Twenty Minutes


This post is a part of Waldorf Wednesday. See all links here.

It seems I always need an extra 20 minutes before we start the school day. It doesn’t matter when I get up, how much I do or don’t do before the boys get up, I always need 20 minutes to finish those little things that seem to set the day straight. Putting away the breakfast things, taking something out of the freezer, filling the crock pot, clearing the table and the counters. What I do in those last 20 minutes before school pays off in spades. They allow my mind to clear and the rest of the day to flow more smoothly.

For some reason, I always begrudged myself this chunk of time. I would look at the clock and think, “We need to start school – NOW!” This thought usually led to one of two responses. Me forgoing the undone tasks and announcing repeatedly, “OK, it’s time to start school. Everyone upstairs. It’s time to start school.” The volume of these announcements was in direct correlation to how many tasks I was leaving behind and how slowly the boys were responding. The second was me taking the time I needed to do the tasks, while the boys took this as a signal that I was busy and they were free to get involved in something else. This meant by the time I was finished it was even later, they were engrossed in some sort of non-school related activity and the volume on the school-starting-announcement got turned up – way up.

I know in Waldorf circles singing is encouraged for signaling transition times. However I needed a 20 minute transition, and I figured even an extended dance-mix version of any Waldorf-sanctioned song was not going to get me 20 minutes. What to do? Inspiration came from this post by Irie over at irienarrowpath. (That post is actually chock full of great ideas, but so far, this is the only one I have implemented.) She plays music in the morning. What a great idea. I put our little cd/radio/ipod dock on the counter in the kitchen, put some choice cds in the drawer underneath, and presto! our mornings flowed so much better. Playing music allows me to get done what I need to get done, holds the space so the boys don’t get involved in something else and encourages us to start the morning by singing together. Yes, this is a very good idea. Thanks Irie!!

Below I have listed some of the musical selections we have been enjoying. They are seasonal and/or related to our main lessons. If you have any others, I would love to hear them.

  • Music through the Grades by Anne Cleveland: This is actually a Waldorf-inspired music curriculum for grades 1-6, however I just use it as a collection of cds. Anne’s voice is amazing and her song selections are perfectly matched to each grade.
  • Various Waldorf songs and cds by Jodie Mesler: If you hung around my kitchen door from October through December, you would have heard Jodie’s voice everyday. Autumn Songs was by far the boys’ favorite. They would both sing the songs and play along on their pennywhistles. (I just noticed that Jodie also has a compilation of Waldorf-inspired songs that is carried by Melisa over at Waldorf Essentials. Might just have to put that one in the budget.)
  • Various classical compilations: A hundred years ago when I was a member of the Book of the Month Club, I purchased a series of cds with titles like Mozart in the Morning, Bach at Breakfast, Beethoven for Bedtime. I dusted them off and put them in our musical rotation. Perfect little samplings.
  • Handel’s Messiah: This may be my favorite piece of music next to Sketches in Spain by Miles Davis and A Love Supreme by John Coltrane. Vincent fell in love with it also and requested it at least once a day during December. I thinking attending a live performance is in order for next year.
  • Simple Gifts: I talked about this song here. I still play it every so often when I need a little grace and a little gratitude.

6 thoughts on “Twenty Minutes

  1. When wanting to hold my kids’ attention, I find the Beastie Boys ‘Brass Monkey’ works a treat. You might need an additional 20 minutes to settle them down, though. So maybe just save that one for the end of the school day. ; )

  2. Great idea! I like to use this time for playing whatever composer/period we’re studying for music appreciation. I don’t make a big deal about it, but it’s nice to have just in the background. Thanks for linking to Waldorf Wednesday!

  3. I just re-read this and laughed out loud here: I figured even an extended dance-mix version of any Waldorf-sanctioned song was not going to get me 20 minutes.

    That’s a good laugh over morning coffee (:

  4. Pingback: Monthly Link Up: Encouragement | Sure as the World

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