This Craft is now found at www.BEarthBLOG.com
Blessings & Health,
Kristie Karima Burns, MH, ND
Thursday, December 24, 2009
This Craft is now found at www.BEarthBLOG.com
Friday, December 18, 2009
By Kristie Burns
Don't miss our before-Christmas sale - "Buy One Get One" of EVERYTHING on our websites - Ebay store, www.TheWaldorfChannel.com, www.Earthschooling.com and even www.HerbnHome.com (offer does not apply to knitted unicorns but applies to everything else). Order your first items then E-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me what free items you want and WHO you want them sent to (they can be given as gifts).
I have to admit that as the children grow older I miss the little finger rhymes and verses from our old circle time days, I miss the sweet puppet shows, the dress up box and playing daily with our Ostheimer figures. However, lately I've started to realize that we never did really give those things up - we just modified them and they grew into different things! Here are some examples of what has happened around here now that my kids are 11,13, and 15!
Circle time has now become "family meeting" time. Every Wednesday and Sunday we have a family meeting. This is a time to share a verse, a story, ideas on how to improve things around the house, a request to other members of the family and much more. I try to integrate a story, a verse, and some meditative time into the meeting. We spend some time going around the "circle" talking about what we are thankful for in each person and in each of our lives.
Dress Up Box
The dress up box has now become real-life dress-up. When we go out together my kids and I often plan our trips around an outfit or a theme. If we visit the Renaissance Festival we always dress up, if we go to the Civic Center we wear fancy clothes. If we go to Living History Farms we may dress in clothing from that era. We really enjoy being creative in the way we dress. It is not just "jeans and a T-shirt" every day :)
My kids now enjoy going to some more "adult" events with me and are now creating their own "puppet shows" and events! We saw a professional magic show a couple weeks ago, and a Native American Powwow before that. We enjoyed the Nutcracker Ballet together and attended a rock band concert that my eldest was the lead singer in. Along with attending different events, the kids are really starting to get more out of the events. When they were little I might take them to a musical and they would enjoy it and perhaps play-act after-wards. Now, they may get out their guitar and find the music for the musical, ask questions about it, write about it, create something inspired by it or even sound out some of the music on the piano. The kids are also starting to create more elaborate events instead of sitting and listening. They create their own stage shows, plays (complete with script), band concerts, magic shows, comedy skits and even storytelling shows. Both of my daughters help me with the large group cultural shows I perform in the local public school system. One of the favorite workshops I do is called "A Meal in the Middle East". Sofi's favorite part of the show is telling the story to the classrooms. She won't even let me tell the story anymore!
The play kitchen is still played with from time to time but now it is the real kitchen that I see the kids in more. They all have their own style of cooking and my son, especially, likes to explore new tastes, new techniques, and new dishes in the kitchen. Sometimes they cook breakfast or lunch for each other and they all have their own dishes they are "famous for" around the house.
We don't bake bread every day or even every other day anymore however we do enjoy baking a variety of things and we still enjoy baking bread together now and then. It is hard to believe we have been baking bread together for 15 years now!
I remember the days when we used to take off with a butterfly net and a bag and wander through the woods. Little legs never took us very far but we could find amazing worlds within a few blocks or few yards of forest. Now, we still walk together but now we can go farther and we talk more as we walk. It is a time, not only to connect with nature, but to connect with each other, too. We may explore more advanced concepts in our walks (like identifying specific herbs and talk about the biology of plants and their growth patterns). We enjoy walking through the wooded bike bath TO places - to the grocery store, to the library, to the cafe, and even to the stores. Sometimes the kids go on their own now, or with a friend. My eldest likes to take walks every day - she says it helps her think clearly and she likes all the good energy she gets from the plants. My son likes to ride his bike for long distances with friends. It feels good to him to get all that energy out and he likes the excitement of what he may see on the trails. A few weeks ago he saw a buck and the week before that he saw some fawns.
I would love to hear what transitions other families have made in these areas and how your early childhood experiences have merged into the older years with your children.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Thank you to everyone who has submitted a request for more information from www.TheWaldorfChannel.com.
I am finding that I am getting some of the same questions over and over so I have complied a short list of my "top seven" and have them posted here:
I will add to this list as needed. You can also link to this page from other pages on the website.
These are the questions so far. If you click on the question you will be linked to the answer.
