“Working Material for the Class Teacher Forming The Lessons of Grades One Through Four”


This is a little gem,  a document put into a bound book along with the few pages of the working document I mentioned in my last post (“Examining the Waldorf Curriculum from an American Viewpoint”).  On page 18 of this manuscript, there are several “golden rules” for teaching from a Waldorf perspective and I thought I would highlight a few for you.


1.  Thinking, feeling, willing – you hear this a lot in the world of homeschooling blogs and literature but the point is to always bring the subject at hand back to the child.  How does this have to do with your child, how does this concern your child? This takes careful child observation and in this, we can tailor our homeschooling to the child.  It always goes back to the human being.

2.  Doing then understanding, whole and then parts.  This is opposite of how many adults function (ie, first we as adults have to understand in order to “do”), so this can take some getting used to.

3.  The world is beautiful!  I love this one, because it sums up my philosophy of life.  Here is a direct quote:    “For the teacher there is the stumbling-block that he sees what is NOT beautiful in the world.  His task and his exercise will be to see the beautiful in everything and point it out.”  Bring everything into a picture. This is why individual biography is so important in fourth grade and up (after the nine year change). 

4.  Rhythm.  Rhythm is still important – movement and resting, listening and speaking, group activity versus individual activity.  How do we work with this in the home environment?  This is an important question.

5.  Practical life.  Waldorf homeschooling is first and foremost an education of beauty, and of beauty in the practical life.


One last quote:  “Of course we must take care take care today that the child does not become precocious, that he is not made “old” too quickly, which is that the times and the overall environment want to achieve with force, and so we must develop willing, imagination and warmth of heart as strongly as the intellect.”


Lovely thoughts to ponder today,


Sunday Books: Completing The Circle

We are continuing our look at “Completing the Circle” by Thomas Poplawski, and available for free at the Waldorf On Line library.

(If this link does not work, then please go to Waldorf Library On-Line, hit books from the left-hand menu, hit “ebooks” and go the the “C”s to find “Completing The Circle”.  I have tried to fix the link twice; it worked for me but apparently some are still having trouble with the link,)

We are looking at the chapter entitled “Losing Our Senses.”

This chapter should be required reading for all parents.  It is scary, it is frightening and essentially posits that the human brain of the younger generation is changing in response to the fast-paced and busy technological world we live in.  Research done over decades in Munich, Germany by the Rational Psychology Association (GRP) has shown that not only are the senses of  smell and taste declining, but by the mid-1980’s, the receptivity of nearly all senses was declining.  Poplawski writes: Continue reading

Sunday Books: “Completing The Circle”

“An angel comes down to earth, conceived and received within the womb of her mother. There she grows the garments for her new home, and henceforth, she will wear the heavy robe of a physical body. After the months that this process takes, she emerges into a startling world of bright lights, cacophonous sounds and strong smells. With that first breath of terrestrial air, a visitor of timeless pure being is born into the temporal matter of earth. And with the tasting of mother’s
milk, so begins the education of this angel we now call child. For in this sweet substance of milk, the child first brings the outside world into herself.”

And so begins the book “Completing The Circle”, written by one of my favorite authors, Thomas Poplawski.  Here is the link to the ebook:  http://www.waldorflibrary.org/index.php?option=com_booklibrary&task=view&id=1202&catid=133&Itemid=3

This book asks the important question of how we prepare a child to meet these times of hurry, sophistication, and technology whilst preserving the unique gifts, destinies, and callings that all children have? Continue reading

“The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work”–The Afterword And Our New Book Study

This is the last chapter of our book study, “The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work”, by John Gottman, PhD.  Today we are looking at “Afterword: What Now?” and how to put some of things Dr. Gottman talks about in his book into play in our relationships.

He talks about “The Magic Five Hours”, Continue reading

Chapter 11: “The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work”


We are almost done with this book!  This chapter is all about creating a solid foundation for marriage through shared meaning, shared traditions, a shared family unity.


“Marriage isn’t just about raising kids, splitting chores, and making love.  It can also have a spiritual dimension that has to do with creating an inner life together – a culture rich with symbols and rituals, and an appreciation for your roles and goals that link you, that lead you to understand what it means to be a part of the family you have become.” (pages 243-244).


I love that outlook, and how families create their own family culture.  I have written about creating family culture before on this blog, and this chapter just confirms for me how important doing this truly is for the health of a family.  It is not that a couple feels the same exact way about everything, but that there is an interplay and meshing of values and beliefs and attitudes to form this new family identity. 


In this chapter you will find a beautiful questionnaire starting on page 246 that discusses “Shared Meaning” and provides an interesting bit of food for thought regarding rituals, roles in the family, goals, and symbols of family life together.


