So what exactly is it and how do you do it? - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 6 Old 01-10-2011, 09:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
TheSlingMama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 263
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I love the thought of Waldorf schooling and home but I am really struggling with fully understanding everything it is and how it effects what is considered "normal" modern life?  How do you mamas incorporate it into your family and life (and I'm not just talking about your homes, I read that thread it was very helpful!)?  I suppose I'm not entirely sure what I'm asking exactly, lol.  Just tell me about Waldorf, why you love it, whatever strikes your fancy!

TheSlingMama is offline  
#2 of 6 Old 01-11-2011, 09:27 PM
 
melamama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: planet earth
Posts: 1,705
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I think there is so much variation with how people apply Waldorf.  Waldorf-inspired is a giant category.  From one side of it, there's a real consumer piece about having and owning the "right" things.  Granted most of those "right" things can be hand crafted and made yourself, but it is undeniable that there is a big market in selling Waldorf inspired.

 

When I first read your post, what came to my mind were the ways that we are different than our mainstream relatives.  In general my kids don't have any media or screen time in their day to day life.  My oldest is just turning 11 so we are figuring out how to do some sort of movie night or something for her, but my other ones don't do anything like that.  

 

Rhythm is also another giant Waldorf piece for us.  We have a rhythm to our day, to our week, to the seasons and to the year.  Bedtime is regular, breakfast is regular, when and how we eat dinner is the same.  This was a revelation in parenting to me.  Rhythm keeps me sane, and my children calm.  Also, I am the parent I am in charge and we do what we do.

 

Warmth.  This is another Waldorf biggie.  My kids hands are warm.  Their cheeks are pink, and no they are not too hot.  They don't get to choose if they wear a coat, or a hat.  Actually, hats are non-negotiable.  Woolies or silkies are non-negotiable from about October to May.  Natural fibers whenever possible.  I am not just keeping them warm, but I am allowing for their bodies to put all their energy into growing instead of diverting it to keep warm.

 

The gift that I get from Waldorf is that I have children that seem like children to me.  They play. For hours.  On their own.  

They also fight, and are mean to each other at times, don't brush their teeth and don't always pick up their rooms, but I like them and I know a big part of that is our Waldorf home.

melamama is offline  
#3 of 6 Old 01-12-2011, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
TheSlingMama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 263
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Thank you for your response!  I know what I want to ask but I'm having problems articulating it to others.  We're working on the rhythm thing - we have been for some time before we discovered Waldorf so yay for me, lol!  We live in a tiny 2 bedroom apartment so I'm having difficulties making our home "Waldorf-inspired".  We're doing well with the toy area.  I don't like plastic toys so she has very few and only one of them is readily accessible at all times (one of those little ball popper things.  She seems to use it as a therapy toy when she feel to much energy she runs it around for a minute or so and then puts it back.).  She owns ONE character shirt (Ni Hao Kai Lan) and we restrict her TV time.  We only allow Ni Hao Kai Lan and select movies and only when she needs to take a nap and can't let go.  Not the ideal way to get her to go out but the one that works at the moment.  We shoot for less than 30 minutes of tv a day if any.  However, this momma enjoys about 4 tv shows on a regular basis but I watch them once the little is asleep or while she's playing by herself.  Not perfect but it's a work in progress.  I'm very excited to get her a Mamamor Doll for her birthday and I hope to get her playstands.  I love your thought on warmth - my little is rosy too so I understand but that's a lovely way to put it!  She just turned 18 months so we've got some time.  I'm hoping by her birthday in July to have our home almost 100% waldorf inspired and enroll her in the parent toddler program at our local Waldorf school.  I'm still trying to convince my fiance that it's worth the move - it's about 90 minutes away from us.  I can get away with it once a week for two months to "test" the school out with the toddler program but in order to enroll, I'm going to have to get him to move up there.  I'm really a little adrift starting this journey but I know I'll love it as will my daughter and appreciate all your help!

TheSlingMama is offline  
#4 of 6 Old 01-12-2011, 01:06 PM
 
Demeter_shima's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Henniker, NH
Posts: 365
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

What strikes me about Waldorf/Steiner education is that it's about staying connected with nature and learning Holistically. 

When the BIG picture is taken into consideration in learning, and the BIG picture is "a spiritual being having a physical experience"...in a new and violent world (in every sense of the word) it makes perfect sense to follow Waldorf guidelines of sheltering them from the violent onslaught of modern life, media, etc... in early childhood especially.  Learning things organically, through experience, never drills.  What stands out to me also, is the idea of controlling the environment, so the child is FREE to be creative within that environment.  This is a theme through all ages, but more easily seen in the younger years.  

 

The thing that most people seem to be put off by or even freaked out by, is the low-no media recommendation and the seemingly low focus on conventional academia in early ed.  HOWEVER, in my experience working with children and in a Waldorf summer program and even with my own 3 year old...I can safely say two things: 

1- NO amount of sheltering your child from the media at large will hurt, hinder or inhibit them unless you live IN an isolated commune where they see and meet NOBODY who talks, watches etc...said media.  It's on the bus, street, mall, park...everywhere...even their friends toys and clothing expose them to commercialism and TV...even if you don't have electricity!

 

2- I feel like a better mother when I follow Waldorf guidelines...and it's not just because the toys are pretty (though that IS actually part of their value) I have a visceral feeling that it's right...and as you go along, if you can get through the modern day voice that says "WHAT?  No reading until 2nd grade?"  then you start to see the WHY and the brilliance and simplicity of it all.  

