Thursday, September 30, 2010

Michaelmas 2010

Michaelmas! A poor amount of information seems to be out there about Michaelmas. Maybe it is out there but I can't find it so others who are new to waldorf probably can't either. According to wikipedia Michaelmas is a catholic festival celebrating the arch angle Michael throwing Lucifer out of heaven but now is only really celebrated by waldorf schools. :/ Really not all that helpful, thanks wikipedia. Michaelmas is also mixed with Saint George defeating the dragon which as a little more story found to it but gives no real ideas on how to celebrate this holiday. Many families are hesitant to make this a religious festival, either not being Christan or not wanting to focus so much on Satan with young (or even older) children. Others look to George and the dragon to represent good overcoming evil but how do you actually do that? Once a week we have a group of waldorf family's who gather for some fun group activities and so i have some wonderful Michaelmas photos to show to you! A quick overview of things that didn't get photos. Each clue had a treasure (a candle, a cape, a piece of colored glass, a felted ball 'shooting star', and a ball of dough to put on sticks and roast over the campfire.) We all tromped through the woods for about 30 mintues with 25 or so children until getting to our final destination where we feasted on Dragon Shaped Bread and the children played in the wonderful forts a previous group had made in the woods earlier that winter.

A Dragon marks the spot where we begin our quest. Capes made of golden light to keep us strong and bold.

Clues rest at each location leading us on our path. Treasures buried deep within, here a candle to light our way and help us see the truth.

A corn labyrinth we must walk to find treasures untold. A piece of glass for each to hold each piece is clear and cold.

A star marks our journey, felted balls are shooting stars. Make a wish and keep on journeying your clan is almost home.

Brave and true, Will I be. Each kind word, Sets me free. Each good deed, makes me strong. I will fight, for the right. I will con-, quer the wrong!

Fire burns but also heats our tired and cold feet. Take a rest and take a breath, our journeys at a end.

Hidden in the woods at our campfire spot, shelters made of sticks and twigs.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What we did this week

I've been reading a lot of montessori blogs which will show in our resent homeschool photos. There was been plenty of other things going on of course, lots of reading and cooking and all the good waldorf stuff but I was on a montessori kick this week so that's what you get. Next week should be good as tomorrow is michaelmas and we have been prepping for that all week. I hope to most some awesome photos and general waldorf-y goodness soon.

Loch doing HABA's Poch-Poch. Geometric shapes with holes, small nails, and a wooden hammer. Last year he needed help to put in the nails, hold them, and then he could hammer them down. This year no help necessary. He created a robot, a train, and a sail boat. (Well that's what he said they were anyway)

Nesting Sort & Stack. I like this beacuse you can sort it based on colors, (dark to lightist) size, (big - small OR tall - short) or you can nest/stack them inside each other or on top of each other. We played with this for a while as it's 'supposed to be used' and then we made a castle.

Shamelessly stolen from a montessori blog we had a plastic spider who was warping things in it's web. So using the ugly green yarn we wrapped several helpless animals practicing some fine motor control skills.

Pouring water! had several different containers we poured back and forth making only a moderately sized mess on the table.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Randomly in Fairbanks Alaska we have a marvelous waldorf toy store. One of the two owners of it is doing a 4 part lecture at the local UU church about brining waldorf home both for homeschoolers as well as for parents who want a little waldorf flavor in their childrens lives.

Tonight was part one - Rhythm.

Rhythm... an often sought after thing in the world of children regardless of if homeschooling or not. Often Rhythm is confused with a schedule.

a schedule looks something like this:

7:00 wake up get dressed
7:30 Brakefast
8:15 chores
8:45 school
Noon lunch
12:45 quite time / naps
2:00 outside time

a Rhythm looks likes this:

7:00 wake up get dressed
Noon lunch
quite time / naps
outside time

On first glance these appear to be exactly the same and this is where the confusion comes in. Both are the same. The only really difference is the clock. A rhythm means that after -this- comes -that-. So after lunch it is always quite time. After quite time is outside time. Sometimes lunch takes 20 minutes and sometimes it takes an hour. Sometimes everyone naps for 2 hours and sometimes you're lucky if you get 30 minutes.

