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Jean Miller & Robyn Wolfe talk Waldorf homeschooling and planning!

We’re pretty excited about sharing this conversation with the Waldorfish community! Jean and I have been long-distance friends for a while now, and finally got to meet in person in Atlanta at the Waldorf Homeschooling Conference, in March 2019.

We talked and talked and TALKED during every spare second we had at the conference, but ultimately decided we needed to keep talking once we returned home!

This video is the continuation of those conversations. The first of what we hope will be many more that we record and share with you :)

Enjoy!

P.S. Bonus points to anyone who can identify the points at which our cat Hendrix decides to weave himself through my legs while we were filming!


*Password: planning

Timeline:

0-10:28 Introduction. Robyn & Jean talk about the life events that led them both to Waldorf education, and ultimately to homeschooling.

11:30-15:00 Some common mistaken ideas we often hear about Waldorf-inspired homeschooling.

15:21-18:16 Curriculum? Pedagogy? What does “responsible innovation” mean for Waldorf homeschoolers?

18:20-21:42 Jean shares a story from her own homeschool years as it relates to planning.

21:48-24:53 Robyn talks about homeschooling in the freedom that Steiner intended… and a couple of foundational ideas to make this possible.

24:53-26:56 Jean shares some information about her planning and mentoring services.

29:25-30:20 Jean shares some thoughts about homeschooling being an ideal setting to bring forth the Waldorf pedagogy.

30:20-33:41 Some concluding thoughts from both Robyn & Jean!


Additional Resources:

4 Things to Know Before Planning Your Homeschool Year - This is the article from Waldorfish that we mention in the video.

Some gifts from Jean!

Plan It Out (click here to sign up):

Plan It Out is Jean’s step-by-step program that helps parents like us confidently build out homeschool lessons without the draining effects of confusion and overwhelm - can I get an amen?

(I have been through Plan It Out in the past and found it to be an INVALUABLE resource for helping to reign in my sanguine tendencies! I’ll definitely be sitting in on the next live run-through of the course, which starts in June.)

  • The 3 week online program includes videos and print materials with specific action steps to help you create a clear vision and plan for next month, season, or year.

  • You get lifetime access to the lessons & private Facebook group, which means you can come back again and again for boosts, guidance & inspiration.

*Remember, the next live run-through of Plan It Out starts in June! 6/9/19 - 6/28/19

Your Guide to Lively Homeschooling: Jean’s free guide loaded with doable ideas for weaving the lively arts into your lessons!

Waldorfish Families - Nichole Goff

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 Nichole Goff!


Waldorfish+Families+Nichole+Goff

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Nichole, I go by Mom most of the time. We have 3 boys in 7th, 5th and Kindy 4/5. We also own a small woodworking business, newly relocated. Our dreams are to have our shop and home on the same property, and our Vision is currently in process. Our shop is built, and we are renovating the home on site, but live in a rental 5 minutes away, while doing so.

How does your family start the day? 

We start the day with Kindy, then we move into 5th and 7th. My older boys co-op at our wood shop a couple mornings a week, as well. Outside time or movement helps before school.

Nichole Goff, Waldorfish Families


Give us a snapshot of any management/organizational strategies that are helping you flow through your HOMESCHOOLING days.

What has really helped me this past year is teaching my older boys how to use a planner. If they have their week planned out, including outside of the home classes, appointments, and even online art classes like Waldorfish. It helps our days flow better. It also encourages them to be self-starters, and get going on their subjects. And it helps them know when my “office time” is, which means my availability to teach or help them with their subjects. Boundaries and limits can be an issue with homeschooling. If I do not create those boundaries they may never understand when to have school work completed = deadlines. We are flexible, but as time goes on it is nice to teach deadlines, or school can get dragged out for weeks.

Movement has been huge for us. I have sensory seekers and avoiders, so for years we’ve spent time on helping them to balance that out and cope. So our sensory life has always affected our school life and so on, it is not separate. It’s dimensional.

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

Waldorf Essentials, Christopherus, Pinterest, IG accounts of wonderful mamas sharing, some FB groups, local activities. And let’s not forget Waldorfish Festival Year, Geometry 5th and 7th, and Weekly Art.


What are you currently reading? 

Where Two Worlds Touch, by Gloria D. Karpinski. With the boys we are currently using Frankenstein as a read-aloud.


What do you do when you are overwhelmed or stressed?

Salt bath, fresh air, CBD oil, prayer, breath work.


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

Life is messy and hard and beautiful. Life is dimensional. I’ve learned that Perserverence is the hard work you do, after all the hard work has already been done. I’ve also learned that I’m a teacher and a healer, and that I’m doing exactly what I should be doing, at this moment, working in my backyard, helping to heal the Sacred Hoop.

Nichole Goff - Waldorfish Families


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

Waldorfish has helped my boys with confidence, especially my 11 year old, who didn’t feel as talented at drawing. Waldorfish has also helped me as a mama-teacher. I feel less stressed about bringing the content forward. Waldorfish has helped us become consistent each week, spiraling forward within the learning framework of each block.

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.

Waldorfish Families - Maya's Boys.JPG




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.

Waldorfish Families - Community.JPG


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.

Waldorfish Families - Family.jpg

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