Festivals, Music, Bugs and Bottles…..

Time for an update…..

We’ve been busy with K2, for which we are following Waldorf Essentials. We are still enjoying the stories and activities. We have had a busy few months celebrating all sorts of autumn festivals, and now we are getting excited for our copy of The Gnomes’ Yuletide Advent Mystery’ which is a brand new book of magical Advent stories and activities. There’s also excellent video support to go along with the activities, so go check it out if you are celebrating Waldorf Advent this year!

I’ve been practicing my flute, took me a year to get started but thanks to Music Unfolds  I can now play a few songs, and The Bundles are enjoying singing along, which makes circle time and movement a lot of fun!

IMG_20171127_110404056.jpg

 

Our most regular home ed group stopped for a while back in September but we are getting back into the swing of groups again now with two regular groups, although this also means the inevitable winter colds and bugs which have now had us holed up for nearly a week! Lots of stories, drawing, painting and playdough going on here while we recover, and we’ve also been watching some old TV shows . There’s only so much CBeebies anyone can stand, and these older ones seem to have the added bonus of not making everybody wired and crazy, at least so far! Bundle Number One is finding Trumpton hilarious!

Image result for trumpton images free to share

Meanwhile, lots of knitting and podcasts for me after bedtime, and while the wind and icy rain rage outside. Currently listening to; 

The Home Education Podcast , 

Home Ed Matters 

and The Homeschool Sisters Podcast.  

On the subject of podcasts,  a fellow home educating mama (from ‘The Home Education Podcast’)  has written a fantastic book!  Great for reading aloud by the fire on those chilly winter afternoons, and you’re supporting a home ed family at the same time, win! Grab a copy here

In other news, after seeing the amount of waste collected on our local beaches we have been trying to reduce our waste, plastic usage in particular. We did some research and came up with some small changes we can make, beginning with using stainless steel bottles. A lot of the bottles on offer were pretty expensive but we did find these which are ideal. Great for keeping drinks hot/cold and they come complete with two interchangeable caps, and lots of other bits. Fun colour choices too 😉 

Image result for super sparrow bottles

What have you been up to this Autumn? Let us know in the comments 🙂

 

 

 

 

This post contains affiliate links
Advertisements

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

 

IMG_20170819_113308299~2

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! 

IMG_20170819_113852129_BURST000_COVER_TOP~2.jpg

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!)

IMG_20170819_113639418~2.jpg

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 

 

#100WaystoHomeEd Blog Hop Post

This post is part of the #100WaystoHomeEd blog hop, which you can read about here 

Yesterday’s post was from Midnakit’s Art Blog and today it’s our turn to share a bit about our approach to home ed……

img_20161116_134247

We have home educated from the beginning, and we are following the Steiner/Waldorf approach which for early childhood involves lots of play with natural toys and materials, following the rhythm of the home, celebrating seasonal festivals and, in our case, following a simple Kindergarten curriculum. 

It isn’t essential to follow a curriculum for Waldorf Kindergarten, and there there are no academics or formal ‘lessons’ until age 7. We follow this one, which involves a weekly seasonal story told over three sessions each week, with simple props to play with and related arts and crafts activities. Our Kindy sessions usually take around 30 minutes, and the Kindergarten we follow is for children age 4/5 to 6 years old 

 

We also; play, create, go on adventures, rest, bake, go to to various parks and on walks, we attend a home ed group, visit the library, go shopping and run errands and sometimes go swimming or to indoor activity centres. We explore beaches, woodlands and other places of interest and also share seasonal picture books and audio stories, and play lots of board games!

So that’s a snapshot of how we home ed, if you are interested in finding out more about Waldorf early childhood and Kindergarten we also have a great guide here

 

To read tomorrow’s post and to follow the blog hop or even join in yourself, head over here 🙂

 

Our Home Ed Guide to Waldorf Early Childhood and Kindergarten

We get lots of questions about Waldorf from other home educating families and those who are curious about the approach.

To answer some of these questions, here’s our handy guide to Waldorf early childhood and kindergarten……

 

 

img_20161116_134247

 

Find your Rhythm

This is the time to learn about rhythm. Take what already works for your family and build from there, but work to keep it simple, in Waldorf the early years and kindergarten are all about the rhythm of home. If you are coming to Waldorf late then also begin with rhythm, this is the foundation on which to build your Waldorf home ed.

So, for early childhood and for Kindy, the majority of the week should be spent at home, with lots of play. Children of this age love to imitate, and to be involved with simple aspects home care e.g simple dusting, washing up their cup or bowl and playing with the bubbles, helping to fold laundry etc, creating a weaving in and out of the daily aspects of home life. 

Some books in which you can find a wealth of information for the early years, including more about rhythm are ‘Heaven on Earth’ and ‘You are Your child’s First Teacher’ these are well loved by many Waldorf families, us included!

Waldorf Essential have an excellent ebook called ‘Before the Journey’ which is available free as part of the Early Childhood and Kindergarten curriculum course

 

Playing and Exploring

Simple open ended toys are recommended, those made from natural materials being the ideal; things like wooden blocks and roundels for building, pine cones, shells and stiks, simple dolls and gnomes, knitted, felted or wooden animals, pots, pans and utensils and so on. Many of these natural objects can be gathered on nature walks and toys can be easily made at home for free or very cheaply.

