How would one go about unschooling Waldorf style? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 78 Old 03-24-2009, 09:13 PM
 
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#62 of 78 Old 03-25-2009, 11:38 PM
 
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Chessa , mama to Silas T (6/06) , wife to Chad . Welcome August Emerson! 2/8/10
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#63 of 78 Old 03-29-2009, 01:49 AM
 
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Oh I am SO glad to have found this thread!! I checked out Waldorf and Montessori last year, and while I like a lot about both of those, I didn't actually feel that either of them were the right place for us. My friend even said at one point that I should just combine them... so I kind of have a bit. But WOW -- this thread takes it to another level and I am sitting here flooded with ideas and inspiration for the future.

LUX - thank you for posting all those pictures! As someone else said, I am realizing that I spend way too much time on "me" during the day. I am grateful that DD enjoys self-directed play, but I think I've been taking advantage of that too much.

Also, I totally agree with your sentiments on the whole Waldorf is good but why does it have to be expensive to be "right" train of thought. For example, we have a plastic kitchen b/c that's what we could afford, and you know, DD spends hours in front of it pretending with her (felt and wooden ) food and toys. It serves the purpose just fine. Although some day I do dream of having a lovely wooden kitchen and a huge gorgeous playstand. *sigh* I am with you on being more excited about all this than DD!!

Anyway, thank you to the OP for starting this thread and thanks to everyone who contributed ideas. I'm going to keep following it to get more inspiration!

Oh lux -- what type of paper did you hang on the wall?? Please explain how you did that... taped up a bunch of smaller pieces or did you get a huge piece?? Thanks! I LOVE that idea and I'm totally stealing it for our house.
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#64 of 78 Old 04-01-2009, 05:38 PM
 
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Ooh, I haven't been on MDC in ages and I popped on today and happened to see this thread still going . . . Providential, huh?

The paper on our wall is actually called easel paper (I think the brand is Melissa and Doug). I bought it at Holcombe's school supply store for $8 I think for a full roll. You probably can also find some online. Best wishes!

Allison:  a little bit Waldorf, a little bit Medievalish, and always"MOMMMMYYYY!" to sweet Cecily since 12.22.05
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#65 of 78 Old 04-02-2009, 11:45 AM
 
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Ooh, I haven't been on MDC in ages and I popped on today and happened to see this thread still going . . . Providential, huh?

The paper on our wall is actually called easel paper (I think the brand is Melissa and Doug). I bought it at Holcombe's school supply store for $8 I think for a full roll. You probably can also find some online. Best wishes!
Definitely providential! I'm so glad you decided to pop on today.

Thank you for the info. FYI, you totally inspired me to rearrange and create a better space for DD. I took out her farm (we have that same little one!) and zoo, and all the animals, etc. and set it up on an old coffee table that was in the corner, with a green tablecloth on it. She *loves* it!! Thanks for the ideas.
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#66 of 78 Old 04-04-2009, 11:58 AM
 
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Definitely providential! I'm so glad you decided to pop on today.

Thank you for the info. FYI, you totally inspired me to rearrange and create a better space for DD. I took out her farm (we have that same little one!) and zoo, and all the animals, etc. and set it up on an old coffee table that was in the corner, with a green tablecloth on it. She *loves* it!! Thanks for the ideas.
Oh, you are so kind!

I love getting ideas from MDC myself! It's such a great place!

Allison:  a little bit Waldorf, a little bit Medievalish, and always"MOMMMMYYYY!" to sweet Cecily since 12.22.05
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#67 of 78 Old 05-02-2009, 07:30 PM
 
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#68 of 78 Old 08-18-2009, 01:40 AM
 
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#69 of 78 Old 08-29-2009, 09:19 AM
 
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oh my!! i just found this thread (searching for waldorf unschooling) and i am savoring every word of it.

we have been back and forth for five years now between unschooling and waldorf schooling -- there's so much about each that appeals to us.

(this year our children will be at a part-time in-home waldorf-inspired nursery school...next year remains unknown.)

but i'm feeling so inspired by reading the words here. thank you.

~erin
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#70 of 78 Old 09-02-2009, 12:10 AM
 
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I've been wanting to revive this thread so that maybe we can all brainstorm some really fun ideas together that incorporate both Waldorf and unschooling.

Things we've been exploring recently:

jam-making with summer fruit
soap-making
wax molding (using the melted candle wax from our morning candle poured into soap molds)
candle-making (we haven't done this yet but I'm saving it for the winter)
nurturing a container garden (we live in an apt. and not only have we done small things like carrots, peas, and tomatoes but now we're attempting to grow a pumpkin. yikes!)
taking field guides on our nature walks to identify plants (we recently read this book and loved it! http://www.alibris.com/search/books/...%20the%20Woods)
paper-making, which was way easier than I thought so long as you have cheese cloth, a blender, and a pasta strainer

Our Autumn Book collection: (Please share other books, as I'm always looking for a good book list!)

