Friday, October 31, 2008

Honoring Our Work

Sunii created this from a pair of doll knitting needles that we made last week (see previous BLOG POST)
Waldorf education puts great emphasis on the process, rather than the end product and this is part of the beauty of learning in this way. However, this does not mean that one forgets the end product. Honoring the end product in some way, can further inspire the child and enhance their learning experience. There are so many ways to do this. Here are some of my favorite ways:

1. Display: We have numerous ways to display our work around the home. I include my own work in these displays so the children can be inspired by my work and also see that I am proud of my own accomplishments. In the wicker-room we have frames that contain the children's drawings and pictures. These pictures can be rotated in and out of the frames at the child's request. In the art-room (dining room) we have two walls where work is hung and displayed for all guests and the family as well. We display many works on the nature table and on various shelves around the house.

2. Use: I try to find as many ways as possible that we can use what we create. Sometimes the children come up with these ideas like in the way they decided to use the knitting needles we made for the dolls last week! We have used paintings as invitations or cards before, we give many of our creations as gifts and sometimes I use the children's artwork in books or in BLOG posts. Some creations can be eaten, woodworking creations are often useful (placecard holders, candleholders, etc..) and so much more. I can usually find a way to use anything we have made. If not, it can take a place of honor in a memory chest or in a special notebook.

3. Creating Memories: After the display is over, if an item cannot be used on a daily basis it goes into a special notebook or scrapbook or into a memory chest. The children often sit down with these scrapbooks or memory chests for hours remembering the friends they were with when they made things, how much they enjoyed (or didn't) the activity, and much more.

4. Going Beyond: Sometimes when we do a project the kids surprise me by taking the project farther than I intended (such as in the case of the doll knitting needles that they actually used). I enjoy this process of asking, "now that we are done...what more can we do?" Sometimes you can create a story from what you have created, sometimes you can use or display what you have created in a unique way. Sometimes you can combine two creations into one thing. I always enjoy doing this with my unicorns. Once I finish knitting them I create stories or personalities to go with each one (Sofi enjoys helping me with this) and take pictures of their story. Sometimes I write books about them or make videos about them (see The Unichronicles or the Unicorn-on-the-Cob on YOUTUBE). The children enjoy taking pictures of their own creations and making stories about them, drawing or writing stories about them or just telling me stories.

5. Shows: has your child worked hard on a play or a story or on learning a song? You can hold a neighborhood show or just a show "by invitation only" for your friends. Some people even take videos of private shows and send them to their relatives to enjoy. The children take these events very seriously and are very proud to be able to show their work to others. Encourage them to dress up and create their own invitations for these events and to help you in the planning.

A Story from Sofi and Mama

I love drinking hot chocolate on cold winter mornings...

YUM! All ready to drink! Yah!! This needs more marshmallows!

Uh....where did that other marshmallow go???

Perfect! Now I can drink my hot chocolate!
By the way... I am looking for a good home. If you want to adopt me please visit me at:

TheDreamAngels ETSY

Friday, October 17, 2008

Kids & Dolls that Knit

Kids minds can be like fire. You add a little spark of inspiration and they flames of creativity can reach quite high just from that little spark. It always amazes me. I will often plan an entire lesson only to have it take a completely different direction when the creative drive kicks in!

Yesterday was one of those days. My plan was to do some knitting, tell some stories and start the kids on some projects they can work on through the winter. As the days grow colder we will be outdoors less and less so the kids will need some more "hand" work to balance their day (I always balance with head, heart and hands). That is so easy to get when they explore outside, but it becomes more challenging in the cold winter months. Some of the kids in the enrichment class know how to knit, some have learned but have not knitted for a while and some do not know. My goal was to make sure everyone got started on something.

What happened was even more magical! Everyone got started pretty quickly and they were all overjoyed to be knitting or knitting again. For some reason knitting seems to appeal to boys and girls, all ages (above 6 or 7) and all temperaments. And as knitting always encourages casual conversation (hint for parents with teens/tweens - it's a great way to get them talking) one subject led to another and another and we soon decided that the dolls needed to knit too.
So I found an old set of pick-up sticks, grabbed some wood beads from the bead drawers and we put together some tiny needles...
Then someone had the idea to make little balls of yarn and then I remembered I had some tiny baskets I got on sale for about ten cents last year somewhere...

Soon we had an adorable little knitting basket for all the dolls. Then Sunii decided to see if the needles really worked and discovered that not only did they work but that they were very manageable and much easier to use than the large ones. So a few of the kids decided that "the dolls" were going to knit themselves some tiny toy unicorns...

