parenting

Celebrating Michaelmas

The seasons are shifting.

For some of us the relief of fall is on the horizon. For others, the arrival of spring has been long awaited.

Last week I noticed that I was craving soup. Like, CRAVING. Never mind that it's still in the mid 90's where we live. For Brian, this seasonal shifting means a trip to our local foothills and his beloved Apple Hill (insert images of apple cider, apple donuts, etc, etc, here). Of course, we're a few weeks ahead of ourselves still, but....it's coming. Can you smell it?

Michaelmas is approaching as well. This brings to mind the year that Brian almost (almost) had our kids believing that he saw a Michaelmas dragon sale going up in the parking lot of a local chain store near us. Think Christmas tree lot, but with dragons of assorted temperaments, colors and sizes. Thankfully our kids (mostly) appreciate our sense of humor. So far anyway.

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Here are two pieces that we love for this time of year.

"Modern parenting seems to dictate that we should protect our children from the bogey and even from knowledge of its existence. But “it is in the world already.” Children know the terrors that lurk under the bed, in the dark, and in the whispers of grownups. 

With fairy tales and golden capes and wooden swords and songs, we stop lying to them. When we show them the monsters and evil hiding in the stories, and help them shape their weapons, when we give them the words to “conquer fear and wrath,” we validate what they already know – that there are dragons." 

On Dragons and Making Swords... read the full piece here



No matter which hemisphere you call home, this piece also offers many ideas for consideration. 

"As a Waldorf-inspired homeschooler, you have no doubt noticed that a healthy festival life is one of the anchors around which Waldorf Education is organized. These rituals and festivals have traditionally contributed to the stability of communities of the past, and now brick-and-mortar schools of current time. They create an opportunity to relate to the seasons, and to each other.

What then, does this mean for those of us who have chosen to leave a local Waldorf school, or, to never attend one at all? What meaning do these festivals, or feast days as they are traditionally called, have when they are practiced in much smaller group settings without institutional support, or even at home within individual families?" 

In Praise of Balance: A Healthy Festival Life ... read the full piece here

Additionally, take a look at our Michaelmas Pinterest board for plenty of ideas, tutorials and resources.

Course update

All our courses are in full swing! The most common questions we're getting via email these days are "Can we still enroll?" and, "Will we have access to any lessons we missed?

The answers? Yes. And, yes! Enrollment is still open for all our programs. We will likely close registration for Weekly Art in Dec/January. Our plan at this point is to leave everything else open all year. We will update you if that changes. Any lessons that post prior to your enrollment will be waiting for you in the classroom. You get access to everything, no matter when you enroll! 

Click here for the Waldorfish 2018/19 course lineup.



All our best to you,

Robyn & Brian Wolfe




Community Supported Postpartum Plan

 

The following is shared with permission from Kerry Ingram, of Mothering Arts. We are thrilled to share this important resource with the Waldorfish community!

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If you are a parent you already know that all the cute onesies given to you at your baby shower/birth blessing paled in comparison to the home cooked meals delivered to your door postpartum.

The diaper wipe warmer and stuffed elephant were sweet, but the friend who picked up your groceries and washed your dishes felt like a superhero. The transition into motherhood or into mothering more than one child is truly a rite of passage. It is vital to acknowledge this passage into parenthood in a way that represents you, your lineage, your culture and your intentions.

Being seen and supported by your community is an inclusive practice that just about anyone can do. Simply by coming together to help with everyday life, is one way of saying "we see you, we see this transformation and we are here for you".

By supporting a family during the tender postpartum time, the community enhances the health and well-being of the entire family, and the health of the community is also nurtured.

When mothers feel supported, they have a boost in oxytocin which helps the production of breast milk, reduces stress, promotes mama-baby bonding and even helps to balance hormones. There is quite a bit of anthropological evidence supporting levels of oxytocin being greater in women living in close proximity to family or close community as seen in indigenous cultures.

 

Nowadays, many of us need to re-create the village to receive our support and nurturing, that is where Community Supported Postpartum comes into play.

 

You have heard of a  CSA (community supported agriculture). Maybe you have heard of a herd-share where you pitch in and receive weekly milk or meat. We belonged to a wonderful CSH (community supported herbalism) last year and received tinctures, teas and salves each season. Or perhaps you have been part of a school work day or grocery co-op.

All of these organizations have the same foundation of ideals; when we can come together with shared values, it benefits everyone involved as we stand/work in solidarity. When many hands pitch in, the work is lighter and the connection is stronger. The whole is greater to the sum of it's parts.

What if we could use the same great form to support folks who are welcoming a baby? The shared value is that families need extra support in the tender postpartum time, we can all stand behind that notion. I call this Community Supported Postpartum; CSP. My hope is that we can start incorporating intentions of true community support into every baby shower and prenatal gathering so that families can experience how valuable community can be in the postpartum time.

 

Leave the pacifier with the mustache behind, and grab a copy of this instead.

 

We all want to be a helpful friend or family member, and sometimes we need a bit of guidance. After decades of supporting my friends, my community and the many families I have worked with as a teacher and in our mama-baby classes, I have curated a list of helpful ways that we can all pitch in to support a postpartum journey rooted in health and community support.

 

 

4 Questions (we should all be asking on behalf of our children)

 

Crafting the rhythm of our children's days and school year can start to feel daunting when we consider all the various options available to our families.

Several years ago it became urgently important that we find a way to distill our planning process down to focusing on the things we considered MOST important. We want to share with you the 4 guiding questions that were the result of our reflections. Brian and I ask ourselves these questions when making decisions for our children, in regards to schooling and at home.

Whether you are new to Waldorf(ish) education, planning your next homeschool curriculum, or looking to make a course correction when you feel like you may have wandered off track, these gems can serve as guideposts. They come out of our successes as well as our failures.

 

Simple. Useable. Right now.

 

The 4 questions:

(I encourage you to take your time reading these. Really savor Each. Word. Perhaps keep a piece of paper nearby to write down your immediate responses & thoughts.)

 

1. Does this (activity, toy or program, etc.) encourage creative thinking? Thinking that is permeated with imagination, flexibility, and focus?

2. Does this experience help foster my child’s emotional intelligence? Is it helping my child develop empathy, and building their self esteem?

3. Is this (activity, toy or program, etc.) promoting my child’s physical vitality, stamina and perseverance?

4. Is this (activity, toy or program) helping to nurture a spiritual depth within my child? One born out of an appreciation and responsibility for the earth, their work and for their fellow human beings?

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Bonus Gem:

This piece, written by longtime class teacher, Steven Sagarin, is such a perfect compliment to this process of reflection:

“What is Waldorf Education” 

(Pro-Tip)

Read his article in chunks, accompanied by good chocolate. Give yourself time to go about your day and let each section sink in before reading the next.

**Essentially, we believe that a Waldorf education can take a variety of forms and still be PERFECT.**

According to each teachers individuality, outer forms of teaching may vary enormously in the different classes, and yet the fundamental qualities are retained...in a Waldorf school outer forms do not follow set patterns, so that it is quite possible for one teacher to teach his class of 9 year olds well, while another who takes a completely different line, can be an equally good teacher...and as long as the teacher feels in harmony with the underlying principals, and with the methods employed, he must be given freedom in his work instead of being tied to fixed standards.
— Rudolf Steiner
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We'd love to hear your thoughts!

All love,

Robyn