How would one go about unschooling Waldorf style? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 78 Old 01-10-2009, 03:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Our son Kai is 18 months old, so we still have awhile to figure his schooling out. We feel really drawn to unschooling, and letting Kai learn about the things he is interested in. One of my many and infinite dislikes about public school education is that students are taught a little of everything (most of will be memorized for testing purposes and eventually forgotten), and emerge knowing nothing. The teachers also usually teach in a style that is called the banking method, in which the children are thought to be empty and in need of being filled with deposits of knowledge from the teachers, and these deposits are thought to be correct and are not to be questioned. Any way, we are also really drawn to Waldorf schooling, and we love the daily/weekly rhythms, adults modeling, open ended toys, connections to nature, etc.
For all of you unschooling Waldorf inspired families out there, how do you go about combining the two? I mean, I assume that following a homeschooling Waldorf curriculum would violate unschooling, as most likely the child would not be interested in everything being taught.......
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#2 of 78 Old 01-10-2009, 09:39 PM
 
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We are Waldorf unschoolers with a touch of Montessori, and in my opinion, in this combination you get a fantastic mix that works great for our dd. Our home and lifestyle are modeled loosely upon Waldorf (rhythms, seasonal awareness, emphasis upon nature) but we also like to throw in a little Montessori for variety (doing easy plant growing projects to explore root systems, doing transfer activity games, exploring the concept of maps and talking about geography, etc.). I don't have a ton of time to post, but here is what I wrote for another thread that wanted to know about combining Waldorf and unschooling:

Generally speaking, we take the parts of Waldorf that we like and leave the rest that have (in our opinion ) no pragmatic value. DD doesn't wear wool nor does she play with just silk or natural toys (we have some imaginative plastic and metal objects for play, for instance). I interpret Waldorf very loosely. Here's a quick synopsis of us: DD wears comfortable, non-character, cotton clothing that is appropriate to the season. We have lots of open-ended toys both structured (cash register, wooden kitchen and food) and non-structured (seashells, nuts, rocks, animal figurines). We have a fabric basket filled with a variety of fabrics--velvets, silks, satins--instead of playsilks, which I think are limiting. We don't push academics but dd is very self-driven and is learning to read at age 3 by her choice. We tell lots of stories, we act out stories with figurines, we read lots of stories (some by Waldorfish authors, others not). We do lots of creative art and have an entire wall covered with paper with art supplies nearby for whenever the mood strikes, as well as structured art time. We do all-kinds of painting, including but not limited to wet on wet (the reason behind this is some rather woo-woo Anthroposophical color theory in which spiritual beings inhabit color and stuff--a belief that I do not abscribe to). We are TV-free (unless we're sick, and then we do watch the occasional DVD). We honor the seasons and celebrate festivals by making special decorations, reading/telling special stories, cooking special foods. We have a daily and weekly rhythm that keeps our life moving and sane. We sing a lot and encourage musicality (but I do not believe in limiting children to the pentatonic scale). We don't have oodles of money nor time nor space nor equipment to make a lot of our own toys so I have no problems with well-made, open-ended plastic toys (Schleich animals, Mega Bloks, Playmobil, etc.). For us the key is open-ended, but with that said, I am continually surprised with dd's creativity even with supposedly non-open-ended toys. Her music box, for instance, has been everything from a merry-go-round to a massager to a hair dryer.

I highly recommend "Heaven on Earth" for some practical ideas. I think this is a great read. However, there are some assumptions that the author makes that she never explains--like why wood has a better tactile feel than porcelain, for instance. This is an example of a personal judgment that she presents as fact. But, if you're looking for a good way to incorporate some Waldorf ideas this is a great book to start with.

One of the great things about being an unschooler is that I totally don't feel guilty when my dd doesn't fit the Waldorf mold. So she became obsessed with letters at a year old? Fine. She's reading at 3? Great. She wants to draw with markers and have forms in her drawings? No prob. She doesn't like me lighting candles at meals? We can work with that. Saying the same verses over and over at specific times annoys her to no end? Yay. I hate memorizing verses and feel sort of artficial saying them anyway. She wants to pretend she's a computer game? Okay, not my favorite, but I can work with that. Etc. Etc.

For us Waldorf and Montessori ideologies form our environment, and unschooling forms how we and dd interact with that environment, if that makes sense. We buy the toys and offer the techniques and experiences but it is up to dd to choose them and we don't sweat it if she wants to think outside of the box and do things differently. Both Waldorf and Montessori when done in a purist fashion, I think, can be rather limiting (e.g., in Montessori the "jobs" are supposed to be completed in a certain way and in a certain order, and in Waldorf a child isn't supposed to do line drawing or play with plastic, etc.), but being an unschooler we have a full amount of freedom to allow her to explore life on her own terms. We also strongly believe in learning through living so modeling housework, cooking, manners, etc., is just a natural progression. With unschooling, the idea, as you probably know, is that children will learn what they need to learn when they are interested, but the trick with unschooling is giving them opportunities to pique their interest, and that is where Waldorf and Montessori fit in for us because these pedagogies allow us to choose open-ended creative toys, have a vibrant awareness of the cycles of nature, celebrate festivals that encourage family tradition and seasonal changes, and have a home that is warm, peaceful, and quietly inviting.

Allison:  a little bit Waldorf, a little bit Medievalish, and always"MOMMMMYYYY!" to sweet Cecily since 12.22.05
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#3 of 78 Old 01-11-2009, 01:12 AM
 
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We use a combination of Waldorf, unschooling and Charlotte Mason methods. Charlotte Mason was an educator in the late 1800's early 1900's who believed strongly in children being real people, in not dumbing things down for them and ultimately in them being educated by what she called "real" books as opposed to dry textbooks and "twaddle" (ie dumbed down stuff).

