that returning to the beauty of manual labor is vital to our human spirit.

~ Head, Heart, Hands-on Learning. We are homeschoolers and I really love the multi-sensory and multi-dimensional approach that Waldorf has toward learning. I think humans naturally seek to experience knowledge in this way. For instance, my own dd who is 3.75 and is figuring out reading on her own (gasp!) not only likes to "know" her letters but to build them with blocks, trace them in sand or fingerpaint, etc. She does this without any artificial prompting on my part. I think the more connections you can make with head knowledge the more it becomes ingrained into you.

~ Art. I grew up the daughter of an artist so I have a deep love and appreciation for art. I love that Waldorf stresses high-quality art materials for children, and approaches art not as an extra-curricular activity but as worthy of lots of consciousness.

~ Anti-media. Thankfully, here on MDC most mamas understand that media can be a double-edged sword. For our family, we decided when dd was born to turn off the television and our lives have been richer because of it. I also have no desire to expose my vulnerable dd to the poor modeling of children's programming (I'm thinking Spongebob here) nor to rampant commercialism. I genuinely love that my dd has no idea who Barbie is.

~ Imaginative Play. I fully agree that play is the work of childhood, and that play is sacred. Toys should be treated with respect and children should have the time and space to play.


What doesn't work for us in Waldorf:

~ Anthroposophy, as I discussed above. I do believe that Anthroposophy not only has occultic roots but it is a spiritual ideology, in that it defines both spiritually "good" and "bad". I absolutely do not accept Steiner's world view of historical progression, nor do I believe in reincarnation, karma, Atlantis, gnomes/fairies, etc.

~ The emphasis upon only natural play things as imaginative. This is where I seem to differ most with people on board with Waldorf. I love the beauty of natural things, but I don't think that a wooden car functions any more creatively than a metallic or plastic one. In fact, I believe that wooden toys can actually be more limiting at times (but then, I do have a dd who loves to build aquaria in our sinks with floating MegaBloks for fish and rocks and shells for decoration). I think it's best to make many of your own toys, and that usually means either wood or cloth toys, but I also have no qualms buying an occasional toy nor do I limit myself as to the material it's made out of. When I buy toys the things I try to balance are: Is it imaginative and potentially multi-purpose? Is it ethically made? Is it affordable for me? We believe in tithing our income to God, so I cannot spend hundreds of dollars on Ostheimer figurines. I think there is a time for buying local or hand-made toys and a time for not. Sometimes plastic just makes for better play. I also like a balance of structured and unstructured toys and things from nature to use as toys.

~ The use of verses for every transition and circle time. In theory I like this idea but in our practical lives it doesn't work for us. It stresses me out having to memorize little ditties, it feels artificial when I have to remember to recite them, and it grates on dd's nerves to hear the same thing over and over. We do, however, like to spontaneously burst into poems, nursery rhymes, or songs when the mood strikes.

~ Specific types of handwork and structured creativity. I'm not a knitter nor can I sew but I'm very crafty in other ways. I'm also the daughter of an artist so it really irritates me being told to box in creativity by only painting using a certain technique and certain colors. I also am not going to pay $20 for 3 Stockmar watercolor paints when watered down Crayola tempera paint has the same effect on wet paper. I've also found that oil pastels (and even bathtub crayons sold at Toys R Us and craft stores in the children's section) have the same rich colors and creamy texture as beeswax crayons and are so much more affordable. We have an artwall at our home, which is just a large portion of our wall covered with white easel paper, and below it markers, paints, crayons, and chalk. It's wonderful to just have a place for spontaneous creativity. And I have no problem with dd drawing forms at age 2.