1. I have toddlers that are 2.5 and 4. What materials and resources do you have for this age?
2. I have a Kindergarten Child. What materials and resources do you offer for this age?
3. I have a first grader. What materials and resources do you offer for that age?
4. You have so many offerings. Can you help me choose the right one for me? How do I choose?
5. I have a 5th grader but I see you don't have full curriculum for this grade. Do you offer any resources for this age?
6. What IS Earthschooling? How is it different from other educational methods?
7. I am just starting with Waldorf Education? How can I get started and learn more about it?
Blessings & Health,
Posted by Kristie Karima Burns, MH, ND at 1:55 PM
Sunday, December 6, 2009
It is a yearly tradition now that I post this poem I wrote a few years ago to the list :) Enjoy once again or enjoy it for the first time. You are welcome to share it and pass it around. However, please include credit to me and my websites as you pass it on. Thanks :) Blessings & Health, Kristie
By Kristie Burns
'Twas the night before Solstice and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even our pet mouse
Knitted wool stockings were hung with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there
The children were tucked in organic cotton sheets,
The air filter blocking pollution from the streets.
While mama stayed up to make handmade gifts
I co-slept with the kids and watched auras shift.
When out in the herb garden arose such a clatter
I sprung out of our futon to see what was the matter!
Away to the solar panels I flew like a flash.
They took me hours to install, I hoped they hadn't crashed.
The crystals we'd laid out to absorb the moonlight
Sparkled like fairydust and blocked my sight.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh without any reindeer.
At that moment I knew that the little old man
Had received my last letter so bold and so grand
Could you stop using reindeer? Last year I wrote him,
And enclosed with the note a PETA pin.
As he neared the house in his all-wooden sleigh
I noticed it was powered by wheatgrass and hay.
Ostheimer! Kinderkram! Stockmar! Fair Trade!
Don't bother landing if the toys aren't handmade!
"Hey Arriana," I called to my wife with chagrin,
"With that body mass do you think he's vegetarian?"
She paused only a moment from her crafting and said,
"One moment dear! I'm shaping this gol-darn Waldorf doll's head!"
On our roof I strained to hear the ole boy
But I'd recently insulated it with soy.
So I drew in my hand and was turning around,
When in through the front door came St. Nick with a bound.
The Advent wreath had caught in his hair
As I said, "Why in the world did you enter from THERE?"
The soot in your chimney contains poisons galore.
You should consider the environment more.
But he was dressed in fur from his head to his foot
So I said, "Look whose talking about my soot!"
A bundle of felt he had flung on his back.
"I hope you like handiwork," he said with a laugh.
His eyes - how they twinkled! His dimples were treats!
His cheeks reminded me of when I dye silk with beets.
He must be of the choleric type I mused.
It's a good thing with lavender the stockings I infused.
With his fur boots he slipped on the bamboo wood floor.
I offered him Arnica and then closed the front door.
After all that I'd paid to the energy company this year
I didn't want one bit of that cold air in here.
He had a broad face and a little round belly
I asked him, "Have you seen your naturopath lately?"
He was so chubby and plump I worried for his health
But I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to task,
Needle-felting dragons and weaving a mask.
He knitted a pure cotton sweater and two pairs of mittens,
Then picked up a knife and carved 2 wood kittens.
He finger-knitted an entire nativity scene.
With the most amazing skill I'd ever seen!
When he sprang from his seat on the floor and arose
I yelled, "Arianna - watch - there he goes!"
With the unfinished doll she was struggling to sew,
Arriana went to watch him out the window.
And I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight!
"Arriana, my dear, the stiches are too tight!"
Monday, November 30, 2009
This is now located at www.JourneyofAnalise.com
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
If your family has a story to share about how you share your
thankfulness for the earth please share - I would love to be inspired by
you all - I know so many of you and you already inspire me. I will be
reading the stories you send to my children this Thanksgiving.
One of our stories is below...
I'll share something very personal with you - in the past five years we
"almost" became homeless twice. It is amazing how quickly it can happen
to someone and how hard it can be to find help. I was fortunate enough,
in both circumstances to be saved - literally at the last moment - by a
blessing. However, these experiences, combined with living overseas for
16 years and seeing the face of poverty in different countries - have
made poverty issues one of my main concerns (along with the environment
and empowering people to heal themselves). We give thanks every day that
we have a home, good food, clothing, and even some extras like pets and
an Ipod. At the same time I am shocked by the state of people in America
- how easy it is for credit card companies and banks to "rob" hard
working Americans, how easy it is to lose a job and how hard it is to
earn enough to pay for all the family needs - and how easy it would be
for anyone to slip from the blessed ones who have a home and job into
the crowds of those who don't - it is very easy and can happen in an
I remember last year my son asked me "Mom, if they charge so much for
gas, why don't gas stations look like palaces? Why are they so small and
not very good?"