I Know it's Autumn, Eileen Spinelli
The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin, Beatrix Potter
Woody, Hazel, and Little Pip, Elsa Beskow
Christopher's Harvest Time, Elsa Beskow
The Squirrel and the Moon, Eleonore Schmid
The Busy Little Squirrel, Nancy Tafuri
Acorns and Stew, Ruth Orbach
When Autumn Comes, Robert Maass
Pumpkin Circle, George Levenson
The Scarecrow's Hat, Ken Brown
Children of the Forest, Elsa Beskow
Violet Goes to the Country, Melanie Cecka
Ox-Cart Man, Donald Hall
Mother Earth and Her Children, Sieglinde Schoen Smith
A Child's Calendar, John Updike
Around the Year, Elsa Beskow
Other things to note:

We recently decorated our home for autumn and I made a great felt playset for dd that has an apple orchard, pumpkin patch with scarecrow, a large maple tree, a pond, and fall leaves to scatter about. I'm really proud of it. I've discovered the most awesome idea of doing image searches on Google, printing out pictures and then laminating them using packing tape, and cutting them out. Sometimes I use the pictures just like that or I hotglue felt or fabric on top to make them more interesting (like accentuating Little Red Riding Hood's cloak by red felt). We did this with a squirrel picture in our autumn scene, where we printed and laminated a real squirrel picture and then covered it in fake brown fur with a button for an eye. I'll try and take some pictures soon to post, as I'm rather tickled with the effect and I like that it's not only 3-D but also a tactile experience. I also made small squirrels for dd's autumn playset by doing this same technique and standing them up with popsicle sticks. I'm thinking of doing this same thing to make puppets where I print out and laminate pictures and glue them to popsicle sticks. I personally think that's a lot easier than sewing everything.

I'm really trying to embrace the idea of making rather than buying toys. I recently bought a great book (http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Play-...1856413&sr=1-3) that has some wonderful ideas. The book says for ages 2-4 but many of the projects are timeless, like a dollhouse. I've also come up with lots of fun things for us: this summer we've built a stand-up sand table from a wooden toddler table that we no longer had room for inside our den, a balance beam, a stable and chicken coup for dd's farm (made from a cardboard box covered with felt), and a hideout that is an old card table covered with knitted blankets and pretend animal fur inside on the flooring. One of the things I dislike about the American Waldorf movement is it's commercialism (the packaging may be different but really, how is a wooden barn more functional and creative than a non-wooden one?). I think it's great to buy local and support local craftspeople. I think it's great to keep as close to the earth as possible but . . . I only have so much time, energy, and money to go around and I'm just not paying $8 for one piece of wool felt when I can buy a piece of acrylic felt for $.29. <end of rant> I think it's great that dd can watch us using our creativity and I think it's even better when she wants to participate. I'm hoping that as she gets older her first thought won't be, "Where can I buy this?" but rather "How can I make this?". I already have grand plans for a life-sized castle and a fairy glade, but dd is still wayyyy to young for these.

Things I'm constantly thinking about:

How many structured versus non-structured toys should we have? (Although, I must say, dd can do the most creative things with doorknobs, so I'm not sure this is even an issue from her point of view.)

Should I invest in another set of blocks, and if so, which ones?

Is it worth buying a preschool Waldorf guide? (I'm seriously considering getting Seasons of Joy's autumn curriculum to try out.)

How do I react when dd doesn't play in the prescribed "Waldorf"-approved ways (like not getting into elves and fairies and gnomes and such)?

Anyone else want to share thoughts, ideas, struggles, worries . . .?

Allison:  a little bit Waldorf, a little bit Medievalish, and always"MOMMMMYYYY!" to sweet Cecily since 12.22.05
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#71 of 78 Old 09-02-2009, 03:31 PM
 
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We're not Waldorf inspired, but do plant a large garden each year and find our lives follow the seasons as a result.

