Friday, November 17, 2017

Women's Health Naturally Expo

Last Saturday I had a "vendor table" at the annual holistic health expo in town.  It was really more like an information desk.  My focus was more on helping people to know there are alternatives to traditional education than on convincing folks to have me be their homeschool consultant.

It was a great experience!!!

I made lots of good connections with other professionals in my community, met several homeschooling and potential homeschooling families, and talked with a bunch of new moms about the value of a play-based kindergarten.

I think that more than a few conversations really made a difference and that new moms left me having the confidence to just relax, let their children relax, and spend their time joyfully working and playing at home with them.

In fact, my original plan was to have two drawings at my table -- one for an early childhood book (The Breathing Circle: Learning through the Movement of the Natural Breath by Nell Smyth) and one for a book about the Waldorf curriculum in grades 1 through 8 (School as a Journey: The Eight-Year Odyssey of a Waldorf Teacher and His Class by Torin Finser) -- but I had so many families interested in early childhood education that I ended up buying three more copies of Nell Smyth's book so that I could have more winners.

Not everyone there was a Waldorf newbie. I also had wonderful conversations about veil painting and biodynamic farming!

It was so exciting to take this challenge on, to try to create a table which encapsulates Waldorf education. It wasn't easy... but here's what I came up with:

I truly maximized my space! I ended up bringing the three large baskets from home (in front of the table) to hold books which people might be interested in, and my chair (beside the table) held my piles of handouts as well as the clipboard for people to share their contact information with me.


I actually ended up meeting a woman who had made her own handmade knitting needles at a Waldorf workshop years ago and was bemoaning the fact that she lost one. I had brought extra plain wooden dowels in case someone asked how my needles were made, so I made her a care package with two brand new dowels, some step-by-step instructions on how to make them into needles, and a copy of the Lamb Pattern. She was thrilled.

Book Baskets - Basket #1

Also, my little watercolor painting of a Jumping Juggling Jester for the letter J, the set of L M N O P Laminated Wall Cards, Suzanne Down's Around the World with Finger Puppet Animals, Movement Journeys and Circle Adventures: Movement Enrichment with a Therapeutic Approach for Early Childhood and Movement Journeys and Circle Adventures, volume 2 by Nancy Blanning and Laurie Clark, Phonic Rhyme Time: A unique collection of phonic rhymes for precise practice in speaking and reading by Mary Nash-Wortham, and Form Drawing: Grades One through Four by Laura Embrey-Stine and Ernst Schuberth.

Book Baskets - Basket #2

Also, How Do People Live? by Philip Steele and the Shanleya's Quest Patterns in Plants Card Game.

Book Baskets - Basket #3

Tabletop Display - Main Lesson Books

    Grade 2 Saints

    Grade 3 Old Testament Stories II

    Grade 4 Man & Animal I

    Grade 4 Man & Animal II

    Grade 5 U.S. Geography

    Grade 5 Ancient Mythologies: India, Persia, Mesopotamia

    Grade 5 Botany

    Grade 6 The Middle Ages

    Grade 6 Geology

    Grade 6 String, Straight-Edge & Shadow

    Grade 6 Geometric Drawing

    Grade 7 The Human Body

    Grade 7 The Renaissance & Reformation

    Grade 8 Shakespearean Drama

    Grade 8 World Geography & Economics

Becca's current MLB -- Grade 7 The Age of Discovery -- was also on the table, displayed on a wrought iron cookbook holder. On the lefthand side was her tissue paper Rose Window, showing the beauty of the Gothic cathedrals. On the right was her summary of King John and the Magna Carta.

Of course, there are more MLBs at my house! I was trying to choose a variety as well as pick books that would be an especially good example of the Waldorf approach. Here were some highlights of things I kept coming back to and showing people over and over again that Saturday:

The cover of Becca's beautiful Geometric Drawing book... it is so lovely and just pulls you right in.

The cover of Natalie's Shakespearean Drama book, with its ripped up love letter from Beatrice to Benedick. I also loved showing off her pages from Tybalt's diary, with the borders decorated with little stick figure drawings of all the ways he fantasized about killing Romeo.

Becca's U.S. Geography book, with the pages alternating between biome and political maps of each part of our country and information about the Native American shelter building from each region. Also, the map in the back of the current U.S. tribal lands.

The cover of Natalie's Renaissance & Reformation book, with the words "The Renaissance" tack punched out of black paper and glued onto a colorful background. The light breaking through the darkness of the Middle Ages!

Becca's Middle Ages book with her description of the typical day in the life of a Benedictine monk. I told people about how she decided to live that schedule for a day, including getting up at 3 am to begin to pray and read the Bible. She put pages in her MLB detailing her experience as a monk, and added the medieval recipes which I cooked for her that day.

