We are up to the section entitled, “The Power of Less” in Chapter Three. Kim John Payne talks about going through toys in this section. He advises:
- Try doing the first whittling away of toys without your child present.
- Throw out the broken or damaged toys or ones that are developmentally inappropriate.
- Throw out any toy that is too complex or ones that will break easily.
- Evaluate the remaining toys – is it a toy a child can pour imagination into or is it too fixed?
- Choose and keep the simplest toys. Children usually play with what they can move or what they can use in conjunction with their imagination.
- Avoid high tech toys or gadgets for small children – realize things like cell phones and such are being purposefully marketed to children as young as 8 to 10 years of age.
- Do not buy the toy of the moment.
- My favorite quote: “In a world as sped-up and hypercharged as our own, surely the last thing our children need is more stimulation.”
- Donate the rest of the toys, and organize what remains.
- Remember the role of real work in play: baking, digging, gardening, food preparation….Have real items around for children to participate in these roles.
- Play with the four elements outside and have tools for this available: buckets, nets, shovels, kites, scoops, bubbles, baskets and containers for pouring and collecting.
- If you have a yard, this is your “first frontier of nature”. Use it!
- For books, children before the age of eight or nine only need one or two books accessible. A dozen or fewer books can be on a bookshelf as a permanent collection. Kim John Payne advises at seven or eight years of age to add in reference books about the subjects your child is interested in.
How do you simplify your child’s toys and books and encourage outdoor and social play?
The Waldorf curriculum moves into not just using art as the vehicle for the subject, but for bringing in the fine art of drawing of itself in the middle school and high school years. Different teachers seem to bring in charcoal drawing at different points, so like everything in the curriculum, this demands that you observe your child carefully and see when you think it is appropriate to start this journey. The Waldorf School Curriculum: An Overview for American Waldorf School Teachers (chart) lists: Continue reading
Eileen over at Little Acorn Learning is doing a whole series on the slow summer. You can see one of her blog posts regarding this subject here. There was also an interesting post about “banishing the playdate” that recently came across my Facebook page. Part of what the author wrote about wasn’t perhaps particular to summer, but what I personally hold dear from summer – biking around to see who was out and could play. You can read that blog post about spontaneous play here.
I think slowing the summer down is so important. Think back to Continue reading
Anchor: a person or thing that can be relied on for support, stability, or security; mainstay: Hope was his only anchor.
When we work to become the author of own family life, we take on the authority to provide our spouse and children and ourselves stability. An effective way to do this is through the use of rhythm. If you have small children, it takes time to build a family rhythm that encompasses the year. If you are homeschooling older children and also have younger children not yet ready for formal learning, the cycle of the year through the seasons and through your religious year becomes the number one tool you have for family unity, for family identity, for stability.
I wrote about my homeschool planning method of marking seasonal and liturgical ideas down for each month in past posts, which has led to the creation of this series. Now we are extending our mood of celebration into July!
July has always been an interesting month for me. My personal energy has often Continue reading
Gentle discipline is the mainstay of parenting life, because it encompasses guiding and validating the authentic spiritual being that is every human being and child. It is a mindset to live by and parent by, and if you can master some of these techniques, you will find yourself even having more positive communication and conflict resolution with other adults.
I have wanted to do a round-up of techniques by age, and here it finally is beginning. I hope it will be helpful to you, and do please feel free to add your own thoughts or experiences to this list.
Today we are focused on birth through age 4. The mainstay of gentle discipline for these years begins with our own inner work and development, as discussed in Part One of this series.
The overall picture of development for these ages I think is two-fold. Continue reading
Each summer has its own particular feel and energy. In the past, I used to always feel like there was “July Doldrums”. Last summer was a summer full of community and fun, and there wasn’t really a “July Doldrums” but there was a bit of emptiness as I recovered from two years of loss. This summer, we are doing active things, but I have often felt tired. I think this has to do with planning homeschooling for three children while also studying for a major re-certification exam at the end of this month; my head is so wrapped up it is like my body is kayaking but my head is digesting all this information! LOL. I have been feeling more energized this week after taking the children camping with a dear friend of mine and her children, and coming to a point in my planning and studying that most of it is done! Yay!
So, I wanted to share some things I am enjoying right now. One thing of delight is that we are planning a trip to the beach in September after Labor Day. So, I have been enjoying reading about the Georgia Coast. I think we are going to go into Florida for our beach week, but a lot of the warm Atlantic Ocean wildlife is similar. I have always wanted to get “The Treasure Cave: Sea Tales of Tiptoes Lightly” by Reg Down to bring with us to the beach to read, so I am excited for that. We will also bring games and puzzles (and our eyes to watch the stars as part of our seventh grader’s astronomy block! Less light pollution!)
We have been enjoying checking out the National and State Parks in our state as we work on badge requirements for a Civil War badge, a Get Outdoors Badge and a Junior Ranger Badge. These badges are a great way to discover your state! You can see the National Parks Foundation link here: http://www.nationalparks.org/connect/npf-kids/junior-rangers
I have been enjoying church. There is something lovely about the time between Pentecost and the new church year. I have been thinking about this post: http://www.episcopalcafe.com/daily/church_year/no_ordinary_time.php. Some in the Episcopal Church refer to this time as “Ordinary Time” like our Roman Catholic friends, but the Book of Common Prayer does not name this season. The monks of Taize call this time “The Time of the Church” and I like that. The Feast of the Dormition of St. Mary is a feast I am contemplating (August 15) and the loveliest ways to celebrate in our home.
Here are some links I have been enjoying out and about on the Internet: Continue reading
Well, planning is still coming along. My seventh grader is the hardest, because not only did I have to find most of the resources by searching or through word of mouth from other homeschooling mothers, I had to read all of them! So, it is moving slowly. I keep having these epiphanies and a-ha kinds of moments about how the curriculum is working to a culmination and how things are stretching over and through blocks, but that also is making things a bit slow.
Things are brighter for my almost five year old, whose year is almost entirely done, and for my fourth grader, whose year is about half done.
What I did this year regarding the needed practice of math and grammar and such was to make one long document with each day of the week for each week of school and I literally mapped out the math and grammar for the entire year by day. If grammar coincided within a block such as Man and Animal or Norse Myths, for example, it was easy enough to note which block it went with by week. I also did this with fine art projects for my seventh grader as well. This document has turned into an overarching kind of document that the separate Word documents for each block just plug into. Just a thought for those of you who have children who might need more practice and repetition than is normally spoken about within many of the Waldorf curriculum sources.
Once again, the basic steps that I use to plan, (and everyone does it differently!): Continue reading