Waldorf In The Home

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

52 Weeks of Nature :: Five Minutes Away

  Autumn in Philadelphia 39/52 ~ Five Minutes Away

We packed a lunched and took a ride just up the street to Curtis Arboretum.  Crazy, but we have only driven through this gorgeous space and never once got out to explore it on foot.  

There were so many hidden surprises here. We did some tree hugging, pretended to get married,  and watched some turtles. Running though was what they needed most and ran they did.  

I loved unplanned adventures like these. We needed a big out breath.  

Autumn has arrived! 

When we returned home, tea time was MY time and I started a new novel. It's been a while since I read a book for fun. 

Happy Goddess Wednesday! 

Namaste, Nicole

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Theater Challenge :: Martha The Brave

 Meet Martha, she is brave. 

 This is the Dragon, she is fierce. 

 This is the thoughtless dragon eating livestock and causing 
tremendous fear amongst the villagers.

 Martha is not afraid. She takes off her golden sash and captures the dragon.

The villagers are safe once more.  Hurrah for Martha! She is brave. 

 The girls did a nice job on this challenge.  They came up with the mini presentation all on their own. They were inspired by the book Martha The Brave and The Dragon. Click here for the book.  I love this book and I think most Moms with girls will too. It is a nice addition to St George and The Dragon, which I also admire deeply.  These two picture books are interesting in their stories and both speak very well to the feelings associated with Michaelmas. The art work is phenomenal and I see a a future art project ahead of us. 

We surely must keep those thoughtless dragons at bay! Wishing you much courage and grace to face your own dragons.

Love, Nicole

Thursday, September 25, 2014

52 Weeks of Nature ~ Last Day of Summer

               Philadelphia 38/52  ~ Last Day of Summer

It felt good to grab my camera and see what was waiting for me outside in my backyard this past Monday morning. The last photo is from Tuesday morning. I was so surprised that none of our critter friends helped themselves to our Mabon alter from Monday night. It took them a while, but they finally found it by the afternoon.  

I have skipped two weeks of the 52 weeks thus far, I really want to keep this commitment to myself and do my best to capture the remaining 13 weeks. It  really helps me not to lose sight of what inspires me; nature. 

What inspires you? 


Monday, September 22, 2014

Corner of My Home ~ Felting Leaves

Monday is our handwork day and today Ms. Eva taught us how to needle felt leaves. I had a terrific time, I forgot how much I love needle felting. The girls were into it too, and there was only one minor poke on a finger tip. Mostly Ms. Eva teaches the girls handwork like sewing, knitting and quilting, but every once in awhile I ask her to teach me something cool too. 

We are planning to make an Autumn mural with these leaves you see above to display where our Spring flower mural hangs in our dining room. 

 I didn't plan this intentionally, but this project was perfect for honoring Mabon today. 

Later tonight, after our bellies are full, we will decorate our nature alter with acorns, sage , pinecones, incense, leaves, apples, grapes, squash (we haven't bought a pumpkin yet) and share some hot apple cider with each other in our backyard. Maybe the girls will play a tune for us. 

Next week we will wet felt the leaves to a base of raw wool to create the mural. I look forward to working with the hot soapy suds. 

I am also thinking these leaves would also make a beautiful Autumn Garden. Hmm, I wonder if I have enough wool? 

The colors and shapes are so beautiful. There is nothing that I like better than making beautiful seasonal decorations for our home. 

What are you up to in a corner of your home? 

Happy Autumn Equinox! 


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Math By Hand

I had a delightful opportunity to introduce a kit from Math By Hand to my girls. I have been following Marin's work for about two years, always admiring her posts and her products. She sent us her Grade Two Kit #1.

First, there isn't anything much more exciting for my girls than getting a package in the mail. It was a nice kick-off to the start of our new season of  lessons, and I bet they would love to continue to receive the remaining kits throughout the year which will help me keep the lessons fresh and interactive and keep me on my toes. Math isn't my favorite subject, but please don't tell my girls that. 

This kit could not have been more perfect for me.  Introducing and reintroducing the times table - this kit was the way to go.  It included a huge poster to make our own poster-sized times table, colored pencils, an eraser, a card game and a great little booklet that really brought the times table to life. I couldn't have gathered all the materials as easily on my own, nor would I have been able to present it as well.  This kit did it for me. I was enthusiastic, Marin made the process so doable, so enjoyable, the presentation was fantastic. The girls were just as impressed. 

I am teaching both girls (ages 6 & 8)  the same math block. Second grade is middle ground for them and it is working out very nicely for us. 

We learned how to fold the poster to make 144 squares, then we highlighted the squares with yellow crayon and started filling the times tables we knew from memory. The we followed Marin's suggestions for building and filling out the rest the table. 

