Sunday, August 31, 2008

Educational Posters for Ramadan/G3 & G4 Waldorf Units

There are a number of professional photo posters available at:

Educational Posters

These are more "Montessori" in style than Waldorf - in the Montessori classrooms posters that show children about life around the world are standard display - however, although it is not standard in the Waldorf classroom, there is no rule against displaying gorgeous educational photos :). The photo of the Ramadan Lanterns is quite popular this time of year for children exploring non-Western cultural traditions. You will also find a number of Egyptian and Persian photos at the link above which are suitable display for any unit you may be doing with those cultures.

NOT ALL OF THE AVAILABLE PHOTOS AND SIZES ARE LISTED. If you would like smaller sizes or you would like to see all the available photos please link to:

ImageNations Catalog

If you make a custom selection of prints and posters we can agree on a price and I can invoice you. Shipping is less expensive if you order more than one print and prints are available in all sizes. Posters are 11 x 14" or 20 x 24" - I also have postage stamps using any of the prints available :)

Blessings & Health,

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Inspiration for Overwhelmed HS Parents

I came across this lovely quote today while I was reading one of my favorite books -

The Earth Speaks by Steve Van Matre

I get so many questions from people asking if they are "doing enough" and I often read messages on the lists I belong to debating what children should learn and what they don't need to learn, etc....and we are all so overwhelmed by information too!

This quote speaks to me deeply on this issue:

Anatole France said, "Do not try to satisfy your vanity by teaching a great many things. Awaken people's curiosity. It is enough to open minds; do not overload them. Put there just a spark. If there is some good inflammable stuff, it will catch fire."

Herbal Identification VIDEO

The new member video this week is called, "Herbal Identification" and is packed with information on how you can safely and correctly identify herbs in your own backyard, neighborhood, local park or nature center. Learning this simple technique can save you money and be a lot of fun too. This method of harvesting is also called "wildcrafting" and is perfect for the months of September and October. This video tutorial will form the base of all things herbal you do with your children in class this year, as it will give you the ability to find herbs on your nature walks and in your back-yard that you will use in a variety of lessons all year (cooking, crafts, healing and gifts).
This can also be used in conjunction with general plant identification during nature walks, a biology unit or any unit on plants.

All members of the September and August lesson plans ( )& members of the Parent-Child Healing Class will receive this video for free. Any non-members who would like to purchase this video can link to:

Friday, August 29, 2008

To Grow in The Open Air...

When it is Autumn or Spring and the kids are "living" outdoors it reminds me of thisa poem by Walt Whitman. He says, "Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons. It is to grow in the open air, and to eat and sleep with the earth."

9 and 10-years-old and they still love building houses out of scarves and furniture...I took one picture a couple days ago...and here is yet exactly WHEN do I get my furniture back? I suppose just in time for the grandkids to use it? LOL!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Nature Walk Ideas - It's a Small World

Today we went for a nature walk and decided our theme would be "small things". We don't always have a theme. At least half of the time we just walk. However, many times we do have a theme...something to guide us and to focus our walk so we are not scattered and running all over the place - LOL! Our theme today was "What do the Fairies See?" . We brought our magnifying glasses and looked at the world as if we were about 4 inches tall! The girls loved it and look what we found! What are some of your favorite nature walk themes?

Blessings & Health,


Peace on Earth and a Dreamy Afternoon

Just sharing a couple fun photos from need for words...they were just moments I found precious today :)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

"Fairytales Gone Bad" or Wisdom in the Waldorf Reading List

The past few years I have taken to reading many of the books my 13-year-old daughter is reading. Teen fantasy novels - Eragon, The Rangers, Harry Potter, Etc are all short and/or simple enough to keep a busy mom's attention span and fun to read. However, the main reason I keep reading these books is so I am aware of what Mosi is reading and so she has someone to discuss them with. Because, as I have found, there is a BIG difference between fairy tale and fantasy. There is a big difference between a traditional tale filled with wisdom or a tale woven by a wise woman/wise man and a book written for purely entertainment purposes or other reasons.

Many of these books do have such a wonderful underlying wisdom and from writing children's books I know how difficult it must be to write a novel and so I do greatly admire anyone who has written a novel - especially ones that are able to entertain so many people. This post is not about criticizing books - it is about learning to read books in an aware way, seeing the differences between genres of books, and turning entertainment into a a learning experience.

Thirteen was the age when I started absorbing books like a sponge. I read every classic on the shelves and especially loved the philosophers and French romantic novels of the 16th century. However, with nobody to discuss them with I was left a bit lost with all the information I was getting and this can be a bit confusing at such an impressionable age. I remember making so many decisions based on the romantic views put forth in my novels.

It is interesting to note that teenagers today seem to do the same things with books. Mosi tells me about friends who are depressed because their favorite character in a book is not real, or how they want to "be" like a certain character in another book or about how one girl wants to meet someone like "him". And kids hold their breath waiting for the next installment in their favorite book to come out.

