Children Who Dislike Everything

I was going through some papers this weekend and came across an article by Michael Howard that I had printed out called, “Educating the Feeling-will in the Kindergarten” and this quote just popped out at me:

“The defining characteristic of feeling will is the capacity to live deeply into the inner quality of something outside us, knowing and feeling it as if we are within it or it is within us. In the early childhood years a healthy child is naturally inclined to drink in the inner mood and qualities of places and persons.  It is one of the tragedies of our times that the ways of the world, including the life of the family and school, can dull rather than foster this natural soul attachment.  Tragically, many young children come to kindergarten with a sense-nerve disposition already strongly developed.  Their thinking has become prematurely intellectual and abstract, and their feeling life inclines toward strong personal like or dislike.”

I have been seeing so many tiny children yet with so many big opinions.  Have you been seeing this as well?  Continue reading

Relaxed Waldorf Homeschooling

I wanted to thank all of you who participated and left comments in regards to the post Donna Simmons of Christopherus Homeschool Resources on Catherine’s blog.  You can see the original post here (and do be sure to read the comments, because that is where the discussion really is, including an interesting side thread on forming the space between two siblings who are very close in age): Continue reading

Deconstructing Grade Two

Grade Two promises to be an interesting year as not only is there a wide variety of stories to choose from (legends, tall tales, Saints, Jataka Tales, animal stories, Aesop’s fables, trickster tales) but also a wide range of academic, social and emotional abilities and levels amongst eight year olds.

Here are a few thoughts for heading into grade two: Continue reading

Two Ideas for First/Second Grade Blocks

I love the book “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon” by Grace Lin.  It would make a great read-aloud for Waldorf homeschoolers in the second grade.  You could also make a language arts block out of it.  My friend Jen over at Ancient Hearth did just that, and you can see the spectacular results here:  I am so pleased looking at Jen’s pictures; her block turned out so beautifully!

I also wanted to share a little idea I am working on for my First Grader’s form drawing blocks for fall.  I want to use the little mice of Brambly Hedge to do our form drawing and I may also move the idea of mice into our math blocks for the four processes. 

For those of you not familiar with the  Brambly Hedge books, they are small pocket- sized books with intricate watercolor illustrations about  families of mice who make their homes in the roots and trunks of Brambly Hedge, “a dense and tangled hedgerow that borders the field on the other side of the stream.”  The main first four books go through each season with the assorted activities of gathering food, storing it for winter, and all the feasts and festivities that go with each season.

These were first published in Great Britain in 1980.  You can see the first four books here:

My thought is to make a giant wall mural of the hedge and the assorted  places of the hedge and then to use the stories as a springboard for the imagery of form drawing lines and curves.  There is  also a Brambly Hedge Pattern Book to sew fabric versions of the mice characters here:

Many blessings today,


How Old Should My Child Be For Dry Needle Felting?

My wonderful handwork teacher Judy Forster noted to me the other day that the control and sharpness of the needle for dry needle felting are challenges that are just right for the physical and emotional changes that occur in middle school (typically 7th and 8th grade). 

From my observations of the development of the child at different ages, I agree with her. I also think there are many, many projects one can be busy with, so why be in such a rush to get to that rather hardening gesture?  This is an important point for Waldorf homeschooling parents who may be guiding their children’s handwork program without having a Waldorf-trained handwork teacher to assist them!

Wet felting is a wonderful alternative, and children in the grades can knit, crochet, macrame, cross stitch (fourth grade, age 10), sew (typically grades six and seven for projects) and do many other types of work with their hands.

If you have small children under the age of 7, I like to think about color and freedom.  The small child should be able to choose colors and materials and turn them into whatever suits the child’s fancy of the moment, whether that be a ghost or an elephant.  They may imitate you, but often they are just a wellspring of creativity.    I remember I had one good friend whose little boy made a whole bunch of creatures and critters from sheets of felt when he was around four or five.  The colors and shapes and what they were called were all his and he loved them.

