Homeschooling has always been a part of the plan for our family. Before Lucy was born I began reading about different methods of homeschooling, leaning almost exclusively toward free range learning and unschooling. Now, as we are quickly approaching the age of four, and all her friends are going off to preschool, I have had to put some serious thought into what direction we want to go in.
While I love the idea of unschooling, we are at a point right now where we need more structure in our daily lives, which is where the lovely Waldorf method of learning comes in. I don’t know if it is what we will do long term (and who knows, at some point I may realize homeschooling just isn’t for us), but for right now I am devouring book after book about creating rhythm in the home and the importance of including Lucy, and eventually June, in our day to day work.
The thought behind Waldorf based play is something I agree with completely–when it comes to toys, less really is more. The onslaught of toys that came into our house over the holidays has lit a fire under my bum. I have been steadily working to ween out the toys that aren’t played with and bring on more natural toys. As I have tucked away baskets of toys, I see Lucy spending more time with the toys that are kept out. Her play lasts longer when there are less distractions and more importantly, less clutter in front of her. Over the past week I have donated a few items, but just put away about 75% of her toys. Not once has she asked for any of them back. Out of site out of mind, right? I don’t plan on getting rid of them until she is ready, but for now I may just rotate them out on a weekly or bi weekly basis, though I do plan on following her lead.
One of the things I kept reading about online and through various Waldorf books are these beautifully colored play scarves. After checking out a few sites and seeing the high cost of a square of cloth, I decided to purchase white silk and dye them myself (I followed these instructions). Before the dying process, I handed one to Lucy and she instantly thought, “snowball fight”. We then spent a few minutes bunching them up and throwing them at each other. Such fun!
We dyed them with Kool-Aid, three packets per scarf, and they turned out beautifully. I love the soft pastel colors that they turned out to be. Upon drying they were promptly turned into a play tent. The scarves, which were purchased here, are the 35” x 35” size. They are the perfect size to use in a variety of ways. Lucy balled two of them up in a bowl from her play kitchen, then stuck her swirly colored “cake” into the oven to bake. I hope to get one or two even larger scarfs for things like puppet show curtains or for a proper chair fort. For now though, I think these colorful squares of cloth are going to be getting much use.