Homeschooling Together: Making dolls.







As quiet homeschoolers, we're often doing our own thing. We love the peaceful space we've carved out. We thrive in it – all of us. Last week actually cancelled plans with our homeschooling coop two days in a row (two very fun activities – ice skating at the outdoor rink and a hike into the woods to see ice caves) because we'd had a trying week and just needed to lay low. The kids reported that those unexpected free-days were the best part of the week. Who'd have thought?

Sage does not thrive in large groups. He loves hanging with other kids, but prefers them one family at a time. (Even his birthday parties rarely consist of more than one friend.) My kids play with friends each week, but don't crave the busyness that many children are accustom to. After watching a school group walk by us on an outing one day he reported that sharing his learning space with so many children would be "horribly distracting".

So this is how we roll. It's a good match for us.

But we are hardly going it alone.

Yesterday we enjoyed a full day with another unschooling family. The three younger children wore every costume in the closet and had a picnic out in the snow while the two older kids did dozens of chemistry experiments and started working on a robot. It was wonderful to watch all of them. Learning, playing, exploring, socializing. And being with another like-minded mama means we could be there to answer their questions without meddling in their process and without second-guessing our own.

There is another family we visit with often who's children enjoy spending a day with us on occasion. Our kids are embarking on a Waldorf doll-making adventure together. Each child (ages 5 – 10) is making a doll by hand, week by week around our table. They chose their skin and hair fabric, cut out their dolls, pinned, and have now begun the sewing.

I love this so much.

To have my children with other kids who "get them"; to share what I know with my own children and our friends; and to have them share their day with this family we love. Yes, our unexpected quiet days are among our favorites, but really, these days with good friends are the ones we all love best.

P.S. Homeschooling friends, you likely know well the perpetual dialogue about socialization. I thought you would enjoy this article about it. It's fabulous and goes right to the heart of what I have seen. Don't be put off at first. She throws down some surprising statements, but follow her for a bit and I think most of you will agree. 

Love, Rachel

17 thoughts on “Homeschooling Together: Making dolls.

  1. Marlo says:

    Wow, I am so jealous on so many levels. 🙂 I really want to make Waldorf dolls for my girls. Soon, I hope. I like what you said about other children who “get” your children. I have such a hard time finding kids who get my 5 year old girl. Where we live, everyone sends their kids to preschool the minute they turn 3, so there are not any 5 year old girls running around during the day. She plays with older kids and younger kids, but sometimes I just wish there was another 5 year old girl who had similar interests as my daughter. Your story gives me hope. Must not give up. Have fun making those dolls. Can’t wait to see the end result.

  2. KC says:

    What a fantastic idea. I’m trying to organize an art playdate here with our group of friends. Our kids are still too little for sewing yet. I’m kind of sad though as we are going to be the only homeschoolers. Soon all my daughters friends will be in preschool and we’ll have to find a good homeschooling group or at least another family of similar age.

  3. Deborah says:

    I love the idea of socializing with “one family at a time” but I find that difficult to do even in the homeschool community. Everything seems to be centered around field trips and classes. It’s hard just to get to know people without committing to some sort of regimen. Ideas?

  4. Kim says:

    My little man is the same, he doesn’t do well in large groups of kids, but prefers the one on one playdates. He is only three so this may change, but I am not counting on it, it seems to be his personality, even from the beginning. So we roll with it.

    I had read the article on socialization before and love it!! We are odd, we are different and I am perfectly okay with that.

    We are struggling right now to find families who will be homeschooling, most of our friends will be going off to school next year. Hopefully, we will find a few families we can spend a bit of time with on our journey.

  5. Robyn says:

    i think it’s a common misconception that homeschooling kids spend all day at home alone. same thing with younger kids who are lucky enough to stay home all day with parents. Unfortunately, we both work full time in our household, but all my SAHM friends have various play groups and friends that they get together with on a regular basis. seems like all the kids i know who stay home get just as much socialization as my kid who goes to daycare.

  6. Alex says:

    thanks for the link to the article Rachel!

