Thursday, July 24, 2014

Waldorf Summer Camp


Week 1 - Dyeing, Spinning, Weaving, Cornhusk Dolls, Flower Pressing

We are very fortunate to coordinate and teach at the Davis Waldorf School Summergarden Camp in Davis, California.  This summer was our 4th year.  Children entering grades 2-6 attended for one-week sessions.  Older students could attend as Jr. Counselors. We have highly qualified teachers for handwork, gardening and cooking, and a host of amazing high school and college volunteers who help the program run smoothly. Children come to us from the Davis Waldorf Schools, and also from the local public schools, Waldorf schools from other cities and states, and homeschooling families. Some families travel from afar and stay in Davis for a week or more on vacation while their children attend camp.
Week 2 - Wood Bird Perches, Herbal Honey, Herbal Tea

Children rotate each day through the kitchen, garden and handwork room/woodworking area. The calendar provides breathing in (learning) and breathing out (playing) times throughout the day. Gardening includes planting, harvesting, weeding, composting, learning about herbs, and garden crafts.
Week 3 - Wood Toy Boxes, Flower Essences, Herbal Cheese

Children help prepare their own snack and lunch made mostly from local and organic ingredients.  This summer, we were fortunate to have produce from Good Hummus Farm in nearby Capay Valley. Live musicians perform for the children during lunch once per week (harp, guitar, fiddlers, flute, clarinet). A beautiful aftercare program is available for children who want to stay longer than 1pm each day.
Week 4 - Wood Weather Vanes, Aromatherapy Sprays, Birdseed Feeders

Each morning starts with circle time: Good morning song, gardening song, yoga stretches, summer song.  Each learning session includes an opening and closing verse.  Eating times begin with a meal verse. By the end of the week, children learn 8 verses and 3-5 songs. Children watercolor paint a cover for their journals which includes the week's recipes, songs, verses, and drawings.
Week 5 - Doll & Puppet Making, Herb-imprinted Clay Magnets, Wool Bird Nesting Balls

Summergarden 2015 information will be on the website around February, 2015!



So fortunate to have incredible teachers -- Jennifer Tan, Par Duncan, Bill Critchfield, Robyn Wolfe, Jan Plotkin, Dahlia Haberman, Hue Thao, and Aftercare providers Karen Hansen-Downey and Misty DeGennaro


Below is a photo album that we created featuring our 5 weeks of summer camp adventures!


Photo books are the perfect gift for any occasion.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Let's Talk Biology and Biography eBook - Waldorf Inspired Lessons

We are very excited about our new eBook!  Often, teachers, parents and homeschooling families ask about how to teach children about reproduction.  Rick has been developing this eBook for the past three years, and it is now available for pre-order through our Etsy shop!
The eBook is currently featured in the Global Waldorf Expo at The Waldorf Connection June 13-15, 2014. Click here to register!


Some information about the book....
You might remember when you were a teenager and your parents gave you “the talk.” You sat down on the family room sofa and they started lecturing about birds and bees. You were slightly baffled about the reference to flying garden creatures! Mostly, you were feeling squirmy and awkward. You realized, as they lectured on, that they were equally uncomfortable. 

Fast forward. Somehow, you became the proud parent of a teenager. Well, it is not really somehow. You know how you became a parent. It is the most natural thing we humans do. And yet, you are sitting with your teenager and finding yourself in the same position as your parents a few years before. This time, however, you decide not to use the birds and bees metaphor. This time, you are so ready. You have read Let’s Talk Biology and Biography, an eBook about facing your adolescent child with compassion and courage. 

Let’s Talk Biology and Biography gives a positive and healthy message about human sexuality. It contains a unique and beautiful diagram that connects reproduction with relationship, an illustration that compares male and female reproductive organs, and of the female fertility cycle. With simple descriptions that accompany the illustrations, this eBook can serve you as a parent through “the talk” or, as an educator and homeschooling parent, offer you an introductory set of lessons you can do with your students.

