Archive for July, 2009

Our Classroom

July 31, 2009

childrens museum 141I have this thing about seeing other peoples classrooms. So I thought I would share a few photos of ours. We put the Little’s in one room and turned the smallest bedroom into the schoolroom. This is where our main lesson is. I set it up so that little sis can play while I work with Miss  Sky. It has worked out really well. I am proud to say everything that is made out of wood papa made. Toys and all with the exception of the doll house that was mine as a child. I hope to replace the white board for a chalk board  this upcoming year . Papa has added it to his to do list. Many blessings to all for a wonderful  weekend.childrens museum 142

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Inner Work

July 31, 2009

“What must I do to eliminate as far as possible my personal self, so I can leave those in my care unburdened by my subjective nature? How do I act so I don’t interfere with a child’s destiny? How can I best educate a child toward human freedom?”“The primary task of a Waldorf teacher is to understand the human being in body, soul, and spirit. From this understanding will grow the approach, the curriculum, and the methods of an education capable of addressing the whole child.” —Roberto Trostli

The above quotes are from the book Rhythms of Learning by Roberto Trostli a very good book to help understand the methods involved with Waldorf Education. So what does one do to eliminate my personal self? A LOT of inner work especially if you came with baggage. This is even harder in my opinion when homeschooling. When working in a school environment one goes home at he end of the day to “unwind”. As a parent / teacher home with your students all the time this can be hard to swallow. Everything I say or do can “interfere” with my child’s destiny. Meditation and prayer are the beginning and end of my days. There are many things a person could do to help work within yourself but starting my day with yoga is what has worked for me. I get up an hour earlier then my family in order to have quiet. I have set up a transition of waking the house (opening the blinds) into our rhythm. The Little’s know not to come out of their room if their blinds are still closed. I have set a goal of at least 15 minutes. I mean that’s sun salutations twice through I could do that. I usually end up completing a half hour. The flow of my movements take me right into meditation where I sit and ponder the day ahead of me. What NEEDS to be done today and walk it out in my mind. Breakfast , chores, school, etc. How do I want it to flow? Is my day balanced? Does it follow our rhythm? I love A Little Garden Flower’s radio show. She recently did a show on planning with guided meditations http://waldorfjourney.typepad.com/the_gnomes_home/. I use this as a base for my family. I have a family picture hanging in the direction  I sit and look at each member meditating on their needs.  What story might Sky or little sis need to hear today. Maybe I need to make one up. How can I reach their soul? I do this while planning out what read a loud books I might need when planning the school year as well. I always end with a prayer of gratitude. It is hard to be negative when there is so much to be thankful for. This is my inner work as wife, parent, and teacher. Part two of my inner work comes at the end of the day. This is to fill MY soul. I like to read scripture right before bed to help my spirit grow while I sleep. It is amazing things that come to you in the morning. Answers to questions you might have. I also like to read something inspiring maybe study  one of Steiner’s lectures as well. I am not going to pretend this does not take discipline on my part. Sometimes it is hard to roll myself out of bed when I sleep 4 or 5 hours that night but that is when my soul needs this time the most. Waldorf Education is a life changing journey not just about gnomes and fairies but true spiritual healing. I owe this much to my family to be the best that I can be. 

This is the Way We Make Our Bread

July 29, 2009

 Wednesday for us is our baking day. The Little’s and I bake bread together and pick whatever else suits their fancy that day. All my talk about rhythm got me thinking how making bread has its own rhythmic flow.  At first I thought I was adding more work to myself by taking on “one more” task on top of everything else I have to do.  I mean I know homemade bread is cheaper , better tasting , and better for you all the way round but it takes HOURS to make. Let  rise, knead, rise, bake come on I have stuff to do. How could I take on the title of “Waldorf” and not make my own bread. I have never been one to run away form a challenge so I gave it a try I mean who said I could never buy store bread again. Guess what? Come to find out I like it. It’s not as time consuming as I thought and there is just something magical about making it. “Grown ups” play dough. It’s very therapeutic and really fits right into our day. The recipe I use from Feeding The Whole Family cookbook  has you make the starter dough the night before. Then after breakfast the Little’s and I prepare the dough for it’s first rest this takes 2 hours just perfect for circle time and main lesson. Before our lunch /break we get the dough ready for it’s second rest and let it bake while we read. School is done and so is the bread. There is something so comforting in the aroma that brings back memories from long ago. Nourishment not just for the body but for the soul with all 4 of natures elements baked right into each slice. So guess who is not buying store bread after all.