So we follow a sort of Waldorf rhythm. We have tons of "Waldorf" stuff because it fits our beautiful natural lifestyle. We celebrate the seasons and don't do plastic (well, except for the disney princess cellphone that dd got for Christmas and loves but she gets it w/o the batteries ).

We also spend tons of time every day reading and have done so since she was less than 1 wk old. At 3 and 1/2 she sits thru chapter books and has a great attention span. We try to find books that have beautiful illustrations, good vocabulary, none of those popular obnoxiously illustrated and stupidly written stories so popular for kids today.

In addition to the many many beautiful children's books we own, we also regularly visit the library. We get out whatever she likes along with ordering in books on a certain theme each month. So this month she's been saying she wants to learn about beavers. So we'll order in story books and informational books or picture books about beavers. She can already tell you that they have oil in their coats to keep them dry and warm and that they have strong teeth to chop down trees to build their houses. She then will go on and pretend all sorts of things about how she is going to have a pet beaver when she grows up and it will help her chop down wood for it's house.

As for unschooling, I'm of the unschooling philosophy that follows her interests and then sets up learning scenarios, So if she's into letters, I'll buy her an alphabet puzzle and let her learn her letters mostly on her own that way. Tho sometimes we'll play find the letter. I am also into unschooling in that I firmly believe that learning is an all the time thing, not something reserved for special school projects or school hours. So we are always talking about how things work, just observing things, whatever.

For example, today we saw a bald eagle while driving, turned around and pulled over to watch it roosting on a tree branch. She asked if we could stay there a few minutes to see it and we did. When we took off, I explained that I was so excited about it because they were almost extinct not long ago, explained what extinct was. That led to a brief discussion, spurred by her questions about pollution. Then Daddy explained that the bald eagle is the symbol of our country America. To me, that's education - indistinguishable from living. And that's unschooling to me.
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#4 of 78 Old 01-11-2009, 01:18 PM
 
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This is great!
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#5 of 78 Old 01-11-2009, 02:19 PM
 
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Hi! More unschoolers with some Waldorf and Montessori ideas thrown in. They really go well together! We are very into nature, planting, seasons, etc. We don't do mama-enforced rhythms...the kids have develpoed their own over time.
Many of our "things" are Waldorf-y, though I like to think of them as natural instead. Why should Waldorf have a monopoly on such things?? Silly.
We also have many things arranged in a Montessori fashion...child-sized tables, chairs, jacket racks, etc. The kids carrya nd move ht e chairs and table as needed.

I like the mix...

Darcy mama to Dillon, Marah and Leo, partner to Jeremy
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#6 of 78 Old 01-11-2009, 03:30 PM
 
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My experience is that Waldorf is pretty much unschooling until 1st grade.... it's really about preparing the enviroment, and then allowing the child to unfold. I mean, we do take an authoritative (not authoritarian, ha-ha) approach to daily rhythms because ds really seems to thrive with that, but he pretty much does what he likes except for meals and bedtime/bathtime kind of stuff. Oh, and he's beginning to be expected to help out now, instead of just encouraged.

We have some friends with children in the grades who are doing what I would call Waldorf unschooling, and what it looks like is this: Mama introduces concepts, girls decide what they want to do with them. Now this mama is lucky enough to have a family that LOVES circle time, handwork, crafts,and fairytales. But they wouldn't know that if she hadn't presented them, kwim?
Most of the day, the kids spend doing what they like in a lovely, Waldorfy-enviroment. And much of what they do, they would be doing in a Waldorf school, but they're doing it by choice. oh, and their 6-year-old kindergartener reads and writes, which the mother neither encourages nor discourages.(the same tack we're taking at our house)
I think really most of it is turning your home into a Waldorf home, and then letting the kid loose. if the culture of the family is strong, then it will hold.
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#7 of 78 Old 01-11-2009, 07:46 PM
 
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Can I say this thread rocks?
DS is 22mo so there's no rush but we're heading towards waldorf unschooling and it is very inspiring to read you all.
thank you!
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#8 of 78 Old 01-11-2009, 09:13 PM
 
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Next week I'm going to take some pictures of our play area anyway if anyone would be interested in seeing our interpretation of Waldorf in a physical space. As I said, Waldorf looks very different in our home than in a more purist Waldorf one but the underlying principles are still the same. I will post the pictures here in this thread when I get them done, if that's all right.

Allison:  a little bit Waldorf, a little bit Medievalish, and always"MOMMMMYYYY!" to sweet Cecily since 12.22.05
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#9 of 78 Old 01-11-2009, 11:12 PM
 
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Subscribing:

Mother to L.O. born at home 10.17.08 EDD for #2 4.21.2011
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#10 of 78 Old 01-11-2009, 11:34 PM
 
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great idea!
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#11 of 78 Old 01-12-2009, 02:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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lots of great ideas embedded in this thread-i have a file on my email where i keep ideas for making things and odd n ends, and these ideas are definitely going in! yeah, for me as a parent it is really important to teach kai critical thinking skills using critical pedagogy, which is essentially teaching him to question the status quo and take action! i strongly believe that teaching children this way will lead to a global culture that is more harmonious with all life on earth. that is why i think it is so important to combine waldorf with other ways, such as unschooling........
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#12 of 78 Old 01-12-2009, 03:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LuxPerpetua View Post
Next week I'm going to take some pictures of our play area anyway if anyone would be interested in seeing our interpretation of Waldorf in a physical space. As I said, Waldorf looks very different in our home than in a more purist Waldorf one but the underlying principles are still the same. I will post the pictures here in this thread when I get them done, if that's all right.
That would be AWESOME! I also love the ideas in both Waldorf and Montessori, and I especially want to do more with creating rhythms in our home.
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#13 of 78 Old 01-12-2009, 03:45 PM
 
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my thread is making me

My husband won't agree to us unschooling our LO's at home so they are going to a regular school. I am gutted about this. But he refuses. This thread has made it worse b/c it is suchan inspiring thread.