~ Boxing in Learning. I really dislike that in Waldorf ideology there is a particular progression laid out unilaterally for every child of what must be learned and at what point it should be learned. Life isn't that simplistic nor is the human will. I think some children may not be interested in letters until age 7 and they should not be rushed in their journey, but nor should a precocious learner be held back. My own dd became obsessed with letter at 15 months old, and knew them all by 18 months. This was completely child-led, as she noticed letters everywhere in her world (ingredients containers, sign posts, doormats, etc.). She is currently 3.75 and can read quite a few words by sight. She's also discovered the basic principles of mathmatics simply from playing with nuts, shells, rocks, and blocks. She understands that if she has 5 nuts, she can put two in one hand and 3 in the other, and yet she still has 5. Again, totally child-led, and done within a Waldorf environment. And she is incarnating beautifully. She has quite a bit of "head" knowledge but runs, jumps, plays with vigor. Her imaginative world is rich in fantasy but she enjoys understanding the world around her. If she asks me why leaves turn color I will give her a true explanation that is on her level, not tell her that fairies painted them overnight. I get tired of Waldorf books being so black and white on this issue--they seem to present factual knowledge as being presented to children in esoteric scientific jargon or in the world of fantasy, the latter being the "approved" way. I'm also not going to present fairies, gnomes, elves as fact. I'll tell stories about them, I'll paint pictures of them, and I'll pretend with them, but I do not believe they exist and so I'm not going to present them to her as if they do. I think children enjoy fantasy but that they also appreciate non-fantasy and they both want and need to know the difference.



I'm sure there are a variety of other things I could have listed in both the pro and con Waldorf categories but these are the major things I could think of.

I'm looking forward to hearing about other's Waldorf-inspired journeys. I'm going to try and post some pictures of our home since I think it's always inspirational and helpful to get ideas from other mamas. I'd LOVE it if you would like to share pictures of your Waldorf-inspired homes and stories of the ways your family works (and chooses not to work) with Waldorf.


Allison:  a little bit Waldorf, a little bit Medievalish, and always"MOMMMMYYYY!" to sweet Cecily since 12.22.05
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#5 of 109 Old 09-19-2009, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A big welcome to everyone who has joined this thread! It's so wonderful to have company!

Allison:  a little bit Waldorf, a little bit Medievalish, and always"MOMMMMYYYY!" to sweet Cecily since 12.22.05
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#6 of 109 Old 09-19-2009, 01:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Laurel View Post
I'd like to join! Right now I'm mainly in research mode, as I've decided this is the year once and for all to decide if 1) we should homeschool (ds is currently in public school), 2) if we should "do Waldorf" and 3) to what extent. I'm incorporating a lot of Waldorf things into our home life with my 3-year-old dd and 7-year-old ds, and they are responding really well to it. I've been intrigued by Waldorf for many years and over the years have dabbled in different elements of it, but now I'm trying to really decide how I feel about it.

The more I delve into it, the more conflicted I feel. The things I love, I REALLY love. But I'm certainly not convinced about everything. I lurk on a Waldorf homeschoolers email list, and some things I am really enjoying, other things I know are not for me. (Mainly the really anthroposophical things...)

So I'm researching curriculums and trying to figure out what I'd use if we homeschool. I think I'd prefer Enki but for many reasons that's not going to be practical (cost, the fact that they only go up to 2nd grade, etc.). I'm trying to figure out how I'd use a lot of the content of various Waldorf curriculums but not necessarily the rigid timing of teaching various skills.

Anyway, that was a long story, but I'm just really glad to lurk on a thread like this!
I'm on this same path myself. You may already know but if you don't there is a good Waldorf homeschooling thread on the Homeschooling board. I like to lurk there quite a bit. I still haven't quite sorted out how to incorporate Waldorf ideas without sticking to their timeline either.

Allison:  a little bit Waldorf, a little bit Medievalish, and always"MOMMMMYYYY!" to sweet Cecily since 12.22.05
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#7 of 109 Old 09-19-2009, 01:49 PM
 
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subbing -- back later to post.
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#8 of 109 Old 09-19-2009, 03:45 PM
 
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Really glad to see this here, and I'll be back soon!

Flowers, fairies, gardens, and rainbows-- Seasons of Joy: 10 weeks of crafts, handwork, painting, coloring, circle time, fairy tales, and more!
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#9 of 109 Old 09-19-2009, 04:47 PM
 
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Oh, I'm excited for this

We are not fully Waldorf, and probably far from it. I've done some reading on the subject though, and I take what I love and kind of dismiss the rest?

We love the idea of family, and festivals.
I love story telling, and we've been working on that and so far so good!
We are very much into gnomes/fairies and other mystical creatures.

We don't really go with the media free thing - I let her watch nature videos, and I don't stress too much if someone gives us a toy that's not "Waldorf-y"


I will write more later but for now my throat's screaming for tea!