Don’t worry if you haven’t tried making toys before, this is the time to learn! There are many books out there offering ideas, try Toymaking with Children and The Gnome Craft Book for inspiration.

 

 Playsilks are an excellent investment because they can be incorporated in imaginative play in all sorts of ways, use them to create the basis for a playscape, for dressing up, for making dens……so many possibilities!

wp-image-132992036jpg.jpg

 Typical ‘Waldorf toys’ can be pricey if you buy new, but the quality is amazing and they really are build to last. Also, there is no need to throw out every plastic or non Waldorf toy you own! Keep the things your children love and gradually work to add more of the natural options, we have been at this for years and we often have some plastic dinosaurs visiting the gnomes in their wooden houses. We buy bits now and again, and when friends and family ask for gift ideas we point them in that direction!

 

Stories, Songs, Verses and Fingerplays

Tell simple stories about your child’s daily life, or simple nature stories, and have some beautiful, seasonal picture books available. For picture book ideas to begin your collection there are many beautiful titles by Elsa Beskow, Jan Brett, Gerda Muller, and Daniela Drescher  

img_20170205_101521513

Songs and simple finger play verses are also very important during this time, songs which guide the child through the day are especially useful, helping to keep things like tidying up time run more smoothly, sing as you tidy/dress to go outside etc and begin to do that task yourself so that they begin to imitate, it is far more appealing to them than repeated instructions and, once they get used to the idea,  it gets the job done faster. it really doesn’t matter how you sound, your child will love your efforts anyway! Some great books packed with seasonal rhymes and verses are ‘The Singing Day’ and ‘The Singing Year’

We also love this seasonal collection offering a treasure trove of seasonal verses, songs and rhymes and stories. 

img_20170201_123710

 

Arts and Crafts

Weave in some simple art and seasonal crafts, we love these blocks, and sticks they produce such beautiful, deep colours and they smell amazing! These coloured pencils are ideal for little hands and are very sturdy. 

img_0049

The paints we use are from the same range. With the paints a little goes a very long way and you can store your ready mixed watercolours in small jars in the fridge. You need only buy the red, yellow and blue, play around with these colours to make more. Again, no instruction, just explore and have fun. 

Another great activity for this age group is play dough which can be made very cheaply from basic kitchen ingredients, there are many recipes out there and you can add all sorts of colours and scents to your dough. Keep these activities simple and without instruction, allowing them to explore. When children get a bit older try modelling with beeswax, this takes a lot of work to warm up which is a great will building activity! Start it off for them if necessary by working it yourself to make it more malleable, or tell a story while the child warms the beeswax in their hands.

 

 

Festivals

There are  many festivals celebrated in Waldorf and not every family celebrates every festival. The key is to pick which ones speak to you and begin there, work to make it your own. There are many books available on Waldorf festivals, for inspiration try here 

 

Outdoor Exploration

Lots of outdoor time is necessary too of course, so for this age group plenty of space to run, crawl, roll, climb, swing, slide etc. Spend time in your garden if you have one, or head to the local park, the woods, the swimming pool or the beach and let them burn off all of that energy. Get muddy, wet and sandy while discovering nature and explore the elements and the seasons while honing those important gross motor skills!

IMG_9827

 

 

Kindergarten Curriculum ……

In Waldorf, academics do not begin until around age seven. Waldorf kindergarten is totally optional and offers a gentle rhythm of seasonal songs, verses and movement games, seasonal nature stories, and simple, nourishing crafts and activities such as baking, painting, drawing and modelling. This is also a great time to begin to understand and celebrate some or all of the Waldorf festivals.

There are many Waldorf kindy curriculum packages to choose from, we follow Waldorf Essentials Early Childhood and Kindergarten which is comprehensive Early Childhood and Kindergarten course, providing all you need for Kindy with children aged 4/5 years for K1 and 6 years for  K2. We highly recommend it! 

If you have any questions about this curriculum we are happy to answer and point you in the right direction. 

img_20170205_101823

 

If you want to learn more ……  

For the ‘whys’ behind the ‘hows’of the Waldorf approach, Rhythms of Learning by Roberto Trostli is a must read. Written by an experienced Waldorf teacher this book includes a selection of Steiner’s key lectures presented in an accessible way and divided into easy to read chapters which explain how these concepts are translated throughout the Waldorf curriculum. 

img_20170201_124308 

Hopefully this has been helpful, please do let us know if you are also following the Waldorf approach to home ed, share your tips and feel free to ask questions 🙂

 

 

 

*This post contains affiliate links*

Waldorf Home Ed in Winter

Time for an update! Here’s some of what we’ve been getting up to this winter……

Adventures……

It’s been pretty stormy here, plenty of wind and rain and lots of indoor activities for us! We did get down to the beach, and to some local parks and we also headed to the local pool for a swim which we all enjoyed.