A UK Waldorf blogging mama!
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#14 of 78 Old 01-12-2009, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That is a serious bummer, but please do not despair, mamaUK. While my life partner and I are in absolute agreement in regards to unschooling our son Kai, I also have 6 & 7 year old daughters with my ex-husband. They were both fortunate to spend a year in a Waldorf kindergarten, but after that, my ex refused to having them in Waldorf school(even though he is wealthy!) and insisted on public school education. They go to a public school that is considered top notch as far as testing goes. Thanks to No Child Left Behind, they spend most of their time memorizing useless facts. After the divorce, I used to worry that they would be "ruined" by public schooling and by the constant exposure at my ex's house to media (such as high school musical-where is the art?-ugh!) and computer games, processed foods, and uncreative toys such as Bratz Dolls and Polly Pocket. I even used to have natural toy catalogs sent to my ex's house and I would email him articles about how unhealthy media is to the healthy development of a child, which most assuredly ended up right in the delete bin. Needless to say, it has become even more important now to surround my girls with beautiful open ended playthings and activities, such as making jam and beeswax candles and taking our nature bags to the river to sketch. I am currently planning to keep bees with them and get a flock of chickens, the possibilites are truly endless! What I have found is that it is actually wonderful that the girls are getting exposure to both worlds, because they are starting to critically question the contradictions they are seeing. For example, they may ask their "teachers" why recess is only 30 minutes long or why they spend most of their time studying for tests (the amount of money the school gets is based on their students test scores). My girls noticed when they opened Christmas gifts at my ex's house that most of the toys were from China. That has led to discussions about where things are made, sweatshop labor(i am looking for a video to show them of this in action, anyone have any recommendations?), pollution, etc. We used to think that we couldn't talk to children about these things, but they want to know and when they do they want to change things! The discussion on where food comes from led to us engaging in conversation about factory farming chickens, which then inspired me to write their school principle, and I have posted an excerpt below(sorry, it's really long!).One thing that I have come to understand lately is that the world is our school, and there are teachers everywhere you go. What is really important is that you make the most of the time you have with your children when they are with you......

PS And as it turns out, the ex had factory farmed eggs(this statement will soon make sense)!!!


Excerpt of letter to principal:

So why am I trying so hard to convince you to study critical pedagogy? Well, I am convinced that if you do, you will be motivated to reevaluate Eagle Crest on many levels and create positive changes. For one, you may reconsider where your cafeteria food comes from and how it is served. I have attended lunch many times at Eagle Crest, and can attest that the way the food is served is very disconnected from community and nature. The children are quickly ushered in to get food and are given a very limited time to eat it, and are then ushered out in order to make room for the next wave. I have never witnessed the children taking more than a few bites of this "food", before it was thrown into the garbage, to ultimately become methane gas in the local landfill. According to Ecocycle Times, methane is "now understood to be 72 times more potent than CO2 over a 20-year period." I have also attended meals with my daughters many times when they went to a Waldorf preschool, and love the fact that the children sit down together for a simple meal, and are in no rush. Each bite can be enjoyed to its fullest, and there is plenty of laughter and sharing during the meal. Most children finish every bite and enjoy seconds and sometimes even thirds. The children help with creating the meal, serving it, and cleaning up. They are given positive choices and are part of the process, and there is not a feeling of disconnection that one feels after attending a public school lunch. It has long been known that public school food is not meeting the best dietary needs of the children. For thoughts on changing school lunches, one could turn to Michael Pollan's recent article in the New York Times called Farmers in Chief. In it, Pollan states, "To change our children's food culture, we'll need to plant gardens in every primary school, build fully equipped kitchens, train a new generation of lunchroom ladies (and gentlemen) who can once again cook and teach cooking to children." Not only is this a fabulously inspiring idea, but it can benefit children on many levels. The children at your school currently enjoy approximately thirty minutes of recess each day, which is absolutely unacceptable and does not promote healthy child development, especially in a culture that is getting more obese by the second. Eagle Crest could implement a thorough gardening curriculum, which could encompass every subject matter, and children could spend a significantly more amount of time out of doors while satisfying the ever demanding requirements of No Child Left Behind. You could even include composting as a way of teaching children to reduce production of methane gas in landfills and encourage sustainability by producing compost that will enrich the garden soil.