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#10 of 109 Old 09-19-2009, 05:05 PM
 
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Jumping in too. I do love the natural toys, for the aesthetic. And for us it helped draw a line in the sand where we could explain the dislike of battery powered everything. Toys that must DO something. I do believe that plastic toys can be open-ended...and we have some still (Little People stuff mostly). But to avoid the onslaught of Leap Frog and FisherPrice, the basic principle is handy. Plus I like having play areas throughout the family areas. And if I'm looking at beautiful toys, it's easier on the eyes! (Not that I have a show-room for a house...heck, it's pretty awful most of the time!!)

I like the simple family celebrations. The slower pace. The appreciation of beauty and nature. The reminder to Slow Down and learn to appreciate what you're doing.

I don't mind a Christian framework since the extended family is Christian, but I'm pretty much nothing. Not Christian. Not spiritual. Nothing. So I don't really delve deeper into anything too anthro-inspired.

I'm with a PP on using readily available art supplies. We use what we have.

But for everything I choose to skim over, I still love reading about purist Waldorf families! Very inspirational and it seems like a magical childhood!
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#11 of 109 Old 09-19-2009, 07:14 PM
 
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This describes us too. I have a 2.5 year old and although we won't be schooling for a few years yet we live waldorf inspired.

things we do:
* a few simple natural play areas (wooden kitche, easel, wooden cradle with
one waldorf doll I made, a set of wooden blocks, some wooden puzzles)
- we do have about 10 plastic super heroes that my husband insists on,
but I think superheroes can be waldorfy like fairies or gnomes

* traditional nature table

* traditions and festivals

* We'll follow the traditional topics studied each year of school (homeschooling)

* We definately do learning through life with out son helping do dishes, laundry, crafts that I'm working on, cooking, and overall just doing what we do

things we don't do
* anthroposophy views of spirituality (we're catholic)

* not allowing children to read if they want to

* verses and candle lighting for every event throughout the day

Urban homesteader married to my high school sweetheart, mama to V(4/07) and H(6/10)

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#12 of 109 Old 09-19-2009, 07:49 PM
 
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I'm here! I went to Waldorf schools my whole life -- preschool through high school graduation. It was a terrific experience for me.

There are many reasons, though, why this thread is the perfect place for me. For one, I have a very hard time with the idea that one/a family is either Waldorf or not Waldorf. I don't think there's a single way to be a Waldorf person/follower or family. I think one can say that most/all/some of the elements of the Waldorf philosophy work for your life, but "being Waldorf," to me, is a strange concept, even after having grown up, as we used to say, "a Waldorfian."

Waldorf is not the right type of school for me/my son for a number of reasons, mostly around the somewhat rigid curriculum and the very traditional pedagogy. The latter is the element that is the biggest non-match for DS. Beyond, that, though, things that I grew up with from my Waldorf schooling are a natural part of who I am. I like that things like a rhythm in the day, handwork, natural things/an appreciation of nature are all second nature to me, as opposed to something I have to work hard to have in my life. I also don't feel like there's a degree to which you have to do Waldorfy things -- so sometimes we have a nature table that's vibrant, and other times it's just another surface to hold papers in our house!

I feel like with all ways of life, parenting, schooling, etc. it's important to have flexibility and choose what works best. There is much that I choose for myself and my family that is in sync with the Waldorf way of life/Waldorf schooling, and for me that feels right.

Looking forward to hearing from others around here,

megin

Mommy to an amazing 8 year old, wife to an inspiring principal, and welcoming Wylie Grace! Our July 4th babe!
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#13 of 109 Old 09-19-2009, 09:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've really enjoyed reading everyone's responses. It's so interesting to see a full spectrum of people!

I know there is a massive Waldorf playroom thread, and although I lurk there to get new ideas I never feel all the comfortable posting there because we are not fully Waldorf. I thought since we've been doing lots of projects this summer that here might be a good place to share. I'd LOVE it if anyone else wanted to share, too.

