Waldorf and Holistic Support Thread for February - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 119 Old 02-01-2007, 10:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello Everyone,

Since we had agreed to do so, I have taken the liberty of going ahead and starting the February support thread. As a very isolated holistic homeschooler, I cannot say how much it means to pop in here each day and find ideas and thoughts from like-minded homeschoolers.

I'd like to start the month by asking a question:

What is inspiring you most right now in your homeschooling?

Have a great day!

Lucie
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#2 of 119 Old 02-01-2007, 11:01 AM
 
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What exactly IS Waldorf and Holistic homeschooling? Lucie, I did take a look at the website in your link, but I still don't quite "get it."

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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#3 of 119 Old 02-01-2007, 11:19 AM
 
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I'm feeling inspired by the books I've just gotten in the mail! I got the Living Values book, and a Child's Seasonal Treasury just a few days ago. I'm loving the Treasury, since my kids would be happy to just say verses all day! The Values curriculum is great, too. I'm excited to get started with those activities next week.

Today we are having a festival day with another hsing family to celebrate Imbolc- the roots of groundhog day! There's so much snow here that I'm sure we'll be out romping in that before we go inside to make beeswax candles and do a talking stick circle.
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#4 of 119 Old 02-01-2007, 12:21 PM
 
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We're actually just getting started with homeschooling, and as a newbie, what inspires me most right now are the seasons! I love how nature provides the perfect background theme, as well as the perfect materials to work with. Each time the season changes and all the new opportunities present themselves outside, my dedication to homeschool is renewed and I am even more certain that being stuck in a classroom is the last place on Earth I'd want my ds to be.

I'm so glad to have this thread. Thanks for starting a new one!

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#5 of 119 Old 02-01-2007, 12:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What exactly IS Waldorf and Holistic homeschooling?
Hey Ruthla,

Glad I saw this as I was just heading to teach.

To be brief, we're homeschoolers who are interested in connecting teaching and learning to the whole child - mind, body, and spirit. We draw in ideas from Waldorf education, and many of us from Multiple Intelligences, Rachel Carson, CM, Montessori, Unschooling, and just anything else that works for our family.

We're not really "eclectic" as we share a desire to foster reverence in our education, and rhythm in our home, and most of us do have some structure to our days - more than most unschoolers, less than a Waldorf school...

...but it varies and runs the gamut of individual style!

Maybe some others would like to chime in thoughts!

Warmly,

Lucie
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#6 of 119 Old 02-01-2007, 12:28 PM
 
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What's inspiring me? I guess that fact that it's "working" so well, if that makes sense. What's the saying? "The proof is in the pudding"? That's how I feel. Every day that we have success and peace and rhythm and she's learning new things in a gentle way inspires me to do it again tomorrow.

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#7 of 119 Old 02-01-2007, 02:56 PM
 
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I save a thread to a word doc on Imbol/Candlemas/St. Brigid's day from MDC...very inspiring....lots of recipes from AM!

Also, we had a light snow this morning and made sugarhouse maple candy....mmmm.....
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#8 of 119 Old 02-01-2007, 03:30 PM
 
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What is inspiring you most right now in your homeschooling?
DS2 has asked to learn to read and is doing very well teaching himself with a little guidance from me. It sort of cam eout of the blue and I was unprepared. I had not planned on approaching readin for another year. So that is an inspiration, to see the child led education philosophy work! 0Not that I had any doubts )
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#9 of 119 Old 02-01-2007, 07:51 PM
 
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Hey Ruthla,

Glad I saw this as I was just heading to teach.

To be brief, we're homeschoolers who are interested in connecting teaching and learning to the whole child - mind, body, and spirit. We draw in ideas from Waldorf education, and many of us from Multiple Intelligences, Rachel Carson, CM, Montessori, Unschooling, and just anything else that works for our family.

We're not really "eclectic" as we share a desire to foster reverence in our education, and rhythm in our home, and most of us do have some structure to our days - more than most unschoolers, less than a Waldorf school...

...but it varies and runs the gamut of individual style!

Maybe some others would like to chime in thoughts!

Warmly,

Lucie
I think this is a wonderful description. I especially want an education for my child that speaks to her soul. The thing I love most about Waldorf is the conscious effort to choose content (stories and songs and images) that speaks to the child at a very deep level.
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#10 of 119 Old 02-01-2007, 10:06 PM
 
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A quick question about cursive (before I say what is inspiring me!): I have a hard time deciding if I should buy "The Write Approach I" or "The Write Approach II" from an online Waldorf bookstore. My ds wants to learn cursive and I have no idea where to look for a Waldorf-y approach to cursive. It seems that the above books take form drawing into cursive (which was how I learned and seems to make perfect sense), but I don't really have the $$$ for both books. Input, anyone?