Natalie's Story of Geometry book, including her sweet little paper pig on its string moving around and around a snap (literally snapped through the piece of paper) and the story of how early humans discovered the perfect circle. Also, her two page spread for Thales and How High is the Pyramid? So pretty.

Leah's Man & Animal II book with its incredible illustrations and creative summaries. It is hard to describe... Every page is wonderful.

Natalie's Human Body book. Pages of detailed information for each part of each system (including charts listing name, job, and very clever analogies: "what else does it look like? what else does it remind me of?"). Mini books made and glued inside her book for areas where she wanted to go into more detail, such as her report on "The Pancreas, Insulin, and Diabetes". Someone stopped and took photos of every single page of this MLB. Her drawing of the kidney is impressive but her "Posterior View of Right Leg Muscles" is tremendous. She learned this cross-hatch drawing lesson from Rick Tan (available on Etsy).

It is so nice when people are blown away by your own children's work. :-)

Tabletop Display - Art & Handwork Supplies

Also, a Loew-Cornell 3/4 inch brush for watercolor painting and two sets of primary block beeswax crayons in their little wool felt crayon pouches which my students sewed several years ago (you can buy just the Primary Colors, as Sieglinde de Francesca recommends, at A Small Green Footprint).

I brought one of the lovely Handwork Bags which a generous grandparent sewed for each one of my students last year and this year. I stored the Handwork Bag in the front of the first book basket.

I also displayed two knitted chickens (one of these was the first stuffed animal I ever made -- Barbara Dewey showed me how at a homeschooling weekend -- and this simple "pattern" is now the first stuffed animal my students make). I had a square piece of yellow knitted garter stitch (to show how a square can be folded in half diagonally to form the chicken) and a set of handmade knitting needles with acorn cap ends, plus Becca's little white knitted lamb from first grade and the sleeping bag she knitted for him.


I also had a bit of a Nature table display, featuring four little wool felt Nature table dolls and their accoutrements (a ceramic mushroom with the mushroom doll, a dried sunflower seed head with the sunflower doll, a branch with oak leaves and acorns with the acorn doll, and a small pumpkin with the pumpkin doll), as well as a beautiful Waldorf doll from Australia.

I had Becca's plan book and her box of colored pencils.

I had a small vase with slips of paper and a larger vase with colored pens and I had a basket for people to put their names in to enter the drawing. I had propped up against the basket the half-page handout for my Hands-On Homeschooling workshop series.

I had displayed three books on bookstands: the two books for my upcoming book groups -- these were the actual books I was giving away in the drawing -- and L M N O P and All the Letters A to Z.

I had my blue & purple playstand silk canopy hand-dyed by Meag at Fairy Cove Silks.

I had some things stashed under the table in case people asked about them, like the wooden dowels which you can use to make homemade knitting needles and the Photographic Card Deck of The Elements: With Big Beautiful Photographs of All 118 Elements in the Periodic Table from Theodore Gray. I also had the wonderful wet felted tapestry Natalie made of Grendel in his cave, glowering out at the light streaming from the happy feasting hall. And I brought How to Grow a School: Starting and Sustaining Schools that Work by Chris Mercogliano, which I thought I would read if my table was quiet. Which it wasn't.

I also brought an extra blank MLB with onion skin paper, in case someone wanted to see a brand-new one, as well as my Lending Library circulation card box, extra blank circulation due date cards, and extra book pockets in case anyone wanted to check out any of the books I brought with me in the baskets.

And, last but not least, I had a bunch of my business cards on the table and a platter of cookies.

To be completely honest, I will also admit that I did a little bit of shopping around at the tables of other vendors. I won a free half hour massage, so that was exciting! I spent some time checking out the aeroponic Tower Garden. You can grow up to 20 fruits, vegetables, fruits, and flowers in three square feet of floor space! After our homemade hydroponics system from Natalie's Farming & Gardening block ended up being more trouble than it was worth, I am strongly leaning towards a premade system such as the Tower Garden.

I also bought an essential oil diffuser, a purchase that was long overdue, from my friend Lisa Dover, a massage therapist and yoga instructor who sells essential oils, as well as three amazing handmade goat's milk soaps and a lip balm from The Smelly Gypsy. Her display was unbelievably beautiful and enticing. Becca and I happily smelled every soap there and finally decided on Spicy, Lavendar Oatmeal, and Patchouli Mint. MMMMMM.

This post contains affiliate links to the materials I actually use for homeschooling. I hope you find them helpful. Thank you for your support!

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