Here are some of our pictures from our projects this summer and early autumn, as well as some just random pictures of our playspace that I had for showing to grandma in Florida. The large felt tree I have on our wall has detachable apples and leaves that I'm going to take off when our leaves start falling outside. The squirrel has fake fur and a button eye that I glued onto a squirrel outline I printed off the internet. At the bottom of the tree there is a little flap with a mouse hiding inside, which dd loves. We also have a play table where we put a seasonal felt playmat. DD wanted one with an apple orchard and pumpkin patch, and a maple tree with falling leaves, so that's what we did, although I personally think it's a bit too busy. I do love it, though, since it "centers" our room and it's just peaceful to look at and dd likes to play with the figurines. This summer we built dd a balance beam (she is SUCH a gymnast, so we also have a chin-up bar on one of our doors for climbing and hanging). We also repurposed a toddler table and made it a stand-up sand table for our balcony. I've been wanting a hide-out space for her for a while but I didn't want to spend oodles of money on a wooden frame or even a silk canopy so we decided to just pull out an old card table and cover it with baby blankets and put fake fur inside on the floor (to be honest, real animal skin kind of icks me out). We also recently found the most awesome wooden bench out of Chinese fir wood at Tuesday Morning, which is a high-end discount store. You can see it in one of our pictures of our den. It's really beautiful and dd loves to play with it. She stands on it, jumps off of it, turns it over to pretend it's a boat, uses for a horse or car, etc. I think it serves creatively much like they advertize playstands, and it is nice and compact for our space and we can use it for so many things and it will outlast childhood for sure. We are currently converting our old TV stand into an aquarium area, so I'll post pics of that once it's done in a week or so.

So, without babbling more . . .

http://s640.photobucket.com/albums/u...tumn%20Crafts/

Please someone else share some pictures too of crafts, nature tables, etc. I love getting inspiration!

Allison:  a little bit Waldorf, a little bit Medievalish, and always"MOMMMMYYYY!" to sweet Cecily since 12.22.05
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#14 of 109 Old 09-19-2009, 10:19 PM
 
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Great thread. Speaking as someone who has actually studied anthroposophy for many years and has a massive amount of experience with waldorf (student, parent, staff-member, grand-parent, teacher of teachers), when anthroposophy feels like an obligation it is absolutely wrong. Anthroposophy is for people who want to take it up. It should absolutely and totally be possible for someone to use as many aspects of waldorf education as they want and turn away from the aspects they don't want.

I'm really delighted to see what people do with their interest and waldorf and how they transform it to meet their needs and their family's needs.

My story about incorporating waldorf--into a public library.

This little rural library was already a bit waldorf leaning. There wasn't a computer for the little kids (no space), many of the toys were basic and made out of wood (they last longer) and the story hour included lots of singing.

When we moved to a new space, my daughter suggested that we add playstands and silks. They have been a huge hit with the children and with the parents. We have also added a few more nice wooden toys. Still no computers for the little ones (still not enough room, thank heavens). It is a friendly, welcoming, comfy space for children and parents.

There is lots that isn't waldorf, however. We have videos that circulate and I never tell parents not to let their children watch them. This is not my job. We also have audio/book sets and even a little tape player with headphones.

I see my role as public librarian as making the best choices I can within the budget available and the interests of the community. If the parents and kids had hated the playstands, we wouldn't have them any longer, something else would be filling that space. If parents were begging for computers for 3 year olds, we would have them, but they aren't, so we don't.

Same way I buy books I would never read. This isn't my library, it is the community library. Insofar as waldorf stuff can enrich the community it belongs in the community library.

So, insofar as waldorf stuff can enrich your family life it belongs there. Anything waldorf that will not enrich your family life doesn't belong there.
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#15 of 109 Old 09-20-2009, 12:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LuxPerpetua View Post
~ Boxing in Learning. I really dislike that in Waldorf ideology there is a particular progression laid out unilaterally for every child of what must be learned and at what point it should be learned. Life isn't that simplistic nor is the human will. I think some children may not be interested in letters until age 7 and they should not be rushed in their journey, but nor should a precocious learner be held back.
I loved your whole post and agreed with so much of it, but especially this. I'm highlighting this because I think this is the real crux of my conflicted feelings about Waldorf. This is the thing that has the biggest impact on my choices right now, and this is the thing that seems hardest to change or adapt.

My big dilemma right now is, as a possible/probably homeschooling parent, which Waldorf-inspired curriculum do I choose for my child? And how on earth do I adapt to meet his needs? I have a 7-year-old who is in public school second grade, already reading well. By Waldorf standards, he should only be in first grade (because he barely turned 7). One thing that I do really like about Waldorf is Steiner's themes, how in first grade they do the fairy tales, in second grade the saints stories and fables, etc. I do tend to agree that the content of those themes would fit really well with how I see ds'd emotional development. But much the rest of the academic content would be too easy and would be alot of stuff he's already done, especially with reading and writing. I guess I'm worried that he'd be bored doing Waldorf second grade next year, after having completed ps second grade, but he wouldn't be ready for the themes of Waldorf third grade. And mixing/matching things together sounds really overwhelming!