Even in older children, seeing what colors the children pick and what they want to make is fascinating.   My Third Grader is currently drawn to blues and greens and I feel this is meeting her temperamental traits and where she is.  Color and form is fascinating!

If you need help determining what project comes when within the Waldorf curriculum,, please look at this back post that Ms. Judy Forster was so kind to write for this blog:

Many blessings to you all,


Plans for Waldorf Homeschooling Second Grade

For those of you finishing up Second Grade planning, Eva over at Untrodden Paths has just posted her Second Grade layout of blocks and I thought you all might be interested in how she did it here:

Her blog is beautiful, head on over and say hello!

Jen over at Ancient Hearth also just posted her Second Grade plans here:  She has some great read-alouds that are traditional for Waldorf Grade 2 along with some of my favorites…Peter and Annali and Min!  Yay!

For those of you looking for how I laid out Second Grade, here is a back post to get you started:

For those of you who are not aware, there is a Yahoo!Group for mothers planning their Second Grade experiences here:

We have been having a discussion on the Second Grade Yahoo!Group regarding trickster tales…..The next time I do Second Grade, I think I am going to do an entire block of Anansi the Spider tales from the book by Philip Sherlock.  I think I would also add a block of Celtic Fairy Tales (we did Russian Fairy Tales which is also enjoyable!)…   I have some other thoughts as well for the next time around because the child coming up to Second Grade is different than the child who just finished Second Grade.  That is the joy of homeschooling, that we can tailor things to each individual child!

Many blessings,


A Quick Note About Waldorf Grade Two

Hi all,

I have been thinking about those of you planning your Waldorf homeschooling Grade Two experience.  I have been speaking with several mothers locally and via email.

One thing that has come to  my mind is that whilst the theme of Waldorf Grade Two is this notion of the duality of man (as shown in the lesser traits in some of the animal fables and the higher traits shown in those other-worldly Saint stories) , sometimes it is easy for the year to feel a bit disjointed. 

One thing that I think will assist you is to think of what you would like to predominate in your Second Grade experience – folk tales?  American tall tales? Saint/hero tales? Fables?  and build the majority of your blocks around that.

Thoughts from anyone out there planning Grade Two?

Many blessings,


How To Plan Waldorf Homeschool Second Grade: Part Two

You can find Part One to this post here:

I broke my “no-photographs” rule simply because there are not many blogs with examples of Waldorf Second Grade and I wanted to show some sample works. 


January: More poetry. Snowy Village Math from Marsha Johnson’s files and I told Russian Fairy Tales at the end of the Math lessons (also from Marsha Johnson), cooking, singing and pennywhistle – here we again went over place value, carrying and borrowing and multiplication and division



Russian alphabet to go with Russian fairy tales:


February:  Saints and Heroes from Donna Simmons and a few I picked based on Donna’s suggestions in the back of this book; special attention to word families, writing, painting and drawing –  one of these shows just a simple summary because we did a wet-on-wet painting as our artistic work for Finn MacCool.  Math rested during this month except for daily practice of math in Circle Time.



March:  Math – mixture of Melisa Nielsen’s Math Ebook and Donna Simmons’ Second Grade math; math skills as above along with money.



The week around Saint Patrick’s Day we did The Leprechuan Factor Trees of Ireland from Marsha Johnson’s files, first with a lovely drawing before we made our addition  factor trees:


And then those wild little  leprechuans traveled to the mysterious Multiplication Island where the multiplication factor trees grow; a TROPICAL island in the middle of an Irish lake..LOL.  Here is a leprechuan cobbling shoes on the back of a giraffe!



March was also Lent and crafts, weekly form drawing, wet on wet painting, the story of Saint Patrick.

April:  We did a block on Earth, Water, Fire and Air – I used stories from , including one I found on Saint Kentigern and The Robin that involved the element of fire, lots of hands-on activities, weekly form drawing, pennywhistle and singing, math rested.



