So, we will be taking these forty days between Easter and Ascension as our time to discuss all things related to the renewal of your life and your family culture. For today, I want to circle back around to rhythm.
I think many Waldorf homeschoolers are feeling this sense of renewal regarding rhythm! Melisa Nielsen had a lovely post here about “Rhythm Or Routine”: http://waldorfjourney.typepad.com/a_journey_through_waldorf/2010/04/rhythm-or-routine.html . Everything she says is right on! I especially liked the part where Melisa talks about developing our own will enough to STAY HOME. When you have children under the age of eight, it is important that you firmly entrench children in the home. It is important that they learn how to create their own play and fun at home instead of relying on going, going, going, to stimulate themselves and to change their emotions.
In a family, there is a daily rhythm, a weekly rhythm, and a yearly rhythm. This is there whether you create it or not, so I feel it is worth it to take an intentional look at these areas along with parenting.
The yearly rhythm is celebrated through the festivals of the year and is seen as a yearly process of in-breath and out-breath. How you implement this is up to you, I find it lovely to celebrate with the liturgical year of our church.
For a weekly rhythm, one must decide how many days a week one is going to go outside of your home/yard/neighborhood (because even if we stay home we still go outside for many hours a day!). This is important for small children, to be home, and it is also important in homeschooling once you reach the grades.. If you are interested in homeschooling, I would say it is very difficult, if not impossible, to throw homeschooling on top of a completely chaotic flow of events to the day, and also on top of a chaotic house that is cluttered and dirty. No, your home does not have to be perfect, we actually live in our houses because we are home! However, keeping the house up and running is part of the rhythm to it all, and in order to do that, we have to be home. We need to plan when to get groceries, what to cook, when to do laundry, when to run errands, so that not everything is completely last minute. Therefore, it is never too early, nor too late, to create a bit of an order or flow that suits your family life.
For a small child, the weekly rhythm includes what PRACTICAL work takes place when and planning on your part regarding HOW they may be included. In cleaning, can they scrub the bathtub whilst taking a bath? Can they manually grind a cup of flour to add to more flour to bake bread? Can they use water to clean the sidewalk whilst you plant flowers?
For a daily rhythm, this is where one needs to think about the flow of the day for times of in-breath and times of out-breath. For example, when will rest and meal times will be, and when bedtimes and awake times will be? If the baby needs a nap, will they sleep in a sling? If you put them to sleep in a room, where will your older children be and what will they be doing? When are the outside times and when is it time to tell a story?
But most importantly, how will you show reverence and the sacred parts of life throughout these rhythms of life? When will there be singing and joy, when will there be silence, when will there be time to go outside and look at one small bug or bird and listen and feel the wind? Reverence and gratitude is the thread that winds itself through all of these yearly, weekly, and daily rhythms.
Many blessings during these forty days of renewal,