I love it when a reader shares her own family’s Waldorf experiences with us. It’s refreshing and motivating to see how others incorporate Waldorf ideas into their homes.
Today, Sara shares her Waldorf journey with us.
What is Waldorf for us?
For those who know it from afar Waldorf might mean wooden toys, baskets of pine cones on a shelf, or a silk scarf for baby to play with. Others might think of a nice school that makes homemade bread and sings pretty fairy songs in a circle.
We started out, five years ago, attracted to some of these ideas for their aesthetics, but also because I appreciated the simplicity that these toys and activities represented, a simpler less commercial approach to childhood that resonated with me. I also then came to appreciate the ideas behind Waldorf, as I read more about Waldorf, starting with the book “You are your child’s first teacher”. My little man was a dramatic toddler, just as he had been a dramatic baby. Everything was big. Everything was overwhelming – my large family, trips to the mall, our attempt at kiddie/mama music classes. We fell into cosleeping, because we were exhausted, baby wearing too, because it was the only way he would nap.
For us, the key to Waldorf was rhythm – finding a rhythm for our family that worked with each new stage. At first it was just a bedtime routine. Then we started singing a blessing before meals. When he was a little older, with the introduction of baby sister to the mix, we started a little mini circle time, just a few days a week. A story, acted out with his plastic animals and a doll, learning a little verse about the robin in spring time. I rediscovered my childhood joy of crafting and sewing, making them both lovey dolls out of soft flannel and wool from my parents farm. We pared down toys and pulled out toys with flashy lights and batteries. We made an effort to get outside as much as possible, even when it means bundling up in the winter. And now that we are homeschooling we’ve dug in deeper yet.
It came slowly, it came bit by bit. We’ve had times where we lost our rhythm and then been able to find our step again, as things settle down. But life has its seasons, and I find it’s really important in the journey of motherhood, to find grace for yourself in whatever season you are in, and for others too. We do what works for us, in the now. And then to realize that Waldorf can be applied in so many ways, in so many different families as their need and lifestyle require.
And what “is” Waldorf to our family now? To me it is a living breathing thing for our home, the way we organize, operate and prioritize; it’s not just “doing Waldorf” but it’s our family.
In our home, Waldorf “is”…
.. lighting a candle at dinner time, saying a verse together in thanks for our meal.
… asking yourself the hard questions, but ones that greatly impact parenting and family life. Am I in need of more patience? Do I exude contentment and peace within my life, to model it to my little ones? Grappling with and working on these hard questions that we so often put off in busy parenting years.0
… fewer toys, ones that spark imagination and let children be creative.
… cuddled up reading Swiss Family Robinson in the sunshine, and then using sticks and cast off pieces of wood to make our own model of their tree house.
… making a tiny stuffed gnome for my six year old to carry around in his pocket, along with Lego guys and Spiderman.
… the family bird book next to the big binoculars on a shelf near the back deck, excited squeals of “OH, a new bird!” recorded with joy.
… pulling a sturdy stool up so toddler can wash in the soapy water and handing a rag to little miss to help mama wash floors.
… a morning verse said every day as we draw back the curtains “good morning, dear earth!”
… marching forward by twos, and hopping back while counting from ten, moving to learn and learning to move.
… giving kids time to be kids. Reading can wait. Play is important.
… finger knitting with my son next to the woodstove on a cold day as we tell stories.
… embracing the magic of childhood, communicating with less heady talk. Yes, I say when the spring weather finally changes, it seems the Sun King has finally beat back old King Winter from his throne in the sky!( Just a few years ago my response would’ve included a description of the earth tilting on its axis and etc.)
… a stick that becomes a knight’s sword, a galloping horse, and a magical wand in one hour of play.
… singing a simple song as we see the first seeds sprout up in the garden. “Bless the growing of the grain!”
… enjoying the festivities throughout the year, and their meanings in different cultures, and for our family. Rather than just focusing on Christmas, we put out boots for oranges and a chocolate in memory of Saint Nicholas, we bake Santa Lucia rolls and greet dada home from work with candles and singing.
… hours spent outside. We dig and really get dirty. We read fairy stories about nature and admire the work of Jack Frost. We let childhood be magical. We linger in the sunshine. We breathe in the smell of rain.
… a dusty chalkboard drawing copied into a homemade paper book, rather than tossing out filled up workbooks we instead build a collection of little books as monuments to learning.
… the book of special poems and songs we have collected over the years. Oh mama, he says after I read a new poem about spring, we have to put that one in the book!
And mostly, for me, Waldorf is a philosophy that has helped me to appreciate the journey of parenthood. We are not perfect. There is no “perfect Waldorf way” to attain. It is learning and growing and traveling and becoming… that is the point.
Thank you Sara, I love what Waldorf ‘is’ to you and your family ~ such a simple, calming, nature-loving approach to childhood.
Here is a link to Sara’s own blog so that you can follow her there.
If you would like to share your own family’s Waldorf journey, please contact me.
If you’d like to learn more about Waldorf education, please visit the ‘Waldorf’ tab in the navigation bar above.
Blessings and magic,