Waldorf Without Walls

Happy Holidays, and a Bright and Thoughtful Solstice!

Changes in our lives this year

As you may know, Quimby and Barbara were married in April. We have had two other family weddings this year. Barbara’s son, Tom, married Jennifer Whitney in California in September, and Quimby’s daughter, Christine, married Paul Martz in Harrisburg, PA, in October. The California wedding was the Dewey reunion this year.

Waldorf Homeschool Consulting

Barbara continues with her homeschool consulting on a daily basis, along with organic gardening, indoors and out, and lots of construction work! We had a great attendance at Teacher Training at Taproot in August, and plan to do so again in 2010.

We are re-tooling our Family Homeschool Weekends and thinking of having programs for children as well, which may include, hiking, canoeing, gardening, farming, plant identification, forestry, edible wild plants, wilderness survival. We are beginning to think that the next generation may need these skills to negotiate the world as it may become.

We are taking the time now to work on our facilities, as you will see below. With all the changes in our lives, our focus needs to be adjusted to new ways of making a difference in the world using our combined talents. During this winter, we are doing interior work, on our buildings and our own inner selves!

Solstice and Advent Celebrations

It is time to begin preparing for the Holidays. Many homeschooling families do not plan to do an academic main lesson the month of December. There are so many wonderful, and educational experiences to be had in getting ready for the holidays: making gifts, learning songs, entertaining and bringing gifts to the elderly or less fortunate, cutting a tree and making decorations. For more ideas about celebrating this year, see: http://www.waldorfwithoutwalls.com/articles/advent

For a gift idea: http://www.waldorfwithoutwalls.com/newsletter/42/

Taproot Farm Progress

We have moved permanently to Taproot. Quimby’s home in Harrisburg was sold. We have built another solar, earth sheltered building behind our present Glass House. It is two story, all glass on the south side and we use some solar electric in it. The chimney has a flue for each level, but so far we have only had to have a fire in the lower level stove on a few cold days. The upper story will house Quimby’s furniture and keepsakes that cannot be squeezed into the Glass House, and will serve as a lovely guest house for all those of you we hope will come and visit. We have laid the ash flooring, and are getting ready to panel the walls with cherry.

The lower story is the woodwork shop, already well used! The building is built with lumber we select cut and milled from the forest on the property, in order to thin the stand and allow it to mature in a less crowded environment.

We also built a woodshed/pole building with lumber from the forest, and a tractor shed with re-used lumber from the barn we tore down last year. We had a lot of help from men and boys in the local Amish community for all of these projects.

It was a wondrous experience to see the process from beginning to end. Of course, for Quimby, as a forester, it has been extremely satisfying to mark, cut, log, and mill his own lumber, and immediately build his own buildings with it!

In 2010, we plan to get some Highlander Cattle to graze on the hill pasture, and have chickens again for eggs. Our chicken coop has stood empty for the past year and we really miss those good, fresh, blue, green and pink eggs we used to have. We may also get a goat or two for milk.

Waldorf Teacher News

There is a new weekly email newsletter full of ideas and news about the world of Waldorf. It is extremely helpful for all teachers, including homeschooling parents. To subscribe (for FREE) go to http://www.waldorfteachers.com/ and click on the green tree icon labeled “Join the Mailing List!”

Math by Hand

Great new site with lots of math ideas for homeschoolers ! weekly newsletter available!

Right/Left brain interaction

Neurologist Jill Bolte Taylor has a stroke and during the process experiences a stroke of insight as to how the right and left brian work separately and together. Very emotional and all the more powerful for it. 20 minutes, and completely worth it.

I highly recommend this one, for anyone interested in the brain (a close-up look at a real one, dissected!), the mind, near-death experiences, neurology, and epistemology. I heard her interviewed on NPR last year, but this video is not to be missed!

Education illustrated lecture — must see!

This lecture by Sir Ken Robinson, describes, with ongoing animated sketches, what is happening in education today, throughout the world, and suggests what NEEDS to happen. Very informative and enjoyable!