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.