September is usually filled with:

- harvesting from the garden
- drying/dehydrating herbs and apples
- canning up tomatoes and apples (these we buy - our trees are small yet) - we make apple pie filling and applesauce as well as stewed tomatoes, salsa, and tomato sauce
- finishing putting the garden to rest by tilling and adding compost, etc

I love your idea of putting out seasonal books. We're avid readers and have over 40 linear feet of children's books (housed in three different rooms). DD1 has her favorites, but I know there are books that never get read. I'm determined now to put out a rotating collection!
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#72 of 78 Old 09-02-2009, 03:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LuxPerpetua View Post
I've discovered the most awesome idea of doing image searches on Google, printing out pictures and then laminating them using packing tape, and cutting them out. Sometimes I use the pictures just like that or I hotglue felt or fabric on top to make them more interesting (like accentuating Little Red Riding Hood's cloak by red felt). We did this with a squirrel picture in our autumn scene, where we printed and laminated a real squirrel picture and then covered it in fake brown fur with a button for an eye. I'll try and take some pictures soon to post, as I'm rather tickled with the effect and I like that it's not only 3-D but also a tactile experience. I also made small squirrels for dd's autumn playset by doing this same technique and standing them up with popsicle sticks. I'm thinking of doing this same thing to make puppets where I print out and laminate pictures and glue them to popsicle sticks. I personally think that's a lot easier than sewing everything.
I love this idea! I think I'm going to change it just a bit and scan in illustrations from DD1's books and make matching toys. She often likes to play with characters and this would allow her some of her own!
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#73 of 78 Old 09-02-2009, 11:12 PM
 
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I love Lynn Plourde's seasonal books. For autumn there's Wild Child.

Because of our warm climate, I tend to wait til closer to Equinox to start changing the nature table and decorations for autumn. However, this year I'm considering a basket for their nature walk finds and a "table" of sorts for the more seasonal acknowlegement.
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#74 of 78 Old 09-03-2009, 05:54 PM
 
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I love this idea! I think I'm going to change it just a bit and scan in illustrations from DD1's books and make matching toys. She often likes to play with characters and this would allow her some of her own!
Ooh, I really like this idea! I'm trying to figure out how to do this without a scanner, though . . . I'm wondering if it's against copyright law to have a color copy made from a book.

Allison:  a little bit Waldorf, a little bit Medievalish, and always"MOMMMMYYYY!" to sweet Cecily since 12.22.05
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#75 of 78 Old 09-04-2009, 02:00 PM
 
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This is a great thread! Most of the people I know irl know next to nothing about alternative educational philosophies, and I'm sure they think I'm crazy, so I like coming online to read about others trying to figure it all out like me. I read and occasionally post in the Waldorf forum but a lot of the time I feel out of place there. I say we are Waldorf inspired because that is an easy way to describe some of what we do to those in the know, but it's funny, I have really mixed feelings about Waldorf. The more I learn about Steiner et al, the more I feel what is truly unique about Waldorf are the very things that don't resonate for me at all.

I also like some elements of Montessori, but some of it seems so esoteric, especially in a home environment. Add onto that that we have a small ish house with no dedicated playroom/schoolroom/studio and are minimalists, we are an ap family, we are part of a UU congregation, and that I am educated and trained as a "mainstream" ece professional, and I have all kinds of ideas and thoughts floating around in my head!

And then, I'm not even sure I will be homeschooling once my guys are school aged. Right now they are 1 and 4, so will be home with me for a few years more no matter what. But dh is resistent to the idea, so I feel pressure to figure out a system during the time I do have. I want them to have the best possible start if they do end up in school, but I'd also love for dh to see that homeschooling works for us.

The things we do which could be considered Waldorf inspired are -

keeping a daily, weekly, seasonal rhythm - my interpretation of this, realized through trial and error, is consistent meal and sleep times, with mama arranged but child led activities in between. We don't do activity A on Monday, activity B on Tuesday - we go by the weather. If it's nice we go outside, if it's not we stay in.

natural, open ended/imagination supportive play things - we have mostly wooden and fabric, mostly handmade toys, and of course rocks, sticks, shells, dirt etc...

lots and lots of outdoor time, structured (ie hiking) and unstructured

arts and crafts

storytelling

music


Things we do which could be considered more Montessori inspired -

books, books, books - we read a lot

availability of manipulative style toys/materials

the environment set up for self care

graciousness/courtesy practice (manners)

multicultural exposure

More unschooling -I've set up the environment and chosen the materials (and I feel like this is ok in terms of unschooling since they lack the experience to know what is out there and to make informed choices at this point. I know this will change - and probably be really challenging - once they are older), but they play with what they want when they want the way they want. I don't prevent the boys from playing with the recycling, even though there is plastic in there, and they can pick out (imo) valueless books at the library. We have beeswax crayons and watercolors, but we have construction paper, markers, and tempera paint too. We aren't media free, more media "lite". No video games, computer, or electronic toys, but my dh loves his tv, so we have a rather large one in the den. The kids get to watch a movie on the weekends or if I am sick or we can't get outside for days at a time. We listen to recorded music, a lot of it is not geared for children, and we listen to almost every genre.

Ok, fussing baby calling. Wow, I can't believe I managed a post this long! I'll come back again and maybe post some pictures of our spaces and list some of our materials.