So far they have finished most of the unicorn body and have been working hard at their little knitting projects whenever they have a spare moment today. So it looks like everyone got started on their knitting alright! I just didn't expect that they would be knitting on miniature doll needles for two days! I think they even knit MORE because "the dolls were knitting".

This BLOG post is a weekly sample post. For daily visual inspiration on projects/crafts/stories and lessons sign up for the "member's BLOG" and "member's channel" at The Waldorf Channel. You can sign up at - both of these resources provide photos and video of many many Waldorf-inspired crafts and lessons each month. You can save money by making your own Waldorf supplies, have an ever-growing resource to go to whenever you need inspiration for the day or week, and even ask questions on the consulting list about any homeschooling or health issue you have questions about. Posts from previous weeks are all indexed and easily searchable on one page. Member videos are also indexed by topic on one page! This is a great supplement to ANY homeschool program you may already be doing.

Member posts this week include:

Practical woodworking for the grades

Felting beads

Mandala Lesson for balance, harmony and coordination
Paper Making - Watercolor and other paper
A Winter Fairy Home
The Non-"Tree House"
Much more from previous weeks too!

Monday, October 13, 2008

New Waldorf Channel Show: Watercolor Paper & Spinning Wool

This can now be found on our new blog HERE

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Don't forget the pinball game...

Hi everyone...I usually post this announcement on Sunday but the auction ends Sunday so I wanted to give everyone a chance to see the e-mail....

The auction ends tomorrow so don't forget to check out the wooden pinball game starting at only $5.00 bidding (worth $75.oo -$90.00). It is at:

Friday, October 10, 2008

Watercolor & Meditation w/ The Middle Grades

As winter approaches the kids (mine and the ones who come for Waldorf Enrichment) have been both more meditative in many ways but also more physically energetic! So we have been outdoors a lot but when we come in their favorite activities seem to be painting and bread-making. There is a meditative comfort in these two activities that seems to go so well with the colder months.

And as the kids become older they are not always guided by the stories and verses but sometimes simply guided by their inspirations and their heart. As the kids grow from the early childhood years into the age of awareness of themselves and others I take some time each week for them to express themselves in watercolor AND in writing without being guided by story, verse or lesson. Children in the middle grades enter a world of intellectual depth and insight. At this stage, when they aspire to problem-solving and knowledge, students are challenged with great philosophical ideas, the precision of mathematics, and the beauty of ensemble music. Some time of individual meditative expression is helpful during this period. Part of the reason I do this is to help them to learn how to take time to meditate through the activities they are doing.
At this stage in life children have often been shuttled into a way of life that can involve too many activities and a lot of intense schooling - a lot of head work. Having them sit down and meditate while they watercolor - either to nature or music - is a way for me to help them balance that "Heart" nature with their head and hands and to help keep that element strong in their lives. This is the age when a lot of schooling starts to take the heart out of things and keep the kids occupied in their head and their hands only.

So this week we decided to take inspiration from nature instead of from stories or verses for our watercolors. The kids collected their favorite leaves and I asked them to reproduce them onto their watercolor papers. I was very clear to them that "re-produce" only meant the mood, the colors, what the leaves evoked in them and that they did not have to draw the leaf itself unless they wanted to.

I am always amazed at how insightful and spiritual and artistic the kids can be. The pictures below are some of what they came up with when working with the leaves...

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Dangers of Building with Muffins

Early in the morning the dim light reveals last night's project. I got our old blocks out of storage so the girls (9 and 10) could make a rat-maze for our rat. Instead they decided to build castles and they added a couple muffins for "royal cakes". I am so excited they still like the blocks! I guess I will take them out of storage! My grandfather made haf of dad gave them to me.

The sun rises to reveal more of the castle...

Someone smells the muffins and starts her rampage of distruction :)...

Who - ME? Really I didn't knock over the castles! I'm a sweet innocent bunny!

(Grrr...WHERE are those muffins????)

Member BLOG posts this week include:

(Join at:

Snack Inspirations & Philosophy

Using a Kids' Business as a Homeschooling Lesson

(and they even earn money and practice their music for "fun"!)

Previous Posts to Members-only BLOG:

Member BLOG posts this week included:
Easy Christmas Handiwork for Cat Lovers
Knitted Mouse
Map Making & Woodburning with a Story - Complete Lesson
Autumn Snack Inspirations
Mom - vs - Manager
Fantasy Party Snack Idea
Independant Learning Tips

Member Tutorials at The Waldorf Channel include:

How to Make Block Crayons
How to Make Molding Beeswax
How to Knit a Rabbit
How to Make Fairy Wings
Pre-Needle Felting
Form Drawing
and MUCH MORE...