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Unexpectedly Magical

finding the magic in everyday life

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waldorf

Late August is Crafting Craze Season

Three years ago I learned how to crochet and, like any excited newbie, I jumped into a tough project with a definite time limit – I made Big Brother’s Halloween costume and made up 50% off the stuff on the fly. And it turned out fine!

Now, with Halloween about two months away, I’ve suddenly got the itch to crochet things again (I blame the Waldorf stuff for getting my fingers itching for yarn). I’m thinking about making the boys Pokemon-themed hooded vests, since Pokemon is the current craze around here. Little Brother adores Pikachu and point to its image and says “Chu!!!” in the cutest voice. For Big Brother, I’m thinking maybe a vest like Ash wears, with a ballcap painted like his???? That one might be a bit too ambitious. I suppose I could try for matching Pikachu sets, or I could make a hooded vest that looks like a pokeball. Or I could reboot the Link theme and do a simple green vest with a dramatically long hood. IDK. I’m already short on time and money so we’ll see if this project is finished by Halloween or if it takes ’til Christmas. Who else is feeling extra crafty these days?

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Link has never been cuter! See the rest of the pictures I took here. The hat was based on a free pattern that I can no longer find. The tunic was based off this pattern. The belt and fingerless gloves were made up by me. I used an organic bamboo yarn from Hobby Lobby (don’t remember the name) for the green stuff and a basic cotton yarn for the brown. I purchased the belt buckle piece from Hobby Lobby as well – it’s been the best belt he’s had since it’s so easily adjusted and has stretched and grown with him. He regularly asks me to make him a new one, since this one is much too small.

The Tenth Day

Ten days ago we began our first official season of homeschooling. I say official because we’ve been learning together all along – children are always learning – but with Big Brother’s sixth birthday approaching, our learning together has become more focused. We’ve been using EarthSchooling’s kindergarten curriculum to guide our schooling days. In addition I’ve been using Yoga Pretzel’s, a child-friendly deck of yoga cards, to start our circle time. I’ve been using these cards (off and on) for over a year and greatly enjoy how easy they make it for me to both expand my knowledge of yoga and share it with my kids. Eventually I want to learn more about eurythmy, the Waldorf equivalent of yoga, but for now I’m using what I have and am familiar with. I’m also incorporating the concept of a morning basket into our circle time. When I’ve read about homeschoolers using the morning basket, it has usually been in conjuction with a Charlotte Mason approach. The basic concept seems to be this: fill a large basket with the materials you wish to share with your family during your morning time together and place it in the area where you gather (so you don’t have to run about the house hunting it down , thereby losing those precious moments of focused attention). Simple but brilliant, right? I have yet to get a basket, but having all my materials figured out ahead of time and together where I’ll need them is just what we need. Big Brother, who has ADHD and sensory processing disorder, will be off on another planet very quickly if I have to break the circle to hunt for something.

Here are some images from our morning circle time:

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BB needed to wear lipstick before we began. I foresee a possible future in the arts for him. 

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A basic shot of our circle time space.
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A printed copy of August’s curriculum and the Yoga Pretzels deck. The cards are in groups by category (standing, twists, breathing, guided meditions, forward bends etc.), so I usually pick one category for us to do each morning plus one breathing or guided meditation card.
 

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This morning’s time included acting out a fairy tale with our peg people as well as looking at the Barefoot Book of Wonderful Words. BB particularly enjoyed the page where different story characters are illstrated. He was able to identify the griffin without any help 😀 
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Three Days In and Why Waldorf

Our third day of school was far from ideal – Big Brother awoke in a funk that lingered through the morning and struggled with letting me be in charge  – but it was a potent reminder to me to not lose sight of what truly matters.

We are homeschooling because (among many reasons) we believe it is best suited to meet Big Brother’s needs (gifted, ADHD, SPD, anxiety). We are using a Waldorf approach and working to establish a rhythm because we believe it will best meet his needs. We take what works and leave what doesn’t; we are flexible and eclectic – no purists here! So when Little Brother throws the yarn and demands my attention be on him, and Big Brother is completely distracted and trying to make circle time be what he wants it to be, and nobody cares about the lesson I have prepared… I can step back and let it be. 