I do recognize that Eagle Crest has attempted on some level to connect children with nature. I know that you have a unit at the end of kindergarten where children are part of the process of incubating and hatching baby chicks. While this is definitely a wonderful start, this unit on baby chicks could benefit young children greatly by being more in depth and fostering more of a connection and awareness with nature and our food source. If teachers applied critical pedagogy, they would see the baby chicks unit as an amazing opportunity to explore where our food comes from and why. They could have various experiential activities in the classroom centered around this, and take a field trip to a chicken factory (I believe there is a chicken/turkey factory conveniently located in our city) where the majority of our eggs come from, and could also show our children farms where laying chickens are allowed to roam free and live out their days happily. As homework the teacher could ask the children to find out where the eggs in their home originated from, and then have a class discussion on the conditions of the chicken that layed the egg. At our house, I had the girls and some of their friends sit in a box that was large enough to contain them but did not leave room for them to move around. I told them to pretend they were chickens that would live their whole lives in this box, and gave them eggs to "lay". We talked about how it might feel to live their whole lives this way, and they did not appear thrilled at this prospect. In the middle of this activity, one child needed to get out of the box to use the bathroom. This led us to ponder what a chicken might do in this situation. We also went outside and pretended we were chickens, and the children had a great time flapping their "wings" and looking for worms to munch on. Your teachers could do these simple exercises, and they could even further empower the children by teaching them about an ordinance that is hopefully going to pass in Longmont any day now allowing chickens in backyards (it is currently illegal to have chickens within city limits, although there are many secret, underground chickens in Longmont). After all, action for social justice is one of the most important aspects of using critical pedagogy, and if action is not part of it then it is not true critical pedagogy. The children could write letters to Longmont City Council in support of having backyard chickens (Kaitlin and Macey proudly did, while munching on cage-free scrambled eggs), and have their voices heard and help create positive change in their community. Assuming that the ordinance allowing chickens passes, teachers could conclude the unit by inviting parents to gather with their little ones for guest speakers that would talk about how to care for chickens in their backyard and how to build predator proof shelter. This would empower parents and children to be directly responsible for some of their food source and is also a great way to foster community.
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#15 of 78 Old 01-12-2009, 04:22 PM
 
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we are waldorf-inspired homeschoolers. for us, waldorf is woven into our lives much in the way that religion is woven into the lives of some religious unschoolers we know. the rhythm of our lives--the verses, poems and songs, delayed academics, no television or characters, lots of fairy tales, storytelling and puppet shows, handwork, reverence for nature, observation of the seasons, our playthings, etc would all be considered "waldorf", but we also listen to lots of recorded music, my almost 5yo is interested in writing and reading(my 6yo isn't), read lots of books about whatever subjects interest my children, and let them lead the way as far as what we are learning--this weekend we went to an archeological fair and to the art museum because i presented a variety of ideas to the ideas to the kids and those weer the things that resonated with my children. most things we are flexible about, but there are things that are "waldorf" that we don't budge on, not because of the dogma of waldorf, but because they really work to for our family.
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#16 of 78 Old 01-12-2009, 06:33 PM
 
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my thread is making me

My husband won't agree to us unschooling our LO's at home so they are going to a regular school. I am gutted about this. But he refuses. This thread has made it worse b/c it is suchan inspiring thread.
It's hard when you're not seeing eye to eye. But why is a "regular school" the default? Why is it that b/c he won't agree they are going to school? Why isn't it that you don't agree with regular school, and so they are being homeschooled?

ETA: I'm not meaning to say that either is right, just pointing out the opposite. I could just never imagine allowing something to happen that is that huge of a choice, just b/c my partner said so. Not meaning to be harsh, but I think it sounds like you need more communication. Not to convince him of your point of view, but to discuss and be a team in deciding what feels right for your family.
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#17 of 78 Old 01-12-2009, 09:56 PM
 
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MamaUK, might he agree to homeschooling that was not unschooling? ie. some set curriculum or schedule? Or just call it something other than unschooling . . . like unit studies, and you'll know that the unit studies are what your kids choose and implement. I think unschooling can sound awfully alarming to someone who isn't even comfortable with homeschooling. I am an unschooler, btw, so don't mean to dis the method!

I don't know how old your kids are, but maybe you could do a one year trial of this, and by then he would see that they are learning! I think this is easier to negotiate when your kids are preschool or kindergarten aged because then missing one year of public school doesn't seem as crucial.

OP, I think that if you are unschooling, than influences like Waldorf (or Montessori) are just that--influences. I feel like I get a lot of inspiration from this Waldorf forum--more than I do from the homeschool forum, in fact. And I feel like I try to create a home that is Waldorfy (taking what I love and leaving the rest), and do activities that are Waldorfy (because they are fun, and beautiful, and in tune with nature, etc), and pick out beautiful, quality stories and books which Waldorf families might choose also. But we don't do a curriculum, or have any plans for what we will learn this year or today. Whatever we end up learning is good enough for us! :

Diana, homebirthing, homeschooling, homemaking wife and mother of two (plus one more coming this Spring)!
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#18 of 78 Old 01-12-2009, 11:09 PM
 
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Great thread.

My DD currently attends a Waldorf-inspired home nursery school, which she will attend (along with her younger brother) next year and from there we're not sure if we will send her to the wonderful Waldorf school nearby or continue doing what we are doing now at home which I think could definitely be described as Waldorf unschooling.

I periodically subscribe to the Little Acorn Learning monthly guides and have found them very helpful, not as a curriculum but just for inspiration! I started subscribing last year and mostly just read through them myself, without even attempting any of the stories or activities, just kind of getting myself in the energy of that month/season. This year I find myself kind of going back to the activities and pulling what works for me or finding my own twist to it that works with my kids. Lots of good stuff in there.
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#19 of 78 Old 01-13-2009, 12:41 AM
 
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starspiral? you have a lot of great ideas! That's awesome that you are making the most of a less than positive situation by still homeschooling them in addition to public school, showing them that learning can be a lifelong, ongoing process! I'm not sure I'd want my 6 or 7 yr old to go to a chicken factory on a field trip tho!! I would find that traumatic at 33 yrs old and think I'd have been scarred at 7. But then I do admit that both I and my dd are rather sensitive. For some kids it might be ok.

