I've been reading bits and pieces on this forum after getting interested initially reading some of the fabulous craft ideas when I was searching for christmas gift inspirations and I've been coming back and back again.
A lot of ideas I've found here resonate for me, and maybe particularly at the moment when I feel so helplessly swept up in the craziness that is Christmas.
But the ideal of a media-free home is a long way off and without any of my relatives, and certainly not my DH on board, there is only so much I can realistically achieve. A waldorf school is not realistic either unless I'm prepared to drag my little ones through 3 hours of commuter traffic each day. But as long as they are home with me, I would like to create an oasis of peace and growth in our home, nurture their minds and practice a more harmonious way of living.
I feel like I'm constantly fighting the bombardment of branding, and the barrage of plastic toys and the constant pull of the television. Limiting their access only seems to make all those things even more enticing. I'm not sure where to begin or even certain what I hope to achieve??
So I'm looking for some suggestions on a couple of levels.
First, suggestions of where to begin - on the first steps - maybe some good links to resources and information. How did you begin?
But I'd also like to know what are the most important things that you do on a day to day basis - important to you and for you, I mean - what is it that stands out for you? I suppose I'm looking for the practical stuff, rather than the ideas.
I'd really love to hear also from anyone in a similar position to me - ie Waldorf inspired but perhaps not in a position to take it all the way
I would really encourage you to seek out a parent-child class. They usually aren't very expense, and have been a wonderful resource for us. If your kids are too old for a parent child class, maybe get in touch with the school in your area or see if there is some type of homeschool waldorf community or other people who are willing to work with you. There are festivals and gatherings, which, I'll admit, I like as much as I find corny. But being in a group of other people doing the same thing helps so much. Having DD be in a waldorf school is unlikely to ever be a financial possiblity for us, and I'm not sure how I really feel about anthroposophy, but I really love so many of the ideas. So the parent child class has been ideal for us.
I'm a bit of a scatterbrain, so I am working on developing our home rhythm. Being in the class helps me do that very much, as does seeing the calm demeanor of the teacher. She talks about "holding the space" for children by having that strong daily rhythm and also by doing meaningful physical work in their presence. So that is the second half of it for me. I spend most of the day engaged in whatever nourishing and creative physical tasks I can, mainly home stuff - keeping the environment pleasant and beautiful for us, as much as I can, cooking nutritious foods, and doing handwork. I have always loved creating things, so "having permission" to work at these creative tasks while my daughter plays nearby has been very useful for me. It's a balance though. I knit a lot because I can pick it up and put it down, and pick it up and put it down. And I enjoy it. I enjoy keeping the home too, or I wouldn't (and in fact, didn't) do it. But it's pleasant for me to create a pleasant home for this time. :)
We also do a lot of singing and humming through the day. Not talking too much. Not explaining too much, but singing and humming along. I learned some sweet little songs and fingerplays in the class I do with my DD, and I learned how to tell stories using little scenes I've set up. That's one of the things I do with her that we both really enjoy. Her face lights up every single time I get out the little animals I made and set them up on the table to tell a story. She often helps me set the scene. I have made up a few very very simple stories about baby animals to tell her.
In the class I also learned little verses to say before doing things, and I make up my own too. When I put her socks on her, I tell her, "Catch a baby, put a sock on, catch a baby, put another sock on." Sounds silly, but little things like that seem to help. These are part of the rhythm.
We are not media free, although I would have liked to have been. In my house, I feel that is likely to be a losing battle. So I work to have a media rhythm too. We have a movie once a week, and she watches football on Sundays with her dad. I notice a huge difference the weeks where we hold the rhythm and the weeks where we don't.
Finally, the biggest thing for me, which I am working very hard at, is to have a rhythm for myself. I try to get in bed by 11:30 so that I can be rested enough to face the day. That's more of a schedule than a rhythm, but I need a stronger boundary for myself. Hmmm.... notice that edit timestamp, eh? ;) I'm also trying to have some tea every morning. I've never had a strong rhythm in my life and I feel more calm and centered when I do. So I try to do little things the same every day.
Links I love:
The parenting passageway: http://theparentingpassageway.com/
Nicole Spring's blog is a wonderful gateway: http://frontierdreams.blogspot.com/
This is a nice article about fairy tales: http://www.waldorfwithoutwalls.com/articles/grimms
and some more -
The Dec 4th blog on this page is wonderful too, I think: http://wishwondersurprise.blogspot.com/
The Children's year is a great book for handwork. Also there are some wonderful little books I found at my library called things like Making Fairy Tale Scenes by Sybille Adolphe and The Nature Corner by M van Leeuwen which are helpful for handwork ideas.