If I can figure this one out, I think I'll have no problem making my decision about homeschooling!

I think I'll be facing some similar things with dd. She's only three, and I am not in any way, shape, or form doing anything academic with her. But I think there's a good chance she'll be reading early, just from being around her and knowing her. So I'll be in the same boat of trying to figure out how to make the academic content fit the thematic content.
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#16 of 109 Old 09-20-2009, 12:59 AM
 
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Actually, I think matching the themes and the academic level isn't that tricky. The stories aren't limited to simple language and there is no reason to limit the choice of books or stories to a level below what your child can enjoy.

One of the major advantages, to me, of the oral approach to teaching in waldorf education is that children can be offered really rich stories in fairly complex narrative form. I spent most of my time in public school really bored because I was always being offered simple stories (stupid stories much of the time) using limited vocabularies. You read the material and then present the stories orally to your child. After that you can do anything you want around the material on any academic level which is appropriate.

The only way you'll run into a problem is if you are buying a pre-made curriculum and trying to use it without any adjustment.
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#17 of 109 Old 09-20-2009, 04:03 AM
 
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Hi all,
My name is Laura, I live in Cork, Ireland with my dp, dd (4) and ds (1). I came across waldorf through this forum really.
Slowly, very slowly I am learning more about it and incorporating it into our lives. However, really thinking about it, we have only incorporated a tiny bit, yet it fits in a lot with what we do anyway.
We are very outdoors kind of people and our day always involves sometime outside. We garden a lot and grow our own and the seasons are for that reason (amongst others of course) important. We have lots of little family rituals and traditions, yet they are not set in stone.
we don't have a strong routine, as I like to have some flexibility in our lives as we are a very active family outside the home. But, we do have rhythms at bed and getting ready to go out (which tends to be panic and chaos ).
However reading this board has made me think more about incorporating more of a weekly routine. I am hoping to make up a calendar for the kids using photos and drawings so that we can plan out week and follow more of a routine and become more organised. I also would like to incorporate more set days for cleaning.. will give this more thought.
What else.. toys, before kind of anything goes, however I was always very anti character toys and barbie , next has come battery toys which I don't buy and have now given away what we had. I am now really inspired by the idea of only giving your children beautiful things. This has really made me think. So much of what we have given them before and what has been given, I would discribe almost as ugly! Why would we do this? It seems almost disrespectful now I've thought of it. Thinking back to toys from my childhood that I remember fondly they were often handmade, or ery beautiful. So this is something that dp and I have been discussing recently and I think we will be making further changes to.
TV is allowed in the house although I limit time and types of programmes watched. I'd be happy to give it up altogether but there is no way dp would do that . I do also let my dd use the computer occassionally to do 'starfall'.
I would never limit what my kids are allowed to learn and I also believe in absolute honesty. I encourage imaginative play, thoughts and story telling, but if dd asks me a question (recently we had: 'what happens when you die?' and 'how do Babies get in your tummy?') I will give her what I feel is an age apropriate honest answer.
Schooling wise, dd goes to a high scope preschool that she started before I discovered this. We are thinking of moving nearer to a waldorf preschool, but that is mainly a coincidence. As we are hoping to move before dd starts school we hjave as yet made no decision about where she will be attending, but our options are VERY limited here, it's likely to be catholic school (we are not catholic and are not enamoured with the catholic shurch's ethos or behaviour) or home schooling... very undecided and have put all thoughts about this on hold til we have the move out of the way.
So looking back on my post we do very little that it waldorf but I am very inspired by everyones commitment to raising their children, challening the norm and finding what is right and what works for you and your family.
The more I read, the more I think and the more we change and are growing as a family.
Hope you feel I do enough to join the board , looking forward to chatting more
Laura
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#18 of 109 Old 09-20-2009, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Welcome aboard!

I don't think this thread should be limited by how much Waldorf you incorporate into your lives. We've done varying degrees in our own home. And, to be honest, this week our daily rhythms have been so off it's insane! Please post and don't feel like you need to be a certain degree Waldorfish to contribute. All thoughts are very welcome!

