My Plan for Personal Development As A Homemaker

My own plan for developing myself as a homemaker includes an inner and  outer core.  Let me explain further, and maybe this will inspire you to come up with your own plan.

In Waldorf education, we look at the soul development of the child and what the child needs according to seven-year cycles.  Here are some thoughts for the first three seven-year cycles:

Ages Birth- Age 7:  Gratitude; Goodness, Imitation (the notion of the child as one large unfiltered sense organ taking all impressions in); Rhythm and Balance; Movement and Play

Ages 7-14:  Love; Beauty; love for natural authority for elders; Imagination; Feelings; Art

Ages 14-21:  Duty; Truth; Intellectual Work; Idealism

So, with keeping that in mind, then I look at what I personally need to develop or work on according to the stages of my children and also my own goals for my own inner work.  For simplicity’s sake, I develop this into two categories: an inner and our core, but you could divide it however you would like!  And yes, most of the things of the outer core absolutely do nourish the inner soul, but the outer core things I think of as more the “doing” the “physical” piece with the inner core being more the things “to meditate on” “ponder”.

Here are some personal examples of what I consider Outer and Inner Core:

OUTER CORE:

  • Setting a rhythm that work for my family.  I say this all the time, but it seems to bear frequent repeating:  cut back on your outside activities, cultivate your ability to be home, start with a rhythm around waking/sleeping/rest times and meals, and build up from there. If this all new to you, try the “Rhythm” tag in the tags box for back posts.  It also bears repeating that Life Before Children is not the same as Life After Children.
  • The other outer piece is to develop skills.  Part of Waldorf homeschooling is learning to teach a variety of skills that seem to be rather lost in our society today – knitting, crocheting, all kinds of art, music, singing, cooking, baking, gardening.  If you would like a complete list for what to be working on when your children are under 7 years of age please see the skill list Lovey and I came up with here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/03/09/a-mothers-job-in-the-waldorf-homeschool-kindergarten/

So perhaps you pick just one skill for Fall and one skill for Spring and work on those.  Seek out teachers if you need to, buy that book on the subject, watch that YouTube video.  The point is, once you have identified the skill, you can break it  down into what you need to do to make it happen!

  • Time to be outside and observe the seasons, festival preparations and celebrations that are the marker of your family’s traditions and yearly rhythm.

INNER CORE:

When I think of inner core, I am working toward things that nourish the “soul life” of my home.  I am also thinking of the things that add into our Family Mission Statement.  Here is our Family Mission Statement:

Our family will be a place of KINDNESS, as we love one another, help one another, and are gentle and patient with one another in words and actions.

(“Don’t ever forget kindness and truth. Wear them like a necklace. Write them on your heart as if on a tablet.” Proverbs 3:3 and “Someone with a quick temper does foolish things, but someone with understanding remains calm.” Proverbs 14:17).

Our family will be one of INTEGRITY as we do what we say we are going to do and act in honesty and loyalty to one another.

(“The good people who live honest lives will be a blessing to their children.” Proverbs 20:7)

Our family will be a place of POSITIVE ATTITUDES as we have hope, cheerfulness and encouragement for each other in all situations and challenges.

(“Worry is a heavy load, but a kind word cheers you up.” Proverbs 12:25 and “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, making people happy and healthy.” Proverbs 16:24)

If you need help writing your Family Mission Statement, here is a back post on that: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/05/08/creating-a-family-mission-statement/ 

Your family mission statement can help guide you as to the “intangibles” you need to develop in fulfilling this.  For me, part of kindness is also warmth and  being present.  So  those are the things I choose to focus on and develop in order to fulfill part of our Mission Statement.  Maybe your things to work on are different but I think you can see how this works.

Most of all, KEEP IT SIMPLE.  All of this simply cannot happen overnight; it takes years.  If your children are very small and you are drowning yourself in books and research and plans but no action, I suggest several simple steps:

  • Read Steiner for yourself
  • Pick one main resource for homeschooling help if you are that point (ie, for example, if you are using a Waldorf consultant’s work, pick ONE consultant to follow and consult with!)
  • Pick one skill to develop per semester or year
  • Remember that your own intuition and inner work, along with developing rhythm and being present with your family counts first and foremost.
  • Anything can be done if you break it up bit by bit!
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11 thoughts on “My Plan for Personal Development As A Homemaker