For chickens, you might want to look for "pastured" not "cage free". The wording and laws are certainly confusing! Cage free is most definitely better than caged, but they do not necessarily have access to the outdoors. The law for "cage free" or "free range" says they must not be in cages and must have "access to the outdoors". This outdoor access can be all of 20 feet for several 1000 chickens. (I don't remember the exact footage but it's small!!!!) Since they are not given the access the first few weeks, are creatures of habit, and there is nowhere near room for all of them out there, only a few lucky birds ever see the light of day. Pastured chickens, on the other hand, must be raised on pasture - outdoors in large pens or better yet, in moveable "chicken tractors" which are portable open air pens that get moved to fresh pasture every day or so. These sorts of eggs/chickens are usually available at farmer's markets and they sure are yummier!
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#20 of 78 Old 01-13-2009, 10:02 AM
 
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Originally Posted by starspiral? View Post
That is a serious bummer, but please do not despair, mamaUK. While my life partner and I are in absolute agreement in regards to unschooling our son Kai, I also have 6 & 7 year old daughters with my ex-husband. They were both fortunate to spend a year in a Waldorf kindergarten, but after that, my ex refused to having them in Waldorf school(even though he is wealthy!) and insisted on public school education. They go to a public school that is considered top notch as far as testing goes. Thanks to No Child Left Behind, they spend most of their time memorizing useless facts. After the divorce, I used to worry that they would be "ruined" by public schooling and by the constant exposure at my ex's house to media (such as high school musical-where is the art?-ugh!) and computer games, processed foods, and uncreative toys such as Bratz Dolls and Polly Pocket. I even used to have natural toy catalogs sent to my ex's house and I would email him articles about how unhealthy media is to the healthy development of a child, which most assuredly ended up right in the delete bin. Needless to say, it has become even more important now to surround my girls with beautiful open ended playthings and activities, such as making jam and beeswax candles and taking our nature bags to the river to sketch. I am currently planning to keep bees with them and get a flock of chickens, the possibilites are truly endless! What I have found is that it is actually wonderful that the girls are getting exposure to both worlds, because they are starting to critically question the contradictions they are seeing. For example, they may ask their "teachers" why recess is only 30 minutes long or why they spend most of their time studying for tests (the amount of money the school gets is based on their students test scores). My girls noticed when they opened Christmas gifts at my ex's house that most of the toys were from China. That has led to discussions about where things are made, sweatshop labor(i am looking for a video to show them of this in action, anyone have any recommendations?), pollution, etc. We used to think that we couldn't talk to children about these things, but they want to know and when they do they want to change things! The discussion on where food comes from led to us engaging in conversation about factory farming chickens, which then inspired me to write their school principle, and I have posted an excerpt below(sorry, it's really long!).One thing that I have come to understand lately is that the world is our school, and there are teachers everywhere you go. What is really important is that you make the most of the time you have with your children when they are with you......

.
Thank you for making it seem better, we have a waldorf inspired home environment so at least it is a very positive atmosphere for her at home. I talk alot with her aswell, for example, recently she has been asking about rockets (she's 3 1/2) so I have been trying to get some picture books from the library about them, I have found a clip of one taking off on You Tube (we're TV free but sometimes, with things like this, its great for them to see it when it is unlikely she will see a rocket in 'real life') Thanks for your understanding.

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#21 of 78 Old 01-13-2009, 10:17 AM
 
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Originally Posted by momofmine View Post
It's hard when you're not seeing eye to eye. But why is a "regular school" the default? Why is it that b/c he won't agree they are going to school? Why isn't it that you don't agree with regular school, and so they are being homeschooled?

ETA: I'm not meaning to say that either is right, just pointing out the opposite. I could just never imagine allowing something to happen that is that huge of a choice, just b/c my partner said so. Not meaning to be harsh, but I think it sounds like you need more communication. Not to convince him of your point of view, but to discuss and be a team in deciding what feels right for your family.
I can totally see what you saying here. thanks for the hugs!
I guess the regular school is the default b/c it is the mainstream thing to do here in the UK. Also he feels very strongly that they should go to school b/c he is a secondary (age 11-16) school teacher himself. Funnily enough I am/was, (i'm a SAHM now) an early years primary school teacher myself.

He 'has put his foot down' (goodness that sounds oldfashioned) and said no way. (Funnily enough he had said yes about it about 6 months ago, but I think that was for a quiet life and didn't realise how serious I was) and now has categorically has said 'no'. I think it hurts my feelings a bit (alot) b/c he doesn't trust what I can do, I mean if i can teach a class of 30 why the heck can't I teach my child on a one to one basis? He doesn't seem willing to discuss it now and has totally shut of his mind to it. I wish I could do something about this.

(I will mention his reasons: he is worried about our LO not socialising. I do not/cannot drive, we couldn't afford to be a two car family anyway, so I would find it very difficult to meet up with other home schooling mamas. He says our LO loves preschool, and he is right, she does right now. He feels it would make her 'different' from everyone else. He wants her to be more 'mainstream' and 'accepted' I guess. I have put all this in inverted comma's b/c I don't agree with this)

BUT on the otherhand I feel scared about doing the right thing and would not feel comfortable homeschooling/ unschooling without his support. What a mess.

A UK Waldorf blogging mama!
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#22 of 78 Old 01-13-2009, 11:13 AM
 
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I think the socialization theory is a common concern for many parents who aren't familiar with homeschooling. I don't really know your situtation, as far as being able to get out and meet up with others, so I can't say, but I do know that many people worry about that initially, until they realize how much happens just by going to the library, the grocery, the children's museum, ballet or soccer, etc, just going about every day life.