May:  Math from Marsha Johnson’s files  using “Watercraft of the World” as a theme,  more poetry and singing and pennywhistle, wet on wet painting, weekly form drawing, gardening.


Here we counted dates and grouped them in twos and fives, and re-visited our three, four  and six times table with the help of  our hippo friends and the sails..… (these are dates along the top of this picture that we were counting -  we were working with the two-sailed lateens that sailed along the Nile River, and the dates and barley that were agricultural products in this area).  Note the hasty work in this drawing compared to the other drawings… you can really tell the difference between outlining and just building the picture up in layers with the crayon.



June:  Saints from “Stories of the Saints” , review of work

Anyway, hope that helps provide a few resources for next year for those of you with rising second-graders.

Many blessings,


How To Plan Waldorf Homeschool Second Grade: PART ONE

I broke my no-photograph rule to post a few pictures from our Second Grade Main Lesson books…there really don’t seem to be many Second Grade Waldorf blogs out there and I wanted you all to see some examples from our work.

Below you will find the resources that I used for each block; you can also see this back post that talks about Second Grade resources  here:


Planning (two posts, one here and one link embedded in this post):


Let me make it very, very clear that I think you could focus on animal fables and legends and not do Saints at all.  I liked Saints for  my oldest, for this particular child,  so I included them.  Also, our year was more weighted toward math than language arts because that is what my child needed. Also,  know every day had movement, modeling was often included in the Main Lesson so not mentioned separately here, and handwork took place every week along with Spanish and German, and math happened nearly every day during non-math blocks for practice unless we were letting it rest…

Thanks to Lovey for taking these pictures!  Many of you remember Lovey!

I actually took a few of the pictures as well!  A miracle for me!

September: Form Drawing and Math; I took the forms from a variety of resources and used some Cherokee Trickster tales to set the stage.  The forms this year included running forms and vertical  forms  with a midline drawn and a midline present but not drawn.  Math was taken from Melisa Nielsen’s Math Ebook and Donna Simmons’ Second Grade Math book:




We also celebrated Saint Michael and Michaelmas, baking, singing and pennywhistle.  We did wet on wet painting of the geometric shapes from Donna Simmons’ Second Grade Math Book.

October: LA Block, Aesop’s Fables – find free on Internet and flesh out for three-day rhythm (look at Marsha Johnson’s files for examples at; continue with daily Math and weekly Form Drawing, singing and pennywhistle



November:  Math, resources as above, kept circling back to place value, carrying and borrowing; the story of Saint Martin and some other Saint stories at the end of Math lessons.




December:  Saint Nicholas – many free resources on the Internet for this one- and Saint Francis and Clare (we did a very BIG wall mural); Santa Lucia, poetry; daily math, singing and pennywhistle





Keep it simple;  you are teaching through art as your vehicle but the skill development is still there!  You must know where your child is and what you are trying to accomplish in terms of skills, and then how do I bring that actively within the things that speak to the soul development of the eight-year-old.  And don’t forget your singing, handwork, painting, modeling, games and movement!



Waldorf Second Grade Handwork

In Waldorf Second Grade, I believe in working with casting on, knit stitch, casting off, and the simple sewing necessary to finish a project.  I strongly believe both purling and dry needle felting should be left alone until the nine year change.  You can see more about the indications for Waldorf Handwork, written by our homeschool group’s wonderful, wonderful Handwork Teacher here: 

I feel very, very fortunate to have found a Waldorf Handwork teacher whose views are similar to mine, and I am thrilled she is part of our homeschooling group. 

Here are some of the projects my second grader has done this year:


Above:  A special pouch necklace to hold treasures!

Below:  A sachet; slip your favorite- smelling tea bag inside!


Below:  A rainbow ball


Below:  A child-sized scarf:


Below:  A scarf for Beloved Bear!


In progress right now is a doll poncho, since the scarf for Beloved Bear is now finished. 

Hope this gives mothers out there some ideas for longer and shorter projects for the second grade year.