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#76 of 78 Old 09-05-2009, 10:00 AM
 
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Ok, fussing baby calling. Wow, I can't believe I managed a post this long! I'll come back again and maybe post some pictures of our spaces and list some of our materials.
Thank you so much for your list! I really want to incorporate more rhythms into our lives. We need them SO badly, because our lives right now are crazy busy, hectic, chaotic at times, and I don't want to live like this. I want rhythm, and I want my kids to grow up having rhythm and flow to our days! I feel like I don't know where to start though. I really just want a flow to each day and each week. I want to cut out some activities, yet my kids really enjoy them, and they are both very social creatures. I just feel like it's going by so fast, at breakneck speed, and I want things to slow down.

Okay, end of rant there. But I'd love to see pics if you have time. My husband built me the most beautiful, plain simple, wooden open shelves. I have three of them and they each have three shelves (four if you include the top). I always wanted that Waldorf/Montessori idea of clean, open shelves, with easy access to things. Yet, instead they are stuffed and cluttered up! Not sure where to start there either!

Thanks for the continued discussion and inspiration though!
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#77 of 78 Old 09-05-2009, 11:12 AM
 
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Thank you so much for your list! I really want to incorporate more rhythms into our lives. We need them SO badly, because our lives right now are crazy busy, hectic, chaotic at times, and I don't want to live like this. I want rhythm, and I want my kids to grow up having rhythm and flow to our days! I feel like I don't know where to start though. I really just want a flow to each day and each week. I want to cut out some activities, yet my kids really enjoy them, and they are both very social creatures. I just feel like it's going by so fast, at breakneck speed, and I want things to slow down.

Okay, end of rant there. But I'd love to see pics if you have time. My husband built me the most beautiful, plain simple, wooden open shelves. I have three of them and they each have three shelves (four if you include the top). I always wanted that Waldorf/Montessori idea of clean, open shelves, with easy access to things. Yet, instead they are stuffed and cluttered up! Not sure where to start there either!

Thanks for the continued discussion and inspiration though!
One thing that helped us establish a rhythm was just watching how things unfolded naturally. Like, for example, dd is most creative after breakfast and in the early afternoon, so that's when we have imaginative playtime. The middle afternoon works best for chores at our house, and the late afternoon for going outside. In general I have a rule that we only go one place per day (so we don't get out to do errands in the morning and then go out again in the afternoon). I don't always stick to this but it's my goal. Our lives are just more peaceful if we have lots of time at home. Our weekly rhythm is pretty flexible since I only have "assigned" chores for a few days (Monday is cooking day and laundry day, Tuesday cleaning day, and Friday is laundry day again). I like keeping things open so that I don't feel like I "have" to break out the art supplies on Wednesday if I'm not feeling up to it. My guideline is that I don't want things to feel artificial or forced. If I can only do something half-heartedly, it's better that I not do it. DD also hates when things become too routine so being flexible really works for her. DD is only 3.75 so we don't do any structured activities (like ballet or gym or sports) and we only do playdates once per week. Sometimes I think children really need more "down" time even if they think they don't. I know I always regret it when I try to squeeze in too much.

As for the shelving, it sounds wonderful! We have a small space so we have limited shelving options at our home. I know some people group things into baskets on shelves but that has never worked for us because you can't see what's in the shelves. It doesn't look as pretty but for us what has been more functional was to have baskets on the floor and just have figurines or blocks or whatever goes on our shelves just stacked neatly so that dd can see everything.

Best wishes, and I'll second your motion of wanting to see Sage's pictures. Me too!

Allison:  a little bit Waldorf, a little bit Medievalish, and always"MOMMMMYYYY!" to sweet Cecily since 12.22.05
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#78 of 78 Old 09-05-2009, 02:29 PM
 
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One thing that helped us establish a rhythm was just watching how things unfolded naturally.
Definitely. I kept trying these routines and we could never stick to them, they felt so contrived. I felt really strongly about maintaining some consistency though. My boys definitely respond positively to it and it makes me feel more calm. What I ended up doing was taking a week (Monday-Friday) and not leaving the house except for walks in the neighborhood. I only did basic housekeeping - cooking, dishes, laundry, sweeping, straightening up. No errands, no playdates, no deep cleaning, no projects. By the end of the week we had a nice flow.

wake up -usually between 7 and 8, we cuddle and talk for a little while before getting dresses
breakfast
daily chores
playtime
snack
playtime
lunch
storytime
rest
snack
playtime
dinner
bath
storytime
bed
mama and papa alone adult time!

One day a week we go out for a playdate, Saturday is my errand and deep cleaning day and the boys do something with papa, and Sunday we have church and then try to do some kind of fun thing as a family

Just to give you an idea, but I really reccommend taking as much time as you can just staying at home. I wish I had done it much sooner than this!

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