parenting

Waldorfish Families - Maya Corinne

Every few weeks on the blog, we spotlight a Waldorfish community family. You are a diverse and global group - We’re pretty sure you’d be bff’s in real life. Today, please enjoy our conversation with Maya Corinne of Pollen Institute!


Tell us about yourself!

 Hi I’m Maya, a creative who’s also your biggest fan! When I’m not homeschooling my 5, 10, 13, & 17 year old boys, I’m teaching global icons, beacons, & angels how to sustainably create freedom + plenty, showing college student-leaders how to make an impact free of gross unconscious consumerist patriarchy, or figuring out how to make some traditional feast, or making fences for my animals.


How does your family start the day?

I take our 5-year old, Saki to pick fresh & dried herbs for his "specialty" (special tea.) He distributes them into mugs while I heat the water & get breakfast started. When we pour the water over the herbs, we whisper prayers into the steam, for the elements to deliver. Usually it's, "May all be giggles," and that kind of thing. Micro-traditions are everything. The middle boys, Lake & Mekhi, sleep for another hour or two, then roll into their novels until it's time to help make beds. We always, always make the beds, as a matter of dignity & discipline. Mahal, our 17 year-old, wakes super-early even though he'd love to sleep in, & makes his bed, too. His internal motivation & will is beyond.


GIVE US A SNAPSHOT OF ANY MANAGEMENT/ORGANIZATIONAL STRATEGIES THAT ARE HELPING YOU FLOW THROUGH YOUR HOMESCHOOLING DAYS.

We are Waldorf-ish homeschooling kindergarten, 5th grade, 7th grade, & a graduating junior. So yes, kindergarten, grade school, junior high, & high school! I use a few different systems for sure. Trello is where I keep resources & passwords, as well as idea boards for each boy. I use Evernote to plan projects. I keep a separate planner for 5th & 7th that includes subject-specific check-lists, while the 11th grader runs his own education like a baller. I help manage his state-issued homeschooling budget (we are with Inspire Charter School in California), & he raised his own additional educational funding & found his own instructors for each subject. So he's taken himself to countries around the world & runs his own online businesses, as well.

The kindergartner falls into a standard Waldorf rhythm organized around food, music, creative, & outside time. It's not as cozy as it would be in a standard Waldorf classroom, there's astral energy (teen vibes) everywhere. So I'm eager to focus on that.

Our family formation has also shifted in a way that's required them to have less classes, & sports than usual. So we will be finding some new ways to integrate their community engagement time so they have their own very important social spheres.

My favorite strategy is something that always, always works: Lower the bar. Whatever the external standard, drop it. Choose what each child actually needs. Make sure you are well.

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What are some of your favorite resources? (Homeschool or otherwise)

We use all of the Waldorfish offerings, & I also love Christopherus. We join local Waldorf schools for festivals, & are definitely active members of our local library, aquarium (California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco), raptor center, & museums. We are also members of the Oakland Zoo because we love their ecology programs & feel good about their awareness, & how they raise awareness. We attend farmer's markets, & are also very close to local farmers & fisherpeople, who trade work, food, & food stuff (plant starts, eggs, fish, feed, etc) with us. Many of my alumni are herbalists, crafters, & medicinekeepers, so there's an amazing rotating apothecary/gift shop that comes thru the mail. Which requires us to make things, too.

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What are you currently reading? 

Decolonize Your Diet by Luz Calvo & Catriona Rueda Esquibel.

Mom's House, Dad's House by Isolina Ricci. (It's priceless!!)

Planetary Herbology by Michael Terra.

Afro Vegan by Bryant Terry.

The Balanced Mom by Bria Simpson.

Full Moon Feast by Jessica Prentice (again & again).

The Organic Artist by Nick Neddo.


What do you do when you are overwhelmed or stressed? 

Sit in my closet. Lol. Still. I take long showers & sit on the bathroom floor. I sing. I dance. I go for barefoot medicine walks outside, every day, & make sure to see the horizon. It always reminds me to be right sized, that my life is so insignificant in the larger rhythms, & so there's also room to swing large, to make big mistakes & create big, spectacular messes. I also cook like I'm famished. Giant stews with 20 ingredients, & 10 toppings. They comfort me & bring me a sense of abundance.