Of course it is good for the kids to be reading. I'm happy my teenager is reading instead of playing video games non-stop or going to those parties "in the park". However, what she has been reading brings back the wisdom of Waldorf to me 100 fold!

When children are in 1st and Second grade they are read fairy tales. Not Disney tales, but fairy tales with real consequences and lessons. People die and get hurt in these fairy tales. Not everything is happy and charming. In the real version of the story Red Riding Hood grandmother dies and does not get "coughed back up by the wolf".

When children are in 3rd grade they read stories from the Old Testament, or other solid spiritual books with a focus on the history of that time. These stories help them form a strong moral base in how people made/make decisions and what the consequences of those decisions might be,

When children are in 4th grade they read mythology - many read Norse mythology, stories of strong characters making sacrifices, stories of hard work, perseverance and real life consequences. They are also exposed to stories about inventors and heroes. Real stories about real people and what their lives were like.

In 5th grade children read stories from Greek Mythology and study the ancient cultures.

In 6th grade children read biographies of great men and women.

In 7th grade they read Arthurian legends, biographies and poetry.

So what is the difference between the Waldorf curriculum, which includes plenty of good literature and some of the fantasy novels children are reading today?

In Women Who Run with The Wolves (a MUST read for anyone who believes in the power of storytelling and has a daughter) Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D talks about the tale "The Withered Trees" and says, "We understand this tale symbolically. It is not a tale about killing people. It is a teaching about not unleashing anger indiscriminately, but at the right time." (Page 362). Reading her book, and reading some of Steiner's writings about the wisdom of Fairy tales, one can see the benefit of a story that has a core spirit to it. This is the difference between a REAL story and entertainment.

We all know that many Disney films can be an example of "fairy tales gone bad" for the younger generation. Many of their modernized or adapted fairy tales are entertaining and many of them do put forth important messages. However, not all of them have an underlying wisdom and in many cases the essence of the original lesson or tale is lost.

So what is one example of this for the older generation?

"Twilight" is a good example of what I would call "fairy tales gone bad" for the tween/teen generation. I don't mean to pick on just one novel - and certainly, I was entertained enough that I had to stay up all night to get to the end of this book - LOL! But it disturbed me in the deepest way that is popular with such a young audience. Why?

Because there is an essential element missing in this fantasy/fairytale for teens. For one reason (and there are many more), the girl in the novel makes very poor life decisions and there are very very few consequences. The consequences are easily overcome (within a half a page usually) and by the end of the book nobody dies or is injured or suffers many real consequences in any significant way. As I approach the end of the fourth book I am still hoping for some redeeming core quality to emerge in the books, however, they remain, as they are, good entertainment. The insights the author provides into the details in the lives of the mythical characters are also amazing.

Although the "Twilight" series has no redeeming qualities in the category of "books I want my daughter to learn something from" it has brought about some amazing conversations. Through these conversations we have been able to discuss many life choices young girls must make now and in the future. I've been able to hear from her what her views are now and why and I've been able to insert a few suggestions of my own, which we then discuss (because she likes to argue and ask questions...not because I lead any discussions - LOL). Most importantly she is learning a very good lesson in how to read AND THINK, which is something I did not learn with literature until later in life.

Now, as she reads the series, she is not being led into admiring those characters the author leads us to admire, but she is lead to think about who those characters are and develop opinions on those characters based on what HER standards are.

One example is the main character, Bella. She is the heroine in all the books and most people who read the books will admire her and love her as the heroine. Some girls will want to be like her. However, if you look at her character in more depth one can see that she has no depth. She has no hobbies, no strengths or interests at school and her life is completely centered around a boy in the book. Is this the kind of heroine we want our daughters modelling themselves after?

Our children will read and see so many things in their lives. Giving them a solid base in good literature will help them discern the differences between literature and entertainment. Helping them learn how to interact with books instead of just reading them will strengthen their inner will and ability to stand up for what they believe in.

NOTE: One person commented on this post: After reading your blog it sound as if the books were very good for your daughter. If she never gets any life lessons from another book, but read for pure enjoyment. The books have open a door for the two of you to come together and have open discussions about all things you can imagine. Keep that door open you will need it. Maybe the books will never become great literure but, They bought a mother and daughter to a special place that is very hard to find.

My Reply: Yes, I agree :) That was one reason I wrote this post was to show that HOW you read books can make the book a "negative" or "positive" thing. I think if I had just left her to read the books alone the outcome would not have been as positive :) However, even entertaining literature CAN serve a purpose. And, who knows, there could even be some redeeming qualities in it as literature that I am completely missing because I am so wrapped up in the "my daughter is reading it" angle - LOL.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Charlotte's Web in my House :)

Well it looks like we need to re-name our pets - Templeton and Charlotte. The rat has become quite curious lately and wants to get out of the cage and play all the time. His favorite new hobby is playing with the "spider next door". I imagine they are having conversations like in Charlotte's Web?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Life is Homeschooling

Visiting my friend on her farm is always the best reminder of what homeschooling is all about. Because they run a little homestead, their entire life is "homeschooling". A lot of the things us "city folk" think of as part of our program is just part of their life because they don't have a choice. They need to live off the land they have, they can't go into town every other day and shop for prepared foods, and electricity is too steep out in the country for them to be running a dryer. However, although many of us DO have a choice, we can choose to make some of the same decisions her family has made, and get the children and family much more involved in the running of the house as part of the homeschooling day.