Allison:  a little bit Waldorf, a little bit Medievalish, and always"MOMMMMYYYY!" to sweet Cecily since 12.22.05
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#19 of 109 Old 09-20-2009, 10:12 AM
 
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What a great thread!

I am a single mama with two little ones (ds is 6 and dd is 4). Before I was seperated and divorced from my husband, I was a SAHM, and ds attended classes at the Waldorf school as an infant with me (a Singing Garden), then Parents and Tots, then Nursery, and finally his second year of nursery at an amazing biodynamic farm where his teachers were both former WS teachers and had started their own program. The children ground grain and gathered eggs and made bread in an outdoor wood fired oven every day. I am so thankful that he got to have that experience. I stayed home and did Parents and Tots with dd, and then, as ds was going into kindy, my XH and I split up. I knew that I had to find a career that would allow me to be with my children but also support us. I've wanted to do education for some time, and seriously considered Waldorf teacher training. That would have involved me travelling to New Hampshire for a month for several consecutive summers, and I just couldn't be away from my children. Also, there is only one Waldorf school in our area, and it is far enough away that I would have to move to make it enjoyable.
So, I decided to go for my Master's in Education with Montessori certification. The university here has one of the best programs in the country, and it is a 15 minute drive from my home. I got a part time job at a local Catholic Montessori school, which I LOVE, and am in my second year of grad school. Ds is in my class (wonderful), and dd is around the corner at a M preschool program (great- but can't wait until she's at our school!). There are tons of Montessori programs in the area, public and private, and I will also be able to teach in traditional schools if need be. I feel comfortable knowing that I will always be able to find a good job that I love, and that my children will be getting a wonderful education, but there are things about Waldorf that will stay with me forever.
I love the emphasis on beauty, and try to keep our home and all the "things" around us beautiful. I love the protective, warm nature of the environment and all that surrounds children. I learned a lot about diet and warmth, singing, and the importance of handwork, and that has carried on into our lives now. We sing blessings and light a candle at supper time, TV is very limited (maybe one mama approved dvd a week- we don't have a converter box, so no TV programming), we do the woolen long unders in winter, I knit, sew, and needle felt, we do puppet plays (with the felted puppets I've made), and I try to keep toys natural and open ended. I feel very connected with nature, so we stay in touch with the seasons and celebrate the yearly rhythms.
My greatest challenge is that XH is very conventional in his approach during his time with the children. The children are exposed to Bratz dolls, He-Man, video games, almost constant screen time, and lots of foods that aren't great for them when they are at his house. Interestingly (and thankfully), they play well and eat well here regardless. My mantra (from Heaven on Earth) is "Love carries the day."
I enjoy many Anthroposophical ideas, and I'm looking forward to learning more and finding ways to integrate them into my family culture.
I'm currently researching and writing a paper comparing Waldorf and Montessori for my coursework.
I'm so looking forward to learning and sharing with all of you!
We will be making felted meteors this week to prepare for Michaelmas, and going to a Pumpkin Patch next weekend. What are other families up to?

so many roads to ease my soul...

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#20 of 109 Old 09-20-2009, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What an amazing experience for your children being able to gather their own eggs and grind their own grain. I'd like to do that!

Today we're planning on going to a state park after church and just run around and pick wild apples. I personally love to just happen upon a wild apple tree and try knocking down apples with random sticks (or having dh climb the tree and shake the branches). I think this way is a bit more adventurous than a traditional apple orchard. And dd enjoys looking for worm holes.

Allison:  a little bit Waldorf, a little bit Medievalish, and always"MOMMMMYYYY!" to sweet Cecily since 12.22.05
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#21 of 109 Old 09-20-2009, 11:16 AM
 
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I think I belong here! I really love waldorf, but there are some bits we don't follow. Media for one. In theory, we would be computer and TV free, but the kids do some learning games they love on here, I need the interaction as I'm fairly cut off from society being in BFE, and I admit we have family movie nights and watch too much tv (but we don't have cable) compared to what I know is right. But changing old habits is hard!

Anthroposophy also doesn't sit entirely right with me. I'm not Christian, so that's not the problem, but reading through some of the books with the spiritual aspect seems a bit weird to my own religious thoughts.

We try to create a good routine, but often it fails and I'm not the best GD'er there ever was, but I try.