But, you must do what you feel is right, but there is always time, and maybe you could just ask him to read some articles about homeschooling that you give him, to feel like he is listening to your concerns and instincts about what is right for your dd. Good luck to you.
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#23 of 78 Old 01-13-2009, 10:02 PM
 
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I apologize for this reply being so photo heavy, but unschooling is so intertwined with living that I essentially took photos of all the rooms in our home so you can see our external interpretation of Waldorf, free of Anthroposophical dogma . As you'll be seeing, our home does not look like a typical Waldorf home--we have lots of color, no silk canopies, no playstands, toys made of a variety of media, and some Montessori "academic-type" activities. However, if you just let go of the whole "It must be made of solid wood and scented with lavender oil!" concept (sometimes small budgets just don't allow for that, and until recently we've been living off of one student income), you'll see that many of the toys we have are of the same "essence"--they are open-ended, imaginative, and allow for lots of creativity. Waldorf/Montessori have influenced how we have our playspace set up but in unschooling style, we follow dd's lead. Of the academic "jobs" (per Montessori parlance) we have, they have all come about after dd has demonstrated a desire or need for that activitiy in other ways. One of the things I like about her toys is that they are so open-ended that they can be used for years to come. I also like that since we unschool I can feel free to pick and choose what things I like from different pedagogies (please refer to my previous post for more details if you haven't read it already), and being "on the fringe" I have learned to see both Waldorf and Montessori limitations and short-comings. But being "on the fringe" also can be a lonely place because you get snubbed by many purists. Oh well. Enough philosophizing . . .

So, how about a tour of our tiny home? (We live in a 2 bedroom apt. currently).

First up, our seasonal decorations.

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-177F.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-174F.jpg

For each upcoming holiday, I decorate our door and the wall space beside it. I usually also do a seasonal nature scene on part of our dining room table, but after taking down one billion Christmas decorations, I'm going to skip that step this winter season (winter's barren anyway, right?). DD arranged all the hearts on the wall, hence the rather interesting placement, and the map is because she is currently very interested in learning geography (she just turned 3, and I've heard this is a big 3 y.o. thing).

I've found this seasonal wheel is so much fun for understanding the months and seasons. DD loves it. We also have a month song that we sing along with some Elsa Beskow books and the Gerda Muller picture books to help with an understanding of the seasons:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-194F.jpg

Next comes dd's play kitchen that is in a small nook between our front closet and the living room space.

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-173F.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-201F.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...MVC-202F-1.jpg

I did some close-ups of the felt foods that I cut out of crafting felt for her because I'm rather proud of them. I think they may have cost all of $3 to make and they are perfect for layering to make sandwiches or putting in soups, etc. The spice rack is also really neat because not only are these "real foods" that give the cool effect of being able to unscrew a jar to measure out the "ingredients" but dh just recently used the nutmegs as math manipulatives to help dd understand the concept of zero. Talk about multi-purpose!

Also, near her play kitchen is this bookcase filled with knick-knacks that dd can play with on their own terms or use to enhance a dining experience from her kitchen. We believe strongly in teaching children how to handle "adult" things properly and with great care, hence the glassware and crystal.

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...MVC-178F-1.jpg


Now, our main play area, our living room. This area is actually very small--probably 8' x 6'. On the left of the room there are more Waldorf-style things, and on the right more Montessori.

Looking toward the left: http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-157F.jpg

Schleich animal figurines, cars/trucks/trains, parking garage, and what I have termed the "random toy basket" bin where I put things that I have no idea where else to put: http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-171F.jpg

A closer look at the figurines on the shelves: http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-170F.jpg

Our nature baskets (these are so great for building forests, acting out stories, or even using as pieces in dice games): http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-169F.jpg

Our play fabrics, which consists of velvets, satins, and silks:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-168F.jpg

Play fabrics in action (dd is making herself a swimsuit):
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-133F.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-139F.jpg

Farm set and homemade play mat up-close:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-140F.jpg

Toys on the backside of the table:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-167F.jpg

The Montessori side of our living room space:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-214F.jpg

Shelving up-close (I love the Lauri pegboard on the bottom right. DD likes to use for planting her garden.) The puzzles are neat, too, because they not only are good for motor skills (you have to use a rod to catch fish and bugs) but dd catches the fish in her puzzle and then takes it to her kitchen to cook:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-216F.jpg

Our homemade moveable alphabet following Montessori ideas of coloring the consonants and vowels differently. On the front of each card is the uppercase letter and on the back is the lower case. Also, there are numbers 0-9 for explaining numeration of quantities.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...MVC-213F-1.jpg

Our game shelf and herb garden:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-161F.jpg

Our homemade game box, opened (It contains a homemade wooden "Memory" style game and a color sorting activity):
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-162F.jpg

Connect Four is great for making patterns and honing motor skills:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-164F.jpg

Our current science projects of sprouting an avocado seed (we recently finished a lima bean sprout) and an oil/water mixture study, along with our breakfast and lunchtime votive and some of the seeds for our spring garden.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-180F.jpg

Down the hallway is our smaller bedroom where we essentially keep dd's stuffed animal collection (she loves them!), a wicker rocking horse, a sit and spin, and dd's climbing bar. She doesn't sleep in this room, as she still co-sleeps.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-149F.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-150F.jpg

On to our master bedroom where she has an art wall with paper up continually and art supplies below for whenever the mood strikes:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-144F.jpg

Here is the corner where I keep our "mommy is to supervise" art supplies:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-145F.jpg

Our keyboard and instrument basket in our bedroom:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-146F.jpg

Her playsets beside the keyboard and near our bed:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-147F.jpg

Our bookshelf with knick-knacks for play, including some music boxes and her button collection:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-148F.jpg

You can't beat a bathroom for sensory play. DD draws in the steam from my shower every day. She loves to draw mazes and dot games, currently, as well as people.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-192F.jpg

Sink-time water play:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-198F.jpg

Bathtime water play toys (which include pipettes, a water wheel, sea shells, animals to wash, watering cans, and buckets . . . and shaving cream:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-190F.jpg

Continuing with sensory play, we have a sandbox outside on our balcony when the weather is nicer:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-189F.jpg

And last, but not least, dd's new Waldorf doll arrived today. I guess I shouldn't include it here since we're putting it away for later but I'm so thrilled with how it turned out, I just had to post some pictures of it. I bought it from "Maineartisen" on Etsy and it was a custom order that she did in like 2 days. It was wrapped so beautifully when it arrived, too!