That statement says so much. WOW. It is symbolic of how so many big
businesses focus on earning rather than on being fair. Although there
has been a slight rise in worker owned businesses
(http://www.ncba.coop/abcoop_work.cfm). Every day I try to remind myself
and my children not to function like that. But it is so hard. We are
ingrained, from childhood, and trained by ads and by alluring magazines
and displays at stores to always "want more". We are trying, as a family
to think differently. We already have everything we need. Really. We
have a home, food, clothing and plenty of books and toys. Logically,
then, we should be distributing our extra instead of making Christmas
lists of "what we want". It is a hard habit to break, but I feel it is
worth the effort. If we can all try to distribute more and consume less,
I imagine that it might reduce the poverty of a great number of people -
some of these people may even be our friends and relatives. Every time I
am tempted to purchase that $5.00 "extra" at the store I think - what
could someone else do with this money?
That is why, this Thanksgiving, we will be volunteering at a homeless
shelter instead of preparing a lavish feast. Now, don't get me wrong -
if we had a large family nearby or a gathering to travel to that was
close enough to travel to - we would be there - the gathering of family
is an amazingly important event and honorable and great tradition to
hold. However, we are unable to travel this year so, it being only I and
the three children, we feel the energy and food would be better shared
A friend of mine, who is a teacher, also sent me a wonderful curriculum
plan she is using with her class. I will be adapting it to our own needs
- basically just using some ideas from it but
not all. You can find it at:
If anyone else has resources or thoughts to share on this topic I would
love to hear them.
My children and I look forward to hearing other stories on how you all
share your thankfulness. There are so many different ways!
Blessings & Health,
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Helle Heckman, director of the Nokken Waldorf Kindergarten in Copenhagen, spoke November 2 at the Ames Public Library on the topic, "Protecting Childhood: Birth through Age 8." Kristie Burns received permission to film this inspiring event. The following is a ten-minute excerpt from her talk. The full talk is available from Helle Heckman or to Lifetime members of www.Earthschooling.com. This video clip is exclusive to The Waldorf Channel. You can see this ten-minute clip, where she talks about one of the main issues in modern childhood, at: http://waldorftv.weebly.co
If you would like an excerpt of one of your videos featured at The Waldorf Channel or you would like your event filmed for free please contact me, Kristie at: email@example.com. I work mainly in the area of the Midwest. However, in April I will be in the California area as a speaker at the 2010 Waldorf in the Home conference.
This video is also being sent to Delphine Douglas of the Prairie Flower Waldorf School in Ames and will be available for viewing for members of the Ames Waldorf Association.
Blessings & Health,
Friday, October 30, 2009
We have been discovering the joys of volunteering this autumn! Mosi, my 14-year-old (will be 15 in one month!) has been learning about a number of volunteer opportunities from a volunteer club in our community. This club puts out announcements about opportunities so you don't have to go search for them or wonder "Do they really need help this week or do they already have too many volunteers?". Community organizations around town contact the club so it becomes a really nice central place to request volunteers as well as find opportunities for volunteering. If you do not have a club like this in your community it would be a really great idea to start one. This is a secular club and involves the entire community. It is easy to start and only needs a few e-mails back and forth to maintain itself.
We have been thrilled with what Mosi's volunteering has brought to her and to the entire family.
1. This has been a great way for Mosi to meet new people - from all age groups. And to meet people who have similar interests as her.
2. Because I need to provide transport to these events the other two children and I have attended events we would not have attended otherwise.
3. Some of these events I never would have known about if not for the volunteer opportunity Mosi had - like the annual PowWow in November. They have not advertised for this powwow anywhere that I usually find information. I was thrilled to find out about it and Mosi is excited to be able to help them serve food on that day!
4. Mosi gets to experience some of the places she loved as a child but has "grown out of" the events for. She was a volunteer at the zoo and Living History Farms Halloween events - she is really too old to attend the events, although she would have loved to - so this is a way for her to continue to stay connected to her favorite events and places.
5. Mosi loves helping. Her favorite event so far was helping kids carve pumpkins at the local Autumn fest. She had so much fun with the little kids. She even got to be one of the judges for the "pet costume" contest.
6. Mosi gets to do new things - she has been a pet costume judge, dancing pumpkin, official marshmallow roaster, and more. It is always a surprise!
We are so thankful for this organization! It has really provided so many wonderful opportunities for Mosi and our family and I am sure they are happy having people to help out with their events as well :)
Friday, October 16, 2009
Sofi and I discovered this wonderful book on the $2.00 table at Barnes and Noble a month ago. It is called, "Sew Teen" and it shows you how to make about 20 different outfits from scratch - no patterns or anything - it tells YOU how to measure & cut (talk about amazing math practice!) your own pattern based on the measurements you take of yourself. This book was perfect for Sofi because she loves to design her own fashion. She is always cutting up old clothes to make something new and creating things for her dolls out of scraps of fabric. I didn't want to stifle her natural creativity and make sewing a chore for her by bringing in all the pre-stamped patterns and complex directions. And intuitively I was right - she LOVES this method.
