A Plumb Line

I listened to a truly fantastic homily this past Sunday that was based upon the plumb line described in the Holy Book of Amos.

Do you know what a plumb line truly is?  Sure, we have all heard of a plumb line but here is the dictionary definition:

line with weight attached: a line to which a weight is attached to find the depth of water or to verify a true vertical alignment

 

 

The homily went on to discuss the life of Maria Montessori, which in and of itself was fascinating.  You can read more about her life here:  http://www.webster.edu/~woolflm/montessori2.html and here: http://montessori.org.au/montessori/biography.htm . Her private life, not generally spoken of, must certainly have been painful to her  and yet  in the deepening of her Roman Catholic faith (http://www.pathsoflearning.net/articles_Montessori.php), via monastic retreats, she found her plumb line.

 

So, this got me thinking: what is our plumb line as parents?  As a homeschooling family? Continue reading

The Simple Homeschool

I have been talking to more and more mothers regarding planning for the upcoming school year, and one theme has been recurring:  they want simple.

  • They want curriculums that take into account that most mothers are time-constrained, either by activities or by having multiple children.
  • They want to know that when they spend a lot of money on a curriculum, that the curriculum is planned out.  Most mothers seem to want a day by day plan.
  • They want ideas for the magical parts of homeschooling – movement, drawing, music, painting, modeling, and how to bring the academic ideas to life through these vehicles.
  • They do want academic progression
  • They want to know how to take their spiritual and religious life and help their children absorb that in an age- appropriate way in the home environment
  • But most of all, they want simple.

In some respects, many people homeschool, not because they want to make life harder or to stress themselves out with having more complex days, but because they wanted a slower pace of life that allowed for more time and more connection with their children.

I think simplicity can actually start in planning. Planning helps ensure that you are not doing too much, but yet that some of your bases, especially for those past the age of ten, are covered.  For example: Continue reading

A Truly Scrumptious Give-away!

Ah, what a relief and delight for the soul in a busy season of packing and showing a house to come home to a wonderful box in the mail.  Yes, that’s right!  A gluten-free delicious sampler pack of yummy goodness from Mama Mead & Co herself (www.mamamead’s.wordpress.com).  Joy in a box!

The sampler traveled perfectly (and those of you who have had a hand at gluten-free baking may have results that are sometimes crumbly.  This traveled across the country – the Northwest to the Deep South – and all the treats were still lovely!).

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The sampler had many different goodies inside, which I gladly shared with our children and my best friend and her children: Continue reading

Best Books For Fourth Grade

In the past I have detailed reading lists for the Early Years and then each grade, grades one through four.  Here is the list for grade four here:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2011/06/02/waldorf-homeschooling-fourth-grade-reading-list/

Some of my favorite books from this year never made it onto that preliminary list, so I thought I would share here.  One of these is the book “Rascal” by Sterling North.  This book was a favorite for the year.  You can see the review Sheila over at “sure as the world” gives it here:  http://sureastheworld.com/2012/05/14/read-this-book/  You could work this book into one of your Man and Animal blocks, but also into a U.S. Geography block.  There is also the book, “Pagoo”, about a hermit crab, from Holling C. Holling, that I think should be on your list as well.

Speaking of Holling C. Holling brings me to something else.  Continue reading

“A Donsy Of Gnomes: 7 Gentle Gnome Stories”

This  182-paged book is one of my favorites for five and six  year olds for “school” but also for bedtime reading for almost any age.  My seven and a half year old and I just got done going through these stories at bedtime again, and they are so lovable.  The stories are seasonal and so sweet, and include imaginative ways to present the stories and how to re-tell the stories.

The stories include the gnomes of Limindoor Woods and the two human children who live nearby.  The seven stories are:   Pebble (whose father teaches him the family trade of being a crystal gardener); Brother Acorn (who keeps the world forested) (this story has a lot of repetition and is shorter so may be of delight to even younger children); Tommy Tomten (a winter tale about giving); Teasel and Tweed (this is a longer story and has a rescue element – not scary, but may be better for children a bit older); Gilly ( a springtime tale); Bracken (an adventuresome gnome); Mossy (a Midsummer story that references all the other stories and characters in the book).

The stories have some simple, beautiful ink drawings to accompany them that are lovely and could be a springboard toward your own creation of wet on wet painting moving pictures (where the characters you paint move through the scene).

There are also many “extras” in this book:  Continue reading

Are You Drowning In Stuff? A Challenge!

This article is a fascinating look at Americans and their things: http://realestate.msn.com/blogs/listedblogpost.aspx?post=e0026a0a-03df-4f70-b1e5-6eaaeec9ec86.   This article is an anthropologist’s look at “stuff”.  In particular was mentioned the accumulation of things that comes with adding more children.  One thing that was amazing to me was one particular child’s room contained 248 dolls!

I actually don’t know anyone in real life that has “stuff” to this amount of excess, to be honest, although I am sure it exists.  It is a sad commentary on American society if this is a normal state of affairs for much of the population. As we become more overweight, more depressed, more anxious – here we are, taking our homes that we are so fortunate to have in comparison to the rest of the world and stuffing them to the brim!

I love the summertime for doing major, deep, significant de-cluttering.  So, I have a challenge for you this week:  set aside a two-week period this summer, and every morning, work on getting rid of your stuff.  No, don’t just organize it! Get rid of it! Continue reading

Minimalism

My house is officially on the market.  It is bittersweet to me.  We have lived in this home for fourteen years, and I adore my neighbors.  I know them so very well.  I know every nook and cranny of the once farmland that is now our little subdivision:  the tadpoles in the creek by my neighbor’s house (and how she so kindly lets us tramp through her yard to get to the creek!), the long Deep South days at the pool, the way we can see the Fourth of July fireworks from the pool, the hill we can sled on in the winter in the few years we actually do receive snow.  A true sense of place, which seems to be rare in this day and age. Continue reading