This morning I battled anger and even hurt feelings (Big Brother turned down a plate of fresh-out-of-the-oven bread because, “It’s not what I was expecting for breakfast.”); I even shouted a few times as chaos overwhelmed our space. A moment of clarity came (thankfully) and I found myself grounded and calm; fighting wasn’t going to get anybody anywhere. In reflection I’ve realized that many of today’s issues likely stem from Big Brother’s anxiety over this change in routine. He loves what we’re doing, but it’s still a change; he doesn’t yet know what to expect so I shouldn’t be surprised when he tries to control what we do. 

Giving him something to expect – a rhythm – is exactly why we’ve chosen a Waldorf approach. Big Brother needs the security of rhythm; he also needs some structure and someone telling him what to do. An Unschooling approach wasn’t working for him because it placed so much responsibility on his small, anxious shoulders. Giving him almost 100% free reign did NOT produce the secure, confident, happy child I expected; I think it actually contributed to his extreme anxiety and resulted in a nervous, hair-trigger temperament that made everyone unhappy and frustrated. I can already tell that BB is over the moon with pleasure because I’m taking charge and leading him through the day with firm-but-loving intention. He may fight me tooth and nail because the sudden shift in control is scary, but he does so in a different way than before. He feels more secure on so many levels. Since we spend more time connecting, he seeks out even more opportunities to connect; his spontaneous hugs, kisses, cuddles and other ways of showing affection have dramatically increased. Showing affection appropriately is something he’s struggled with since I came into his life when he was not-quite two; together we have learned about the importance of connection and how Create it. I’m tickled to see we’ve found the next step in this journey.


I know Unschooling works for others (I would have loved it as a kid), but apparently it’s not right for our family. Maybe I was doing it wrong, maybe I was too radical or not radical enough; at this point it doesn’t matter. Unschooling taught me many good lessons and has helped me work toward a balanced, realistic approach to Waldorf homeschooling (Waldorf can be a bit stodgy and fantastically purist at times). Now I can I let the boys watch Netflix or play video games after we finish finger knitting or reading stories about elves and not feel guilt or worry about being Waldorf enough. It’s all about balance!

First Day of School

This morning Big Brother had his first official day of school; he is so thrilled at the concept of doing school that he wanted me to request that someone shoot off fireworks for us tonight in celebration. He’s feeling quite grown up and was pleased to hear that he is in kindergarten (so now when everyone asks him if he’ll be in kindergarten this year he’ll have an answer). 

So what did we do? We started school around 10:30AM, after Hubby got off to work and I got some dishes washed and the living room tidied for our circle time. We had a lovely circle time that included singing, movement and stretching, poetry, stories, and more singing. After circle time I helped him craft a necklace by threading bits of felt with a needle and thread. We sang some more as we crafted and he made a game of finding words that rhyme. And then we were done. The boys ate a light snack and watched Octonauts while I prepped lunch; then we sat together to eat lunch before the boys went back to free time and  Little Brother got ready for his afternoon nap. 

Nothing extravagant or rigorous – instead it was all fun and happy and musical; exactly how kindergarten should be. 😊 I’m thrilled with how magical and intentional our time together felt. 

Prepping the night before.
Excited!
Decompressing with Octonauts
Snack tray: cheese, tomatoes, and homemade bread
Big Brother dubbed me “Queen of Felt”
A rustic bread pudding made from local milk, local eggs, and homemade bread; porridge made from barley – the boys loved it

Busy Days

Dragon-fighting, bread-making, and bullet journaling – oh my!


I’ve been busily organizing, de-cluttering, planning, and reading up on my current obsessions (Earthschooling/Waldorf, the Goddess Brigid, and kitchen witchery). And keeping track of everything in my beloved bullet journal (how did I live without it?!?!). I recently decided to jump from the plan (or lack thereof, haha) of unschooling Big Brother to buying a Waldorf curriculum for his kindergarten year. When the time is right I’ll dedicate a post to why I made this choice. For now, I’m very pleased with my baby steps into Waldorf life and am thrilled to see our house and family coming closer to peacefulness and joy. 

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