So we started by making her Halloween costume - the bottom part will be a skirt - and with the leftover fabric we can easily make something to match for her doll because there is no pattern, we just follow the cutting instructions for the doll down to the doll's size and all is well.
And isn't the skirt pattern so clever? It is just two squares placed at an angle to each other and a waistband in the middle (see picture).
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Question: I was schooled in Switzerland and Italy in a Waldorf Inspired elementary school. I am homeschooling my son who is now in first grade...but I am confused about why we would introduce the manuscript style now...I remember learning a ceratin type of alphabet that looked very beautiful...it wasn't script...why are we teaching script? I am a bit confused and need help. Somebody told me you have a book for sale on how to intoduce lower case
Answer: This is a good question! What you introduce depends on what you choose to introduce. There are many choices in today's world that were not available in Steiner's time so I tend to go outside of the traditional confines of Waldorf with this. You can read more about the different styles here:
We tend towards a Zaner-Bloser style but I let the kids develop their own style (Ok, I am a renegade mama I know) as long as it is clear and readable.
One of the other styles may be more suitable for you. The E-books I publish can be adapted to any style of handwriting. Any creative mama could modify the pictures that tiny bit.
I would definitely introduce manuscript (in whichever style) before cursive, however.
Hope this helps?
The E-books I have (I am offering both together now) are at:
Thursday, October 8, 2009
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Monday, October 5, 2009
Posted by Kristie Karima Burns, MH, ND at 8:37 PM
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
This can now be found at www.BEarthBLOG.com
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Our webinars and live chats can now be found here: http://earthschooling.info/thebearthinstitute/?wpsc_product_category=webinars-seminars
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Our webinars and live chats can now be found here: http://earthschooling.info/thebearthinstitute/?wpsc_product_category=webinars-seminars
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
I have posted a few times this year about my kids (10, 12 and 14) and how they still use so many of their 'Waldorf Toys'. I am always amazed to find them playing with the wooden figures, wooden kitchen set or the silks or other things I invested so much money (or time, if I made it) into when they were little. It makes me so happy to see them still using those same toys! Last weekend I was amazed yet again when Mosi, my 14-year-old, dressed as a fairy for the Renassaince Festival and wore the silk wings that I bought her when she was 4-years old! Amazing!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
The second step, after you cut out the pattern is to make the markings on the fabric and then remove the pattern. Sunii and I cut out the suede and then we cut out a lining in a nice 100% cotton flannel. we marked the fabric. Then we decided to use the sewing machine for this job. Sunii has already made a number of items by hand sewing and is ready to advance to the machine. He is almost 13-years-old. Additionally, since these shoes will get a lot of heavy use we want to make sure the stiches are extra strong. The machine has a number of automatic stitches that will easily help this happen. Sunii, of course loved being able to use the machine. He loves anything that involves electricity (my theory is that this must be in the DNA because he was raised a "nature/Waldorf child"). He spent two hours trying out every stitch on the machine and has begged me every day since to do more "sewing". The next step will be doing some of the initial sewing on the shoes...he should be very happy when I share that with him!
Friday, August 21, 2009
Sunii, Sofi and I are making shoes for Sofi's Renaissance Faire costume. It should be an adventure. We will tell you how it goes! First we chose a beatiful pattern. It is from Butterick and includes other patterns on how to make boots and other cute shoes. We chose the simple fairy shoes made of suede. We purchased some beautiful suede that was on sale and that was usually used for interior decorating. We folded it as it showed on the pattern instructions, laid out out the patterns and Sunii cut them out. Now we need to make the markings on the fabric before we take the patterns off. Once we take the patterns off we need to cut the same pattern onto some cotton fabric for the lining. We also need to purchase a leather punch and some leather cord. These are going to be such cute fairy shoes!
Posted by Kristie Karima Burns, MH, ND at 11:27 PM
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Our new website can now be found at: www.Earthschooling.com
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
We had a lot of fun participating in the postcard exchange at:
We wrote to five families last week. We purchased postcards while we were enjoying summer activities around town so choosing the postcards was part of the fun. When we went to the zoo we chose postcards of our favorite animals. There was even one postcard of a lion sleeping on a rock that looked exactly like a picture we took! When we went to Living History Farms, The Botanical Center and the airport we also found postcards we liked.