    Here in France, homeschooling, and unschooling especially, are rare… I’m lucky enough to be living fourty minutes away from a bigger city, where several other homeschooling families live. But still, the “socialisation” issue comes up very very often! Even at the waldorf school, last week, when discussing our son’s enrollment, maybe for next year… they seemd to think of our homeschooling days as days on our own…
    About that, I was wondering if your children ever ask to go to school,and to be with other kids more often. This is an issue that I’ve been meeting on a regular basis lately, with my son who will turn six in May. I’de love to hear more from your homeschooling anyway!

    And thanks for all your words…. I come here on a daily basis, and reading your blog is part of my journey towards mindfullness… along with reading “Soulemama”.

    Have a wonderfull day!


  7. Mikaela says:

    Funny; I was wondering just today what your answer to the “S Word” question would be. And here it is 🙂 I just read SouleMama for the day and thought I’d drop a note to encourage you to submit to the magazine (they accept unsolicited submissions). Maybe you don’t need any encouragement at all, but if you do, well, I think you’d do a stunning job!

  8. Rachel Wolf says:

    Mine do not, but others friends have been down this road. Many acquiesce after some months. Most of the children attend for a few weeks, months, or year before they choose to come back home. If Sage (9) wanted to go I would allow him to. Lupine at 5? Im not ready for her to make a decision like that at this point.

    As for socialization, we also dont live in isolation. There are social skills learned by hanging out with parents, neighbors, the librarian, and grandma. So many  layers to it, really. We simplify it too much when we think like-aged-kids = socialization only.

    Sending blessings,

  9. Rachel Wolf says:

    Ive connected with families one-on-one by 1) offering an unschooling day (at a nature area). I set it up that the kids would be able to explore as they wished without us leading activities or lessons. The families that came to that were very like-minded and we met new friends there. 2) at some of the bigger gathering look for your kindred spirits and introduce yourself, ask to get together one-at-a-time. I bet others are craving it too.

  10. Julie says:

    Rachel, thanks so much for showing up here and writing your heart out to the world! I just love to read your words as I find them thought provoking, affirming and nourishing. Just starting our own unschooling journey this year with my almost 7 y.o. daughter and so I appreciate your unschooling confidence and examples. Loved the article you linked to today. I got a good chuckle out of this line: “And just to throw another fly in the ointment, if you have dared to challenge government schooling or conventional private schooling, I suspect you aren’t normal or especially well-socialized either.”

    I have checked out all of your “favorite reads” that I wasn’t already familiar with. Any more finds recently? I love good recommendations!

    Thanks so much for taking the time to fill up this space.

    Best to you,

  11. Amber J says:

    I would love to homeschool our girls but my husband who is from eastern europe is not ok with it at all. I do find that we love to do crafting projects however we really do not have many friends the girls age for them to spend time with. In this way I am thankful they have preschool. My oldest has found a kindred soul at preschool and they enjoy spending time with one another there. I find many children in this day and age are quite complicated and overprogrammed that my girls get lost in the fray during interactions.
    I wanted to tell you again how much your sparkle story about the girl and her mother has impacted me. It has encouraged me to watch more for how my actions increase or decrease the sparkle within my girls energy field. I am so grateful that you put that story out into the universe for me to read. Thank you!

  12. Rachel Wolf says:

    Hi Julie,
    Thanks for your kind words. Respectful Parents Respectful Kids is lovely by way of mindful parenting. We love the Unschooling Handbook, and Ive heard good things about the Unschooling Unmanual – though I havent read it yet.

    Enjoy the journey!

  13. Rachel Wolf says:

    Thanks so much, Amber. I understand about your child finding a kindred spirit. Lupine is skipping out on our Homeschool Group today to have a play date with a dear friend whos school is cancelled for the day. Its so wonderful when they find their people.

  14. knittingmole says:

    This is a great article Rachel, thanks for posting it. Gets me thinking about my own little girls future schooling (she’s only 15mo). I know if I pursue home/unschooling I will get major resistance from family & friends so its good to have some ammo!

  15. angie says:

    Great post. It’s so fun to have other like minded families to spend time with. My daughter and I make dolls all the time. What a great idea to have a little “workshop” for a few homeschool kids we know. I know not the socializing w/ just one family concept, but it could be fun just the same.

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