Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Waldorf, Strange Things & CSI.....

We had an Ok today, Issy still off school, to return tomorrow. We looked at Noah's Ark and they made a play about The Lion & The Mouse which Hettie had just read from Snip, Snap, Trout a Waldorf Grade 3 extra lesson reader which she chose to read although we have lots of readers to choose from. That & a comment from Mrs Darling asking about Bees Wax made me wonder what I really liked about Waldorf and why it seems to be working so well for us.

The hunter catches the Lion

The mouse nibbles through the net (OK its a teddy we didn't have a mouse)
To start its a fairly relaxed curriculum but still has a structure. Rudolph Steiner's views on child development seem to be spot on. The Grade 3 curriculum suits Hettie down to the ground and I can see Issy's Grade would suit her as well. Having a rhythm does suit us and we're not nearly there yet in the full sense. It seems to give them a security blanket to have a rhythm of the day, week, month & year, which in turn is helping Hettie overcome her very great difficulties with time.
Because our nature table is an actual thing with a story attached it makes sense to them. Its something they can move and re-arrange and add to so it 'lives'.
Handcrafts, in particular knitting, seem to not only be popular but have helped Hetties handwriting. She's exercising her hands and increasing her wrist movements without the slog & expense of occupational therapy and repeated boring exercises. It relaxes us all. She seems to be finding a bodily balance by using both hands rhythmically. The same is so for weaving. As for bees wax modelling it was great for hand exercises. We did heat on the radiators for a bit but you have to keep working it to keep it pliable and soft. It smelled nice and it was warm. We do use clay as well but it seems a bit wet and cold after the bees wax.
Watercolour painting is giving us lots of pleasure, and a greater understanding of colour. We can depict a piece of work with a painting rather than slogging away at writing. Beeswax block and stick crayon give a whole new meaning to the word crayon. In fact it pays to pay a little more for nicer equipment because they're a pleasure to use. I'm generally rubbish at art but I get a better result with better 'tools'.
Because lots of the curriculum is through stories and verse Hettie seems to be gaining a better understanding of the basics, of grammar, spelling and arithmetic. She's still behind but now we're making progress. And the best thing is the books. The readers are beautifully printed on nice paper with lovely illustrations and the girls just seem to gravitate towards them. We're reading some 'good' literature as read alouds and I'm getting a bit picky now about what we read rather than just any old story.
I love Donna Simmons books which help home school Waldorf, where we're making our own textbooks and it just feels like the pressure is off. It takes a lot of work for 'mum' and prep work but our days are much calmer. I think the Anthroposphy part of Waldorf perhaps puts some people off but you can delve as much as you want. Oh and the dog uses Donna's books of an evening as a pillow!

The strange thing is this. Those of you familiar with Waldorf will know, no tv, computers, nintendo etc and I didn't feel I could completely take this away, but the tv is on noticeably less, the laptop is used but not as often, so I haven't needed to go the whole way as they seem to be regulating their own usage.

Personally I think the good thing about home ed is you can use what suits your family, at the moment this is working for us and now I've told you why!!

And CSI ............. well I love it and Grissom, and its a new series so I'm going.


Linda @ The Briar Patch said...

How strange! I've just spent the whole evening looking up Waldorf stuff and was just about to turn off the computer and watch CSI!!

I really like what I've found out so far but need to know so much more about it...


Lisa said...

Hi Linda

I can post a list on group of books I've found helpful & resources we've been using. For children with learning difficulties its the best we've found so far and I do seem to find myself with more time while Hettie works independently - not much reading!

Can't beat Grissom on a Tuesday night!

Lisa x

Poppy & Mei said...

Thank-you so much for writing this. It was very helpful to me. I wonder if I could ask a favour? I've posted some questions over at my blog, if you have time would you mind taking a look? I'd love to know what you think...Xxx

Shirl said...

Awwww, bless, dogs will sleep on anything and everything. We have a cushion that every morning when I come upstairs (our maisonette is upside down) is always on the floor by Heidi's bed. Needless to say we don't use it anymore but always leave it out for her to move. She loves her comforts and who can blame her.

We are loving Waldorf - especially the art aspect of it. I also am now a convert to good quality materials - they are indeed a pleasure to work with.

Lisa said...

I noticed your attachment to art materials earlier when you were encouraging me to buy them LOL not that I needed much encouragement.

Lisa x