 

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Daily Rhythm

July 28, 2009

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After yesterdays post I thought I would write down an example of our daily rhythm then go more in depth with future posts. Here is an example of a typical Tuesday’s rhythm in our home. I always wake up an hour before the family for meditation, prayer, and shower. This is my time to gather my thoughts for the day. I set my goal to start with at least 15 minutes of yoga. Them move into a quiet meditation of what needs to be done as far as meals, chores, and school work. Tuesdays chores consist of washing the sheets, making the starter dough for our bread baking day tomorrow, cleaning the bathroom, and bath night. I always end with a prayer of gratitude. I then shower , “wake the house up”( a daily transition I will explain in another post), and start on breakfast and have lunch planned. The rest of the family is usually waking up by now. The Little’s have their daily chores. Being sheet washing day they strip their bed, get dressed, and comb their hair. Sky helps little sis. It’s little Sis’s  job to set the table(plates , glasses, napkins etc. all set out for her to grab) and Sky pours the juice. After breakfast is clean up which Sky helps clear the table and helps wash the dishes. Now we transition into circle time. We light the morning candle, have family prayer, and sing. Each child switches off blowing out the morning then evening candle to save from arguments. This transitions into bean bag math for Sky then we move into our main lesson. After this we break for lunch for about an hour and have some outside time keeping with the ” in breath , out breath” rhythmic flow of the day. We then settle in for story time and handwork switching off Sky reads while I do handwork then she does handwork while I read. Little sis has “handwork” set out and plays quietly. Tuesday’s is modeling day with beeswax. We then say our closing verse and our school day is through. It’s free play time till dinner. After dinner clean up it’s more free play then we transition into our evening chores. Putting the house and our toys to bed. I clean the bathroom getting the kids ready for their bath. I use baking soda and vinegar to clean our bathroom so no worries about nasty chemicals. Then we light the evening candle for story time and say our evening verse before blowing the candle out.Then it’s off to bed the Little’s go into fresh clean sheets. We say prayer and aah quiet time for papa and mama. I read e-mails check out my favorite blogs then end my day by filling my spiritual cup with scripture. Man no wonder I feel tired at the end of the day. I am worn out just typing it.

So What Is Rhythm?

July 28, 2009

childrens museum 138Well to answer that we must first look to nature for the answer. The way the sun rises and then sets. How day turns into night. How summer will soon  be fall. Rhythm is the natural flow of things. I like to use the example of siting quietly for about a minute ,close your eyes and take notice of your breath.  How it just flows in and out like waves of the ocean. That is a natural rhythm. This is how our day should be structured.  Before modern technology people use to rely on nature for their living. In fact all of nature has not changed just us. The sad thing though is rhythm is very much needed today to give children the sense of security they so need. So how does one to begin to establish a natural rhythm?  To begin it seems so overwhelming that one doesn’t quite know where to start. Start small by setting regular meal times them work on bedtimes. Just by maintaining these two things you will begin to see a change.  Every families rhythm will be different remember it has to flow naturally. Our families rhythm is different then others.  For example Waldorf Education stress very strongly the importance of sleep. Children between the ages of 1 -5 should be in bed by 7 p.m. adding a half hour later as children get older. The early bedtime does not work for our family. Papa keeps different hours giving our days a completely different flow but it is still the same day after day. After you have meal and bedtimes down start   keeping a  journal of  your days asking your self how your current rhythm is working ?Are you frenzied trying to do to much in one day?Are we as  parents getting enough rest? Are you getting any quiet time for yourself.  Time alone with your loved one? How about exercise and your diet? How is YOUR socialization? What are you reading to inspire you? What about your home do you have to much clutter?   Are you leaving time for your chores?   Then start writing down things you want to change and set a plan little by little to do it. Remember change does not happen overnight. Once you start working on your inner self you can start setting up your faimilies weekly then daily rhythms. This journey always comes back to us.

3rd Grade

July 24, 2009

conner prairie 299As I mentioned in the previous post I have been planning out 3rd grade for Miss Sky. This is one of the turning points in a child’s spiritual development. They begin to grow out of that dreaminess of a child and their eyes begin to open to the world. That is why Old Testament stories play such a big part in the 3rd grade lesson blocks. They feel like Adam and Eve leaving paradise. This has been so true while Sky will not be nine till October she most certainly is in the change. One minute she is playing the baby with little sis being mama and the next minute acting like she is the boss of everyone. Very emotional , new fears , and having sleep issues. I liked the example that at 9 they are standing at the threshold of adolescence wanting to move forward but yet still wanting to keep one foot planted in childhood. Being left with the “now what ” that is where the practical life skills comes in to play. Farming, Housing, Clothing and Cooking.  This I am most looking forward to and have some great field trips planned to a dairy and a bee farm and a sheep to shaw yarn shop. Papa is all ready with his woodworking projects including a Sukkah for when we celebrate Sukkot. The girls already have their gardens  ready and enjoying what summer has to offer( my favorite season). That just leaves math which moves right along the lines of housebuilding ( linear measurement) and baking (dry and liquid measurement) and Native American tales and legends. With the Battle of Tippecanoe being fought right here in Indiana by future president William Henry Harrison and Tecumseh I thought we would take a picnic , hike of the battle grounds where the war was fought. We also have a great Native American art museum near by. We had a lot of fun with last years lessons blocks but I have to admit 3rd grades journey seems to be another fun filled school year.

New Beginnings

July 24, 2009

conner prairie 265I am so excited to finally try my hand at this blog thing.Right now I am  in the middle of planning  out 3rd grade. So many new and exciting things to learn. In 3rd grade at a Waldorf school one of the things you study is housebuilding. Daddy already has projects lined up and couldn’t wait to get started. See Sky had to have a new tool box to carry her tools in so the two of them got to work right away( and yes dresses are a must while using tools). This time he will be teacher as woodworking is his department. I don’t know who is more excited the teacher or the pupil.