‘Making the Children’s Year’……our review



Making the Children’s Year

Seasonal Waldorf Crafts with Children

by Marije Rowling

Published by Hawthorn Press


We have (and love!) the previous version of this book  ‘The Children’s Year’. It was one of the first craft books we purchased when we first discovered Waldorf, and it has facilitated many a making session.  I was delighted to see that an update was coming, and our lovely friends at Hawthorn Press offered to send us a copy for review

This volume ‘Making the Children’s Year’ is an updated version of the previous book, put together by Marije Rowling (one of the original authors of the previous edition) It offers a brand new layout and more information for each season, including a very inspiring piece on colour throughout the year, the nature table, information on craft materials and where to source them, tips and abbreviations for sewing and knitting, information on fabric dyeing, pattern tips for tracing and transferring and much more. 

There’s a wealth of seasonal offerings within these pages, things to make for outdoor play, indoor play, cards, nature crafts, lanterns, decorations, dolls and doll’s clothes, children’s clothing and accessories and more.

I  especially like the knitting patterns because knitting is my favourite craft. I have previously made the mittens, hat and jumper from this book, actually, the first jumper I ever knitted was the one in this book, thanks to the easy to understand, yet thorough pattern instructions. Imagine my delight when I discovered that such well loved, familiar patterns now have beautiful colour illustrations! 


Of course I paged through to the autumn portion first, because its my favourite season, and also because we are currently gearing up to begin Kindergarten again this autumn so this is perfect timing for some extra autumn craft inspiration. Much is included for festival crafts, as well as some lovely ideas for gifts and little play figures and even some creative and beautiful storage solutions. The Bundles delighted in looking at the illustrations and telling me which things we should have a go at making (so, basically everything!)


This book is accessible for both those who are already crafty and seeking seasonal inspiration, and equally for those who would like to learn.  There are patterns offered for adults, older children and younger children, and the illustrations are captivating to all!  It is an Invaluable resource for Waldorf home educators, indeed for anyone wishing to bring rich, seasonal crafts to their family, group or community. 

Bringing seasonal delight and a reminder of the importance of creativity and handwork, this book is a real treasure and we most definitely recommend it!

Our friends at Hawthorn Press are so excited about this title that they have made it available early! Order your copy here 



Advent and Christmas Stories……our review

Today I am sharing another lovely book, sent to us for review by our friends at Hawthorn Press……



Advent and Christmas Stories ‘A treasury of stories, verse and song’ takes the reader on a magical journey through the festive season.

Beginning with Advent and continuing through to Christmas, the book comprises mainly of stories, verses and songs focusing on the traditional Christmas story, but with the addition of tales which tell of the role of a selection of animals, which is a lovely touch. There are also some stories and songs with a less or non-religious focus, like the story of ‘The Too Little Fir Tree’ 

As an afterword, a chapter is included on ‘setting the mood for storytelling’ which is well worth a read, in fact I would suggest you read the entire book cover to cover before bringing the stories to children. Get a feel for what is included first and then set the scene for some festive storytelling, perhaps around the tree with a warm, festive drink and some gingerbread cookies?

Find your copy here




Form Drawing and Colouring, For Fun, Healing and Wellbeing….a review

Our lovely friends at Hawthorn Press sent us this new title for review and we have been having lots of fun playing with it!


Form Drawing and Colouring For Fun, Healing and Wellbeing

Fourfold patterns for Harmonising Body and Soul

by Angela Lord

This new title is a refreshingly different take on the ‘adult colouring book’ and mindfulness theme. Form drawing is a very important part of the Steiner Waldorf Curriculum and holds a magical appeal for both children and parents alike so it’s great to see a form drawing colouring book just for us grown ups ‘for Fun, Healing and Wellbeing’, encouraging us to slow down and enjoy a focused, relaxing yet will building activity.

Inside the book you will find a wealth of ‘fourfold patterns of increasing challenge and complexity’ which you can work through at your own pace, plenty of freedom to experiment and choose from a bit of relaxing drawing to something more taxing and involving a higher level of focus and concentration.

There is a handy introduction section and ‘how to use this book ‘ guide at the beginning of the book which we found very informative, part of this is written in a ‘question and answer’ fashion which is engaging and fun, an especially nice touch for someone in need of some healing and wellbeing to have a friendly voice there on the page.