More than ever, in this tech age of casual (mis)information, we owe it to our children to be the ones to offer heartfelt words that affirm the celebration of a healthy sense of self and relationships. 

Beautifully written and illustrated eBook by Waldorf Teacher Rick Tan, MD of Syrendell, based on his own teaching in the middle grades, his medical degree background, and homeschooling his own children. All contents are copyrighted. This eBook is for your own personal use, only. Please contact us if you are interested in utilizing this in a school setting and need permission to reproduce information/artwork.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Our End-of-Year Homeschooling Photo Album


One of our favorite things to do at the end of each homeschooling year, is to go back and find photos of our trips, projects and samples of work. We upload the photos into Shutterfly and create a keepsake album. 

 The album is such a special gift for us to keep as a family, and we enjoy sharing it with friends and relatives. It also serves as a nice reminder of what we accomplished during the year...always more than we remember! 

Summer is a great time to analyze and evaluation the previous homeschooling year in order to better prepare for the coming year, and the photo album may be used as an evaluative tool. 

More than anything, we really just love flipping through the pages and saying, "Oh yeah...remember that?" and launching into discussions about what we learned together as a family.  Click below to take a peek at our album from 2013-2014!

The new way to make a photo album: photo books by Shutterfly.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Global Waldorf Expo June 13-15!


The Waldorf Homeschool Expo Conference is going to be more fun and more educational
than any single Waldorf book or tutorial And, better yet, it’s ONLINE and FREE from June 13 – June 15, 2014!  Rick Tan of Syrendell, Kristie Burns of Earthschooling, Robyn Wolfe of Waldorfish, Rainbow Rosenbloom of Live Ed, and more!
Donna Ashton, host of  The Waldorf Homeschool Expo and creator of  The Waldorf Connection,
created this educational and entertaining event because homeschooling can be overwhelming.
That’s why we are gathering together for the most awesome weekend of the year!
It’s a chance to participate in a Waldorf Homeschooling event from the comfort of your
home and still be part of a global community. At The Waldorf Homeschool Expo we’ll gather
together to learn from Waldorf teachers, experts and veteran homeschoolers because - we’re all in this together. Register for FREE now by clicking on the photo logo above.
WHY ATTEND?
Being a homeschooling mom can be tough and sometimes you need some fresh ideas & inspiration.
The Waldorf Homeschool Expo contains 15+ online classes to make teaching more enjoyable.
Workshops are on hot topics incredibly important, like:
- How to “live Waldorf” and thrive (even if you are the weird one on the block)
- Time saving ways to use a homeschool planner
- Why taking care of yourself improves communication with your family and
makes you a better teacher.
Better yet, if you register today, you’ll have access to the following FREE GIFTS
as soon as your registration has been completed!
- FREE Tutorial 1: Block Crayon Drawing Tutorial
- FREE Tutorial 2: Handwork Outside the Box Ebook
- FREE Tutorial 3: Waldorf Rhythm & Stages Video/Pdf
- FREE Tutorial 4: Creating Rites of Passage for your Child
Come listen ONLINE and be inspired from June 13 – June 15, 2014! Register for FREE by clicking on the photo logo above. See you at The Waldorf Homeschool Expo from June 13- June 15!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Wetfelting Tapestries

In January, Jennifer had the privilege of leading a wet felted tapestry workshop for teachers at the Alliance for Public Waldorf Education Conference. Teachers from public charter Waldorf school attended from all over the United States.
The workshop was held at the magical campus of Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, California.

Participants tirelessly and patiently drafted bits of luca sheep wool to create a base for their tapestries. We sang good-bye to Winter and welcome to Spring! 
Next, we drafted bits of plant-dyed wool from Mama Jude. She is a Waldorf handwork teacher in Georgia who dyes the most amazing vibrant colors naturally. Here is a link to her Etsy shop.

One of the participants joined Jennifer the following week for a Tunisian crochet class and she brought her finished (dried!) tapestry to share. Here it is! Beautiful.