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-210F.jpg

And she even comes complete with bodice and pantaloons!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-209F.jpg

Bless your heart if you actually looked at all those. I'm nothing if not verbose and thorough.



ETA: Oops! I totally forgot dd's shelves in the kitchen w/ homemade playdough and supplies and her spice rack with real spices that she shakes into water to make soup concoctions. She's the only 3 year old I know who can identify all the major herbs and spices by smell and look. You never know how much stuff you have until you try photographing all of it!

Allison:  a little bit Waldorf, a little bit Medievalish, and always"MOMMMMYYYY!" to sweet Cecily since 12.22.05
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#24 of 78 Old 01-13-2009, 10:41 PM
 
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thank YOU for taking the time to share all this with us so very inspiringly...
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#25 of 78 Old 01-14-2009, 12:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by *theophane* View Post
thank YOU for taking the time to share all this with us so very inspiringly...
You're very sweet. I don't think it's particularly inspiring so much as "realistic on a budget" Believe me, if I could have more wooden toys and playstands and such, I would . . . but with that said, I don't think it would change the way dd plays at all, it would really just be for me. I'm attached enough to her toys as is, I'd hate to think if I was paying mega bucks for them! Dh thinks it's weird that I've been sneaking peeks of dd's new doll all evening.

I was really rather intimidated about posting pictures here on this forum because I know that I don't live up to Waldorf standards, and in my mind I feel lots of judgment (I doubt it's there but you know how minds are!). I do want people to know, though, that you can be inspired by Waldorf without feeling the need to follow everything to a tee, and that it really is okay to not buy a $300 farmhouse with matching wooden figurines.

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 78 Old 01-14-2009, 01:55 AM
 
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Thank you SO much for posting those pics, yes it is really good to see what it looks like in someone else's house. Especially since you said you had a small space, but you've made wonderful use of the space you have. Thank you and I loved all the pictures, and yes, I clicked on all of them, some a few times!
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#27 of 78 Old 01-14-2009, 09:29 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuxPerpetua View Post
that give the cool effect of being able to unscrew a jar to measure out the "ingredients" but dh just recently used the nutmegs as math manipulatives to help dd understand the concept of zero. Talk about multi-purpose!

!
just wanted to check something, which has got my heart beating so fast, are they real nutmegs????????????? b/c if they are if a whole one is eaten/swollowed by mistake it could kill a little one. Just though I'd check b/c that has really frightened me. I just googled it to double check and they can be really dangerous if too much is eaten at one go.

A UK Waldorf blogging mama!
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#28 of 78 Old 01-14-2009, 09:50 AM
 
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I clicked on all of your photos and I think you have really wonderful open-ended toys. Out of interest, with all the amazing toys, does your LO play independently alot? I bet she must have a great time with such a wonderful choice. It reminds me of my friends house ,she's not into anything waldorf ( she doesn't really do wooden toys) but she has chosen really open- ended toys which lead to such great play from her LO's. I get amazing 'toy' tips from her all of the time.

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#29 of 78 Old 01-14-2009, 10:08 AM
 
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thanks for sharing! but who really has a $300 barn on here?!

Waldorf mama to Autumn DD 9/05 and my Spring DD 4/08 Winter baby due 2/11
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#30 of 78 Old 01-14-2009, 10:54 AM
 
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I loved your post and pictures.
We live very similar to you. I have a 3 year old son & we live in a 2 bedroom apartment/townhouse so I loved seeing how you incorporate Waldorf/Montessori into your home.

I actually have been inspired a bit to change things around in our home and some future toys for my ds. Where did you find the cash register with the conveyer and scanner? My ds would love something like that.

Thanks again for posting!

Quote:
Originally Posted by LuxPerpetua View Post
I apologize for this reply being so photo heavy, but unschooling is so intertwined with living that I essentially took photos of all the rooms in our home so you can see our external interpretation of Waldorf, free of Anthroposophical dogma . As you'll be seeing, our home does not look like a typical Waldorf home--we have lots of color, no silk canopies, no playstands, toys made of a variety of media, and some Montessori "academic-type" activities. However, if you just let go of the whole "It must be made of solid wood and scented with lavender oil!" concept (sometimes small budgets just don't allow for that, and until recently we've been living off of one student income), you'll see that many of the toys we have are of the same "essence"--they are open-ended, imaginative, and allow for lots of creativity. Waldorf/Montessori have influenced how we have our playspace set up but in unschooling style, we follow dd's lead. Of the academic "jobs" (per Montessori parlance) we have, they have all come about after dd has demonstrated a desire or need for that activitiy in other ways. One of the things I like about her toys is that they are so open-ended that they can be used for years to come. I also like that since we unschool I can feel free to pick and choose what things I like from different pedagogies (please refer to my previous post for more details if you haven't read it already), and being "on the fringe" I have learned to see both Waldorf and Montessori limitations and short-comings. But being "on the fringe" also can be a lonely place because you get snubbed by many purists. Oh well. Enough philosophizing . . .