At the end of two weeks of postcard collecting I put addresses on all the cards and put the age of the child in the upper left hand corner. We then sat around the table together and the kids chose who they wanted to write to. Sofi wanted to write to everyone from the UK because she "likes English accents" LOL! Mosi (age 14) wanted to write to some of the little kids (2 and 3 year olds) as well as some of the kids her age. Sunii wanted to write to some of the boys.
It was a great learning experience for the kids. Writing letters is such a lost art and writing postcards is difficult because you can only say a few things. Without being prompted the kids got the globe and the US atlas out and started to find places on the map. They wanted to know where the postcards were going! Then they all started talking about places they had been together. It was a great time of sharing, learning and writing practice.
It looks like some new people signed up since we sent out our postcards so we are going to do this again in another week or two. It would be fun to make this a bi-weekly event. We used to sit down once or twice a month and write letters to friends and relatives - this might just be what we needed to get us inspired to start doing that again! I love that this is an ongoing postcard exchange! You never know when someone will send you something or when someone new will sign up :)
Friday, June 26, 2009
We made the most delicious garlic bread from garlic that we wild-crafted last week! Yum! I always look forward to summer and early autumn when we do hour herbal identification walks (instructions at: http://waldorftv.weebly.com/e-books.html)
We learn so much, but my children also eat healthier food than they eat all year! It is amazing what children will eat when they get to pick it off the ground in the "wild woods"! Both my children balk when I put salad on the table (although Sofi likes tomatoes, carrots and fruits and berries and Sunii likes other veggies and orange juice) - they complain that salad is GREEN and leafy and yuck!
However, they have no problem foraging clover, mint, chives, dandelion leaves, and sorrel and eating them by the handfuls! As an added bonus we also have raspberries and mulberries on our nature trail.
Other things we learn from our herbal identification walks:
1. Botany: The basic cornerstone of every botany lesson is the shapes and kinds of leaves you find in nature, how to identify plants and how to classify them. This is also the basic cornerstone of herbal identification. However, it is a lot more fun to identify things you can eat and use, rather than drawing shapes and memorizing names on paper.
2. Observation skills: We learn how to look at nature around us in a deeper way. We often see plants and animals we would not have seen otherwise.
3. Healing skills: We have learned how to heal poison ivy with a few common herbs, what to put on a cut when you are hiking in the wild and what you can eat for a stomach ache, spider bite or bee sting.
4. Respect for Nature: We learn how useful nature really is. All that "green" around us is not just "greem stuff" anymore. It is valuable for its healing properties, taste and beauty. We learn how to wildcraft with respect.
5. Nutrition: We learn and experience the nutritional value of herbs and plants.
6. Economy: We calculate and understand how many things are "free" in life, and how we don't have to buy expensive herbal mixtures to heal or eat. They are usually in our back yard!
7. Biographies and History: We learn about some of the historical figures who wrote journals and poems about nature.
8. Storytelling: We learn stories that teach us about the herbs.
9. Verses: We learn verses that teach us about the herbs.
10. We create books with drawings that help us learn more careful drawing techniques.
This is certainly one of my favorite lessons of the year!
Join us in our adventures with our new E-book "Herbal Identification with Kids" at:
Blessings & Health,
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Sigh...as much as I love my wooden toys and natural fibers I also love my plastic bins for organization. They are not natural at all and a bit unsightly, but they have saved me so much money and time!
About 12 years ago a friend of mine had her basement flooded and lost most of her possessions and treasures that were stored in boxes. She told me to always store things in plastic bins. I cannot tell you how thankful I am to her. Our basement flooded twice and our storeroom leaks and has terrible humidity problems. Without those plastic bins I would have lost many treasures of my own.
The second benefit of these bins is how easy it makes it to organize things. The bins were an investment each time I purchased one for about $6 - $8.00 but they have paid for themselves over and over. I purchase clear bins so I can see through them and I organize everything I store in these bins. I also label each bin. This makes it very easy to find things I usually would have lost, forgotten about or left buried at the bottom of a pile of storage boxes.
Today was a good example. I actually have a bin for "random pet items". This bin is filled with items we have used for pets over the past 5 years. Tonight I needed some "land" for our tadpoles so I got out the bin, found some "water structures" we had used for a gecko a year ago, washed them and put them to use again. These structures had also been used for our hermit crabs a few years before that. One time we found a stray dog and I found a collar and food bowl for him in there. Without having these items organized I know I would have just lost them somewhere in a pile of things. Like I used to do - LOL!
I have bins for each season/month of the year and each time we want to set up a new nature table we get out the appropriate bin. I also have bins for seasonal clothing, memory boxes for each child (many for each), one for negatives, random cords and cables from around the house, lights and other items.