The process was a joy to experience.  Both girls are happy with their contributions to the table and the games. My youngest started to see patterns in the table right away, she seems to have a knack for numbers naturally, or perhaps she is just more fascinated with them.  Teaching Math from a Waldorf perspective was completely foreign to me and yet I am able to present it and I am having ah-hah moments. I have never understood the times table like I do now thanks to Marin and this very interactive Grade Two Kit. When I was a child, I used to sneak a peek at the table at the back of my composition book, and it was considered cheating, so I never really studied it the way Marin's little booklet suggests and reveals. If I had, I bet math would have been more enjoyable for me and I wouldn't have cheated. This huge times table poster has been the most useful tool for our math lessons thus far. It hangs proudly on our dining room wall, and it is as dear to us as it is invaluable to us. 

The kit spans several days of lessons. We started with it two weeks ago, and we will probably use the kit all year, and the times table poster for years to follow.  

You can find the Math By Hand kit here.  You can find her other kits here and her free newsletter. Marin's Facebook page is one of my favorites. Her posts are like receiving little gems in the mail. 

Thank you Marin. You are my math idol, no even better…a math Goddess. 

Happy Goddess Wednesday,


Monday, September 15, 2014

Knitting A Space

The spot between my shoulder blades are sore once again. Our knitting needles are back in motion. We are making new scarves for each other. 

Being able to knit certainly isn't a requirement of Waldorf-inspired education,  it does seem like that though, with all those crafty Mama bloggers who share their beautiful knitted work and all the posts and links on social media about the benefits of knitting - mostly come from the Waldorf promoting Mamas like me. 

I did not know how to knit. 

I wanted to learn. Ms. Eva, my handwork friend, comes every Monday and spends time teaching my family all sorts of cool fiber art skills. Knitting is one of them. My girls ages 6 and 8 picked up knitting much faster than me and their scarves look better than mine. For me learning to knit was a lesson in humility and perseverance.  My first scarf kind of looks like the story of my life. Messed up in the beginning, lots of odd stitches , some holes, and finally some neat, even rows, and once in a while a hole and an extra stitch,  then neat rows again. Of course the girls had struggles in their scarves, but the struggles are short-lived because when they ask for help it is offered, they don't have to do it alone. I was comforted that Ms. Eva was there to fix the mistakes. 

Knitting while my children played in the same room created a magical harmony between us. I was with them, present, aware, not lost in a screen. I could answer a question, or help zip the zipper on back of their dress up clothes without feeling disturbed or frustrated that I was taken out of a conversation that I was having online. They felt this connection, the hum of our energies working side by side. Play lasted longer and was more peaceful than if I had been sitting in the same spot with a screen on my lap. It is hard for me to sit down, I am always happily busy doing something, and I do enjoy connecting with friends on FB, but knitting has allowed me to stop my busyness, exhale, regain myself and ultimately create a space for us to be in each other's company without major distraction. I say "just one more row" a lot.  

I was knitting a space. 

For me knitting isn't about the final product, it is all about the process. Not at first though. At first,  I had visions of knitting a cool scarf, then maybe a warm waldorfy-looking hat. I had beautiful expectations of myself. But,  instead of experiencing making something beautiful, I instead felt internal struggles. Knitting did not come easy to me.  I am a perfectionist and I am also very visual. My scarf was raggedy looking.  The beauty that I experienced was the time spent knitting, not the scarf itself. I never give up.  I kept at it, adding  rows and stitches then subtracting them back again.  I must have started my scarf over at least 25 times!!! But it didn't matter I was knitting the whole time, creating that space that we all felt good in. The scarf was just the afterthought. 

I made my second scarf for Vivian,
and she thinks it is beautiful blue and very soft. 

The knitting needles became my magic wands and are very useful when I need to add a little magic and peace-fullness to our day. 

The girls though, they pick up their needles because they are making beauty, with their hands. They are so proud of their handwork. They are in complete concentration. They are determined and never feel like it is not pretty enough. I feel a sense of awe about them when I watch them knit.  

So if you ever had the desire to knit, find a friend to teach you. But if the desire is not there, and you only feel pressure to knit, let it go. Find another way to create that space. 

Namaste, Nicole

Saturday, September 13, 2014

52 Weeks of Nature ~ Blue Door

                            Philadelphia in September  35/52  ~ Blue Door

We added this blue door to our yard at the beginning of the summer to make it easier and safer to walk to our community pool. Before this summer, we had strollers,  then wagons, neither ideal for this rustic, "big-girl" path. This was the year of new beginnings for us. I was even able to bring a book to the pool. In the summer we live at the pool. Between swim team, swim lessons and swimming with friends we were constantly back and fourth and this door was our luxury.  

Now that the pool is closed and we said our sad goodbyes, this blue door now leads us right to the library that is located less than a hop, skip and jump from our yard.  

When one door closes another one does open. 

This door now leads us to faraway places, tales of Woodland People, fairy tales and not so happily ever afters. We have a constant stream of cookbooks, sewing books, gymnastic books, and my favorite herbal remedy books. 

Yep, I love this blue door. Now, I am just hoping that my library fines will be eliminated. Those two street blocks to get to the library last year, errr, got in my way to return books on time. I am blushing revealing this to you.  

This door continues to be a luxury but also represents my gratitude for the many blessings that I have in my life. It is a new symbol of my appreciation for our homeschool life. 

Love & Light, Nicole