What is inspiring right now is my dd's enthusiasm for doing math - we regularly get out the polished glass stones and we tell little stories about fictional people / gnomes / fairies / animals who go about losing (and gaining) magic stones.

And of course, my ds's interest in marine biology is just quite wonderful. We have really exhausted so many resources, yet it seems his appetite is insatiable!
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#11 of 119 Old 02-02-2007, 12:39 AM
 
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I wanted to share this. I have no idea where I found it; it was in my files:
Forty days after Christmas
Where have you traveled?
Where have I?
Through what desert,
In what ark, through what flood,
Toward what Temple, to be purified,
To face or hide from what shadow,
To meet the one who is waiting,
To recognize the one?
Where have we been?
How much longer the journey?
And how soon the thaw?

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#12 of 119 Old 02-02-2007, 01:59 AM
 
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Hi,

I'm very intrested in Waldorf Education. I would like some ideas where to start learning more about Waldorf Education. My ds is 4 years old. He loves to play outside , loves stories and loves to play make believe. I would love to start a looking more at Waldorf. I think it would fit us well. Also I'm against making him learn his ABC and counting now. He is doing it some on his own. Any thoughts would help.

Jay
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#13 of 119 Old 02-02-2007, 03:44 AM
 
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I'm here though we have taken a step back as I was beginning to get myself *very* overwhelmed towards the end of last month. So, I gave myself time off until I had a chance to do a phone consultation with Beth, the creator of Enki. That is this coming Tuesday, to which I am looking forward. (It is tough trying to not end sentences in prepositions that are so much less "stuffy" if you just end it in a preposition, yk?! ) Anyways, I am going to compose my thoughts and questions this weekend. In the meantime, I have really had a chance to sit back and watch my boys. Without the stress of wanting/needing to do anything, we have really been flowing pretty well, and overall have had a much calmer week than last week. I have come to terms with the items during our week that I cannot change (speech 2 mornings a week for ds#2; breakfast with my dad 1x a week; rollerskating/breakfast with my mom 1x a week - although we are not going the 2nd week of each month). Now I'm working on how to embrace those times rather than fight against them.

I have also come to the conclusion that a full, formal circle probably will not work for us. It was too forced and too unnatural, and since the idea of holistic education is to nurture, doing something unnatural seemed to fly in the face of my goals. So, I am working on (and will talk with Beth about) weaving the songs, movement activities, and verses into our day rather than trying to do them all at one pre-appointed time. My boys love the singing and movement, but not donig it in a forced/formal/full circle. So, a couple here in the morning and a couple there in the evening will probably work much better for us.

I love how I am becoming more in sync with them and how I am getting more in tune with our energy levels during the day. I also am teaching myself to not worry/stress when all plans go out the window, but rather to look at it from the bigger picture. (I was a public school teacher in my former life ... some things are harder to let go of than others. ) So, that about catches me up for the beginning of the month. Oh, and to show you how "out of it" I have been, I totally forgot about Groundhog's Day! We have had rain/cool weather this week (upper 50's, which is unseasonably cold for us); this weekend and early next week is supposed to be up in the upper 70's and low 80's! Oh man ...

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#14 of 119 Old 02-02-2007, 11:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Howdy All,

It is so nice to hear about your inspirations. We've had an inspiration struggle this past week - my sixth grader and I just are not inspired by Rome...so after doing what we wanted with it, we have moved the focus into the Gauls and the Ancient Britons. It is Gaul, as Jessica said, "that speaks to the child at a very deep level." We're dropping Rome a week early.

I also am inspired by the seasons, nature and my children. The snow which has welcomed us to the Plains this year is just amazing! Like chfriend, I'm totally enjoying this even though they've declared this state a disaster area!

I like seeing my children's eyes light up, so when we're doing something that doesn't sparkle them now and then, well, I just don't want to do it (like Rome). The Germanic people lived a very earthy life. The runes are just amazingly interesting. If anything, we resent the Romans for bringing urbanization and the modern sense of power/ego.

My first grader and I are oin a cuddly stage. I think he's in a growth spurt and wants to be babied a bit. He's LOVED the simple songs and alphabet stories, but we're on to his favorite subject, math, next week.

Michelle, I haven't used the Write Approach but hear its great, I would however, highly recommend Rachel Carson's books to your son (other than Silent Spring of course). They are all filled with her unique sense of wonder.

Jay, IMHO, fostering his imagination will take him much farther in life than early "reading" and math. Most kids who are forced to learn to read early take on a "parrot" approach to it and don't really comprehend much. Let him play with the world for a while, if he teaches himself to read, great! If he doesn't, just start sometime around 6 1/2 or 7, when you sense that he is ready.

The imagination, however, will take him to new worlds of creativity and discovery as an adult - those thngs that computers cannot do for us! Let him play and discover a while. I've put together some resources about this on my site here.