 

IMG_20170107_132851421.jpg

 

Kindergarten……

Bundle Number One is enjoying getting back to our weekly Kindergarten stories and activities, this week we celebrated Candlemas. For us this was all about the badger coming out to look for his shadow, we told the story and then had fun playing with the props

 

There was actually enough light for the badger to see his shadow, despite the stormy weather we’ve been having, (we checked outside too 😉 ) so apparently winter isn’t done yet!

For our craft activity we dipped some beeswax candles using local beeswax, they smell delicious. No pics because we were too buy dipping! 

Image result for waldorf candlemas

Play……

We’ve been building with some of our new wooden blocks and shapes, we have a bunch of these, some are bought and others are made. The differing shapes, sizes and grains make for a more varied play experience, and as a result the rainbow gnomes have been enjoying all sorts of adventures including their own castle and a swimming pool built by Bundle Number One! A great combination for open ended play.

For quiet time, we’ve been  making full use of our subscription and putting on a Sparkle Story while we do some threading with these tactile wooden beads. 

 

 

Games……

A big winner this Winter has definitely been these cooperative board games, it is so much more fun to play when no one is fighting about who wins!

img_20170205_100830853

Shadows in the Woodsis perfect for winter afternoons it’s a really magical game, needs close adult supervision because it involves a lit candle but it is well worth it to see those glowing faces working together to help the gnomes dodge the shadows and gather in safety. It’s pricey but it includes more than one playing option and is extremely high quality. 

‘Orcahard’ is a delightful game involving working together to pick all of the fruit in the orchard before the hungry raven swoops in. Read more in our post ‘Cooperation, Fruits and a raven’ and check out more HABA games here

We are also discovering these lovely yoga cards, we are all totally new to yoga but these are so much fun to play with……especially when it’s an indoor day with littles and you need to get those wiggles out!  

 

img_20170205_101804

 

Books……

Story time is always a regular feature here but even more so during winter, here are some of our winter favourites……

img_20170205_101521513

‘Winter’ by Gerda Muller

‘The Mitten’ by Jan Brett

‘Ollie’s Ski Trip’ by Elsa Beskow

The tomten and the Foxby Astrid Lindgren

Pippa and Pelle in the Winter Snow‘ by Daniela Drescher

 

What have you been up to this winter?

 

 

*This post contains affiliate links*

 

 

Choosing a Waldorf Curriculum……

 We first came to Waldorf Essentials a couple of years ago when we reviewed the Kindy curriculum for Melisa, we were so impressed with the content that we signed up for the old membership, the new version of which is called Thinking, Feeling, Willing + 

Thinking, Feeling, Willing is a Waldorf home ed teacher training programme and I truly cannot recommend it enough,  Everything you need to learn and master for your Waldorf journey is set out right there in the Mom Lessons. A huge bonus is that it is such great value for money, it’s the most affordable Waldorf curriculum we found and the customer care at W.E really is second to none.

We found that one of the most important things when choosing a curriculum provider is to find a voice that you like, both for the written aspect and the supporting audios, videos etc. We instantly warmed to Melisa because as a fellow home educator with five children, the youngest of which is 5 years old, she really does ‘get it’ she has a great sense of humour, a huge heart and so much wisdom to share. 

Right now we are following year one kindy which is just beautiful! The content guides you through the seasons with original weekly stories and carefully chosen crafts and activities, for example, baking, painting, drawing, and modelling, all of which meet the child perfectly. The downloadable Kindergarten curriculum actually comes as an entire course which includes a book on early childhood which guides you through Waldorf home life with little ones, information on rhythm, circle, festivals, movement and the nature table, monthly handwork for parents with projects and video guides, circle verses for each month and even a recipe book! We are having so much fun with it 🙂

 

 To find out more, check out Melisa’s weekly videos  and the W.E blog

 

*this post contains affiliate links*

  

 

 

 

Cooperation, Fruits and a Raven……

We found something to help with the squabbles, cooperative board games!

Our kids are just at ages where they are now both able to play simple games. However, they are still little and at the age where anything competitive is a disaster, squabbles abound. They are not ready for that yet and we are not pushing it. Rather running from it in the name of peace!

Recently we found the answer in some really great games which work perfectly for quiet times and in breaths, times when we need to regroup between activities, with a great chance to model turn taking and cooperation.

One of our new favourites is Orchard, which is a beautifully made game with so much attention to detail. The little wooden fruits are so tactile and the baskets are delightful! Us grown ups wanted to play as much as the kids did, and we have been playing lots over the festive season.

img_20161231_170454img_20161231_170358

The idea is to work together to get all of the fruits picked before the raven eats them.You play by colour of fruit, making the dice easy to understand. If you roll a basket picture you get to pick two fruits and if you roll a raven picture you add a puzzle card to the centre of the board to make the raven picture. Any fruits left when the puzzle is complete are fair game for the hungry bird so all players are working together cheering each other on to fill their baskets rather than arguing over who has more.

OK, so our kids still squabbled over who sits by which tree and who folds up the board but hey,  it’s a start! And they did feel sorry for the raven when all the fruits were picked, and offered him some……

Do you and your family have any favourite  cooperative games, any recommendations?

 

*this post contains an affiliate link*