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.


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