I have a tight circle of creative, smart, conscious, next level friends who are parents that build businesses that are also movements (like Robyn & Brian Wolfe.) I tend to be extremely private. So it's not me to reach out for problems or commiserating.

These kinds of friends include real life while also understanding my impulse to convene, collaborate, & co-create. In our pajamas of course.

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Please share some words of wisdom you've gleaned over the years. 

Don't worry about self-love. Surround yourself with stellar people & let them hold your self-esteem. You hold theirs, & love on them. If they contract in your space, they aren't your people, choose those that expand. Don't focus on how you want to feel, or you'll always be wanting. Fill up on the qualities that are *who you are* as a contribution. Mine are magic, flow, warmth, & awe. They are my prayers for myself, my children, my work, & society. So I fill up on those things. Now I have more than enough to give, regardless of how I feel. This is the ancient way. We had our roles.

Oh yes, & don't manage time. Manage your roles. Batch your tasks. Don't wait on your children. And if you never say no to them, they will be the kids all the other kids think are bullies. They can handle a firm container, & will honor you for it. They will also appreciate the freedoms you give them without taking you for granted.

This I know as a mother of color. We can't have entitled children. Unchecked privileges turn into violence in men. So chores are noble. Showing up for the family is a gift they want to give.


Please share 3 or 4 sentences about what Waldorfish courses have added to your family/school year. Ready....Go! 

My 5, 10, 13, & 17 year olds love how Waldorfish courses bring them together. The elder boys get to share many of the art techniques & funny moments they had live when Robyn & Brian were their actual Waldorf teachers. The middle two enjoy expanding their math & art skills, while the kindergartner likes the quiet, settled presence of his kuyas (big brothers) when there's a lesson.

Of course he's picking up everything. Waldorfish classes help us to keep a living home, not just a worksheet & sports factory, but a home that’s filled with work we are so proud to have up, & that they are so proud to have up. It hones their aesthetics so that their lesson books are meaningful. Thank you. We love every last Waldorfish course.


Where can we connect with you?

Website: www.pollen.institute

Instagram: @urbanorganica and @saturnssister 




Waldorfish Families - Carrie Dendtler

Every few weeks on the blog, we spotlight a Waldorfish community family. You are a diverse and global group - We’re pretty sure you’d be bff’s in real life. Today, please enjoy our conversation with Carrie Dendtler of The Parenting Passageway!


Tell us about yourself!

 I am a long-time homeschooling mother of three children ages 17, 13, and 9. My husband of 26 years and I have taken a conscious approach to homeschooling and parenting. Snippets of our life and ideas about parenting and homeschooling can be found on-line at The Parenting Passageway.

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How does your family start the day?

With teens in the house, the day is often much slower to start than when all the children were small. We tend to snuggle with our two rescue dogs and eat a warm breakfast together as a family.


GIVE US A SNAPSHOT OF ANY MANAGEMENT/ORGANIZATIONAL STRATEGIES THAT ARE HELPING YOU FLOW THROUGH YOUR HOMESCHOOLING DAYS.

We are homeschooling high school, middle school, and elementary school! Due to our large age gaps, I think we have done less academic lessons all together than other homeschooling families, but have instead revolved our homeschool experiences around our experiences as a family, such as working as a family, helping each other, creating things for festivals, our spiritual life, field trips, and spending time in nature and at the farm where we have two horses. The organizational structure of our homeschool has remained the same since the children were very small, with that basic kindergarten Waldorf rhythm of work and activities each day. This year, our high school junior has had outside classes, so I planned chunks of time around the outside commitments.

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What are some of your favorite resources? (Homeschool or otherwise) 

I have so many favorite resources! For homeschooling, I love to read the lectures on education that Rudolf Steiner wrote. For children's health, my favorite books are "A Guide to Child Health" by Glockler and Goebel, along with the series by Ames and Ilg called "Your Six-Year-Old," "Your Seven-Year-Old," etc. For practical favorites of how to teach, Jo Boaler's "Mathematical Mindsets" comes to mind as well as "Waldorf Education in Practice" by Gottgens, and "Creative Pathways" by Auer.

