Monthly Anchor Points: September

 

I love the month of September, a month of new beginnings for so many of us – for my Orthodox Christian friends, it is the beginning of the liturgical year; for many of us in America it marks Labor Day and the unofficial end of summer and beginning of fall, and for many it is the beginning of a new school year.

Fall is my favorite season, and I love the smells of fall, smoke from a good bonfire, crunching leaves, the snapping of twigs when we walk through the woods or on the farm, the delicious foods associated with fall harvest.  There is a beautiful poem in the book “All Year Round” on page 129 that could make a particularly lovely blessing for this time of year:

Thanks to our mother, the earth, which sustains us;

Thanks to the rivers and streams and their water;

Thanks to the corn and the grain fields that feed us;

Thanks to the herbs which protect us from illness;

Thanks to the bushes and trees and their fruiting;

Thanks to the moon and the stars in the darkness;

Thanks to the sun and his eye that looks earthward;

Thank the Great Spirit for all of his goodness.

Adapted from an Iroquois Indian address of thanksgiving

 

I am thinking a lot about harvest, apples, and acorns.  Apples are big in my state toward the midpoint of this month, and I have many “apple” things planned for our kindergarten aged child – apple prints, cooking with apples, baking apple bread, making dried apples, apple picking.  I also have ideas about leaves.  In the book “Mrs. Sharp’s Traditions”, an idea is suggested for a “Maple Leaf and Nutting Party”, which we can do here more in October or toward the end of this month.  Tree and leaf rubbings, leaf prints, collecting leaves and dipping them in glycerin are all fun seasonal things to do this month.

This is also the month that ends in the Feast Day of St. Michael and All Angels, known in the Waldorf tradition as Michaelmas Continue reading

Gentle Discipline By Age–Part Four

 

Gentle discipline is the mainstay of parenting life, because it encompasses guiding and validating the authentic spiritual being that is every human being and child.  It is a mindset to live by and parent by, and if you can master some of these techniques, you will find yourself even having more positive communication and conflict resolution with other adults.   I have wanted to do a round-up of techniques by age, and here it finally is beginning.  I hope it will be helpful to you, and do please feel free to add your own thoughts or experiences to this list.

In Part Two,  we focused on birth through age 4.  In Part Three we looked at ages five and six.    The mainstay of gentle discipline for these years begins with our own inner work and development, as discussed in Part One of this series.

Birth through age  four encompasses a time of protection, physical movement, warmth and trust and love in a caregiver and in a good world.  The ending of this stage sees the use of the words “I” and “no” not as an act of defiance or disobedience, but as growth into individuality.  Ages five and six also sees the same  importance of protection, physical movement, warmth, and love and trust in a caregiver continue.  However, play and social experiences now expands during these years, (although some children will not blossom into truly enjoying other children until the six/seven year transformation).  Play is the main theme for these years, and also a  look at the willing gesture involved in roles, power, and control.   If you would like to see more about the five and six year old, please see Part Three of this series:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2014/08/01/gentle-discipline-by-agepart-three/

Today we enter the realm of the seven and eight year old;  two ages of contrast for most children.  Descriptions of these two ages include the following from the “Your Seven Year Old” by Ames and Haber:  Continue reading

Reads Worth Your While

 

 

Here are some of the links I currently love and am pondering:

 

Here is a great link  about the value of a gap year before college.   Some of you may have small children and are no where near this point yet, but this could be a good save and read later link or a great link if you have teens.

 

Why all parents who have children in school should be rallying against the amount of homework we are seeing expected of children:  why children are better off without homework.

 

I love The Healthy Home Economist.  I like this post about packing the packing the healthy lunchbox.   Some more great lunch ideas here: recipes to freeze for lunches.

 

From Time on how screens are lowering children’s social skills.

 

Many blessings,
Carrie

The Sweetest Year of Parenting

 

The sweetest year of parenting isn’t based upon an age of your child.  ALL of the ages are wonderful, despite what you might read about the “six/seven year transformation” or the “nine year change” or the “twelve year change”.  All of the things that happen during those developmental peaks are necessary in order for our children to grow, mature, learn and be able to handle themselves as adults out in the world.  This is not a cause to parent from fear or anger during these stages.  Instead, focus on the relationship between you and your child that you want to preserve and protect for adulthood.  Find your sweetest year of parenting yet.

Some things that make the sweetest year of parenting for me is when I Continue reading

Let’s Read: Simplicity Parenting

 

Rhythm calms and secures children, grounding them in the earth of family so they can branch out and grow.  The implication of rhythms is that there is an “author” behind how we do things as a family.  Parental authority is strengthened by rhythms; an “authority” is established that is gentle and understandable.  “This is what we do” also says, “There is order here, and safety.”

-Simplicity Parenting, page 103

 

To establish rhythm, Simplicity Parenting suggests: Continue reading

The Type of Family That Thrives in Waldorf Homeschooling

 

(This is geared specifically to preschool/kindergarten ages)

Some Waldorf schools will send out a letter to parents of prospective children ages 3-6 to explain the goals of a Waldorf Kindergarten:  to nurture a sense of wonder and curiosity, to instill confidence and discipline, and to encourage reverence for a world that is good.  Letters such as these also often mention children that thrive in a Waldorf preschool/kindergarten environment may share certain traits.  For example, this may include little to no media exposure, healthy sleep rhythm, the ability to follow and comply with teacher’s directions, being independent in the bathroom, etc.

 

I have been mulling this over quite a bit. What are the goals of a HOMESCHOOL Waldorf kindergarten?  What kinds of families really thrive in using this type of education, designed and made for schools, at HOME?  I am sure those of you who are experienced Waldorf educators will come up with many ideas!  Please feel free to add to this list in the comment box as I think my list is just a beginning.

 

The goals of a Waldorf HOME kindergarten program, in my opinion: Continue reading

Wrap-Up Of Week One of Seventh and Fourth Grade….. (And How to Handle Life)

 

After I wrote my last post about the first two days of school, I had a comment by one of my sweet long-term readers who asked if every day went as smoothly as those two days.  Those two days did go smoothly, but certainly it is not always smooth. Sometimes it is super rough and awful.  Or one child is having a hard time and it is impacting the flow of all the other children and our day.  That is life homeschooling multiple children.

Part of life in homeschooling is also just life.  This week involved going to the barn, our family attending (and me leading) a breastfeeding support group session, numerous calls and emails and such that needed to be returned after said meeting, two visits by friends to our home on separate days, a run to the allergist and grocery store, a visiting aunt who is here through the weekend to teach machine sewing and work on a  mini-quilting project with my seventh grader (which is normally more eighth grade in a Waldorf School, but this particular aunt lives far away so I am happy to take her up on it now!), (our fourth grader also doing a mini project to help brush up on measurement skills and look at textiles and then will  have a turn machine sewing in eighth grade for her very own),  a husband who traveled out of state the majority of the week, and the pet care of two hamsters, fish, frogs, and a large dog plus meals and housekeeping.  That is all life and part of homeschooling as well.  Especially as your children grow older, they may have more activities or passions they are investigating and have distinctly different needs than the children in grades one through four.   Life may expand outside the home, but being within the home is still the basis of homeschooling and the more you are home, the more smoothly things will run, in my experience.

So, how does one manage life and homeschooling?  Continue reading