Explaining Hartsbrook

In preparation for what I hope will be a productive conversation about how to help our friends, family, neighbors, (and people we overhear talking about schools) understand what makes Hartsbrook different. That isn’t to say that Hartbsrook is always the best choice for every family, but we all want to be able to explain it simply and easily.

In the business world, we talk about an “elevator pitch” as a short 30 – 120 second conversation you would have with someone in an elevator that explains what you do, your business idea, etc. We’ve heard from many parents that they aren’t comfortable with exactly what to say about Hartsbrook in such a short conversation. We would like to work together to share such a statement with our community and then use that as a stepping-off point for other external communications.

To help get our brainstorming started and to get people on the same page, the following are recommended reading/viewing:

1. Waldorf 100 – A brand new (March 11) video that does an amazing job of talking about Waldorf school, today, globally.

When watching this video, here were some things that stuck with me:

  • Don’t be scared; be Waldorf
  • Waldorf is grass roots education
  • Human Education / Human Literacy
  • In understanding the ‘other’, we better understand ourselves
  • Giving attention is really love.

2. Sprouts’ Overview of Waldorf

3. Hartsbrook’s own videos from 2010

Early Childhood video

Grade School Video

High School video

4. “Why Waldorf” video from Marin Waldorf in CA.

5. Videos from Green Meadow Waldorf School in NY

6. Fox29 Philly talking about a local Waldorf school

7. Waldorf School of Penisula’s Preparing for Life

– Talks about how movement is key to developing the child

– Talks about how strong Waldorf is for math/science, just in a different way

– Students illustrating their own textbooks

8. Lexington, MA’s website: http://thewaldorfschool.org/mission/

9. Pasadena Waldorf’s video

10. Practical Advantages of a Waldorf Education

11. A remarkable education

What other resources should I include here? Let me know by sharing them in the comments section or reaching out to me directly.

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My New Home Office Renovation

I’ve been working from home since 2010 and for the last 6 years it has been in an upstairs bedroom at my home. I’ve blogged about my home office before because I have a homemade treadmill desk. Well, my 4th child is getting old enough that I’d like to move her out of my bedroom, which results in me needing to give up my home office to become a kids bedroom. We investigated adding a new room to the house, but opted instead to renovate the existing  guest bedroom on the main floor to server both as home office and guest bedroom.

Demolition

We sealed up the room with plastic and started the demolition. This took two days of my time without assistance from others. As you can see, the walls were mostly horse hair plaster over lathe. I found that actually pretty easy (but messy) to take down; much easier than the few spots with some drywall.

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Soundproofing

The kicker is that because this room is in a high traffic area (by the kitchen, dining room, and living room), and I not only have 4 kids but also lots of neighborhood kids, I need the room to be quiet. A typical day for me includes 5-8 hours of audio and video calls. Nobody wants those kids to have to be quiet all the time. As you can see from the picture below, the double french door with the 2″ gap underneath, leading directly to the high-traffic area was not going to work for me.

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Here is a “before” audio test where I played some music at a certain volume in the dining room and measured how loud it was in the room.

Wiring

Part of the deal with my wife is to make this not only a fully functional home office, but also a great guest bedroom when we do have guests. I took this as a challenge to hide every possible wire in the walls while I had them open. Below are some images of the plan as it stands today. I used this great tool at http://computingcomfort.org/create2.asp to make sure I was putting my monitor and keyboard at the right heights to avoid strain.

Wire drops 1-3 are all on the same wall spaced vertically. Drop #4 will be ~4’ off the ground above a shelf, where I’ll have two laptops. Drop #5 is along the same shelf but further away, where I’ll have my WiFi router, stereo receiver, Roku, and perhaps Blu-Ray player. Drop 6 is actually in our living room where I already have a wall-mounted TV that I’d like to be able to hook the laptop and/or DVD player up via HDMI when/if I need it There is also a USB cable there for a webcam to allow for FaceTime off the big screen in the living room. Drops #8-10 are speakers running to the receiver. I’m open to suggestions on where best to place them

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Here is the bird’s eye view of the room with the wire drops

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And then additional views from different angles:

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