Also-natural toys. I would just die to have just natural "real" toys in my house. But with my in-laws, it's never going to happen. I am constantly battling the plastic monster and the commercialism. We do have some I approve of, though-legos, magnetix, etc.

We were supposed to go to the Apple Orchard today, but it's raining, so we are going to try and if not we will go next week.

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#22 of 109 Old 09-20-2009, 11:16 AM
 
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wow the grain grinding sounds lovely!! So does gathering apples. We went on a walk in the woods today, we gathered nuts and berries and pretended we were hunter gathers, making traps etc.. The woods end in a bech where we threw stones into the water and had a snack and some hot chocolate. We found lots of bits of sea glass, which we gathered and have brought home to wash and play with as pirates treasure. We played with stones and made 'dinner' with shell tea sets and pebbles which we left in a wee tiny cave which dd said was an elf home. She also found a stone, long with a knobby bit at the end, she called this 'stone child' and says it looks like an angel. That's come home with us along with loads of leaves and twigs that we intend to make a big autumn picture out of.
We've just made bramble and apple tartlets which we'll have with dinner later and now she's off out to play with the neighbours while ds sleeps. Bliss full day really!
Hope you all had equally lovely days.
loving this thread Laura x
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#23 of 109 Old 09-20-2009, 10:11 PM
 
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I love hearing everyones thoughts on waldorf and how they use it! I posted pictures of our play area a week or so ago on my blog here http://autumnadventures.wordpress.com/

Laura, i would love to hear more about living in cork and how natural family friendly it is. I have never been, but it for some reason is at the top of the places I would love to live or at least visit for an extended amount of time list.

Urban homesteader married to my high school sweetheart, mama to V(4/07) and H(6/10)

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#24 of 109 Old 09-20-2009, 10:28 PM
 
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Hi everyone!

My intro: I live in the midwest and have 4 children, ages 14, 11, 3, and 1. I'm a SAHM and we are Waldorf-inspired.

I can get into: natural toys, nature tables, the emphasis on nature and rhythms, seasonal celebrations, etc. I firmly believe that our youngest two children benefit each and every day from our waldorf-inspired choices.

I just can't believe in: the whole anthroposophy ball

I have to be honest and say that most of waldorf's educational practices don't work for us either. We started exploring Montessori for that earlier this year and I've been very happy doing things that way.

A happy woman
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#25 of 109 Old 09-20-2009, 10:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I love hearing everyones thoughts on waldorf and how they use it! I posted pictures of our play area a week or so ago on my blog here http://autumnadventures.wordpress.com/

Laura, i would love to hear more about living in cork and how natural family friendly it is. I have never been, but it for some reason is at the top of the places I would love to live or at least visit for an extended amount of time list.
I am totally envious of your beautiful wooden floors. I wish we could have those, but as we rent an apt. we have no say in the matter. Bah.

I saw you made some beeswax tapers. We've done votives because I'm not sure how to dip tapers. Is it easy?

Allison:  a little bit Waldorf, a little bit Medievalish, and always"MOMMMMYYYY!" to sweet Cecily since 12.22.05
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#26 of 109 Old 09-20-2009, 11:05 PM
 
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Oh, tapers are super easy! I got a wax melting pot at michaels so that I'd have a tall thin pot for melting wax so that I wouldn't have to melt so much. Then I tied cotton wick onto a coat hanger and started dipping them one or two at a time into the melted wax. usually by the time I got through all of them on the hanger the first ones were ready to dip again but if they were still a little gooey I would just hang them up for a couple seconds. Then just stop dipping when they are as thick as you want. I make them while I'm doing something else like making the bread I made that day so that I can alternate wait times and not have any time just standing there waiting.

Yeah, our floors need refinished but we love them anyway. Wood floors were a requirement for me when we bought our house because my dad is a carpenter who specializes in wood floors and I know how awesome they are

Urban homesteader married to my high school sweetheart, mama to V(4/07) and H(6/10)

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#27 of 109 Old 09-21-2009, 12:34 AM
 
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Great Thread!!!!

We will join this wonderful crowd of Waldorf inspired. Currently my almost 5yo dd1 is in her third year at a Waldorf preschool. It is so wonderful and feel lucky to be there. DD2 will go once she gets old enough. Now that we have started with some alternative schooling I'm having a hard time wanting dd1 to go to public school. So we are still in the process of considering waldorf inspired homeschool.