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What are you currently reading?

"Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics" by Walle, Karp, Lovin, and Bay-Williams.


What do you do when you are overwhelmed or stressed?

 I usually have healthier options for short-term stress or overwhelm than long-term stress. For short-term stress, taking everyone outside, taking the day off, connecting with a friend in the moment, resting (or hidingin the closet! LOL), making plans with my spouse or a friend, lowering expectations and letting things go, deep breathing can all help. I will be the first to admit that going through really hard, long-term situations is much more challenging. I feel like I am just getting a handle on it now, this year, in the middle of homeschooling high school. I had to put a care plan in place for myself, and start using even stronger boundaries than I had before.

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Please share some words of wisdom you've gleaned over the years.

Connection, love and warmth before learning is a mainstay of how I approach homeschooling, along with seeing what the child in front of me really essentially needs and knowing I may need to let my own baggage go in order to meet those needs whole-heartedly. Homeschooling is about understanding your child, your family's dynamics and what works and what doesn't, and understanding development. If we can let go of our own agenda and get out of our own way, life with homeschooling can flow beautifully.


TELL US A BIT ABOUT HOW WALDORFISH COURSES ARE ADDING TO YOUR SCHOOL YEAR. READY....GO!

I think what Waldorfish brings to our family is flexibility; it gives me a different way to learn rather than to wait for workshops on Waldorf art or geometry to come to my area (which I have attended many). So the flexibility to be able to learn in my own home is amazing! It gives me a relaxed pace that fits in with what our children developmentally need so I can bring them the best of our learning time together.

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Where can we connect with you?

Blog: www.theparentingpassageway.com

Facebook: The Parenting Passageway

Instagram: @theparentingpassageway


Waldorfish Families - Jessica Richardson

Every few weeks on the blog, we spotlight a Waldorfish community family. You are a diverse and global group - We’re pretty sure you’d be bff’s in real life. Today, please enjoy our conversation with Jessica Richardson!



TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF!

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I'm Jessica Richardson, a wild & free mama, on a Waldorf inspired homeschooling journey with 4 adventure craving kids- ranging from teens to toddlers.



HOW DOES YOUR FAMILY START THE DAY?

We start the day with breakfast all together. After breakfast we set our intentions for the day, discuss the plans for the day, the weather, the moon phase, and recite the weekly verse, poem, or thought.



GIVE US A SNAPSHOT OF ANY MANAGEMENT/ORGANIZATIONAL STRATEGIES THAT ARE HELPING YOU FLOW THROUGH YOUR HOMESCHOOLING DAYS.

I am homeschooling all 4 of my kids. The older two are 12 and 13.5 year old boys and we do the same lesson blocks for them. My almost 4 year old and nearly 2 year old girls are not doing any classical schooling. They join in on all the art and hands on activities we do, such as science experiments and baking. For the older boys, I use my lifetime membership to Earthschooling to plan out my grade blocks. I really like the plethora of info on there. I add to the math and science blocks with the books "Physics is Fun" and "Making Math Meaningful for Middle School", the guides from A Waldorf Journey, and the online courses from Waldorfish Geometry. The boys have been homeschooled for the last 4 full years.



WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE RESOURCES? (HOMESCHOOL OR OTHERWISE) 

I really enjoy the Youtube videos Pepper and Pine makes, as well as the blog called Parenting Passageway. These mamas have older sons and it really helps me to see how they are homeschooling, still using Waldorf, with the Middle School years and beyond.

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WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

Myself, I am currently reading "Rising Strong" by Brene Brown and "Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype" by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. Our family read aloud for September was 'Kenny and the Dragon" by Tony DiTerlizzi. My sons are reading excerpts from "The Broken Spears" by Miguel Leon-Portilla currently, because we are in the Age of Exploration block for 7th grade and this book is an Aztec account of the conquest of Mexico.



What do you do when you are overwhelmed or stressed?

When the kids get overwhelmed, we head for the hills... literally. Heading outside and up our local canyons, immediately helps clear our minds and hearts. If its just me who is stressed out, I make time for a 90 minute Bikram hot yoga class, I feel mentally and physically lighter afterwards.