Last week I had to attach a VCR to the computer to convert some old tapes to DVD. The instructions said, "You need two cords (illustration). These are not included". I was not worried. I went straight to my "random cords" box, searched through it and found the two cords I needed. I remember paying more than $30.00 for these cords so I am glad I knew where they were! I remember when I used to just toss cords in random boxes and drawers and ended up buying the same ones twice all the time.
I am so thankful that I took the time to set up this system. I initially balked at the cost of the plastic bins and it took me a few days to label and organize them but it has been such a time and money-saver ever since.
And you don't need a lot of space to store them. I keep them in a large closet stacked on top of each other. I use them about 4-6 times a week.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
We made a visit to a local alpaca farm this weekend and had a wonderful time with the new baby alpacas. The roving was so delicious we could not resist so we got some roving from Hershey's Kiss and Snowmobile Runner (two of the alpacas) and a mixture of browns and blacks from various alpacas and had a lot of fun making different felted foods and other items from them!
You can see some of the pictures of what we made at:
I started a special photo page for all the local businesses we support so I have them all there in an album called "Goldwater Creek".
After you look at the photos I am sure you won't be able to resist getting out your roving and making a few things too!
Blessings & Health,
Monday, June 15, 2009
This article can now be found on our new BLOG: www.BEarthBLOG.com
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Building shelters is a task that children work on in grade three of the Waldorf curriculum. However, it is something that they want to do for many years after that. Ever since we started building shelters both my children seem to find some reason to build yet one more shelter and sometimes in the most unusual places. This little shelter was built by Sofi in the front of our yard within an old pine tree. I have been wanting to trim this tree for months - I think it needs to be shorter and much less bushy - so when Sofi asked, "can I cut the tree mama?" I said, "sure!"
I love what she did with it. I'm sharing some pictures. It took her two hours to trim the tree to her standard, carve out the inside shelter, and rake and prepare the ground to be a proper "floor". Then she decorated the inside and outside and added some props.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Every Mother's Day and Birthday the children ask me, "What do you want?" and my answer is always the same. "All I want is a day when I can do whatever I want and nobody tells me I can't or that I should be doing something else. And on top of that I want a day where if I ask someone to help me or play with me they say yes, and they do not complain." Simply put - a day where I am the queen and it is "all about me" :)
Over the years this has become a tradition in our family. Every time someone has a birthday or special day those are the rules - you can't say no to them, you have to be nice to them, and they can do whatever they want. They are queen or king for the day.
However, it is amazing how respectful everyone can be of this position. It is in the back of everyone's minds that whatever they do on this day may come back to them later and nobody wants to hurt anyone or make them feel bad so all is done with consideration. And usually we all end up having fun. It is a different experience to live in someone else's world for a day. Usually we spend the day in our own world or in cooperating with others. To actually let go of all that and spend a day in someone else's world is fun for them (of course) but also teaches the other members of the family compasion, patience, the art of giving, insight into another's life and much more.
This Mother's Day I didn't even have to make any requests for most of the morning. I was served the traditional "special breakfast" (the kids also get this on their birthdays) and Sofi even decorated the chalk board for me. Once breakfast and hanging out was done I only had one request for the day - that we all work on the garden. It was a true joy to have everyone say "yes mama!" without arguing they had something better to do. I could see a hint of it in the back of their minds but...
As with all "tasks" we often end up loving them a lot more than we thought we would. This is part of the lesson in allowing someone else to lead you during the day. About ten minutes into our gardening Sofi said, "This is so much fun" and Sunii was happily digging. They were joyful at finding worms, they laughed at the dog "helping us" , they were exicted to plant the stawberries. Of course gardening is always fun but it is easy to forget how fun something is when it becomes a task by someone else asking us to do it :) So Mother's Day was the perfect day to ask.
Here are some photos of what we got done that morning. It was so much! It always amazes me how much can get done once a person puts their mind to it.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
I tried to find some old photos of my kids as toddlers working with the family but they are not digital yet. Although I did find this one of Sofi working with us building a "stage". We were all hammering so we gave her a plastic hammer (later I found a small wooden one at the store that really worked and of course she liked that better) and let her work with us.
A few people have posted to the WaldorfSchoolOnline@yahoogroups.com today about what to do with toddlers when we are homeschooling. I have have three children and was very happy with the method I learned from our first Waldorf parent-child teacher years ago. She taught me that toddlers want to do what we are doing. Since then I have experienced that in so many different ways.