One of my friends once said, "I don't have a nature table. I LIVE in nature" - H's family is like that - they naturally do a lot of things that we need to make a conscious choice about.

When it came time to start the fire to roast hot dogs, the eldest daughter and Mosi collected the wood and started the fire. The younger boy gathered the roasting sticks and the middle girl gathered all of the food items from the house and brought them out to the picnic bench. H sat by (taking care of one of the foster babies) directing her little group like the skilled manager of some major company. When late afternoon came, she asked the girls to make bread. Without hestation, they went into the kitchen, mixed the ingredients, let them rise for the proper time, and then called everyone to come shape some of their own dough. As we chatted H and I took down the wash that had been hung on lines the night before. The highlight of the day for my children was of course "chore time" - the children looked for eggs, checked to see if any of the hens that were sitting had hatched any eggs, cleaned the duck "pond", chased the ducks into their pen for the evening so they would be safe, watered & fed the sheep and mowed the lawn. Weeding had obviously been done on a daily basis because the garden looked gorgeous!

I enjoyed a spelt sandwich with fresh tomatoes and fresh basil. My favorite thing to eat is basil and tomato friend was so sweet to remember!!! I ate two of them...I usually don't eat so much! LOL!'

My friends on FACEBOOK can see some more photos of our visit at:

Blessings & Health,


Waldorf School in Sierra Leone - New Waldorf Channel Show!

Our FREE show this week is:

Waldorf Education in Sierra Leone, Africa

This is an inspiring two-part video done by videographer Annabel Clark. She has graciously given us permission to post it on The Waldorf Channel. I have already watched it four times. I find it so amazing to look at the difference in Waldorf Schools around the world! And equally inspiring to see how Waldorf education can work to heal children from all parts of the globe.

You can link directly at:


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Healing AND Homeschool Consulting Group

This can now be found at

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Welcome to Oscar!

I want to put a little plug in here for the animal rescue leagues of the world (or whatever they are called in your area). Ours offers pets for $105.00, which seems like a lot, but they come with all their shots, a tracking device, a collar, tags and initial vet visit for free - about 300-400.00 worth of "stuff".

We went to visit them today to take one last look for our lost cat, Abby, who has been missing since May. She was not there but the cages were FILLED with kittens and adorable pets and puppies of all types and sizes. It just broke my heart. I wanted to take them all home.

I had promised Sunii that if Abby did not come home by now we could get him a new cat so we spent another hour there "testing" different cats and kittens to find the perfect fit. We came home with "Oscar" who is the sweetest most cuddly cat I have ever met in my entire life. I am SO HAPPY we went today and got him because he is just a little angel! It just makes me want to cry thinking of how if we didn't get him he may have been a "goner" in a few more days. He is not a kitten so it is always harder to adopt the older ones but Sunii wanted a cat that was "like Abby" one that was calm and would sleep with him and cuddle so he loved this cat when he met it. is a picture of Oscar and an encouragement to everyone - please do what you can to track your pets (we made the mistake of thinking Abby was safe because she never went outdoors so she didn't wear a collar), have them neutered (we saw SO MANY KITTENS there today!!!), pick up any strays you may see (because someone like Sunii may love them) and go and adopt and angel from the animal rescue league. We are all so wealthy in so many ways and this is a wonderful way to give back to the earth and spread the love and wealth of our lives.

And on the homeschooling side - our pets have taught us SO MUCH about life, science, mammals, reptiles, spiders, animals in general, responsibility,! I can see why animal care is such a big part of 4-H. It is something that every child should be part of. There is even a school I heard about recently (a private one...but anyway) where all the kids are given a horse as part of their curriculum and they get a grade for how well they take care of it,! Wish I could have gone to HS there! Anyway..if you have pets you already know this but if you don't...consider getting one...even if you just adopt a fish or a bird :)

Blessings & Health,


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

How to Make Waldorf Block Crayons

Dear Members,

This week our featured video is on how to make Waldorf block crayons.

This 9 minute video shows you the basics of how to make a Waldorf Block Crayon with beeswax and ingredients from nature. Alternate ingredients are suggested for your convenience and a list of natural artist pigments (that you most likely have in your kitchen or nearby) is included. Using this video you can make all the basic colors of Waldorf block crayons and endless colors beyond that. These are child-safe and all-natural of course!

A typical set of block crayons costs $14.00-$35.50. My homemade set of 18 crayons cost me $5.35.

This video can be found as part of the How to Make Waldorf Supplies here:

Blessings & Health,