 

Surrounding a child with lovely, softness and warmth and beautiful things...in hopes that they too will learn to bring beauty to the world and pass on the peace they were given unto the world...these are wondrous goals!    That is what Waldorf brings to our life so far...and later as he grows, we'll start to see how that evolves.  


Mother of 2 boys, new little one on the way
Demeter_shima is offline  
#5 of 6 Old 01-13-2011, 07:29 AM
 
childsplay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: In the woods.
Posts: 445
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by melamama View Post

I think there is so much variation with how people apply Waldorf.  Waldorf-inspired is a giant category.  From one side of it, there's a real consumer piece about having and owning the "right" things.  Granted most of those "right" things can be hand crafted and made yourself, but it is undeniable that there is a big market in selling Waldorf inspired.

 

When I first read your post, what came to my mind were the ways that we are different than our mainstream relatives.  In general my kids don't have any media or screen time in their day to day life.  My oldest is just turning 11 so we are figuring out how to do some sort of movie night or something for her, but my other ones don't do anything like that.  

 

Rhythm is also another giant Waldorf piece for us.  We have a rhythm to our day, to our week, to the seasons and to the year.  Bedtime is regular, breakfast is regular, when and how we eat dinner is the same.  This was a revelation in parenting to me.  Rhythm keeps me sane, and my children calm.  Also, I am the parent I am in charge and we do what we do.

 

Warmth.  This is another Waldorf biggie.  My kids hands are warm.  Their cheeks are pink, and no they are not too hot.  They don't get to choose if they wear a coat, or a hat.  Actually, hats are non-negotiable.  Woolies or silkies are non-negotiable from about October to May.  Natural fibers whenever possible.  I am not just keeping them warm, but I am allowing for their bodies to put all their energy into growing instead of diverting it to keep warm.

 

The gift that I get from Waldorf is that I have children that seem like children to me.  They play. For hours.  On their own.  

They also fight, and are mean to each other at times, don't brush their teeth and don't always pick up their rooms, but I like them and I know a big part of that is our Waldorf home.



I love this!

 

When my children were younger we led a very Waldorf -inspired life....however, as time moved on and my children moved into the public system, and we were surrounded more and more with mainstream culture we kind of lost it.

Two months ago I took a good look at my home daycare playspace and my life, our home and our children, and saw nothing but plastic, chaos and general unhappiness. My own children (8, 6 & 6) were spending more time in front of the television, more time complaining, and really losing that natural curiosity of well, everything. Their crafting baskets were lost in the rubble of messy closets and under-beds, they had stopped exploring the forest that is our home, they begged for Nintendo Ds's and an x-box (they got neither), it was as if they had slipped from the wonder of childhood into something else, something I wasn't comfortable with but knew was my fault. Our whole family unit was out of sync. I was frusterated, tired of nagging/arguing, they were unhappy, DH was unhappy, the house was a mess, even my daycare kids were in a funk.

So I changed things. Big time. All the kids, even the little ones, and I had a grand day clearing out the junk. Plastic toys were bagged up (and dropped at the donation bins) the tv in my own children's play room was unplugged and covered with a sarong. ( and has so far been used twice for Nova) We sifted through the basement storage for all our old baskets and wooden/cloth toys. I donated my old cookware to the cause, and an old rolling pin that is now the household favorite. They use flipped over baskets as stoves and I found a big bag of ancient table linnens and doilies that are now used as everything from pancakes to tigers.

We got back into a nice rythm, particularly with our mealtimes, and I feel much more peaceful and ready for whatever our day brings.

I got off my butt and went outside with the kids (no use me complaining that they're not out if I'm not right?) who went wild running and playing in the forest. It took a few days of pushing the outdoor time but after they realized it was fun/remembered what it's like to just be outdoors and explore. Ds (6) started making dolls, brooms and dome shaped little houses out of vines for our play areas (he's made quite a few and now would rather do that than watch tv) My other DS has started knitting again and DD is back to shadowing me in the kitchen or laundry, etc. Their creativity has exploded and it's so great! We've stopped pushing and stressing the reading- or lack thereof at home. They get so much of it at school anyway, whilethey do their homework of course, I've let go of the idea that my child needs to be at 'X' level, by 'X' time because so-and-so's kids are. We're focusing now on storytelling, as a group or alone, and DS (the troubled reader) has started picking up books and magazines on his own and trying them out. No stress, just completely self-led.

The warmth is SUCH a big deal as well, I love the wool hats and socks and DD is back to wearing layered skirts and wool sweaters, and there's nothing more comforting to me than to see a line of damp wool mitts strung above the woodstove.

Anyway, I apologize for my long drawn post....OP, as for Waldorf toys, I've actually only ever bought a few things because you can pretty much make most items. Scrap material, wood ends, sticks and vines are awesome, as well as what's in your kitchen sitting unused. (wooden salad bowls, old pots and pans, rolling pins, wooden spoons, etc) I've never bought playsilks either but have a few baskets of sarongs and lenghts of silky material that I bought on clearance at the fabric store. We use quilt racks as playstands, because they were cheaper and they do the trick. You can find wooden doll furniture at second hand stores or yard sales really cheap as well : )

childsplay is offline  
#6 of 6 Old 01-13-2011, 11:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
TheSlingMama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 263
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Thanks so much mamas - you've been so helpful!  My mom is quite artsy so she has already made several toys for DD and we've been able to convert a lot of things.  I'm going one step at a time and am loving it!  I know this is the right path for my family and I'm so excited!  My dd's crayon rocks should arrive any moment and I can't wait to see what we can create for Auntie's birthday card!  I'll probably have more questions but am so glad I found someplace to get real life real mom answers!

TheSlingMama is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off