The section on “Family Rituals” begins:  “It is a sad fact that less than a third of U.S. families eat dinner together regularly, and more than half of those that do have the television on during dinner.   This effectively ends conversation during dinner.  Creating informal rituals when you can connect emotionally is critical in marriage.”  This section has an exercise on rituals.


There are also exercises regarding family roles, personal goals, and shared symbols.

An excellent chapter for those working on creating a new family culture!


Many blessings,


One special note is that the culture that develops

“Overcome Gridlock”: The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work


Dr. Gottman begins this chapter by writing that many couples actually handle “gridlock” well. You want children, he doesn’t; you want to go to church, he doesn’t; you are extroverted and want a party every night and he is introverted and wants to be home with a good book.  These problems seem insurmountable but yet some couples handle them exceedingly well and it does not tear them apart.  How do they do that?


Dr. Gottman asserts that the goal in dealing with gridlock is not always to get to solving the problem (believe it or not!) but to open a dialogue.  There are many problems in marriage that are just not solvable, but yet, we can still love each other and live in harmony. 


Sometimes the gridlock is caused by underlying feelings and dreams of things from childhood.  Perhaps the things you want most in life is being caused by wanting to emulate or distance yourself from your own childhood experiences.  Dr.  Gottman offers a helpful list on page 218 of people’s most common wishes,dream and desires that sometimes fuels gridlock in a marriage.


If we can communicate with each other and respect each other’s deepest dreams and wishes, then happy couples are often willing to overcome gridlock to help their partner be happy.  If the partner does not respect or find significance in their spouse’s dream or deep-rooted need, then this can cause severe marital problems. 


Sometimes when couples have opposing dreams regarding an issue, the only hope is to openly talk about why you feel that way and to listen as to why your spouse may feel another way.  When the real issues are out in the open, then you can have a dialogue and find a middle ground that feels okay to both of you.   Compromises are hard to accept, and yet, marriage is a field of compromise if the other person’s happiness matters as much or more to you than your own. 


Dr. Gottman notes on page 224: “Keep working on your unresolvable conflicts.  Couples who are demanding of their marriage are more likely to have deeply satisfying unions than those who lower their expectations.”


He provides a list of steps for those ready to move beyond gridlock in a series of exercises starting on page 225.  In Step One, Dr. Gottman lists common scenarios, and leaves us to fill in the dream that could possibly be found within the conflict.  One example he provides is a couple where the husband believes the wife is too neat and tidy and controlling.  The dream within this may be that the husband grew up in a very strict home and that the husband actually wants to be able to challenge authority; he wants his children to be able to challenge authority.  And perhaps the wife, who wants a neat tidy home, has as her dream a need for security because her home life was chaotic growing up.  She wants her children to feel safe; she wants to feel safe. 


In Step Two, Dr. Gottman guides the reader through picking a gridlocked issue in his or her own marriage and delving into the possible dreams beneath the conflict.  He asks that each person receive fifteen minutes to talk and explain his or her position without  attempting to solve the problem.  Listening is the first key to understanding. 


Step Three involves soothing each other, and goes back to the exercises found in the chapter, “Soothe Yourself and Each Other”, Chapter 8.  Step Four involves making a temporary compromise and living with that compromise for two months.  Dr.  Gottman provides the steps to work through  this in the exercise “Finding Common Ground”, found in Chapter 5.   He then instructs couples to live with that temporary solution for two months and then review.  He cautions readers not to expect the problem to be solved, but only that you and your spouse can live with the problem more peacefully than before.  Step Five is then to say thank you, in order to end on a positive note, and he provides an exercise for this on page 240-241. 


Another interesting chapter to read and think about!

Many blessings,

“Coping With Typical Solvable Problems”–The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work

This chapter begins by citing the hot buttons of marital discord: “Work stress, in-laws, money, sex, housework, a new baby..Even in very happy and stable marriages, these issues are perennials…Although every relationship is different, there’s a reason why these particular conflicts are so common:  They touch upon some of the marriage’s most important work.

Wow.  Think about that for a moment.  These are issues that cover almost everything in life, and gives true credence to that idea that having a good marriage takes work.  However, what the author adds to this oft-repeated phrase and conversation about work in marriage is that it takes a “rich understanding” between the husband and the wife.  Both people need and should feel secure in the marriage.  Dr. Gottman cites that marriage should be a port in the storm , a place of peace.

I love this chapter because Dr. Gottman provides some real solutions to the six basic areas of stress. What I like about the sections devoted to each area is that he breaks it down to an essential task for the marriage to accomplish.  He starts with the stress of the work day, and then spends a particular amount of time on the stress that in-laws can provide to a marriage (including an exercise based around this for you to work on in your family).

He also provides a multi-step solution to  the dilemmas about money Continue reading