So, us grown ups had a go at some form drawing, and it really is great fun. We used some of Bundle Number One’s special Kindergarten colouring pencils which were ideal for this, but you can use any coloured pencils of your own choosing.

These forms drawings are a fantastic will building exercise, and give a great sense of  achievement as there is plenty of space to get them a little wrong and then try again and improve.  Do take note of the title though, and allow yourself the space to give this your full attention. Do not try this while there are little ones around, its distracting. In fact, if you look closely at the drawings you can actually see wobbles where said distractions occured! Definitely keep this one for a quiet evening with a nice hot drink, and now that the nights are drawing in its an ideal activity to sit and immerse yourself in for a while

A few of the forms were a teeny bit tricky to follow due to the inside page creases but this was easily solved by my not being so precious about book spines, yes I am one of those people who like to keep books in pristine condition but this one needs and wants to be used 😉 

 We would definitely recommend giving this new book a try, and it also makes a lovely gift for anyone you know who is in need of something just for them, ‘for Fun, Healing and Wellbeing’.

So go on, find a copy here , wrap it up with a pack of new coloured pencils and make somebody smile 🙂

History Through Stories, our review…..

History Through Stories

Teaching Primary History with Storytelling

Chris SmithPhD, Adam Guilain and Nanette Noonan

Published by Hawthorn Press




We were offered the opportunity to review the latest title in the Storytelling Schools Series which we have been following and reviewing since the first book in the series was published. This one is published on August 1st 2016 so we were very excited to have a preview!


This book focuses on History, which we won’t be covering for a while yet with The Bundles as we are taking a relaxed approach to academics until age 7. It does, however provide an ideal opportunity for me to get refreshed on all things History in order to bring it to them when we are ready!

I really like the storytelling approach to teaching, I’m a big story fan and I think this approach really engages children and brings the learning to life. If you are unfamiliar with the Storytelling Schools approach, this book has the first chapter dedicated to explaining the approach and a guide on how to use the book.

Each chapter in the book focuses on a different historical time/event and comes complete with a story, tips on telling the story, songs, ideas for ‘Ways to Work with the Story’ and extensive information on other areas of the curriculum that can be linked to the story.

This is a fantastic new resource which I would highly recommend to other families, it’s certainly an invaluable one for the home ed bookshelf. You can get your copy here  🙂



‘A Home Education Notebook’….

When we arrived back from our trip I was delighted to find a parcel on the doormat containing this…..


The newest book from much admired home education author, Ross Mountney published this week by Birds Nest Books


This is something I have really looked forward too, I love Ross’ writing, both in her books and on her blog and this particular publication looked especially interesting since it’s purpose is ‘…to encourage and inspire’ something I could definitely do with on many a home educating day, as I’m sure could many of my fellow ‘home eders’ 😉

I started reading as soon as there was a quiet moment and I am indeed encouraged and inspired. I am also hooked and eagerly awaiting some quiet time to settle and read on!

So far I am on Chapter 5 ‘Not-At-Home Education’ which talks about the fact that so much education happens outside the home, and that the term ‘Home Education’ can actually give quiet the wrong impression. So true.

There are 52 chapters in the book in total, one to turn to for each week of the year, all  focusing on a different aspect of home education, the good, the bad and the ugly!  I wanted to read one chapter per week but there’s no way I can wait so I’m reading the whole book through then beginning again in September with the start of our home ed year.

Ross has, once again, delivered the goods wrapped in a warm, humorous and understanding hug. She has been there and survived, as did her now grown up children (who you can read about in ‘A Funny Kind of Education’) so there is hope for us all!

I would absolutely recommend this book to other home educating families, it is one that will be a permanent fixture on our coffee table throughout the year, and many more to come. Thanks for all of your hard work, Ross. It is much appreciated and I am eagerly awaiting the day one of my children brings an owl pellet to the dinner table 🙂

Creative Form Drawing with children aged 6-10 years Workbook 1

We were sent this brand new publication by our friends at Hawthorn Press. We are learning all about form drawing in readiness for Bundle Number One’s home education so we were very happy to be given the opportunity to review this book.


Creative Form Drawing 

with children aged 6-10 years

Workbook 1


by Angela Lord

Published by Hawthorn Press

What is Form Drawing?

