One Early Morning in November

We woke up early that morning. It was a Saturday morning, which means nothing in particular when your kids are as little as this. Weekend or not, they rise when they wish.

“Helen, look outside.” my husband told me as he headed downstairs to let our dog Twig out. I lazily slid out of bed and crossed the room to pull back our thick, grey curtains which are supposed to block out all sunlight, giving me empty promises about my kids sleeping in later. I was greeted by the soft, cottony glow of sunrise through a fog descending upon our neighbourhood. My eyes widened in delight, and I felt a surprising spring in my step as I whirled around and called after Taylor, “Babe, let’s go on a foggy walk in the woods together!”  Continue reading “One Early Morning in November”

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Beeswax-dipped Autumn Leaves

I remember the first time I saw beeswax-dipped autumn leaves, totally struck by the well known glory of those autumn colours so beautifully preserved. Perfection! Beeswax offers such a subtle protection for delicate, dying leaves, which would normally crumble and fully brown within a day or two. Instead, they can be carefully encased in a thin layer of beeswax, preserved within for up to several weeks. Their beauty and vivid colour can then be admired for much longer than we would normally be allowed. Read on to join us in our little forest adventure gathering leaves and taking them home to show you how to preserve them in beeswax and hang as a beautiful autumn garland! Continue reading “Beeswax-dipped Autumn Leaves”

Summer: Learning in the Wild

“It takes time—loose, unstructured dreamtime—to experience nature in a meaningful way.” – Last Child in the Woods

That quote circling through my mind, we set off into the wild… Well, our own version of the wild, that is. It’s certainly not the most remote place on earth, but this wooded hillside has its own quiet beauty that we enjoy daily. We spend as much time outside as our weekly rhythm allows for, beginning the slow trek up our side of the hill, through the overgrown meadows of wildflowers, until we finally arrive to the edge of the forest.  Continue reading “Summer: Learning in the Wild”

Spring: in the Forest

“It takes time —loose, unstructured dreamtime— to experience nature in a meaningful way.” – Last Child in the Woods

At least once a week, but usually much more often, we head into the forest. It’s about half a mile away from our apartment, and we absolutely adore living nearby to such a gorgeous landscape. The hillside we live on and the forest nearby is the very beginnings of a small mountain range here in Hungary. We love it so much, and intend to explore every bit of it. For now though, we only get as far as I dare venture out with such young kids. Continue reading “Spring: in the Forest”

Little Woodlanders: an Introduction

This is a new blogging series I am excited to begin, recounting our family’s exploration of nature-based learning with our children. Young as they are, I am doing my best to immediately act on the information I’ve taken in recently. I want to give them a warm, magical childhood, spiritually focused on God and His goodness and His created world around us. This is the best landscape for growing and learning, in my opinion. I’m not offering up anything too ground-breaking, but just hoping that by writing through our experiences it may contribute to the overall dialogue and help normalize alternative approaches to education and parenting. This Spring I’ve been reading “Last Child in the Woods” by Richard Louv. It really impacted me deeply, as he writes on the affects of “nature-deficit disorder”, or the separation of people from nature as is common today due to advances in technology and the modern way of living. He interviews Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in the book, and the following quote from him really sums up and perfectly states my thoughts on things so far:

“We have a role in nature, and if we separate ourselves from that we’re separating ourselves from our history, from the things that tie us together. We don’t want to live in a world where… we’ve lost touch with the seasons, the tides, the things that connect us… and that ultimately connect us to God. We shouldn’t be worshipping nature as God, but nature is the way that God communicates to us most forcefully. God communicates to us through each other, and through organized religion, through wise people and the great books, through music and art, but nowhere with such texture and forcefulness and detail and grace and joy as through Creation. And when we destroy large resources, or when we cut off our access… it’s the moral equivalent of tearing the last pages out of the last Bible on earth. It’s a cost that’s imprudent for us to impose upon ourselves, and we don’t have the right to impose it upon our children.” – Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

As to the Waldorf educational aspect, I have a lot yet to learn, but I do understand some of the basics. This approach in a nutshell holds to developing the entire person: mind, soul, and spirit truly a holistic approach to education. One that maintains a quiet, warm, handmade, rhythmical approach to life. Consistent day to day experiences, full of lots of restfulness and hands on experiences. Doing chores together and cooking and preparing food as a family, outdoor time, freeplay with open-ended toys made of natural materials, a focus on the arts, practicing rich traditions and festivals throughout the year, waiting on any formal academics until later than most, and no or absolutely minimal tv and media (audiobooks or second language learning purposes are what we personally allow). I will share as I do my best to integrate the various elements of this educational approach, especially the ones that most resonate with me. I am not a Waldorf Teacher, and don’t have the time or money to become one, let alone send my kids to a typically expensive Waldorf School. So this blogging series will just be my own take on things. Truly, only Waldorf-inspired. I hope you enjoy following along. My plan at the moment is to write about our outdoor ventures each season of the year, and the various bits of Waldorf education that we integrate into our home and family life.

Here at the beginning, I’ve written all about our Springtime adventures, which will be published over several days starting next week. Thanks for joining me, and enjoy!

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