PLEASE SHARE SOME WORDS OF WISDOM YOU'VE GLEANED OVER THE YEARS.

I've learned to let go of perfect, to not expect myself to be able to teach every subject, and to not go it alone. Allowing others, like using the Waldorfish Geometry, gives me a break from planning so I can place attention somewhere else. My best advice is to create a local Waldorf inspired group to meet with weekly for nature walks, festivals, and seasonal fun. Ours is finally thriving and my children and I are so happy when we meet!



TELL US A BIT ABOUT HOW WALDORFISH COURSES ARE ADDING TO YOUR SCHOOL YEAR. READY....GO!

We have used Waldorfish Weekly Art for 2 years now and just starting in the Festival Art course. Everyone in my family loves the Waldorfish art classes, even the toddler! My 4 year old loves the chalk and watercolor lessons, she asks to do extra art all the time. My oldest son loves art already, but Brian has helped him create fuller pictures, by paying attention to things like mountains in the background, or how to place objects in the foreground verses in the background. We all look forward to Fridays with Waldorfish!


WHERE CAN WE CONNECT WITH YOU?

Instagram: @thehippyrichys

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Waldorfish Families - Brian & Robyn Wolfe

Welcome to the Waldorfish Families series! Every few weeks we will spotlight a family that is part of this community. You are such a diverse and global group - we’re pretty sure you’d be bff’s in real life! To get things started this week, we’ll begin with our own family (Brian & Robyn Wolfe).


TELL US ABOUT YOURSELves!

Brian and I met 7 years ago while teaching at the same Waldorf school. When we were married, he became step-dad to our two children, Iris and Mika. We are currently homeschooling both kids. At the moment this looks like using some of our Waldorfish programs, a few Waldorf-inspired blocks of our own creation, a couple of the classes offered by our school district’s Independent Studies program, and as many adventures as we can fit into our weeks!

HOW DOES YOUR FAMILY START THE DAY?

Slowly ;) We use warm beverages and breakfast (plus a couple of cats) to ease us into the day. We’ve definitely hit the stage where our kids would prefer to rise later vs. earlier. After breakfast, we move into music practice, math, and other school work. Most days we leave the house around noon-ish to head out for various lessons and classes.

GIVE US A SNAPSHOT OF ANY MANAGEMENT/ORGANIZATIONAL STRATEGIES THAT ARE HELPING YOU FLOW THROUGH YOUR HOMESCHOOLING DAYS.

If something isn’t written into our calendar, the odds of it getting accomplished are pretty low. SO keeping a day planner open to the current week where everyone can see it, add to it, etc, is working pretty well for us at the moment. Also, as our children move further into teenhood, the dynamics of each child with Brian & I are changing. Currently we each take responsibility for teaching certain subjects based on those dynamics. This looks different than it did last year, and we’re open to the fact that it will probably look different again next year as our kids continue to evolve.

Teen bedroom. Keeping it real. Posted with permission ;)

Teen bedroom. Keeping it real. Posted with permission ;)

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE RESOURCES? (HOMESCHOOL OR OTHERWISE) 

We have so many favorites! We’ve listed many of them in our Amazon shop, here.

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Brian is deep into several podcasts at the moment. His top 2 are Waking up with Sam Harris and Hardcore History with Dan Carlin.

PLEASE SHARE SOME WORDS OF WISDOM YOU'VE GLEANED OVER THE YEARS.

There’s a solution for everything. It may not come in the form we expect, but if we open up our minds to the possibility that the solution does exist somewhere, it WILL show up. Time and time again, both with running Waldorfish as well as just in everyday life, we’ve seen this to be true. What’s also true though, is that if we convince ourselves there can’t possibly be a solution, then it can’t show up. The power of our THINKING is immense!




Tell us a bit about how Waldorfish courses are adding to your school year.

We’re using Waldorfish Geometry grades 6 & 7 this year, along with art lessons from A Festival Year and Weekly Art. Both kids find it hilarious to take art lessons from us via video ;) Go figure.

Where else can we connect with you?

Instagram: @waldorfish

Robyn: @therobynwolfe

Brian: @brianwolfe

Facebook: @waldorfish

Halloween, 2018

Halloween, 2018