June 2021
Welcome friends!
 
Summer is the busy time for Christopherus and we start getting lots of requests for financial assistance from people. As you all know, we already sell our materials at three levels. The low income level does not meet our needs but is there for people with financial struggles. The supporting level helps us be able to offer this price. But our low income prices are still out of reach for some people. If anyone wishes to make a donation to help their fellow homeschoolers, please click here. 100% of funds donated are shared between those who need such support. Thank you for considering this request.
Please note that over the next few years—beginning this Fall—I will be completing our curriculum offerings for 7th and 8th grade. It is likely that there will also be several new publications suitable for high school. As always, however, caution regarding promises---our world is changing rapidly and both inflation and supply chain shortages effect our business. We will do what we can to continue to be of service!
Here is KD from Illinois, sharing her thoughts about last issue’s topic, ‘music’ and this issue’s topic, ‘play’:

I like this newsletter about music. We are a very musical family and songs get us through. My disabled son just loves music. We are not very good at musical instruments...which one day I hope to change...but we do love to sing. It really does help to have special family songs for different things like gardening, cooking etc. My kids are getting older, almost 9, 11, 12 and 14, and they still love to sing with me and learn new songs all the time. I hope no one thinks their kids can be too old to sing!

And I like that next month is play. I just wanted to add something small. Again, my kids are older but play is still an integral part of their lives. Dolls of all sizes, outdoor games, bike riding, skating, games with neighbor kids and just plain old made up games with found objects like sticks and rocks...these activities still live strongly in my house. Even with my 14 year old! She has her times of being "too big" for the smaller ones games but for the most part, her soul is still finding enjoyment in those simple games that have always been a part of her life. Just wanted to encourage other parents out there that it's possible to give our kids a good, long childhood, even in this modern world. But it takes lots of work and sometimes feels like I'm paddling upstream. But, for me it's worth it! God bless
Play
Last month’s topic was ‘music’, this month’s, ‘play’. The valuing of play is a major reason why people choose to Waldorf educate, whether at home or in a school setting.
 
What is play? Play is free-ranging exploration that has no agenda other than that of the person who is playing. Being mindful of this ‘no agenda’ characteristic of free play is very important: no agenda means open-ended toys which can be anything a child wants them to be. Open-ended also means being free from adults who interrogate a child with ‘what are you doing?’ or other well-meaning but usually intrusive questions. A child who wants an adult to share in her imaginations will do so!
 
Play begins mainly as a solitary endeavor, with the baby focused on exploring his body and interacting with others. As a child passes though toddlerhood and begins to have a sense of himself as an ‘I’, he is more able to play with others: for in playing with others, one has to be able to respect boundaries, whether of rules, comfort, skills and needs of the Other. But this takes many years and tiny children, though they may certainly enjoy the company of other tinies, cannot be expected to ‘play nicely.’
 
Learning to ‘play nicely’ is an important part of play. And as with all other human experiences which form a person’s character, this takes time. Learning to negotiate boundaries, play by the rules, and be able to balance one’s own needs and desires with those of another person are major life lessons that take many years to develop.
 
Navigating conflict is another important area of life addressed by play and adults do a great disservice to children if they do not allow children to experience conflict with another child. Sometimes such conflicts do need to be managed sensitively (not wiped away) by adults but many times the children need to be left to figure it out themselves.
 
There are many ways that children play as they grow. Sometimes there is a need for others. Sometimes children should be allowed to play alone. And sometimes it is fine for an adult to play with his children: yet this must be in balance, the parent never becoming the antidote to boredom, never becoming a source of unending entertainment. Indeed, boredom is a great teacher, giving one the opportunity to look within for its remedy. Children and teens who are allowed to always look outward (to other people, to media, to endless books and toys) are not given the vital opportunities to look within, to be self sufficient, and to creatively find ways to entertain themselves.
More resources on Play

No recording this month for the very good reason that we already have a number of recordings on play—go here to our free audio downloads where you can find a couple, one on playdates, the other on dolls and puppets.
 
We also have several important play-related audio downloads to purchase though our bookstore here.
 
Our articles page contains a rather old but still relevant article called ‘Voices on the Green—the importance of play’
 
And here is a whole section of the blog archive dedicated to the subject of play—lots to read! Over the years I have written many times on various aspects of play.

These are written by other Waldorf folks and are not to be found on the Christopherus website:
 
 
We really value feedback from our readers. If you have any questions or comments on anything in this issue of The Homeschool Journey, please write to me donna@christopherushomeschool.org I would be thrilled to respond to such questions/feedback in our next issue.

Another possibility is for folks to address the topic of the next issues. Here they are:
 
July--’truth’
August--’celebrating family festivals’
September--’tests and testing’

Til July,
Blessings on your homeschool journey,
Donna