I've heard Beyond the Rainbow Bridge highly recommended but they don't have it at my library and I'm too cheap to buy it. :)
thanks for that reply! It's so interesting to read the details of your days. I'm caught up at the moment in wanting to change so much of our daily life, and reading about yours I stop and think "I do that", or "that's a bit like when I do XXX, if I just change a little bit"....makes everything more manageable.
When I think about my own childhood, my mother naturally established rhythms in our home. Even as an adult, when I visit home and she is not there, it's like going into a house in winter with no fire in the hearth. I want to learn how to be more centred, how to create that sense of rhythm for my kids. It doesn't come naturally at all :-)
I'll have a look at those links later when I have more time. Looking forward to sitting down with a cup of tea and having a good read and think! thank you!
"First, suggestions of where to begin - on the first steps - maybe some good links to resources and information. How did you begin?"
We have a Waldorf playroom at home and are currently headed in the homeschooling direction. We have attended parent child playgroups in the past, but I feel like reading books and using what works for us it what resonated the best ("beyond the rainbow bridge" and "Simplicity Parenting"). We began with replacing plastic toys with wooden ones, which was harder for our extended family (in laws, etc.) to get on board with, but this Christmas they have really come around and I should be able to eliminate all plastic by the end of the year. After that we got rid of cable and narrowed it down to one movie a day (im being honest here :) and now we are down to one movie on Friday nights, sometimes Saturday night also. She'll be 3 in two months (which is prek) and i plan on leaving out curriculum until she is 6, she is self learning how to read, which is hereditary in our family, so i'm not fighting it. To get to the point we are now, it took us about a year and it's important to remember to not create a schedule, but to create a rhythm (making everything flow, in breath/ out breath)
I shop at on campus stores (waldorf school and steiner colleges), novanatural.com and thewoodenwagon.com.
As for educating myself, I love to be in a classroom, so I plan to attend at Summer Conference at a Steiner Institute this coming summer or the next summer.
"But I'd also like to know what are the most important things that you do on a day to day basis - important to you and for you, I mean - what is it that stands out for you?"
Right now our rhythm looks like this:
7-745 wake up, get milk and morning snack
8 use restroom
9-11 free play
3-4 snack/ relax
5 prep and make dinner together
7-745 bed time
Mama to DD(4) & DS
thanks for sharing cassandraz. Seems insurmountable until you break it into small steps. I'm not even sure how to begin to tackle the mountains of plastic. Every time I turn around there seems to be another present of a toy with a thousand little pieces, or a battery operated noise maker. Fair play to you for getting your in-laws on board with this!
When we first started out, my DD1 was just over 2 years old, and my DD2 was a few months old. DD1 was very much into TV, as were DH and I, and the TV was always on in our house. We had a plethora of plastic media branded toys, liscensed character shirts, etc. Currently all that remains is a Dora blanket and some Littlest pet shop underwear, though it was only purchased since it was on sale and she has no clue what they are, lol.
My DH wasn't on board- at all. I made the changes since I was a SAHM, and he saw a marked difference in DD1, and agreed. In-laws are a battle I'm not willing to fight, but we have other issues. I have no family, so I can't help you there.
For us, the seasonal festivals and celebrations and the emphasis on nature are what did it for us. That and the no TV and limit media thing.
As was mentioned by a previous poster- I love Nicole Spring's blog as well. www.frontierdreams.blogspot.com
Hi alton, I'm just hoping to start on this journey too!
I am lucky to have DH on board (we've been trying to read more about Waldorf together but so far the articles have been more about Waldorf education, as opposed to living it day to day). We will also have to fight the mountain of plastic, but I'm in the process of at least giving away any toys with batteries to various charities this Christmas. And DS doesn't get much in the way of media, although he does watch videos in the car (it's the only thing that keeps him from screaming for the whole drive) but he is usually only in the car 2 or 3 times a week for short trips to the grocery store or mall. Like other PPs posters have mentioned, getting my family (and maybe DHs family, although they are generally pretty non-interfering) on board may be more difficult. As a starting point, I told my mom "no toys with batteries" for this Christmas.
This thread has some great ideas! Thanks for asking the question OP, I'm totally following along for ideas.