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Book recommendation: You Are Your Child's First Teacher

This is for mom & dad this time :0)  I actually read this over the summer and loved it - why did I wait so long to just order it??
One of my favorite features are the recommended resources at the end of each chapter.  Descriptions, websites, etc. are organized by subtopics as discussed in the chapter.  As Honey Bunches & I were inspired to start Countryside Playschool after observing at a Waldorf kindergarten (ages 3-6), I was particularly interested in what a typical day in a prek program looks like.  Everything I wanted to know was right there - from what I wanted to do to what I would rather leave out.  A lot of it I already had a sense about, such as outdoor play in all kinds of weather!  We did that at the mother's day out I ran years ago and I stand by that for sure - even if it takes longer to put the snowsuits & stuff on than we are able to stay out :0)  Discussions about the value of mixed age programs is included, although I personally believe multi age at every age is appropriate and more like the real world than the age segregation seen in both public & private schools starting in 1st grade (Waldorf or not).  She addresses questions about TV, nutrition, clothing, immunizations, etc. - and tells it like it is in a tactful way, giving some practical ideas for how to begin weaning ourselves from media, simplifying our wardrobes & food, and educating ourselves about immunizations & natural health.  One personal bit that I hadn't done a lot of reading on lately was temperament.  Dancy describes the 4 basic categories Steiner identified and also showed how they might look in younger children & what to do with that.  There is a pretty good survey for adults I discovered after looking into things a bit more, and it was fun to see where I landed on the spectrum (as well as Papa J, HB & Flash!).  The little ones are young enough that you can still see many qualities from each type, but certain things are starting to emerge more strongly than others.  Here is that if you are interested: http://www.writing.com/main/quiz/item_id/1145443-Temperament-Test someone else took the test so it shows their results on the site, but if you scroll down you can see where the quiz begins.
THE biggest theme here is that parents are not idiots :0)  Most are perfectly capable of staying home with their children throughout early childhood and giving them a rich home life.  Many of us mothers will be learning along with our children how to bake, clean, wash & do other domestic chores; but if we embrace being keepers at home and teach our children to be content as well, we will have peace in knowing that we are fulfilling our calling as women, wives, and mothers.  Dancy comes right out & basically says you need to find a way to be home with your children.  Of course, her reasoning is the ultimate and true origin of being a feminist, although the "feminist movement" would cackle & moan & insist otherwise!  She also does not seem to be approaching this calling as a Help Meet or Keeper at Home from a christian perspective, but those who read this with that view will easily see that is what it is.  She does assume most will send their children off somewhere for 1st grade, but if you follow this idea of being home and nurturing your children their first 6 or more years - you will surely see that you can do it for all their growing up years, too!  And if you do even a brief search you will find tons of support for educating your children at home - whether you continue in a "Waldorf" way or not.  We will likely not continue Waldorfing throughout our little one's school years in a pure form - there will be lots of Charlotte Mason, Classical & unschooling thrown in depending on the year, the child, and the subject. 
On the topic of support: If you are considering keeping your children home for school, I highly, highly recommend joining in a homeschool group.  We travel an hour away to participate in ours and while we couldn't possibly do everything offered, we do enough that we are able to form relationships and compare notes and participate in coop classes when we want to, etc.  Online groups and classes do fill a need, but if you can find a support group (even if you may not line up totally with the general philosophy) do it!  If you need help finding a group leave me a comment & I will be happy to help :0)


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