Annette, that verse is just lovely!

Have a marvelous day everyone,

Lucie
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#15 of 119 Old 02-02-2007, 08:10 PM
 
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as we are already on page two.

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#16 of 119 Old 02-02-2007, 08:39 PM
 
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MyLittle Wonders: I had missed it somehow and thought no one had started one yet!

We are looking seriously at Enki because I think it speaks to me on so many levels and brings in the influences I'm most interested in (Waldorf and Montessori with the self reflection of Buddhism). I have devoured the information on their site and the yahoo group and it just all seems to make sense to me. I get nervous about having support IRL about just homeschooling in general and then a less well-known curriculum to boot, and feel really lucky to have found such a wealth of information here.

Really liking the new title of this thread as well because it seems like a lot of people are bringing in some other influences, but are really inspired by Waldorf.

Thanks!

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#17 of 119 Old 02-02-2007, 10:28 PM
 
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subbing

my child inspires me - her lead, our path...
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#18 of 119 Old 02-02-2007, 11:28 PM
 
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... I would however, highly recommend Rachel Carson's books to your son (other than Silent Spring of course). They are all filled with her unique sense of wonder.
Thank you, Lucie for this - my son is going to love, love, love them. I have no idea how I've managed to overlook these amazing books - you're a star!!
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#19 of 119 Old 02-03-2007, 11:44 AM
 
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My oldest ds is sick with a cold. The past couple of days have been spent letting him rest. My youngest has a little cold coming on too so he has also been resting. I have had some quiet reading and writing time. What has been inspiring me? This group, my children, drawing alone in the evening, and a few good books.

Here's a few books I've been reading:

Eurythmy for the Young Child: A Guide for teachers and Parents by Estelle Bryer
This is a really great book for under sevens

Golden Beetle Books by: Alan Whitehead
They have helped me so much.

The Norse Stories and their Significance by: Roy Wilkinson
Just finishing up our Norse Myths block. It went really well. I love his interpretations for Norse Myths, for me of course. I don't read that part to my ds.

Geometry Lessons in the Waldorf Elementary School: Volume 2 Freehand Form Drawing and Basic Geometric Construction in Grades 4 and 5 by: Ernst Shuberth
We are moving into geometry this week. This is a great book. However, I need more ideas. Please share.
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#20 of 119 Old 02-03-2007, 11:57 AM
 
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Well we are working towards our themes of fairies and vikings. The books are starting to trickle in. And Dd1 is still *so* calm! I'm not sure what triggered it. maybe the diet changes finally kicked in (if so I hope they aren't spoiled by the kids going to grandma's for the night and all the fun stuff they eat when not at home), it could be the excitement and expectation of starting 'school' that she actually thinks will be fun and is keeping an open mind about it instead of shooting it down in the past, or the working towards slipping some at home OT in when she's not looking is doing it or some combination of all of them. Not a clue and I don't think that anyone is ever going to be able to answer that question. But, hey I'm going to take it and run!

What is inspiring me right now? That things are clicking instead of slipping. It's great to be getting the whole family on the same page, especially the kids. It's great to have something that everyone is looking forward to and that I can work more into then they think, plus make it all fun. It's inspiring that Dd1 has turned a page and is looking forward to something instead of dreading it. This is going to be great. Plus they have started bouncing at the thought of dressing up in costumes that go with their theme while they are doing 'school' which get my creative juices flowing since I love to crate things like that.
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#21 of 119 Old 02-03-2007, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well we are working towards our themes of fairies and vikings...What is inspiring me right now? That things are clicking instead of slipping. It's great to be getting the whole family on the same page, especially the kids. It's great to have something that everyone is looking forward to and that I can work more into then they think, plus make it all fun.
Interesting combinations! It's so nice to see what everyone is doing...and a huge boost to my inspiration. We actually had one of our little planning talks - the boys and I, just to refresh our enthusiasm - Rome really sapped it!

My first grader wants to augment our math block with little science experiments - sorry it's not in the garden, but he does have an older brother who does loads of them and he just wants to do "magic" and such. We're going to play physics games, which Alan actually does recommend for this age, and I figure we'll do an earth/water/fire/air sequence.

My sixth grader and I are going to do a study on Global Warming over the next week. We've touched on it in several areas, but he had to watch the news for a week with scouts, and of course the report came out, so now he wants to concentrate on it.

