myriad home school – what children need
These ideas came to mind when considering the home school challenges for many families now face with children at home and wondering what to do. I have made an simple list of MOVEMENT, NATURE, ARTS, WORK & PLAY, no specific order intended. By no means is this list exhaustive or prescriptive, merely some thoughts to help families approach needs in an holistic way, inspired by Waldorf education ideas and adapted to the home school environment.
what your children need daily are activities for their hands, heart & head:
Movement – till they are out of breath if possible, and with lots of laughter! Children need to be active in their bodies – they need to jump, run and climb. Moving until out of breath, is healthy and makes all of us feel good! Let them build a den in the garden, a tree house? What about hopscotch on the driveway or patio? Skipping is wonderful, can be done together, or on your own. Dancing is fun to music, we can also create obstacle course over furniture, up and down the stairs, and see if we can go faster? Myriad has a selection of outdoor play products.
Nature – because it’s wonders never cease to amaze. Children are at one with the wonder of nature – choose some simple projects like going on a nature walk and seeing what is growing and changing. Keep a nature journal (so much inspiration for this – think A Country Diary of An Edwardian Lady!). I am walking daily to a local park with tadpoles in the pond! Every day they grow bigger….I wonder when they will grow legs – and do the hind legs come first, or?
Planting seedlings indoors or outdoors and tending to them daily.
Observe birds and insects in your garden or neighbourhood. We found a pond full of tadpoles the other day – perhaps keep some tadpoles in the garden and watch with wonder as they change and grow.
Watch the wind blow through the trees – does the wind blowing through the leaves make different sounds for different trees? Which is your favourite? See our books for nature activity ideas.
Find time in each day for the arts: music, colour and form, poetry and stories. The arts humanise us, balances us and enrich us, whatever our age. A simple verse that is said daily until it is memorised, a painting session (wet on wet painting is a colour feast for all ages. See our journal post on this technique),
A shared story time (perhaps an older child enjoys reading to all, or you may be amazed that older still enjoy listening to fairytales).
Learn a new song each week and share after breakfast time. Sing together, and notice how all your voices together harmonise. How beautiful!
Myriad has simple pentatonic musical instruments that can be played by anyone, no need to read sheet music.
Work – children enjoy being purposeful and playing an important part in the family – let them help in the home and garden. The home offers lots of enjoyable work and learning for children of all ages. Show your children how to care for your home and your garden. Even the very young enjoy helping out. You may need to adjust your kitchen to accommodate, but given the chance, very young children make great helpers when cooking food. Use the table as a food prep area – set out small chopping boards, one for each child, sit down at the table with them, and prepare food together. Many children respond with much more interest and enjoyment of prepared meals when they have been an integral part of the preparation.
Blessing our homes with cleaning is also something children enjoy being part of. They enjoy cleaning windows, mopping floors, helping care for pets, hanging up laundry, and washing up.
Children also enjoy helping outdoors – cleaning the car – what fun, cleaning windows, raking leaves, and tending the vegetable garden. When my two were young, we made a vegetable patch for each of them, and they got to grow vegetables and flowers of their choice. They started to like vegetables they previously had thought they didn’t like!
Make your own butter – this combines pretty much all of the above – cream shaken in a jar until it turns to butter! And so delicious to eat too.
Once they are of school age, children enjoy intellectual challenges such as maths and creative writing, as long as the subject matter is engaging and interesting to them.
Children who are able to write, can be encouraged to keep a record of all the activities they are experiencing during this unusual time – what food they are cooking, recipes, nature projects, verses learnt, stories written, diary entries, drawings of nature observations – a record that could be a wonderful momento, something to keep for the future.
Play – play offers children so much opportunity to learn on so many levels – physical, emotional, and intellectual. Free time and space to play – creatively, imaginatively and to their own agendas. The child needs to be the author of their own play – let play come from within them – play can then be the wondrous healer and restorer. For young child, play with naturally enter all they do, including eating and washing their hands. For children play is their work, and work is like play for them. Let your children inspire you with their wonderful attitude to daily activities like sweeping the floor and setting the table! Place your trust in nature’s design – the playful child IS learning, learning all the time.
If you are able to meet your children’s needs in this way, then they will have a wonderful balance of willing, feeling, and thinking. These are the three principles that underpin Waldorf education.
Keep your hearts warm and stay safe. with love from Veronica
Afternote: I am not a trained waldorf teacher, the ideas shared hear are meant to inspire. I welcome any feedback, you can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org