It was an adjustment for me at first. I have always been an independent person and even traveled to Europe by myself when I was 15. So to invite another person to participate in what I was doing on a regular daily basis - many times a day - was a new concept for me. However, as is the case, our children are our teachers in life. My children taught me much about being "together". The following paragraph is taken from the Waldorf Initiative Handbook that I created for the parents at my Waldorf school years ago:
A toddler longs for rhythm, repetition and activities which feel safe. As a parent, you should continue on your daily rhythm or schedule and then slowly add a child, or two, or three within your daily activity. Contact other mothers while your toddler is napping and arrange a play date at the park, or some other place where there is freedom to move about and nature or animals to explore. They key is that this is a natural event. Being a part of regular activities which the child is used to is calming to the child. The mother doesn't need to feel stressed that she needs to make a certain appearance and that she is "locked in" to a set period of time. This makes everyone a lot more comfortable, and when you are more comfortable and stress free, you enjoy the time more. Up until about 20 years ago, most children this age spent all of their time at home with mother and siblings. Play dates and groups are a relatively new concept. The age appropriate behavior for a child this age is to observe and learn by modeling YOUR behavior. Toddlers don't want too many friends and pre-planned activities, they want to do what you do! They enjoy hanging on your hip or standing along side of you doing the dishes, the laundry, going to the market, etc. These daily activities are learning experiences and a joy for children of this age to participate in. Reassure yourself that there is plenty of time for friends and organized learning later. They will have the rest of their lives to socially interact with other children, and in a few short years, they will rather run off to play with children than to spend time at your side. Don't worry about your child getting socialized. The same way they learned to talk and walk, they will learn to play and be social.
Monday, April 20, 2009
This can now be found at: http://earthschooling.info/thebearthinstitute/?p=1846
Friday, April 17, 2009
Before Sofi "decorated".....
Sofi at work....
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
Saturday, April 4, 2009
This can now be found at www.BEarthBLOG.com
Monday, March 23, 2009
Traditional NoRuz Song
Haji Firuz-e / Sal-i ye ruz-e حاجی فیروزه / سالی یه روزه
It's Haji Firuz /
Note: This is usually sung on the first day of Noruz. However, the celebrations go on for ten days. And I do have to admit, one of my favorite things about celebrating holidays from over the seas is that my kids won’t notice if I am a day or two behind – LOL J
Ruba'ie #199 – Part Two - Rumi
Behold the day!
Rôz âmad -ô- rôz
Rôz = Day
The Poet’s Triumph
Once upon a time in Baghdad there lived a famous caliph, well known for his love of literature and poetry. The caliph was a wise man, and he had a remarkable memory. Whenever he heard someone recite a poem, he memorized it.
Now the caliph wished to open a grand library, but he was also greedy, and so he came up with a plan to save money. You see, in the caliph's court there was a servant who also had an astonishing memory. This man could memorize anything he'd heard more than once.
With this in mind, the caliph announced to all the poets that he was seeking poetry to purchase for the library. He invited all the writers to come to court and recite their work, and for original work, he would reward the creator with a sum of money equal in weight to the material on which the work was composed.
Poets lined up at the courthouse steps, eager to read their work to the caliph.
The first man entered and bowed. "I shall read you an ode," he announced.
"And is it original?" the caliph asked.
"It is," the poet said.
"Let me warn you," the caliph said, "if anyone in this court already knows this work, I shall know you are telling a lie. Now, please begin."
And so the poet read his work aloud.
When he had finished, the caliph cleared his throat, and without a moment's hesitation, he recited every word he had just heard. When he finished he said, "You claim those are your words, and yet I have just proven to you that this poem is already known."
"Very well," the caliph said, "we shall make one more test," and so he called the servant who had been listening the whole time; he, of course, had heard the poem twice.
The servant stood before the caliph and the poet, and he too recited the poem, word for word.
"Ah," the caliph said, stroking his chin, "even my servant knows this work. We cannot pay for words that are not yours."
The poet bowed his head in shame and shuffled away.
The next poet entered. Once again the caliph asked his questions, and once again, as soon as the poet finished reading his work, the caliph and then his servant recited those very words. Once again the poet departed in shame.
This went on for hours.
Now one of the caliph's friends, also a poet, was listening closely all this time, and because he knew of the caliph's fine memory, he was suspicious. He came up with a plan of his own to test the caliph's promise.
He had long before composed a piece of 10,000 difficult and complicated verses. He etched the words upon an enormous slab of marble, and when he had finished, he and his friends placed the slab upon the back of a camel. In this way they transported the work to the caliph's courtroom.
Wearing a disguise so that the caliph did not recognize him, the caliph's friend announced that he too wished to read a piece.
Once again the caliph announced his rules, and the poet began.
He read for hours, and as he read, the caliph began to sweat. The words were far too complicated even for the caliph, and as the time passed, he realized he would not be able to play his trick upon this poet.
Just as the sun began to set, the poet finished reading.
The caliph smiled. "It is a beautiful poem," he said, "and obviously it is original. Bring forward your manuscript so that I can weigh it, and we shall pay you."