Things that I love are the natural toys, the colors, the seasons and celebrations, the Elsa Beskow books . Most of all just how it makes me feel. I feel so calm and connected and like I'm doing the right thing. I love that my daughter wants me to tell her stories all the time (though she wants a "story from your heart about a worm"). Also the nature connection. DD is interested in rocks, mushrooms, loves to see gnomes in a garden and wear "fairy dust".

Some things that I'm not so good at....rhythm, ugh, just having a hard time with that one. I work random days, so it makes it a bit tough. Also the other big one is TV. I didn't get to see too much growing up and now LOVe it. So I do let dd watch it more than I should (um like when I want to just sleep 5 more minutes ). In the Kindergarten snack book I found a few things odd, like for them not to eat too many eggs b/c of the connection to fertility and stuff like that.

All in all, I really love it and enjoy reading about Waldorf.

Here are some pics of dd's room where toys are kept
http://www.flickr.com/photos/34213372@N02/3940047970/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/34213372@N02/3940029600/

dd's bed area
http://www.flickr.com/photos/34213372@N02/3940046562/

Then a random picture...I was eco and wrapped dd2's birthday gifts in fabric. Not totally fancy but it's ok...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/34213372@N02/3940030758/

Mom to Izzy biggrinbounce.gif (12/04) and Violet 2whistle.gif (9/07). love.gif  saynovax.gif treehugger.gif

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#28 of 109 Old 09-21-2009, 02:09 AM
 
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We'd definitely be more in the "Waldorf-inspired" crowd. I really like a number of things about Waldorf - even the educational aspects of it. However, I am unable to accept the anthroposophical underpinings. For instance:

-We really like wet-on-wet watercolor, but I don't believe it's a spiritual practice. It's just really fun!
-We practice delayed education, but it's not because I think the child is in a "dream state" or that it has anything to do with their soul. We just really believe that it's important for children to have a childhood and appreciate that Waldorf trends the same way.
-We may work on keeping los warm, but again it's more of a practical issue than a spiritual one. We work on doing that in our own way, though, as the woolens are a bit out of our price range.
-etc

I tend to believe that Steiner was able to key in on some things that are generally true about children and the way they develop. He may have placed spiritual language/meanings with them, but that doesn't mean that just because I may agree with them that I also have to have those same beliefs. I had a tough time with this at first, but am finding it easier for me to make that distinction.

That's one of the things I like the most about being a homeschooler - greater flexibility in what I accept. We're also skipping a number of the traditional festivals. They don't jive with us so we're going to do our own instead. I suppose as time goes on we might look more Waldorf on the outside than if one were to go on a philosophical/beliefs basis, if that makes sense.
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#29 of 109 Old 09-21-2009, 09:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, mama! Where did you get that delicious wooden basket beside your dd's kitchen??? I love it!

Allison:  a little bit Waldorf, a little bit Medievalish, and always"MOMMMMYYYY!" to sweet Cecily since 12.22.05
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#30 of 109 Old 09-21-2009, 10:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by pampered_mom View Post
We'd definitely be more in the "Waldorf-inspired" crowd. I really like a number of things about Waldorf - even the educational aspects of it. However, I am unable to accept the anthroposophical underpinings. For instance:

-We really like wet-on-wet watercolor, but I don't believe it's a spiritual practice. It's just really fun!
-We practice delayed education, but it's not because I think the child is in a "dream state" or that it has anything to do with their soul. We just really believe that it's important for children to have a childhood and appreciate that Waldorf trends the same way.
-We may work on keeping los warm, but again it's more of a practical issue than a spiritual one. We work on doing that in our own way, though, as the woolens are a bit out of our price range.
-etc

I tend to believe that Steiner was able to key in on some things that are generally true about children and the way they develop. He may have placed spiritual language/meanings with them, but that doesn't mean that just because I may agree with them that I also have to have those same beliefs. I had a tough time with this at first, but am finding it easier for me to make that distinction.

That's one of the things I like the most about being a homeschooler - greater flexibility in what I accept. We're also skipping a number of the traditional festivals. They don't jive with us so we're going to do our own instead. I suppose as time goes on we might look more Waldorf on the outside than if one were to go on a philosophical/beliefs basis, if that makes sense.
This is totally us, as well!

Allison:  a little bit Waldorf, a little bit Medievalish, and always"MOMMMMYYYY!" to sweet Cecily since 12.22.05
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