So, how about a tour of our tiny home? (We live in a 2 bedroom apt. currently).

First up, our seasonal decorations.

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-177F.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-174F.jpg

For each upcoming holiday, I decorate our door and the wall space beside it. I usually also do a seasonal nature scene on part of our dining room table, but after taking down one billion Christmas decorations, I'm going to skip that step this winter season (winter's barren anyway, right?). DD arranged all the hearts on the wall, hence the rather interesting placement, and the map is because she is currently very interested in learning geography (she just turned 3, and I've heard this is a big 3 y.o. thing).

I've found this seasonal wheel is so much fun for understanding the months and seasons. DD loves it. We also have a month song that we sing along with some Elsa Beskow books and the Gerda Muller picture books to help with an understanding of the seasons:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-194F.jpg

Next comes dd's play kitchen that is in a small nook between our front closet and the living room space.

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-173F.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-201F.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...MVC-202F-1.jpg

I did some close-ups of the felt foods that I cut out of crafting felt for her because I'm rather proud of them. I think they may have cost all of $3 to make and they are perfect for layering to make sandwiches or putting in soups, etc. The spice rack is also really neat because not only are these "real foods" that give the cool effect of being able to unscrew a jar to measure out the "ingredients" but dh just recently used the nutmegs as math manipulatives to help dd understand the concept of zero. Talk about multi-purpose!

Also, near her play kitchen is this bookcase filled with knick-knacks that dd can play with on their own terms or use to enhance a dining experience from her kitchen. We believe strongly in teaching children how to handle "adult" things properly and with great care, hence the glassware and crystal.

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...MVC-178F-1.jpg


Now, our main play area, our living room. This area is actually very small--probably 8' x 6'. On the left of the room there are more Waldorf-style things, and on the right more Montessori.

Looking toward the left: http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-157F.jpg

Schleich animal figurines, cars/trucks/trains, parking garage, and what I have termed the "random toy basket" bin where I put things that I have no idea where else to put: http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-171F.jpg

A closer look at the figurines on the shelves: http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-170F.jpg

Our nature baskets (these are so great for building forests, acting out stories, or even using as pieces in dice games): http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-169F.jpg

Our play fabrics, which consists of velvets, satins, and silks:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-168F.jpg

Play fabrics in action (dd is making herself a swimsuit):
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-133F.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-139F.jpg

Farm set and homemade play mat up-close:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-140F.jpg

Toys on the backside of the table:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-167F.jpg

The Montessori side of our living room space:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-214F.jpg

Shelving up-close (I love the Lauri pegboard on the bottom right. DD likes to use for planting her garden.) The puzzles are neat, too, because they not only are good for motor skills (you have to use a rod to catch fish and bugs) but dd catches the fish in her puzzle and then takes it to her kitchen to cook:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-216F.jpg

Our homemade moveable alphabet following Montessori ideas of coloring the consonants and vowels differently. On the front of each card is the uppercase letter and on the back is the lower case. Also, there are numbers 0-9 for explaining numeration of quantities.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...MVC-213F-1.jpg

Our game shelf and herb garden:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-161F.jpg

Our homemade game box, opened (It contains a homemade wooden "Memory" style game and a color sorting activity):
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-162F.jpg

Connect Four is great for making patterns and honing motor skills:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-164F.jpg

Our current science projects of sprouting an avocado seed (we recently finished a lima bean sprout) and an oil/water mixture study, along with our breakfast and lunchtime votive and some of the seeds for our spring garden.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-180F.jpg

Down the hallway is our smaller bedroom where we essentially keep dd's stuffed animal collection (she loves them!), a wicker rocking horse, a sit and spin, and dd's climbing bar. She doesn't sleep in this room, as she still co-sleeps.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-149F.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-150F.jpg

On to our master bedroom where she has an art wall with paper up continually and art supplies below for whenever the mood strikes:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-144F.jpg

Here is the corner where I keep our "mommy is to supervise" art supplies:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-145F.jpg

Our keyboard and instrument basket in our bedroom:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-146F.jpg

Her playsets beside the keyboard and near our bed:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-147F.jpg

Our bookshelf with knick-knacks for play, including some music boxes and her button collection:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-148F.jpg

You can't beat a bathroom for sensory play. DD draws in the steam from my shower every day. She loves to draw mazes and dot games, currently, as well as people.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-192F.jpg

Sink-time water play:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-198F.jpg

Bathtime water play toys (which include pipettes, a water wheel, sea shells, animals to wash, watering cans, and buckets . . . and shaving cream:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-190F.jpg

Continuing with sensory play, we have a sandbox outside on our balcony when the weather is nicer:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-189F.jpg

And last, but not least, dd's new Waldorf doll arrived today. I guess I shouldn't include it here since we're putting it away for later but I'm so thrilled with how it turned out, I just had to post some pictures of it. I bought it from "Maineartisen" on Etsy and it was a custom order that she did in like 2 days. It was wrapped so beautifully when it arrived, too!

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-210F.jpg

And she even comes complete with bodice and pantaloons!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-209F.jpg

Bless your heart if you actually looked at all those. I'm nothing if not verbose and thorough.



ETA: Oops! I totally forgot dd's shelves in the kitchen w/ homemade playdough and supplies and her spice rack with real spices that she shakes into water to make soup concoctions. She's the only 3 year old I know who can identify all the major herbs and spices by smell and look. You never know how much stuff you have until you try photographing all of it!
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