His friend bowed. "I hope the caliph will forgive me, but I had no paper, so I wrote this upon a slab of marble."
The caliph stared in amazement as a group of men carried the heavy slab forward. "I see," he said, again and again, but he knew he would have to pay a great sum of money, for a caliph must never break his word. "You shall be paid," he said.
And then his friend smiled and removed his disguise. "I have done this only to teach the caliph something," he explained. "The poets are not wealthy men; their wealth is in their words. You have been unfair by using your memory to trick them. Whatever you can spare, you ought to pay them, for payment will cause you no hardship but bring some ease to their lives, and so they will create more and more works of beauty. In this way the world will be a better place."
The caliph understood, and he agreed, but he could not help himself. He still longed to test his people.
And so, the next day when a poet came to court, the caliph listened to his poem. When the poet was finished, the caliph said, "You have a choice. I will pay you in gold from our treasury, or I will offer you three pieces of invaluable wisdom."
Naturally the poet did not want the caliph to think him greedy or uninterested in the caliph's wisdom, and so he answered, "Your wisdom is worth more than any treasure, Caliph."
The caliph was pleased to hear this, and he began. "First, make sure you do not wear clothes that are worn through. Second, when you work, take great care with your words. And third ..."
But before the caliph could complete his sentence, the poet cried out, "Wait! Please keep your third piece of advice and give me one-third of my reward in gold."
The caliph nodded, and he paid the poet for one-third of his work. He never wanted anyone to say the caliph was unfair.
Some Rumi for the Parents or Older Children
Sorrow's fires of old
Bar jah! = Leap
For years, copying other people,
Note: m at the end of all verbs refer to "I", for example, Shanidam means I listened. Bedidam, I saw...
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Transferred to new BLOG at: http://earthschooling.info/thebearthinstitute/?page_id=103
Monday, March 16, 2009
This post can now be found at www.BEarthBLOG.com
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
I am SOOOO excited about our new craft and homeschooling space! It has been clean all year - keeping my office, kitchen and homeschooling room clean are top priorities around here (although the rest of the house may not look so good sometimes and don't even look in the garage). However, I don't think we realize how "bogged down" a place can get - even if it is clean and organized. Even the most organized spaces need a spring cleaning.
It was not intentional. I started because I had purchased some new crafting supplies - terra cotta clay, some more beeswax, etc...and I didn't have anywhere to fit them. One thing led to another and two days later we had completely re-arranged the rooms, we steam cleaned the carpets (I can't even believe it went THAT far LOL) for the first time in two years, we organized everything again, cleaned everything, sorted, etc....
The results are amazing! The kids have already spent much more time in the room than they usually do and their self-initiated activities have increased significantly (now that they can find everything and know where it is again). Even I am more inspired in my lesson planning. I think we have gotten more done this week than we did in the past month. WOW!
So I took some pictures to share with you all. I am just so excited. I have to share!
I posted a slide show at the NING. I didn't want to have to edit the pictures down but there are too many for the BLOG.
Also, if you are interested, I have a few videos and downloads about organization at http://www.thewaldorfchannel.com/ - if you can't find them and are interested I can send you a direct link. They are really helpful videos! Especially the E-book/Video combo of "Organizing for the Temperaments"
Enjoy the photos at:
PS: Someone mentioned the white walls - sigh! Don't remind me - LOL :) I have moved so many times in the past twenty years & each time I repaint the walls and create a wonderful garden and then we move. I'm sorta on a "break" waiting to see if this house "sticks" - but this does remind me of two tricks I want to share if you have white walls - drape scarves on your walls. We have one that looks like the sunset in the livingroom (see pictures) and another that looks like a rainbow in the art room (no picture, sorry). We also have one small wall that I made (just last week) into a blackboard and I will be posting some fun we are having with that. Another wall is dedicated to the children's art so that brightens up things a bit too. These things really help if you are "stuck" with white walls!
Blessings & Health,
This post can now be found at www.BEarthBLOG.com
Friday, March 6, 2009
Last week Sunii, age 12, and I did something very special. Or, to put it more accurately, Sunii did something very special and I was his assistant! He was very specific about what I could and could not do so mostly he had me go "fetch" things - LOL - while he made his sister a three-tier birthday cake. The most amazing thing for me was that we used the same cake set that my mom and I used to use when I was 10-years-old! My mom actually had it in her basement years ago and gave it to me when I was first married. I have kept it since then but had only used it before with my eldest daughter. The pan was then lost for some time so I had to wait until Sunii was older to use it with him. My favorite quote was when Sunii said, "Make sure everyone knows I made the cake" before 12 of Sofi's friends came over for the party!