  1. Hi Carrie,
    I’ve been reading your blog with much attention. It is so interesting and helpful! I still have a lot of reading to do but I was wondering if you could help with something.
    I have a 2 year old daughter and I am trying to create a Waldorf environment for her. I’m trying to learn about circle time, lap puppetry, fingerplays, storytelling and verses, etc. I’m a bit lost, though. For example, what are verses, exactly? Is it the same as circle time? Is there a book I could read that would help me to learn what to do with my daughter on a daily basis?
    But my main problem is that we are French-speaking, and I can’t seem to find resources for circle time and stories in French. There are so many great books for rythm of the day and year in English, and I will probably buy a couple of them, but it won’t help me with stories and songs in French.
    The same reason is stopping me from joining a group or a consultant such as Donna Simmons, since the curriculum will be in English. I can translate, of course, but it might be complicated.
    Do you know of any resources (books, websites, consultants) in French that could help me?
    Thank you so much for this wonderfully rich blog!

    • Have you found my friend Catherine’s blog? The link is under the Nuno Felting Tutorial post…. She is in Canada and her site is bilingual English/French….She is also the moderator of one of Donna’s subforums on Donna’s paid forum, so you would have a resource on there…….With a two year old, please do focus on just being present, creating basic rhythms and outside time and your own inner work. Pick one skill for the year if you must, but your inner development is more important than the outer…. Singing is wonderful, as are very simple simple simple repetitive stories that you make up. (about the animals around your house). Circle Time is essentially verses and songs that revolve around a certain theme with lots of movement; verses are just like Mother Goose rhymes that you may use for just transitions.
      The books typical for the toddler/preschool range are “You Are Your Child’s First Teacher” by Rahima Baldwin Dancy, “Heaven On Earth” by Sharifa Oppenheimer; “Beyond The Rainbow Bridge” by Barbara Patterson.

  2. Hi Julie,

    I am French-speaking (from Québec) and I have the same problem as you. However, I am a professional translator and it is quite easy for me to translate the verses, songs, stories, etc. I have tons of things on files that I would be happy to share with you. Visit my blog (http://catherine-et-les-fees.blogspot.com/) and leave me your e-mail address so I can contact you personally. Another great resource that I can suggest is http://www.lemandragore.com. This bookstore sells many great story books in French. Unfortunately, there is not much in French, the market is just not big enough, so we pretty much have to create our own material. I worked in a Waldorf kindergarten, so I have collected tons of songs and stories over the year. I still learn so much from Donna’s forum and books. There is also Hélène Besnard (hb.enmouvement@hotmail.com) who has written some great books (Entre les images, entre les mots, entre les notes) and she has a couple of CDs with great, great songs and comptines! I highly recommend her books. She is a eurythmist and her work is just so appealing to the little ones.

  3. I really find your posts so very thoughtful and helpful. They provide me with a moment in the day when I stop to think about what I am doing today, how am I doing it? how is it affecting Abigail? What can I could improve. Your family mission statement is particularly thought provoking because I agree with you about the inner and outer and find myself often more comfortable focussing on the outer and expecting the inner to just catch up on its own. Not so. Thank you for this gentle poking to look more at the inner and how I can encourage it in myself and my family :-)

  4. Beautifully worded, Carrie! I agree wholeheartedly about developing our own skills, and taking them on one at a time. When we love the handwork or baking or gardening that we do, our children will love learning about it and doing it, too! Thank you for the reminders to read Steiner and spend time outdoors and creating rhythm…all wonderful advice.

  5. Carrie,
    Sorry about taking so long to answer, I had problems with my computer this week-end.
    Thank you so much for telling me about Catherine’s blog! I do need to improve on basic rhythms, too often my days tend to be out of control… But could you please guide me a bit about inner work? What do you mean exactly? I saw you have a tag for inner work, but there are a lot of posts and I’m not sure where and how I should begin my work.

    Catherine,
    It is so kind of you to be willing to share your files! I already visited your blog and will continue exploring it. I’ll send you an email in a few minutes – if my daughter doesn’t wake up and call me like she often does when I’m not in bed with her!

  6. I needed to read this.. such perfect information to go along with The Holy Nights post and thinking about the New Year ahead! Thank you for sharing! Do you know if there are any online sites where Steiner can be read for free? Just curious :)

  7. Pingback: Back to Basics: Parenting With A Plan « The Parenting Passageway

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