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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.
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.
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......
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.
thank YOU for taking the time to share all this with us so very inspiringly...
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.
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:
Next comes dd's play kitchen that is in a small nook between our front closet and the living room space.
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.
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:
Play fabrics in action (dd is making herself a swimsuit):
Farm set and homemade play mat up-close:
Toys on the backside of the table:
The Montessori side of our living room space:
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:
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.
Our game shelf and herb garden:
Our homemade game box, opened (It contains a homemade wooden "Memory" style game and a color sorting activity):
Connect Four is great for making patterns and honing motor skills:
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.
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.
On to our master bedroom where she has an art wall with paper up continually and art supplies below for whenever the mood strikes:
Here is the corner where I keep our "mommy is to supervise" art supplies:
Our keyboard and instrument basket in our bedroom:
Her playsets beside the keyboard and near our bed:
Our bookshelf with knick-knacks for play, including some music boxes and her button collection:
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.
Sink-time water play:
Bathtime water play toys (which include pipettes, a water wheel, sea shells, animals to wash, watering cans, and buckets . . . and shaving cream:
Continuing with sensory play, we have a sandbox outside on our balcony when the weather is nicer:
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!
And she even comes complete with bodice and pantaloons!
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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