For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, form drawing was introduced as an important part of the Steiner/Waldorf curriculum by Rudolf Steiner. Form drawing supports the child’s learning process by integrating several senses while keeping the lesson alive and meaningful to the child, fully addressing ‘thinking, feeling and willing’. Form Drawing is introduced in First Grade in Steiner/Waldorf schools.

Bundle Number One is about to reach his 5th birthday and so we are not actually ready for form drawing yet, rather we are reading and researching in order to bring form drawing to him at the appropriate age. 

What is included in the book?

Within this large, hardback volume, you will find a detailed introduction to form drawing along with an explanation on how to use the book and information on teaching methods. There is plenty here to ensure that even those with no prior knowledge of form drawing will feel ready to have a go.


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The main body of the book is split into three sections; Class one 6-7 years old, Class Two 7-8 years old, and Class Three 9-10 years old. Each section introduces and explains the appropriate forms it’s age group fully supported by  plenty of colourful illustrations.


What did we think of the book?

As I have already mentioned, we are not at the form drawing stage yet with Bundle Number One, but we found this book to be an excellent resource in our own quest to understand the concept. We will be using the book to familiarise ourselves with, and practice the forms for Class One so that we are confident in bringing them to him when he is ready (and he was very interested to have a look at the forms and see what he has to look forward to!) I would highly recommend Creative Form Drawing with aged children 6-10 years, Workbook 1 to other home educating families, especially those interested in Steiner/Waldorf education.


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Creative Form Drawing with children aged 10-12 years, Workbook Two is due for publication in April 2016 






Science Through Stories… a Hawthorn Press Review


Science Through Stories

Teaching Primary Science with Storytelling

by Chris Smith PhD & Jules Pottle

Published by Hawthorn Press

Our friends at Hawthorn Press sent us this exciting new publication following our expression of interest. I was particularly interested in this book as it focuses on teaching science through storytelling and, as our Waldorf early years curriculum is all about storytelling, I am hopeful the two will compliment each other.

The book is aimed at primary school teachers who are teaching in classrooms, delivering the stories in this book to children of primary school age. As you know, we are home educating and we don’t do any actual ‘teaching’  which makes it very interesting finding out how well the Storytelling Schools publications translate in our circumstances. Bundle Number one is 4.5 years old so is at the youngest end of the spectrum for this book.

We looked a story from the Physics section; FullSizeRender (54)

This is a story I am already familiar with so I was very interested to see how it translates, it is also seasonal so fits with our seasonal approach to home education.

 Physics was something I was hopeless at in school. I never really ‘got it’ and even now, years later, it still brings to mind the mundane and overwhelming. I put this down to the teaching. It wasn’t made real or interesting and always appeared so daunting. These days I know better, anything can be made fun and spark that interest if it is presented in the right way, so let’s see if I’m proved right…

Firstly I had a good read through of the story, the ‘tips for telling’, the suggested ‘Ways to work with the story’ and the related science activities included for us to try. These are also followed by a section providing ideas to  ‘Explore other curriculum ideas that link to the story’ this includes Reading, Fiction, Non Fiction, Art and Design/Technology.

After reading everything through, I was very excited to begin!

Bundle Number One and I sat down for the story, him being completely unaware that this was anything more than just that, and I told the story with him thoroughly enjoying joining in on the chorus of;

‘Heave-ho, heave-ho! Pull the turnip free.

Heave-ho, heave-ho! We’ll have it for our tea.’

as we pretended to pull our giant turnip out of the ground. We also got Bundle Number One’s favourite toys involved to help us pull, which he loved!

After the story, we moved on to explore a selection of related activities. These activities were taken from the book and I chose;

Moving cars

We played with Bundle Number One’s transport toys,  pushing and pulling them along the carpet, adding bean bag ‘road humps’ to see what difference they made.

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Shaping dough

we pushed, pulled, twisted, squashed, stretched and rolled some play dough….

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During each of these activities, we were playing around with Forces – Pulling and Pushing. The fact that all of the learning took place through first hand experience, none of it feeling like a ‘lesson’ of any sort really worked with our own approach to home education and I would most definitely recommend this book to fellow home educators, you can grab your copy here!

Watch This space for more updates as we discover Science Through Stories!

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