Both systems intend to keep people in the flow of things the problem with a schedule is that when something takes an hour instead of 30 minutes or the kids end up getting involved in a activities that ends up taking most of the day instead of the time alloted it throws everything off. The kids may or may not care but the parents get out of wack and when Mamas not happy, nobodies happy.

Rhythm is intended to let both parents as well as children know what to expect next in their day (kisses good night and lights out always follow the bedtime story) but allows for things to flow at their own natural pace.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Preschool Fun this week

This week was a lot of fun for us. My little guy is 3 1/2 so we are doing a mix of preschool and kindergarten. We have being 'doing school' since he was one and a half I have a bit of a curriculum habit so I use a ton of different resources but we started with (and are still using) Little Acorn Learning. At first I used it as a general concept idea and had to modify it a bunch since he was so little. This year I need to modify very little and I love the use of weekly themes that I don't have to plan.

We are also using Oak Meadows kindergarten program with some modification for the fine motor control components. Being 3 he can not yet form letters or really draw more then a circle or a scribble. But he 'gets it' other then that one thing.

Sonlight is a chirstan homeschooling program that is commonly used in the homeschooling community. Now I'm not thrilled with the bible aspects of the program BUT their reading list (minus the bible books) are FANTASTIC.
We are using there P3/P4 guide book as a good rule of thumb for adding books into our homeschooling program. What I like most is that some of the books are great classics I had just forgotten about and others are books I had never heard of. Wonderful additions to our home library.

Yule (almost 7) Doing a puppet show for the baby out of a cardboard box. Ah the wonderful uses of a box.

Loch (3 1/2) Practicing some practical skills, using the wash board to wash his clothes.

We decided to do some dying with silk we had to make new play silks then I also got it in my head to while we were at it to try dying some of the babies diapers.

Look mom it looks like a kite!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Why Barefoot?

Soooo.... since you don't know me I thought I would ask the question I know already burns in your mind. Why Barefoot? What does barefooted-ness have to do with anything?


Being barefoot actually has it's own little subculture, with it's own websites, mission statements, tips & tricks, how to's, legal information, and activities. Oh and don't forget the history of barefoot walking / living, including famous people who went barefoot.

One site states it's mission statement as: "TO PROMOTE BAREFOOT ACCEPTANCE worldwide and to work towards regaining the freedom our parents and grandparents had to go barefoot anywhere. We do this for ourselves and our children."

Okay so really, I like being barefoot and my children spend almost 100% of their time barefoot from the moment the snow melts until it is too cold outside to reasonably do so without risking frostbite. But do I buy into this barefoot cultures ideas? No not really.
But... maybe there is something there. I've also been a big supporter of babies and children especially those just learning to walk being barefoot or at least with soft flexable soled shoes. Medical experts have agreed that soft soles are the best choice for children's feet as it allows them to walk more naturally (IE barefoot) using their toes to actually grip the floor which help to develop muscles and strength.
Okay so maybe I buy into it... just a little.

For me being barefoot, or the concept of being barefoot represents living simply, living naturally. Walking gently on the earth. (Well we have to walk gently if we are barefoot, otherwise you might hurt yourself...)

Living Barefoot
Society for barefoot living

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I'm a hippie.

Yep, that's right. I'm a hippie. H I P P I E (sometimes Y)

If you hate hippies; well then stay or leave. If you stay you might learn something if you leave you'll never know.

If you used to be a hippie but you aren't now; Gee why not? what was wrong with it? didn't like the 'free love' of the 60's? Not into the drug scene? Grew up and got a corporate job? Well like with everything, even movements get older and wiser and change with the times. There is no one 'right way' to be a hippie and what works for one person doesn't work for another. There are several common themes related to hippie-ism such as peace and justice for all and respect for all living things. Respect and understanding for your fellow human beings and for other creatures we share this world with. But hey, if you don't dig that then well.... I got nothing to say to you.

If you are a hippie but you hate that word. "Hey, don't put me in a box I don't like labels" Get over it. You have a label. You're black, you're white, you're christan, you're jew, you're a hippie, you're a yuppie. Whatever. Labels help define people but they don't encompass everything that a person is. It's okay to be in a box, just so long as it's a comfy stretchy spandex-y box so as you change and grow your box grows right along with you.