Yes, I know the year is over! I am a bit behind on posting so I decided that I would still finish up the 52 weeks, even if it takes me all of 2017 to do it!
I don’t know about you, but I have been a bad mom – lol…. okay let’s put that in perspective. I have five children and only three of them had stockings. I remember taking the loving time to carefully piece each part, back in the days when my handwork skills were new and I hoped I was doing it right and not wasting the expensive felt I begged my former husband to buy. Fast forward to this year when Samuel with his giant puppy dog eyes lovingly asked me if I was ever going to get stockings done for he and Sariah. Of course son, right after I finish…. just kidding! So I pulled out my felt stash and really got busy this year. Sariah wanteed a unicorn stocking and of course Sam is Super Sam only in a karate uniform!
Facebook and blogs can be a lovely thing except when they are not! Facebook can be a great place to interact with other Waldorf centered families, a great place to learn and a wonderful place to foster some in person relationships, it can also be a great place to feel like you are a complete piece of garbage if you don’t live up to the standards of a group or even just one person who says something rude, then it can send your day all over the place and make you wonder why on earth you even stepped into this education to begin with. It can also have a great feel of warmth, a place of learning and you can find some great mentors on Facebook. It is all about culture and philosophy. I also think that there are some out there that sincerely want to educate and others that just want to tear you down because you don’t live up to some wacky standard in their head. They are militant and often branded purists but the funny thing is, they aren’t really purists, Steiner would have a field day with some of the rigid thinking that goes on. I find it very important to look at what drives us, what are goals are and what we can peaceably do at home without alienating ourselves from everyone but while keeping in line with our own core values.
With that said, let’s explore culture and philosophy and the at home reality.
|Waldorf Culture||Waldorf Philosophy||At Home Reality|
|Pretty play silks, all wooden toys, nothing commercial.||Natural, simple play things. Simple dolls with low expression faces. Toys that are open ended. Low materialism, few toys.||Wooden toys sprinkled with games and Legos and maybe a few commercial things here and there depending on the age of the child and your likes as a family.|
|Absolutely no media. How dare you ask?!|| No media in the early years. Monitored media after nine.
Most schools have some sort of media policy.
| Some weekly media, especially if you have older kids and younger ones. Limits are smart, having a policy where they ask before turning on any TV or gaming. Remember that a show on an iPad is still TV, keep it infrequent and monitor shows. A great rule is nothing for the under 5s but if that just isn’t possible then keep it at less than 3 hours in a week. If you are new to Waldorf this might be hard, I generally find that cold turkey works better than scaling back. Make sure you are in a good place so you can play, draw, paint, read stories, go to the park and other things to fill the time.
Keep in mind that media is very helpful to the homeschooling parent with older kids with documentaries and well timed fiction. Be aware and monitor.
Gaming with older kids should be well monitored and remember that an M rated game is an R rated movie, T is PG-13, etc.
|Halloween costumes must only be archetypal imagery.||Natural dress ups. Nothing about Halloween. Most schools shy away from anything with characters for Halloween costumes and generally no masks.||The chances they want to be a Jedi knight or Elsa are pretty high. That doesn’t mean you have to let them but I wouldn’t fight everything. We have had years where everyone was something eclectic and homemade and years where everyone was something off a screen. I strive for balance and I don’t fancy fighting my kids all the time.|
|No characters on clothes, only Hanna Andersson and even then it should be upcycled or second hand in some way. If not Hanna then some kind of organic cotton.||Natural clothing. Schools and co-op will request no characters.||I think this one is easy enough, there are many families that come to Waldorf that are already aware about marketing to kids through clothing, that doesn’t mean they don’t have any, but they are aware and it isn’t overboard. I personally pick my battles and also work to keep my core values. That being said, try to keep my teen daughter out of a concert T or sweatshirt that she worked hard to have the money to purchase.|
|No worksheets EVER! Are you really Waldorf? Why are you asking this?||Lively lessons but there is a place for worksheets in the middle school years for math practice.||One should strive for lively lessons and no worksheets unless it is of course middle school math like Jamie York’s Making Math Meaningful.
I also find workbooks to be good test prep practice for kids that have to be tested regularly. It helps them understand the language and be more successful on the test.
|Only eat good, wholesome food. Anything else is just not acceptable.||Nourishing Traditions, anthroposophical eating concepts, food and the temperaments.||This one is hard. There are many families that are on restrictive diets, some because they really need to be and others because they want to be as part of their life choices for their families. I tend to believe we should land somewhere in the middle with moderation being our key. Some families that come to Waldorf and it is all brand new worry that they wouldn’t know what to feed other Waldorf families, when in doubt, bring fruit to a potluck! Leave the Hot Pockets and Sprite at home.|
|Don’t ever go to the movies! Especially a Disney movie.||With the exception of low media in the early years, there is nothing in Waldorf that prohibits movies.||The plain truth is that some big guys in Hollywood either went to a Waldorf school or sent their kids to one. Star Wars has its fingers in Waldorf and some other Hollywood creators/creations do too. Just use common sense.|
|Only Stockmar or ethically sourced art supplies.||The colors from Stockmar are based on Goethe’s color wheel. This color theory permeates Waldorf art.||At home it is likely that over time a wide variety of mediums will be available. Our crayons and pencils and of course paints are still the mainstay of our art supplies after 15 years. We also have glitter glue, glitter paint, crappy crayons picked up at some restaurant, Crayolas from Grandma and markers I have to keep hidden.|
This is just a sampling of what you might hear online. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, just in an questions someone with a “why” if someting doesn’t make sense. This is a journey and you are not expected to be an expert EVER, just take the journey and learn, love, enjoy!