Monday, April 21, 2014

Explore Your World this Spring! - Guest Blog Post at The Waldorf Connection

We are please to announce that our guest blog post is up at The Waldorf Connection!  Please take a peek and leave a comment. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Spring Newsletter!

Our quarterly newsletter is out!  We are accepting articles and advertising all year long about homeschooling, Waldorf, arts at home and more.  Click here for the newsletter!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Organizing our Homeschooling

Staying organized as a homeschooling family is important. At times, it can feel like learning is taking over every space of the home! Here are some of the ways that we stay organized during the homeschool year.

We hung magnetic ropes on a wall to showcase recent artwork. It is easy and inexpensive. We rotate artwork and then store them away. Eventually, some watercolors get cut into cards, gift tags, notebook covers and book markers.

We dedicate one open bookcase for current books, projects, supplies and reference material. We found some magazine holders at a thrift shop and added chalkboard stickers on the sides. Handwork is kept in a basket that may be carried anywhere. A large basket with commonly used art and other supplies is on the floor.

We dedicate a space for a nature table...mantle, bar, top of bookcase or other spot.

A table space is clean and available for written work and artwork during the day, and is cleaned up before dinner each afternoon. 

We found an antique caddy for all of our writing and drawing supplies. Reused food jars and cylindrical gift boxes hold pens and paint brushes.

Sometimes, organizing feels like it takes as much time as planning! Daily, we organize and clean the table space. Weekly, we organize the bookcase. Seasonally, we rotate the nature table, artwork and reorganize the magazine holders in the bookcase. Curricula and supplies that are not being used will be stored in a bin in the garage, sold, gifted or recycled.


Monday, February 3, 2014

Living the Waldorf Life - School for All Seasons

As a conscious parent, your goals are to nourish your child as a whole individual,
give them confidence to express themselves in their unique way, nurture creativity
balance and independent thinking, allow them to focus on what interests them,
cultivate a love for learning and more important- allow them enjoy being a child.
“School for all Seasons”, gives parents the opportunity to learn within
a structured program that will guide but not overwhelm. It lays out the main
elements to providing a Waldorf-inspired structure for a young child.
Complete with real life examples, templates, videos & week-by-week curriculum, 
this course will clear away the confusion and replace it with understanding. It will 
allow you to say, “Yes! I can do that.” It will show you how. Wherever you may be on 
this path, “School for all Seasons” will meet you there with practical nuts-n-bolts solutions,
time-saving steps, and answers to your questions.

There is great cultural pressure to “hurry” our children into… everything.
Academics, sports, classes, and basically a scheduled life.
This course is designed to provide you with the way to give holistic education 
to your child to nourish their body, mind and spirit.

Click here to find out more!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Grade 4 Nordic Blocks

One of the more unique and fascinating part of Waldorf curricula is the study of Nordic tales in grade 4. This is presented often through the teaching of Norse mythology, stories about Vikings, information about Scandinavia and Finland, and the Finnish Kalevala. We chose to cover this block during the coldest and darkest time of the year at home, enjoying reading Thorkill of Iceland, D'Aulaires Norse Myths and the Kalavela while naalbinding yarn and sipping hot chocolate....

Main Lesson Book page on Norse God Balder.

Symbols from ancient Finland.

Wet-on-dry watercolor of heroes fighting at Asgard in Norse Mythology.

Lucetting a gift for big brother for Christmas.

Designing and carving Thor's hammer, "Mjolnir" out of clay.

Yggdrasil = The nine worlds in Norse Mythology

Making a raw vegan "Odin's Yule Log"

Creating rune stones out of clay

Baking vegan Santa Lucia buns

A handwork basket filled with Scandinavian tools: nostepinne, lucet, double-lucet, naalbinding needle

Oil crayon drawn, then wet-on-dry watercolor painted Vainamoinen playing the kantele from the Kalevala

Wet-on-dry watercolor of a Viking ship