MamaKass - to me the greatest inspirations in geometry are quite sacred, beginning with the circle - like this lesson on circles; or the idea of a triangle as forces touching one another - stronger together; or this one on quads. Just sort of use your life and your child to inspire, like we had a picture of Grand Cenral Station hung in the living room, with sunlight streaming through the upper windows, forming perfect triangles!
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#22 of 119 Old 02-03-2007, 01:43 PM
 
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We are looking seriously at Enki because I think it speaks to me on so many levels and brings in the influences I'm most interested in (Waldorf and Montessori with the self reflection of Buddhism).
I'm not a homeschooler (yet), but what is "Enki"?
I tried to google but all I got was many sites about a god?
It sounded here that it was another 'method' of homeschooling and being newly on the Buddhist path, I was curious when you mentioned buddhism.

Thanks

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#23 of 119 Old 02-03-2007, 02:09 PM
 
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Here is the site. Nak or I'd type more.

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#24 of 119 Old 02-03-2007, 02:15 PM
 
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Thanks!
I'd done a search on here after my post, and found the site.
It's SO SO SO the kind of education I'd love to give Evan.
Very neat.
I'm so glad I wandered into this forum! I've learned so much in like a day!

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#25 of 119 Old 02-03-2007, 02:32 PM
 
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I'm not sure if this is the right place, but I was hoping you guys could help me. We are hoping to do some work in our backyard between now and summer and I was looking for ideas on what to add for the kids to make it a "magical" space for them. My older daughter (6yo) is an advanced reader and loves to spend hours pouring over chapter books so I feel it is really important that she also spend hours outside too. We have a smallish backyard that currently has nothing in it but some grass and dirt. The girls already spend hours out there creating stories, digging in the dirt, collecting rocks, studying bugs. I'm thinking of trying to plant a small vegetable garden with them come spring (although being hugely pg might put a damper on that). What else might I add for them?

Thanks in advance!!

Mama to three sweet girls (a dramatic, chatty 10yo, a bouncy, dynamo of a 7yo, and a delightful, whimsical 3.5yo)
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#26 of 119 Old 02-03-2007, 11:39 PM
 
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I'm not sure if this is the right place, but I was hoping you guys could help me. We are hoping to do some work in our backyard between now and summer and I was looking for ideas on what to add for the kids to make it a "magical" space for them. My older daughter (6yo) is an advanced reader and loves to spend hours pouring over chapter books so I feel it is really important that she also spend hours outside too. We have a smallish backyard that currently has nothing in it but some grass and dirt. The girls already spend hours out there creating stories, digging in the dirt, collecting rocks, studying bugs. I'm thinking of trying to plant a small vegetable garden with them come spring (although being hugely pg might put a damper on that). What else might I add for them?

Thanks in advance!!
What about growing a sunflower house, or one of the other "hideaway" ideas suggested here?
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#27 of 119 Old 02-04-2007, 12:31 AM
 
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I love the sunflower house! I need to find a place to do that. We've always considered making a "stream" in the backyard - digging a good sized winding "moat" that is lined in river rock. You can let them play with the hose to fill it and create currents. Once they are done, the water will eventually seep into the ground. You could also buy or make a bridge to cross the stream and add a trellis with winding vines on it (either floral or edible like grapes, peas, goards, beans, etc.). The bridge could lead to a "magical" land where they find the sunflower house.

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#28 of 119 Old 02-04-2007, 01:09 AM
 
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I find myself day dreaming about homeschooling after reading this thread for a while now. I just lurk and think WOW I would love to do that. In so many ways we do a lot of Waldorf type activities through the day and the kids are learning something by just being engaged in art, cooking, music ect. My older ds will turn 7 tomorrow and just loves public school right now. I think he likes the socialization because the bus stop and lunch are his favorite parts of the day. He a storyteller by nature and will put great energy into this with anyone who will listen. My stepdaughters enjoy public school and will do anything to get out of the house. They would not want to homeschool and I know it would be a stepmother to mother battle.
I do want to homeschool my little ds 17 mo and in so many ways already do in a life approach aspect. He is still so involved in exploring everything in the house.

Just letting you all know you are inspiring.
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#29 of 119 Old 02-04-2007, 08:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I would keep the garden very simple - especially since you are pregnant. I have two friends who embarked on a huge project 2 yrs ago and just burned out - first the kids, and then themselves. Just don't count on the kids for more than minimal "work."

I love the ideas submitted so far - we are tring a bean teepee this year, some sunflowers, and some lavender. We're also planting a tree.

One suggestion I wanted to bring forth is that is considering all the senses when planting the garden - sound (like wind chimes), light and dark (which a bean teepee or sunflower house will take care of), something fragrant, one thing you can eat, up & down - maybe the up could be a bird feeder.

With your older one, you might also want to talk about natural forces using The Root Children or another good book.

Best of luck,

Lucie
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#30 of 119 Old 02-05-2007, 12:24 PM
 
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Lucie,
Thanks so much for the links. My library has that circle book. I'm picking it up today. Your links were very helpful. I have researched so much, and pulled from several sources. I have made a lot of plans and I am confident to teach this block. It is going to be fun, and it is going to be alive.
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